eRacks Systems Tech Blog

Open Source Experts Since 1999

Worried about your choice of surveillance system for your premises, not sure what system is more suitable to your needs? Confused where to invest your hard-earned money for your security apparatus? We at eRacks got you covered!

Our top of the line products and their tech are briefly described for you because we at eRacks believe a market educated consumer is a happy and long-term customer. Besides, not one shoe fits all, so why should one system be used for all your needs?.

eRacks has always emphasized on its diversity in its products.

A diverse security apparatus is a strong security apparatus
-Joseph Wolff, CTO, eRacks

Hence, we are offering three variants of surveillance systems

  1. eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder)
  2. eRacks/NVR (Network Video Recorder)
  3. eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder)

Each of the technology we are offering to our valuable clients are discussed in detail below

 

  1. eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder)

eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder) is quickly growing in popularity because of its versatility. Hybrid video recorders (eRacks/HVR) are compatible with both standard analog signal and IP network cameras, allowing the users to continue using their current installed analog security system while gradually shifting to the latest network IP technology. It grants the flexibility to upgrade the existing surveillance system to IP equipment according to the user’s budget and specifications.

A hybrid system integrates existing analog cameras into an IP network, providing the user with all the advantages of an IP system excluding the HD resolution of IP cameras. In a hybrid CCTV system, footage is recorded in analogue quality however the IP network features of indexing, bookmarking, and retrieval are made available through the Hybrid eRacks/DVR.

eRacks/HVR (Hybrid Video Recorder) is best suited to record video footage in a digital format to storage array. It accommodates both IP and analog cameras and captures video/images through an Ethernet network via Cat5 / Cat6 cables from IP cameras as well as coaxial cables from analog cameras. It is mostly used for physical security applications. This option is a good choice when planning for future expansion into an IP video surveillance system as the existing analog cameras can be reused and incorporated into the system without any drop in coverage.

eRacks/HVR comes with a variety of channel counts, and storage capacities to ideally suit many applications. It also supports smart features, including event search, event log, and email notification; a free mobile app that allows users to watch live or playback video from their smartphone. Multi-site video management from anywhere in the world can be done using eRacks/HVR as well.

 

 

  1. eRacks/NVR (Network Video Recorder)

eRacks/NVR stands for Network Video Recorder which is a specialized hardware and software solution used in the IP video surveillance systems. This system records and store video footage directly from the network it lives on for the purpose of their storage and subsequent playback. They work with an advanced type of camera, called IP cameras. IP cameras can actually capture and process video and audio data themselves by using either an Ethernet cable or wirelessly via an existing Wi-Fi network. The eRacks/NVR does not contain any special equipment for capturing video because it receives the video streams already encoded by the IP cameras in a digital format. To support the expanded set of features and user-friendliness, the eRacks/NVR uses standard computers with standard operating systems.

eRacks/NVR systems process the video data on the camera rather than on the recorder by using IP cameras which are standalone image capturing devices. IP cameras have a chipset which processes the video data which is then transmitted to a recorder. It is capable of recording and sending audio as well as video. The more powerful hardware on IP cameras also enables improved smart functionality and video analytics, such as facial recognition. eRacks/NVR systems connect the camera to the recorder, but this is done using standard Ethernet cables, such as cat5e and cat6, to transmit data. eRacks/NVR recorders are only used for storing and viewing the footage.

eRacks/NVR systems are inherently more flexible because security cameras don’t necessarily have to be physically connected directly to the recorder. Instead, IP cameras only have to be on the same network. The video quality is also better as eRacks/NVR recorders receive a pure digital signal from the cameras. All cameras with microphones can record audio to the eRacks/NVR because Ethernet cables carry audio. eRacks/NVR systems tend to have better picture quality, as well as easier installation, are reliable, stable, provide increased flexibility, have a user-friendly interface for day-to-day use, and native support for audio on every camera that has a microphone. However, eRacks/NVR systems also tend to be quite a bit more expensive which is a huge constraint for budget conscious people.

 

 

  1. eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder)

eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder) has been updated for a better performance than ever. It is mostly used for physical security applications. These eRacks/DVR solutions are highly scalable and can be tailored according to the client’s needs.  They can also be configured for home to enterprise class support. eRacks/DVR is a little lower priced than other available systems which makes it more attractive.

The eRacks/DVR (Digital Video Recorder) is a specialized computer system that records video in a digital format and stores it in disk drives or other mass storage devices. This updated version provides 432 TB of Surveillance Storage Drives along with optimized Digital Video recording and viewing. It normally uses analog cameras that are also called CCTV cameras, for recording. The cameras and eRacks/DVR are connected using a coaxial cable which are not very costly. Coaxial cables that were previously installed for other security systems can also be used for eRacks/DVR. This combination is more cost-effective and easier to set up; however, the resolution is usually limited to D1 (720×480). Proximity is a limitation as the analog cameras cannot be more than 700-1000 feet away from the eRacks/DVR without visible degradation in video quality.

The eRacks/DVR recorder relies on a chipset that is called AD Encoder for processing the raw data streaming from the camera into legible video recordings. eRacks/DVR systems also have different requirements when it comes to the recorder i.e., the user must connect every camera directly to the recorder. Moreover, the recorder is not responsible for providing power to the cameras. Each camera connection needs a splitter that supplies power which in turn enable cameras to function. eRacks/DVR systems can only use wired security cameras. eRacks/DVR systems also have less flexible mounting solutions because routing coaxial cable can be more difficult in tight situations and a power outlet is required for each camera. Coaxial cables don’t natively transmit an audio signal, and eRacks/DVR recorders usually have a limited number of audio input ports. eRacks/DVR Home surveillance systems are easy to set up and can be accessed through a web browser. The user is notified by email if an alarm is triggered. eRacks/DVR Server offers standard 1year full / 3year limited warranty and come with pre-configured latest Open-Source software based on the user’s specifications.

 

April 16th, 2021

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Introducing eRacks/ZENBOOK15.UHD 4D resolution, high power Ultrabook with Linux or BSD operating system

Introducing eRacks/ZENBOOK15.UHD 4D resolution, high power Ultrabook with Linux or BSD operating system

We wanted to start the month in style. So, we thought what better way there is than introducing a great looking Ultrabook with powerful specification?   Then the light bulb went on: “eRacks/ZENBOOK15.UHD”.

This really stylish and elegant eRacks/ZENBOOK15.UHD laptop that comes with a screen resolution of 3840 by 2160 — four times FHD (full high-definition) resolution – really started looking mighty good.

This Ultrabook by Asus can be delivered by eRacks with up to 24 Gigabytes of RAM and up to 1 or even 2 Terabytes of SSD hard disk space. As a matter of fact this ultrabook has been ranked the number one among all of ultrabooks that you can find online, this is according to gadget reviews, which is a good indication that it will really serve it’s purpose and will cope up with your expectation. With its 15.6 inch 4K Ultra High Definition IPS screen and a view angle of about 170 degrees, eRacks/ZENBOOK15.UHD is really a great looking and powerful Ultrabook.

As with all eRacks Systems products, this elegant looking Ultrabook will be delivered with your choice of Open Source operating system & software pre-installed and pre-configured. The operating system can be any flavor of Linux or BSD (We can even do other OSes like Haiku, etc on request). We will install and configure the OS fully before packaging your Ultrabook and sending it off your way.

In fact, you can be sure that with your Ultrabook ordered through us, you will receive a powerful open source system, configured to the highest specifications according to your requirements. And you can also be sure that no one else can or will offer anything close to the laptop you will get from us.

So, why not expand your laptop computing power to the next level with us. Contact us and ask about eRacks/ZENBOOK15.UHD. We’ll be happy to hear from you.

info@eracks.com

October 8th, 2015

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Zenbook with beverage - IMG_20131019_231446531Minty Zenbook

I am typing this on a nifty new eRacks/ZENBOOK13, with Linux Mint15 installed.

This is a slightly newer rev of the very pretty Asus Zenbook line, with twin 128GB SSD modules installed in a small carrier which screws into the standard 2.5″ HD space (it could also be replaced or upgraded with one of our standard HD/SSD choices, here: http://eracks.com/products/laptops/ZENBOOK13/)

This post will walk you through what we had to do for the installation, with the details.

Installation Cookbook

  1. Boot to an Ubuntu 13.04 install disk. (13.10 should work, or Ubuntustudio works too, that’s what I used).  For some reason, the Mint installer doesn’t install the default EFI boot choice properly, so you have to start with Ubuntu, then replace it with Mint. Read on.
  2. Using gparted (fdisk could work, too), delete the partition tables on /dev/sda and /dev/sdb, and replace the GPT-based partition tables with with msdos-type partition tables.
  3. Install Ubuntu on the 1st of the two SSDs. Don’t worry about the 2nd disk (_yet_).  Be sure to check the “Install with LVM” box after you select the default “Erase and install…”.
  4. Reboot into Ubuntu, and note the partitions cerated.
  5. Boot into a Mint 15 Install disk.
  6. Install Mint15 into the same partition structure – in other words, do NOT select the default “erase and install…” , but rather the “Something else” choice, and tell it to put the root partition on the same partition you noted in step 4.
  7. Install rEFInd (http://www.rodsbooks.com/refind/) from a rEFInd install disk, that you downloaded and burned from there. (I used v0.74). Be sure to install it in the /boot/efi partition (typically /dev/sda2) created earlier. The reason to install rEFInd, is it’s an invaluable tool to use to boot from any EFI-capable location on your computer, and will be used later on.  I put mine in EFI\refind\refind_x64.efi
  8. Be sure to also copy shell64.efi into /boot/efi/EFI/tools/, so rEFInd can find it, and show you the EFI Shell choice & icon.
  9. Boot from rEFInd.
  10. Choose the EFI shell.
  11. Using the bcfg command, (help -v bcfg is your friend!), list the boot choices, and verify that “ubuntu” is there.
  12. Add “mint” as a boot choice, pointing to EFI\linuxmint\grub64.efi – mimic the way the “ubuntu” boot choice is done.
  13. Reboot into the boot menu (hold Esc down during the Asus logo) and verify that “mint” and “rEFInd” are there.
  14. Test them both out – rEFInd should also give other interesting choices you can try out.
  15. You should be able to launch Mint from either the “Mint” choice in the Asus boot (holding Esc), or from the Mint choice in rEFInd.
  16. Optionally, you can add the 2nd SSD (mentioned in step 3) to the main volume using LVM, to use the full 256GB.

That’s it!

Wrap and Beverage

I must say, this is a BEAUTIFUL machine – I want one myself!

Between the FullHD display, and being roughly the same thickness and sizeas the magazines I often carry into any given bar / restaurant here in Los Gatos, this is a joy compared to my regular 1920×1080 Asus laptop..

…And it beats the heck out of a tablet..

…And the battery life seems great, it barely made a dent in the hour or so I spent surfing with it while drinking my beverage of choice at one of the local establishments here.

…And did I mention it’s screaming fast, with the i7 CPU and 10GB RAM?!

Bon Appetit,

j

 

 

October 20th, 2013

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eRacks Sony Laptop – Part 2 – Shrinking partitions & Installing Linux

Step 1 – back up Vista partitions

[joe@sony ~]$ sudo su
Password:

[root@sony joe]# fdisk /dev/sda

The number of cylinders for this disk is set to 14593.
There is nothing wrong with that, but this is larger than 1024,
and could in certain setups cause problems with:
1) software that runs at boot time (e.g., old versions of LILO)
2) booting and partitioning software from other OSs
(e.g., DOS FDISK, OS/2 FDISK)

Command (m for help): p

Disk /dev/sda: 120.0 GB, 120034123776 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 14593 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Disk identifier: 0x200c5cbf

Device Boot      Start         End      Blocks   Id  System
/dev/sda1               1         889     7138304   27  Unknown
Partition 1 does not end on cylinder boundary.
/dev/sda2   *         889        4076    25600000    7  HPFS/NTFS
/dev/sda3            4077        4101      200812+  83  Linux
/dev/sda4            4102       14593    84276990    5  Extended
/dev/sda5            4102       14593    84276958+  8e  Linux LVM

Command (m for help): q

[root@sony joe]# dd if=/dev/sda2 | gzip -9 – >vista.img
51200000+0 records in
51200000+0 records out
26214400000 bytes (26 GB) copied, 2384.53 s, 11.0 MB/s

[root@sony joe]# ls -l
total 6168412
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Download
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Music
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Public
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Templates
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Videos
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 6310241019 2009-02-20 21:58 vista.img

[root@sony joe]# dd if=/dev/sda1 | gzip -9 – >recovery.img
14276608+0 records in
14276608+0 records out
7309623296 bytes (7.3 GB) copied, 739.479 s, 9.9 MB/s
[root@sony joe]# ls -l
total 12022456
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Download
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Music
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Public
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 5988678705 2009-02-20 22:15 recovery.img
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Templates
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Videos
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 6310241019 2009-02-20 21:58 vista.img

[root@sony joe]# mv vista.img vista.img.gz
[root@sony joe]# mv recovery.img recovery.img.gz
[root@sony joe]# ls -l
total 12022456
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Desktop
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Documents
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Download
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Music
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Pictures
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Public
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 5988678705 2009-02-20 22:15 recovery.img.gz
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Templates
drwxr-xr-x 2 joe  joe        4096 2009-02-20 03:05 Videos
-rw-r–r– 1 root root 6310241019 2009-02-20 21:58 vista.img.gz
[root@sony joe]#

 

Step 2: Boot from the Ubuntu CD and install Linux!

 

Previous: Part 1 – the OOB Experience

eRacks Sony Laptop – Part 1 – the OOB Experience

eRacks Sony Laptop – Part 3 – Virtual Windoze

June 9th, 2009

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Here are 10 really useful reasons to justify why you need a new Linux Netbook from eRacks.


Besides, a contributing member of this technological society is required to stay well-connected at all times. And in this economy, cost-effectiveness is imperative.

Top Ten Reasons why you need a Linux Netbook

  1. Lighten your load without compromise. The average laptop weighs 7 lbs. The average netbook weighs 2.5 lbs. How’s your back lately?
  2. Save money. The average laptop costs $1500+ while netbooks range from $300 to 500$.
  3. Take it with you and don’t get lost. Connect and find your destination. Google maps is a lifesaver.
  4. Keep in touch, even when you’re out. Connect with Facebook, Twitter, and Meebo.
  5. Finish your document/spreadsheet/presentation/homework at the cafe – eRacks Netbooks come with OpenOffice and many other useful applications.
  6. Waste time more effectively. Catch up on LolCats and then watch all the cat videos on YouTube. After all, isn’t that the underlying purpose of the Internet?
  7. Keep your job (or find a new job.) Manage your servers remotely anytime.
  8. Watch a film or video clip through your home network or from Hulu, in your favorite chair.
  9. Save a little more money. Find that book cheaper than in the store and order it.
  10. Portable Webcam possibilities are endless. Update your blog in real time.
  11. Bonus reason: eRacks is having a sale on rackmount servers that could likely save you the cost of a Netbook anyway.

January 6th, 2009

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Hello again.

It’s Max, your favorite Op. Manager here at eRacks. Today, I am going to talk a bit about quiet computing, something eRacks knows a lot about!

In today’s world, not every small business, home office, studio or gaming lounge has the ability to put up with what sounds like twin 747s taking off right next to you. However, proper cooling is paramount, and for some reason, quiet and cooling seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum, much like chaos and order, orcs and humans, or tofu and steak.

Performance vs. Decibel Level

So, you ask, what can I do? You could buy low power embedded designs like Via, but then you sacrifice performance. You could buy liquid cooling, which we like, but there is a chance of it leaking if you decide to move it or if you don’t take good care of the pump and tubing. By contrast, you could do what we do, which is to find the best components for the job. Unfortunately, I can’t give all the company secrets — I would probably get punished by a very intimidating penguin (or spiky blowfish) if I were to spill the beans.

An eRacks customized quiet computer

Specialized Low-Noise Components

A SilenX Quiet Fan

A SilenX Quiet Fan

However, I can provide some generalities. First of all, we have a great partner in SilenX that provides fans and power supplies with super airflow at a noise level that is almost undetectable! We also know the power of rubber, grommets and hard drive placement. Dual or triple layered walls and chambered chassis also help to reduce noise, and if you are really serious, use foam and vibration dampening.

Quiet and Overclocked ?

eRacks can help you avoid spending hours testing and retesting combinations of components, in your effort to achieve quiet computing. We may be one of the few vendors that is known for our customized quiet systems with overclockability, for rendering, gaming, simulation or studio work. Even, say, Quad-core CPU with SLI graphics (overclocked), yet still quiet? It can be done, and done well. Also, eRacks’ cooling and quietization process is warrantied – Try finding that elsewhere – Not going to happen!

Lower Electric Bill

Added benefit: Quiet computers actually require less power and save money. Adjusting the voltage of certain components lowers the load on the power supply, which in turn lowers your energy bill.

This eRacks chassis has rubber grommets for vibration dampening, isolated PSU, and fan speed-controllers.

This eRacks chassis has rubber grommets for vibration dampening, isolated PSU, and fan speed-controllers.

Audio Bliss

In audio or production settings, any bit of noise or interference can turn a master work into something that goes straight to the trash. By quietizing your computer, you can avoid vibrations and fan noise that would otherwise make your Mozart sound like, well, amplified intestinal vocalizations.

Advancements in cooling, thermal wattage, performance and piping technologies have made it so that eRacks has perfected the art of constructing a quiet monster-gaming, or audiophile computer system. eRacks has numerous configurations, special designs and company expertise that gets it done within budget and exceeds expectations.

Silence, customized

If you have any questions or comments, want a more in depth idea about what we do, or if you have a configuration you think we can help you on, just let us know. I personally can help you out with whatever questions you have, and the rest of the eRacks staff is happy to discuss your options. Next time someone shows up at your LAN party with their dual CPU box that sounds like a tank rumbling over a heard of screaming shrews, just remember, eRacks can build a similar system that’s quieter than a graveyard at midnight (which is where your opponent’s avatar will end up when you no scope him from across the screen.) No hacks; just pure performance, cooling and engineering to provide you the very best in rendering, gaming and application-based work.

Max, signing out.

October 7th, 2008

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