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    NAS: recommendations?


    2012 - 12.10

    It is time for us to invest in some Network Attached Storage (NAS), and since we aren’t currently invested in any particular ecosystem, it seemed like a good time to see what everyone else is using and liking.  There seems to be a large assortment of options out there, but in general everything looks good when you read the spec’s.  Features which seem important to us:

    • Support for at least one of RAID 5, 6 or 10 (or equivalent)
    • Support for at least 4 drives
    • Might be nice if it supported mixed drive sizes, or dynamic adding of discs later (or swapping in discs)
    • Should support at least 2TB drives (if not larger)
    • Should support Gigabit connection
    • Management software should be usable

    I’d also like to hear opinions on drives for use in a NAS.  So feel free to offer your opinion, educated or otherwise ;-)

    Anti-Virus: what do you use?


    2012 - 12.08

    We’ve got a couple of subscriptions of various anti-virus products which are expiring and I thought rather than simply renew what we have, I’d consider switching to something else.  So I’m curious what people are using now, and whether they are happy with it (and would recommend it).  Our requirements are pretty straightforward:

    • anti-virus that works and which doesn’t make your computer unusable due to the amount of processing the AV does
    • we’ve got at least 2 desktops (Win XP, Win 7), 1 laptop (Win 7) which I’d probably install the same software on
    • additionally we have a desktop (Win ME), and an iPhone which could potentially make use of an appropriate product as well
    • anti-virus is the only feature which is critical, but most of them these days include additional features so we’re not adverse to having those too, although none of them have leapt out at us as being necessary
    • cost is not a significant concern, but it would be nice to get reasonable value

    Opinions?

     

    Kal Tire: True Service


    2012 - 10.26

    This story is several weeks old now, but it’s worth telling regardless.

    Karin and I were headed up to Whistler to walk around the village and to go to the BCDSS AGM.  We left in the late morning, stopped in Squamish for lunch and gas, and then 3 kms later we heard a noise, turned out it was a flat tire.  We pulled off the highway and called BCAA.  The local towing company arrived and helped us change the tire.  We decided to carry on and visit Whistler.

    It wasn’t until several days later that I had a chance to go and see someone about the tire.  Sadly it’s not the first time I’ve had a flat tire.  The last time I had a flat, I was told that I needed to replace all 4 tires (which is sometimes the danger when you have an all wheel drive vehicle).  So I had 3 identical spare tires, so I was hoping that one of those would be a suitable replacement.

    Based on a recommendation from my dad I went to Kal Tire, just dropped in, no appointment.  Waited a couple of minutes and one of the employees (Dwayne if I’m not mistaken) came out to take a look at my flat, which was not salvageable.  He then opened up one of the extra tires I had, and determined that it was suitable.  He told me that if I left the flat (on the rim) and the replacement tire there for a couple of hours (1.5 actually) that he’d get it mounted for me, and they could just put it on when I came back later in the afternoon.

    So I left the stuff behind and did some shopping, then went back.  It only took about 15 minutes or so after I was back for them to put the new tire on.  They also cleaned all my existing tires (made them look like new).

    So after all that, they charged me the outrageous fee of NOTHING!  That’s right, they did it for free.

    Now what makes that exceptional, is that I was totally prepared and expecting to pay for the service.  Additionally, the tires on my car were not purchased at Kal Tire, nor were the extra three that I had.  In fact they don’t even sell the tire or brand that I have.  So it was very much appreciated, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend that you consider Kal Tire for your next tire needs or service appointment.

    Something is wrong with this story…


    2012 - 10.22

    Ran some errands today, and one of the stops included was the International Sausage House, which is essentially a deli.  While I was there I bought about $3.00 worth of salamis and about $18.00 worth of honey candies.  I guess someone has expensive tastes…

    AAA Batteries anyone?


    2012 - 09.28

    It’s time to replace some batteries in our cordless phones, which use rechargeable AAA batteries.  So I started looking around for the best prices, and just when I thought I’d found it, I found a better one.

    Looks like the normal price for 4 AAA rechargeables is about $20, at the moment a couple of places have them on sale for $15.  That said, Costco sells a 12 pack for $33 (or $11/4 AAA), by far the best overall deal.  We probably don’t need 12 batteries at the moment, not all of the 5 phones need the batteries replaced.  So thought I’d throw it out there and see if anyone else would like some AAA batteries at the moment, if not we’ll probably still get the 12 pack, but figured we might be able to save someone else some money too…

    Prodige Underwear


    2012 - 09.27

    If there’s anyone else out there who misses the underwear that they used to buy at Costco, you can buy the Prodige Athletik cut boxer briefs at Sears.  They have been on sale during Sears Days (which ends on Sunday) for as much as 40% off ($9.99 regular).

    They also have other styles of Prodige underwear, and in truth pretty much all of the underwear they sell is on sale, so if you like other brands you might find a bargain.

    Cilantro


    2012 - 08.15

    Made a marinade for some steak fajitas last night, and it called for Cilantro which we didn’t have in our garden.  So off to the store we went…

    They had organic Cilantro bunches for $1.29 (not well labelled), regular Cilantro bunches for $0.99 and then for $2.99 they had Cilantro in a pot…

    The brand is “Kitchen Pick” fresh culinary herbs.  They are out of Maple Ridge, BC.  Overall it just seems like a good idea and place to sell inexpensive herbs…  Not to mention that grocery stores are open much better hours than garden stores generally.

    We’ll see how it turns out.

    Everything $1.00 and more


    2012 - 07.14

    Checked out the new dollar store at Brentwood today, and they have a reasonable selection and they actually do seem to keep everything at about $1-2.  It’s pretty big, and there’s a reasonable selection, and it includes some actual name brand stuff too.

    We talked about it while at the store, that despite the fact some of the stuff is probably made in the exact same factory as the brands we’re familiar with it still comes across as being somewhat suspect.  It’s amazing how much we’re influenced by branding and advertising.  I think that’s especially true of dollar stores.  You do see people buy non-name brand stuff, but I think that people are more comfortable doing that at stores which they consider a brand (e.g. major grocery stores, or places like London Drugs).  Because even if you don’t know the product brand, you trust the store “brand” enough that you’re comfortable without the name recognition.  Not really true in the dollar store experience, especially in this particular store which clearly says all sales final, no refunds, no exchanges.  Doesn’t bread confidence, but at the same time given the price of the items…

    That said, if you need some plastic bins, journals or envelopes it’s worth a look.

    Most amusing price comparison in store: 1 litre bottles of Coke $1.00 (on the shelf), 591ml bottles of Coke $1.00 (from the fridge).

    Most coveted item: 4 pack of Oh Henry! eggs $1.50 (they have individual ones for $0.39), this compares to Aero eggs which were 2 for $1.25 or $1.50 (if memory serves).

    Costco Deal of the Week: Fineliner


    2012 - 07.11

    Staedtler Triplus Fineliner (12 pack) Pens for $7.79, this are nice pens.  Compared to a 10 pack of the same pens at Staples for $12.26 it becomes obvious how good a deal it is.

    Staedtler Triplus Fineliner 12 pack @ Costco $7.79

    Also on the chopping block with a .97 price is the Oxo Mandoline currently going for $19.97… I think I’ll wait and see if it goes down another $5-10 before picking one up (even though it’s already at half the MSRP).

     

    Growing from Seed: Jiffy-7


    2012 - 06.09

    For Easter Karin got some seed starting kits, and she’s had pretty good success with them so far.  In fact so much success that she needed to give away a bunch of the seedlings because they all sprouted.  So that’s pretty cool, and maybe she’ll talk more about her experience herself.

    The point of this post though is to expound a little bit on the Jiffy-7 Pellets which are very interesting things.  They are an integral part of the seed starting greenhouse that Karin used, and you would think that because they are called Jiffy-7 that you could just go anywhere and buy additional pellets and refill your greenhouse.  You’d think that, right?

    Well it turns out that the pellets come in different sizes, which isn’t really that problematic, but you’d think that they might be Jiffy-1, Jiffy-2, Jiffy-5, Jiffy-7 pellets and such.  Turns out that logical system doesn’t apply to the Jiffy pellets, regardless of size, they are all called Jiffy-7 and they go from about 18mm to about 60mm.  What this really means is that it’s significantly more difficult to find the right size pellet, because they all have the same name, and the sizes are not always clearly marked or indicated either on the boxes of additional pellets, bulk pellets or on the Jiffy Greenhouses themselves.

    So the bottom line is that they are a great product, but that you need to be especially careful that you know what size you’re looking for so that you aren’t disappointed.