28 July 2016

nas server update complete

i attempted to build a network storage device a few years ago complete with raid5. it would be the one place i would store all the photos i was taking since i started a bit of amateur photography.

but i failed to set put this server on a ups, which after a few brown outs and possible a black out or two, damaged the raid configuration enough to render the server useless.

it sat like that for while.

then i picked up the project again this year. i replaced several components and most of the hard drives.

current configuration:

  • 3 seagate 2TB drives
  • 2 hitachi 2TB drives
  • 1 seagate 250GB drive (for the operating system)

i rebuilt the array by hand rather than using centos install wizardry. and i wish i had started with hitatchi drives since i had to replace a few of seagates due to failed sectors. i would also have found a mSATA adapter since my motherboard doesn't include one and put the centos 7 on it giving me one more drive for the raid.

i'm running four of the five drives in an active raid while one of them remains a spare. (i should consider that mSATA adapter and transfer my op sys to it.)

to avoid losing more data, i created a crashplan account and am backing up data on this raid to that location. it will be my off-site storage solution.

i need to put the panels back on the rig and set it aside to do its job. oh, and i do have this server on a nice ups this time. no more power-related damage going forward.

18 July 2016

asus router firmware update screwed up my internet

i am a fan of asus. been using their products for a long time now. i purchased their RT-AC87U router over netgear's nighthawk because of price and a perceived understanding of their grasp on technology. and the router did fine...until a few months ago.

i use an arris cable modem and decided to upgrade to a faster model. shortly after, i started having dropped internet connections. my internal network was fine but my line to the internet would just go away.
i jumped through all the reconnect hoops every isp has you do. sometimes it would resolve quickly, other times it wouldn't.

finally, i called a tech out to house to check lines. he found no problems. i ended up switching my cable modem back to my old one. but problems still persisted.
the last straw was this past weekend when i came home to the same troubles. i had purchased a second RT-AC87U as a backup. i promptly installed it and got it all configured. one of the steps was to upgrade the firmware. all was good again.

until twenty-four hours later. this time, i could get no resolution. as i thought back, it occurred to me that i had probably upgraded the firmware on my previous router before connections started failing.

here's the catch, though: the asus firmware was not letting me downgrade. a recent fcc ruling that prohibits router manufacturers from letting custom firmware to be installed has worked its way into the real world. because custom firmware allows for boosting wifi radio signal strength, it poses a threat to national security and stuff. apparently, asus modified their latest firmware to prevent downgrading or flashing any custom firmware. (reference: http://www.snbforums.com/threads/asus-firmware-will-change-the-verification-method.32357/)

but the problem is their latest firmware has flaws which drop my internet link too. i have that broken firmware on two routers i cannot use as main routers. i will probably just make them range extensions since the internal networking still is unhindered. it's just very expensive.

if you have this router, don't upgrade the firmware if you haven't. keep it where it is. until asus addresses this problem, your upgrade could make your connection to the tubes unusable.

what did i replace it with? the linksys WRT1900ACS, which allows for open source firmware installs. (this is why: http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2016/05/linksys-wrt-routers-wont-block-open-source-firmware-despite-fcc-rules/)