I recently purchased a Unifi UVC-G3 network camera for the outside of my house. It works great in standalone mode, but has no recording capability without a Unifi NVR. The Ubiquiti hardware one is about $350, but a lot of people just repurpose a small linux box to do the job. That, to me, seemed silly since I have a Mac Mini that serves as my home media server, and runs my weather station (and a few other things). I also have a Raspberry Pi in the garage that runs Cacti (for network monitoring), and the Unifi wireless controller. This all got me thinking, “wait, I could just run the free version of VMWare ESXi (vSphere) and virtualize all of this on the Mac Mini”. The problem was, was that really possible? I know Apple allows virtualization of it’s OS on Apple hardware, and there are hacks to get it to work on non-Apple hardware, but I’d never actually managed a vSphere server before. Sure, I have tons of VMs at work, but the system is managed by another group, and all the VMs are Windows or Linux. So, I had to try.
For about 5 years now, I have run a Crashplan ProE (at the time, just Crashplan Pro) server at my office. It ran on a server here in town, then a remote server as well (for offsite backup). This server largely stalled out at version 3.6, and has worked quite well, but had limited storage, so we basically only backed up the bare necessities (Documents and Desktop, no pictures, music, videos, etc). Which, while fine, isn’t exactly what Journalism faculty expect when they generate a lot of photos, videos, etc. =/
However, a couple years ago, central campus had enough pressure to start up its own CrashPlan offering. They chose to utilize CrashPlan’s cloud storage offering, which is great. It meant unlimited storage, at the cost of about $90/user (with up to 5 computers per user).
I recently purchased a Hakko FX-951 for home soldering. I was considering the FM-203 in case I ever wanted SMD tweezers, but the cost difference just didn’t add up. But, I knew that the Hakko FX-888D supported a SMD tweezer upgrade for less than $200 in case I ever needed them. But, I didn’t need the whole station, and the cost of the whole thing ($100 or so). To eBay I went, and found a “as-is” base for less than $40. It was missing the power cable, but showed to power up, and showing the “S-E” error. But it also didn’t have an iron plugged in, so that error makes sense (“S-E” is sensor error, claiming it can’t see the temperature of the iron)!
When I got the base, it was a little worse for wear, but not terrible. The cord was cut right at the base, but replacing it was easy as I just had to unscrew 4 screws, unsolder the remainder of the cord, and then “donate” an old computer cable to it. Total time for that was 10 minutes. Next was checking the operation. I have an older FX-888 (analog) at work, and the hand-pieces are compatible. So plugging that in and testing worked perfectly… sort of. I had reset the unit to factory defaults because I wasn’t sure if any calibration adjustments had been made, and low and behold, that resets it to prior to the factory calibrating it as well. Thankfully I had my knockoff FG-100 and I was able to re-calibrate the iron back to within tolerance. After that, the base worked great. I have no clue, at all, why the cord was cut off. I even contacted my friend at Hakko Customer Service, and she confirmed the unit was legit.
I also purchased a knockoff (though the eBay seller wouldn’t admit it) iron for the unit. While that iron showed up defective (the soldering in the DIN connector was abysmal), I quickly repaired it and confirmed the unit worked with knockoff hand pieces as well. All and all, not bad for $40, and when I get around to buying the tweezer kit for it, I’m sure I’ll get plenty of use out of it. Plus, it matches my FR-810 and FX-951!