A Henry Street story

When DJ was younger, he was interested in plants. On any given Saturday I would be out in the back yard, piddling in the dirt. He would come over and ask me about what I was doing. Pointing at a patch of green leaves in the yard, he would ask, "What’s this?" or "What kind of flower does it make?" He got pretty good at telling the weeds from the flowers.

Other times in the yard, he and DeShawn would run around wild, laughing, throwing, sword fighting, tearing things up and causing me headache.

One day late in autumn, I went outside to check on them. He and DeShawn starting telling me about the wild onions they had dug up. The onions were big but didn’t taste good they said. See, we got all these flowering wild onions in the yard come spring time. I had shown both DJ and DeShawn how to dig the little white bulbs up and eat them. But things weren’t making sense, it was the wrong time of year for wild onions.

When asked, they took me over to where they discovered the onions. The boys had identified the onions by the long slender leaves and no stalk. At the fence between our yards, a dozen or so large white bulb roots strew about the ground, bite marks and chunks out of every one. Some of the bulbs were as big as a plum, others were the size of walnuts. 

The panic rose in my chest. These weren’t onions! "No wonder they tasted bad," I said, "These aren’t onions! They are antique hurricane lilies!" The bigger bulbs were likely 80-100 years old. Both DJ and DeShawn eyes widen and their jaws dropped. They immediately started to feel bad for wrecking the flower bulbs. I couldn’t be mad, though. With a smile, I asked if they would like to eat some more. Both boys declined. 

Memento mori, DJ Bell

February 17, 2012

Expiry imminent

The Xmas theme this year turned out to be “practical technology” with most of the gifts we gave and received. Internet use of our mobile phones had been rising all year and it was an easy transition for Carole to use a tablet device she got as an anniversary gift.


Carole keeping warm with her Fire

DeShawn went 21st century AND growing up in a big way, getting his first mobile phone and a tablet device.

Kitted out with tech

Your author remains a bit of a luddite with his old fashioned desktop computer and single mobile device/phone. But, with a new stereo system and phone mount in the car, at least his music can follow him down the road (not to mention GPS navigation, hands free calling, etc.).


Turns out that plaster is a very good attenuator of wireless network signal. So, to support our growing tech needs at 118 Henry Street, we installed an array of wireless access points thru the house to insure complete and thorough irradiation. One access point is downstairs in the living room, one in DeShawn’s bedroom upstairs and one in the new sewing room.

Thus, the errata to the network diagram

See you next year!

“We twa hae run about the braes,
and pu’d the gowans fine ;
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit,
sin auld lang syne.”

— “Auld Lang Syne” by Robert Burns

Tanha, Part 4

(Mr. Obvious knows that it’s been a while…use this link to recall the minutiae to date.)

The commission of server HONNE brought much stability, disk space, and peace of mind to the LAN’d of 118 Henry Street. The hardware purchases to bring the server to life, however, required correspondingly much dollars and effort. The practical realities of discretionary poverty cooled our  obsession vision for a while.

Still, when there was nothing else to worry with (or, there were many obligations to avoid), we would keep trying to put together a plan for something both useful and unusual. Since the project budget exsanguination, the only cabinet we could afford had to cost $Free.

It’s no exaggeration to say (and to those that know me, no surprise) that the desire to proceed got so strong that one day, we went thru the entire house with a tape measure and sized up virtually every piece of furniture as a candidate for server cabinet. Within a couple of hours, we had our victim.

Not the cat…the sewing machine cabinet

And so, the sketching began in earnest…

Click for a larger, more readable version

The exterior and structural parts of the cabinet were easy to re-purpose for our 21st century needs. Most of the design time was spent modeling the insides of the cabinet. The last design decision, after much gnashing and machination, was to purchase one more piece of hardware. Instead of building the electronic innards from scratch, we would use a rack mount server case as a chassis.

The heart of the beast, it beats (with Windows Server 2008 R2)

Adapting the sewing machine cabinet involved building 2 shelves inside it’s exterior structural shell. One shelf below , and one shelf above the server chassis .

The bottom shelf as viewed from the southern hemisphere

The top shelf as viewed with the hatch open

Another top view…yes, that power strip is factory color

The top compartment has the hard drive for system image backup (one of 3 methods used for system redundancy), a built in network switch and some ventilation fans.

Back view of an early trial fit for the server chassis

Front view with the door open (still looking for a display plate to cover the lights)

Proper ventilation and resultant heat dissipation were critical to the final form. The server chassis has 4 ventilation fans and the cabinet has 5. This creature is not quiet but it sure runs cool.

Ambient room temp 78 degrees (click to see disk temps)

That’s a max disk temp of 9 degrees above ambient…geek out!

Our fav pic so far

With the exterior decoration, we’ve stopped about halfway around the world on our journey to Tibet, resting somewhere near Morocco for now. The obsession vision isn’t quite complete, but, as they say….don’t hold your breath.

PS..check out the updated network diagram.