Rebuilt the NAS

Some time ago, maybe more than a year, I realised that my NAS4Free NAS was out of date, and to be honest, I wasn’t using it much. Instead of just updating it, I decided to rebuild it as a Linux machine.

Which I did. Then, when I had it up and running, I couldn’t actually think what I wanted to do with it, so I switched it off. And there it sat for many months, gathering dust in the cupboard.

This year, I’ve been running a GoPro on my bike helmet, pretty much every ride. And that’s been really nice, except, as most would know, HD footage takes a lot of space. More space than my 1TB iMac could deal with as the footage slowly built up.

So it was time to rebuild the NAS.

This time I went for FreeNAS. Partly as it looked a little nicer, partly as it seemed a little easier to expand as well. And partly as I hadn’t tried this one.

So with a bit of time over the weekend, I found myself creating boot USB for the FreeNAS iso and setting up the server again.

So the old N54L Proliant I use only has 2GB of RAM. FreeNAS recommends 8GB, however it did install and it seems to be running well. It’s only a NAS so it isn’t put to task very hard. I’ll pick up some RAM soon and expand it.

One of the things I really wanted to get humming along is backups. This was problematic on NAS4Free (because I didn’t update it mostly). I’ve got one share set up as a Time Machine target and at the moment its working well. I have the iMac backing up to both the current USB HDD and the NAS. Eventually I’ll remove the USB drive, once I’m happy its stable.

Later I’ll investigate backing up the PC as well, though this is less critical.

But the main use for the NAS is meant to be as a file storage for the raw GoPro footage. I can’t seem to get this running properly yet. It’s a permission thing, either the iMac is connecting as the wrong user, or I don’t have the permissions on the second share set up properly. Or, as I suspect, a little of both. I’ll spend some time over the week messing with it to see. At this stage, if it ends up with me deleting storage pools and the like, I’m not worried as it’s not the primary backup yet.

But it will be nice to free up a USB slot in the iMac, have a more reliable (and larger) backup storage as well as having all that extra room to store stuff.

*EDIT – Found the permission problem. I wasn’t checking the box against APPLY USER, after choosing the new user in the permissions interface for the storage pool.

Deed is done.

The decision was made, the transaction complete.

The iMac has been replaced with….






another 27″ iMac.

Well I bet that was a surprise.

Can you tell which is which???  (ok the default wallpaper and the smaller keyboard give it away)

Went out yesterday and bought it from the Apple Store. Using education prices I got a discount and also a set of wireless Beats headphones. JB Hifi could beat the Apple Store prices, but not by much (about $50) but couldn’t throw in the headphones. I didn’t particularly want the headphones but since they are free and worth $400 (retail), why miss out on it. I figure I could use them with the iMac when trying to ignore the Mrs watching her shows on the PC next to me……

I picked up the base 27″ which means a 1TB Hybrid HDD and a basic i5, with a Radeon 570 card. A massive step up in performance when compared to my late 2009 iMac. Not going to win any races, but fine for me. Heck, now I have the first 4K (well 5K) display in the house (our TVs are full HD, not 4K). As long as I can study and I can run videos at full screen, I will be happy (actually I haven’t tested that yet).

First impression was – it’s lighter – I discovered as I picked it up to walk out of the store. Eventually, when getting it home my first impression was the screen is really nice. Initially the brightness was right up, but it was actually the fineness of text and lines of dialog and windows that made the biggest impression on me. When I eventually connected the Dell 27″ 1440 monitor I had with the older iMac, yes, the screen is much nicer in the new iMac.

Here it is, all set up as dual screen. The Beats are on the desk to the left of the iMac. This shot really hides the difference between the Dell and the iMac.

The next impression is speed. It’s certainly quicker than the older model. I have decided that once its all up and running and I can confirm that everything I want is either moved or backed up, I am intending to wipe and restore the older one. I’m sure it used to be quicker than it is these days.

I decided not to do a restore from the Time Machine. I thought, its time for a bit of a spring clean. So I’ve moved email and photo archives and my current study over and very little else. The rest is available either from backup, NAS or the cloud.

Several hours later I realised that I forgot to copy the iTunes folder and set that up on the to connect to the store on the NAS. Of course, this is after I packed away the old iMac. So now I have all my music downloaded from Apple Music and stored on this iMac, and a big folder on the NAS with nothing pointing to it. Might have to work through that in the next few days. However, I did learn about browsing my Team Machine backup so the old iMac can sit away getting dust as everything I would need is here on the backup disk…. Time Machine scores YET again (really, its one of THE BEST THINGS about OSX).

Of course, in the middle of all of this, one of the NAS drives has died, so I don’t want to do too much copying and working on the NAS until I replace the drive. Got a couple inbound at the moment. Half think I bought an extra last time, but can’t think where I stored it if I did.

Overall, its like the old one has just been refreshed. I don’t think Mrs has even realised, and probably won’t, until she spots the box from the new one under the stairs.


Last Legs?

The iMac is starting to reboot often. Started this afternoon sometime. It seems to realise that it can’t wake from sleep so it reboots (and then can’t find the bluetooth keyboard). Happened about 4 times this evening.

I’ve removed the BT keyboard and I’ll see how that goes.

Next, I’m going to duplicate the Time Machine process on a new HDD.

Then I’ll look at a full rebuild, it’s probably well overdue anyway.

After that, if it is still occurring, I’ll have to consider retirement. Considering it’s a mid-2009 iMac, having lasted 8 years isn’t too bad.

Update: So after removing the BT keyboard and the Magic Trackpad (so now its the normal keyboard andMagic Mouse) the iMac has been behaving properly again. She fights on….. I wonder when the next iMac update is, 6 months away at least I expect. Not going to look at the iMac Pro, not required.

OSX to the rescue

Well another medal awarded to Time Machine for saving the day once again. After a little bit of research I found the correct files to restore and Time Machine (normally an unnoticed little symbol next to the clock) does its magic. And behold my local backups of all of my blog is restored. Now I just have to get them into this new blog.

In the year since I changed over to the iMac, Time Machine has probably been the single most helpful feature, I think its saved my day about a dozen times from lost files, other programs getting stuck in loops to a painless complete rebuild of the iMac.