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iStarUSA BPU-350SATA Cage Review

iStarUSA-BPU-350SATA (7)

If you are into storage and servers, you may have thought about taking a crack at building your own. Just having a case large enough to home a ton of hard drives isn't enough to do the job right. Your drives need to be accessible. Think about it, you would have to take everything apart to replace or add a hard drive if they were just all stuffed in a case? That's nuts. In the interest of convenience and usability, products like hard drive hot-swap cages are nearly a necessity. Enter the iStarUSA BPU-350SATA hard drive cage Read More »

SilverStone DS380 NAS Case Review

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There is seldom a time when I get more excited than when someone ships me a case designed specifically for storage. SliverStone told me they would be producing something that would get my fingers twitching in anticipation, and for the last couple of months it sat in a dark corner waiting for the day when I could break it open. Lonely and afraid, the SilverStone DS380 SFF NAS chassis waited, waited for its chance to woo me. Read More »

How to Delay XBMC Start

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In the last few iterations of my home theater PC, the rig has been getting faster and faster. Many would not consider this an issue, but in my case, when my HTPC starts, XBMC starts faster than Windows 7 can get networking up. This means that XBMC cannot reach my NAS for media folders or for the MySQL databases I have configured. I tried everything I could think of from batch files to delay start to running a scheduled task after Windows starts. Then I found it. I found how to delay XBMC start without have to use any crazy batch files or jumping through any hoops. Read More »

Fix QuickBooks Error 3371 (Status Code -11118)

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Recently while upgrading a customer's old hard drive to a snazzy new OCZ Vertex 150, we encountered an unexpected result. Everything was moving along splendidly during the customer's "test it all and make sure it works" phase; applications were loading fast and he was happier than ever. Then, it happened... One of his most important applications decided it wasn't going to cooperate. QuickBooks hit us with an error, specifically "Could not initialize license properties. [Error 3371, Status Code -11118] ". Read More »

ASUS Z97-AR Motherboard Review

Asus-Z97-AR (13)

I am always on the verge of pulling the trigger when it comes to purchasing a new motherboard. However, the dollar spent to performance gained ratio plays out like a bad commercial in my head. These days, motherboards are becoming more expensive and really aren't offering too much in the way of shiny new features. Sure, they look cool... but do they really offer you anything over your current mobo? Simple answer... Yes... and no. Enter the ASUS Z97-AR motherboard. Read More »

How XBMC is Keeping Me Alive

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I will admit it. I am usually a hold out. In this particular case, I held out as long as I could in fear that an upgrade wouldn't work the way I liked it to. For a long time I had been using a combination of WMC (Windows Media Center) and XBMC to front end my Home Theater PC. WMC handled my Live TV streaming with a cable card and an HDHomerun Prime, while XBMC did everything else. To be honest, XBMC had some level of PVR functionality built-in to handle live TV... but it was crap in comparison and a major headache to configure with my setup. Read More »