Currently Using - December 2022
This page covers what electronic devices, equipment and software I’m running right now.
It’s been 9 months since my last ‘Currently Using’ update and this one is largely incremental. I just haven’t really needed to buy anything or make any major changes - though I’m expecting to have to make a few hardware replacements in 2023 as some of my kit hits the decade mark!
The only real hardware change was to the SSD on my archive server. The old one was a 9.5 year old Samsung 840, only 120GB, and in itself was fine, but I was increasingly using it for a few different things on the machine itself, aside from OS, with some extra logging and config backups and just the age was beginning to make me nervous - even for an SSD. The new drive is another Samsung, but it’s gone from an 840 to an 870 EVO. I also updated the OS from Ubuntu Server 20.04.03 to 22.04.01.
Another OS change was on my battered E440 laptop - I’d moved from Arch-based Endeavour OS to MintLinux for a bit of stability and more Japanese/English switching reliability, but ultimately the poor machine was beginnning to fall apart and the battery now lasts less than 90 minutes - to be fair, it is 8.5 years old! I won’t be binning it, but I will be retiring it and making the 4.5 year old former family Dell XPS the new Linux laptop, since I’m building a couple of simple desktops to cover that requirement.
That’s it really; there have been some software version updates, but it’s been a quiet year all told on the technology front for me at least.
Windows Desktop PC
My Frankenstein’s monster of a Windows box is mainly for audio and video editing, encoding, gaming and some work, and generally gets updated piecemeal.
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 5 3600 (December 2019) with Scythe Mugen 5 cooler (February 2020)
- RAM: 32GB Corsair Vengeance 3200 (December 2019)
- Mobo: ASRock B450 Pro 4 (December 2019)
- Graphics: Zotac GTX 1060 AMP 6GB (October 2016)
- Sound: Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (May 2019)
- Misc.: Antec EarthWatts 650 Green PSU (January 2013)
- Drives: OS/Apps on a 1TB Silicon Power A80 NVMe (December 2019), media on a Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD (December 2018), and misc. data on a 4TB Western Digital Red drive. (September 2018)
- Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (July 2013) - I just built a couple of desktop machines for family members though…
- OS: Windows 10.
- Monitor: LG UltraWide 34WN750-B (July 2020)
- Speakers: Audio Engine A2+ (January 2015)
- Headphones: AKG K371 (January 2021)
Another self built machine mainly harking back to 2013, which sometimes gets new parts, and sometimes gets parts from the Windows box. It’s used for archiving files and media and is running Linux.
- CPU: Intel Core i5 3470 (January 2013) with a Scythe Choten cooler (December 2020)
- RAM: 16GB Corsair XMS3 (May 2013)
- Mobo: Asus B75M-PLUS (December 2013)
- Graphics: On CPU (headless)
- PSU: Antec Earthwatts 450 Platinum PSU (May 2013)
- Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (May 2013) with Scythe Flex 140 fans.
- Discs: Samsung 870 EVO 500GB SSD (December 2022) for OS, 2 x 6TB Seagate IronWolf (July 2021 & January 2022) for personal data & 2 x 8TB Seagate Barracudas (November & December 2019) for media backups.
- OS: Ubuntu Server 22.04.xx LTS.
Dell XPS 13 (2018)
Formerly a family Windows 11 machine, it’s now up and running Mint Linux 21.1. A model 9360, it’s an Intel Core i5-8250U, 8GB RAM, 256GB SSD, UHD 620 graphics and a 1080p screen. It’s been working really well so far with no real downsides.
Backups are handled with SpiderOak, one of the more security focussed online backup services, since living in a wooden house in an earthquake zone does make me think about off-site backup quite a lot. For folder sync between machines I use Syncthing, but that’s only on LAN.
Most of the things I do are text based, so I try to keep it simple, using editors like Visual Studio Code but mainly Obsidian for most general stuff, as it helps organise things too. Photo management is mainly via digiKam and sometimes DarkTable.
I keep passwords in a KeePassXC file, and sensitive documents in VeraCrypt files. I have got the family on Bitwarden though.
BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve 18.x on Windows is great for video editing, if a little overpowered for me, and I use both YouTube and Vimeo for video availability when I do put something online. I moved to LosslessCut for hacking away unneeded footage from my GoPro excursions.
This site, and my email is housed on some space at Pair Networks.
The Audio and the Visual
I have a FujiFilm X-T200 (April 2020) with the 15-45mm kit lens, a 23mm weather sealed prime and a 16-80mm travel zoom.
For an action cam, I have a GoPro 7 Black. I like to use the GoPros on the snowboard, bicycles, motorbikes and at beaches. Even though that one is now 4 years old, I don’t see any real reason to upgrade, and if I did, I’d likely go the 360 camaera route.
In mid-2019 I indulged a long time interest in audio recording, and invested in a Rode NT1 microphone and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 interface.
Since buying a proper microphone and audio interface, I went for Reaper as a cheap but easy to understand DAW. I used to use Audacity, but for the small fee it’s difficult to say how much nicer, fast and easier Reaper is.
I do a less gaming nowadays. We currently have a Nintendo Switch and a PS4, the latter of which is mainly used as a HTPC. I also play a few games on my desktop PC now and then.
- Google Pixel 5a smartphone (January 2022).
- Kindle PaperWhite 2015 (September 2015).
- Raspberry Pi’s of various generations (1-4) running various OSs.
- Pi 1B - PiHole
- Pi 2 - SyncThing
- Pi 3 - Misc. Stuff
- Pi 4 4GB - Dual boot Raspberry Pi OS / LibreELEC.
Current uses include: PiHole DNS sink, Syncthing server, LibreELEC/KODI media player, TV based desktop.
- Arduino Uno and other electronics kit (2013 onwards).
- Zoom H1 audio recorder.
- Boling BL-P1 LED light panel (April 2020).
- Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones (February 2020).
- Flexispot EQ5 Pro standing desk. (December 2021)