Synology DiskStation 12-Bay Network Attached Storage

  • Scale up to 96TB with Synology DX1211.
  • 2 LAN with Failover and Link Aggregation Support.
  • VMware/Citrix/Hyper-V compliance.
  • Rich Business Applications.
  • Running on Synology DiskStation Manager (DSM).
  • Synology DS2413+ is designed and developed with energy efficiency in mind.
  • Windows ADS and ACL Support.

The DS2413+ is solidly put together. It is not what I'd consider "a tank" but it's by no means flimsy - I think they did a good job of compromise between ruggedness, cost and weight based on the intended environments where it will live. I don't think it's suitable for rugged environments, so don't plan on putting it into a road case and taking it on tour with the band :-) It weighs 10 kg (about 22 lbs) with no drives in it, and with 12 drives it will be 50+ lbs, so make sure your shelf or stand is up to the task.

The drive carriers are very simple metal trays with plastic locking handles. Again, not overly rugged but fine. The unit comes with two bags of screws, one for drives with 6-32 threads (which nearly all 3.5" drives use) and another with M5 threads (for 2.5" drives). The unit comes with the carriers installed and locked in place - SO before you try to take the carriers out, find the key and unlock it first, otherwise you might break a handle trying fruitlessly to remove the carriers.

The internal motherboard and the drives are cooled by two large fans in the back. The fans are speed controlled by temperature. The drives have a gap between them, above and below, to provide cooling airflow. There is no filtering, so if you are running in a dusty environment, you should probably plan on running a vacuum cleaner over the unit front and back from time to time.

The DS2413+ has a single power supply connection on the back; it's a standard C14 connector like you'd find on pretty much every other computer product in the world. The power supply is auto-sensing; you can connect it to any AC power source of 100V to 240V AC, 50 or 60 Hz. As with any disk storage array, you really should connect this to an adequately-sized UPS.

The DS2413+ has two 10/100/1000 network connections on the back. If your switch supports LACP you can trunk the two connections together so they act as one. This gives you more network throughput (you now have 2 Gbps throughput instead of one) and redundancy (if one connection fails for some reason, the other one will still continue to carry traffic).

DSM is the name Synology gives to the software package that runs on the DiskStation. This is a Linux-based platform. It has a very good Web-based management tool, so the normal way to manage the unit is to connect to it with a browser. It also supports a shell interface, so if you are a Linux geek you can connect to it with ssh and do things there, but for most normal management tasks using the browser is a lot easier. DSM comes with pretty much everything you need to manage the array; there are optional "packages" you can install to give you additional functionality, and they are free. For instance, I run the Logitech Media Server package, which allows me to use the DS2413+ as the music and Internet radio server for all of my Logitech/Slim Devices streaming players. There are folks out there who have created their own Synology packages; do a Web search and you'll see quite a few of them.

Startup key combinations for Intel-based Macs

You can use the following startup key combinations with Intel-based Macs.

Press C during startupStart up from a bootable CD, DVD, or USB thumb drive (such as OS X install media).


Press D during startupStart up in Apple Hardware Test (AHT).

Press Option-Command-P-R until you hear startup sound a second time.Reset NVRAM

Press Option during startupStart up in Startup Manager, where you can select an OS X volume or network volume to start from.  

Press Eject, F12, or hold the mouse or trackpad buttonEjects any removable media, such as an optical disc.

Press N during startupAttempt to start up from a compatible network server (NetBoot).

Press T during startupStart up in Target Disk Mode.

Press Shift during startupStart up in Safe Boot mode and temporarily disable login items.

Press Command-V during startupStart up in Verbose mode.

Press Command-S during startupStart up in Single-User mode.

Press Option-N during startupStart from a NetBoot server using the default boot image.

Press Command-R during startup

Start from the OS X Recovery System1

Available on Macs that ship with OS X Lion. Some CPUs require an EFI BootROM update to support this feature.

Kensington K39304US Touch Screen Stylus


If I could only have one stylus, I'd choose the Kensington, because of it's longer length. That it has a built-in ballpoint is nice in that it's convenient, though the cap cannot be placed over the stylus end when the ballpoint is in use.I should add that it's a very nice looking pen and is good quality. A standard Parker refill is all you need to refill it

  • iPad stylus and conventional pen in one
  • Removable cap covers ballpoint pen end when not in use
  • Stylus has soft, pliant tip
  • Perfect for iPad, iPhone, other touch screens
  • Great for note taking

Apple iPad mini with Retina Display

I've been using the iPad 1 almost from the day it came out, and its been fine. I knew it was decent hardware but I never felt like it could be a major part of my life. Enter the mini with retina. This this is amazing. CRAZY fast performance and the perfect size to carry with me at all times. It's everything I know the iPad line had the ability to live up to. I'm super happy with this purchase.

Photos and videos look incredibly detailed and text is razor sharp on the stunning Retina display, which features over 3.1 million pixels — a million more than an HDTV.


iPad mini is incredibly powerful and capable, with advanced features like iSight and FaceTime HD cameras. Yet you can still hold it in one hand.

The powerful and power-efficient A7 chip with 64-bit architecture makes everything remarkably responsive — while still delivering up to 10 hours of battery life.2

Now you can get up to 2x faster Wi-Fi performance using 802.11n with MIMO.3And the Wi-Fi + Cellular model supports more LTE bands for fast connections the world over.1

The App Store has incredible apps designed specifically for iPad. These aren’t just scaled-up phone apps. They take full advantage of iPad technologies like the gyroscope, accelerometer, and every pixel in the 9.7-inch Retina display. So there’s almost no limit to what iPad — or you — can do.4


Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 telephoto lens

Conventional wisdom holds that the more powerful a telephoto lens you mount on your camera, the more you may need a tripod for shake-free images. With patience and breath control many photographers have long been able take crisp handheld shots with lenses of focal lengths up to 400mm. That ability can now be extended to almost everyone through technology. The best modern DSLRS can produce crisp handheld images with short exposures at high ISO settings and, coupled with good image stabilization lenses, can effectively expand the focal length (or power, if you will) of lenses that can be used to advantage without a monopod or tripod.

For a general purpose telephoto lens, this 70-300mm zoom can't be beat. In my experience the optics have produced crisp images at any focal length and at most aperture settings, though images taken with apertures at the middle of its range (f/11, for example) appear just slightly sharper than ones taken with a wide open lens.

Canon has thoughtfully included two different image stabilization modes for the benefit of individuals who use the lens in different ways. Mode 1 is for general purpose image stabilization when the camera is held still to capture a stationary field of view. Mode 2 is used for panning shots in which the photographer is following an item or individual in motion. This mode locks out attempts to correct for blur in the direction of camera motion. And you can of course lock out IS altogether if you are so inclined. Autofocus can also be locked out in case you are shooting nearby objects from a tripod and want to pick the exact focal point of the image field yourself. The word "macro" is printed on the lens, but that strikes me as a little aspirational. I would consider this lens a close-focusing zoom, as you can get fairly close-up images of smaller objects that are a little distance away. Minimum focusing distance is just under five feet, and at that distance the 300mm setting will let you fill the frame with an object about five inches wide. This could be a good lens to capture images of large winged insects and even hummingbirds, as those interesting subjects are notoriously intolerant of close approach by photographers. For true macro photography of flower details or smaller insects, you should mount a different lens.

Build quality is excellent, options for use are rich, optical performance is excellent and the lens, though not tiny or light, is compact and manageable. Canon makes other, more expensive lenses with similar design features that might better satisfy the most critical photographers, but in light of the relatively low cost of this lens and its great flexibility, this has to be one of the best general purpose lenses that Canon manufactures.


Jabra SPORT Corded Stereo Sports Headset

I've been looking for a hardy set of earphones to use while running/biking. The last pair I had lasted all of a couple months before they give into the jostling and pressure caused by my intense, lightning speed workouts. The Apple earbuds last a little longer, but they eventually fail as well. I needed something bigger, faster, stronger.

Enter Jabra SPORT headset. These puppies are heavy-duty and seem very durable. They're also not terribly heavy, which is nice and they fit nicely around the ear, which gives the cord more support when I'm jumping over small cars or flying up Everest-ish mountains. The sound quality is great too. Good volume and an even EQ balance between bass and treble. There's a handy volume control, a microphone (for those ever-important phone calls while you're tearing up 13.1), and an extension cord that works nicely to adjust the cord from arm-based music player to a hand or pocket-based player.

This specific product works with iPod, iPhone, and iPad (not sure what kind of extreme sporting activities you'll be doing with a tablet computer, but these headphones allow that) with in-line volume control and a remote to answer calls. It doesn't guarantee the quality of your phone call while you're trucking down the trails, but it guarantees that you can make them!

Overall, this is a great product in its functionality and performance- and it's long-lasting (so far). A great buy!

*** As it turns out, Jabra also has excellent customer service. You should feel very confident with your purchase.

  • Corded headphones with secure and comfortable fit during workouts; protection from rain, dust, and shock
  • Compatible with Apple inline call and music controller; made for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad
  • Listen to music and talk, answer/end calls, skip track
  • 3 pairs of Ultimate Comfort Eargels for optimal fit
  • Includes extension cable and carrying case

Belkin Grip Candy Sheer Case / Cover for iPhone 5 and 5S

This is exactly what I was looking for! Excellent build, fits VERY snugly around the phone, offers good protection against scratches etc, has a bevel on front so you can set phone screen-side-down without the screen touching the surface. Great price too! FYI though, you can't see the apple logo as well as the pictures elude. I never see it unless it's in direct sunlight.

  • Slim, form-fitting design
  • Full button protection
  • Beveled edge protects screen from scratches
  • Allows full access to all controls and ports
  • Camera lens cutout

Fitbit One Wireless Activity Plus Sleep Tracker

I have had my Fitbit One since December 1, 2012. I was tired of going from one weightloss plan to another trying to get back in a healthy weight range. In the past 12 months I have increased my activity using the Fitbit and reduced my calorie intake using the Fitbit website and have lost 50 of the 80 pounds that I wanted to lose, and have maintained that loss for 5 months. The support provided on the website is amazing, without it I may have given up. I was able to pair up with people across the globe with similar interests and situations and we encouraged and pushed each other daily to reach the goals we had set.

I would highly recommend a Fitbit to anyone trying to increase activity and or lose weight.

  • Tracks steps, distance, calories burned and stairs climbed
  • Monitor how long and how well you sleep
  • Wakes you (and not your partner) with a silent alarm
  • Syncs automatically to your computer or select smartphones and tablets via Bluetooth 4.0
  • Set goals, view progress and earn badges

Corsair Graphite Series Gaming Computer Case

I've owned many computer cases over the years but this one takes the cake. I really don't know where to begin. Any website can show you pictures, and if that isn't enough, you're looking for comments on people who use it. I have stuffed an i7-2600K cooled by a Corsair H80 CPU water cooling unit, Sabertooth P67 motherboard, 16GB ram, 5-1TB drives, 750watt power supply, 2-4850s (recently replaced by a 6950), and a ODD. I have plenty more room for more drives and 3 more video cards. The best part of stuffing all that hardware into this case, you don't see all the stupid wires. The routing for cables in this case is amazing. All the cables are in the hidden on the right side of the case, out of sight and out of mind (not crimped or pinched either).

I find it profound that I have purchased this case because it was white. No one makes white cases anymore, I exclaimed. My first computer was in a white case and I found that so boring. Every case after was a different color. The white paint job gives your computer a sense of class and style that you really can't find anymore. It's really a shame that Voodoo sold out to HP.

I will mention the only difference between this case and the black one is the window. The black case has a mesh area where the window would be (has mounts for fans if you want that sort of thing). The white case comes with this mesh area to add if you don't like the window.

It's worth the money, buy it already.


  • Twin 200mm cooling fans with white LEDs for excellent cooling
  • Side panel with cutout for window AND mesh with room for four 120mm fans — both included
  • Eight expansion slots provides you flexibility for multiple graphics card solutions
  • Unique cable routing holes guarantees you a clean and clutter-free installation
  • Integrated fan controller, for up to four fans, gives you the choice of noise vs. performance
  • Tool-free optical drive installation makes building your system faster than ever
  • CPU backplate cutout makes upgrading your CPU heatsink easy
  • 2.5" and 3.5" hard drive compatibility for up to 6 drives — straight out of the box

EVGA GeForce GTX 670

EVGA GeForce GTX 670 SuperClocked 4096MB GDDR5, 2x Dual-Link DVI, HDMI, DP, 4-Way SLI Ready Graphics Card

First it was the GTX 680 I had wanted, but couldn't come around to buying it. Then when the GTX 670 came out, I realized it was so close to the 680, I would have to be a fool to buy the 680 still. Then the GTX 670 4GB version came out, and I knew I was set. For less than the bare minimum GTX 680, I could get a 4GB Superclocked GTX 670 which was faster than a stock GTX 680. One day shipping from Amazon and I'm in love.

80+ fps on Ultra in BF3.
120+ fps in Stormwind in WoW on Ultra.
120+ fps in Diablo 3 on Ultra.

Basically this card is the sweet spot when it comes to high quality cards at reasonable prices.
Even look at, and you will see the GTX 670 is actually above the GTX 680.

Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO

Installed this item on a Core i5 2500k and have been using it for some time now. After monitoring it's temps after several hours of Prime95 and other programs, I am very satisfied with this item. i purchased this for 36 dollars, at that price point it is one of the best heatsinks I have heard of. Consistently gets great reviews from professional sites, which is the main reason I bought it. Temps for my system was around 25-30celsius idle and 45-54c avg on full load with Arctic Silver 5 TIM. Temps were taken from program core temp v1.0.
Cooler is very light, has excellent mounting system for socket 1155, isn't too tall, and is pretty darn quiet.


Corsair AX 850 Watt Power Supply

I have now been using this for 8 months and am very impressed. I upgraded from an Enermax Revolution 85+ 1050 Watt Power Supply which was a critically acclaimed unit itself. I love the fact that this power supply is FULLY modular. Whenever you have to replace it you can just undo all the cables from the PSU and leave the cables intact in your case. You then can remove the power supply easily and install the replacement (which of course would be a Corsair too)! Remember, the hardest part about installing or replacing a power supply is organizing the cables in your case. This is very time consuming.

The power supply runs very cool, but I am only using about 25% of its power capacity right now. Unlike other reviewers who base their reviews on performance subjectively, I did test the power supply before I installed using a Coolmax power supply tester. Everything was tight!

While there are other power supplies out there that compete with this (like the newly released Antec HCP 1200 Unit, I chose the Corsair because they have always been about Quality and Performance for the enthusiast from their memory only days. This unit also comes with a 7 year warranty versus 5 for the Antec and other competeing units.

You can also get hold of Corsair by phone if you need to! They do not hide their phone number like other vendors all over the web.

While this power supply is probably overkill for most, if you are a Computer Enthusiast, Overclocker, and/or Multi-GPU Gamer, this is YOUR POWER SUPPLY. Well done Corsair! Superb...........

ASUS P9X79 LGA 2011 Intel Motherboard

This is a spectacular motherboard for the price. It is very full-featured and is well laid out to boot. The visual BIOS with a mouse seemed kind of gimmicky, but I'm used to a more traditional BIOS so I can't knock it too hard. The onboard overclocking tool was very effective, more so than their tool from the Rampage IV I had before. It did push the processor past a stable point a couple of times and I had to manually dial it back, but it was able to get me from 3.2Ghz to 4.7Ghz (stable) with just a mouse click.
 Thermal management on the heat sinks is fine, and my chipset stays cool (not cold, but reasonably cool), even with a high overclock and two overclocked GPUs. This was a killer buy.

  • 8 x DIMM Slots, Quad-channel DDR3 2400(O.C.)/2133(O.C.)/1866/1600/1333/1066 MHz Support
  • Digital 8+2 Phase Power Design
  • 2 x PCIe 3.0 x16 (dual@x16)
  • AMD Quad-GPU CrossFireX and NVIDIA Quad-GPU SLI support
  • 1 x COM connector + 1 x TPM header
  • 1 x 1394a port
  • CH High Definition Audio, DTS Connect, DTS Ultra PC II
  • LAN featuring Intel 82579V Chipset

Panasonic Lumix DMC-TS5D

I can't even begin to tell you how many reviews I read for different digital underwater cameras. I took a couple of months to really do my research...and it paid off. This camera is amazing. Took it to the Caribbean for a vacation- used it for a full day snorkeling trip. We were in and outta the water all day- the camera did NOT fail. It was trustworthy, took awesome underwater pictures and was easy to use. Just read the simple directions for underwater use and you can't go wrong. Outside of the water, it was also fantastic! We even got impressive night pictures of the moon reflecting on the water which is normally not easy to do! Use the intelligent setting OR have some fun and choose for yourself. Lots of neat options and you can also crop and use special features (black and white, etc) on the pictures too.

  • 16.1 Mega Pixel, 4.6x optical zoom, 9.3x Intelligent Zoom, Power O.I.S., Rugged Design, water-proof to 43 feet, shock-proof from 6.6 feet, freeze-proof to 14 degrees F, dust-proof, 100 Kilograms of force
  • 3" LCD Screen, Intelligent Auto Mode, Venus Engine, GPS, Compass, Altimeter, Barometer
  • 720p Motion JPEG Video, Sonic Speed Auto Focus, Creative Panorama Shot, 12 Effective Creative Control, Wi-Fi, Near Field Communication (NFC)
  • What's in the Box: 1. Battery 2. Battery Charger 3. AC Cable 4. USB Connection Cable

Wenger Backpack by SwissGear

Wenger Backpack by SwissGear with Padded Sleeve for Laptops

I can't say enough good things about this bag. Excellent build quality; the top carrying handle is reinforced with an ANCHORED STEEL CABLE, for goodness' sake! I have never seen that before.

There are many thoughtful touches throughout (including the loops on the left strap for hanging keys and sunglasses while the bag is on your back, and a mesh pouch for small items on the right; simple genius). Large enough to pack as a weekender, but compact enough that you won't look foolish carrying it for everyday purposes. Fits my 15" Macbook Pro perfectly. I shopped around for months for the right backpack, and this one is a winner. If you are on the fence, buy it, trust me. Worth the somewhat high price tag. This is my default go-bag now, and wherever I take it (that being everywhere), people want one.

  • Shoulder Strap System Specially Contoured are Ergonomically Designed with Added Padding for Comfort and Control
  • Airflow Back System Multi-panel Airflow Design Provides Extra Padding for Comfort and Maximum Back Support
  • Sunglasses Holder Elastic Tab on Shoulder Strap Keeps Sunglasses Securely and Conveniently Accessible
  • Padded Laptop Sleeve Secure Padded Compartment Accommodates most 15" Laptops
  • Water Bottle Pockets External Dual Pockets Feature Elasticized Mesh which Expands to Secure Various Size Water Bottles
  • Interior Pocket Organizer provides Detachable Key Fob and Divider Pockets for Pens Pencils Cellphone and CDs


Know your Internet browser shortcuts

There are dozens of different shortcut keys that can be used with Internet browsers. Below are a few of our top suggested Internet browser shortcuts.

- Pressing Alt + D in any major Internet browser will move the cursor into the address bar. This is a great way to quickly enter an Internet address without having to click the mouse cursor in the address bar.
- Hold down the Ctrl key and press the + or - to increase and decrease the size of text.
- Press the backspace key or hold down the Alt key + left arrow to go back a page.
- Press F5 to refresh or reload a web page.
- Press F11 to make the Internet browser screen full screen. Press F11 again to return back to the normal view.
- Press Ctrl + B to open your Internet bookmarks.
- Press Ctrl + F to open the find box in the browser to search for text within the web page you're looking at.

Windows key and the arrow keys

Windows key and the arrow keys


Pressing the Windows key and Left or Right arrow keys will dock the window your viewing to the left or right-hand side of the screen. Pressing the Windows key and the Up arrow will maximize a window and pressing the Windows key and the Down arrow will resize and then minimize the window.

Use Shift: To stretch a window vertically, press the Windows key + Shift + the Up arrow. If you have multiple monitors use the Windows key + Shift + the Left or Right arrow keys to move the window to another monitor.

Boot EFI Media

Boot EFI Media

if your system has an EFI she'll and you want to boot from a shell to attached media, here is how.

1: Make sure the media with. EFI compatible OS is connected  to the system.


2: Boot to a EFI shell

3: # map -r (this will remap and display all attached media) 

4:  change location to the drive that contains your target OS. This ca be done by typing the name and partition number of the required mount. For example; # FS0: 

5: # ls to see the directory's contents

6: # cd to /EFI/boot  

7: this directory will contain 1 or more boot.efi files. Run the version you need by typing its name and extension 

TIP: EFI shells support tab completion 

Keyboard shortcuts everyone should know


Using keyboard shortcuts can greatly increase your productivity, reduce repetitive strain, and help keep you focused. For example, highlighting text with the keyboard and pressing Ctrl + C is much faster than taking your hand from the keyboard, highlighting the text using the mouse, clicking copy from the file menu, and then putting your hand back in place on the keyboard. Below are our top 10 keyboard shortcuts we recommend everyone memorize and use.

Ctrl + C or Ctrl + Insert

Copy the highlighted text or selected item.

Ctrl + V or Shift + Insert

Paste the text or object that's in the clipboard.

Ctrl + Z and Ctrl + Y

Undo any change. For example, if you cut text, pressing this will undo it. This can also often be pressed multiple times to undo multiple changes. Pressing Ctrl + Y would redothe undo.

Ctrl + F

Open the Find in any program. This includes your Internet browser to find text on the current page.

Alt + Tab or Ctrl + Tab

Quickly switch between open programs moving forward.

Tip: Press Ctrl + Tab to switch between tabs in a program.

Tip: Adding the Shift key to Alt + Tab or Ctrl + Tab will move backwards. For example, if you are pressing Alt + Tab and pass the program you want to switch to, press Alt + Shift + Tab to move backwards to that program.

Tip: Windows Vista and 7 users can also press the Windows Key + Tab to switch through open programs in a full screenshot of the Window.

Ctrl + Back space and Ctrl + Left or Right arrow

Pressing Ctrl + Backspace will delete a full word at a time instead of a single character.

Holding down the Ctrl key while pressing the left or right arrow will move the cursor one word at a time instead of one character at a time. If you wanted to highlight one word at a time you can hold down Ctrl + Shift and then press the left or right arrow key to move one word at a time in that direction while highlighting each word.

Ctrl + S

While working on a document or other file in almost every program pressing Ctrl + S will save that file. This shortcut key should be used frequently anytime you're working on anything important.

Ctrl + Home or Ctrl + End

Move the cursor to the beginning or end of a document.

Ctrl + P

Print the page being viewed. For example, the document in Microsoft Word or the web page in your Internet browser.