Pile of new hardware

Last wednesday, I finally did what I have been talking since the very beginning of this blog: I bought myself a Mac. In the end, what lead me to the decision was that I wanted my home server back. I had some requirements to the new hardware:

  • It must run quietly. I don’t have enough space to designate a dedicated server-room so the server – if constantly running, must be quiet. This is where my older solution failed.
  • It must run a UNIX derivate. Much of the work I do requires a UNIX server. Having such a beast at home can save me from going to the office here and then.

The iMac (17inch, 1.8Ghz) I finally bought fullfills those two requirements (it’s quite quiet as long as I’m not doing anything calcualation intensive – which I’m not – at least not when sleeping) and has the additional benefit of a cool UI frontend.

So in the end, this was a logical decision: Had I deceided to go with a quiet Linux box, the parts alone would have been more expensive – not to speak of the time required to assemble the beast.

Setting up the iMac was easy (as I’ve expected). First, I wanted to go with Gentoo for MacOS X, but this is extremely under construction, so I went with Fink for my UNIX-needs

Now I’m running a DNS, DHCP, PostgreSQL and Apache Server. All I need to do my work.

So. After my UNIXish needs where fulfilled, there came the Macish ones: I wanted to video-iChat with my girfriend. This has proven to be quite a hassle to set up:

We never managed to get a working connection. I got timeouts everytime I tried to connect. A bit debugging around on my ZyWall router quickly determined it as the culprit: Despite me having configured the iMac as default NAT-Server, the device did not forward any UDP packets to the host. No wonder this does not work.

So it was time for my now nearly 4 years old ZyWall to be replaced (lately it began crashing quite often anyways). As I did not want to take any further risks, I bought an Airport Basesation. Works nicely – also with my other gear (PocketPC and Thinkpad).

Furthermore, it became clear to me that I finally have a continously running server in my home, so I finally could (at least somewhat) justify buying myself a Squeezebox. This device arrived only today and while I knew how great the thing is, it suprised me even more now that I had a look at it: So many settings to tweak and so great quality of the hardware. Very good.

In the end, the last week (ending today) was quite hardware-intensive:

  • The iMac
  • Two iSights (one for me, another for my girfriend). Speaking of iSight. I’ve just noticed that the iMac has a magnet in the middle of the screen to be used with the iSight magnet holder to position it nicely in the middle of the screen. Very nice
  • An Airport Extreme Basestation. Not that I wanted one, but the investement into the iSights would have been in vain as it’s technically impossible to video-chat over the ZyWall
  • The squeezebox
  • All in all quite a lot of junk, but so much fun to play with ;-)