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Temaelrin

Shit I've Bought from eBay #2 - Pokémon Cards

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Temaelrin

When you were younger; did you collect Pokémon Cards?

Chances are if you were born in the late 80s/early 90s you probably did, I know I certainly did and I was pretty efficient at doing so, owning at least 6,000 or 7,000 Pokémon Cards by the time it went out of style, but I handled many, many more despite the fact that I only ever purchased 2 booster packs at the very beginning. I am going to start this topic by sharing some of my memories of Pokémon Cards and I really hope that you also share your memories too; please leave a comment and tell me what your fondest or darkest memories of the whole thing was for you.

There’s a lot of stories associated with these little cards in my history, I became quite astute in Pokémon card economics for my area where I’d see a hole in the ‘Market’ as it were and where I’d go out and ‘buy’ those cards cheap by trading outside of my area (Like around Darbyshire, Oxfordshire, Staffordshire, Wiltshire, Devonshire, Denbighshire and so on) depending on my travels; as I travelled a lot with family. I’d also quite often bulk up my deck by picking up Pokémon cards that were discarded by people who had way too many of that card and didn’t want them, it was very common in my primary school for students to dump cards and just toss them to the ground when they didn’t want them, or for students to drop the cards by accident, and for them to get blown around in the wind. I never got a shiny from anything like that, but I did get some neat cards, and I was willing to pick them up. As deck bulkers.

Of course I’d bring those acquisitions home and start bidding wars with groups of other people who wanted them to maximise my profits (In cards) which explains pretty much how I got hold of my ‘vast fortune’ of Pokémon cards. I didn’t need to resort to ‘crime’; IE - Stealing Cards, Fraud or anything like that because I was pretty damn successful at it. My favourite trick was to trade one card for multiple cards; and once (my best deal ever!) when I brought back an illusive shiny Charizard (Which I traded a Venusaur and Chansey shinies to someone who had three Charizards), I got it purely to trade with someone in my area who was willing to part with half of their collection (Including several shiny cards - which included a Venusaur and Chansey!)

Why? Because both of the people I was dealing with were collectors - respectable collectors that were only ever interested in completing the sets that they had; Base, Jungle, Fossil and Team Rocket's “Dark” cards. I was less interested in ‘buying’ from ordinary people and more interested in selling to them instead, and ‘buying’ from collectors who had no interest in having multiple copies of the same card. 

By the end of it; I had 4 Charizards. One in great - mint condition; that was for my private collection and was kept safe in a photo frame that I had in my bedroom; it was the pride of my collection and I very rarely took it out (Except for one incident), and I had three that were in decreasing conditions; one of them was barely a card anymore as the previous owner took it to bed with them and cuddled it causing it to be severely damaged and even the front was splitting from the back and there was no amount of repair work that could fix it; and surprise, surprise no one wanted it. 

Did I ever have a deal that went bad? Well to be honest, some of my deals felt like a drug deal. I’d have protection, the other side would have protection (In numbers of people) and we’d trade by putting one card on one table and the other side putting their cards on another table before crossing over to collect each other’s cards and leaving. I am and always have been a tall bloke; I am currently around six foot six (6’ 6”) and I was quite tall for my age when I was younger; and extremely strong for my age too. I tried to avoid deals that had to go to certain lengths but when you’re trying to run a ‘Pokémon Card Empire’ in your local area, sometimes you needed to make fantastic trades from people with bad reputations, something I thought I could mitigate with ‘Protection’.

One time I remember distinctly that I had a knife pulled on me (I was ~12 years old at the time)... Needless to say my reputation for people who fuck me around is as infamous as it is today. I become extremely unpredictable. Very quickly the guy who pulled the knife, lost control over me, I stared at him blankly and told him to put it down before he poked someone's eye out with it, or I’d ramn it up his arse. He laughed thinking that he had the upper hand, but then I just kind of lunged for him, grabbing his wrist with one hand and his throat with my other hand, knocking him onto the floor. I don’t remember too much of what happened during the struggle - this kid was around the same age I was, and he was holding me at knife point (With one of those red covered swiss army knives, with a tiny blade) and there we were fighting each other over fucking cards. I realised this when I had him to the floor, his own knife to his own neck below my hand; telling him to just let it go. He didn’t want to; and I could see it in his eyes. I told him ‘If you don’t drop it, then I’m going to push it in. If you let go; I can’t do that. Please let go.’ He eventually dropped it and I told him “Look at us. We’re going to kill each other over Pokémon cards. For fuck sake man.”...

The above story is absolutely true in that it was a dream. It's a particularly nasty dream that I remember to this day because of the effect it had on me. I woke up afterwards and reassessed what my (I guess you could call it) subconscious was telling me. I kind of saw that one of these days these deals with bad people is going to backfire, like it did in my dream, and I kind of stopped trading with bad people. This was brought about by the amount of people who were getting beaten up for the Pokémon cards, it was so bad that I remember it even being on the news at one point too. A young kid at the end of my street was left needing stitches because some other kids beat him up for his cards.

I have a story that I will share, that actually happened in that it happened in real life, not in a dream or nightmare, but real. Whether you believe it or not is up to you.

I was in a Pokémon card battle with a school bully in Primary School who when he’d win against people he’d take their Pokémon cards, he’d entice them with, “If you win, you can have all my cards. If I win you have to give me all of your cards.” He had advertised it the previous week, that he was doing it on the following Monday, and I knew exactly what was going to happen. (Spoiler alert: It did happen). It was the one time I risked my good Charizard; because I knew I was going to be in a position where I was going to be winning back the cards that everyone lost. He played fair and reasonable in each battle, having done about eight when I decided to stop this and challenge him, after watching his strategy. Needless to say, as soon as I started evolving my Charmeleons on the bench into Charizards, he started sweating. When I won... He didn’t play fair.

When he lost he didn’t live up to his end of the deal which I fully expected; I told him to the effect of; “I don’t want your cards; I just want the cards that you’ve taken from people. If you want to walk away from this with your own cards then do I am telling you. If you don’t want to walk away with your cards then carry on doing what you’re doing.” You’d think he’d chose the former option, but no, he chose the latter. After securing my cards which was easy for me because I only brought my fighting deck where as he had all of his cards there. I decked the ten tonnes of shit out of him, and took all the cards including his own; just as I promised, put them in my bag… Although I had to be careful where I was putting them, because my bag had a hole in the bottom of it, so I put them within this kind of stiched on meshed compartment in the bag that would hold them all. Then I got the fuck off School Premises, and took my stash home because I knew he’d go straight to a teacher and blab. I snuck into my home, and put the cards somewhere safe, and then I also made sure to have a new deck of cards, putting my fighting cards away and kept the other cards safe. The new deck of cards I had was full of my lowest quality cards that was mainly energy cards and trainers and I went back with them. When I came back, I hid behind one of the mobile buildings between a hedge and the building and waited for a teacher to find me. Why? Because that was my alibi. I didn’t “Leave the School.” I was hiding all along. I sat there and started planning every possible outcome I could think of to try and keep my story credible. 

The headmaster eventually found me and ordered me to get to his office where I found the fellow classmate I had beaten the shit out of nursing his wounds and forming bruises, and I just smirked at him… Like a fucking nutcase. When the headmaster wanted to get to the bottom of it; I decided because at this point I had nothing to lose to be almost completely honest with him. The only thing I lied about was the going home bit - as that would destroy my insurance. I told him that he was battling people for their Pokémon cards; and when they lost they had to hand over all of their cards or he’d beat them up. The headmaster said “Well then they knew what they were getting themselves into, not that, that’s okay. But that’s their fault. They could have said no to the battle in the first place.” So I said “we had the same deal”, I was the last to do it, and the deal was that if I lost I had to hand over all my cards or else I’d be beaten up. If he lost he’d have to hand over all of his Pokémon cards. He lost and refused to hand over his cards and all the cards that he won off of the fellow students. So I beat him up. 

The headmaster didn’t like that, and started pinning the whole thing on me; I repeated back to him “Well he knew what he was getting himself into, not that it’s okay, but he could have said no to the battle in the first place.” But of course he tried to twist and turn it, he then asked “What did you do after that?” To which I said “I ran from the playground and hid behind the classroom where you found me.”

The headteacher then did exactly what I thought he was going to do. He told me to give him all of the cards I took from the student. (Give to the head teacher that is, not the student) to which I feigned resistance - after all if I make it look like I was all too willing to, I was concerned that it was going to look too easy. After several threats of expulsion I handed over the cards and said “That’s all of them.” Which the student said it wasn’t even a quarter of them. I told him “It’s all of them.” This would be the second lie I told. The head teacher then forced me to empty my bag and pockets, and even sent the receptionist out to go look for the cards around where I was found. Because of course he believed the bully over me. (And people wonder why I was such a little fucking shit back then?) 

When the receptionist came back and said that she couldn’t find anything the head teacher asked me “Where are the Pokémon cards?” For a moment I thought I was about to be found out, I thought my clever plan was falling apart right from underneath my feet, and I couldn’t understand how or why, because he was questioning everything. I told him and lied again, “That IS all of them. I don’t have anymore!”

My fatal flaw in my plan had become obvious when my head teacher asked “So where are the cards that you won the battle with?” Damn it; why does my head teacher had to have children who’s explained how they worked to him! I had to come up with an excuse fast, and the first thing I could think of was “I mixed the cards up, they’re all there… Including mine.” It was the third lie I told, and I only planned to tell one lie… I was already seeing that I was building a wall of lies… I had to stick to it - in hindsight like playing Poker. He then asked “So if he won a battle with eight pupils, and each battle deck has sixty cards including yours and his that’s at least six hundred cards. So where are they? This isn’t six hundred cards.”

I fucked up.

I fucked up bad. 

I hadn’t even taken that into consideration and I was kicking myself, that I hadn’t even thought about that, I had the perfect plan but I missed something so fucking obvious. I told him that on the way from the playground to the building I “dropped” the other cards somewhere on the path knowing that it was a high traffic area and that any student could just come along and pick them all up. It wasn’t uncommon to find Pokémon cards lying around when I was at school, either cards that someone chucked away because they were worthless or dropped by accident - as I said in the first paragraph. In fact most of the cards in this deck I gave the headmaster were what I called ‘dropsies’. I said that I couldn’t go back and pick them up because I didn’t want to get found by anyone as I only realised when I was hiding that they fell through the hole in my bag. I acted pissed off about it, to really sell that I was kicking myself for doing it. 

“You could have put them in the netted compartment in your bag.” My headteacher said to which I replied indignantly “Yeah I could of! Then I’d still have them. That’s all that’s left… I’m annoyed as it is, that I didn’t.” The lies were just compounding and compounding by this point, as I put on a look of annoyance, I was thinking about the lies I was spinning and working out if any of this was worth it or not, and what my narrative had changed from when I originally planned this out to what it was now, and focusing on trying to remember the key fake-facts of my narrative. 

The head teacher then told us both to show him where it happened and we all went outside to the playground where we showed him where the battle happened, we discussed a few things there, before he then told me to show me the route I took to when I went to go hide, which I did. I showed him my route making sure to tell him “I was running so my bag was bouncing up and down at this point…” And he was looking everywhere for cards, it just so happened that on the path we were walking by there was two Pokémon cards in the bush - a Grass Energy and an Electric Energy, and further down the pavement there was another card a Caterpie, I told him that “The cards must have dropped here and someone came along and picked them up.” But regardless we continued to the building I hid behind and said “I opened my bag and took out the only cards I had left. I swore loudly as I realised that I lost nearly all of them; and I put what I had left into my pocket because I didn’t want to lose anymore.”

We then went back to his office where the bastard gave the son of a bitch bully the Pokémon cards he took off of me and said “Let that be a lesson to you to never battle people for their cards again. You got lucky in that you got some of your cards back. But if I hear you’re doing it again, I will suspend you.” I felt relieved because if he was buying into the narrative that they were his cards then my lies worked, or were convincing enough for him to believe it. He then looked at me and told me that I was suspended for two days and my father will be called to pick me up for fighting a student. 

To me; getting suspended was no big deal - it actually happened often in Primary School (In year 4 especially) and I took it as two days off to play computer games or study on my own terms, and my own things… Or watch Star Trek:TNG and Voyager. xD

My father wasn’t happy - of course. And I couldn’t tell him the truth because I knew he’d take my cards from me, and go back to the school with all of my cards just to “teach me a lesson.” I was grounded, and when I went back to school I told the people who lost their cards to come to mine on Saturday when my grounding was let off. I also told them to come to me with a list of Pokémon cards that they knew that they had in their collections, and I’d happily hand them back over to them. My father was going to be out in the back garden mowing the lawn and my mother was going to be at work on that day.

There was a couple of them that claimed that they had cards that weren’t in the collection I stashed away, and I told them to be honest with me, otherwise they’re getting absolutely none of their cards back. One of them tried to push their luck but when I told them “That’s it. I’m keeping your cards.” He fessed up and admitted that he lied. I got pretty much all of the cards back to their rightful owners; and was left with the bully’s original collection, and several others… Where I got the Chansey that I’d later use to trade to get a Charizard. 

And if the bully ever reads this; and knows exactly who I am from it because he’d know the story, then you’ll know exactly what this means; “I’m such a winner that even your mum thinks that you’re a loser.” (It was his favourite phrase). This was one of the factors that eventually lead to Pokémon Cards being banned from the school; what put it in the coffin was when teachers started confiscating cards and people would come back to the classroom when it was empty and steal them. I know this because I proved it could be done, when I stole some from the teachers drawer that she had confiscated from my friend, just so I could  promptly return them to my friend, after school because the Teacher was going to confiscate them for “a month” - something I felt she wasn’t allowed to do. -- Again I don’t view that as stealing, I view that as taking back my friend’s property to give it back to my friend. I didn’t request or take payment.

I did feel dirty about lying, but I didn’t want him to win, and because I stuck with it, I won. Was it stealing? No. I gave him every chance and opportunity to play fair. But he didn’t. I had to lie… I don’t feel right about it, but at the time I saw it as the ends justifies the means… At the end of the day I was doing a net good. But it was still lying… But then again, the headmaster DID give the cards back to the bully… So… What do you think? Was 10 year old me, in the right or the wrong? If you have an opinion on it let me know. I think ultimately I was in the wrong, but it’s a complicated a case; I think I used morally ambiguous means to do something good. To give the cards back to the people who lost them. 

I of course had legitimate and fun battles with people I won’t say exactly how far I got with that because it probably can be used to personally identify me. But my tactic was sound; have a deck that had two types of cards (Like if I picked Fire, I’d pick something that if the player used something strong against Fire, I’d pick something weak against them. I never battled with Psychic cards), I may have thrown a couple of Normal cards in there; that way I could keep my energy cards to a reasonable level and have room to put in some decent trainers. It was a strategy that really worked for me, and made deck building - something I spent HOURS, on my weekends doing.

By the beginning of 2004, my collection was stored in my cupboard when we moved house, and that’s where it remained for years… Now as I’ve said openly a number of times; I was quite a little shit to my parents… Well, to everyone really. In 2006 I moved out of my parents when I was 16 and moved into a friends place until they made up some bullshit and threw me out. In 2007, 6 months after I came back home I moved out again this time permanently, except during this time one of my sisters (from what I have been told by third parties) stole all of my Pokémon cards and either sold them for weed or kept them to herself. They disappeared from the face of the planet, and I’ve never seen hide nor hair of them ever since.

Which brings me to Shit I’ve bought from eBay

I was talking to @Neptune and @SMFoxy about the days where I had Pokémon cards, and obviously they were talking about the days when they had Pokémon Cards, back in September. The only one of us that was able to keep a hold of their Pokémon cards was @SMFoxy, which he mentioned here in his status later in October. Both Neptune and I however; had zero to our names; except for two or three that were given by Neptune’s sister (My sister in law) from promotional packs that contained two or three cards. We were in town doing some shopping one day and we just happened to stop by Game in the high street, where Neptune saw the Pokémon cards and sighed in lemeant as she wanted them, I asked her what was up, and she pointed them out and said that she remembered the days when you could walk into some cramped and shady looking comic book store and buy Booster Packs for a quid, or get it from a book shop but didn’t want to ask for it, or to buy something for herself to which I told her that’s fucking nonsense and then I asked her which one did she want. She picked it up and I took it from her and waltz right up to the counter and said “One of these please!” Whilst she stood there dumbfounded. 

The guy seemed to be hell bent in getting us a membership card, and offering pre-orders and god only knows what, to which I refused; I don’t shop at Game enough to warrant a card, and I don’t pre-order (Not since the X:Rebirth incident. No way. Never.) He then had no choice but to check it out, we paid £20 for it and told him to keep the change and GTFO’ed so fast it was unbelievable. Of course one of the booster packs in the tin contained a Mega Rayquaza EX, which she was very lucky to get and keeps it in a soft plastic sheet within a hard plastic wrapper because she considers it a high value card.

Items:

  1. 1x Pokemon TCG: Evolution Celebration Tin - Leafeon GX (Neppy)
  2. 1x Pokemon TCG: Battle Heart Fall 2016 Tin - Pikachu EX (Me)
  3. 3x 100 Pokemon Cards Bundle RANDOM HOLO GUARANTEED -Mixed Lot Mint (Neppy gets 150, I got 150)
  4. 1x Pokemon Promo Dragonite Card Nr Mint (Me)
  5. 1x Pokemon: Arcanine - 18/108 - Rare - XY Evolutions (Neppy)
  6. 1x Joblot Bundle Of 825+ Official Pokemon Trading Cards (No Energy Cards) (Split 50/50)
  7. 1x Dragonair rare non holo pokemon card. Base Set 18/102. Wizards of the coast. (Me)
  8. 1x Ninetales 12/102 Holo/Shiny Pokemon Card, Base Set, Rare (Neppy)
  9. 2x 90 Pokemon Energy Cards Lot - 10 of Each Type Bundle Deal (Split 50/50)
  10. 3x 100 Pokemon Cards Bundle RANDOM HOLO GUARANTEED -Mixed Lot Mint (Neppy gets 150, I got 150)

Price I paid:

  1. £19.99 (Game - Not eBay)
  2. £20.95 (Amazon - Not eBay)
  3. £27.97 - £5.01 (Buy 2 Get 1 Free)
  4. £3.49
  5. £0.99
  6. £37.49
  7. £0.99
  8. £3.24
  9. £10.00
  10. £27.97 - £5.01 (Buy 2 Get 1 Free)

Shipping:

  1. £0.00 (Bought from Retail Shop)
  2. £0.00 (Free Shipping)
  3. £0.00 (Free Shipping)
  4. £0.00 (Free Shipping)
  5. £0.00 (Free Shipping)
  6. £0.00 (Free Shipping)
  7. £2.00 (Royal Mail 2nd Class Signed For)
  8. £2.00 (Royal Mail 2nd Class Signed For)
  9. £0.00 (Free Shipping)
  10. £0.00 (Free Shipping)

Total Cost:

  • £157.08

To see the full list of both of our collections you absolutely can; right here. It’s been alphabeticalised and sorted. In the Mixed Lots (Where we would get three packs of 100 cards) we often got a little more like 103 - 105 cards. So I’d say that particular person on eBay is pretty good; and all the cards that come from them appear to be 100% genuine. If  you’re in the UK and you’re interested, in knowing who the seller is on eBay, send me an EcchiText and I’ll send you the seller’s name/listings. He usually sells them in 5’s, 10’s, 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s, 100’s. 200’s, 300’s, 400’s, 500’s and 1000’s, and at the time of writing has a buy 2 get 1 free deal (You might indeed be able to find him with that information on its own.) I can at least say that the things we’ve purchased from him were legit, and pristine. Very professional. If you play TCG Online; I think he also sells codes.

The 850 random card lot we got which was mainly commons and uncommons, there were hardly any rares in there, and if I recall - no holos. It was a bit of a bullshit buy to be honest, but the purposes of getting it was to pretty much bulk out the collection. Also I’m not going to complain 850 cards for under £40 is not bad at all, in fact I actually still left positive feedback, because there was nothing in there that wasn’t advertised, and there was nothing that was advertised but not in there. It seemed to be a one off sale, so this seller doesn’t regularly sell them.

With that aside; I will show you some pictures and show you some statistics of the cards we have. 

Here are some pictures of my cards, with a sneak peek of what’s to come in the next part of Shit I’ve Bought from eBay… 

large.IMG_1972.jpglarge.IMG_1980.jpglarge.IMG_2364.jpg

And here are Neptune’s Cards

large.IMG_2361.jpglarge.IMG_2323.jpglarge.IMG_2386.jpg

Graphs

The following graphs cover the following data:

  1. Amount of Cards in Each Set
  2. Rarity of Cards
  3. Date Obtained
  4. Card Types
  5. Pokémon Types
  6. Holographic Count

There are somethings that I feel I should point out before I start this; I am well aware that we have labeled a few things that are not canon in the Trading Card Games; for example what we call ‘Normal’ is what most would call ‘Colourless’, what we call ‘Steel’ is what most would call ‘Metal’, ‘Electric’ - ‘Lightning’ and so on. I know some of you will be itching to mention it in the comments below so I thought I’d get that out of the way. I did at least try to stick to the HTML colour pallet of the card types in “Pokémon Types”. We also only started recording date obtained after October 6th.

Amount of Cards in Each Set:

Temaelrin

large.395293709_AmountofCardsinSets.png

Neptune

large.215787808_AmountofCardsinSets.png

Rarity of Cards

Temaelrin

large.1623971339_RarityofCards.png

Neptune

large.9033876_RarityofCards.png

Date Obtained

Temaelrin

large.109505406_DateObtained.png

Neptune

large.225876554_DateObtained.png

Card Types

Temaelrin

large.167369616_CardType.png

Neptune

large.1053410549_CardType.png

Pokémon Types

Temaelrin

large.1025274974_PokmonTypes.png

Neptune

large.736885157_PokmonTypes.png

Holographic Count

Temaelrin

large.1301674121_AmountofHolographicCards.png

Neptune

large.1998867891_AmountofHolographicCards.png

Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Rack Mount Server

Do you still have your Pokémon Cards? Did you used to collect them? Please leave a comment below and share your experiences! 😄

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Casey

I never really played with or collected pokemon cards but my children have at some point in their lives... all of them.

I think as far as your story goes you kind of did the right thing but went the wrong way about it, dear. I know your ten year old self had a pretty warped view of the world based on what you've told me in private years ago... about your life around that time. but I think if you knew what you knew now, and had to do it again... I think you would have done things very differently. You're a smart person, dear and extremely resourceful. but the fact that you did it to get your fellow classmates their cards back, kind of shows the person you were back then and I think that's honorable even if the lies weren't so honorable. because it would have been so much easier to just stand by and do nothing.

but I do love how unapologetic you are. never apologize to assholes that have it coming. that was a great story and I enjoyed reading it.

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Whoreo

I am surprised that the resident Poképhile @ArdillaVerde93 hasn't said anything here about this topic.

On 04/11/2018 at 17:38, Temaelrin said:

what put it in the coffin was when teachers started confiscating cards and people would come back to the classroom when it was empty and steal them. I know this because I proved it could be done, when I stole some from the teachers drawer that she had confiscated from my friend, just so I could  promptly return them to my friend, after school because the Teacher was going to confiscate them for “a month” - something I felt she wasn’t allowed to do.

^ that was me he was talking about. 😄 I still have all my pokémon cards including the ones you got back for me from that Mrs.Whatshername teacher thanks again for that, Tem. I don't view that as stealing either. you were recovering my property, and you didn't ask for anything in return......nor did you take any of the cards. so that, I can vouch for.

I remember at the time you absolutely smashing Thomas the fuck up and then picking up all the cards before running which is exactly why people thought you stole them. But word very quickly got around what actually happened and most people only didn't like it because it was you that dispensed much needed justice on that bully.....I think it had have been anyone else, people would have it liked it.....I know I fucking did #NowThatsWhatICallKarma.......I don't know why people were so unfairly rough on you back then. I think Kari would have approved of what you did as well....bless her.

Its sad to see that you lost your entire collection......especially in those circumstances, I know how hard you worked to get that because I saw half of it but its good to see you're rebuilding your collection again, and not going to the extreme lengths you used to take.......those were ridiculous, but arguably necessary. keep it up. ^_^

I hope to see more XD but I have to ask........why the hell would you want a 'HP ProLiant DL380 G5 Rack Mount Server' which you mentioned as being in the next.......whatdoyoucallthis......forumisode? episodes on a forum? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Temaelrin

Thanks for your feedback. I think @Casey you're right. If I had to do it all over again as a ten year old knowing now back then, I would have done it very differently. I wouldn't lie, but I wouldn't tell them everything either. Kind of like I'm not going to lie but I'm not going to tell the truth either. 

@Whoreo: I don't remember her name either, but I know that a few years ago she apparently died of cancer, or so I'm told. I wasn't very popular at primary school for a lot of reasons, and I didn't want to be popular. I'm still like that today. So I guess somethings wouldn't change. As for what's to come in the next topic... Well I guess you're going to have to read it to find out. 🙂

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Dbm420

Never bought pokemon cards on ebay. I did it old school on my bike also got mtg collection those i have bought on ebay. 

I had all 3 shiny first ed charzard,blastoise,and venasure first gen ftw!

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KentuckyEevee

I had a fuck ton of Pokémon cards at one point. One of my good friends went even further, though. He was a Pokémon GOD at the time, and I still keep in touch. But if anyone asks him how I managed to get his 1st Edition error Charizard, well... Let’s just go by the saying: “What happens in Vegas, STAYS in Vegas”~...

Anyway, this guy was the only person I know to have legitimately owned EVERY SINGLE US RELEASED POKÉMON GAME. I’m talking Red and Blue version for the Nintendo Game Boy, to Pokémon Sun and Moon for the Nintendo 3Ds. But he didn’t stop there. He even own every side game as well! I’m talking Pokémon Stadium, Hey You Pikachu!, Pokémon Colosseum, XD Gale of Darkness, the Pokémon Ranger and Pokémon Mystery Dungeon series games, even ones like Pokémon Dash and Pokémon Conquest!!! This guy had them all!!! Hell, he even had, and I quote from him, a “Graded 10, Reverse Fireworks Foil Charizard Holo”. A GRADED 10!!! 

Sadly he’s since sold some of it, but he says that Pokémon made his childhood. If I wanted to list off other crazy ass things he has, well, here’s a sample;

$1,000 Halo 3 Master Chief cosplay, Yu-Gi-Oh! Battle City duel disk signed by the voice actor of Seto Kaiba; Eric Stuart, a 15th anniversary Japanese Digivice with signatures from some of the cast and directors, a Japanese Medawatch from Medabots...

The list goes on!

As for me, I still have some cards and games, buuuut the kids aren’t getting those until later.

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      • https://www.cs.auckland.ac.nz/~pgut001/pubs/secure_del.html - Secure Deletion of Data from Magnetic and Solid-State Memory (Floppy/Tape/HDDs)
      • https://www.cs.jhu.edu/~astubble/600.412/s-c-papers/remanence.pdf - Data Remanence in Semiconductor Devices (Flash/SSDs)
      So with the hard drives wiped; I installed a temporary installation of Windows Server 2016, as I was going to benchmark the system and turned the machine off for a good look inside. Before I did this though I took a temperature check of the CPU and RAM and found them to be the opposite way around from the HP Server and more in line with what I expected. The RAM was pretty cool, at around 30-40oC but the CPU was quite high even under idle loads, at around 60oC, and under 100% Prime95 load it was around 97-98oC which is a little too hot for my liking. But again, I could be wrong and this could be normal for this CPU. I did not leave Prime95 running for long, not at these kinds of temperatures, and I shut down the system and opened it up. 

      This server is laid out near enough exactly like a Mini-Tower. The first thing I noticed in there was this very fine amount of dust everywhere inside the machine. The second thing I noticed however was the CPU Heatsink was chock-fucking-full of dust which had compacted into the fins and was skewing my head test results for sure. The CPU fan was also caked in dust which severely reduces the airflow that the fan can draw through the heatsink. 
      Immediately I got to work in dismantling the server for a full and proper clean. 
      The Hard Drive Bay had to come out first, as you can see in the above picture; it is above the CPU heatsink and fan. So that came out, although the process seemed convoluted and impossible at first but after referencing the service manual it was as easy as taking out the hard drive caddy and pressing on a tab to make it swing outwards. I decided to give that fan a clean too as it was filthy, and I knew I was going to have four hard drives in there which will generate quite a bit of heat. 
      Once that was done I disconnected the fan power supply from the motherboard to the CPU Fan and removed the heatsink, only to find that the thermal paste had hardened into a cement like substance. So I removed the processor and delicately cleaned this up. 

      I also spent some time cleaning the heatsink out with various pieces of equipment, and clearing off the junk on the bottom of it. I then put the CPU back into the socket and applied some Arctic Silver 5, in a vertical line up the CPU (as instructed by their site) before putting it all back together and ran the system through another intense benchmark.

      This time, at idle the CPU was around 30-35oC and under heavy load it was around 70-75oC so as far as I was concerned this was mission accomplished. 
      As I said in the previous part: I use Arctic Silver 5; which is a high density micronise Silver and ‘Enhanced Thermally Conductive Ceramic Particles’ (What I call Enhanced TCCP), which is typically around 88% thermally conductive materials (by weight) with ‘Three Unique Shapes and Sizes’ of 99.9% pure silver to maximise the particle contact area and thermal transfer, suspended in Polysynthetic Oils. It is not electrically conductive either. You can find more information here. This is not an advert; and I am not sponsored by Arctic Silver, but it is in my experience, the best stuff to use for thermal paste solutions, at the very least it is almost usually much better than stock solutions. It is not cheap though (~£1,800 per KG. You buy it usually in 3.5g syringes that cost around £6-7 and it does lots of applications). 
      All in all this was running quieter than the HP Server, cooler than the HP server and taking in half of the power of the HP Server, so far this was looking like the best solution to use around the “Office”. 
      But the next thing I wanted to do was run some benchmarks. Unfortunately the benchmark program CrystalDiskMark 6.0.2 defines the following benchmarks as the stupid 1KB = 1000 bytes therefore 1000KB = 1MB, and if you want it to mean 1024KB = 1MB you’re actually talking about MiB… Which I’ve already ranted about in the previous topic.
      In the last topic of ‘Shit I’ve bought from eBay’ I stated that with the HP Server it had better numbers but the test files took a lot longer to create; this is absolutely true. But there was something I hadn’t read in the results that was showing me in the numbers that write speeds were much slower. Whilst the read speeds of the HP server was far better than the read speeds of the IBM server, the write speeds are a completely different story. Inside the computer was one single Western Digital (Blue) WD5000AAKX (500GB) HDD (7200 RPM, 16MB Cache, SATA III - 6Gbps). 
      So here is the raw data of the test using Crystal Diskmark (Freeware):

      Here is a comparison of the HDD speed between this server and the HP Server. Red indicates where the IBM server is slower and green indicates where it was faster:

      But I could argue that this test isn’t exactly very fair either. There are few points of differences to raise here:
      The IBM System did not have a full complement of disks, and it wasn’t set up in any kind of RAID system. Where as the HP system has all 8 disks in a RAID 5 set up. The IBM System does not appear to be able to do, let alone support RAID 5. In fact the letters “RAID” doesn’t even come into it. The best I can tell this has four options. Each disk is a stand alone drive (Which I guess could be configured in an OS) Integrated Striping: Which I am guessing is RAID 0. Integrated Mirroring: Which I am guessing is RAID 1. Integrated Mirroring Enhanced: Which I am guessing is RAID 1E. There are some reports that this only works with an odd number of drives, yet when I selected three of my drives I had around 750GB of total space, and when I selected four I had around 1TB of total space.  I had also tried using 4TB drives in the server however the RAID Controller, a IBM ServeRAID BR10il SAS/SATA Controller v2 (Which is actually a: Symbios Logic/LSI 53C1064E PCI Express Fusion-MPT 4-Port SAS Controller) can only see 2TB (2048GB) and even then it can’t process it properly. Everything else after that Linux, Windows, and even the BIOS only sees it as a 2TB Hard Drive and is incapable of installing anything onto it. So I am limited in this regard and can only use 2TB Drives or lower.
      I used SiSoftware (Sandra) to get an overall benchmark of the system as I hold a valid licence for the software (2016 version). Which I have compared to my desktop computer (Because as unfair comparaisons go this was the best baseline I have; other than old Pentium 2 Processor machine I have in my airing cupboard). I also compared them to the HP server that I spoke about in my last topic.  
      As I mentioned in the last topic it is important to see how the benchmarking software see’s the hardware, as there were discrepancies with the HP Server, that I wanted to rule out here too. 
      SiSoftware Sandra ID Host Name : WIN-F1VD50H6AMM Workgroup : WORKGROUP Computer Model : IBM System x3200 M3 -[7328EAG]- Serial Number : (REDACTED) Chassis : IBM Tower Mainboard : IBM 81Y6793 Serial Number : (REDACTED) BIOS : IBM Corp. -[GYE163AUS-1.20]- 03/19/2018 TPM - Trusted Platform Module : 1.02, WEC Total Memory : 16GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 Processors Processor : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Socket/Slot : FC LGA1156 Chipset Memory Controller : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI 2x 2.4GHz (4.79GHz) Memory Controller : Intel Xeon (Lynnfield) UnCore 2x 2.4GHz (4.79GHz), 2x 8GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 798MHz 128-bit Memory Module(s) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Memory Module : Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 4GB ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 PC3-10700R DDR3-1334 (9-9-9-25 4-34-10-5) Video System Monitor/Panel : Dell Computer DELL S2440L   (1920x1080, 24.0") Video Adapter : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 8GB) Graphics Processor Storage Devices WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) : 466GB (C:) HL-DT-STDVD-RAM GH60N (SATA150, DVD+-RW, CD-RW) : N/A (D:) Logical Storage Devices System Reserved : 500MB (NTFS, 4kB) @ WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) Hard Disk (C:) : 465GB (NTFS, 4kB) @ WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) Optical Drive (D:) : N/A @ HL-DT-STDVD-RAM GH60N (SATA150, DVD+-RW, CD-RW) Peripherals LPC Hub Controller 1 : IBM 3420 LPC Interface Controller Serial Port(s) : 2 Disk Controller : IBM P55/PM55/3400 6 port SATA AHCI Controller Disk Controller : IBM ServeRAID BR10il SAS/SATA Controller v2 USB Controller 1 : IBM P55/PM55/3400 USB2 Enhanced Host Controller USB Controller 2 : IBM P55/PM55/3400 USB2 Enhanced Host Controller SMBus/i2c Controller 1 : Intel ICH SMBus SMBus/i2c Controller 2 : IPMI T1 Controller Printers and Faxes Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer v4 (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft Shared Fax Driver (200x200) Printer : Microsoft Print To PDF (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft XPS Document Writer v4 (600x600, Colour) Printer : Microsoft Print To PDF (600x600, Colour) Network Services Network Adapter : IBM USB Remote NDIS Network Device (Ethernet, 9.73Mbps) Network Adapter : Intel(R) 82574L Gigabit Network Connection (Ethernet) Network Adapter : Intel(R) 82574L Gigabit Network Connection #2 (Ethernet, 1Gbps) Operating System Windows System : Microsoft Windows 2016 Server 10.00.14393 Platform Compliance : x64 But this is the results compared to my PC (Blue) with the Server (Green):

      This is really not unsimilar to the HP server results when compared to my computer. It is striking how very much the same they are. So to get a more complete picture let's take a look at how this IBM server (Green) is compared to the HP server (Blue):

      Now that’s interesting.
      And of course the raw data, which you can freely compare to the previous topic:
      SiSoftware Sandra Display Connection : Local Computer Processor Multi-Media Analysing... Aggregated Score : 67.17MPix/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Cryptography Analysing... Aggregated Score : 0.680GB/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Processor Financial Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 8.00kOPT/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Processor Scientific Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 6.57GFLOPS Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes .NET Arithmetic Analysing... Aggregated Score : 14.15GOPS Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Memory Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 6.251GB/s Result ID : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 (798MHz 128-bit) PC3-10700 (6-6-6-16 4-22-6-3) Speed : 798MHz Capacity : 16384MB Power : 19.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Cache & Memory Latency Analysing... Aggregated Score : 34.1ns Result ID : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 (798MHz 128-bit) PC3-10700 (6-6-6-16 4-22-6-3) Speed : 798MHz Capacity : 16384MB Power : 19.00W Finished Successfully : Yes File System Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 106.438MB/s Result ID : WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) (NTFS, 4kB) Speed : 7200rpm Capacity : 500.11GB Finished Successfully : Yes File System I/O Analysing... Aggregated Score : 1929.7IOPS Result ID : WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0 (500.1GB, SATA300/600, 3.5", 7200rpm, 16MB Cache) (NTFS, 4kB) Speed : 3000Mbps Capacity : 500.11GB Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Processing Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Video Shader Compute Analysing... Aggregated Score : 6.03MPix/s Result ID : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 8GB) (D3D 11) Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Cryptography Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : High Security (AES256 + SHA2-256) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Standard Security (AES128 + SHA1) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Higher Security (AES256 + SHA2-512) : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Cryptography Analysing... Aggregated Score : 0.683GB/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Financial Analysis Analysing... Finished Successfully : No Processor Financial Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 8.02kOPT/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Scientific Analysis Analysing... Finished Successfully : No Processor Scientific Analysis Analysing... Aggregated Score : 5.28GFLOPS Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Media (Audio/Video) Transcode Analysing... Aggregated Score : 1.508MB/s Result ID : Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU           X3430  @ 2.40GHz (4C 2.4GHz/2.8GHz, 2.13GHz IMC, 4x 256kB L2, 8MB L3) (Microsoft H264 Video Decoder MFT > H264 Encoder MFT; Microsoft AAC Audio Decoder MFT > Microsoft AAC Audio Encoder MFT) Speed : 2394MHz Capacity : 4Unit(s) Power : 95.00W Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Bandwidth Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Video Memory Bandwidth Analysing... Aggregated Score : 4.070GB/s Result ID : Microsoft Basic Render Driver (SM5.2, 8GB) (D3D 11) Capacity : 8186MB Finished Successfully : Yes GP (GPU/CPU/APU) Memory Latency Analysing... Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Global Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Constant Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Shared Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Private Data Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : In-Page Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : Full Random Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Error (339) : No devices found. : Texture Memory : Sequential Access Pattern : GP(GPU) call failed. Try another interface (e.g. OpenCL/ComputeShader/CUDA/etc.) or update video drivers. Finished Successfully : No Cache & Memory Latency Analysing... Aggregated Score : 34.2ns Result ID : Intel Core (Clarksfield/Lynnfield) DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Registered DDR3 (798MHz 128-bit) PC3-10700 (6-6-6-16 4-22-6-3) Speed : 798MHz Capacity : 16384MB Power : 19.00W Finished Successfully : Yes Overall Score Aggregated Score : 2.13kPT Results Interpretation : Higher Scores mean Better Performance. Decimal Numeral System (base 10) : 1GPT = 1000MPT, 1MPT = 1000kPT, 1kPT = 1000PT, etc. Result ID : IBM System x3200 M3 -[7328EAG]- System X (IBM 81Y6793) (Intel Xeon CPU X3430 @ 2.40GHz; Intel Core DMI; 2x 8GB Samsung M392B5273CH0-CH9 ECC DIMM Regis; WDC WD5000AAKX-603CA0; Microsoft Basic Render Driver) Finished Successfully : Yes After I ran these tests I began to make some modifications to the server. During the time that I was writing this up, I actually sourced together three additional 500GB drives, two from my next topic of ‘Shit I’ve brought from eBay’, and one from my computer so that the total complement is as follows:
      Western Digital (Blue) WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD  7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA III (6Gbps) Western Digital (Blue) WD5000AAKX 500GB HDD  7200 RPM 16MB Cache SATA III (6Gbps) Toshiba DT01ACA050  500GB HDD  7200 RPM 32MB Cache SATA III - (6Gbps) Seagate Pipeline HD .2 ST3500312CS  500GB HDD  5900 RPM 8MB Cache SATA II - (3Gbps) This to me is not ideal to say the very least. Yes all the drives are 500GB but there is a variance of how much cache they have and in once case there is a wild variance in speed of the platters, cache and even type. 
      So at the moment I am looking to replace them all with 1TB Western Digital Blue HDD’s (WD10EZEX) at some point, which isn’t too expensive, but it’s not exactly something I’m going to rush to do. They’d all be the same make and model with 64MB Cache, and 7200 RPM on a SATA III connection, it’s not ideal but it’s cost effective, and certainly more ideal than the current loadout, for sure.
      The reason I am not in a rush to do this however is because of the limitation mentioned before. I have no idea if the RAID controller can work with 4x 1TB drives, or if it would only see 2TB maximum even if I tried to (Although I’d never) use RAID 0. If this is not viable, I might just go and buy two more WD5000AAKX’s. 
      Obviously the ideal solution would be using 4 drives of the same model, spec and everything else that are designed to be used in servers such as a NAS drive or other enterprise drive solution rather than crappy WD Blue’s, which lets be honest here; are only being used because they’re already here. 
      IME Volume is what I went for in the end because I avoid RAID 0 like the plague and straight up mirroring will allow me to have three drive failures but only ~500GB of useable space. So RAID 1E/RAID 10 is the best I can hope for in this server.
      With the RAID set up I went ahead and inserted a WiFi Dongle inside of the Server, on the motherboard, because I’m not going to trial goodness knows how many feet of Network cables to where it’s going to end up just for the server - at least not yet. I may do that later on, for sure, but right now I just want a quick and easy setup. The next thing I did was installed my Linux Flavour of Choice to mimic the EcchiDreams Server and set it all up accordingly. 
      After I made sure it was all set up and stable. I simply powered down the server and stored it elsewhere in the home to see if it would work - and it did. And now I will finish the topic with some comments I have about the machine as well as some neat pictures of the server itself.
      This machine arrived to me more damaged than advertised; not only has the case got deeper cuts, and outright surface chunks missing, but it’s HDD caddy that came with it has a damaged screw meaning that replacing that HDD is not going to be possible without breaking, damaging or destroying the caddy completely, the server was unhygienically filthy and the hard drive was not wiped properly. In addition the fourth HDD slot (Slot 3, as 0 is a starting number) has defective LED’s which resulted in confusion earlier on in the process as I was concerned that the bay wasn’t working, as it’s not just one LED gone, it’s both of them. This is why I will not recommend the seller, he seems to be absolutely fine with falsely advertising things and potentially (Although unproven) boosting his own eBay auctions with fake bidders, that have 100% activity with the seller. 
      The system can be opened up with as few screws to get in the way as possible. There is literally a lever on the side of the chassis that will allow you to open it up and reveal the goodness inside. It’s quite intermodular in a form factor I am instantly all too familiar with. I am uncertain as to what the launch price of this server was, or when it was released although if I had to guess I’d guess 2011 or thereabouts. Everything within the tower is easily accessible and potentially replaceable/upgradable with ease.
      The one thing that is noticeably screwed in is the PSU; which seems to be almost a standard 400W ATX PSU (DPS-400AB-9 A) which distributes power to the system. This is an extremely quiet PSU, which is surprising as the HP Server I last looked at was quite loud. 
      The Hard Drives look to be in a hot swappable format, although I have not tried this yet. They take standard or enterprise grade 3.5” Hard drives and have the standard caddies that allow air to flow over them in an optimal pattern as it gets sucked into the system through the fan at the end of the bay. Again, this fan is extremely silent, and seems to do the job pretty nicely. On my model there are four 3.5” bays that will only accept upto 2TB drives (Although I have not tested 4 X 2TB, or even 4 X 1TB as of yet, it seems to have able to handle 4 X 500GB very well. The lack of hardware RAID options however on the IBM ServeRAID BR10il RAID controller really lets this system down however, as it doesn’t appear to allow for a RAID 5 setup which is what I had wanted, and the RAID options that it does give you aren’t in clear English - it’s stated in IBM RAID terminology such as IM, IME and IS rather than RAID 1, RAID 1E and RAID 0 respectively. I can understand why the RAID controller can’t accept bigger drives than 2TB - and that is purely because the RAID Controller is old. All in all this is not very ideal for me, but I can live with RAID 1E (Or IME Volume) for the time being. The controller is fairly fast and responsive, so I have no complains on that part. Receiving files over Ethernet in the Windows Server installation was quick and painless, and sending files from the server to my main PC was even quicker. So no complaints there either. 
      The RAM in the machine is DDR3 which I am quite surprised at, in addition it’s ECC RAM which you can find out more information about here from Luke Lafreniere over on Techquickie. The total in the system is four sticks of 4GB totalling at 16GB, but it can be taken even higher with the official IBM Spec saying it can take about 32GB of RAM, and there is no conflicting information between this and the CPU Vendor - Intel. However there are only 6 slots; which is extremely unusual. You’re not going to be able to fill all those slots, with the same kind of RAM at the same size; because they don’t make 5.33(recurring)GB sticks. The RAM seems to run quite cool, and I have no further issues with it.
      The CPU in the system is an Intel Xeon CPU X3430 clocked at 2.40GHz, which seems capable at stepping down the clock under idle loads which reduces the temperature as well as the power consumption of the CPU. After replacing the thermal paste of the CPU the temperatures keep well within my tolerance level which keeps the fan from running at full pelt, to give it some wiggle room later down the line, such as the heat sinking become less effective by dust build up, as well as the fan, or thermal paste becoming dry and in need of replacement. Not that I anticipate the latter being needed for a long time to come. The CPU also has a fan on the side of the heatsink. 
      There is a VGA port on the back as well as four USB2 ports, a serial port, and two Gigabit Network ports, as well as having two USB2 ports on the front. So it’s about what I expect for a server. Inside the unit is two SATA cables for CD/Tape drives, and several spare molex connector cables tied up in what I would assume was IBM’s cable management system. There is also another USB port inside of the machine which is where I put a WiFi dongle. 
      The graphics processor is reportedly a "Matrox MGA G200eV" which has 16MB of GDDR2 RAM, which is about half of the amount of RAM as the HP Server, but you’re not really going to run games on this machine and for command line interfaces, I don’t really see much purpose of having over 16MB RAM at all. Considering the fact that once the server is setup I’ll mainly be using SSH (A command line tool) to access the server remotely this integrated GPU suits my purposes as and when I need it to set the server up. 
      Inside the system as I mentioned before, I put a WiFi dongle in it, because fuck trialing an ethernet cable across the home - through walls and so on. It was intended to be a temporary solution, and for a short time it worked. After I installed Linux and preformed a ‘yum update -y’ command, whilst it was still on my desk I set it up via the Ethernet cable and used the command ‘yum NetworkManager-WiFi install -y’ to install the WiFi component to NetworkManager which could then be ran (after a reboot) by inputting ‘nmtui’ so I could activate the WiFi dongle and put in my WPA2 Password. 
      After that I unplugged the server and moved it across the room putting just the power in, and tested it out. It worked flawlessly. Until a few days ago; where it started dropping out and being intermittent. I checked with the PING command from my Windows Computer and I was getting 44% packet loss, with some packets being sent and received within 2ms all the way up to 2850ms. Speeds in FTP also dropped to around 40KBps to 170KBps, and this became unworkable. 
      I hooked it back up to the ethernet cable and it was fine again, transferred a 2.82GB file at ~ 101MBps - 152MBps no problems. But it seems that my crappy free USB WiFi dongle is crapping out. So I am looking at getting either a PCI-E ASUS PCE-AC68 WiFi Card for it; or actually stop being a lazy arse and go for the more secure option of neatly trailing a long ethernet adapter from the Router to where the server will be located. Objectively the latter option would probably be the most cost effective solution all round as it would be a pure gigabit connection between the server and the router as well as the other computers on the network that are connected via LAN. 
      With a bit of TLC the server can be repaired; and some parts can even be upgraded. There is certainly a fair bit of upgradability with this machine. I fully intend on using this server too for various purposes, such as:
      Development and Testing - Currently I do this on the very same server that EcchiDreams is hosted on in a separate area, I don’t need to say why that’s a very bad idea and it’s something that I can thankfully stop.  Host private content that is not for the general public - Content such as the Wiki project I am hosting in a secret directory on the EcchiDreams server, this is around 2.8GB big when it’s compressed, and it’s not something I really want to host on the EcchiDreams Server at all. A server that will download EcchiDreams backups - I want the EcchiDreams server to frequently download snapshots and backups to this server, currently I am doing it all manually and it’s something I want to move away from now that automatic backing up is far more reliable than it’s always been. But I can also use my NAS for this purpose.  A place where Neptune can test and create new things - Neptune is semi interested in web development too, and it’s something that she can do without fear of breaking anything. Host our internal-private Intranet site for the “Office” and “Home”.  Eventually look at moving away from Google Docs for our Collaborative Document Editing needs (Which we’ve somewhat already tried to no success, yet.) With the increasing presence of Google in our lives, we (Neptune and I) are actively trying to back away from it, having done so already with our web searching needs, email, and more. We are currently writing stories on Google Drive and I frequently back it up because I’m always thinking ‘What if someone from Google takes exception to what we write?’ and the fact that when Google bans you from one of its platforms like YouTube, you’re banned from all of it, with little to no recourse. This is not without merit; it’s happened to us before, when EcchiDreams was vindictively removed from Google Search with little to no warning and no explanation as to why, or any hope of getting your data back. We’re already transitioning from YouTube to other video platforms as well like BitChute. I will even be killing Google Analytics across all my online properties and as soon as I’ve moved from Google Docs to my own solution, I will be changing my daily browser too.  There might be some other ideas that come to me for running on this server, as it won’t be open to the general public, and only accessed by a small handful of people, I think the overall specs of the machine will be more than sufficient for our needs. But I think this is certainly a keeper.
      At some point, I may indeed consider upgrading the RAID Controller if I can, I have more than enough spare PCI-E slots in the server. 

      The current one (the LSISAS1064E) seems to be a little lacking in many respects, however I am uncertain as to what BIOS Limitations there are and it may require me to do further research into the system itself. Currently I suspect that this has a LBA size of 32bit which explains why would have a limit of 2TB. You see it’s rather simple; 32 bits is essentially 256 (times by) 256 (times by) 256 (times by) 256, which gives you; 4,294,967,296 this number times 512 (Because there are 512 Bytes in a sector) gives you 2,199,023,255,552 - which is exactly 2048GB (2TB). Yes, yes before you start typing away in the comments that I’m wrong about definition of GB/TB please read my rant in the last part. 
      I’m not sure if the BIOS would except it or not, but if possible I want to try going for a RAID Controller that has an LBA Size of 48 or 64 bits, so I can use a 4TB drive, or more. If possible I’d like it to have a battery backup too for the write cache. This RAID Controller is also only SATA 2 capable; but seeing as I am only using hard drives for the seeable future so I can’t really see any benefit by upgrading this to SATA 3, unless there is a speed performance to be had that I am not aware of (As most HDDs are well under the max speeds of SATA 3 and SATA 2), like to the queuing of data or something. 
      So that’s pretty much it. I will be keep this server. I really like it, despite its age.
      Next on: "Shit I've bought from eBay" - Synology DS212j NAS
    • Temaelrin
      By Temaelrin
      When is a NAS no longer just a NAS? 
      Since Synology, apparently. 

      I remember when a NAS (Network Attached Storage) was just a NAS, and whilst I like the features ingrained in a Synology NAS sometimes for lower end NAS’s it’s a bit much even for it to handle and it drags the device down. Now before any fan boys start kicking off, hear me out. I don’t think this is a bad thing as such, at all. I see it as giving the user a choice as to what they want to use their NAS for, and the rest they have to decide on. If they have feature X; they can have feature Y and feature Z but it might choke on that. Unless they have a more higher-end NAS that can handle it. I am pro-choice in this regard (And no, that’s not a political statement). 
      I used to have a Netgear Stora MS2110 which was slow, loud and frankly the worst NAS I ever owned. It had a read (download) rate of around 1.5MBps, and a write (upload) rate of around 750KBps. It had a loud fan and the hard drives in it echoed around the machine and you could really hear the clicking of the heads flying across the disk and all around crunching of the hard drive that hard drives made back then. 
      @Manni introduced me to Synology though as a user, he was an administrator of a NAS and I had access via the web interface and it was the strangest thing I had ever seen. Eventually I went onto eBay and found that these NAS’s started at around £140 - £190 for the DS212j, at buy it now, although some started at £250. 
      So a premium brand then?
      I then found one on eBay starting at 0.99p and was currently at £17.52 with a few days left and decided ‘why the fuck not?’ and put my opening max price at £30, with plans to go up to £40 and have an upper limit of £50. I didn’t really matter too much though; because on the 25th of October I won it for £28.00. 
      Item: Synology 212J 1 TB NAS Price I paid: £28.00 Shipping: £7.50 (Courier)  Total Cost: £35.50 Came With: Network Cable, Power Supply, Two HDD’s (500GB) The package arrived on time, and it seemed to be extremely well packed wrapped in layers of bubble wrap. The first thing I did however was open it up (Of course!) and take a look inside, the hard drives in the unit came out, and I gave the machine a quick clean down and replaced the CMOS battery with a Kodak Button Cell 3V lithium battery. Taking the device apart was actually insanely easy, and this is the whole computer board:

      That’s pretty much it. There is a board that goes off and acts as the LEDs and power button as well as a board that extends the SATA ports for the hard drives, but this is pretty much the hub of the NAS right there. I am hoping that I can somewhat overclock the processor, or something or add a heat sink on it with adhesive thermal pads but I am not currently sure how feasible this is.
      Initial Specs:
      Marvell Kirkwood 88F6281 (Sheeva 88SV131 CPU core) (Feroceon 88FR131) @ 1.2GHz - Single Core L1 Data cache = 16 KB. L1 Instruction cache = 16 KB. L2 cache = 256 KB.  DDR SDRAM Controller DDR2 400 MHz, Dual channel, 16-bit, 3.2 GB/s. supports up to four DRAM banks (four DRAM chip selects). supports all DDR2 devices with densities up to 2 Gb. supports up to 32 open pages (page per bank). It supports DRAM bank interleaving, as well as open pages (up to eight pages per chip select). Up to 2 GB total address space. DDR:CPU Clock ratio of 1:N and 2:N support. support for 2T mode. supports up to a 128-byte burst per single transaction from the Mbus port. supports up to a 32-byte burst per single transaction from the Mbus-L port. contains a transaction queue, read and write buffers. It can absorb up to 4 transactions of 128 byte each, in its buffers. Transactions from the Mbus are pushed into the transaction queue. The SDRAM controller arbitrates between the transaction from the top of the queue and transactions received from the CPU Mbus-L path, always giving priority to the CPU. For a CPU read from the DRAM, read data is not pushed to the read buffer. It goes directly to the CPU bus interface unit via a 64-bit wide Mbus-L path. This minimizes read latency. Cache: 256MB RAM 1000Mbps Ethernet Connection Hardware wise; there isn’t really all that much to show you, the motherboard of the device is shown above, this is the the SATA Bridge:

      Which I find absolutely interesting. The one towards the top of the picture (As the unit is upside down compared to the next image) is HDD Slot 2, where as the one on the bottom is HDD Slot 1. HDD Slot 1’s SATA connector looks very different to HDD Slot 2, noticeably the port between data and power. This is what I was talking about with the server hard drives in part 3 of my Shit I brought from eBay, the hard drives in that server will only fit into the HDD Slot 1, not HDD Slot 2, because of how the ports are made. They’re both as far as I can tell - SATA, except one seems to have a gap between the power and data where as the other has a stop bar that isolates the ports. I defined the difference as being SATA/SAS But who knows. I could be wrong. Please feel free to correct me in the comments below. 
      This is what the NAS looks like with the hard drives in:-

      As you can see from the top screws, these are screws that I have replaced, they have rubber washers around them (As you can see in blue) this is what I put in to further reduce the vibrations caused by the hard drives (which translates as noise) by absorbing the shock of it. At least that was my theory. I have no idea how loud this was before this modification.
      When I plugged it in and got it set up I learnt that there was an update for the device which I downloaded and installed… Immediately bricking my NAS. It wanted me to open the port forwarding on my router and contact Synology so they can access it and unbrick it. 
      “Get fucked” I thought. Then I tried to do it myself… Telnet was disabled, SSH was disabled, and nothing was working. The device was completely inaccessible and refused to boot. I had a similar problem with the Netgear Stora once, and I remembered what I needed to do. 
      I took the hard drives out, and decided to mount them as a RAID under a Linux Installation on my computer and scan them to see if they were properly formatted before I came to own them (They were! They had absolutely no data on them from the previous owner) and I wiped them clean with a binary zero write from the first sector to the last. Although I could have used Windows DiskPart to delete everything off of them, and clean the drives up. I put them both back into the device and used the Synology setup manager to restore DSM - and it worked!
      Once it had installed, as I was only going to go around and test it, because the HDDs were going to get used in my Part 4 project (My IBM Server), I decided to play arounnd with the interface and settings and I did some file transfer tests. So during my test, with the Synology version of RAID enabled, I installed an anti-virus scanner because I figured that this thing is going to be connected to the network, it’d be good to have a layer of protection on there, and I didn’t think anything of it. 
      So I went to test the transfer speeds and… Oh my.
      The speeds were not very encouraging; as what I was seeing was zero bytes per second, that would occasionally jump to to several megabytes per second before crashing back down to zero bytes. After logging into the Web Panel I could see why. 
      The CPU spikes up to 100% and the transfer crashes. When the CPU calms down the transfer goes back up and causes the CPU to spike up to 100% which crashes the speed of the transfer back down to zero again. Repeatedly. Whilst this is objectively better than my Netgear Stora, it still wasn’t good. 
      So I did some research and put it off for a few weeks whilst I started writing up Part 1, 2, 3 and 4 of this miniseries. During part 4 I decided to move a 4TB HDD from my PC which had been previously acting up in my computer. But it was only going to serve the purpose as a backup drive in the NAS because after repeated hammering tests on the drive I cannot make the failure appear again and it seems to be otherwise fine. The NAS will serve the purpose as a backup drive, to back up data from the local network. 
      So let's now talk about DSM, specifically DSM 6.2:

      When you go to the location that the NAS is installed on (as a website address) you’re presented with a login screen (That can actually customise and change to some degree) like you can see above. Once you’re logged in you’re then presented with a desktop environment essentially:

      From here you can pretty much set up the rest of the device and how it sits on your Network, as well as set up user accounts and install features on your NAS. 
      So let's take a look at the control panel: 

      In here you have several options as you can see above that has own tree of sub menus and sub options you can look at although I won’t be putting the screenshots of which into this document.
      The first item “Shared Folder” which allows you to create root(ish) level directories when viewing the NAS through the Windows Networking Explorer for the NAS. These can be locked to different permissions so if you want a folder that only user 1 can see, and not user 2, you can indeed set that up, or if you want it so that user 2 only has read access - this again is possible. I kept mine to just one; as it allowed me to easily mount it as one drive (Via Map Network Drives) under Windows:

      Which allows me easy access to the NAS. 
      The Shared Folder setting also lets you control encryption of the folder, although I haven’t used it. I don’t think the CPU can handle it (And I will explain why in a moment). 
      In the “File Services” page you can set up the following:
      SMB/AFP/NFS FTP/SFTP TFTP Rsync Bonjour SSDP WS-Discovery The only services I have enabled here is SMB (Samba) and SSDP (Simple Service Discovery Protocol) which allows my device to be detectable under the Windows Network, but also locks it down from being accessed from the outside, which is a layer of protection under the NAT on the router to prevent outside access to the NAS. But you can set it up so you can access your NAS from the internet - which means you can access for files anywhere. But in my opinion you’re opening yourself up to some trouble. 
      Consider this: You can already find Synology NAS’s that are open online merely by searching Google for it (I’m not going to give the key phrase here) but I have done it, and I can confirm you can do it. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’re broadcasting at that point to the internet that your NAS exists and it’s there. Things have already hit NAS’s that effectively take them and the data that they hold to ransom - just look at SynoLocker. By advertising your NAS on your IP address this is what you’re opening yourself up for. A dedicated hacker who wants access to NAS’s will eventually get in. And everything you store on it can be exposed. 
      So for me; I have it set to network access only; no internet. I have a private web server set up elsewhere for files I want to share with myself when I’m away from home. Something that is set up, designed and locked down to serve this purpose, which requires specific PGP Keys. It has no domain name, and doesn’t appear on any searches, not am I hosting it here at home. I won’t say what other security features I have with it, but I will say that It’s not perfect, and it can be a pain in the arse sometimes so… and it probably isn’t for everyone. 
      The next is “User” and this is self explanatory. This is where you set up users and their permissions to the NAS, such as what apps they can use, what folders they have access to and so on. The next on the list “Group” is very much so apart of the users setting I think its you create default group permissions. 
      The next setting, I assume is for advanced users because it’s the “Domain/LDAP” setting which is probably good if you have a Windows Server with a Windows Domain on it. I don’t use either of these so I’m afraid I can’t tell you what exactly it does. 
      Under Connectivity you have a setting called “QuickConnect” which is the Synology QuickConnect feature that allows your NAS to be accessed from anywhere (As long as you have an internet connection) I quite obviously have this disabled, and it requires a synology account. You get given a quick connect ID which will allow people to access the NAS without the need to give out your IP Address, and the next setting “External Access” with DDNS and router configuration is keyed into that. Again - I don’t connect externally, nor can my NAS be connected from outside the Local Area Network. My guess is, is that you can set up your custom domain here, instead of xxx.xxx.xxx.xxx (Where ‘xxx’ is a number between 0 - 255), you can connect via a domain name like ‘www.domain.tld’. So this doesn’t apply to my use case. 
      The next setting is ‘Network’ and this was quite important to me. In here you can set up what the server name is, where the default gateway is connected to (In my case, my router), if there is a proxy server in the way, and what it’s configuration is, the network interface, traffic control restrictions, static routes as well as the DSM settings. The DSM settings allow you to control what ports you can access your NAS on (Which I have changed from the default), whether or not you want them to be automatically redirected from HTTP to HTTPS (Which I recommend, especially if you’re accessing it externally), enable HTTP/2 and edit your own Server Header. You can also enable HSTS but if I recall correctly for enabling it on EcchiDreams - you *need* a domain name, and a valid certificate. 
      The next setting is ‘DHCP Server’ which on the large part - I don’t need. Because my router is my DHCP server. But… If you wanted to, you could also enable PXE (Pre-boot Execution Environment) from here too, which some computers/servers are compatible with, which is pretty much used in Enterprise environments. It essentially allows you to boot and install a computer from a central location - might not be worth it for one or two computers. But for tens or hundreds, thousands or more computers on the same network - then it’s perhaps worth it. Trip down memory lane in spoiler: 
      The next setting is ‘Wireless’ which, if you connect a WiFi adapter to the NAS (By USB) you can have the NAS connected via WiFi. It seems to be able to support three modes; Wireless AP, Wireless Router and to join a Wireless network. In this setting you can also set up Bluetooth, with the correct adapter. I have mine connected via Ethernet port so this isn’t applicable to me. 
      The next setting is ‘Security’ which allows you to set up the security of the NAS. Such as an automatic logout timer, cross-site request forgery protection, CSP headers in the HTTP content security policy, allowing or disallowing the DSM to be embedded in an iFrame, and so on. It also has a built in firewall which you can control, DoS (Denial of Service) protection, login protections (Such as get a password wrong 3 times in 10 minutes and the NAS locks your IP out), SSL Certificate storage, HTTP compression and TLS/SSL profile levels, which I recommend “Modern Compatibility”, to get the best level of protection. 
      The next setting section is ‘System’ and under this at the top is “Info Center”:

      Which is the hub of information about the NAS itself; the General Information tab which as you can see displays the status of the NAS. The Network tab shows the information pertaining to the network setup. The storage tab shows the information on the hard drive, such as size, free space, how much data is on it, what RAID format it’s in (In my case SHR), the model, temperature, location in the drive bay and whether or not it’s operating normally or malfunctioning. The next tab - Service, shows what services are enabled on the NAS and allows you to manually enable/disable them and allows you to test the connection. The next tab is device analytics which is data sent back to Synology on how you use your NAS. I’ve obviously disabled this because frankly it’s none of their business. The last tab here is for you to connect your Synology account to the NAS - which I don’t have one, nor will I ever get one.
      The next setting is the theme setting:

      This is where you can control the look of both the login screen via the “Login Style” and the general theme of the device via “Theme” although you can only seem to select light or dark. The login screen lets you put in your own pictures as a background which is pretty nice, and allows you to put in your own logo, which I have used the EcchiDreams information and logo to demonstrate for this write up. 
      The next setting is “Regional Options” or perhaps better known as Localisation. This allows you to control the timezone, and time settings as well as update your NAS to automatically synchronise the time with an NTP server. The next tab language is self explanatory it lets you set the default languages of the NAS, it’s notifications and codepage. Then of course you have an NTP Service which allows you to set up the NAS as an NTP Server (To syncronise time across devices attached to the network), the problem is though, most modern OS’s have this built in like Windows 10. 
       “Notifications” setting, in a nutshell lets you control how it sends notifications to you. It can do so via email, SMS or push service. With email it has a built in Google connect like interface that allows you to hook up a Gmail Account, Yahoo, Outlook, QQ or your own SMTP server to it; and it’ll send off email notifications automatically, including any welcome emails to new users. With SMS, you pretty much have a choice of ClickaTel, ClickaTel-2017 and Sendinblue-v3 all of which I do not use. With the push notifications you can use a Synology email server you download an app to your smartphone (Apple/Android) and pair your device with that. As seen with the mobile phone screenshot.  

      Not only can you receive notifications from this app, but you can actually pretty much control the device with an administrator control panel if you have the right privileges. It’s a pretty handy app to have, and I’ve not yet experienced problems with it. Under the advanced tab, like with EcchiDreams, you can select what notifications you get, and how you get them, like by push, SMS or email.  So all in all pretty good.
      Then there’s the ‘Task Scheduler’ setting that allows you to set automatic tasks that the NAS performs, such as DSM Auto Update and S.M.A.R.T Tests on the Hard Drives. It’s pretty simple. You can select how often these tasks run, or if they run at all. 
      Next you have ‘Hardware & Power’ which is interesting, and I’m going to go through this one by starting with a screenshot. 

      This has some handy little features that really put you in control over your own NAS. Much needed, especially after my Netgear Stora. Specifically the Fan Speed Mode. I have it set to quiet, because the current max temperature the hard drive gets to in the device is around 37oC - 40oC. Which is within tolerance. But then again it’s one hard drive. But I have to say that even on Full-Speed mode, the system is impressively quiet, although I am still considering on switching it to Low-power mode. Which completely stops the fan when it’s cool. In this menu is a power schedule that will allow you to have the NAS on at certain times of the day and off at others. HDD Hibernation allows you to power down the hard drive to minimise power consumption which I do (After 20 minutes), and further reduces noise when the system isn’t in use. This is something that if memory serves me right - existed on the Netgear Stora, but when it booted back up - my goodness it was loud. Then of course you have UPS which allows you to connect the NAS to an uninterruptible power supply. Seems like more of a server than a NAS, and I will get to that. 
      In the External Devices settings you can pretty much set up USB External HDD’s, Flash Drives and printers. I have tested this feature and it seems to work nicely with my flash drive. But I don’t use it. 
      ‘Update & Restore’ is next. This is basically for DSM (Disk Station Manager) to make sure that the Operating System of the unit is up-to-date and so on. It also lets you configure backups as well as reset the NAS and restore it to factory defaults. But that said, I’d advise caution against the resetting feature. It seems that every time I’ve used it, I’ve needed to take the hard drives out to completely clean them under Windows using Diskpart to delete the volumes, partitions and then clean the disk… Because it bricks the NAS… Completely.
      ‘Privileges’ seems totally pointless to me, it’s to setup features enabled on a user/user group level which is already available in the User and Usergroup settings. 
      ‘Application Portal’ is something I’ve not used. Nor do I really know what it really is. The help file says “Application Portal allows you to configure the connection settings of various applications so that you can directly access and run these applications (e.g. File Station) in independent browser tabs or windows.” However there’s a problem with this - that as I have said I will get to. Because you can’t enable too many features on this NAS. 
      ‘Indexing Service’ or ‘Media Indexing’, pretty much just scans for multimedia files automatically such as photos, music, videos stored on the NAS. It also lets you control what kind of quality you want thumbnails to be in and enable video compression for mobile devices. You know that problem I mentioned in the previous paragraph- yes. I will get to that in a moment. It even warns you as a hint here “Note: Enabling this option will take more time and CPU resources.” The idea is to compress it, and I assume Transcode it for lower end Mobile Devices. 
      The next setting is ‘Shared Folder Sync’ which requires me to use RSync, which I don’t. I assume it lets you sync multiple NAS’s together. I only have one, so I don’t use it. 
      ‘Terminal & SNMP’ Setting is the last setting in the control panel and this is something I will not use, nor leave open. The Terminal is basically Telnet/SSH which allows for command line access to the NAS, I have tested it and it is basically a Linux server. I see no need to enable it at this time. As for SNMP, if I recall correctly is some kind of Simple Network Management Protocol which I do not need to enable on my NAS. 
      And that’s it for the settings. The next thing you might have noticed in all of the screenshots is the ‘Package Center’ this is where you go to install new software features on the NAS… And we’re drawing near to my problem with this device that I have said repeatedly “I will bring up later.” 

      Just look at all these additional features… It’s… Well, it’s a lot. 
      One has to ask: How often are these applications - especially by third parties, updated? Because the MediaWiki app is version 1.30.0 which is out of date, there is 1.30.1 and even 1.31.1 which are both security updates. To make matters worse; Apache HTTP Server 2.4 is version 2.4.29-0011… The latest is 2.4.37 which I am pretty sure that between .29 and .37 there are a number of security updates as well as bug fixes. I wouldn’t consider this secure, especially if you’re hosting a website on that has access to the internet. Node.js only seems to go upto 0.10; the version now is 11.3.0, with security fixes released just a few months ago. 
      Same things with:
      phpBB, what you get on the NAS is 3.2.1 (July 2017). Current Version is 3.2.4 which was a security fix.  WordPress, what you get on the NAS is 4.9.7. Current Version is 5.0. Python3, what you get on the NAS is 3.5.1 (2015). The Current Version is 3.7.1.  Drupal8, what you get on the NAS is 8.4.8. The current version is 8.6.3. Ruby, is the most egregious of the lot that I found. On the NAS: 2.4.3… Latest version: 2.5.3, with tonnes of security fixes and patches.  So when is a NAS, no longer just a NAS? Since Synology apparently… In this day in age we need to keep things updated and this NAS has all the features of a web server, it lets you even make on… But you can’t keep it up-to-date and in my opinion this is not ideal to say the least. Now some of these - maybe no problem. Sure. But some of them are missing critical security fixes and are severely flawed. Control has to fall with the user, and if Synology insists on making it easier for the user then Synology has to update the software, or have the NAS download the latest version of the software. 
      I would not recommend using any of this, personally. 
      Don’t get me wrong - this is hands down the best NAS I have ever owned and it’s a low end model. I love it. But come on. I have to be critical here, and some of these might open pandora’s box of security holes, exploits and bugs that could run the NAS into the digital ground. 
      But the temptation - and this is where my problem comes in, is to start enabling all of the features willy nilly. But the problem is… Just loading this screen, this package centre takes about ten seconds at full CPU usage, and if it does that just loading up the screen then how can it run any of these things? Certainly at the same time as you’re trying to use it as a NAS… It’s going to choke. 
      Even with just the Anti-Virus scanner enabled; the system was unable to maintain good read/write speeds, constantly breaching 100% CPU usage, and holding up the upload/download, until it went down again, and even then the web interface freezes up repeatedly whilst 1 person is transfering files to and from the NAS… I’m sorry but to ask it to do more than one of these things in addition to being a NAS is simply not going to be as responsive and the more you install the worse it will get. 
      But maybe it’s not a problem if you’re going to say - use the NAS as a mini-web server instead, with Apache, PHP, PHPMyAdmin and MariaDB. But there are several problems here too, the complexity of the web application you want to use will pretty much be your limiting factor. Installing and running something like IPS (The Forum Software we use) might not be feasible, or quick and responsive at all, and may even require modifications that you cannot make such as installing additional PHP Extensions like GD2 extension or the mbstring extension. 
      That tiny 1.2GHz Processor doesn’t even have a heat sink, it’s passively cooled so I don’t know what kind of power people expect to really get out of it. As I said I couldn’t browse the web interface with ease when someone was using the NAS and that was just one person transferring files to the NAS. So I have no idea how it’s going to handle transcoding video to one device let alone several, or how you can really enable any of these features if multiple users, use the device. 
      Maybe with a more powerful NAS you can run these features side by side, I don’t know. But with the DS212j… I really wouldn’t recommend that if you want advanced features. 
      As for transfer speeds with barebones - no extra features:-
      Download from the NAS:

      Upload to the NAS:

      It’s certainly better than 1.5MB/s download and around 750KB/s upload. So I am happy about that. I have been able to download on some occasions at around 50-100MB/s which is amazing. But these are far and few between. I spent £35.50 on it second hand, and it works. Do I really have a right to complain at all? ... Probably not.
      I might include one final topic, either this year or next year as a bonus. It’s not something I bought on eBay but it might be fun to look at. 
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