Uncle Roger's Notebooks of Daily Life


My life is, to me, ripe with frequent challenges, occasional successes, spontaneous laughter, adequate tears, and enough *life* to last me a lifetime. To you, however, it surely seems most pedestrian. And therefore, I recycle the name I used previously and call this my Notebooks of Daily Life. Daily, because it's everyday in nature, ordinary. These conglomeration of events that are my life are of interest to me because I live it, perhaps mildly so to those who are touched by it, and could only be of perverse, morbid curiosity to anyone else. Yet, I offer them here nonetheless. Make of them what you will, and perhaps you can learn from my mistakes.


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Saturday, June 18, 2005

I is a Kuro...

Something I've wanted for quite a while is some sort of networked storage. Something hanging off the network that any computer could see and access. Something to hold MP3 files and pictures, and information and files of general interest to family and friends. Well, I finally got one.

It's not a difficult thing to do, of course. I had a linux box set up acting as a file server at one point, but it had a relatively small hard drive, was noisy, and sucked up a lot of juice. I could, of course, have upgraded the hard drive and put a newer version of Linux on it, but that would take a lot of time and wouldn't resolve the other issues. Any similar set up that would resolve all those issues (either a computer specifically designed for such tasks or a laptop) had issues of its own, most notably price.

A NAS box seemed the best option, but was either far too expensive or required specific windows software to run on the client -- something that would leave the macs out in the cold. After doing a lot of research and keeping my eyes open for deals, I finally found what is so far the perfect answer.

I got a KuroBox.

Kuro means expert in Japanese, and this box is not intended for the novice user. Having said that, the great user community made this a piece of cake for even a twit like myself. I got the enclosure for $130 plus shipping and tax, then picked up a 200GB drive for $90 plus tax. Installation was probably more complex than it needed to be, but after getting the English-language instructions, I had no trouble at all.

After installing the hard drive, I had to format it and load a full operating system. You see, despite the low price, it's actually a full-fledged PowerPC-based linux computer. I used Alan Cudmore's excellent instructions and disk image to set it all up. (They're both in the Downloads section, if you're looking for them.) Set up was straightforward and simple; if you've ever used a unix-type (or even any command-line) operating system and can follow instructions, it's a piece of cake.

I also found a description of how to set up the network configuration on the KuroBox which helped a lot. Note -- do this after installing Alan's image. There's a lot more good info in the forum posts, if you have the time and inclination to play with it more.

As of now, I have it all set up with 100GB+ of images and 25GB+ of MP3's (all legal, by the way). I can listen to the MP3's over the network or view the pictures. While its slow on Rachel's older OS9 laptop, it works there too. I have no doubt it will work fine on her desktop and on Jared's mac. Oh, btw, Alan's image is specifically designed to support macs (as you probably guessed immediately if you visited his site.) So far, it works flawlessly. It's sitting quietly on a shelf next to my printer humming away.

The one problem I ran into was that it didn't like some of the foreign characters in the album name and songs in Rossini's 10 Peches de ma Vieillesse (which are the directory and file names, respectively.) Replacing things like accented E's and such fixed that quickly.

I would love to get something like Jeff Mock's software or YARRS running on it to take advantage of the Rio Receiver I never got working. That, however, requires installing PERL (along with at least one module) and setting up Apache, something I'm not sure I'm qualified to do, even if I had the time. Still, it's something to look forward to.

All in all, I highly recommend the KuroBox (I'd love to get another to play with more, given the time.) Note that the webstore is undergoing changes and the site currently says it will be up and running two weeks ago, but supposedly it will be available again soon. The forums and wiki are up and running, however. If you have a chance, it's well worth picking one up.

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