Currently Using - December 2020

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 2020?

I’ve updated my Archive Server to Ubuntu Server 20.04 from Xubuntu 18.04. I like to stay on the more current LTS, and I wanted to dump the official UI weight on top since it really is just a server, so Xubuntu went. I also swapped out the CPU and motherboard for my old desktop PC Intel i5 though this was also from ~2013, and put in a new Scythe Choten CPU fan cooler to quieten things down a little. The old Scythe Shuriken B cooler was over 5 years old but I couldn’t find a low profile fan to replace the original one which had begun grinding a little.

On a lesser note, I replaced my ancient Razer Tiamat 2.2 headphones from 2012 with some AKG K371s. The Tiamats were fun, bassy and good for games, but weren’t great for music and straight audio, the mic broke a few years ago and the pad covers had been peeling for a while. The K371s are aimed more at straight audio and music and are more compact.

Hardware

Dell XPS 13 (9360)

The family laptop since May 2018 (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 2013, and used for archiving files and media, running the linux.

  • CPU: Intel Core i5 3470 (January 2013) with a Scythe Choten cooler (December 2020)
  • RAM: 16GB Corsair XMS3 (May 2013)
  • Mobo: Asus B75M-PLUS (December 2013)
  • Graphics: On CPU (headless)
  • PSU: Antec Earthwatts 450 Platinum PSU (May 2013)
  • Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (May 2013) with Scythe Flex 140 fans.
  • Discs: Samsung 840 120GB SSD (May 2013) 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: Ubuntu Server 20.04.xx LTS.

The Rest

2011 Apple MacMini (late 2011) 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 my old 24” monitor on a spare desk for study purposes and desktop stuff. 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)

2014 Thinkpad E440 I bought one of these in mid 2014, then it had a screen hinge failure in late 2018, so I rescued the SSD, RAM, battery and PSU, and in May 2020 bought an identical one on Yahoo Auctions which was cheap as the battery didn’t work, re-used my battery, upgraded the RAM, and it’s back running Ubuntu 20.04 LTS. (Spec is an i3-4100M, 8GB RAM, SSD)

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 MS VisualStudio Code for day to day and RedNoteBook for journalling. Photo management is mainly via digiKam and sometimes DarkTable.

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

Video editing

BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve 16.x on Windows is great for video editing, if a little overpowered for me, and I use both YouTube and Vimeo for video availability. I moved to LosslessCut for hacking away unneeded footage from my GoPro excursions.

Audio Editing

Since buying a proper microphone and audio interface, I went for Reaper as a cheap but easy to understand DAW.

Hosting

This site is housed on some space at Pair Networks. All of my e-mail is also run on Pair via my own domain names, GMail as a backup.

Gaming

I do a lot less gaming nowadays. We currently have a Nintendo Switch and a PS4, the latter of which is mainly used as a HTPC. I also play a few games on my desktop PC now and then.

The Audio and the Visual

I have a FujiFilm X-T200 (April 2020) with the kit 15-45mm lens, a 23mm weather sealed prime and an 18-130mm travel zoom.

After years of abusing and finally selling my GoPro HeroHD 2, then a Hero 5 Black, in December 2018 I received a GoPro 7 Black as a gift. I like to use the GoPros on the snowboard, bicycles, motorbikes and at the beaches. I find it to be a great camera too and using with the family given its POV style.

In mid 2019 I indulged a long time interest in audio recording, and invested in a Rode NT1 microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface.

Gadgets

  • Google Pixel 4a smartphone (August 2020).
  • Kindle PaperWhite 2015 (September 2015).
  • Raspberry Pi’s of various generations (1-4) running various OSs.
  • Arduino Uno and other electronics kit (2013 onwards).
  • Zoom H1 audio recorder.
  • Boling BL-P1 LED light panel, essentially so I didn’t appear as a silhouette in video conferences during a few months of working from home during the 2020 COVID19 pandemic (April 2020).
  • Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones (February 2020).