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Hardware needs

Sometimes I wonder if my hardware needs would be more bearable if I wasn’t working as a Free Software developer. Two days ago, as I wrote, I received the shipment from K&M with the new PSU for Farragut, and new fans for Enterprise.

The PSU, a be quiet Straight Power 400W works as a charm; the load of the UPS under normal system operation fell down from 29% to 21%, which means it’s saving about 80W, as unlikely as that might sound. In my previous blog post I estimated a 10% improvement of 30W, seems like the improvement was of more than twice what I was expecting. Not a bad thing at all for me.

About the fans, I bought a Sharkoon Silent Eagle 2000 120×120 (I didn’t know this brand but it was one of the cheapest); they say that the fan is covered with the same material of golf balls; not sure if it’s that or not, but it certainly does seem to work fine and silent even if it beats the hell out of my previous fan.

For the hard disks I ordered two Revoltec Hard Drive Freezer another brand I didn’t know before, but half cheap and I wanted to give it a try; they also work quite well.

The nice thing to see about this is that the three brands are all Germans, as far as I can see, this explains why they cost so much less than here: the manufacturers probably sell directly to shops like K&M rather than using a distributor that then ships to the other part of the world to be sold (most of the components I can buy here are made in Taiwan, then sold to a distributor in Italy, which then sells to shop, which then sell to me); this way it cuts down the shipment costs, even if I pay extra to get the final goods to me, and is probably more environmentally friendly than having stuff moved through the whole world before reaching my house.

But, I titled this post about hardware needs, and what I just wrote was about hardware I bought and thus I don’t need anymore. There are though a few things that I’m still in need for.

The first is the PSU for Klothos that I already blogged about; when I placed my order to K&M last time I ordered the 370W Be Quiet BQT-P5 Blackline Titanium 2-Lüfter PSU that should be designed for server usage, so should fit nicely into the Ultra 5 pizzabox. The alternative, suggested to me by nightmorph, would be the Antec Neo He 380 (as you can see it’s quite overdimensioned, the original PSU should be around 250/300W; but this is the minimum you find, and as it is I could use it for other boxes in case Klothos dies). The problem with this is that I can’t seem to find be quiet anywhere in Italy, and the Antec one I found… for €70 + €18 of shipment (from 50/60Km from where I live, by the way), which would be almost three times what I paid for the original Ultra 5.

Although Klothos had a main contribution by Christian Iuga who sent me 1GB of RAM for it (which makes building stages way less painful), I invested on it quite a bit already: I put on it a new CD burner (or it wouldn’t have read CD-RW medias), a Promise SATA controller, a 160GB Samsung SATA hard disk, a Compact Flash to IDE adapter, together with a 1GB Compact Flash card, and the most expensive new component I bought, the Intel GigaBit card (which will never arrive to GigaBit on an Ultra5 anyway, but at least does not work as badly as the integrated card) that costed me €45, (one time and a half what I paid the original box).

It certainly disappoints me not to be able to use the box right now, but beside the noise made by the PSU, it’s too hot to turn it on; I’d like to buy the PSU, but that would mean I’d put components for €300 in a box that I paid €30.. a bit too much for me, especially until I get a new job (and then I’d probably not have time anymore to use Klothos anyway).

Beside this obnoxious matter, I end up having more “mundane” needs lately, for instance to be able to work from my room, rather than from the office (where the heat is usually quite a lot), I’d be needing an external keyboard for the MacBook Pro, possibly BlueTooth to make it more practical, but again I’m stuck as I need the new job, and then I’d probably not be able to make use of it anymore.

So this post is here just to pose a big question: how’s it possible that if I take the job, and then stop doing most of my contributions to Free Software (most likely), I can afford myself the hardware I need now, but I won’t be able to employ it? Is this Murphy’s law? Karma? What else? Sigh!

Comments 4
  1. Why won’t you be able to work on free software when you start your new job? Just because of time, or some other reason?

  2. The problem sounds awfully familiar. :-(I would say the answer lies in finding the right job. One that pays you money for doing the things you like to do.I for example fail to understand why you mess with “envelopes and that kind of stuff” while you have the skills and love to write(/work with) (open-source) software.I would think/believe that there is sufficient demand for those skills if you work on a freelance basis. At least it was like that the last time I checked. There are quite a number of websites that mediate in these jobs. Just check…it might be that people are willing to pay you for the things you like to do. 😉

  3. I know Free Software is great, but if it won’t pay the bills, then it kind of has to be second. Ideally though, I’m sure we’d all like a OSS related job ;-). I know I don’t contribute nearly as much to free software as I’d like because I have to work to support my family, take care of the house, spend time with kids and my wife, and then also relax for my sanity which sometimes I do programming and other times I spend doing other stuff.The BSD-core team had it right in a recent BSDTalk interview when they said that you need to remember the team is made up of volunteers, and keeping their time on the project enjoyable so they will **WANT** to contribute is important.I’d say take the job if you need the money. It may limit what you can do, but if you’re spending 8 hours licking envelopes or 8 hours doing something more draining, hopefully more enjoyable, and more profitable, then hopefully it will be better than you, and that should be first. OSS will live without you, but we’re all thankful for the time you spend with it. Just be careful you don’t take a job for the money that makes you miserable, better to be poor and happy than rich and depressed.

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