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Author Topic: advice on home pc set up  (Read 3529 times)
mr_volvo
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Posts: 36


« on: August 15, 2007, 04:39:30 am »

The vector forums are full of helpful advice, so hit me with it...

My desktop computer isn't getting used very much, its fans are far too loud and and I'm sure its using more power than something that browses the net a for an hour or so a night should be.

However, I would like to use something to store all my music and movies and be able to serve those to me whilst im out-and-about (but obviously connected to the net).

I'm considering:
(I'm thinking low Power, low price, low noise)
-laptop & external HD. (this would be plugged into the current screen and keyboard so I don't have to hear any whinging about small screens or keys)

Has anyone run into a problem running a dell laptop 24/7? (its going to be a dell cos I can get one from a mate for cheap as it doens't have a battery)

Now to serve files would I use ftp or ssl or ---? I like the idea of being able to transfer data to the server from my mate's computers. Ideally, I could get my girlfriend or parents to transfer files to me simply and I could just give them links to download my files.

Anyways, advice on setting up such a system? Any tips or heads up on problems I will run into?

Thanks kindly.
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Vector 5.8 SOHO on
Dell Latitude C400 (1Ghz, 256mb)
nightflier
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Vectorian
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Posts: 4018



« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2007, 05:30:48 am »

Not all external hard drives are designed for 24/7 operation. I have seen cheap ones overheat and die.

I have made several home servers using old parts. P3 based Celerons in the 600 MHz range are thrifty and run cool. I like the socket mounted ones with big heat sinks and quiet fans.

For external access, I use SSH on a non-standard port. This keeps it secure and out of sight from many robotic hacking scripts. Access is easy from a *nix box. From Windows you can use putty/winscp.

The above solution is obviously for use by a computer literate person. If you want standard services (HTTP, FTP) on standard ports, you become a very visible target. Also, many ISP's monitor those ports. Unless you have a static IP and they allow local servers, the ISP will change your address if they find them open.

Another concern is to have a private collection of music and movies easily accessible from the Internet. You may draw a lot of unwanted attention.
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M0E-lnx
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Posts: 3178



« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2007, 06:08:06 am »

You can always setup a private ftp (one that uses username/password to authenticate)
There is an xammp package on the repos, that will help you get it setup and running.
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Joe1962
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« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2007, 06:11:53 am »

(I'm thinking low Power, low price, low noise)
Sounds like a job for a Mini-ITX to me... Wink

Has anyone run into a problem running a dell laptop 24/7? (its going to be a dell cos I can get one from a mate for cheap as it doens't have a battery)
Oh well, if you have your mind (wallet) made up for this laptop... FWIW, I have been running a Toshiba with a dead LCD as a 24x7 server (squid, ejabberd, firewall, ssh and port forwarder to the internal email server) at my institute for close to a year now, no probs. And it's a 5 year old P4 2.8 with internal 40 GB HDD, so not one of the cool-running ones either. Oh, and it's my remote bittorrent client too (rtorrent, over ssh and GNU screen). Needless to say, it's running a stripped-down VL 5.8 Standard... Grin

Now to serve files would I use ftp or ssl or ---? I like the idea of being able to transfer data to the server from my mate's computers. Ideally, I could get my girlfriend or parents to transfer files to me simply and I could just give them links to download my files.
For an internal LAN entertainment server you should set up a samba or nfs share, or perhaps even a streaming server. As an internet server, nightflier and M0E-lnx pretty much covered it.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 06:14:22 am by Joe1962 » Logged

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mr_volvo
Member
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Posts: 36


« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2007, 02:46:26 am »

change of plans...
I realised that I wouldn't be able to run my lcd at its native resolution if I used the dell laptop so it seemed a little short sighted.  Instead im going to grab a a asus mb with on board everything and a dual core amd. I guess this means that (power)efficiency will be sacrificed for a bit of pace and being able to use the bits I have lying around...no harm.

As for the serving of files what would be the issue with running an authenticated ftp server on a non-standard port? Wouldn't that mean that bots would be less likely to come across it? I only have a 128kb/s upload speed at the moment so I'm not too concerned with people stealing my music. This will sound naive but what are the other issues once someone has gained access to my ftp site?

Thanks again. I'm learning much more about computers here than 3 years of the ol' computer science degree.
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Vector 5.8 SOHO on
Dell Latitude C400 (1Ghz, 256mb)
nightflier
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Vectorian
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Posts: 4018



« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2007, 05:49:29 am »

When using a non-standard port (> 1056) you gain some "security through obscurity".  The port is not associated with an FTP server so it is not obvious what protocol to use. This way you do not broadcast the presence of your server to every passing scanner. Automated scripts usually look for the easy targets.

To connect, you need to supply the port, protocol, user name and password. A real FTP client works better than a browser.

Now, some words from my paranoid side. You should have some idea of the possible dangers so you can secure your setup. I admit to being somewhat paranoid, because I know "they" are after me! Wink

Concerns about having a public server go beyond people copying your files. Once in, a visitor with malicious intent can take control over the box and use it for illegal purposes. He/she may install keyloggers to sniff out account numbers, user names and passwords. If the RIAA gets wind of a server with mp3's available, legal teams get dispatched.

Of course, any computer can be compromised. There are probably thousands of boxes which have been hijacked by e-mail viruses or nefarious web sites. They are connected in botnets that serve up spam and perform DOS attacks. That's the Wild, Wild Web.
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Triarius Fidelis
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Domine, exaudi vocem meam


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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2007, 08:16:25 pm »

Concerns about having a public server go beyond people copying your files. Once in, a visitor with malicious intent can take control over the box and use it for illegal purposes. He/she may install keyloggers to sniff out account numbers, user names and passwords. If the RIAA gets wind of a server with mp3's available, legal teams get dispatched.

Du har rett, men RIAA is a horse of a different color in Australia, where I believe mr_volvo lives.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
nightflier
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« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2007, 04:12:28 am »

RIAA is a horse of a different color in Australia

ROFLMAO!
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rbistolfi
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Posts: 2276


« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2007, 04:52:54 am »

Quote
If the Roadmarking Association of Australia gets wind of a server with mp3's available, legal teams get dispatched.

Still has some sense to me.  Grin
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"There is a concept which corrupts and upsets all others. I refer not to Evil, whose limited realm is that of ethics; I refer to the infinite."
Jorge Luis Borges, Avatars of the Tortoise.

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Jumalauta!!
Triarius Fidelis
Vecteloper
Vectorian
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Posts: 2399


Domine, exaudi vocem meam


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« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2007, 05:56:47 am »

Quote
If the Roadmarking Association of Australia gets wind of a server with mp3's available, legal teams get dispatched.

Still has some sense to me.  Grin

If I saw a server full of Slipknot mp3s, I would probably consider it a criminal, if not blasphemous act of poor taste.
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"Leatherface, you BITCH! Ho Chi Minh, hah hah hah!"

Formerly known as "Epic Fail Guy" and "Döden" in recent months
mr_volvo
Member
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Posts: 36


« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2007, 03:42:22 am »

HAHAHA that is fantastic!

Ill try with the ftp server first and see how it goes. It is only my housemate who uses that computer for anything more than playing mp3s and I don't care about their security ;-)

Also I spend most of my hard earned cash on CDs, so I feel like the Roadmarkers would struggle to find anything wrong with what I'm doing.

Ahh god that was great, the RIAA... Grin
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Vector 5.8 SOHO on
Dell Latitude C400 (1Ghz, 256mb)
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