cocooned in my inhibitions
Wednesday, August 20 2014
In the not-so-distant past, it seemed like the best place to keep my media and music files was on a hard drive directly attached to the computer that would be working with them. But over the years, the speed and reliability of network protocols such as SMB has improved to the point where I can locate them on some other computer and access them across the network. An example of this is the "media" computer in the teevee room. The old media computer had a huge hard drive to which I would copy Bittorrented movies before watching them. The new media computer, on the other hand, has a small hard drive and plays movies that live on either my computer (Woodchuck) or Gretchen's computer (Badger). I was dubious at first that this would work very well, but it's been such a good system that it's renewed my interest in Network-Attached Storage (NAS). The problem with streaming movies from a hard drive on my main computer is that the main computer has to be up for this to work. It would be better if the main computer stored all its big files on some computer on the network with a large hard drive and small power demands. Such a computer could be up all the time, waiting to service requests for media (and other) files. In the past I've tried to do this with various varieties of PogoPlug, a Linux-based device intended to tie people into a proprietary Cloud-based file hosting regime. The problem with PogoPlug is that it doesn't have SAMBA (the Linux SMB implementation), meaning that using it for file sharing won't work the way that I want it to. It's possible to overwrite the firmware of a PogoPlug so that it boots something called Arch Linux, which can run SAMBA, but I've had bad luck with that. PogoPlugs are easy to brick, and I have one that I've been unable to recover. Another problem with PogoPlugs is that no matter what model you think you're ordering, the one you get will be different. And by different, I mean that it will be using a different processor, have a different arrangement of ports, and perhaps be lacking a port that you want. For example, today I took delivery of a PogoPlug that I thought would be a POGO B01, which would have a SATA port (essential for a real file server attached to a big fast hard drive). But what I got instead was a POGO E02, which lacks a SATA port. The devices are too cheap to return when this happens; the best you can do is install Arch Linux on it anyway and use it for something else, perhaps as a webcam server or to remotely control one or more Arduinos. That was disappointing, but while I was screwing around with my various PogoPlugs, I found that one of them that I thought was bricked was actually functional. And it's a POGO B01 with a SATA port. Unfortunately, though, according to archlinuxarm.org, it's difficult to get SAMBA working on those devices. The problem with PogoPlugs is their deceptive cheapness ($10-$30), but if you factor in the inability to receive the model you want, the ease with which they are bricked, and the surprising diversity of models, you'd be better off using a $50 Cubieboard. (I would have said Raspberry Pi, but they don't have SATA ports.)
This evening I met Gretchen at the bookstore as she was closing up. The plan was to have dinner at the Garden Café with friends (Eric and Justin from that big family compound up near Palenville, Amy T., and David of David and Susan). Everyone but David was at the bookstore when I arrived, and as usual Justin had begun the celebration of his midweek weekend early[REDACTED]. As you know, I'm not a big fan of the Garden even if it is the only all-vegan restaurant in the Hudson Valley. But tonight we ate out in the patio and I had a huge bowl of black bean soup that was exceptional (you'd think it would be hard to screw up a bean soup, but only the Garden seems to be able to reliably make a good one), and the sandwich special (mango and tofu) sort of worked. I also had two of those Ommegang Abbey beers, which pack a punch. This evening they served them lukewarm, which might be the temperature you're supposed to serve them at.
After the meal, I let the dogs run around in the parking lot at the end of Old Forge Road, and eventually the other humans from dinner came down and Justin (who is a vet) examined the lump on the side of Ramona's face. He agreed that it was probably caused by the remains of a porcupine quill.
For the drive home, I was near the maximum how drunk I'm willing to be when behind the wheel of a car. I'm a cautious drunk driver, though tonight I noticed I was effortlessly multitasking as I drove, something I see Gretchen do but which I never do when driving sober. The multitasking only amounted to the switching songs of songs on the MP3 player, but it's an unfamiliar device with a fussy menu in tiny OLED text. When I'm sober, I'm cocooned in my inhibitions, and this was yet more evidence that when I have few beers in me, I'm a lot more like a normal human being.
A car came up fast behind me somewhere near the Reservoir Inn and stayed not far away all the way home. There are few people who drive as fast as me on Dug Hill Road and it never happens that a car appears behind me that I cannot outrun. But that was what was happening. There was only one person who this could be (if it wasn't our neighbor Andrea), and sure enough I was correct. When I pulled into the driveway, Gretchen was right there behind me.
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