Category Archives: Hardware

Hard Drive Space

So, I’m having some new issues with hardware: hard-drive space:
  • My 2 x 100GB SSD hard-drive space is running out.
  • I have multiple machines (desktop, laptop. macbook, iPad) for which I want to share files and work on similar projects.
  • I want to have more people work with me on projects, so I need to share files with others easily
What do I do?  Here are some options I found:

Google Drive

This is an excellent place for me to place files I want to share with others.  We can edit files simultaneously, which I have seen work magnificently in several situations.
I use this application for any collaborative documents (or spreadsheets, presentations, etc.) I need built.  Using Google Drive on my iPad has not been as convenient.  For my own notes, I use Evernote, where I can easily sort and manage my documents on many machines.


Dropbox has been a great application to sync my frequently used files between all my machines.  Once any of my machines gets only, Dropbox makes sure I have the current version of these files, and I don’t have to worry about “Did I make those changes here or there?”.  This works well for small files I need to be synced routinely, or when I’m working on a project and don’t want to use my USB stick to transfer files between my machines.
I will continue to use Dropbox to sync frequently accessed files that I keep around for a while.  This week I purchased a pro account to Dropbox.  I will store documents and working files here.  Soon, I will be able to access my files from anywhere, but it will take about 2 weeks to upload everything to their server.  Wow!


GitHub is a great source control location to store projects I am currently developing.  I currently have the Micro plan for $7/month which allows me to store 5 repositories.
I am often working on 10+ projects in a given month nowadays.  I need somewhere I can store several projects.  I would even like to store my past projects as well.  Then I could simply download the projects I am currently working on, and my versions would automatically be saved for me.  Also, I could allow others access to the same projects and allow Git to merge our separate changes together.

In writing this blog, I found a list of hosted Git repositories, and read a stackoverflow article which lead me to choose bitbucket, a free alternative to GitHub.  bitbucket charges per user rather than per repository, which I believe will be much more beneficial for my business.  GitHub’s price structure is excellent for a large team focused on a few projects, especially large open-source projects.

Follow-Up to Evaluating My Hardware Situation

So, I wrote a post almost a month ago to help me determine what hardware to buy for my office.  Well, now I have made my major purchases and am very pleased with the results.  Here is what is new for my business:

+16 GB RAM for my Desktop

OK, so maybe I don’t really need 8+16=24GB RAM at the moment, but I am really happy to have gotten rid of the “not enough memory” type warnings.  And when I begin doing more virtualization I will be prepared!

iPad (3rd-Generation)

This has been an excellent investment!  I don’t need to lug my giant backpack with my computer, power chord, mouse, Bible, and other reading material anymore.  I can simply grab my shoulder bag with the iPad and keyboard, and off I go.  I am very pleased with Evernote, too.  I can take notes during meetings, organize these notes, and later transfer all my TODOs to my project management software at the end of the day.
Having a tablet has been amazing.  I don’t know whether getting an iPad is necessarily better than an Android tablet, but I do feel cool…

MacBook Pro

This was at the bottom of my list of items to purchase since I don’t really need a Mac.  Yet I had a friend selling his old 2009 MacBook Pro with upgraded memory so he could purchase a Windows laptop.  I decided to go for it.  Timing-wise, this was great to have while my old laptop was out of commission and I had not yet received my new ThinkPad.
I have a lot to learn about running a Mac.  It is very different than my Windows machines.  I am looking forward to learning what settings and features the Mac has.  Maybe I’ll even find some scenarios where I will use a Mac exclusively, but for now I am leaving this machine for cross-platform and cross-browser website testing.

Lenovo ThinkPad T530

I am very excited for this machine!  The machine has an i7 processor, 8GB RAM, 100GB SSD, and a wide 15.6″ display.  And the cherry on top is a fingerprint reader so I can login without typing my ridiculously long password.  Also, the speakers are amazing (at least when compared to the puny sound coming out of my old ThinkPad SL500).


Now I know I have the equipment I need and then some.  I have already made use of all these purchases, and I know the investments are not going to waste.  Business is growing, and now I’m feeling even more prepared.  I still have other dreams for my office (two more large monitors to replace my three smaller monitors), but those are definitely not needed for now.  I’m doing pretty well with what I have for now.
Thank You Father God for Your provisions.  Give me wisdom and guidance to steward your provisions well and to make use of what you set before me.

Evaluating My Hardware Situation

My backpack has been dropped a couple too many times with my laptop in it.  Now the hinge to my laptop monitor is busted and may only have another month or two before another fall fully incapacitates my mobile computer.

What now?  Do I get a newer laptop?  A Macbook?  A tablet?  If a tablet, do I get an iPad?  Android?  Windows 7?  Wait for Windows 8?  Oh, the options are so numerous!

So, in order to answer this question, I decided to look at the bigger picture: What hardware to I need to run my business?  I’ve spent lots of time evaluating software, since that is what I focus on most, but not as much time on what hardware I need.  The rest of this blog post is my attempt to evaluate this question for my business.


  1. Develop software using Microsoft products, e.g., Visual Studio, SQL Server Management Studio, etc.  I love the tools Microsoft has made available!
  2. Test operating systems and application configurations.  I would like to be able to test Windows 8, Windows 9 when it comes out, or different Linux systems.  Also, I need to test applications on Windows XP or Windows Vista.  Also, I build and test some websites on Linux servers.
  3. Use source control for version tracking and making application development accessible to multiple machines.  This will also be very useful when I hire other people to help me on projects.
  4. Remote desktop  to my main computer when travelling or meeting clients.
  5. Automatic backup of current documents and general files stored for different projects.  This is useful in case a hard drive fails or some other catastrophic event.
  6. Periodic backups of files.  I keep several backups in case I accidentally delete a file and want to get back to it a couple months later.  I have yet to actually need this since I started, but I have definitely had this issue one time or another in the past.
  7. Test websites in Mac browsers. &ngsp;I actually had an instance this year where there was a bug in a Mac browser, but the PC equivalent did not see the same bug until two weeks later.  This was very hard to troubleshoot on my PC!
  8. Develop applications while travelling or while with clients.  Also while away form my office, I will need to present development websites to clients and manage my projects using OnTime (add features, view burn-down charts, etc.)

Hardware Solutions

  1. My current desktop machine running Microsoft Windows works great (Intel i7, 8GB RAM, 2 x 120GB SSD, 2 x GeForce GTX 550 Ti, etc.)
  2. Virtualization would be a good solution here.  I will need a larger hard drive (1-2TB) to store the virtual machines and more memory.  On the software end, I see two main possibilities: Microsoft HyperV and VMWare Player.  I will likely use VMWare because it has been around longer (hopefully more mature), appears to allow more use of USB, CD burning, etc., and I have already a little more familiear with VMWare Player.
  3. GitHub is my likely candidate right now.  I enjoy using Git and look forward to new tools they will be coming out with for Windows.  Now I need to think through what size of plan will work best.
  4. I am having issues using RDC since I moved my office down town.  The step that seems to be an issue with the router given to us by our internet provider.  I may have to get another router so that I have more control of the firewall.  Hopefully that will smooth out this issue.
  5. Carbonite has been an excellent solution!
  6. I use a couple 1-2TB hard drives.  I store one away from my office  in case a catastrophic event occurs to destroy the backup in my office, and I rotate them regularly.
  7. I may actually get a Macbook.  I wonder if an iPad would be good enough, though.  Getting both may be most appropriate, since their browser capabilities are optimized differently.
  8. Again, I need a mobile machine running Microsoft Windows with the power to run software development applications.  I’m looking forward to see the Microsoft Surface come out with Windows 8!  Until then, I may need to find something different.  I am partial of Lenovo ThinkPads, which I have enjoyed using so far.

Shopping List

So, I think these are the items I will need to purchase next:
  • New laptop running Microsoft Windows
  • New router (for the main office)
  • Another large hard drive (for virtualization)
  • More memory (for virtualization)
  • A paid account to GitHub
  • Android tablet (for fun)
  • Used Macbook and/or iPad if found on a good deal
  • Maybe the Surface when it comes out