Ugh. End of August. That means school approaches soon.
Don't remind me.
I had to pick up my timetable today. There was something satisfying in knowing that I singlehandedly made the head of IT disappear, but that's besides the point. Since schools around the corner for a bunch of people, I thought I'd cover some articles related to the whole "Back to School" thing.
The first article coming up is about building your own NAS and Server. Tons of kids complain to me that x stops working right before a project is due. Building your own server is an exceedingly cheap way of making your computer work always, and it has it's own advantages.
So I'm preparing to launch my second server. It cost me absolutely nothing, though the situation may be different for you. I won't be covering all parts, but I'll mention some.
Having your server allows for a few amazing things. My brother goes to boarding school, and has to put up with Websense (shudder). Having a server at home allows him to access any site he wants from school, download torrents, and much more, and for me, the server pays for itself, since I rent out my torrent proxy to friends. I also use it to make backups, using a DOS script, and use it as a print server.
The first step is to locate a crappy computer. I'm using a not-so-crappy computer that a friend gave me, but still, same goes for you. You're likely to find something in your basement,
dumpster, or closet, as all you need is an old compy.
I'm using a P4@1.9, HP Mobo, 768MB of RAM, and a 60 gig HDD I had laying around. These are higher end parts, but my first server was a P3 that sucks.
Set the thing up. Keep in mind that you don't need a graphics card, or monitor, or keyboard, or mouse, or anything of the sort. Find an empty closet to dump this in when you're done.
Install VNC onto it, so you can pretend you have a monitor. This is crucial, as it allows you to control it to fix anything.
Once the thing is working, stash it in a closet. Get it ready for 24/7 uptime, attach a printer, and you're good to go. If it's done right, you can store backups of files on it (I have it done automatically with a script: copy C:\Documents and Settings\Administrator\My Documents X:\ I have this working on startup, so it backs up all my work. This prevents me from losing any data, and it helps keep my late nights to a minimum. (SC games don't count).
The next step, though slightly more advanced, is to install Apache. Get it working, and download a copy of PHProxy. This will let you surf the web using your internet connection at university, so you can go on Facebook / Myspace / Porn. And no ones the wiser.
There are commercial products that do the above, but I prefer to build my own. I'm frugal! Here are some of the products that do the same things.
Asus makes this one, for 179, (Asus WL-700gE), which acts as a router too!
I have an HP one my brother got at school, which is amazingly wonderful. I don't think they sell it in Canada though…
Anyways, there are tons of options out there, so choose wisely, as they're great to have.