HP Home Server Update

I had a dream on Friday night that went something like this:

While staring at my little home server a voice spoke directly to my brain.  It said, “To make Microsoft Home Server and iTunes cooperate, a proper sacrifice must be offered to appease the gods.  What can you give Kuroneko003?  What are you willing to offer?”

I woke up sweaty and panicked and seriously thinking, “oh geez, what would be fitting? a cake? burning incense? a blood sacrifice maybe?”  When I came to, I realized that perhaps the unintentional blood sacrifices that I had made before when building computers may have something to do with them starting up the first time and being surprisingly quite robust than it had to do with luck (for goodness sake, considering my putziness, it isn’t skill  — I cut my fingers leaving little pools of blood in the bottom of the cases).  Sigh … too much “Rental Magica” (an excellent anime series that you could be watching) I suppose.

A handful of folders on my World Book were corrupt and couldn’t be moved.  As of now, all of uncorrupted video and audio files on the World Book and the entertainment laptop have been migrated to the home server.  I left a copy of all of the music on the entertainment laptop and I will make another copy on another computer hard drive later.  All that is now left is to move are our pictures.  During the migration, I did discover that the two drives in the Home Server are mirrored, so in reality only 500GB are available for storage.  I had more files than could be contained which necessitated burning some content to DVD and blowing away series I knew I would not view again.  Sometime this month I will buy another hardrive or two to increase the capacity of the server (I wonder if I can cannabalize the World Book drives — they are SCSI drives too.  Hmm… that will probably require another sacrifice.).

I also discovered, without my explicit direction, the media server made a back up of the computer that I use as a client for the server.  I suppose this is okay, but because of this, I will not be installing the Home Server software on our other computers due to limited storage capacity.  I hope that I can change these settings so I can back-up only selected  files like my e-mail.  The rest of the stuff on the computers isn’t that important now that our media files have been centralized.

Onto iTunes … just so the it’s known:  I hate iTunes.  It’s so dumbed down that it’s nearly impossible for me to use.  The problem occured when I tried to point the library to the shared music folder on the home server.  This of course caused duplicates to occur in iTunes, which is a BIG problem when you have 3900+ songs in you library.  At first I tried resolving the duplicates manually.  After 30-mins and very little progress, I decided to go to bed and that’s when I had the dream I described at the beginning of this blog entry.  The next day, I decided to root around in my iTunes directory to see if there was a slicker way to do this.  My strategy was to blow away the library without blowing away the music files and then have iTunes remake library.  My first attempt made things worse — never allow iTunes to consolidate your library.  It resulted in triplicates for me, in addition to doubling the number of actual files residing on the server.  The trick is to move the music files and cover files to the directory you want to point the iTunes library to and then blow away all other instances of the iTunes directory so iTunes can’t rediscover them.  When you do this, iTunes will discover only the directory it’s pointed to and your library will not have duplicates.  The next test will be adding new music from the iTunes store and ripping from CD.  Sigh …

So far, playing/viewing my media files on the other computers on my home network works.  I tried out a few hi-def video files and they played smoothly, even on our ancient media center laptop (yippee!  we don’t need a new one yet!).    I haven’t fully enabled all of the sharing features on the home server yet, so stay tuned and when I get around to it, I’ll write about the experience.  Anyhow, so far I’m very pleased.