On this page there's just a bit on what electronic devices / equipment / software I'm running right now. It's all to meet requirements and geared towards value for money.

What's New in December 2019?

The big news here is the partial rebuild of my Frankenstein's Monster PC. Gone is the January 2013 Intel Core i5 3470 CPU based system, and in its place is a shiny new AMD Ryzen 5 3600 based system. Also with this rebuild I'll need to rename it - the last two incarnations were called 'Shrike' and 'Onigiri'. (Yes, I have a random naming convention.) I think I'l call the new one 'Nosferatu' as I'm on a classic horror film binge at the moment. And finally, a new screen, going from my ancient Iiyama PLE2407HDS 24" 1080p TN model (September 2009), to an MSI 34" Ultra Widescreen 1440p model. Done for another decade perhaps?

On the Linux Archive Server side, I'd swapped out 2x2TB WD Green drives from early 2013 with 2x8TB Seagate Barracudas as I've been slowly ripping my DVDs and BDs as discs to .mkv, rather than keeping re-encoded backups. I also replaced the original case fan from 2013 with a new Scythe Kaze as the bearing had gone and the grinding noise was getting a bit annoying!

In other news from the last few months:

  • Completed phasing out the 8 year old MacMini from 2011 as the main family media machine. It's still physically hooked up to the TV, but all family photos and videos are back on the 'main' Windows PC (see this page for that).
  • Added the Reaper audio editor/DAW since I got the new mic a few months back.
  • Bought a couple of 8TB Seagate Barracuda drives to store DVD backups on.

Hardware

Dell XPS 13 (9360) The family laptop since May 2018, and a nice and somewhat child resistant metal laptop at that. (Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, UHD 620 graphics, Windows 10 Home)

Windows PC My Frankenstein's monster of a Windows box is mainly for audio and video editing, encoding, gaming and some work, and generally gets updated piecemeal.

Archive Server Another self built machine mainly harking back to May 2013, and used for archiving files and media, running the linux.

  • CPU: AMD A6-5400K (May 2013), with a Scythe Shuriken B cooler (May 2015)
  • RAM: 8GB Corsair XMS3 (May 2013)
  • Mobo: ASRock FM2A75 Pro4M (May 2013)
  • Graphics: On CPU (headless)
  • PSU: Antec Earthwatts 450 Platinum PSU (May 2013)
  • Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (May 2013) with Scythe Flex 140 fan.
  • Discs: Samsung 840 120GB SSD for OS, 2 x 4TB Western Digital Reds (September 2016 & September 2018) for personal data & 2 x 8TB Seagate Barracudas (November & December 2019) for media backups.
  • OS: Xubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Deprecated:

2011 Apple MacMini I bumped the memory and stuck an SSD in it but it's old, struggles with most things above 1080p with h264, but that's still useful, so it's hooked up to the family TV as a HTPC. CPU: Dual Core i5 2520M, Memory: 8GB, Graphics: AMD HD 6630M w/ 256MB, Drive: Crucial MX300 525GB SSD (Sept. 2016), MacOS: 10.13 High Sierra (2017)

Software

Backups and the small amount of sync I do are both handled with SpiderOak, one of the more security focussed online backup services, since living in a wooden house in an earthquake zone does make me think about off-site backup quite a lot. Most of the things I do are text based, so I try to keep it simple, using as editors like Notepad++ for day to day, LibreOffice Writer, and RedNoteBook for journalling. Photo management is mainly via digiKam.

Video editing I use BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve 16.x on the Windows desktop, and I tend to use both YouTube and Vimeo for video availability. I moved to LosslessCut for hacking away unneeded footage from my GoPro excursions.

Audio Editing Sinceuying a proper mic, I went for Reaper as a cheap but easy to understand DAW.

I keep passwords in a KeePassXC file, and sensitive documents in VeraCrypt files.

Hosting

This site is housed on some space at Pair Networks where I also keep some personal projects and experiments. All of my e-mail is run via my own domain names, using Pair again as a back-end with a side helping of GMail as a backup. There are free equivalents for email, and of course web-mail, but Pair works well, I can use alts for things easily, no ads in sight, and costs 6USD/month for the hosting and mail.

Gadgets

  • Moto G5plus 32GB Android 'smartphone' (June 2017).
  • Kindle PaperWhite 2015 (Sept. 2015).
  • Raspberry Pi's of various generations running various OSs.
  • Arduino Uno and other electronics kit (2013 onwards).

Gaming

I do a lot less gaming nowadays as I get my kids to do it instead. We currently have a Nintendo Switch and a PS4, which is mainly used as a HTPC. We also have a few 3DSs in the house. I play a few games through Steam/GOG on my desktop PC now and then.

The Audio and the Visual

I have a simple Nikon D3200 dSLR which I bought in October 2012 for which I have 3 lenses – a 35mm prime which is my favoured lens, a 55-200mm zoom and a used 18-55mm VR kit lens I got cheap.

After years of abusing and finally selling my GoPro HeroHD 2, then a Hero 5 Black (also since sold), in December 2018 I received a GoPro 7 Black as a gift. I like to play with the GoPros on the snowboard, the bikes and at the beaches. I find it to be a great urban camera too and using with the family given its POV style, the kids can’t really break it. Well, they haven’t yet.

Of late I've indulged a long time interest in audio recording, and have invested in a Rode NT1 mic kit, a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface. I've been using this for family video voice overs and eventually for some YouTube voiceovers.

I also have a Zoom H1 audio recorder, as sometimes I just want to capture some sound when I'm out and about, and I often use it for taking memos, recording waterfalls and such if I want to make a video and have better audio.