Shortly before Christmas, Dell had an amazing deal on a Studio XPS 9100. For $1370.99, you could get a system with an Intel i7 930 processor, 12 GB 1333MHz RAM (6 DIMMs), ATI Radeon HD 5870, 1 TB drive and a Blu-ray Combo Drive.
Because I had some issues with my virtualization rig that left it in an unusable state for at least two months, I decided to buy this second desktop as a backup. I can’t really afford to be down for the count weeks at a time whenever a major component fails.
At the same time as the Dell desktop, I bought a Netgear WNDR 3700, which is their high end wireless N router. It is dual-band wireless N and it also acts as a gigabit switch. I’m very impressed with the throughput of the device, but I am not impressed with its ability to keep track of what devices are connected to it and their names. Because of that, I had to assign a static IP to one of the network cards on the server, and add a hosts entry on my desktop pointing to the server.
The WNDR came with firmware version 22.214.171.124, which was really buggy. If you looked at the Attached Devices list, it would only show two of the six or so devices connected to it. Also, when you log in to the admin console, it automatically checks for updates. It was saying it doesn’t have an internet connection, when I could access the internet just fine from my desktops.
I checked on the Netgear site and .68 was the latest version of the firmware publicly available. After some research, I decided to give the OpenWRT firmware a try. That worked OK at the beginning, it kept track of the devices connected to it and I didn’t need to add any hosts entries. However, with this firmware I lost the internet connection a couple of times and I had to reboot the router to fix it. When I had to reboot the router I had some issues, as it couldn’t find the devices by name. I either had to connect a monitor to my second desktop and release and renew the IP, or wait until the initial DHCP lease would expire, which was clearly not ideal.
In addition to that, the OpenWRT firmware I installed didn’t allow you to control the settings for the 5 GHz band and you didn’t have the option to set up guest networks.
After these symptoms, I decided to search and see if there is some newer Netgear firmware available for the router, even if it isn’t publicly released. I came across version 126.96.36.199 and I installed it. The firmware is working better than the .68, it populates the list of attached devices, but it doesn’t always gather the proper name for each of the devices. Oftentimes some of the device names show up as “<Unknown>”.
Connected to the Dell desktop, I have two 24″ monitors. As every developer knows, they make it a lot easier to work. I use the Dell desktop for day to day work, and I RDP into the server when I need to work in my virtual environment. I use the Dell for gaming as well, currently just for Civilizations V.
At work I have been working with SharePoint Server 2010 and its deployment. I read most of “Professional SharePoint 2010 Administration” which has helped, but I do find the books doesn’t give enough detail on some areas. However, taking into account how broad the scope of SharePoint Server 2010, that is to be understood.
Currently I am reading “Professional SharePoint 2010 Development” and setting up a virtual environment with a medium farm and a development farm to use for my development and testing. The small farm is made of two web front-end servers, one application server, and a database server, while the development server has everything on one machine, but it is a farm deployment.
I am excited about working with SharePoint 2010 and I am glad to see Microsoft has listened to its customers and addresses a lot of the issues experienced with SharePoint 2007.
This year I plan to get at least a Microsoft certification in SharePoint 2010 and I plan to do more work in ASP.NET 4.0 and Silverlight. Because of that, this year will be really busy and will require a lot dedication, but I am up for the task.