LA

It seemed as though Labor day was the day for weddings this year as we got invited to a few of them. Sadly we only got to attend one of them which was in LA. We had a fun trip seeing the stars and all of the touristy stuff in the area. Below are some pics of our trip.

Dodgeball

Elizabeth and I signed up for a dodgeball league this year. We play once every Sunday night. First game was tonight and we won. We are “Team White”. I’ll have to update ya on the team name when we pic one!

Can’t wait for next week!

Site Re-Design

I know it probably doesn’t look like much but, I’ve completely re-written the code base to my blog. I’m hoping to integrate a photo sharing app into it soon so that I can update it with recent pictures whenever I take one with my phone (think Instagram but for my blog). Might be a bit much but it will allow for me to update my blog on a much more regular schedule.

Updating the code will also allow me to easily update the site as a “normal user” not diggin into code every time I want to make an update. :)

Anyways, It will be much nicer for me to use.

Enjoy.

NAS

Yay for NAS’!

Not long ago I purchased a NAS device. My end goal was to build my own cloud storage device which would allow me to access my data from my laptop via the internet no matter where I’m at as well as my iPhone. I wanted to do this because I travel quite often and I wanted a way to move large files around for my clients and not have to pay a monthly bill with a cloud storage company. Think “my own personal dropbox” but I’m in charge of the server and their employees can’t snoop through my files. :)

In Over My Head…

At first, I thought I’d be in way over my head just because its a complex problem and I’m not one to know much about setting up networks. But I figured, what the heck lets give it a shot. After I started digging in and researching the best solution for me, I decided Synology was the best route. They had great customer reviews and a solid price for performance. I researched this solution for months before purchasing since NAS devices aren’t cheap. Once the device got to my place I had to go through a setup which was a bit intimidating for me. I obviously installed my hard drives and after that connected the device to my wireless router. Not long after that the NAS showed up on my computer which allowed me to install the proper software which is the key to allowing me to full fill my own personal cloud storage.

Road Block

I had a road block, one of my hard drives failed on me while I was setting up the software. I thought I had done something wrong initially to cause it to fail but the company was fine refunding me the money so I could purchase another one. Once I was back up and running again I finished the installation process and started configuring the devices for me to organize my files. I wasn’t for sure after I started using the NAS if it was worth the money. For some reason everything was slow and I was having a terrible user experience. I was about to sell the device as I was getting frustrated and confused with the process. I sat down and decided to spend a day messing with configurations before selling the unit. Believe it or not, I actually started to figure out what I was doing.

Cache is Key

There comes a time for me when working with software where the light bulb comes on and I feel pretty stupid for about a week. I had so many settings change that I had screwed up a lot of what I was doing myself. I figured the best way to fix this was to start over. I ended up wiping the device… not much fun but well worth it. I ended up re-installing the software, setting up the cache, and configuring the devices to utilize offline storage effectively. This helped a ton! I also noticed that the NAS was cycling through all of my images to generate thumbnails. This was super CPU intensive which is why it was running so slow the first time. After letting the NAS finish this process the device worked great!

Up & Running

The device was actually fast after I was up and running. I set Beth up as a user as well so she can view, backup, and store all of her photos. I think she enjoys the device more than me because of this feature. I also set it up so that she can watch movies online and offline on her iPad which she loves as well. Now that everything is set up and running great I’m really happy with my purchase. I’ve even found a way to server up my media onto my TV which was a bonus step in my goal to having a NAS. I must say I’m very happy and would recommend it to anyone. Sometimes the getting over the most frustrating hurdles gives you the biggest rewards. I’m pretty sure I’ll always have a NAS around moving forward because of the connivence its made in my digital life.

Next Steps

I want to continue to learn about how this devices can help me out. One of my next steps I’d like to take is to learn how to set up my own hosting for my website. This maybe challenging but would save me another monthly bill. Plus I’d be learning more tech in the process. :)