DIY home NAS – Part 1

So, I grew tired of going trough all of my external harddisks to find whatever I’m looking for. Prébuild solutions are expensive, use obsolete technology and are limited in capabilities. That’s why I came up with my own build.

It’s not my goal to get the cheapest, but the most expandable solution, both in storage as in ways of functions.

This is what I came up with:

At first, I was thinking of setting up a softraid 5 configuration.
But then I found out about ZFS for linux.  So I might try this first.

I’m going to think this over a few times. Will check out other disks, other raid-solutions, an SSD as ZFS Cache etc…
The cool thing is, later, whenever I have a good TV, I can just cram some tv card in there, so I won’t even need to stream all content over the network 🙂

Sounds good? Leave your comments below 🙂

De weg kwijt

Ok the internet is a copy machine. And I’m here to expand it…
First, the dutch version followed by  the english translation.

De weg kwijt…

Een man vliegt in een heteluchtballon boven het land en beseft dat hij verdwaald is.
Hij ziet beneden een man lopen en daalt tot hij binnen gehoorafstand is…
“Neem me niet kwalijk,” roept hij, “Kunt u mij misschien helpen? Ik heb mijn vriend beloofd hem een half uur geleden ergens te ontmoeten, maar ik weet niet waar ik ben!”

De man beneden antwoordt: “Ja. U bent in een heteluchtballon en zweeft ongeveer 10 meter boven de grond. U bevindt zich tussen de 40 en 42 graden noorderbreedte en tussen de 58 en 60 graden westerlengte.”
“U bent zeker een Systeem Beheerder” zegt de man in de heteluchtballon. “Inderdaad” zegt de ander, “maar hoe weet u dat?”
“Nou”, zegt de man in de ballon: “alles wat u zegt is technisch gesproken juist, maar ik heb helemaal niets aan die informatie. En al met al ben ik nog steeds verdwaald.”

De man op de grond kijkt peinzend omhoog en zegt: “U bent zeker manager?” “Dat klopt”, zegt de man in de ballon: “maar hoe weet u dat?” “Eenvoudig. U heeft geen idee waar u bent. U weet al helemaal niet waar u naartoe gaat. U heeft iets beloofd terwijl u geen idee heeft hoe u die belofte moet waarmaken en u verwacht van mij dat ik uw probleem oplos. U verkeert nog steeds in dezelfde positie als voor wij elkaar ontmoetten, maar op een of andere manier is het nu ineens mijn schuld.”


A man is flying in a hot air balloon and realizes he is lost. He reduces height and spots a man down below. He lowers the balloon further and shouts: “Excuse me, can you help me?” I promised my friend I would meet him somewhere, half an hour ago, but I don’t know where I am.”
The man below says: “Yes, you’re in a hot air balloon, hovering 30 feet above this field. You are located between the 40°N and 42°N and between the 58°W and 60°W.”
You must be a SysAdmin” says the balloonist.
“I am” replies the man. “How did you know.”
“Well,” says the balloonist, “everything you have told me is technically correct, but it’s no use to me. I’m still lost.”
The man below says “you must be in management.”
“I am” replies the balloonist, “but how did you know?”
“Well,” says the man, “you don’t know where you are, or where you’re going. You made a promise you din’t know how to meet, but you expect me to fix it. You’re in the same position you were before we met, but now it’s my fault.”
I was pointed to this gem by wonko. So my copy cam from this copy.

Molly-guard to save the day

If you have one or multiple boxes running somewhere at a remote location and you manage them trough ssh, you’re possibly familiar with the following situation.
It has been a long night.
On your desktop there are multiple terminals gaping in the dark.
During the whole night, some of these dark ships transported you to far remote playgrounds and back.
The other  ones were mere destined for local hocus-pocus.
But it’s time to call it a day and go to bed.
You fire away the ‘poweroff’ command just to realize a fraction of a second later that this was the window to your homebrew webserver…

But it’s too late.
The connection is lost and the machine has no wake on lan…
Now you have to get out of your chair, find those damned pants and go all the way up to the attic to switch it back on.

No one likes this horrible situation. So Molly-guard is here to save the day.
Molly-guard is is a bunch of scripts that capture the halt, reboot, shutdown and poweroff  commands and give you a second chance.
By checking if the tty has been created by sshd, it checks whether you’re logged on from a remote machine.
If that’s the case, molly asks you the hostname of the machine you want to shut down.
If the hostname you entered does not match the hostname where Molly is running on, you’re saved 🙂

You might think this is a silly tool, but after a long time of silence, I’m back to using my home server and just saw this screen:

A little cool thing to know:

A shield to prevent tripping of some Big Red Switch by clumsy or ignorant hands. Originally used of the plexiglass covers improvised for the BRS on an IBM 4341 after a programmer’s toddler daughter (named Molly) frobbed it twice in one day. Later generalized to covers over stop/reset switches on disk drives and networking equipment. In hardware catalogues, you’ll see the much less interesting description “guarded button”.


Molly-guard man page from ubuntu: here

The winner of this years April Fools Day is IBM

Did you notice… April Fool’s Day has passed by.
As usual, jokes were ranging from buttard-lame to über-fluffy-rainbow-unicorn mighty.

A lot from Google’s jokes this year were great, but they’re all expected and bringing no surprise at all.
I think the one below was the most funny one from them.

My all-round favorite from 2012 goes out to the IBM Linux kerel developers.
They announced a new patch that would rock your socks off…
From this patch on, Linux would no longer need a CPU.
To be honest… for a second I went: What? Crazy… but then it did hit me… in the face!

Read all about it in this article at Phronix

Pirate Party Ghent has a blog!

It’s here… The Pirate Party Ghent Blog!

If this is the first time you’ve read or heard about the ‘Pirate Party’, then you’ve missed out on some great international news.
So, time to get to the Wikiboats and loot yourself some knowledge!
The Pirate Party is a political party founded in Sweden by Rickard Falkvinge in 2006 and has been founded in at least 40 countries ever since.
The red line throughout their program’s are support for civil rightsdirect democracy and participation, reform of copyright and patent law, free sharing of knowledge (Open Content), data privacy, transparency, freedom of information, free education and universal healthcare.
Above that, it’s the only political party that has spread over country-borders.
Check out the Pirate Party International if you want to learn more about that.

But I started out with the cool news about the Pirate Party Ghent Crew’s Blog, so let’s get back to this specific part of the Pirate Party Belgium.
So yes, there is a Pirate Party in my country, even better, in my city 🙂
There is a weekly awesome meeting from the Pirate Party Ghent Crew.
I fully understand that now you know, you’re eager to know what’s happening there…
On the Pirate Party Ghent Wiki page, you’ll find the meetingnotes of all past meetings, aswell as the agenda for future meetings.

Are you living in Belgium, and want to find out if there is a Crew around, find out at the main Pirateparty Belgium Wiki, or start your own 😉