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Dell PowerEdge T20

Jan 20, 2015 11:45:23 AM

 We got in a neat entry level server recently, the Dell PowerEdge T20. It's a good server for what's called the SOHO environment, or Small Office/Home Office. That is to say, a small office or something run out of the house. My first thought after messing around with it was that it might make a good home media server.

The server currently supports two CPUs, the Xeon E3-1225v3 and the Pentium G3220....

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Je suis Charlie

Jan 8, 2015 11:13:23 AM

 

The attack on the French satire newspaper Charlie Hebdo has rightly outraged and dismayed many around the world. I've never read the newspaper, and reading about it, I suspect that there is very little content therein that I would personally agree with. Having said that, I absolutely endorse their right to publish those opinions and content.

I believe that everyone has a right to their opinions, ...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Sony Hack Attack

Dec 18, 2014 11:14:04 AM

 

So the big tech news that's being talked about in non-tech circles right now is the hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment's computers. If you're reading this blog, I'm 99.44% certain that you've heard about this event, but for the sake of that .56% chance you haven't, let me quickly recap.

 

A group calling itself the Guardians of Peace hacked into Sony's computers and have released copies of interna...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

PowerEdge 2900

Dec 5, 2014 12:57:48 PM

 

We just received an interesting Dell PowerEdge 2900 server. A 2900 is hardly a unique server for us, being one of our mainstays, but I've never seen one come in with more than one Windows COA on it. This one has one server OS COA and on it and two desktop OS COAs on it. Looks to me like it had been configured to run multiple virtual machines. I enjoy seeing how people configure their equipment li...

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A local customer

Nov 14, 2014 11:57:09 AM

 

We had a local customer come by earlier this week who needed some RAM for his PowerEdge 2950. He hadn't seen the shop before, so while a salesman wrote up invoice I gave him a tour of the shop, showing him the stuff we have available. He had some questions for us about the best storage set up for rending video files, and so we showed him a PowerVault MD1000 and how its space shows up in Windows, ...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Go vote

Nov 4, 2014 9:58:04 AM

 

For those of you in the US, if you haven't voted yet, please go out and do so. I think we all benefit from increased voter turnout, even if those voters vote for candidates I disagree with. With increased turnout, our elected officials are sent the message that people are more involved and paying attention to what's going on in the halls of power, and I think they will, in turn, be more attentive...

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Visual Inspection

Oct 30, 2014 2:07:10 PM

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Bumper Stickers

Oct 24, 2014 11:29:18 AM

 

So people here like to replace the county sticker on their car's license plate with one that says In God We Trust, as a way for them to show religion in their lives or whatever. I bring this up because yesterday I saw a guy with such a sticker driving like an absolute maniac on the freeway, ducking and diving through traffic, jumping across multiple lanes, exiting the freeway beyond the last minu...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Congratulations to Net Yost

Oct 17, 2014 2:47:15 PM

I want to send congratulations to Ned Yost of the Kansas City Royals for advancing to the World Series. I remember him from many years watching the Braves, and it's always good to see someone advance to do well for themselves. Good luck to the Royals in the Series!

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My Brain Hurts

Oct 10, 2014 2:43:06 PM

 

So I heard a news story on the radio the other day about how tobacco products are now banned from any property owned or leased by the public university system. I have absolutely no patience for anyone my age or younger who doesn't know that smoking is dangerous. Heck, I can remember seeing an episode of the original Battlestar Galactica when I was around five years old, and immediately deciding t...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Glow in the Dark Cat

Aug 21, 2014 1:44:30 PM

 So a few weeks ago one of our cats was diagnosed with hyperthyroidism. The thyroid serves the same purpose in cats as it does in people, which is to be a regulator of the body's metabolism. There's three main treatment options for this condition, one is using anti-thyroid drugs, another is surgery, and the third is administering a radioactive isotope of iodine, iodine-131. We tried the drugs, but...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Political Dynasties

Aug 8, 2014 11:33:51 AM

I try to avoid discussing politics on this blog, with the exception of things like the Marketplace Fairness Act, but there's a pair of races here in Georgia that compel me to bring up an issue that has long bothered me about American politics, and it's one that I hope would transcend party lines and ideology.

Here in Georgia, we have Jason Carter the grandson of a former governor and US president c...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Double Standards

Aug 1, 2014 10:34:08 AM

 

So the CIA has admitted that it hacked computers that were being used by Senate staffers that were investigating the CIA. I remember that before this first became news, news of the NSA's antics with spying on people had recently broken. Senators on the intelligence committee (make your own joke here) reacted as if it wasn't a big deal. Once they were being spied upon, though, well now they were o...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Shaped Like Itself

Jul 10, 2014 11:28:59 AM

 

I normally listen to a local AM station on the drive to work in the mornings, so I can get traffic updates. This morning, though, I grew irritated with a combination of irritating commercials and hearing the same story for the third or fourth time, and so I changed over to NPR, which is not something I often listen to.

 

I was amused that the first story that came on after I switched was a story ab...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Happy Fourth

Jul 2, 2014 10:52:56 AM

 

I'd like to wish our Canadian cousins a belated happy Canada Day, when they commemorate the confederation of Canada in 1867. For <presidential> my fellow Americans, </presidential> I want to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day . We will be closed on the 4th, and will resume normal business hours on Monday the 7th.

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Not So Old Buildings

Jun 6, 2014 12:01:09 PM

A few days ago there was a fire here in the Atlanta area that destroyed what was described as a “historic” restaurant. What made it historic is that it was the second oldest Longhorn Steakhouse restaurant in the US, having been built more than 30 years ago. That reminded me of an Eddie Izzard bit.

In the bit, he says he grew up in Europe, “Where the history comes from.” He talks about having read a...

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Question Authority

May 29, 2014 2:57:18 PM

 

It's been said that perception is reality, and this is never more evident than when it comes to authority figure, which makes sense when one considers how much of authority is a social construct. This is something that can be played with, for good or ill.

My dad told me a story that he heard from his dad, who was a sergeant in the US Air Force, and the Army Air Force before that. A guy showed up o...

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A Close Shave

May 22, 2014 11:28:39 AM

      Here's a money saving tip for you, and this is one that I've heard from multiple sources. If you use a normal razor for shaving, be sure to dry the blade, or blades, off when you finish shaving. You see, it's not as much the actual act of shaving that dulls the blades but the oxidation that occurs when the water dries on the blades. Try it out. Might save you some money that you can spend on...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

This Will be Remade

May 7, 2014 2:26:00 PM

 

During a conversation I had with one of the other techs here, he mentioned an article he had read about several remakes that are in the works, including films such as Short Circuit, Weird Science, and Police Academy. Of course, these aren't the only examples that we've seen recently of such productions. Quickly coming to mind are the Star Trek films (which are also a reboot), the TV series Hawaii...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Everything Old is New Again

Apr 25, 2014 3:07:57 PM

 

There are some pieces of technology that refuse to go away completely, no matter how old they are. Walk into most any office supply store and you can buy a fountain pen. There are some people who swear by using a typewriter to write on rather than a computer, and you risk your life pulling out a Nook or Kindle around some book aficionados. Some of these things are still around for their “retro” a...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Captain America Winter Soldier

Apr 11, 2014 12:07:07 PM

 

It's time for another movie review. Last night I saw Captain America: Winter Soldier and I quite enjoyed it.

 

I think this may be the first of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies where it's really helpful to have seen movies outside of the subseries itself. By that, I mean seeing something more than the first Captain America. If you saw Iron Man, you're set for Iron Man 2. Iron Man 3 references s...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Heartbleed

Apr 9, 2014 2:29:18 PM

 

One of the big stories in tech circles today is that a bug has been found in OpenSSL that has been in place for as long as two years. If you've seen someone talk about the “Heartbleed Bug,” this is the one they're talking about, and it's a big one.

 

OpenSSL is a data encryption standard that's widely used on the internet, by people such as Facebook and Gmail. The nature of this bug means that basi...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Windows XP

Apr 8, 2014 2:16:47 PM

 

If you're running a computer with the Windows XP operating system, you need to pay attention. As of today, Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates for the OS. What that means is as hackers find vulnerabilities in the OS, Microsoft will no longer release patches to fix them.

 

They also will not be issuing updates to fix new bugs, crashes, etc, but while important, the security aspect...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

IRS Scam

Apr 2, 2014 12:01:10 PM

 

It's tax time here in the US, and like clockwork, that means the scams are cropping up. There's a particularly heinous one making the rounds right now that I want to spread the warning about.

 

This scam starts with a phone call. The call shows up on your caller ID as being from the IRS, but the bad guys are faking this, and they also identify you by the last four digits of your Social Security num...

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Scientific Revolutions

Mar 25, 2014 1:55:18 PM

 One of the classes that I took in college got into the history of science and technology. This was an appropriate enough subject, considering I was at Georgia Tech. One of the books we used was the Structure of Scientific Revolutions, by Thomas S. Kuhn, not to be confused with yo-yo guru Tom Kuhn.

 

You may have heard the phrase “paradigm shift,” before. This is the book that coined the phrase. In ...

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From Russia With Love

Mar 21, 2014 1:17:56 PM

 

Anyone who's been paying much attention to the news lately knows that there's a bit of a sticky situation that's developed in Eastern Europe, between Russia and Ukraine. I actually majored in international affairs in college, so this is something I've had a particular interest in. Now, I'm hardly an expert these days, so my opinion is no more valid than most anyone else's, but I thought I would p...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Big Bada Boom

Mar 19, 2014 3:49:57 PM

 

Big bada boom. Bada booms don't come much bigger than the Big Bang that is believed to explain how the early universe started, some 14 billion years ago, give or take a couple of weeks. Given that this is hardly recent news, why am I blogging about it now? Well, that's because there's been a new wrinkle discovered.

 

I'm not about to get heavy into science or math here, don't worry. I don't underst...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Current Constitutional Events

Mar 14, 2014 2:48:12 PM

 

“May you live in interesting times,” is a horrible curse that comes to us from China, and these certainly are interesting times. There's a political movement in the United States that I find particularly interesting, and it's worth taking a look at, and that movement is calling for a convention to propose new amendments to the Constitution of the United States. I'm not going to get into any of th...

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He Taxes Me

Mar 12, 2014 3:52:08 PM

 

“He taxes me!” To paraphrase one captain quoting another. In this case, it's not a white whale, or a maverick starship captain to be blamed, but the government. In this case, I mean state and local governments with the assistance of the United States Congress. Or at least, that's what they're trying to do.

 

In a previous blog entry, I brought up the topic of the Marketplace Fairness Act. To briefl...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Lousy Stinking Daylight Savings Time

Mar 7, 2014 2:30:33 PM

 Well it's that time again. What time? Daylight Saving Time, otherwise known as the weekend where here, in the US, we lose an hour of sleep.

 

Daylight Saving Time dates back to before World War I, but it was during the War that it was first implemented, first by Germany, and then by other nations. The intent was to save resources needed to produce electricity for light. After the war, it was largel...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Soccer

Mar 6, 2014 3:27:29 PM

 

Gooooooooooaaaaalll! All I have to do is say that, and I'm confident you know that I'm about to talk about soccer. There was an exhibition match here in Atlanta last night at the Georgia Dome that drew a record crowd for a soccer game. The match was between Mexico and Nigeria, and there were over 68,000 people in attendance, the most ever for a soccer game in Atlanta.

 

There's talk of a Major Leag...

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TV Tropes

Mar 5, 2014 2:09:08 PM

 

I need to begin this blog with a warning. Reading it and going to the website that I am going to write about may cause loss of time and productivity. Even the website itself warns that it might ruin your life. The site in question? TV Tropes.

 

I hear you asking, what is this site? Actually I don't, because this is text, but I'm pretending that I hear you asking, what is this site? TV Tropes is a a...

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Bitcoins Continued

Feb 27, 2014 3:01:16 PM

Now that you've had a basic introduction into what bitcoins are, I can talk about the news that's breaking in the bitcoin world.

 

To recap a previous point, the primary places to buy and sell bitcoins are known as bitcoin exchanges. One of most prominent exchanges was known as Mt. Gox, a name which was a reference to its beginnings as a place to trade cards for the game Magic the Gathering (Magic T...

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Bitcoin

Feb 25, 2014 3:22:39 PM

 

Dollars. Euros. Yuan. Pounds. Yen. These are words sure to stir the blood of many a capitalist. Just look at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sor9GzivGbk. There's a new word that's been in the news in recent weeks and months, though, and that word is bitcoin. I wanted to address one of the breaking news stories in my blog, but first I felt like I should lay a little groundwork and explain what a bi...

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Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

Marketplace Fairness Act Again

Apr 24, 2013 1:34:39 PM

Congress is again considering the Marketplace Fairness Act, which has cleared a procedural vote in the US Senate, and the prevailing opinion is that this august body will soon pass the bill. After that, it will go to the House of Representatives, where the outcome is a bit more in doubt.

 

To briefly summarize, this is a bill that would empower the states to require any business that has sales withi...

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Hard Drive Blow Out

Apr 5, 2013 4:15:17 PM

We're recently gotten in a large shipment of SAS hard drives. These are 146GB 15,000 RPM hard drives, manufactured by Fujitsu for Dell. These are fully tested drives, tested in Dell equipment and with Dell diagnostics, and I'm constantly impressed by how fast they are. If you're interested in these drives, take a look right here.

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Playing Games

Mar 22, 2013 2:11:11 PM

I've blogged previously here about games, but this time I'm blogging about something we're doing as a company. We currently have a Team Fortress 2 server running at the address tf2.eztradelive.com. If you play TF2, feel free to add us to your favorites list. If you don't play it, and you like first person shooters, then you owe it to yourself to take a look at this game. It's fun, it's silly, and ...

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Nothing to See Here

Mar 7, 2013 10:01:12 AM

The head of the company and the head of sales have been up in Washington, DC for most of this week, speaking to members of Congress about the Marketplace Fairness Act currently being considered. We certainly hope their meetings are being productive, and look forward to hearing about it when they return.

 

In the meantime I would like to say that any rumors about the phrase “while the cat's away, the...

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Marketplace Fairness Act

Mar 1, 2013 10:06:16 AM

Death and taxes. The only thing that’s as certain as either of the two is that someone will mention how certain death and taxes are when they want to talk about taxes. And that's my oh-so-clever introduction to a post about, yes, taxes. Specifically, sales taxes and the series of tubes known as the Internet.

 

There are currently two bills before the US Congress known collectively as the Marketplace...

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A Visit

Feb 22, 2013 3:20:01 PM

I've always worked at places that I felt comfortable having my parents come by to see the place and meet my coworkers, and EZ Trade Live is no exception. My parents were finally able to come by today and get the grand tour. Started out by showing them the front door's outside, and then the front door's inside. From there, showed them where we keep servers in racks ready for orders, our spare parts...

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Dell Diagnostics

Feb 1, 2013 3:51:02 PM

In today's blog, I thought I would go through the steps involved in setting up Dell's 32-bit diagnostic software to run the sorts of test that we ask of our customers in tech support situations. This are some of the same tests that we use here to ensure a machine is in good order before we ship it. There's nothing terribly technical involved in setting any of this up.

 

The first step is going to be...

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SANity

Jan 18, 2013 3:35:24 PM

Today we recorded a PRODUCT VIDEO that gives a look at the Dell EqualLogic PS5000XV. This is one of the line of SANs that EqualLogic makes, and I wanted to use my blog here to elaborate on what a SAN is, rather than turning the video into a lecture series.

So to start with, what is a SAN? SAN, in this context, stands for storage area network, which is a network dedicated to storage functions, hence...

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Videos

Jan 11, 2013 1:14:28 PM

We've started recording some videos about our products, and you can get to those by clicking on the green "Product and How-To Videos" picture on the left side of our website. Here's a direct link to the video page, though, "Product Videos"

We'll be adding more of these in the coming weeks, focusing on different products that we carry. For example, the first video is a look at the Dell PowerEdge T71...

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R510

Dec 28, 2012 2:41:14 PM

Let's take a look at the Dell PowerEdge R510 today. This is a 2U rack mounted server that is compatible with the Intel Xeon 5500 and 5600 series of processors and a variety of operating systems including Microsoft Windows Server 2012, 2008, and 2008 R2 as well different versions of Linux. It is capable of running virtual machines using Hyper-V with Server 2008, Red Had Enterprise Virtualization an...

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T710

Dec 13, 2012 12:15:53 PM

 I'm writing today about a hefty and beefy server called the PowerEdge T710 from Dell. This is a server that's available as a tower or as a 5U rack mount, and if you have the hardware you can easily convert it from one to the other.

 This is a dual processor system, able to take Intel 5500 and 5600 series CPUs, with four or six cores. It will run fine on one CPU, if you want a more affordable starting point, and adding a second CPU is a simple manner, giving you some room to grow.

 Speaking of room to grow, the T710 has eighteen slots for DDR3 RAM. You can put in 1GB, 2, 4, 8, or 16GB sticks in various configurations, with a maximum of 192GB of RAM support, making it very useful for running a bucketload of virtual machines.

 For more permanent storage, the T710 is available with either eight 3.5” hot sway drive bays, or sixteen 2.5” bays, accepting SAS, SATA, or even solid-state drives. To control these drives, you can use a controller such as a PERC6i, H200, or H700 among others. The different cards give you different options of having battery backup with cache, not having it, having different sized cache and so on. There are two options using software implemented RAID control, the S100 and S300, but these will only work with a Windows OS, such as Windows Server 2012, Windows Server 2008 and so on. If you want to run Linux, you'll need to avoid the S100 and S300.

 For remote access and control of the system, you have the option of the iDRAC6 Express or the Enterprise version. The regular Express provides remote management and monitoring over a network, with web and CLI interface options. The Enterprise boldly goes where, no, wait. That's not right. The iDRAC6 Enterprise provides the same functions as the Express, but also has a dedicated NIC port for remote access, as well as having a slot to use Dell vFlash Media card which enables Dell's Virtual Flash system. Virtual Flash lets you have diagnostic images, system recovery, emergency boot images and other tools, independent of the system's hard drives.

 You can run this with one hot swap power supply, or if you want the security of redundant power, you can use two power supplies.

VIDEO - Dell PowerEdge T710

Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

We had an interesting experience trying to put Windows Server 2003 on a Dell PowerEdge 1900 the other day. I've run into this before, so once the other tech mentioned what was going on, I knew the steps to follow. Of course, this was after the install was failing due to some bad RAM mind you.

Well with functional RAM in the PowerEdge 1900, the install went mostly okay, except that you have to go in...

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R710

Nov 29, 2012 1:25:32 PM

Thought I would talk today about the Dell PowerEdge R710 server. This is a 2U rack-mount server that can have one or two CPUs. Unlike older systems, the machine has two separate RAM banks, one for each CPU. If you only use one CPU, you only put RAM in the first bank, but if you're using two CPUs you have to put RAM in both banks. I'm not an engineer, so can't give you details, but this ought to ma...

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On break

Nov 21, 2012 1:49:22 PM

EZ Trade Live is taking a break for a few days, closing down for the Thanksgiving holiday here. We'll be back at it on Monday.

Thanks, folks!

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RAID is not backup

Nov 8, 2012 2:27:22 PM

It's been said before, but it bears saying again. Having RAID is not the same thing as having backups, and having backups is not the same thing as having RAID.

RAID is a level of protection against hardware failure, and also is a tool in maintaining uptime. With a hot swap system that supports it, with RAID 1, 5, etc, you can usually suffer a drive failure and replace the drive without having to t...

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Replacement Blogger

Sep 26, 2012 3:35:42 PM

Due to ongoing contract negotiations between management and the bloggers' union, this blog will be written by a replacement blogger. We are certain you will see no difference in the level of performance.

Wow! Computers, huh? They're pretty neat aren't they? All those blinking lights and whirring noises and everything. That's how you know they're working, you know? If the lights are going, and thing...

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Lotta stuff

Sep 5, 2012 3:45:53 PM

Well, we got in a large shipment of machines in the last few days, and I'll be busy testing them and components from them for a while. 1950S, 2950s, hard drives, RAM and more. In fact, got so many hard drives in that we hardly have room for them. If you're looking for a 2950 or 1950, got a lot we can offer you right now. And if you need a large number of hard drives, may can help you there also.
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A Fun Computer Game

Aug 28, 2012 3:52:27 PM

Normally I wouldn't talk about something like this, or share a link to it, but I'm making an exception in this case. gog.com is a website that built itself on digital distribution of older computer games. Though they do more than just that now, it's still a big part of their business, and they have one that I want to make people aware of, and that's King of Dragon Pass, at http://www.gog.com/en/ga...

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Nice Weather

Aug 23, 2012 3:05:15 PM

It's nice to have had a hint of fall these past few days here in the Atlanta area. Sure, highs are still up in the mid to upper 80s, but we've had lows as low as the very upper 50s. At the end of the day I open up the doors in the tech room that lead out to the warehouse and let it cool down in here. There are days in the fall here where it's so nice that I can have the door open during the day, a...Read More

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Creating a Monster

Aug 22, 2012 2:39:20 PM

Well my fears are coming to pass. It's spreading. I have more coworkers hooked on playing this particular free online game. Everyone seems to be enjoying it, and it's kind of cool being the elder statesman of the game here, able to tell people tactics and techniques, or where to find resources for the game. On the other hand, I am a little worried. There was talk of forming a group for the game of...Read More
Comments | Posted in 0 By Jeff Baker

So end of the day yesterday, I'm on the highway heading towards the entrance to the Interstate. Coming towards us, I see a police car, lights going, so I start looking to see if I need to clear the road. Look back up, and he's gone. I figure he got on the Interstate, maybe after a speeder or something. And then I see another one, and this time I watch him enter the Interstate. This is not a good s...

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Squeaky CPU gets the grease

Aug 9, 2012 4:20:57 PM

Two computers ago, or maybe three, I bought my computer built to spec from a local computer shop. I configured my computer through their website, and one of the options was for thermal compound, which they described as improving the cooling solution of the system. It was only a few bucks if I decided to get it, and of course I didn't think anything of it at the time, so I added it to my order.

Sinc...

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Strange Events in the Sky

Aug 7, 2012 3:19:09 PM

I don't know what to make of this. I'm worried this is a sign of dire things. Slowly today, the sky grew dark and foreboding, covering up the Day-star. Then the truly disturbing thing began to happen. Water fell from the sky! I thought, perhaps, it was some fool with a bucket, but no! The water is falling from the sky as far as the eye can see! The elders of our tribe say the legends spoke of thes...Read More
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Testing Multiple Times

Aug 2, 2012 3:14:47 PM

It's important to us to test things servers as thoroughly and completely as we can. When we test things, we're actively looking for failures. We'd much rather have a component fail here, where we can replace it, and test its replacement, than have something happen at a customer. It saves everyone the trouble of having to send parts around, it saves the customer headache, and it makes things flow m...Read More
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Another 2650

Jul 31, 2012 3:36:13 PM

Worked on a PowerEdge 2650 today. Well, built it yesterday, and today finished up the testing and built the array on it. This is a bit of an odd duck, really. Most Dell machines have firmware updates for the BIOS and the BMC, or baseboard management controller, basically a system where the server can monitor events, sensors, voltages, all that good stuff. The 2650 has one, but the update for it is...Read More
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Gaming and Coworkers

Jul 30, 2012 2:35:45 PM

This is the first job in a while I've had where I'm around other people who actually play video and computer games, and it's nice to be able to talk to so many different people about them. I don't play console games these days, but do play lots of computer games, and I've been getting a couple coworkers into a particular online game lately. It's fun to talk about around the proverbial water cooler...Read More
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Help

Jul 25, 2012 1:32:42 PM

Help! I'm trapped in a North Korean blog post factory!
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Obsolete standards

Jul 23, 2012 3:21:04 PM

In the refurbishing market, we sometimes mess with standards that others haven't had to even think about for many years. For example, I just turned on a machine that actually has a serial port on it, and it wasn't that long ago that I last had to work with non-hot swappable SCSI hard drives where one has to use jumpers to manually set the drive ID numbers.

Even in this field, there's such a thing a...

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Precision 390

Jul 19, 2012 2:57:53 PM

Working on Precision 390s today. This is a nice Dell desktop, capable of taking up to four SATA hard drives, with options for RAID, and a single core Intel or Core 2 Duo or Extreme or Core 2 Quad Q6600 CPU.  There's three PCI slots, and three PCI-E slots, including one for a video card. If you want faster hard drive speed, you can put a SAS-5i or SAS-5ir.

I used one of these machines myself, and I ...

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PowerEdge 2950

Jul 18, 2012 3:24:12 PM

Today's been a day for working on the PowerEdge 2950. Nice system. Available with one or two CPUs, takes up 2U of space on a rack, with room for up to six 3.5” hard drives or eight 2.5” drives, it's got a good mix of compactness and capability. We have one we keep back here in the tech room for testing things like small batches of hard drives, RAID controllers and so on. Comparing it to the 2850 o...Read More
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Setting up a Reference

Jul 17, 2012 4:24:44 PM

One thing that I continue to be surprised that I'm surprised by is how much dust and dirt can collect in a computer, even servers. I mean it makes sense when I think about it. The cooling fans move a lot of air through the systems, which means even if you have only a little bit of dust per unit volume, you'll be getting a lot of units volume moving through the machine.

Sometimes it's a little dist...

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Sequential or Simultaneous

Jul 16, 2012 4:12:01 PM

Bit of a short post today, but I wanted to say how grateful I am that we have access to different diagnostic programs. They sometimes test different things or with different methods, which can be useful in tracking down an error, but the biggest advantage is when it comes to hard drives. Right now I'm testing five 1 terabyte hard drives. With our normal diagnostic program, which tests hard drives ...

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Old is New or New is Old

Jul 10, 2012 3:40:38 PM

It's an interesting challenge trying to make older products work with newer ones, or vice versa. Which really that's kind of the same thing, isn't it? Well, whichever order you're doing it in, it can be illuminating.

In this case, a customer wanted to have an older operating system put on a newer system. Normally that's not a problem. We're not talking about putting Windows 7 on a Tandy. No, there'...

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Fourth of July

Jul 4, 2012 3:51:10 PM

To everyone in America, let me wish you a happy Independence Day. To the rest of the world, happy July 4, except for anyplace where it's already July 5, in which case I'm sorry I was too late! I hope everyone's day is better than any that have come before, and eclipsed by those that come after.
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Video Game Music

Jul 2, 2012 1:58:31 PM

Free stuff! Ahhh, thought that'd get your attention. I spent this weekend catching up on a couple of websites that feature remixes of video game music, and it's all free!

By remix, really what I mean is covers or rearrangements of video game music. For example, Legend of Zelda's theme song performed on classical guitar. Or Pac-Man done in the style of a hair metal band. There's several websites out...

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T110 as Home Server

Jun 28, 2012 3:18:38 PM

As more homes get networked and more people are tech savvy, it's becoming popular to have what's called a “home server” in the, well, home. These tend to be more affordable systems meant for people with leaner IT budgets. The T110 from Dell is one that we carry that's a good choice for a home server.

The T110 is slimmed down for its role, with some things removed that you might find in a traditiona...

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Hot Times

Jun 27, 2012 3:37:01 PM

I was going to write about something profoundly interesting and insightful. This would have been the blog entry that would have reached the very top of . . . whatever ranks blogs (Billboard? Blogboard?). I'm sorry that I have to disappoint you, though. You see, I made the mistake of stepping outside, and my wonderful topic was baked right out of me by the heat. So now I don't have anything at all ...Read More

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Listen to your Mother

Jun 26, 2012 3:43:55 PM

Well, Mom was right again. You'd think I'd learn to listen by now. The old saying, “haste makes waste?” Well it's true. I was working on a server and was hurrying through the process, even as I knew that was not the right way to do things. Get it put together, hook it up to power...no response. Change power supplies. Nuzzink. Start removing components, swapping things out. Nadda. Zilch. Zero. So f...Read More

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Tropical Storm

Jun 25, 2012 2:41:39 PM

Like a lot of people, I've been watching Debby, the tropical storm down in the Gulf of Mexico. This is a strange one it seems, not in a hurry to go anywhere, just camping out near Florida. My concern when it first started was that it would head towards New Orleans, because my dad and sister are there right now, on a mission trip with my sister's youth group. Doesn't look like they'll have any prob...

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Straying Off Topic

Jun 14, 2012 2:57:49 PM

This is related to servers, but only loosely. This summer is looking to be a pretty excellent one when it comes movies, especially comic book and sci-fi movies. I already mentioned Avengers, and if you haven't seen it yet, go do it now. It's okay, I'll wait until you get back.

 

Back? Good! Prometheus is out right now, that's getting a lot of interest. Next up is the relaunch of the Spider-Man franc...

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Options

Jun 12, 2012 3:03:30 PM

We're all about options here at EZ Trade Live. We want to find the best server option for you, whatever it is you're looking to do, and we've got lots of possibilities. Let's look at some options in just the 900 series, just as an example.

 

Suppose you need a lot of CPU power. Maybe you're crunching numbers for the astrophysics department, and you need the maximum amount of computing power per rack...

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Learning Never Stops

Jun 11, 2012 2:39:28 PM

The stereotype of a lot of “techie” sorts is that they're standoffish and aloof, wanting little, if anything, to do with other people. We're not like that here. In fact, we like communicating with our customers, and learning from them.

 

To give you an example, while withholding details to protect the guilty, a couple of the techs here were trying to help a customer with a problem he was having. We ...

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Where we work

Jun 7, 2012 8:54:21 PM

Ever wanted to know what a facility like ours looks like? On our website, if you go to About Us under help, or just go here, http://www.eztradelive.com/company-info.html you can see some pictures of our warehouse and work areas. The bottom row of pictures is my main area, or as I like to call it, "Where the magic happens." Nobody else seems to call it that, though...

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Still a Neat Place

Jun 5, 2012 3:38:03 PM

The future is still a neat place, and I'm even further in the future than I was when I wrote yesterday's musings on the future. And now I'm further in the future...wait, I think They Might be Giants already did this.

 

What got me off on that today was thinking about one of the ways we use to update and test our servers. Our tech areas have multiple network jacks in them, and we're able to boot the ...

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The Future is a Neat Place

Jun 4, 2012 2:48:58 PM

I just wanted to take today's post to say that the future is a neat place. What got me on that was looking over our website and seeing the tablets section. We have some servers located off site, and when the senior tech and I go down there, he usually brings his tablet to access his configuration information and such. Myself, I have a smart phone with Bluetooth, and my car radio will connect to it...

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Daisy Chains

May 30, 2012 4:12:16 PM

Don't ever let it be said that I don't practice what I preach. Or at least, what I blog about. We have a larger order of hard drives that I'm working on, and in order to test them properly, I have multiple MD1000s set up. Originally I had two of them daisy chained. That is I had one MD1000 connected to another MD1000 which was connected to a PERC5e. I had a third MD1000 connected to the other port...

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Hard Drive Enclosures

May 29, 2012 3:17:14 PM

Today I'm going to talk about hard drive enclosures. These are devices that have no processing units in their own right, only the equipment to power hard drives and provide communications to them from external controller cards. Dell and HP both make them, and they're available in both SCSI and SATA/SAS flavors.

 

The HP enclosures are the MSA20 and the MSA30. The MSA30 is the SCSI version. It can ho...

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Holiday Weekend

May 25, 2012 10:43:29 AM

Fairly short post today, because it's a fairly short day for us. Getting half the day off for Memorial Day weekend, and then we'll be closed on Monday. To everyone in the US, hope you have an enjoyable holiday weekend, and a safe one as well. Be sure to take some time to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf. May someday come soon when no more have to do so.

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Redundant Memory Redundancy

May 24, 2012 1:51:14 PM

Something that's pretty handy with a lot of servers is that they can do tricks with memory similar to what RAID does to hard drives. That is, there are options for redundant or spare memory. Different machines do this in different ways, so you need to check the user manual for specific configuration options. At the risk of extreme oversimplification, what happens is the machine takes a portion of ...

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PowerEdge 1950

May 23, 2012 3:48:58 PM

I'm going to discuss a server model that I've worked on frequently the last few days, and that would be the Dell PowerEdge 1950. This is a 1U unit, two CPUs, two 3.5” or four 2.5” hard drive bays and 8 RAM slots. Depending on which generation you get, you can equip them with single, dual, or quad core CPUs. The G1 and G2 machines can take up to 32GB of RAM, and the G3 will go up to 64GB. Wait. I ...

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Remote Blogging

May 21, 2012 10:38:14 AM

Your friendly neighborhood blogger is out of the office today, dealing with the aftermath of a car accident. Have no fear, however! No one was hurt, and all damage can be repaired, and I shall return to offer fresh pontifications upon technology in the near future.

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Out of Band Management

May 17, 2012 3:58:15 PM

Are you a remote administrator? Do you keep tabs on systems not in the same city or even state? Then you might want to consider out of band management. This lets you access and control a machine whether it's powered on or not. It's pretty impressive what you can do with these things, and it bypasses the operating system. So if you need to shut down a server that's hanging, you can turn the power o...

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PowerEdge 2850

May 16, 2012 4:03:51 PM

Spotlight today is on the PowerEdge 2850. Worked on one today, after finishing up a couple of 2800s, and they're very similar machines. In fact they take the same motherboard, and the machine knows what chassis its in based on the riser, I believe. The difference between then is that the 2800 is a tower or a 5U rack unit, and the 2850 is a 2U rack unit, so it takes much less space. On the other ha...

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PowerEdge 2650

May 15, 2012 3:36:09 PM

Working on a PowerEdge 2650 today. This is an older machine, but it's still a good one, especially since we sell it for so little. It can take two processors, usually 400 mHz front side bus or 533 mHz, and up to five SCSI hard drives. Onboard RAID is an option, with battery backed up cache. One thing that threw me when I first started working on them is that the hard drives are numbered counter-in...

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Neo Geo

May 14, 2012 4:26:34 PM

A little bit of a quiet day today. A few of us worked on a side project, namely getting an old Neo Geo MVS cabinet out of storage and getting it cleaned up. This thing brings back such fun memories. I remember being on the Science Olympiad, back in junior high (it was called junior high then, not middle school). The competitions would be held at local colleges, and I particularly remember spending...

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Hard Drives

May 9, 2012 2:22:06 PM

We have several different types of hard drives that we sell here, and I thought I would write a little bit about the different kinds. We mostly deal in SCSI, SATA and SAS hard drives, though occasionally we do deal with an IDE drive.

 

IDEs haven't been common for a long time, so I won't say anything more about them. They were basically replaced by SATA hard drives. SATA stands for Serial Advanced T...

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PowerEdge 2800

May 8, 2012 2:24:02 PM

Thought I would write about another one of our servers today, and that's the PowerEdge 2800. It's a dual CPU system that takes Xeon processors. Depending on what generation it is, some of them can take dual-core CPUs also. I enjoy working on these machines, but I hate lifting them. They're heavy beasts, but wheni t comes to working on them, there's a comfortable solidity to them. What's kind of in...

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Avengers Assemble

May 7, 2012 3:39:28 PM

So let's talk about something related to servers and workin---NO! I won't! I'm going to talk about a movie! What movie? The Avengers!

 

I thought this was a really well done movie. It's a lot of fun, a blast to watch. It's hardly a cinematic masterpiece, I'll grant you. It doesn't explore any truths about the human existence, it doesn't make you think, at least not beyond the level of “How could he ...

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Alone in the Server Room

May 3, 2012 2:45:08 PM

I always find it a little eerie going into a server room when nobody else is there, especially when the lights are all off. It's not quiet, of course. At least, it's not quiet when everything's actually working, but it's a strange noise. After a bit it's almost part of the background, like a strong, loud wind. It can get kind of eerie, for me at least, but maybe I've been playing too many computer...

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Erase Your Old Data

Apr 30, 2012 3:02:57 PM

This post is aimed at the personal user more than the commercial user, as the commercial user probably already takes these precautions. For individuals, before selling, recycling, or otherwise disposing of your computer hardware, you need to be sure to thoroughly erase your hard drives if you have any personal information on them.

 

Simply deleting the information isn't sufficient, as it doesn't act...

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Some Dell RAID Cards

Apr 27, 2012 3:07:49 PM

I thought I would write about some of the Dell RAID cards that we provide. Some of the ones that we carry and that I'm personally more familiar with are the SAS-5, SAS-5ir, the SAS-6 and the PERC 5 and 6. These are all ones that are designed specifically to work in Dell machines.

Actually, I should clarify a bit. The SAS-5 isn't a RAID card. It's a SAS controller, which means it allows a server tha...

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Hi Mom!

Apr 25, 2012 1:27:05 PM

Hi, Mom!

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Recycle, baby

Apr 24, 2012 3:50:26 PM

Don't throw that old computer equipment away! If you have ancient computers, servers, monitors, etc that you no longer need and no one wants to buy, don't just toss it in the dumpster. See if there's someone local to you that can recycle them. At the very least, there's toxic elements in old components that have no business being in a landfill and thence in ground water. Aside from that, there are...

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Update Your Computer

Apr 23, 2012 3:40:07 PM

People tend to think of computers like appliances. They work, and don't require maintenance. It's better to think of them like cars, that need periodic oil changes, tire rotations, check-ups and the like. Most importantly, with computers, we need to keep our software up to date. At the very least, every computer that's connected to the Internet needs to have anti-virus software, and that software ...

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Why Buy Refurbished?

Apr 20, 2012 2:30:40 PM

So here's a question you might have asked yourself before coming to our website, or while browsing. Why buy a refurbished server? The simple answer is, the price. A refurbished server can cost significantly less than a new one., and the fact is that computer hardware hasn't aged as badly in the last few years as it had in previous years. Moore's Law regarding the capabilities of computing power st...

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Keep Your Computers Clean

Apr 19, 2012 4:22:11 PM

A computer's biggest enemy is heat. The hotter a computer is, the less efficiently it runs, the worse its performance, and the shorter its lifespan. Computers rely on positive ventilation for cooling, and the biggest obstacle to that is dust.

Unless you're working in a true clean room, then even the cleanest server room will have dust, lint, fiber and other tiny bits in the air. Overtime they're dr...

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Tech Support Challenges

Apr 18, 2012 2:52:03 PM

Thought I would share a unique challenge I faced recently in working with a troubled machine, and the way I dealt with it. The problem was in a desktop that had partially frozen. The cursor responded to mouse commands, but no input was accepted, not even the three fingered salute. It turned out that the fan in the power supply had failed, causing problems with heat. Replacing the power supply seem...

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Hollywood

Apr 16, 2012 3:38:27 PM

I know this may come as a shock to some of you, but Hollywood does not always get details right. Stupefying, isn't it? But I assure you, it's true! In this case what I'm writing about is server rooms and server racks. The Green Lantern movie has a fight that takes place in an aircraft hanger that has a row of server racks along one side of it. No, no, no, no! You've already read how amazingly hot ...

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The Dangers of Old Operating Systems

Apr 13, 2012 4:01:52 PM

As new operating systems come out, publishers naturally want users to migrate from old to new. Naturally they want to sell the new OS, but there are benefits to the users, especially in terms of security. Windows XP is going to be entering an interesting area in terms of security and age before very long.

 

Currently Windows XP is in what is termed “Extended Support.” The important thing about this ...

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Natural Cooling

Apr 12, 2012 4:10:05 PM

People don't often appreciate how much heat computers put out until they're in a room with several of them. The tech room here is like that. Between the main area and an annex to it, we have twelve machines running right this moment, and for us that's pretty slow. Normally that would be getting things a bit hot back here, but fortunately today the weather in Georgia is gorgeous. I've got the door...

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New Servers Acquired

Apr 10, 2012 1:53:46 PM

Just a short post this time. A crack commando team was sent to a secret location to retrieve a special cargo of servers. As someone on that team, I can attest to the harrowing nature of the mission, but am proud to report that it was a complete success!

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Refurbishing process

Apr 5, 2012 4:12:56 PM

Today I thought I would talk a little bit about the process we go through in getting a server ready for an order. First we select the appropriate server, looking over the chassis to make sure it's undamaged and in good shape. Most of the servers we sell are custom built for the customer, so the next step is to gather the various components for a particular order. After installing RAM, CPUs, and so...

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Battery backed Cache

Apr 4, 2012 4:10:33 PM

In my first post in this series, I mentioned one of the advantages of hardware RAID is what's called battery backed cache. Rest assured, the time has finally come to explain this term. Some RAID implementations have memory installed, exactly like the RAM that's in a computer, and a battery as well. When data is to be written to the hard drives, it can be stored in the memory to protect it. In the ...

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RAID Levels

Apr 3, 2012 3:17:10 PM

In my last post, I gave an overview of what RAID is, and I mentioned that there are different types, or levels, of RAID arrays. In today's installment, I'd like to get into what's meant by that and some of the different types. The arrays are differentiated from each other based on how the hard drives interact with each other to provide redundancy, or if they provide it at all.

 

The common types of ...

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A look at RAID

Apr 2, 2012 2:42:16 PM

A term that you'll see in many of our product listings here is “RAID.” “Ah-ha!” you may think. “This is for getting rid of bugs in my computer!” Well, no, you probably don't think this, and that's a good thing, because if you did, you would be wrong.

 

RAID stands for Redundant Array of Independent Disks, and to put it simply RAID is multiple hard drives working together as one. There are different ...

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I have the power!

Mar 30, 2012 3:54:23 PM

Many of our machines come with the option of having a second power supply, but the purpose of this second supply is not to supply additional power. Its purpose is to provide power in the event the first supply stops working. This option is usually called “redundant power.”

 

The way this works is that under normal conditions, the power load is roughly balanced between the two supplies. This ensures ...

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PowerEdge 4600

Mar 29, 2012 3:30:10 PM

Server Wrangler Jeff here, Inaugurating the blog here at EZ Trade Live. Thought I would write about a classic server I've been working on today, namely a PowerEdge 4600. This particular one has four power supplies, eight hard drives, two CPUs, two separate risers for RAM, and onboard RAID with battery backed cache. These machines are fun to work with on, I think, with huge power cables leadin...

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