No sooner has the 5th of April passed than I've gone and blown my IT budget for the coming year. Not that I have an actual budget, but, if I did, it's all gone. It's more a case of I've spent enough money and really shouldn't need anything else to get me through the next twelve months.
The first thing I bought was another Mac mini. Exactly the same as the first — Intel Core Due with 2GB of RAM — but with a much bigger hard drive — 160GB over 40GB.
The first mini was always intended merely to test websites in the myriad clients available, using a combination of native browsers like Safari and others running in Parallels. This has always worked well but I found myself installing Windows/Domino servers on there as well. This is when I realised that 40GB of space isn't that much really and soon ran out of space.
With the new mini I can now dedicate the first to running client/browsers and the other can just sit there and run servers. In the past I've found that developing for some customers has involved custom server configurations and this requires a whole box be given over to the project. The two IBM servers (which you can see in this photo) have served me well over the past 7 years but there are only two of them. Now I have Parallels installed on this second mini I can have about 10 or more servers and always be running two or three at once. It's also a lot less noisy, takes up less space and reduces my carbon footprint to boot!
Year to year I find that my IT setup continually evolves. It's slowly becoming a pretty slick setup with one KVM switch allowing one monitor access to a dozen or so machines, be they real or virtual.
My window in to this world for the past 8 years has been my trust 21" Sony CRT monitor. Although it's done well to survive it is showing signs of being "on its way out". It pings on and off sometimes and there are wiggly lines coming down the screen if you look hard enough. That's why another part of my IT budget has been put on reserved for when the Samsung SM226BW 22" TFT comes on the market. It's had good reviews and should save some desk space.
The final bit of the budget went on renewing my MAPS licence. The only notable upgrade being the Vista DVD, but that's such a disappointment I'm not even going to talk about it...