Raid system – 8TB home storage, on budget!

With the advent of higher definition Television, growing demand for high quality lossless audio as well as general madness the need for a reliable as well as flexible and large home storage solution grew rapidly for me. Just hammering more disks into your home router / server just won’t nail it over the long term. So i’ve set out to build a cheap (per TB), (hopefully) longlasting as well as reasonably reliable home storage system for the enthusiast (read: “tinkering geek”). This was achieved using a custom made case for the parts as well as a lucky find for the adapter card. Read on for more…

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PicPost: Headphones Amplifier

Since a long time i wanted to check out DIY Amplifier design and building (see for a rough timeline oO). As a first-tryer i opted for a Headphones amp as a friend is a real HighEnd-Headphones fanatic and well … it’s simpler and cheaper – you don’t need large capacitors, big heatsinks, uber-powersupplies … all nice n tiny.

The Amplifier itself is a TexasInstruments TPA1517NE Class-AB Amplifier that is driven at a voltage of 18V (to be able to supply a reasonable signal for high-impedance (600ohms) headphones. The Schematic is almost the application note except for enlarged output capacitors to lower the cutoff frequency of the output-filter. Both powersupply and amp reside on on PCB.

The casing is made from 15mm Multiplex, routered at the edges. The volume-control knob is also routered from the same 15mm MPX material. The edges are routered along with 45*

Buuut, as this is a picpost, here they come:

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New HiFirama, Black Beauty

Yay for another cool HiFi Project – a mini-monitor using the MarkAudio “cheapo Series”, CHR-70 which benifits from the design- and production experience MarkAudio has from it’s larger brothers but is made with budget considerations in mind – so in short it’s a modern, well-designed and manufactured “mid-budget” speaker which performs just great! The cases are Teak-veneered MDF, the design is a GHP (“Geschlossen mit HochPass” -> Closed with HighPass Cap) design from a HiFi-Forum (german board) member which was influenced by the “GHP” concept of a german HiFi-magazine…

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Nicely lit DIY Figure-Display-Cabinets

A common problem with most of the figure display case solutions out there is lighting – how do you put enough (and nice) light in your display so the figures look good but the whole place doesn’t get filled by bulky bulbs, PSUs, cables and the like.  We like to show a method of building cheap yet good looking lighting for custom glass displays as well as the common and popular IKEA DETOLF using inexpensive led-strips.

Also, as we (and probably many many others) like to use plain glass shelfs (as they’re easy to mount and look good) to display figures there is the very common problem of dust and dirty laying down on the figures. The other thing we propose here is a nice method to build sturdy yet good looking glass cover you can simply place on the shelf over the figures (a box with two open sides: backside and bottom).

For building and setup instructions for those two cool concepts, please look inside :).

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Backlit Couch/Coffee-Table

Have you ever wanted a cool couch- or coffee-table? Something you’re friends will be like “wow”, that blends nicely into your existing room and that makes a nice comfy atmosphere?  Too bad something like that isn’t available readily made at IKEA or the like … but hey, we can tinker it together ourselves!

That’s what we thought when we started to plan that table. Another nice thing about it: It’s extensible, you can always mod in a LED matrix and a matrix-cabinet and start displaying pixel art, a ticker or whatever you feel like … but first you need the basic hardware, and thats what this post is about!

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Free/Open Wireless Sync your iPhone with Linux!

While using 3.x on my iPhone free (as in self-hosted and “free as in free speech”) syncing was a bit of tinkering here and there but worked. With iOS 4 Apple introduced a new scheme for the Calendar (which used to be a nicely and sanely formatted sqlite file), so all the sync-tools aren’t really working anymore. Iphonesync (required J/B Phones and synced to e.g. Funambol) can still read notes(?) and addresses but can’t sync the calendar anymore. So i was looking for another option to sync this thingy – and found one (or two) …

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Deer me, Deer you, Bookstand-Deer!

And off we go for another nice DIY tinkering howto. Again we needed a birthday present for a friend of ours, which is a deliberate Otaku and IRC-Nerd on #satf, rizon. Those folks happen to have a bot that can draw ASCII-Art pictures mainly of deers – that look just like the bookholder deer below.

As you can imagine our friend was flabbergasted (i somehow like that word) to the last. Read on for more details on how to build it!

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Robust HTML Parsing (in Ruby)?

Have you ever wanted to parse information from some rather complex or totally broken (in terms of html standards compliance) website? Maybe you tried fighting that problem with regular expressions or DOM or SAX XML parser. If you did you probably ran into some problems: Maybe there were too many similar matches for your regex as there are repeating similar patterns in the website or your XML parser went crazy with invalid formatted or non-xhtml-compliant content?

I wanted to parse a website that had no RSS feed for changes and create a RSS feed. I first tried around with various of the ideas mentioned above but as the website is kind of “irregular” (every item is a slight bit different) and W3 validator shows over 11k of errors (in 1.1 transitional) i had quite some problems.

Until i found Rubies Hpricot, a HTML parser that lets you realize robust HTML parsing of fucked up formatted and non-standard-compliant content at ease.

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