The eli4d Gazette – Issue 038

Tech Pick

This past week I came across an excellent career path article from Ycombinator: Three Paths in the Tech Industry: Founder, Executive, or Employee.

I like the neutrality of this article and how it provides the pros/cons of each path. This is better information than any guidance counseling that I have ever encountered.

 

Media Pick

I’ve come across a very short podcast about current tech – Twit Bits. These are 2 to 10 minute daily snippets from various shows on the Twit network. They’re nice tasty bites of happenings in the tech world.

More Drobo Blues

My Drobo difficulties continue even with the switch from the 5N to the 5D. I had the 5D running for about two weeks. I had loaded some data on it, and then it just died. I suspect it’s the power supply, but I’m not sure since I don’t have another supply to switch out. So far: three Drobo 5Ns that have been bad and now a 5D. Am I really this unlucky or is Drobo hardware really (really really really) bad?

I was hoping that I could trust the 5D hardware but no such luck. I asked for a refund, and this (of course) was refused (it’s way past the original purchase, so I get it…but still ). I’m in the process of returning my 5D for another 5D. My trust in Drobo hardware is non-existent, so I’m not sure what to do when/if I get a 5D that is working.

 


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


 

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The eli4d Gazette – Issue 035

Tech Pick

I came across an interesting article covering a comparison of PHP frameworks. The comments at the bottom of the article are also quite interesting, to say the least.

Personally, I’ve chosen Laravel as my go-to framework. I’m learning it by applying it to a personal project. It is well covered through excellent documentation, great video tutorials, and a good book. I’ve written about Laravel on my blog quite frequently.

Media Pick

This is tangentially related to media through the MP3 format.

Recently I bought a Love & Logic audio book (great approach for new and experienced parents). My main listening program is the Overcast podcast player. It has great fast playback options. The audio book I got had 10 small MP3 files and the Overcast site allows for individual uploads of files which is a pain. So I figured it would be easier to merge all of these MP3 files into one large MP3 file that I could upload into Overcast.

I tried two approaches that didn’t work: Toast Titanium and using the ‘cat’ command. Looking around further I came across a StackOverflow thread that mentioned the ‘cat’ approach and a utility that did work. The utility was: MP3Cat.

It’s a Go program that works on Mac, Windows, and Linux. It works as follows on the command line:

./mp3cat -o merged.mp3 file1.mp3 file2.mp3 file3.mp3

It works amazingly well, and I highly^100 recommend it.

Drobo Blues (part 3)

On my fourth return I was finally able to exchange the Drobo 5N for a Drobo 5D. The three 5N units that I tried never worked on my network and Drobo support were unable to help me. The 5D is a massive external hard disk with lots of redundancy, so it needs to be connected to a computer. It is also simpler than the 5N and far from being a NAS.

What I’ve learned (and this, of course, is my extremely narrow experience/opinion):

  1. Drobo support is great (for the 5D unit I got extra Drobo Care for free). They tried to help me, but there’s not much they could do with consistently bad Drobo 5N hardware.
  2. I can never trust Drobo’s NAS systems (apparently the “Drobo Difference” does not apply to me). Maybe my case is a complete fluke, but the brand new unit I bought and two additional units did not work whatsoever on my network. If/when I get around to another NAS purchase attempt, I will try out Synology and/or Qnap.

Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter


The eli4d Gazette – Issue 034

Tech Pick

This is somewhat of an ‘anti-pick’.

When it comes to technical book publishers, O’Reilly used to be at the top of my list. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. I wrote a post about O’Reilly’s abandonment of DRM Free technical books and using other alternatives.

Media Pick

While listening to a recent Security Now podcast, I heard Steve Gibson rave about Ryk Brown’s Frontier’s Saga series. I found that it was available via the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library so I started reading book #1…and I was hooked. I’m on book #6, and it continues to be fantastic science fiction series. I highly recommend this series to any fan of space opera type of science fiction. So if you like Star Trek you’re very likely to really (really) like this series.

Drobo Blues

My Drobo 5N saga/sadness continues. I got a replacement, and it still doesn’t work. I’m in another round of back/forth with Drobo support. Even if I get it working, I’m not sure how much faith/trust I can have in their NAS.

Knowing what I know now I would try Synology rather than Drobo. Synology’s SHR technology seems quite comparable to Drobo’s Beyondraid, so Drobo’s previous multi-size hard disk advantage (i.e. being able to use different sized hard disks) seems moot.


Thoughts? Feedback? Let me know: @eli4d on Twitter