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The Lab

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The lab 
Some poeple ask me, what i do in my spare time. Beside my family, my job,
and all the other things we all can and have to do, every of us has some
hobbies. My interest goes mainly in the electronic direction, that's why
i also run this website. At home i have my computer room, where some new,
some old hardware is, some parts i didn't have seen for years, some parts
come into my hands again every 2 weeks to "play with".

This is a Seagate Dockstar. You don't know the Seagate Dockstar ? Seagate developed the Dockstar to dock in a Seagate harddisk to access the files then over the web.
Here is the product page at Seagate. The Dockstar has 3 USB ports and 1GB RJ45 port and it runs Linux on it. Although it runs a modified Linux, it's possible to replace it by a debian system, like described here. You can boot the linux system from an external harddisk like to be seen on the picture. This way you can have a full featured linux system and run the applications you want. Like you can see on the picture too, there is an USB wifi adapter connected too. This way i can use the dockstar as a WIFI Hotspot too, use it as a fileserver, DNS server, PXE/TFTP boot server, mailserver and a small webserver. Of course you could ask, why i should do this, why don't i use a standard PC ? The answer is simple, it's small and ...
... the power consumption is really small !
The harddisk is connected, the WIFI adapter is connected, the system is up and the Dockstar only uses around 7 Watt. Unbelievable ! If i sum it up, the minicomputer uses 0,168 kwh in 24 hours, 61,32 kwh in 365 days. I pay 0,2216 Euro/kwh, this makes 13,59 Euro per year. That's really good i think ! For sure the power of the processor isn't as high as in a desktop system, the USB connection to the harddisk doesn't make file transfer to and from the harddisk fast, but for some applications you don't need such high speeds. The system is completely silent, as the Dockstar doesn't have a fan inside. This way you can run the Dockstar 24hours a day without hearing it and without big costs.
So for what other things the Dockstar can be used ? I (will) use it as storage for the cam you see left. It's a 0,3 MPixel cam with IR LEDs, so i can see the picture in the night too. The CAM has motion detection, so the CAM can upload pictures, after it detects movement. As the internet upload could be tricky in such situations, the dockstar could be a storage FTP server for the CAM, if they are connected in the LAN. It's interesting, that i was able to easily replace the firmware of the CAM with the firmware of another manufacturer. So i think, that there are not as much "real" manufacturers in China, but many resellers, who brand the CAMs with their name.
Here you see a picture taken by CAM. In the foreground you see me taking the photo above with one of my other toys - my Fuji Finepix HS20EXR. Well, i didn't want to pay too much money for a photo camera, but wanted the feel of a DSLR camera. The Fuji was the compromise, i am happy with. For sure i am not a good photographer, and many of the functions the Fuji has are about my level of expertise, but i like to own a camera, which is able to give me the possibility for example to take a photo of a lightning in the night.
Inside the Fuji i use a Eye-Fi SD card. The special thing about this SD card: The card contains a mini WIFI chip, so the SD card can upload taken photos to my FTP server, if there is a configured WIFI Accesspoint near the Fuji. If i take photos at friends or other locations, where i don't have access to a WLAN Router, i use my Smartphone as WLAN Accesspoint, so the photos can be seen minutes after i have taken them without removing the SD card or using a Notebook or USB cable. A really great idea, although some things i dislike. If the photos are uploaded by the Eye-Fi SD card, the jpegs are first stored on a FTP server of the company Eye-Fi, and after that transfered from the Eye-Fi server to my FTP server. Possibly this is an advantage, but i don't like it. If i can, i will try to examine the data traffic to redirect it directly to my server without using Eye-Fi server. Time will show, if this will succeed.
Another usage for the dockstar: It's connected via USB to a weatherstation. With the weatherstation i can serve me and my friends with the local weather. Another part of my network is an outside cam, which gives weatherpictures to the data taken from the weatherstation. If i have everything setup, i will provide a hourly updated webcam picture with the actual weather data. The weatherstation is a WH3080, bought it at ebay for around 110 Euro.
So i use most of my time with things, that are interesting for me, but not for most other poeple. But even me likes to play sometimes. There are such days, that nothing goes in your brain. You try to solve problems, try to code something useful - but you can't. Your thoughts circle around, but don't move you forward. On such days i look a DVD or play games. I like to play Skat or Poker. If it's too late to play in the "real world" (because it's night), i play in the internet.
After being too long at the screen, i do it like my cat Lucy and go to bed.

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last modification by Torsten 2024-01-10 20:47:17 german time