Progress is a funny thing

So when I was about 10, if I wanted to listen to music, I put a tape in my Walkman, put the headphones on and pressed play. If I wanted to listen in the lounge, I moved the tape in the Hi-fi in the lounge and pressed play.

Today to listen in the lounge I used my phone app to switch on the amp, and then remote control my iMac to select the playlist and play over the network.

The iMac dutifully fetched the songs from the NAS, then AirPlay across to the Amp, which played it out the speakers, while displaying the track info on the TV.

So, including the switch and the router (for the Wifi), that’s SEVEN devices, just to play a song.

It sounds silly like that, but then when you think that I can

  • play the same music upstairs or in the computer room (I can actually play different music in both if I get the Apple TVs involved) at the same time;
  • play music outside;
  • play a movie inside and music outside;
  • play a movie on the computer, a different one upstairs, another different one downstairs, while listening to music outside.;
  • and only have 1 copy of the music or movie on the NAS.
  • and listen to music on the phone on headphones.

maybe it isn’t so silly???

 

Canberra – Heading Forwards – and WoW

VFR at Old Parliament House
VFR at Old Parliament House

Work had me in Canberra last week, doing what I’ll be doing next year. I’m headed down this morning again too (Monday) to keep at it for a couple of days, bolstering the guys who have been doing it this year.

It’s given me a chance to sort out somewhere to live, just got to get those rental applications in now and cross my fingers. Then its the removalists packing the small amount of stuff I am planning to take with me (remember my family is staying here, so most of my stuff is too).

Its getting time for me to order the PC parts so I can put it together. Once I get it up and running I can reorganise the NAS in order to support it. I have already weaned the iMac off the NAS so now iTunes is back onto a USB hard drive. I still have the NAS copy as backup so I’m not too unhappy (and still have an off site backup at the moment – though once the NAS and the PC move to Canberra they’ll be the offsite backup).

World of Warcraft

I’m thinking about playing WoW again. My old guild is recruiting and their current raid nights (Mon Wed Thu) are perfect for me next year. Home alone all week but with my family all weekend, the Fri, Sat, Sun roster won’t work for me. They’re also friends and it would be great to play with them and for the first time, play in the raiding team. They need a healer and I could also main Dasal instead of Mabaho.

I just have to level them….

… and server transfer…

…. and gear up, lol.

The other thing I was considering was that in the new expansion the raid sizes aren’t fixed, so I could join in as well.

So its back to the old challenge – be level cap BEFORE the expac comes out. And this is with a year penalty start!

 

Apple why you don’t like NAS??????

Argh, Apple, what have you got against NAS? Many may be aware that Apple has released its latest version of OSX, called Mavericks. As part of the update they have given iMovie and iPhoto a makeover.

While the upgrade to Mavericks went without any trouble, the iMovie update has not gone so well. The previous iMovie didn’t support NAS, though eventually with some searching across the internet I found this

defaults write -app iMovie allowNV -bool true

which when typed into Terminal (OSX command line interface – very powerful) fixed it.

The new iMovie broke the link again. The command hasn’t worked on it, so now I’m stuck (like many other people) with a load of iMovie projects that I can’t load into iMovie without copying back onto my iMac’s HDD. Now we’re talking about gigabytes of stuff and you might recall I have had a disk space issue with just my iTunes Library. There’s no way I can keep all my iMovie projects on the HDD!

My frustration is increased as I did spend a little bit of money (not a big amount, but about $500-$800)  on setting up the NAS. It’s still working fine as my iTunes Library by the way. Anyway I spent the money and it isn’t able to be used as much as I had hoped because of strange limitations that are in other applications.

So I considered moving up to Final Cut, Apple’s higher specification video editing program (aimed at professionals), but some brief research tells me it has exactly the same limitation. I wonder if iPhoto and Aperture (Apple’s photo programs) do as well – though I’ve kept the iPhoto Library on the iMac. Come on, even lowly little me has gigabytes of video, imagine a pro! And they want it all to fit on the 1TB HDD that comes standard. Someone commented that they might want us to move to Thunderbolt instead of Ethernet, but I read that Thunderbolt solutions don’t work either!

Now I’m looking into totally avoiding the problem and moving to Adobe’s Creative Cloud. I’m just doing some research about costs and whether it can use a NAS when on OSX.

The advantages are that I would be able to use all of Adobe’s Creative programs (Photoshop, Premiere and Dreamweaver and many others) on two computers even different OS, and get lifetime upgrades. For a cost that would save me money for a few years. It looks promising.

NAS. Hiccup

Discovered a problem with my setup. Not really the NAS fault as far as I can tell either.

When I download a rental from iTunes, it won’t play. The AppleTV says the computer isn’t authourised, iTunes says the file is quicktime and iTunes doesn’t support that. It won’t move it to an iOS device and there is no picture displayed, just the blank, I don’t have any cover art, image.

Now remember, the whole rest of the library works, and I’m not trying to play some ancient file I dug up somewhere, this is a rental I downloaded maybe two days ago.

Net research suggests its not limited to my setup, but that most who use NAS have this problem and there were varied suggestions to fix it.

The first suggestions I didn’t like as it mostly involved moving my library. Deleting files seemed problematic for a rental as then I would have to rent it again.

Let me describe the delete solution to show you, and it will show how ridiculous the error is

1. Find the file on you hard disk

2. Copy it somewhere else – like the Desktop

3. Delete the original

4. Reimport the copy (easy as dragging it from the desktop into iTunes)

5. Wait a minute or so for the copy to complete (and behind the scenes its being copied to exactly where you copied it from!)

6. Play movie and enjoy.

Wait what! You didn’t do anything to the file!

Nope. And I found out you don’t even need to do step three. So it works for rentals.

So its some stupid iTunes quirk with using a NAS. Or rather some stupid iTunes Store quirk with using a NAS.

There’s nothing wrong with my NAS – its iTunes.

NAS. Life is Good.

Success. I have moved my iTunes library onto the NAS and Time Machine is happily backing up to it as well. I’m not sure that the PC has access to anything, but to be honest, not sure that’s a problem – the PC isn’t used for much apart from keeping the rest of the family happy with facebook, streaming TV etc. I’ve never bothered doing a backup of it as there’s nothing on it that can be reinstalled or redownloaded. A hassle yes, but not going to lose family photos or anything.

Moving iTunes has cleared about 550G off the iMac, correspondingly the backup is significantly smaller. I’ve also freed up a USB port, which is always helpful.

The only drawback I’ve noticed is that the NAS isn’t as quiet as the iMac, must be the fans, and it does create a noticeable lag in my system. I suspect that is the trade off, noise reduction and sleeping drives in the NAS vs instant response in iTunes. I’ll fiddle with the settings as I use it to find the sweet spot for me.

Overall I’m happy with what’s happened. I’m not 100% sure I know why it started to work yesterday and that worries me a little. But I backups that I can restore to if required.

And later if I wanted to I could turn the server in a cloud, an ftp, a web server or whatever as well. But not at the moment.

NAS. I am.

Started work on the NAS yesterday. I started by adding the two new HDDs and ripping the other two out of the PC (I will have to go back and make sure the RAID is properly deactivated there).

Then using the downloaded CD I booted the PC (not the NAS as it doesn’t have an optical drive) into the NAS4Free. This allowed me to use the CD to install the OS onto the USB that would act as the system drive. Done.

Next step was to attach the NAS to a screen, ethernet and keyboard so I could boot. Actually, the next step was to fire up the PC and make sure it was still working properly with 2 HDD missing and having been NAS4Free temporarily!

The NAS booted without any problem and I ensured the IP was configured and static. From now on, I should only need to use the web interface (just like you can with your modem router).

Got the NAS into its permanent abode, and logged in. Created the RAID pool, and started on getting the shares set up.

This is where I’m up to. I can get the PC to find one of the shares, the iMac will find it if I explicitly tell it the share. And they can both write to the share. So it’s almost working right. I’d like to able to browse to the share on the Mac. That will make it easier when using the drive in applications (like iTunes). Neither can see the other share though.

Well the dawn of another day, and I hope to get some chances to work on it today or tomorrow.

NAS is coming

hp-micro-g7-n54l

My iMac hard drive is rapidly filling up, a combination of ripping the DVDs I have around the house and the raw footage for my YouTube videos seems to be the culprit.

So it’s time to move ahead with the plans I made when I upgraded my PC. At the time I bought a couple of extra HDD with the idea that when I eventually needed a more storage I could use them as the base.

After looking about at the options (like buying a off the shelf one, building one from scratch) a good option seemed to be this little beauty. HP Proliant N54L Microserver. The Proliant series are HP (nee Compaq) range of servers, usually large and often rack mounted. This is a little 20 x 20 x 30 cm 4 bay server, running a little AMD Turion II. Not going to win any award for processing power, but its small and quiet. Perfect to be a NAS and sit quietly in the room getting about its business.

And for me that business will be storage. Using NAS4Free running off an internal USB stick, I have 4 2TB HDD to give me about 6TB of storage (running RAID 5 on ZFS). NAS4Free is an open source BSD based OS tailored for NAS. While you can add a bunch of other services to it, I plan to simply use it as storage. And I would hope that 6TB lasts me a few years.

hp_proliant_n40l_1_contentfullwidth

Running over the Gb Ethernet, I think that it should be responsive enough.

Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get it set up this weekend.