Currently Using - March 2022

This page covers what electronic devices, equipment and software I’m running right now.

What’s New?

I don’t often do these colophon / ‘what am I using’ pages more than a couple of times a year since I don’t often change much these days. However, I’m putting one in only three months after the last one to capture a few quick changes.

I replaced the second (and final) 4TB WD Red drive in my archive server, and replaced it with another 6TB Seagate IronWolf drive. This means I now have 2 newer drives in that machine (I swapped the first Red for Ironwolf in July 2021), so I now have a larger 6TB zfs mirror, and even replace the old 4TB Red drive in my desktop PC which has recently been giving off a few SMART errors.

This is the first time I’ve replaced a drive in a zfs pool, and the first time I’ve increased the pool size - so far so good. I find the tooling around zfs to be quite a bit more friendly than with LVM, and there seems to be more support online for it.

I also moved from using SpiderOak for internet backups and sync to just those backups, and brought in Syncthing for syncing my desktop and laptop. I also built a Syncthing node on a Raspberry Pi to be the ‘always on’ hub node. I’ll do a write up on this at some point.

A minor note that after just a couple of months, I changed my heretic laptop from Xubuntu to EndeavourOS, an Arch Linux system - it’s so much faster and more reliable. Maybe it was just my install but Xubuntu just seemed to have issues with sleep and some other irritants.

Hardware

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.

Archive Server

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.

Thinkpad E440

I bought one of these in mid-2014, but it had a screen hinge failure in late 2018, so I rescued the SSD, RAM, battery and PSU, and in May 2020 bought the same model on Yahoo Auctions quite cheap as the battery didn’t work, which was great for me since I could re-use my old battery, upgraded the RAM, and it’s up and running EndeavourOS. (Spec is an i3-4100M, 8GB RAM, SSD).

Software

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. Minor folder sync between machines I use Syncthing for.

Most of the things I do are text based, so I try to keep it simple, using editors like Atom for day to day and Obsidian for journalling. Photo management is mainly via digiKam and sometimes DarkTable.

I keep passwords in a KeePassXC file, and sensitive documents in VeraCrypt files.

Video editing

BlackMagic DaVinci Resolve 17.x on Windows is great for video editing, if a little overpowered for me, and I use both YouTube and Vimeo for video availability. I moved to LosslessCut for hacking away unneeded footage from my GoPro excursions.

Audio Editing

Since buying a proper microphone and audio interface, I went for Reaper as a cheap but easy to understand DAW.

Hosting

This site is housed on some space at Pair Networks.

Gaming

I do a lot 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.

The Audio and the Visual

I have a FujiFilm X-T200 (April 2020) with the kit 15-45mm lens, a 23mm weather sealed prime and an 16-80mm travel zoom.

Currently have a GoPro 7 Black. I like to use the GoPros on the snowboard, bicycles, motorbikes and at the beaches.

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.

Gadgets

  • Google Pixel 5a smartphone (January 2022).
  • Kindle PaperWhite 2015 (September 2015).
  • Raspberry Pi’s of various generations (1-4) running various OSs.
  • Arduino Uno and other electronics kit (2013 onwards).
  • Zoom H1 audio recorder.
  • Boling BL-P1 LED light panel, essentially so I didn’t appear as a silhouette in video conferences during a few months of working from home during the 2020 COVID19 pandemic (April 2020).
  • Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones (February 2020).
  • Flexispot EQ5 Pro standing desk.