Managing my addiction

If you’re like ing, and it seems like I buy a new computer every month and call it a torrent slave, I can understand that. But just for the record, this is the state of affairs in late April, 2010.


I only have four, although that alone is embarrassing to say when people ask. I am always tempted to lie and say “one,” since there’s only one here that anyone would consider to be a “contemporary” computer. The others … well, I’ll just say that no one wants them but me. 😐

I split the arrangement a day ago, when I ran into a few small issues with the latest addition to the horde. My plan to replace the drive in that computer with a larger, quieter, quicker one ran aground when one of the screws holding the palmrest in place refused to pull from its brace. I see no good in cracking the case just to replace the hard drive, and so as an alternative, I use an external USB drive to actually hold downloaded files.

And since network transfers between machines are not particularly fast between the older wireless cards, I can actually gain more in letting the torrents download directly to the USB drive, then unplugging it and transferring it into the X60s via USB2.0. Plug it back in and remount it, then restart rtorrent.

The problem there is that it makes it rather inconvenient to keep it on an upper shelf in a closet, more than 2 meters overhead and with the plug at the rear of the machine. And since the difference between wired connections and wireless connections are not that great for me, I would do just as well to save the high-strung Corega card I used in the closet, and put another wired card into it, and keep it close to the router.

At the same time the Thinkpad I usually use for “entertainment” is having trouble with mplayer and the framebuffer these days, so really, all it does is play music or download from Jamendo. So it too could stay close to the router, and I can control both remotely from the Pentium. screen allows me to detach sessions from both or either, between logins or from day-to-day, and run everything in separate tty windows. (The in-house IP numbers end in 3 and 4, so I start tty3 and tty4 with inittab, as a mnemonic. 😛 )

This is probably all very complicated to imagine and more information than you really needed, but the long and short of it is

  1. the Pentium controls both Celerons via ssh plus screen over wireless,
  2. the Celeron Thinkpad handles my music collection,
  3. the new Celeron is a wired torrent slave and NFS “platform,”
  4. and writes everything to the external USB
  5. that I pop out when I want to transfer stuff to the X60s.

One of the nice side benefits of this arrangement is that it frees up a lot of desk space. Plus, both Celerons are set at the BIOS to ignore power management, so I can close the lids and they continue to run, or I can cut power selectively with wall-socket-switches (the 100-yen store is great for gizmos like that).

So the torrent machine is powered alongside the network, and stays up more or less indefinitely. The radio and the Celeron Thinkpad are on a separate plug, so if I leave the house I shut down the laptop and cut the power to the adapter and radio while the network and NEC machine stay on.

Of course the downside of this is, I look at that shelf and say, “Hey, I have space for at least three more laptops on there, if I just move the radio a little bit. …” 🙄

And yes, I know my radio sucks. I am a geek, not an audiophile: It was a junk hand-me-down that I got for free. Sound is good enough for me. What were you expecting from a person who owns three computers worth less than $10 combined? :mrgreen:


6 thoughts on “Managing my addiction

  1. zoev9

    You’re not the only one who would take those computers, trust me I’d love to find a junk store in the US that would sell old netbooks/notebooks for cheap.
    Keep up the collection and ideas. Your writing are an inspiration to techie scavengers

  2. Raymii

    Wow, your desk is much more cleaned up then mine 😛
    I used to have a lot of PC’s for different purposes here fist, but then someone pointed out that my pc room probably uses more power then all the other rooms in my house, so that was bad… I now have a big VM server, 2tb hdd, 6gb ram and a phenom X4 9650. It now runs my dns, dhcp, torrent + usenet downloader, 2 win2k3 servers and some testing linux vms. I just love XenServer.
    And, it takes up almost no space since it is in a closet 😛

  3. ing

    To be fair, February was only two months ago.

    Your set-up makes me jealous. Which is a disorienting feeling given the relative lack of computing power.

    Also, I got a whole post. Go me!

  4. poss

    thinkpads are good computers eh? and good for parts, fixing modding etc. I have a t23 running arch/openbox, t40 running xubuntu and a dead t20 (chassis parts for t23). hey i’ve had my t40 for nearly 2 years and only just today discovered the “think light” (fn page up) very cool.

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