We are back after the US Thanksgiving weekend break with all of the gadgets that we purchased during the Black Friday sales! Jim also tells the story of his Drobo 5N failing and how he recovered it as well as a move to Google Photos for all his pictures. All this and more! Join Jim Collison / @jcollison and Mike Wieger / @WiegerTech for show #380 of Home Gadget Geeks brought to you by the Average Guy Network
On this episode, we look at how Jim is using the Fitbit Challenge to up this fitness ; We also look at phase one of the new robot lawnmower project and discuss the merger that has effected ; We also cover email from listeners So join Jim Collison / @jcollison for show #371 of Home Gadget Geeks brought to you by the Average Guy Network
Join Jim Collison / @jcollison and Mike Wieger / @WiegerTech for show #357 of Home Gadget Geeks brought to you by the Average Guy Network Join Jim Collison / @jcollison and Mike Wieger / @WiegerTech for show #376 of Home Gadget Geeks brought to you by the Average Guy Network WANT TO SUBSCRIBE? Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E/1UTC at Full show notes and video at Tags: Podcast, Home Gadget Geeks, Nespresso, Vava, NAS, Home Server, Drobo, QNAP, Synology, Computers Jim’s Birthday gifts Coffee – Vava – For the grill – Get the Home Gadget Geeks Mobile Apps at is powered by Maplegrove Partners web hosting. Get secure, reliable, high-speed hosting from people you know and trust. For more information visit
Kevin Schoonover shows off the new Lenovo TS140 as a home server #160; Compares it to the Dell T20 at the end of the #160; Find the audio and links to the video at Home Server Show Meetup in Indy – Sep 20 – register only about 30 spots left Synology DiskStation DS414SLIM ;camp=213733&creative=393185&creativeASIN=B00KXQD7WY&linkCode=shr&tag=avestufrothea-20&linkId=ZZCEBU5QRRSZFDMP&qid=1405048242&sr=8-2&keywords=414slim For a limited time, receive 2TB FREE – a $150 value – with your purchase of a Drobo 5N or 5D. Find Plex at Drobo USB 4-Bay Storage Array (DDR3A21) by Drobo for $ ;camp=213733&creative=393177&creativeASIN=B00JLR8IZ2&linkCode=shr&tag=avestufrothea-20&linkId=FYQOO5XSQYPGH2D5&qid=1405048358&sr=8-2&keywords=drobo Home Server Show is live every Tuesday night at 7:30pmC/8:30E (+15 minutes) over at
Jim (@jcollison) is joined this week by Christian Johnson and Windows Home Server MVP John Zajdler (@Dieharder) for show 137 of Home Tech. In this episode we talk about a listener email, Windows to Go, Christian’s ACES program at University of Maryland, a question from a listener on Classic Shell and even some StrengthsFinder talk from Jim and Christian. Support the Average Guy Tech Scholarship Fund: Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E/1UTC at Listen Mobile: Click on a Time Stamp to jump to that spot in the video Tech Scholarship fund is sponsored by you when you use Listener Email on Drobo] / Update on Windows to Go] John’s Drive: 32GB DataTraveler Workspace – by Kingston Christian gives an update from University of Maryland] Google+ Q & A Question about Classic Shell] Christian Covers the redesign of the Johnson Server Farm] ACES uses the Gallup StrengthsFinder] See Jim on Called to Coach: Gaming covered on the Home Tech Podcast? Other future topics] for the Home Tech Preshow The NEST review with Mike Howard is now on YouTube and now is open to 3rd party developers – Synology 712+ is now at the Collison House – Synology DiskStation 2-Bay (Diskless) Network Attached Storage DS712+ (Black) by Synology Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: #!/TheAverageGuyTV Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/unrealshots Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
Jim (@jcollison) is joined this week by Mike Howard from for Show 116. Mike recently spent sometime working on his podcasting studio at home and created what he now calls a Hangoutasaurus for his weekly shows on photography. Using 5 PCs, a mixer and a mic, Mike is able to broadcast and record his podcast in a very unique way. You will be surprised to hear how he did it. Have a listen. Jim was also able to spend time at the Cali Lewis / Drobo meet up in Omaha recently. He recorded several interviews from that event and they have been added to the end of this podcast. I think you will enjoy them. Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E at Listen Mobile: Join the Average Guy Facebook Group and you can win! We are at 138 members right now, when we hit 250, everyone in the group gets entered into a drawing for $100 gift card from Amazon for active members. Tell your tech friends to join us there and they could win too! . If you are listening to the audio, here is a pic from Mike’s Studio. Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: #!/TheAverageGuyTV Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/unrealshots Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.
Laptops, Desktop Replacement, Lenovo Yoga, Windows Blue, UltraBook, Surface RT, Haswell, Docking Stations, Multimonitor Support, BIOS-Mods, Cali Lewis and Drobo – HT115
Jim (@jcollison) is joined this week by Christian Johnson, John Stutsman (@JohnStutsman), Kevin Schoonover (@schoondoggy1979) and Paul Braren (@tinkererguy) for Show 115. This show is part two of three where we look at the good, the bad and the ugly of those devices we call laptops. Big congratulations to Christian who finished High School this week! Join us for the show live each Thursday at 8pmC/9E at Listen Mobile: Invite for the Home Server Show Meetup: Kevin – @Schoondoggy1979 What do you want from a mobile device(use case); consumption, creation or both? Desktop replacement; power user, screen size 11”- 17”, lots of memory, dual drives? Road warrior; light load, ultra-book, tablet like device, Surface, Yoga, Revolve? Hybrids; flip, twist, split? Consumption; tablet, ChromeBook, ultra light? What some are calling a fragmented market, I call choice! Screen resolution; how much is enough? Windows 7 or Windows 8, touch or no-touch? If pen input is important, look for active digitizer. Brand loyalty? Work; docking solution, multi monitor? My UltraBook(work) and Surface RT(personal) combined are lighter than my Lenovo T400. Haswell, Bay Trail; low power plus performance. Will Windows Blue fix all concerns of Windows 8? New or Used? Features that are important to you; backlit keyboard, touchpad, trackpoint? Needs evolve; desktop, laptop, tablet, phone? Do you keep technology forever or are you a technology butterfly? Sell your tech while it still has value. Maintenance; update your BIOS often-thermal control parameters. Get a bag to match your laptop and stuff; For Laptops BIOS Modifications: Paul Braren, TinkerTry IT @ home. I started with a plea for anybody that lives anywhere near Connecticut or Boston to come see me talk about vZilla, with 2 presentations coming up soon! Connecticut VMUG User Conference in Hartford CT on May 14 2013 BSidesBOS on May 18 2013 in Boston, MA on May 18 2013 Paul began with showing the brick-sized power supply for my beefy, capable, Core i7 based Lenovo ThinkPad W520, with 3 drive bays (2 x ”, 1 x mSATA under the keyboard). I also showed my wheeled carry case that’s traveled to dozens of customers across about 25 states, from 2006 to 2010. Having the ability to use a RAID0 for roughly 2x read and 2x write speeds was key, for my huge ThinkPad W700 that I used to fly around with. I didn’t have the pop-out secondary display, but I did enjoy the 1920×1200 17” screen, despite the ~9 lbs of heft, and the ” of thickness. Met my customer-site consulting and hands-on deployment tools need, with lots of memory for virtualization, and big screen to share with 2 others working nearby. Also worked well for long evenings working (creating content, burning LightScribe DVDs, typing a lot of email) from my many hotel room evenings. Next, I showed the amazingly well-designed IBM ThinkPad 701 from 1995, better known as the “Butterfly” and demonstrated that despite a dead CMOS battery, Windows Millennium still boots up fine, on the original hard drive! The point of the demo was also to show that it had the TrackPoint, a great productivity boost for touch typists like me. Helpful for IBM employees to be able to count on this consistent experience, them always being there, given all ThinkPads had them for over 18 years now. The same cannot be said for the often-still-crummy TrackPads out there. I briefly mentioned my use of HP and Dell laptops and some even had TrackPoint clones as well, but those just never had quite the same feel. I mentioned that over a decade ago, I was working with software developers, and got spoiled by the amazing ThinkPad T30’s glorious 1400×1050 screen. That helps explain why I cannot ever tolerate today’s typical 1280×720 laptop. I also touched upon what it takes to be the repair guy, to keep about a dozen laptops running in the extended family, for about the last 15 years, especially once the warranty expires (I keep spares, to use for parts). I do disaster recover for various failed hard drives roughly 5 times per year, and replacing Ghost with Home Server was a huge blessing for more reliable, storage de-duped bare-metal restores. We discussed docks and monitors, see also my new deep-dive Superguide here: that I created when I heard David McCabe and Darren Cohen recently talking about docking options for the Microsoft Surface Pro, over on SurfaceGeeks here. See also: I mentioned I 16GB on Vista 64 bit since the Vista betas in early 2006, leveraging the memory for my conference presentation Datacenter-in-a-box, also for testing and self-training on VMware for certification. Battery life was rarely a serious consideration, but hard drive speed and maximum memory capacity were, and still are. Christian and his amazing site came up. I mentioned that once a warranty is expired, buying original branded parts can be pricey, so finding a BIOS that’ll allow aftermarket WiFi card, for example, can save a lot of $. Jim reminded us that using a modded BIOS doesn’t mean you’ve lost your warranty coverage, I didn’t mean to imply that. Then there’s my current ThinkPad W520, a Core i7 with 16GB of RAM, and OCZ Vertex 4 256GB SSD C: drive and 1TB D: drive, and a 1920X1080 ” screen, of course. Finally, there’s the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13. It doesn’t have the TrackPoint (the Lenovo Twist and Carbon and Helix and ThinkPad lines still do). But that didn’t matter last winter, since my son and my Dad’s T60 laptops were nearly 5 years old, these modern little beasts were sorely needed replacements. I touched upon the difficulties that the Yoga’s UEFI BIOS on a GPT-formatted SSD presented to me, as far as my ability to do DR (disaster recovery). It really pushed me to Windows Server 2012 Essentials, since Windows Home Server 2011 wouldn’t do UEFI BIOS or GPT formatted drives. I’m always inclined to do a test backup and full restore, before I hand over new gear to family members (using a spare hard drive). But the Lenovo is an SSD, and pretty much a sealed-design, and has the full damage protection warranty, so I really didn’t feel like opening it up. Instead, I got a Gigabit to USB adapter, seen also in this related article , where I outline how I made my father’s Core i7 based Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 capable of Wake On LAN (using a second system left running with LogMeIn). I also used the 2 Port USB hub to allow the single USB port on the Yoga to handle both the Gigabit connection, and booting from the Mushkin Ventura Plus 16GB USB Flash Drive that had the Windows Server 2012 Essentials cllient recovery image on there, pointing to the StarTech Gigabit adapters driver files when prompted. That allowed me to be confident that a restore would I then restored the full backup to a virtual machine on my ESXi system, using a VM configured similarly (UEFI BIOS/GPT hard drive type), and it worked fine. Now I was ready to deploy! I’ll write up that whole package deal of parts and the exact steps to backup and recovery at some point, please consider following me at Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 13 Summary: Strengths: it works, and works well, with Office 2013 and SkyDrive doing their thing 13” at 1600×900 is good, viewing angles are good, touch surface is good Modern UI photo viewing is pretty good IE 10 pinch-to-zoom browsing is quite nice (Chrome has yet to catch up) fast, ready to use upon opening the lid quickly (if you tweak the WiFi driver) tablet mode use reasonable, but rotate issues mean it’s been rarely used so far, and most drivers haven’t been updated since Oct 2012. can run Hyper-V (SLAT support evidenced by “coreinfo -v”) can do wake on LAN, see Lenovo Yoga has SLAT support for Hyper-V, and plays Starcraft pretty well Weaknesses (from my perspective, most of these issues don’t matter to the owners): keyboard layout quite new, easy to accidentally turn off WiFi or Screen with single keystroke (UEFI BIOS setting to make Fn key use helped fix that) no TrackPoint battery life not as amazing as had hoped quiet, but not that quiet (fan noise can be tweaked, but do I want to?) challenges of sealed design, when the time comes for upgrades (so I splurged and went with biggger HDD and 8GB from factory) See also: An overview of the family’s various laptops John Stutsman @JohnStutsman I’ve used mostly Dell LapTop computers through Work but it was my Son who inspired me to get my own personal LapTop. When my Son Got a HP Nettop I liked the size but wanted something more powerful and ended up settling on the Acer 1810T I wrote about how I upgraded the 1810T in Since that time I upgraded the Crucial SSD to a Corsair GT 240GB and Win 8 Pro 64b WMC & MS Office Pro 2013 I use SkyDrive and DropBox on it It has 4GB of RAM Stock, ” screen, ~3lbs I prefer to use a MS Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 and for on the Road I have a Samsung Ext. DVD player/burner and a WD Elements 1TB external HD The CPU is only a Core Duo U7300 GHz (10W TDP 2 core) that benchmarks slightly above the N40L I’m very happy with my Acer — The only thing it’s missing IMHO is a Haswell 🙂 Interesting article I saw this morning about the most reliable laptops in Real Clear Technology: FWIW based on the article — The Most Reliable Laptop Computers (top Ten countdown to best) · Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon · Dell Vostro 3460 · Dell Latitude E5530 · Dell Inspiron 14Z · Apple MacBook Pro 15 Retina · Acer Aspire V3-771 · Dell Vostro-3560 · Dell XPS 13 · Acer Aspire E1-571 · Apple MacBook Pro 13 Jim Cali Lewis / Drobo meet up – Met Dennis Halling from Lincoln and Greg Gurkie from Omaha, both HSS listeners Jim has a new server on the bench. Dell Precision Workstation 690 with 2 Intel Xeon 5140 Woodcrest 4MB L2 Cache LGA 771 65W Dual-Core 2U Passive Processors and 4GB of RAM (Kevin Schoonover sent me a bunch more that I still need to install). Supports up to 64GB of Ram. Running WS2012 Standard right now. Thinking thru my VM options. (a mention from the networking series) Link to the inventory of audio equipment Join the Average Guy Facebook Group and you can win! Next Giveaway: We are at 138 members right now, when we hit 250, everyone in the group gets entered into a drawing for $100 gift card from Amazon for active members. Tell your tech friends to join us there and they could win too! . Gigabit Internet is coming to Omaha! Facebook Page: Facebook Group: If you’d like to subscribe to the show, click on to update your iTunes library, or for other Podcast downloading applications, please click on the RSS Feed and pick your Pod Catcher of choice! Or, you can now stream the show online at at The Show Announcements and Schedule: #!/TheAverageGuyTV Jim’s Twitter: #!/jcollison Andrew’s Twitter: #!/unrealshots Contact Christian: Contact the show at Find us on Facebook: Find this and other great Podcasts from the Average Guy Network at Some links may contain affiliate codes that benefit the Average Guy Podcast Network.