End of a good day

I went to bed about an hour ago and was just laying there awake thinking of what I’d put in a blog post. So rather than think about it, I thought I’d get up and write something and see if I can purge myself of it all and get some sleep!

First off, the biggest news is that I finally got the translation of the archaeology book sent off today! I don’t think it has sunk in yet. Lorraine finished her proofread on Friday and I got tore into it today and got it all done. It’s by far the biggest freelance project I’ve undertaken and, although I feel like I’ve acheived something really worthwhile, it’s not something I’ll be looking to do again in a hurry. It was too much for me at the end of the day and I bit off more than I could chew. Still, I wasn’t to know that.

So, to celebrate having my work done, it was time to put in the 36 GB Raptor drive I bought on eBay a couple of months ago. I have two 160 GB SATA drives and one 200 GB IDE drive in my main rig. The IDE drive is all data in one big partition, but each of the 160 GB drives has partitions of about 25 GB at the beginning of the drives for operating systems. For some time now I’ve wanted to put XP on its own drive, and the small-capacity 10,000 RPM Raptor was the obvious choice.

I built my system to be silent as it can be, part of which involves suspending the hard drive cage inside the case with elastic. With the 3 drives in there it was hard to balance the drive cage and so I’ve been running with the side panel off for a few months now because it touched the side of the unbalanced suspended drive cage and negated any benefits of suspending it in the first place. Now with four drives in the cage, it balances a lot better. Plus the fact that this is the third time I’ve done it so I have more experience of what elastic works and how to go about it.

I also installed an Icy Box drive cage in an empty drive bay so I can slide in SATA drives straight into the empty slot for back-ups, etc. I bought a 320 GB SATA drive to back up my collection of FLAC files from the media server to keep off-site as I’m paranoid about losing all my music. I have about 250 GB of FLACs right now, all on a server that I can stream to my Squeezebox 3 digital music players (one in the living room hooked up to the amp and one in the kitchen with a pair of powered speakers.). It has revolutionised the way I listen to music. I also plan to put my CD collection into CD binders for storage and throw out the jewel cases. They take up way too much room. I will keep the back-up drive at my wife’s office I reckon. I’m looking forward to the day when storage is so cheap and reliable that I can do the same with my DVDs!

Anyway, back to the drive installation. I got everything up and running before midnight then went to install XP on the Raptor. It was then that I discovered that the product key was in the ring binder that I’d just handed over to my accountant to do this year’s tax return. D’oh! Thankfully I was able to connect to the server where I keep my Thunderbird profile using Windows through Parallels on my MacBook and found the e-mail that Microsoft sent with the product key when I went legit from my hookey version. Now I’m glad I decided to keep my T-bird profile on the server!

I still enjoy geeking out on my rig, although it’s not quite so exciting as it used to be. I was thinking back as I lay in bed to the very first time I reinstalled Windows 98 on my first laptop (Pentium MMX 266 with 64 MB of RAM and a whopping 4 GB hard drive that the salesman told me I’d probably never fill!). The first time I entered format c: was quite nerve-wracking and exciting. Now it’s just a matter of course really, but still slightly exciting I guess. I’m going to leave Vista well alone by the way, just as I did with XP until service pack 1 was released. I find that XP does me just fine and don’t fancy the performance hit of Vista on my now aging rig (AMD 3500+ w/ 2 GB of RAM).

And onto another topic completely – we decided to start potty training Freya as of yesterday. We took her shopping so she could choose her own new pants (she chose frogs, princesses and strawberries) and also to get a new toilet seat as ours has been loose for years and would slide off to one side if you weren’t careful. We got one that the lid won’t fall down on (it drops down gently) and a cusioned insert for Freya to sit on. Oh, and a footstool with a tiger on it for her to climb up on. At the end of day 2, she still hadn’t got the hang of it and had gone through all her pants and most of her trousers too. It should be fun to see how she gets on at the crèche tomorrow!

Right, maybe now I’ll be able to sleep so I’ll close with a nice picture I took today and bid you all goodnight.


  1. that hanging drive rig is GENIUS.  Despite my Zalman fanless heatsink, I still get a lot of noise from the vibrations of the drives as they spin up and read.  I have a drive partitioned for windows, programs, and audio programs, though I did it mostly for ease of backup-in-case-of-total-drive-failure purposes.

    I really dig that hanging drive cage rig!  I’ve got enough space in my case to fashion such a thing.  maybe lashing some elastics and anchoring them elsewhere in the case may keep it from butting up against the side?  Also, do you have any issues with cooling, since the drive cage impedes the airflow path to your front fan?

  2. I’ve managed to get it suspended without hitting the side of the case now. It’s much easier with four drives than it was with three, as now it is properly balance weighted.

    I spent a lot of time on the forums at silentpcreview.com where you will find a lot of threads about this very thing, usually DIY jobs with photos and details of how it was done. I wrote up a thread there when I first built my silent rig, but it’s pretty much documented on my own site too (with links to relevant SilentPCReview articles):

    Building a silent PC
    Silencing the beast

    The cage doesn’t actually restrict the airflow. Good airflow over the drives is particularly important now that there are four drives in close proximity. The concession I made as the picture above shows is that I had to mount the front intake fan outside the case (between the case and the bezel) rather than inside, but that wasn’t hard to do with zip ties. The drive cage itself is the one that came with the case but flipped over sideways. The case is an Antec
    SLK3000B (sounds like a Mercedes, huh?). I use an Antec P150 for my downstairs rig; it actually comes with an elastic HDD mounting system in place, but is only really usable for two drives; more than that and the mounting system doesn’t work quite so well (maybe you’ll get 3 in at a push). In that case the elastic eventually broke, but it was easy enough to use the exisitng mounts to put in new, better elastic. It’s a nice case and offers good airflow.

    Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll take some pictures of the suspended drive cage as it is now. I’m using 30mm wide elastic now and the same old crocodile clips designed for holding curtains.

  3. Wow, you’ve been so swept up with work lately. I’m amazed you have the energy to write about it all afterwords. It’s a very admirable feat. ^__^

    Congratulations on finishing the translation! To be honest, I don’t know a lot about archaeology, but working with translations sounds extremely interesting. Still, I bet you’re happy to have that task out of the way. Whew.

    Haha, I could never handle all of that technology like you. All those programs, all of those computer terms… *goes crazy* That’s why I have Shawn around, haha. He can handle all of that. Once again, what an accomplishment. It sounds as though you had a good day though.

    Your family is so sweet! You must love coming home after a long day to such cuties. ^___^

  4. Thanks Lauren. I knew next to nothing about archaeology before I started this text so I spent a small fortune on Amazon buying textbooks to read up on the subject. The translation is with the author right now and I’m expecting his comments any day now. It will be kind of cool to have my name inside the front cover of a book as the translator!