[personal profile] abortrephrase
The box arrived today. It's an ASRock ION3D 152D, which is a small-form-factor barebones with an Atam D525 CPU and ION graphics. Comes with a DVD-RW drive as a built-in (there's a version with a BD-ROM drive for ~$100 more) and an IR receiver for use with the bundled MCE remote. Plus it has a gigabit NIC.

Added 4GB of RAM and a 750GB 5400rpm 2.5" SATA disk.

Hooked it up -- HDMI to the telly, analogue stereo audio to the switchbox, ethernet to the switch, stuck an XBMC-Live disc in the DVD drive and booted it up.

Everything but the remote worked out of the box, no futzing around required.

Rebooted, installed XBMC-Live on the disk. Turns out it's just a slightly-modified Ubuntu 10.04LTS install rigged to automatically log in to the "xbmc" user and run XBMC on the display. Completely suitable as-is to use as a house server, XBMC when chewing through all the media files only eats ~30% of a core, and this thing reports four.

(I think it's actually dual-core with hyper threading, but whatever.)

So I've updated everything to 10.04's current state and added some extra cruft on. Getting the remote working was a bit of a trial -- there was a change in how LIRC deals with remotes in a kernel update which made its way into 10.04's update repo, so the vendor packages no longer work and there are lots of people talking about how they fixed it but most of those didn't actually work.

This worked for me.

System basics:

matt@ant:~$ uname -a
Linux ant 2.6.32-33-generic #72-Ubuntu SMP Fri Jul 29 21:08:37 UTC 2011 i686 GNU/Linux

matt@ant:~$ cat /proc/cpuinfo
model name : Intel(R) Atom(TM) CPU D525 @ 1.80GHz

I am rather less impressed with Dropbox, though. I've been using it for an offsite backup of my music collection -- yes, I could get much of it back by re-ripping my CDs, but I've a fair bit of music I've purchased online now. One neat thing it does is sync over the LAN if you've got multiple registered machines on the same network.

So I fired up the client on ant. And would you believe, Dropbox ate the 90GB "Music" folder? Nuked the copy stored on their end, blew away the primary copy on my end too.

Fortunately I have this covered by Time Machine for an on-site backup, so I wasn't completely screwed. But I'm disinclined to pay for Dropbox again when renewal time comes around in six or so months!

Anyway. The only outstanding issue now is moving my leafnode installation across. Once that's done the old machine can be retired, and this nice low-power very very quiet machine can take the place of both the old "server" and the hacked first-gen AppleTV.
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Abort, Rephrase, Ignore?

October 2011

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