My exam is over and done, and now the real faffing can begin. Bring on games, baking and DIY!
The title says it all. I have spent quite a lot of time playing with my new toy, a network attached storage (NAS) device from Synology, the DS220+. NAS, as the name suggests, allow you to share hard drives on a network for a variety of purposes including backup, hosting websites and email servers, and streaming media to name a few. My data backup has been fairly poor as of late, and backing up multiple computers can be a real hassle. Cloud backups are fine but buying large amounts of storage starts to get pricey, and if you lose internet access then you can no longer access that data.
For these reasons and a host of other potential uses, I decided it was time to invest in a NAS for our home. After a painstaking amount of research and deciding against making my own from a mini PC or Raspberry Pi, I opted to go with the mainstream approach and bought a Synology DS220+ from Box.co.uk, along with two 10TB hard drives. 20TB storage sounds impressive, but that’s not what I was aiming for. One of the big advantages of having a dual bay device is the ability to set up a RAID (redundant array of independent disks), and effectively mirroring them so if one fails then the data is still safe. It does mean that you only get the capacity of one drive, but 10TB is still a fair whack.
The Synology setup was very straightforward, and before long I had organised all of our computers to back up specific folders automatically, configured a music and photo sharing server, and Plex for streaming media to our TV. While backup was the primary use case for this NAS, I was intrigued by the streaming capabilities. My hope (eventually) is to rip our Blu-ray collection and have them available to stream.
One of the biggest advantages of buying Synology is the range of apps which are readily available and easily installed. Anyone who is computer literate should be able to setup and manage a Synology NAS with relative ease. What appears to be an intimidating piece of kit at first rapidly becomes accessible. Typing find.synology.com into the address bar after plugging the box into the router brought me straight to the installation page, then after a few minutes to the Diskstation Manager desktop. The linux-based user interface is straightforward to navigate and there are plenty of tips to help you get started.
One thing to keep in mind is noise. There’s a noticeable amount hard drive access noise that can be heard in a quiet room, and depending on where you locate it (ours is temporarily in the living room for ease of access) this could be an important factor. Eventually I will move it up into the office when the renovation is complete.
The moment when you realise you’ve killed a dragon which didn’t fight back, yet gave you 75000 runes. Now that’s something special. Nine levels in one go…
I have managed to fit a lot of baking into the last week. Potato bread, batch loaves (“Nutty Crust” imitation bread) and cassata. Cassata is made from layers of sponge cake sandwiched with ricotta cream, all wrapped in marzipan. It’s exquisite and worth trying if you want a little taste of Sicily at home. Sarah did the decorating, and I did the baking. The recipe was a Rachel Roddy one from the Guardian, although with some necessary alterations. At some stage I will post a slightly altered better version that worked for us. More experimentation is necessary…