Exposing Yourself to the InterWebs – The Service Machine

Last time around, I eagerly put myself out onto the internet without a care in the world. Using nothing more than my standard home desktop machine, and features of my home router. I was probeb almost immediately, but it worked.

Next steps, I want to have a machine which is dedicated to the job of dealing with stuff to be accessible from the internet. I purchased one of those “barebones” PC systems from Shuttle. I configured it like this:

SZ77R5
32Gb RAM
intel i73770K processor
ASUS DVD-ROM
Seagate 2Tb drive
Crucial 256Gb mSata SSD
Samsung 256Gb SSD

I did not purchase an additional video card because although the specs are fairly beefy, this is not meant to be a gaming rig.

The first time I built a PC with my daughter, about 10 years ago I think, it was a pair of Shuttle PCs. They’re fairly straight forward to build, just purchase the right components.

This build was fairly straight forward, except for one little piece. When first bringing up the system, I had to connect my standard viewsonic monitor which has vga/dvi/hdmi connectors on it. At first, I tried the HDMI connector, because that typically works. Well, it was a real head scratcher as I never saw anything on the monitor, even though it sounded like it was ‘posting’ to the BIOS. Scratch scratch, go to bed. Next morning, I thought I’d try to swap out the cable to using the DVI connector instead, and voila! that worked.

That’s an interesting bit of news right there. I was having a similar problem with input selection using my Odroid XU trying to startup Ubuntu. Same solution, try to use a monitor that has dedicated HDMI, or use the DVI connector if you can. Once the OS is installed, it will likely figure it all out correctly, but until then, no such luck.

My intention is to install Windows Server 2012. That’s so I can run Hyper-V and have some options as to OS installs and the like. More than likely, I’ll run a server os as one of the VMs, and a client OS just for kicks. I’d like to have a Windows 7 client available, as well as Windows 8. Of course, this is breaking with my intention to have specialized machines, but given the amount of storage available, and the excessive amount of storage, I figure I can have this little bit of fun.

I haven’t installed 2012 as yet, so I thought I’d try out one of those Linux Distros on a stick. I downloaded an instance of Tiny Core Linux, and booted the thing up. No problems. Then I created a USB keychain of the same, and again, no problem. It strikes me that this is a fairly easy way to test whether a machine is fundamentally working or not. I also like the fact that you can just pick up all your goods and move from machine to machine. Reminds me of the Raspberry Pi, and the Odroid, where the whole OS and your storage can be on an SD card, making it easy to move around.

In the coming week, I’ll setup the Windows Server OS images, and start putting content on the machine. Along with a web server, I want to host my various 3D models, and even a blog thing if I can.

It would also be nice to try out putting the machine in ‘the dmz’ and see how much of a gateway I can really make out of the machine. But, that’s a longer term thing.

For now, it’s just fun to have a good solid modern machine that is much quieter than my previous desktop machine, takes up less space, uses less power, and has a lot more capabilities.

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