Talking of Raspberry Pi’s, also taken the recent opportunity to purchase and setup a basic NAS (Network Attached Storage) unit for general access to Photos and  Music by anybody in the house. Have bought the lowest cost Synology DS119J and a Toshiba 4Terabyte NAS rated drive. The reason I mention the Pi again, is that the Synology NAS resource is rather modest even in comparison to the Pi. The attraction though is the rich purpose developed operating system (Linux based) with a rich set of software applications or packages as they are called.  Of course you can spend more and get much greater processing performance. Still , it seems to do the job today and has provided a modest remotely accessible storage facility with the home and even from remote if required. Haven’t really used all if it’s features as yet. Today I’m just using the base install. I would strongly recommend using the Synology Assistant to find and connect to the NAS from your computer . Can be found here

One thing to take care with. The unit comes with two typesof screws , a bag for the disk drive another with the screws for the case. At a glance I hadn’t found the second bag and their were sufficient of the other to try and hold the case in. Of course these are the wrong size and I nearly stripped the case thread , not ideal! Silly of me , but a good design minimises the screw type or at least makes clear to the user that there are other screws are available in the packing. Just managed to save the day in the end. But close.

The NAS has many features that I currently don’t require so turned off some of the running services with a view to improving it’s performance. One annoying feature (in my view) is that the indicator LED’s are all the same colour on the front panel. Might have been more useful if they had different colours. But guess a small complaint in the scheme of things. Do bear in mind that the ‘j’ product is a low cost option and so don’t expect high speed backups, transcoding or similar tasks on such a model. Still a good value and neat product with loads of functionality.

Just a note to say the NAS could also run the Logitech Squeezebox server via one of the Package installs. Personally I prefer the approach of separating this task from the NAS . It also means I can use the latest Logitech Squeezeboxserver release as distinct from what’s available to the Synology community for loading onto the NAS. Enjoy.


I must confess I’ve only recently read the details about Cyberlocker. How cunning it is in terms of detecting your country and choosing to encrypt your files or not. What I’ve only just realised is that should it enter your PC by what ever means , it will encrypt not only your main C: drive or equivalent but any attached USB drives. I’ve historically used a USB drive as a simple backup system for the main data on my PC. I leave it powered and connected all of the time my PC is powered on.

Well I’ve now changed my mind about this. In fact the best way to protect one self of course is to back up and then disconnect your USB drive. Friends have been suggesting this for years but it’s just too dam impractical for me. So I’ve bought one of these remote controlled mains sockets. See image below. I can simply now only turn the drive on when I wish to make a backup then quickly turn it off without almost lifting a finger (well apart from pressing the button). These are readily available in the UK for <£7 on the likes of ebay etc. I reckon this is £7 well spent. Of course there are other brands that I’m sure work just as well. If you want to understand more about Cyberlocker there are plenty of good links to explain more about it for example


My backup theme continues. Thanks to a generous relative I’ve inherited a modern (but not so green) AMD dual core PC. A lot of watts for normal running (120+) but it has 500G of disk space.  So how about turning into a remote (read out of site) controllable backup drive?

i) The pre-requisites are turning on the PC remotely using Wake up on LAN. A good introduction here:

ii) Then you need a small application to wake it up, I’ve found this to be neat:

iii) I’ve elected to install as a service in order that I can shutdown the PC when I’ve finished uploading my files using Synback

That’s it really, sound more complex that it really is.

The final part for me is to install in a suitable location? Might need to invoke some networking over mains technology. Best I look back at some of my earlier posts 😉

When shut down the PC draws about 9W , not perfect I admit but better than running all day at 15-20W with the addition of noise and heat.

Thanks to a colleague at Pure Digital for the initial project stimulus.

** Update 17/12/2008

Well it’s installed and running! What’s a little disappointing is that the mains networking (Solwise 85Mbs home plugs runs at only about 16M b/s.  perhaps better than a marginal wifi signal I know but still not as fast as I might of liked.)  In spec I’m assured by the manufacturer  considering the distance covered. But of course these means an average data rate of approx. 2 Mbytes/second. So be careful if you’ve lots of large files to support.