How Joe Computes (or Adventures in Absurdity)

I have been promising to write this post, for a while.  A few months back, I spent some significant time looking at what technology I need in my life.  I do not believe that I have reached techno-zen yet but I am getting closer.

Here are the current components:

– A (mid 2013) 11″ Macbook Air, with a 256gb SSD and 8gb of RAM

– A (Late 2012) Mac Mini with a 500gb traditional HDD, 16gb of RAM, a dedicated 128gb thumbdrive, and a 4tb external USB HDD

– A 32gb retina iPad Mini with T-Mobile LTE

– A Simple.TV DVR with a 4tb external USB HDD (same model as above)

I spent a bit of time thinking out how I would handle data backup and redundency.  The Mac Mini acts as the hub for everything.  All data is stored on the external harddrive.  There are two main folders: “OneDrive” and “Stricly Local”.  The OneDrive folder is a synced copy of my OneDrive share.  I store low-risk working files and encrypted backup in the OneDrive folder.  The backups are of the Macbook Air and the Mac Mini itself.  The backups are handled by CrashPlan.  There are also Time Machine backups from the Macbook Air to the “Strictly Local” folder and CrashPlan backups from the Mac Mini to the 128gb thumb drive.  Since OneDrive and the Mac Mini can potentially fail at the same time, I am also using CrashPlan Central (CrashPlan’s cloud solution) for the Macbook Air.

On the Mac Mini, I am running two virtual machines (via VirtualBox): Ubuntu 14 LTS and Windows Server 2012.  Since both VMs are running off of the internal harddrive, they are backed up to the thumb drive, the 4tb USB drive, and ultimately OneDrive.  I use the Ubuntu VM for Lucee and MySQL.  I use the Windows VM for SQL Server.  On the Macbook Air, I am running one virtual machine (via Parallels): Windows 8.1 professional.  Since it is running on the internal SSD, it is backed up to the Mac Mini via both Time Machine and CrashPlan (and ultimately OneDrive) and to CrashPlan Central.

All of the physical and virtual machines are running Hamachi.  This means that every machine is available to every other machine, even if it is not currently on the same real local area network.  This is important because I like to use my iPad Mini to ssh into the Ubuntu VM.  I am able to use an IPSec VPN connection to connect my iPad to the Hamachi network, from whereever I happen to be.  As long as I have LTE coverage on the iPad and my home internet connection is strong, I can write code from anywhere.

So, what is up with the Simple.TV DVR?  I like easy TV.  The DVR has 2 tuners in it and the HDD has enough space to hold an estimated 1800+ hours of video content.  I am able to use the manufacturer’s app to watch the content via Roku, my phone, the iPad, or a browser.  My only real concern is that the HDD might die.  Supposedly, the Simple.TV has a usable API.  Eventually, I want to see if I can sync the content to OneDrive.  I am using OneDrive for everything else, so why not?

What would I change?  I think I might be able to improve performance by implementing my own VPN, instead of using Hamachi.  At some time, I am going to look into that.

Have a question or comment about my how I do what I do?  Drop a comment, below.

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