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12 enormously useful products and resources for the DIY-ITer
As the aging 2012 slowly slips below the horizon and baby 2013 begins to make those cute gurgling sounds, we turn our thoughts to those hard-working geeks, makers, builders, and DIY-ers we all know and love. While the next few weeks might be a time to reflect, 2013 will be a whole new year, another 365 days for projects, hacks, and the realization of thousands of "I wish someone would invent" musings all across the world.
In this list of products and resources, I've selected some of the most interesting, helpful, and unexpected resources for geek DIYers.
Image courtesy Big Box of Art.
StarTech USB 3.0 to SATA/IDE HDD Docking Station
This is a neat little product that makes it very easy to process through all of those old hard drives you might have lying around. I used it this year to quickly image my primary laptop (via the fast USB 3.0 port) before I sent it back for repairs. When the machine came back, I dropped the drive back into the dock, and pumped the image back onto the machine.
What I like: Easy use of SATA drives and fast USB 3.0 connectivity.
What I'd like to see: I'm not thrilled with the spare cable approach to IDE docking. It's just a plastic hole in the box.
Find it here for $88.99.
Monster notebook: Sager 9150
This isn't the prettiest notebook in the world, and it certainly isn't the smallest. But it solved a very interesting problem: how to run a whole network of virtual machines on one portable computer.
This machine can be configured with up to 32GB of RAM, the usual high-performance SSD as a C drive, and a 7200RPM second drive (or another SSD, if you want to pony up the cash). It also supports high-performance gaming, and I'm currently hanging two 24-inch monitors off of it.
I looked everywhere for a notebook that could handle 32GB of RAM, and it was only when ZDNet's Jason Perlow suggested this beast that I found the answer I wanted.
Also, points go to the Sager tech support people. I had a few initial problems and they were helpful, responsive, and quick to get me up and running. I didn't expect it, and it was very appreciated.
What I like: Boatloads of RAM, fast, and fast.
What I'd like to see: Some personality.
Find it here starting at about $1,500.