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  1. #1
    New Lounger
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    I have multiple machines running usually more than one OS (WinXP, Win2K, *BSD, Slackware, OpenSolaris, Irix)
    but due to lack of space I hook up only one, maybe two, use it for a day then the next day hook up another and use
    that. [I rent a room in a house so machines other than my primary are kept with my extra stuff on the property]
    So when it comes to documents and files there's a lot of redundancy as I wind up copying the same stuff to
    each OS. Be it pdf files, images, music, etc.
    A lot of stuff is on an external USB hard drive but there have been a number of issues with that, especially among
    non-Windows OSes.
    I do have an old NAS but it's probably reaching eol and is mostly filled with backups from old OSes I used to run
    (BSDs, Win98, Solaris 8, etc.).

    Since I don't have the room to keep a full-size machine running as a server I've been considering some small-size
    items and would like some feedback on what might work. This is just for home use.

    Options are:

    Mini-ITX machine (probably the most flexible with regards to RAM, speed, and OS. One company even has a case that
    can attach to the back of a monitor via the VESA wall mount holes)
    Plug Computer (eSATA Sheeva Multi with Ubuntu or Debian Squeeze, GuruPlug [some heat problems with earlier versions]
    and the like hooked up to an external drive)
    Standalone NAS (diskless, my choice of disk size. The Synology DS110j for instance is pretty nice and well received
    but I wonder about the lack of RAM at 128MB).
    Also a company called Addonics makes very inexpensive hardware that turns USB drives into network accessible drives.

    Obviously I'm going the inexpensive route here. With the exception of the Mini-ITX all can be had for up to about $200.
    Any ideas on what might be worth trying out?
    BTW, I do have online storage at MyDrive but I find using The Cloud for file sharing to be a bit too slow.

    Thanks,
    Marc

  2. #2
    Super Moderator Deadeye81's Avatar
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    Hi Marc and welcome to the Lounge!

    Given the space limitations and expense of some options, have you considered the use of Dropbox or similar to synchronize your files each time you start up your machines? (Oops, sorry, just now noticed you already use MyDrive for online storage. Just woke up moments ago, no coffee yet.)

    Also when I was looking for a new router, I almost purchased a Linksys E3000 which has a USB port to plug in an external hard drive that can be IP addressed on the network for use as an inexpensive NAS device but Dropbox will pretty much serve my needs. There are some other brands available that will do the same, and if you already have a large capacity USB external drive available, this could be done for less than $200. Just a thought.
    Deadeye81

    "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." Sir Winston Churchill

  3. #3
    New Lounger
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gerald Shepard View Post
    Given the space limitations and expense of some options, have you considered the use of Dropbox or similar to synchronize your files each time you start up your machines? (Oops, sorry, just now noticed you already use MyDrive for online storage. Just woke up moments ago, no coffee yet.)
    Heh, no problem. I hear a lot about Dropbox. Maybe I should give the online storage a try as I haven't really done much with MyDrive since I got it. At the moment it's only used to share
    a calendar among Thunderbird/SeaMonkey/Lightning clients.

    Also when I was looking for a new router, I almost purchased a Linksys E3000 which has a USB port to plug in an external hard drive that can be IP addressed on the network for use as an inexpensive NAS device but Dropbox will pretty much serve my needs. There are some other brands available that will do the same, and if you already have a large capacity USB external drive available, this could be done for less than $200.
    Just today the router idea came to mind when I saw an offer for an ASUS RT-N16 in my mailbox which has similar features and Gb ethernet. Replacing my old AirLink router has always
    been in the back of my mind anyway.
    I do have a 320GB SATA drive in an external case with both USB2 and eSATA connectors. Largely going unused (a few backup images on it) while I figure out what to do with it.
    For me that size is quite huge as I've never had a need for large hard drives. 160GB is the biggest I have shared with two OSes and lots of free space on this machine.

    Thanks much for the ideas. While I consider new hardware I'll give online storage a chance and see how well that works out.
    Marc

  4. #4
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    I do not have the space limitations that you do, but I have 3 Boxes connected to one Monitor, one keyboard, one mouse using a "KVM" switch. I have a older box running XP that a extra 300 gig drive that I use as a files server. I also have a older HP 2100 LaserJet connected by a parallel cable. The newer boxes do not have a parallel connector. This printer is shared for all on the network to use. We also have another HP color connected to another machine. There is a total of 6 machines on this network, with XP on 2 and Windows 7 on 4 of them.

    If the space problems is the extra monitors, keyboards and mice, then the KVM switch would be the cheapest route to go.

    Now running HP Pavilion a6528p, with Win7 64 Bit OS.

  5. #5
    New Lounger
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    Among the two main machines I've been thinking of the KVM thing, however...

    My main machine has been an old IBM ThinkPad permanently docked. In the dock is a video card with
    DMS-59 connector to drive two monitors. It's hooked up to the DVI connectors on the monitors.
    On the machine I've been slowly migrating to also has a card with that connector. It's hooked up to
    the D-SUB connectors on the monitors. Between those two computers I only deal with hooking/unhooking
    the keyboard and mouse. I could probably get away with just KVMing the input devices. Not sure.

    I was thinking though that if I wanted to only use the DVI connectors on the monitors I'd have to find
    one of those DVI Dual-View (or whatever they're called) KVM switches. Not as common but available.

    Soon I'll get this whole networking/multi-machines thing worked out.

    Marc

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