A Look at Popular NAS Units

Network Attached Storage (NAS) has been on my mind quite a bit in the last year. With the birth of my son last May, my wife and I are going crazy with our digital camera, and what used to be a nice and spacious hard drive is no longer adequate. What’s worse, we’ve found that video is a much better way to capture all the little things we want to remember, which probably increases our storage needs by a factor of 100!

On the business side, we’re encountering the same thing. As our company grows, the 200GB network share we all use for shared storage has become both too small, and dangerously difficult to back up. As we expand our website with more and more multimedia content, the need for “scratch space” has grown exponentially.

Both at home and at the office, we need more space, and we need a good level of protection from data loss. A NAS is a natural choice.

Sound Cards: Creative Labs, and Alternatives

The last few days have seen a lot of negative press surrounding the largest sound card manufacturer on the block, Creative Labs. Here’s a little background on what’s happened:

Creative Labs has had a near-monopoly on the sound card market for a long time. Barring onboard sound controllers (like those integrated into almost all Nvidia and Intel based chipsets), Creative cards make up an overwhelming majority of audio cards currently in use. Creative has not done a very good job of getting Windows Vista sound drivers working which offer the same amount of features that their XP drivers have had. A lot of people have been really frustrated by this, since their expensive audio cards weren’t working or were giving reduced functionality.

My Perspective on Personal Computers

My name is Daniel Brown, I am a PC technician. I’m writing this article because I feel like, based on my experience, I may have some wisdom to impart regarding PCs. I’ve been working with PCs for most of the last 13 years. Even when not employed in the computer industry, I’ve consistently dedicated a significant portion of my own time to staying up to date with PC hardware trends and learning more about personal computers. During my time in the IT industry, I’ve encountered more than my share of problems and done countless hours of troubleshooting. In my current role as ‘Lead Support Technician’ here at Puget, I add to those hours of troubleshooting daily, dealing with modern PC systems.

Drooling Over New Technology

I don’t drool often, but I have to say — this is an exciting time to be in the technology field. We work closely with both Intel and nVidia, and they both have new products out that are changing the way I look at high performance computers.

Customer Service that Serves Customers

My job title at Puget is ‘Director of Inventory’, which is a fancy way of saying that I’m responsible for keeping track of any parts that aren’t currently inside a computer. Among other duties, I have the delightful job of arranging Return Merchandise Authorizations (RMAs) with our suppliers – just as our customers come to us for warranty support, we can go to our suppliers or the manufacturer to get defective parts replaced. It’s rewarding to see a stream of broken parts go out the door and come back in a couple weeks as shiny, functional equipment, but trying to get warranty support can also be one of the greatest hassles known to man.

A little clarification about TV tuners

So during our Puget tech support/production meeting yesterday it was decided to stop carrying TV tuners for a while. The idea is that we need to step back and see what hardware is out there, what our customers are expecting, and if the two are compatible – and more importantly supportable. Since I’m sort of the resident HTPC expert here I wanted to put a little more info out there on exactly what a Vista-based home theater system is and is not capable of (as far as tuning in TV goes, anyways).