Home NAS

So I’m looking at acquiring some network attached storage (NAS) and wondering how best to get a cute, quiet, efficient box that will store and share the family pictures / emails / music / files (not videos) within a mixed environment (Windows, Ubuntu, Android, Smart TV) and not be a burden to maintain.  Software-wise I like Ubuntu (for the OS) and Subsonic (for the music streaming) but I’m not especially attached to either. This home built server matches these “requirements”  but the diy angle is a little too onerous for me right now.

Linus Torvalds went through a similar process earlier this year and has some nice suggestions in the comments on his google+ thread.  In particular people seem to like the drobo, qnap, synology offerings but most vendors get a mention.  After this first pass I’m quite taken with the Synology DS213+ as it’s linux, it seems to do all I require and people are almost raving about it in the comments, but I’ll look into the options a little deeper before jumping in…

[Edit – seems Linus came to the same conclusion re: vendor after his post]

Tectonic shifts

I’m absolutely gobsmacked by the list of datasets that the City of London has declared it will publish today. This is a huge democratising step that I am very impressed by. I dont know the back story – in my experience this sort of thing takes years to happen – but I’m sure the City of London will be immediately rewarded with innovative visualisations of their data because there are lots of motivated and very capable people in that city. Exciting stuff.


I’ve been using the online favourites repository service, delicious for a few years now and it’s something I really like. I add a link several times a week these days, much more so than I update my blog – so I’ve added an “Interesting…” widget on the right.

When I save a link to delicious I have two rules that I’m not always able to keep:

  1. Always write a description and
  2. Never use the word “interesting”.



Came across siftables today for the first time via a link from O’Reilly Radar, which referenced a post from that very nice Phil chap’s coverage at ETech (wish I was there).  This is very nice kit.  The video on the siftables site is really quite exciting.   And it shows footage from a media lab – another awesome project from MIT that I’d forgotten about.  All very life affirming.

Apparently there was a New Scientist article about it a month or so ago so I was surprised I’d missed it.  I suppose it must have been in that issue that got lost in the heavy snow 😦


I recently discovered news.ycombinator.com and I’m loving it. It’s another social link aggregator like digg or reddit, but I find the quality of the links excellent. I have space in my schedule for about two good, longish articles a day, and this site is producing more than I can handle. An embarrassment of riches. Examples from a day earlier this week include:

  • Big dog video – impressive, very expensive looking robotic quadruped from DARPA
  • Blowing up – a 2002 article from New York Times focussing on Nassim Nicholas Taleb – a hedge fund investor looking for black swans.
  • Shell shock – a write up of a researcher at MIT interested in biologically inspired self-assembling materials.

Wiki mind mapping

Sweeney Todd mind map

On Friday the excellent information aesthetics feed pointed me to wikimindmap.org, an Adobe Flash visualisation of a wikipedia topic as a mind map. The image above shows the wikimindmap visualization for Sweeney Todd – the main character in the musical/opera of the same name by Steven Sondheim (chosen for it’s compact size, and because I’ve just been to see it performed at the Royal Festival Hall). This is very nice. It combines the “at a glance” loveliness of mind mapping with the collective wisdom of wikipedia. It may provide a way for humans (as opposed to machines – that is another story) to scan topics more quickly than scan-reading them.