Home PC – Why?

This year I’m building my PC for our house, it is something that I’ve been wanting to do for a few years. I kept meaning to do it, then I read this post on Coding Horror, and the desire to take this on came back. I want to address on this post why I’m doing this.

Why?

  1. Our current home pc is a laptop I purchased for my MBA 5 years ago. It is a good machine, Intel Core 2 Duo Chip, 6GB RAM, 512 GB HHD. It has served us well, as I mentioned on my Dropbox post this machine contains an offline copy of everything that is stored in my Dropbox account. It also syncs any pictures we take on our camera, and connects to a backup Drive. This machine is beginning to slow down, the HHD is starting to show wear.
  2. I have moved many of our assets away from a PC, I still want a central hub. If the internet went dark, I can be assured that all my photos, all my files, all records are there, close to me.
  3. All other devices still can’t do everything a PC can. I’m amazed how easy it is to create a movie on iMovie on my phone. I can edit a photo to my heart’s content on any devise, but try to format a document with text, images, and column that is more than 1,000 words. Printing is still hard (margins, gutter, flow) on mobile devices. You need a PC to properly format, print, and basically have an always on, copper cable, connection to the internet.
  4. I want to build the machine, I really want to tackle this project.

What will be the end result?

So far these are the specs for the PC:

Looking for a system configuration like this one is well over $1,500 I’m hoping to build it for less than $500. I will start buying the parts next month and should start building and testing in 6 weeks. I will update you on the progress!

Dropbox Family Plan

I’ve been a loyal Dropbox user since 2010 and have now incorporated it into our family’s workflow. I started using the free version mainly for myself, over the past years I upgraded to the Pro version and added my account to all devices in the family. Here is an overview of the workflow.

Dropbox Diagram

As you can see most of the devices are connected to 1 dropbox account, right now the Pro price is $9.99 USD per 1TB per month. Our family is using about 24% of the capacity, and we are only adding about 60GB per year.

The way we have set it up is mainly for images, this way either one of us can take a picture and it’s uploaded to Dropbox. I can use images from either phone to add to the blog or share in social media.

Notice that I also do a backup of the whole system to a local hard drive, just in case.

I am sure there are other ways to do this, but I am happy with our current set up. Except for the following and maybe they are deal breakers for you:

  1. You have to trust your family members, they will have the power to delete files, you can undo anything within 30 days, but still you have to trust them.
  2. To share in social media a picture my wife took on her phone, I have to download the image to my phone before I can use it. Dropbox is smart not to upload it again, but if you are trying to get a lot of images, it takes time. A video, a lot more.
  3. When I hit the 1TB mark the next level up is $15 / month with unlimited data.
  4. I don’t consider Dropbox a backup solution, mainly because it mirrors deletes. Right now I have a local backup, but there is room for improvement.

I have in the back of my mind some possible upgrades to this workflow:

  1. I know I need an offsite backup solution, I really like Amazon’s Glacier service and at some point I want to embrace it.
  2. Phones are essential part of our digital life, I do have the phone backed up to Apple’s servers every night, but I might have to give in and add iCloud Photo to have a second line of defense to my images and to easily navigate past images.
  3. I have to upgrade my home computer, the drive is only 500GB and I want that machine to have at least everything on Dropbox. Hopefully this year I will build an HTPC.

As always, let me know your thoughts, I especially want to know your family workflow.

My 3 Seconds of Fame

I guess we don’t need much to feel proud.  Cummins made this video on Technology and Innovation, I appear for a full 3 seconds at 0:50.  I really liked the video, but I love my 3 seconds 🎉🎉🎉👏👏👏

Alma Mater

There is a special connection with our undergrad school, there is a feeling of home.  That should be the case, since for many it was the second home, the place that saw us change from youth to adult.

Last week I was pleasantly surprised when on the magazine from the College of Physical and Mathematical Science I saw my name.  It was a simple call out to what I’m currently doing, but it felt good.  Thanks to those that pull this information together, it made my day.

Frontiers01 Frontiers02

More Blog Stats

I mentioned before that views are not the focus of my blog, but I do love stats.  Previous post on numbers.  July is the new record holder for page views, it get’s me excited, I try to only post twice a week when there are relevant things.

Our newest member of the family came en of June, so that has been no shortage of things to post in July. And thus it was easy to have 8 posts, all with high interest.  It’s been cool.

Capture

What I want my blog to be when it grows up…

I’ve been looking at websites, blogs, pinterest and following links trying to find a good example of what I want for my family blog (FamMijangos.com).

I had some good guiding points, I mean there are some really good work out there.  I didn’t want the blog to be a product review site.  I didn’t want to be a soap box.  I truly wanted a family meet up.

Here are some place that I think are really good.

  1. 71 Toes (71toes.com):  This is a great blog that started with just a few posts.  As time went by the followers grew.  Shawni, the author, is a good example of constant writing.  I’m impressed by the amount of writing she does.  The site is also a great example of a simple setup and wonderful images.
  2. Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows (JocelynAndJason.blogspot.com): This blog is this persistent flow of good vibes.  I don’t read the posts, because I don’t think I’m the intended audience, but I’m sure the children and family members love reading it.  Jocelyn, the author, chronicles the adventures of her children.  She strives to capture the minutia that truly are the essence of our lives.
  3. The Anderson Crew Blog (theandersoncrewblog.com): This is a really cool site, minus the product placement.  It chronicles the lives of a family with several children, and the quirks and personalities of all the members.  I love the energy of the images, and wish I had a cool logo for my images, one day I want a watermark for my images.

I want to highlight a site I recently found, that really is what I want when my blog grows up:  www.laceymeyersphotography.com.  This is a great blog and great images, the theme is professional and modern.  All the images tell a story, but there is also a story behind the images, very cool.

I know that what I have right now makes sense, but at some point the blog will have to grow up.  I’ve talked to a few bloggers and it seems that around year 5-7 things really pick up; this is when the audience grows.  I’m only been doing this for a few years now, and my audience are my Facebook friends; maybe other people will find interesting my adventures, just as I found valuable these sites.  Only time will tell.

Getting over being overwhelmed

I’m here writing this post, because the post I should be writing is not moving forward, because I feel overwhelm.  What I’m going to tell you is not a magic pill of how to write the post you want to write.  It is not the solution from going from a pile of picture to the perfect 9 images for your post.  Last year I wrote a process I use to go from a pile of images to a post, but just starting can be overwhelming.

My hope is for you to move from doing nothing to doing something. Here are 3 things to consider:

  1. You wanted to do this.  When you started there was a goal: you wanted to share, to record, to remember, or just write.  Remember that goal, at that starting point there were no strings, no word counts, no minimum number of images, no perfection implied.  reconnect with that feeling.
  2. Baby steps, small bite, one step at a time, or any other cliché. You took 600 pictures on your trip, you need 5 and can’t decide? Does it matter? You found one that you really like? Use it only that. No time to write 1,000 words to describe your epic adventure?  Write a paragraph and move on.
  3. You are the author, you pick what gets recorded.  Yes you had a lot of adventures, but you get to decide what gets recorded.  Move to the next exciting thing; better to have a hole than to stop the story.

Now pick a topic and start writing; you might even surprise how much you accomplish.