Your Office Computing Setup?

Discussion in 'Indie Related Chat' started by Chris Evans, Aug 5, 2010.

  1. Chris Evans

    Moderator Original Member

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    I have about six computers but most of them are low-mid range or just about useless now (ie. 1.3Ghz Celeron, 512MB Ram and a G4 iMac 10.3.9 OSX....ugh).

    So it's time that I gradually start upgrading my hardware. Right now all the computers are networked and I have work files/folders scattered across 2-3 machines.

    But I'm thinking of maybe setting up a NAS (network attached storage) and just putting all my workfiles on that. It'll be easier to access and backup data from a single location instead of sifting through shared folders across multiple computers.

    However NAS systems are a bit expensive and they have their own quirks. The easiest and cheapest solution would be just to buy a Terabyte internal harddrive and make it a slave of one my existing computers.

    What do you guys recommend? I have Mac OSX Lep, WinXP, Vista, and soon Win7, so I was trying to find the best way to manage and use workfiles across all these OSs'.

    For example, one of my computers has design software, so there's a lot of art files on that computer. Another computer has my coding environment so it has most of my game files, and etc. I want to use the strengths and software of each individual computer while still keeping the files nice and organized and easy to backup. Since I'm basically reconstructing my office computing setup, I want to see if there are some better ways I could be doing this.
     
  2. Desktop Gaming

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    Problem with NAS, if you have a wireless setup, is that it's going to be pretty slow compared to a wired network - even if you use 802.11n.

    Other than that, I've just trimmed down my desk a bit. I currently have my main dev PC (Windows 7), a Windows 7 laptop, an iMac running Snow Leopard and VMWare Fusion with Vista and XP (English and German) for testing.

    I don't do much dev on anything but the Windows 7 desktop, which has a USB external hard drive where all my backups live. My subversion repositories are on an 8GB flash drive for portability.
     
  3. ggambett

    Moderator Original Member Indie Author

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    I have one such machine with Fedora 12 serving files via a SMB share (identical to a shared folder in Windows) plus Subversion and Trac. If you want the most bang for the buck, attach a big hard drive to that machine and put Linux on it.
     
  4. ManuelMarino

    Original Member

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    About networking, yesterday I saw Sitecom products like this one and I've been amazed:

    "Create a network via the power socket without the need to lay cables through the house or office.

    With the Sitecom Homeplug Kit 200 Mbps you can quickly and easily set up a network at home or at the office. You don’t need to install any cables because you simply use the domestic electrical wiring. The Homeplug distinguishes itself by its ease of use and makes it possible in no time to share files and peripherals with all of the connected computers."

    I use 802.11n router but the connection isn't always perfect, especially downstairs (my apartment is a two floors one).

    So I was thinking I could solve the problem using electrical wiring.
     
  5. txmikester

    txmikester New Member

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    I'll throw this out, even though you didn't mention Linux - ClearOS. It's based on CentOS and IMO is the best SOHO server software I've ever seen. Don't let the fact it's Linux scare you - they have a straightforward web admin interface, and for your average file/print server usage, you would probably never have to see a command line.

    And unlike most distributions of Linux I've used, it actually has good documentation. Every screen of the web interface has a help button that brings up documentation for those settings that is actually helpful and up to date. Like I said, this isn't your average Linux.

    As for sharing work files, of course you would have basic file serving right out of the box. For code and stuff, you could easily setup a Subversion repository on it, which is always useful. For asset management (i.e. textures and stuff, since Subversion isn't too good with binary files), there are several open source programs to choose from. One I am looking at is ResourceSpace, which looks very nice for that purpose and is a simple PHP app, so it's very easy to install.

    Anyway, it might be worth looking into. You could literally have a simple office server setup to do file sharing and stuff in an hour or two, then throw it in a corner and never have to think about it again. And, if you ever want to do more with it like host websites, email, etc., it's just a matter of selecting the modules you want in the admin interface and then configuring them.
     
  6. lightassassin

    lightassassin New Member

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    The eletrical wiring method isn't much better than wireless unfortunately. You begin to deal with dodgey wiring and the like, and the distances are pretty bad. I tried a kit of my friends at my place, my parents, and the inlaws, best I could pull was 50Mbps on the inlaws (theirs being the best wiring) and that was from the bedroom to the lounge (5 meters).

    Wireless N is about the best, especially if you can get a decent antenna setup. Well nothing beats good only fashion cat5 cables, it is the way I've gone at home, and since we rent it means I have a nice 10m cable running from the router in the lounge to the computer room =\

    Otherwise the laptops/media pc use Wireless N and assuming there isn't any crazy drops it does the job.
     
  7. KNau

    Original Member

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    Forgive the stupid question but is this an office space or a home office?

    If it's a home office then six computers sounds like five computers too many.

    Most OSs (Win and Linux at least, don't know Mac) allow multiple user profiles. So you can create "Design" as one profile and "Code" as another and log on as that user, if you really need that much separation between tasks.

    I used to have 3 home computers and 2 office computers and have chucked them all for one nice laptop, backups to Dropbox and external USB drive. Being free of the clutter is quite liberating.
     
  8. jamesm

    jamesm New Member

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    I have quite a setup for my *home office* / bedroom.

    http://blog.volutegamer.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Geek.jpg

    I have a 500GB NAS that I use for hosting dumps of projects, a library of assets etc, for backup and file syncing between all computers and systems I use dropbox to host all of my projects - works on Windows/Linux/OSX and you can share folders for collaborations. I have found the software great but I do also use Mercurial and push to my NAS every day.

    I also have a reasonable laptop and a crappy old one for testing on.

    The Mac Mini at the moment is used purely as a media server so I may push some more tasks onto it such as hosting a trac site.. who knows.
     
  9. txmikester

    txmikester New Member

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    I agree. I'm down to 1 desktop and 1 server, although those 2 machines are quite beefy. I have a couple of older machines sitting in the closet I think about setting up to play with from time to time, but I always realize I don't have the time to play, or want the clutter.
     
  10. Chris Evans

    Moderator Original Member

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    I'm talking about a home office.

    But I make multiplayer games, so it's important to be able to simultaneously connect with several different clients preferably on different machines. I can't imagine working on a MMO with a single laptop.

    Anyway, I recently purchased a couple extra LCD screens and installed this Open-source software, Synergy+ http://code.google.com/p/synergy-plus/

    Basically it allows you to have each monitor connected to its own computer while still using a single mouse and keyboard to control all the computers. It also allows you to copy/paste text and images across the different computers seamlessly. It's great! With a little flick of the wrist, I can move my mouse across from my Mac OSX machine, Vista, and to my XP machine. :) It's really increased my productivity.
     
  11. mot

    mot
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    Macbook Pro 13 with a pair of external harddrives for backup and music, good speakers. Had a 24" external monitor but got rid of it - too distracting.

    Dropbox and Subversion for sharing.

    Exactly.
     
  12. ManuelMarino

    Original Member

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    Maybe WiFi remains the best option. I'm using a Netgear router, having connected a DAW, 2 PCs, Xbox 360, PS3 and other devices like handhelds.

    Changing channels solved a few problems. Now it works perfectly.
     

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