The OS Quest Trail Log #47: State of the Quest

Happy New Year 2010This isn’t one of those year in review or predictions for the year ahead posts. I hate those. But this is the time of year I look at my current computing situation and muse about where I want to go the next year. Not goals, not predictions, just some practical reviews – if I want to do anything big I’ll have to plan for it and possibly start putting money aside. I mainly go through this exercise to set up a budget and to take advantage of any sales or bargains that may come up during the year.

I had my Windows Home Server build this year and the server has grown to 14 1/2 TB of actual space across its dozen drives. The OS overhead really takes a bite as that 14 1/2 TB comes from drives the manufacturers say total 16 TB. My drive usage has slowed since I now have my DVD collection ripped and stored on the server. I buy very few new DVDs these days but if I buy one these days it will probably be Blu-ray. So if I do rip those they’ll use a lot more space. I’ll just be upgrading the internal 1TB drives to 2TB as I need space. This works well for me since I then recycle the old 1TB drive as a backup drive (a drive for my backups, not a spare drive). The problem here is that the so-called analysts are predicting a shortage of 3.5” desktop drives. So on the home server front I don’t expect more than a couple hard drive upgrades.

The desktop front will be more interesting. My iMac just turned three. I’ve no complaints so far but the new iMacs sure are sweet. Still, I think I’ll be putting my money elsewhere this year and keep my white iMac another year. Probably worth starting to save up in case this one dies mid-year or I change my mind. The good part it the longer I wait the more iMac I’ll get for the money.

On the Windows side my desktop was newly built this year. Not much to do there. Maybe a memory upgrade in the price of 4GB chips drops. Unless I start doing a lot of virtual machines or add some unexpected software my current 8GB will last the year so I’m in no rush. A nice fast SSD drive would be nice but I’d want a quality drive and those are still over $500 for 160GB. I’ll watch prices but justifying the expense may be tough.

I suspect much of my disposable income this year will go toward upgrading my entertainment systems. I still have an old style tube TV and it’s finally time for me to replace it since prices are nice and low. This fits into my Windows Home Server as I’ll want to be able to stream. Still to be decided is whether I’ll use my current Apple TV or go with something else along the lines of a media extender. I need to explore what options are available in the Microsoft world for this type of thing.

I suspect I’ll end up with a computer directly attached to the TV and dedicated to entertainment. It might be a Mac Mini or a Windows computer. But first I need to get the TV and then start upgrading the stuff around it. Once the TV is in place I’ll have to decide if I want to keep my Apple TV as the primary way of getting video to the TV or instead upgrade to a full PC or Mac connected to the TV. But that’s all down the road.

As for software, I’m spending most of my extra time learning about web servers and web software so I don’t see much in the way of software purchases. I’ll also explore the options available for integrating my Windows Home Server further into my home entertainment systems.

That’s about if for this years plans. Have a good year on your own quest.