Pogoplug hell II
Monday, August 19 2013
Ever since setting up a media computer based on XBMC, I've had a renewed interest in network attached storage (NAS). NAS allows me to host all my media files on some low-energy computer that is always on and thus always accessible from every other computer on the network. In the past I'd had the idea of having a huge hard drive on the media computer and storing everything I wanted to watch locally on it, but that was only because the SAMBA client always seemed unreliable on every Linux box I've ever used. The SAMBA client is rock-solid on XBMC, so a Windows machine (or a Linux machine running SAMBA) is as good as a hard drive as far as XBMC is concerned. This completely changes the way I want to do things on the local computer system. Instead of having huge hard drives on every computer, I can have a single huge hard drive on a low-power NAS unit and use it to store, retrieve, and stream all my big media files (as well as other files, such as those containing large software installations). This won't be much of a revelation to most people, and it isn't much of one to me either; in theory it's been possible for a long time, but for me it's only been practical since setting up an XBMC media box.
I'd had this idea off and on for over a year, and so I've experimented with low-cost/low-energy NAS devices called Pogoplugs. The first Pogoplug I bought I managed to brick (render useless) while trying to install a better (freer) operating system onto it. I later got another Pogoplug, which has been collecting dust for months. Today I made a stab at connecting it to a 3 terabyte hard drive (the biggest that is currently affordable; in defiance of Moore's Law, 3TB has been the upper affordable limit for years now). Stock Pogoplugs run a form of Linux, but they don't come with SAMBA, which makes them useless for me. There are thankfully alternative OSes for Pogoplugs, but I'm understandably a bit gun shy about attempting to install them. Part of the problem is that the various Pogoplugs all are built around slightly different architectures, and it's easy to attempt to install an incompatible OS on your particular model. At least in the case of my first Pogoplug, this can have tragic results. Today I did my research and installed the correct version of ArchLinux on my Pogoplug, but SAMBA didn't turn out to be working and installing it proved difficult. I kept getting errors, most of which probably stemmed from the fact that ArchLinux on my particular model of Pogoplug was at "end of life" and thus no longer supported. So various recent versions of libraries were in conflict with its kernel. In the process of trying to fix this clusterfuck, I managed to make my Pogoplug unreachable. It wasn't bricked, but to make it usable again I'm going to need to hook up a serial cable. This is the sort of crap that makes people hate technology. (In my recent Facebook troll-posts, I've been contending that the iPhone was a result of prayer and not science or technical know-how. People have been liking these posts non-ironically, demonstrating how poorly modern humanity understands the technology it both depends on and, on some level, hates.)
Tonight Gretchen made a meal of the green beans I'd harvested yesterday. She combined them with diced tomatoes that had also come directly from the garden. They were good, though some of the beans contained inedible stringy fibers, suggesting they had been allowed to mature for too long on the vine. Regarding dinner, I only had one job and I managed to fuck it up. My job was to prepare the last rice in the house, which was brown rice, but I was absentminded as I added the salt and managed to add about 50% too much.
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