I like small computers. Back in 2003 I put together a Mini-ITX system based on a VIA EPIA motherboard. It had a nice, big hard drive, lots of RAM and a adequate CPU and I called it VBOX. Obviously. Every now and then I power it up, install some Linux distro and make (another) honest attempt to learn to set up a server with all the necessary daemons; HTTP, FTP, NTP, DNS, SSH and so on. Now I’m giving it another go, and this time I plan to have the box turned on 24/7 to make it a real server, perhaps even running parts of this site.

Unfortunately, I’m faced with three problems. Firstly, my ISP does not allow me to set up servers on the standard ports. Stupid ISP. Secondly, the same ISP is providing me with dynamic IPs. And thirdly, even if the current server setup is very quiet compared to other servers, it’s still too noisy to have in the living room and I need to have it in the living room close to the router. Getting WPA encryption to work properly in Ubuntu with the wireless network card currently installed has proved to be beyond my computer skills.

The first problem can be solved by setting up the daemons on non-standard ports. It’s not pretty or very convenient, but it works. If anyone has a better idea, I’d be happy to hear it. The dynamic IP problem is solved by eNom, my domain registrar, which supports dynamic updating of the host records. This makes it easy to set up the VBOX on its own subdomain on this domain, and with the help of this little script the IP address in the host record is updated automagically whenever it changes.

The noise problem is the worst problem to handle. The server currently has two fans, one cooling the PSU and one CPU fan. They are both getting old and should be replaced. I could coat the inside of the computer case with noise insulating material and replace the fans, but I suspect that this would increase the temperature inside the case and that is something I’d like to avoid. I’m not acutally sure why I think the temperature will increase, it’s probably because my brain link insulation to heat insulation. Anyway. The case itself should also be replaced. Even if it’s smaller than your average case, it’s a bit too large for hiding in the living room. Also, since the box will be turned on 24/7, I would really like to decrease the power usage even more. That means the PSU, motherboard, CPU and hard drive should also be replaced.

You probably see where this is headed.

As you know, yesterday saw the involuntary departure of my XBOX 360, which means I have to get a new hobby. The five day weather forecast for the next week says nothing but rain, so my now hobby is now to build a new VBOX. Perhaps the VBOX 360? I’ve already ordered all the parts, and if I’m lucky, I’ll get everything tomorrow.

Good times.