QNAP TS-410 SoHo NAS devices

I recently had the “pleasure” to try a NAS device, more specific a QNAP TS-410, which is handy little box which takes 4 harddrives (each upto 2TB), 2 Gigabit network ports, a few USB ports, and a 2 eSATA ports.

Very neat, but it’s let down but the lack of a decent CPU (Marvell 6281 800MHz), which shows that it takes around 18 hours to build a 3x2TB Raid5 (which really IS slow). It might come down to the drives not being aligned, as the OS (software) does not take into consideration that drives which is 1TB or larger does no longer use 512bytes per sector. 2TB drivers (mostly) uses 4kb.

The software in it self is ok’ish, one can do what one wants to do, except for one small thing which is ok for home use, but in the office it would be nice to be able to configure UID and GID per user, and group, or use an external source like LDAP or NIS – currently only AD is available, which is somewhat dissatisfying – as it does not provide UID/GID. So for usage in an environment where NFS is being used this box and any other one from QNAP is a no-go as they all use the same software.

Transfer speed, well with a bit of luck one can get about 20mb/s writing and about 35mb/s for read – that is with a raid5 build with Samsung F4 2TB’s and gigabit network – needless to say I was disappointed.

I was lucky enough to find a nice home for the thing, and it is no longer in posession.

I moved the drives to my old trusted server, and is now getting around 50-55mb/s writing.


Apple Wireless Keyboard

So I have this MacMini as a mediacenter PC, which is working and I don’t really have any problems with it, except that once in a while I want to be able to surf the web, or write an email without having to get out of the sofa.

For years I’ve used US keyboards, and don’t really like to use something else, so I went to my local apple shop to order a Apple Wireless Keyboard, with US layout. After 6 weeks (yes, it took 6 weeks for them to provide me with this information) I was told that this would not be possible, and there was no way that they could sell one of these to me. They suggested that I should contact Apple Netherlands, but they doubted that anything would come out of it.

After a bit of research I did find out that it was possible to get one, if I would buy a 27″ iMac, which I found would be slightly too expensive just to get a keyboard…..

But, I had read on some forums that some people sometimes send an email to Steve Jobs to complain about things in regards to Apple, and sometimes they get a positive response. So I sat down wrote an email pointing out that having to buy an 27″ iMac would be expensive, especially as I only wanted the keyboard.

Today I got a phone call from Apple telling me that I now can order a US Wireless keyboard from Apple, even if I am in Europe!! Way to go, and it shows that sometimes contacting the right people gives you a positive result.

btw. if you live in The Netherlands you can order it from here

To “Netbook” or not to “Netbook”

There have been quite a buzz about the Netbook syndrome, there is Asus, MSI, Acer, Dell, and possible other brands which have come up with a notebook which is build around the Intel ATOM processor and ~1GB ram, and eiter a SSD or a harddriver. The screen is ~9 – 10″ with a resolution of 1024×600’ish.

Now I’ve been looking at these things for a while, and ones in a while I’ll have another look, and everytime I decide against them as they a way to underpowered for what I need them for (well that is not correct), as I normally use a MacBook Pro (unibody) which even for what I use it for sometimes is underpowered.

Also I do not want a Linux nor a Windows netbook, I want one which officially runs Apple OSX!!!

But now, the rumors have started again for an Apple Netbook, this latest incarnation is a “Netbook”, but it’s also a tablet….

More about it here

In short, I would like one of these…..

Apple Cinema Displays and the missing button

So you’re asking yourself; what is he on about this time. Well if you don’t have either a [stag]Apple Cinema Display[/stag] (ACD monitor) or an [stag]Apple iMac[/stag] you will never understand….

Steve Jobs in his wisdom, have decided that you do not need a button to switch off the monitor… it is enough to switch off the computer.

Lucky enough after some searching (gotta love Google) I found the magic key combination: [stag]Control-Shift-Eject[/stag] (The key that ejects discs) will switch off the display on Macbook (Pro), iMac’s, and the ACD attached to either your Mac Pro, or Macbook (Pro).

Now, if someone could explain to someone at Apple, that a on/off button on a display is a very very nice thing to have…

New Notebook….

After almost 3 years, I have ordered a new Notebook, my Macbook Pro (CD 2GHz) is not happy running Lightroom2, PhotoShop, Groupwise8, Groupwise Messenger, Adium, Thunderbird 3, and Firefox at the same time…. and it does not help if I switch Lightroom2 and PhotoShop with VMware Fusion…..

In about 4 weeks (I hope) I should be the proud owner of a [stag]Macbook Pro[/stag] Late 2008 (C2D 2.8GHz) which should be able to keep me entertained for another 3 years…..

Computer Speakers…..

There are a few things I really do not like, some of them does not have to do with computers, and some of them does.

As a notebook use, with a frequent use of a external monitor, I’ve gotten around to live with the mess of cables on my desk, but on I cannot live with the scratch, boom noise when I plugin my external speakers (5 year old 2.1 system, which is working just fine – just ask the neighbors).

This means that I’ve been hunting high and low for some speakers which would work via either fiber (bloody expensive), or USB (also not cheap – until now – that is I’ve missed out on some things).

I was in the local MacShop yesterday to order a new Macbook Pro (more about that later), and asked if they knew of any [stag]USB speakers[/stag] which where 1) ok’ish 2) working with OSX. And they pointed me in the direction of Logitech Z-5, but after some research I figured out that they do not come with a power supply (damn). They also mentioned [stag]Logitech Z-10[/stag] which officially are only supported with Microsoft Windows – dooh…

Well it turns out that the only thing which officially does not work with OSX is the info display on the right speaker (no you know – it’s the right one, and no it’s not mentioned in the documentation).

After a bit of research, I found a tool (LogitechLCDTool) which can show some information on the display, and the next step was to figure out how to switch from lineout to USB Audio…. AppleScript here we come.

If found this blog entry, which have a script which works, but as I do not need to switch back to lineout (disconnecting the speakers is enough), I modified the script to:

— snip —
tell application “/Applications/LogitechLCDTool.app” to activate

tell application “System Preferences”
set current pane to pane “com.apple.preference.sound”
end tell

tell application “System Events”
tell application process “System Preferences”
tell tab group 1 of window “Sound”
click radio button “Output”
set selected of row 2 of table 1 of scroll area 1 to true
set deviceselected to “Z-10 USB Speaker”
end tell
end tell
end tell

tell application “System Preferences” to quit
— snip —

As you can see I also launch ‘LogitechLCDTool’ – less clicking around….

Just a small thing, due to some issues with OSX 10.5.x and iTunes 8.x you should have a look here and here

But back to the speakers them self, well as everyone says; they are good, the bad thing is the touch panel which is kind of crap… do a google and find a review or two….