Archive for the ‘Life: Work and Techy’ category

[Personal] Turns out I didn’t actually need a new NAS

January 17th, 2016

drobo_nas_frontplateOn Friday, I (well, the company), purchased a brand new Synology DS1815+ 8 Bay Desktop NAS (Network Attached Storage) device as the 4-bay Drobo (non-networked) storage device we were using for backups/file storage just seemed to be eating through hard drives – every few months, a red light would appear next to a drive and so we replaced it… The Drobo is quite slow (USB 2 only – so to network it, it has to go from USB 2 to a RaspberryPi to the network: maximum of 20MB/s transfers if we were lucky).

As you can see from the diagram, a “steady red light” indicates “Add A Drive Here”. If the Drobo is fully populated with drives, do you:
a) Take that as an indication the Drobo no longer recognises the drive in that position for whatever reason (not properly inserted, drive failed etc). After all, if the light was blinking, it’ll indicate “Drive failure, replace”
OR
b) The drive is actually fine, but just needs replacing with a higher capacity drive.

For around 6 drive replacements, I’ve thought it was (a) – but it turns out, it is (b)…. So, I could have perhaps saved myself/the company over £1,000 in buying a new NAS and drives for it (okay, I perhaps couldn’t as the Drobo has got 3x4TB drives and 1x3Tb drives in it, so it would have only been a short term storage solution – the Synology does a lot more besides!)… If the “Drive capacity” lights at the bottom of the Drobo flashed/turned red or the drobom status reported “Drive at capacity, replace with *larger* drive” (instead of “Replace drive”), it would have been helpful…

Oh well, at least we have a file store, backup storage solution (with synchronisation to Amazon Glacier), in-house cloud-sync system, media service and a central “single store” for all our files instead of 4 different Drobo volumes….

[Techy] Directly connecting a NAS to a Windows 7 machine

January 15th, 2016

I’ve just purchased a Synology DS1815+ 8 Bay Desktop NAS Enclosure
(Network Attached Storage) device to replace an ageing 4-bay Drobo non-NAS device (well, I made it a NAS via a RaspberryPi) and I’ve started to transfer data across to it.

However, despite the fact it is sitting next to my Windows 7 Professional machine, the data would need to travel out of my GigE network port to the 500Mbps TP-LINK AV500 Two-Port Powerline Adapter that my Win7 machine and the Synology NAS is plugged into, travel down to the router (connected to another Powerline adapter), be routed back up through the electrical system, back through the same Powerline adapter to connect to the Synology’s own GigE Lan port…. Because of that, a transfer of about 500Gb was estimated to take in excess of 14 hours….

So how to speed it up? Well, my PC has 2 LAN Ports and the Synology DS1815+ has 4 LAN ports so I should be able to directly cable them together shouldn’t I? Well, I should – but when I did that, I lost all network connectivity on my machine (I’ve got no idea if the NAS lost it as well as I couldn’t see it’s status). But thanks to the lovely Kat (full disclaimer: I married her 😉 ), there is a solution and it’s got a 14hour+ transfer down to about 1 hour and transferring data over 100MB per second (it would probably be faster, but the Synology is still checking the new disks). So what’s the secret I hear you ask?

» Read more: [Techy] Directly connecting a NAS to a Windows 7 machine

Advanced Custom Fields 5 – Could not connect to update server

March 7th, 2015

Running Advanced Custom Fields 5 Pro for WordPress and getting the “Error. Could not connect to update server” message? Make sure your firewall can access connect.advancedcustomfields.com (for example, if you are running Bytemark’s Symbiosis software, add that to /etc/symbiosis/firewall/outgoing.d/50-reject-www-data

Tech: Allowed characters in names

February 10th, 2015

Inspired by Scattermoon’s tweet and Your Last Name Contains Invalid Characters, I just thought I’d make a quick “public service” announcement that British and Irish names can, and do include the following examples (all from current living people who are Irish or British born):

  • Apostrophe: Chris O’Dowd
  • Double-barrelled: Jane Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby (technically Nancy Jane Marie Heathcote-Drummond-Willoughby, 28th Baroness Willoughby de Eresby): and it is technically valid for her to have the email address jame.heathcote-drummond-willoughby@eresby.uk
  • Long: Red Wacky League Antlez Broke the Stereo Neon Tide Bring Back Honesty Coalition Feedback Hand of Aces Keep Going Captain Let’s Pretend Lost State of Dance Paper Taxis Lunar Road Up! Down! Strange! All and I Neon Sheep Eve Hornby Faye Bradley AJ Wilde Michael Rice Dion Watts Matthew Appleyard John Ashurst Lauren Swales Zoe Angus Jaspreet Singh Emma Matthews Nicola Brown Leanne Pickering Victoria Davies Rachel Burnside Gil Parker Freya Watson Alisha Watts James Pearson Jacob Sotheran-Darley Beth Lowery Jasmine Hewitt Chloe Gibson Molly Farquhar Lewis Murphy Abbie Coulson Nick Davies Harvey Parker Kyran Williamson Michael Anderson Bethany Murray Sophie Hamilton Amy Wilkins Emma Simpson Liam Wales Jacob Bartram Alex Hooks Rebecca Miller Caitlin Miller Sean McCloskey Dominic Parker Abbey Sharpe Elena Larkin Rebecca Simpson Nick Dixon Abbie Farrelly Liam Grieves Casey Smith Liam Downing Ben Wignall Elizabeth Hann Danielle Walker Lauren Glen James Johnson Ben Ervine Kate Burton James Hudson Daniel Mayes Matthew Kitching Josh Bennett Evolution Dreams BBC News article
  • “Profanity words”: Brian Cox, Martin Hancock

And don’t forget there is Westward Ho! (and, yes, the exclamation mark is part of the place name) and “Arsenal” and “Scunthorpe”.

That’s just names in “standard English” with British/Irish roots: and ignoring Irish names (such the Irish for Belfast which “Béal Feirste” or “Bó?ar na ?Fáll” or Llandygai which is in Welsh “Llandygái”). If you can’t handle the above, forget about internationalisation!

People – please read https://www.gov.uk/service-manual/user-centred-design/resources/patterns/names and http://www.w3.org/International/questions/qa-personal-names before handling names.

VMWare Workstation Feature Request: Better Raw Disk Access

January 23rd, 2015

I’ve made the following feature request to VMWare to improve the handling of raw disks under virtual machines in their Workstation product and was wondering if anybody else felt it’ll be handy for them:

Practically everytime I start a VMWare Workstation VM on Windows7 which uses a raw disk partition/physical disk, I receive the “Partition table changed” message and have to manually reset the hard disks for the VM. Can I therefore request a feature which will prevent this from happening (or, at the very least, make it easier to sort out).

Ideally, I’d like the VM to use the drive’s UUID to identify the physical drive instead of using “PhysicalDriveX” – this means that it shouldn’t matter if they drive is read by Windows reads the physical drives in a different order, the same drive will be found.

When adding a physical disk, could the drop down be modified to provide useful information – so instead of just:
Device:
* PhysicalDrive0
* PhysicalDrive1
etc
it is:
* PhysicalDrive0 – CRUCIAL M4-CT256M4SSD2
* PhysicalDrive1 – HITACHI HTS727575A9E364
(so make and model of the drive)
or at the very least the drive size or the partition count:
* PhysicalDrive0 – 689.64Gb (3 partitions)
* PhyiscalDrive1 – 238.47Gb (5 partitions)

This will make it easier to spot which drive and partition I’m after instead of manually selecting each drive to see which partition I need to reattach the 2 drives needed for my VM.

Finally, if there was a way of reordering the drives in VMWare Workstation, it’ll be appreciated (in case of reattaching the drives in the wrong order).

gamy-dance
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