MWO – Re-entry

Ok, I’ve heard a lot of things have changed, I have some free time, so I’ve bootcamped the Mac, reinstalled Windows and I sit here waiting for MechWarrior Online to download (eta 1 hour).

At least one thing has improved, you can now change your account email address. That’s new.

K.I.S.S follow up

OK. I measured out the distance and went out to find some options at the shops. I came back with a long cable and a connector to allow me to have RJ12 on one end and RJ45 on the other. As I was mucking trying to sort out the tidiest route to run the cable I tried one of the other sockets in the house, which also worked.

Then it dawned on me that the socket I had just tried was an RJ12 not the RJ45. I could run the big long cable without connectors (less signal loss) and put the routers exactly where I had planned in the first place.

Bonus was that the cable would run around the rooms in such a way that I wouldn’t be crossing (and likely tripping or pulling them out) the cables very often.

And all was good…..


Well after a non-stop drive down to Canberra, I’m finally in my place here… and probably should head to bed very soon.

I spent the afternoon building desks and unpacking, connecting computers, after carrying all of it upstairs. I then spent some time trying to work out why the internet wasn’t working. About 1930 I logged a job on the service desk and waited…

and waited…

and waited…

and waited…

I was just about to turn in for the night (about 2130) when the Tech Support guy rang me back. He was very helpful and we eventually established that the phone jack in the room I have set up as a study, isn’t connected to the phone line in the house.

So now I have the modem in one room, wifi to the iMac here and the server with my iTunes library and Time Machine backup is currently off the network (no wifi card in it).

I see several choices.

  • move rooms (means dismantling both desks and beds and swapping them, then putting them together again and setting it all up….. ugh). Though having the ensuite in my study sounds kinda cool.
  • get a tech in to look at patching the port in the study (I don’t think that would be cheap…)
  • some sort of complicated multiple router setup, I could do it easy enough, and I think I wouldn’t even have to buy anything, but I’d still have wifi to the internet.
  • What about a crossover cable to the server? Or is the iMac port smart enough to switch over itself. Of course that works until the new computer and PlayStation get set up here as well, grrrr…

Hmm, maybe I should just measure how long the phone cable needs to be to reach from that room to this one … heads off to start counting paces around the house.

Remember the principle – Keep it Simple, stupid.



Canberra – IT setup planning

The Cyclons had a plan --- well so do I.
The Cyclons had a plan — well so do I.

Well I have been occasionally working on my intentions for my IT plan when I move to Canberra. The sketch above is my current favourite. The red lines are Gigabit Ethernet (I have a spare modem/router at the moment)

Mac Mini

  • iCloud stuff (contacts, email, notes)
  • iTunes
  • Syncing with phone
  • iPhoto


  • Games (MWO for sure but BL2, Walking Dead might stay on Mac. I haven’t decided about a WoW return or not)
  • Video Editing


  • Games (Still gotta finish Tomb Raider)
  • TV watching and recording


  • Time Machine backup
  • PC Backup
  • iTunes Library
  • Video storage

I think that covers everything. I already have the PS3, the NAS and the router.  I will have to buy the monitor and build the PC but that’s not hard. I’ve got the parts list pretty much sorted now. Get the MacMini later (as I can live with my phone and iCloud for that stuff initially) or I may consider a MacBook Air instead if I find the portability useful.

Later a second 27″ monitor would be pretty sweet 🙂

Home will keep the older i7 PC and the iMac. I’ll move the iTunes library back to an external HDD from the NAS. This will be more simple for them to manage (though the NAS has hardly caused any trouble so far for them) as all are pretty maintenance free.

Look like a good setup?

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.

Bike and Tech decisions…

Nothing much has happened this week in any of my usual subjects. With Mrs working the weekend, there weren’t any rides on, and with the Daytona tucked in the garage I probably would have done something else anyway.

I have been quizzing all kinds of people about the benefits of getting the VFR suspension serviced, tuned to my weight/riding and perhaps upgraded. I’ve no doubts that it needs a service (never been serviced!!) and that the ride would benefit from it. However the full treatment is about 50% or more of the remaining value of the bike, so from a cost perspective its pretty high. On the other hand, I really expect to keep it for a long time, and there is a good chance that it will be travelling from Canberra to Sydney frequently come my job change in 2014 so to help the bike safely and happily do another 100,000km it might be worth it.

On the tech side, I haven’t really sat down to play Borderlands either. I’m keen to, but have had kids and other stuff in the way. I might get into it shortly as I just put the kids to sleep.

The NAS has been running trouble free (bet I just jinxed it) for 30 days now. I’m really happy with the results, but I’m planning to reduce its power saving somewhat as I am finding the lag in response a little more than I want. Other than that…. been a great addition.

On another tech note, I am pondering what to do next year if I end up living separate from my family. I don’t plan to take either computer from home, but equally I don’t think just an iPad is going to cut it either.

I see 3 choices. First, find a second hand 27″ iMac. Second, get a Mac Mini and extras. Last option is to build a small footprint PC (like in a mini tower case or the like).

I’m leaning towards the last option. Slightly more expensive than the Mini, but probably on par with the second hand iMac prices. The big advantage is gaming. I have several games I could easily spend my weeknights playing and of them, at least 3 are PC only and the others are Mac or PC. Not worried about music or movies, as iTunes is Mac or PC as well. Besides, the whole lot are MP3 or MP4 anyway so the Windows player or VLC or the like will work fine too.

I think I lose out in ability to edit movies for YouTube, but I’m sure I can find something. Or leave those until I return home.

Any thoughts out in the wild there??

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


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.


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.