Why do I have so much storage at home?

Every time I mention how much storage I have at home, someone inevitably asks what I use it for or comments how big my porn stash must be. So, this post sets out the whys and hows of my rather vast home storage system.

As of 2013-08-04 I have 32.86 TiB of storage in my home server, with a relatively luxurious (for me) 16.28 TiB free.
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Royal Mail are Thieves

I have been sent a package from the US, for which I need to pay £22.34 VAT and Duty. That’s fine, that’s the law and while it’s never nice to have to pay extra to bring something in from abroad you kind of expect it. Fine.

What you don’t expect is to have to pay an extra £8 to Royal Fail for their “handling” of it going through customs. They should be utterly ashamed of themselves; this is daylight robbery.

Of course this is the only company that will refuse to even deliver the item until the fee is paid, so you can’t even dispute it after you get the item – you either have to cough up or do without the item you paid for.

No wonder they’re profitable again if they pull tricks like this.

Generating a new GnuPG Key

I have recently started to become much more involved in the Debian project, maintaining my own package (ulogd2) and doing a pair of uploads to other packages. Debian uses GPG / OpenPGP keys widely for signing the archive, authenticating uploads by developers and so on, so I needed a secure GPG key that I could use for my interactions with Debian.

I have had a key for some time now which has been signed by a handful peopleand thus reasonably well trustedbut I hadn’t taken the best care to keep it secure. I have no reason the believe the key has been compromised at all, but the fact is that I copied the key around to several of my machines so that I could use it on all of them, and instead of using sub-keys as is common best practice I just copied the whole key across. If someone had managed to take a copy of my key and crack its pass-phrase, I would have no choice but to revoke the entire key. Continue reading

Media Centre PC Hardware

A while ago, I built a Media Centre / Home Theatre PC (HTPC). In my case it’s a small Mini-ITX computer that sits under the TV, whose sole purpose is to play DVDs and other media from our extensive collection. People have been asking me to write up about the hardware and software and how it’s all built, so here is the post about the hardware.

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Raspberry Pi XBee PCBs

Picture of XBee PCBs

During the course of this week, I have received my XBee PCBs (right) and started playing with them!

First of all, I’d like to say thanks to the folks at Seeed Studio / Fusion PCB whose service I used to fab these boards. I went for the slightly more expensive ENIG finish on these, but they were still very reasonably priced and have come out very well indeed. I would definitely use them again.

So anyway, after a quick order for some extra TC2117 regulators that I found I ran out of, and a fistful of LEDs and that sort of thing, I built two backpacks up complete with XBee modules and set out to get them to talk. This was my first foray into the world of XBee / ZigBee so was a very interesting process!

XBee Backpacks on my two Raspberry Pis

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Raspberry Pi 3.2.23 kernel

Sorry folks, this one was late. So late that I completely skipped 3.2.22. Oh well, here it is at long last. Enjoy! I hope to publish a slightly revised version compiled with a new compiler and a few extra patches later this week, so keep your eyes peeled.

This one has a few additional changes on top of just the 3.2.23 update:

  • Enabled some more modules by popular request.
  • Included some further patches from the official kernel tree.
  • Compiled with Linaro GCC 2012.04 (thanks to crosstool-ng). I hope to use 2012.07 later this week for an updated kernel.
  • Fixed a minor sched_clock bug that printed a harmless warning at boot time.

Please see my kernel project page for download links and instructions.

New Revision of 3.2.21

I’ve posted a slightly updated 3.2.21 kernel. This includes the following updates:

  • Applied the GPIO interrupt patches from the official kernel (thanks Selsinork for the rebased pull request ready for applying to my tree!)
  • Enabled DVB modules and some more V4L modules related to this. Sorry, I thought this was all enabled previously.
  • Added DRBD module by request.

Enjoy!

Updated Debian Wheezy Image

I updated my Minimal Debian Wheezy image for Raspberry Pi last weekend, but completely forgot to write about it. This includes my 3.2.21-r1 kernel and all the latest firmware and Debian package updates as of the 23rd.

Download: wheezy-mini-2012-06-23.img.gz (124M)

Once again the SSH server is not installed by default, so you will need to login using the console first either on an HDMI display with a USB keyboard or over the serial console.

The root password for this image is: raspberrypi

Raspberry Pi 3.2.21 kernel

You know the drill! A few days ago, Linux 3.2.21 was released. As usual I’ve updated my Raspberry Pi kernel. This one has a few additional changes on top of just the 3.2.20 to 3.2.21 update:

  • Imported some further patches from the official Raspberry Pi kernel, including some patches to the ALSA audio driver.

Please see my kernel project page for download links and instructions.