Computers under my command – Issue 1: shion

Picture of the "real" Shion Uzuki

After yesterdays fun with one of my servers, I thought I could maybe blog about some of them – especially when they are kind of “special” to me.

Of course, the first machine I’m looking at is my PowerPC Mac mini which I called “Shion”, after the girl Shion Uzuki of the Xenosaga trilogy.

I don’t really have a very advanced naming scheme for my servers, but the important ones get names I tend to remember.

First it was people from Lord of the Rings (with Windows servers having names belonging to the evil people). Then, after I ran out of names, it was places in LotR and after I run out of those too, I began naming (important) servers after girls in console RPGs.

And of all the names, I guess shion is a very fitting name for a server. In the game, Shion is a robotics engineer and the inventor of that android called KOS-MOS.

And in my network, shion has a special place:

I initially bought the machine to run a SlimServer on it as my previous NSLU solution was not really usable as hardware for the heavy, perl-based slim server.

After I replaced the slim-server, I obviously installed a samba server on shion to serve the non-music files as-well. Back then, I only had one external drive connected to the server.

Next thing to get installed was OpenVPN which I used for quite a nice configuration allowing me transparent access from and to the office.

Shortly after that, I finally found a USB ethernet adapter which made shion replace my ZyAir access point. I also had to buy a USB hub back then and I decided to use the remaining two ports of that to plug in additional hard drives, leading to shion’s current disk space capacity of roughly 1.2 TB.

Then I installed mp[3]act (I’ve also blogged about it) and shortly after replaced it with Jinzora due to mp[3]act being quite bug-ridden and not in development any longer. (update 2013: links removed – mp[3]act is now pointing to a porn site and Jinzora is gone)

In all that time (one year of operation), shion never crashed on me. Overall, the stability of my home network went through the roof since switching all tasks over to her: No more strange connection losses. No more rebooting router and cable modem when lots of outgoing connections are active. No more inexplicable slowness in the internal network.

Shion does a wonderful job for me and I would never ever go back to any less flexible or stable solution.

Lately, I thought about maybe ditching her for a more powerful intel-based Mac Mini, but in the end shion is fast enough for my current purpose and I could never ditch a machine as nice as this one.

Flexible, Stable, Fast, Quiet and quite inexpensive. A machine worthy of being referred to with a name and a female pronoun.