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This is something I’ve always wanted to try, and now have the opportunity! My parents had an old relic of the Pentium 3 epoch, which I was able to appropriate in the name of Science. The Dell Dimension 4100 really is an old battle axe, and I’ve given the old bird a new lease on life by turning it into a Media Server. My plan is to use it for a webserver eventually as well.

Our house has not one but two high-speed cable connections, which we divide between the upstairs and downstairs people. The various routers and modems are displayed in a pleasing techno-shrine to the electro-gods in our living room:

The problem is that the shrine is downstairs, while our convenient nook-come-server-room is upstairs. Of course, being a dinosaur, the server doesn’t have a wireless card. I considered messing around with adding one, but decided it was easier to run a cable up the stairs, so after a trip to NCIX.com, to pick up a 500gb HD, 100ft CAT cable and network switch, the route was established. Of course, being a house not entirely designed around networking, some elegant solutions were in order:

The nook really is perfect for the job at hand, almost as if it was built for the purpose. The server looks quite at home, especially with careful cable management and hardware organization:

So I now have ‘er up and running, and it feels delicious. I am using NoMachine NX , a great piece of software which was used in the lab in Edinburgh. It makes remote desktops simple. A great feature is that sessions can remain open when you close the window, meaning you can have programs continuing to run when you log off. Running Ubuntu and having a window open displaying a session with another Ubuntu box creates delicious recursive fantasies. I’m wondering how many of these things I could next before the whole network crashed and/or the pentium 3 set on fire…

This greate guide explained how to stream videos over the LAN with VLC, so I can now enjoy my entire media collection without taking up HD space on my laptop! The best benefit is that I can leave it torrenting constantly without noise in my room!

Next step will be to get the web-serving up and running!