Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Samsung HD204UI Firmware Upgrade

Recently when I logged into my DS211j I was greeted with a message telling me that I the write cache was disabled on my SamsungHD204UI 2 TB drives due to a firmware issue. (Read here for background on my Synology Setup).

A notice on the Samsung website, worded as only someone with English as a second language could, indicated the issue and had installation instructions for the fix.
If identify commmand is issued from host during NCQ write command in the condition of PC ,
write condition is unstable.
So It can make the loss of written data.
I found some other instructions on how to perform the upgrade on various forums and the like, but the most clearly worded one was on trusty old Whirlpool, which I tend not to frequent because of the tendency towards Whingepool that it displays. It is however good for specific issues or Australian ISP related questions. I followed the instructions provided in this thread and it was a fairly straightforward process.

The most annoying part of this was that I had to both pull apart my NAS and my desktop computer and flash a USB key to achieve the firmware upgrade (which only took about 20 seconds per disk).

It seems that my DS211j NAS is happy again now and I can continue on my merry way.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Synology NAsterisk: Stage One Installing Ipkg and Asterisk

Alrighty, so as you may have guessed it has been a little hectic over here but I am finally getting a chance to start on the glorious plan that I hatched in Synology NAS hosted home Asterisk Server: The plan.

Actually I should probably say I started doing this 3 months ago, before the wedding and all that and have almost zero spare time since then as I am now studying and travelling a lot for work at the same time.

I am basically following the instructions given on the Overview of modifying the Synology Server.

Enabling the CLI
The first step to getting ipkg installed is setting up the command line interface (check out this CLI overview from Synology for more info). There is a handy guide to Enabling the CLI on the Synology forums which has instructions for much older versions of DSM than I have, but no worries it is just as simple in DSM 3. Simply open up the Control Panel and select terminal from the second row. I'd always pick SSH for my systems but if you feel like using Telnet then go for it. Once enabled reboot.

Downloading IPKG
Once you're in via terminal you'll need to download the correct ipkg bootstrap for your Synology system, go to What kind of CPU does my NAS have to figure out which one you need, you can double check your NAS version on the System info page. In my case for the DS211J its the Marvell Kirkwood mv6281 1.2Ghz ARM Processor. This means I need to use Once it was downloaded I executed the script using the instructions provided and rebooted the system, then updated as instructed, unsurprisingly there was nothing new to install.

BackupCentre> ipkg update
Updated list of available packages in /opt/lib/ipkg/lists/cross
Successfully terminated.
BackupCentre> ipkg upgrade
Nothing to be done
Successfully terminated.
Installing Asterisk
After ipkg is installed and upgraded it is time to install Asterisk, outputting the list of available packages gives.

BackupCentre> ipkg list | grep asterisk
asterisk - 1.2.24-1 - Open Source VoIP PBX System
asterisk-gui - 2.0.4-1 - Asterisk-GUI is a framework for the creation of graphical interfaces for configuring Asterisk.
asterisk-sounds - 1.2.1-1 - Supplementary asterisk-sounds.
asterisk14 - - Asterisk is an Open Source PBX and telephony toolkit.
asterisk14-chan-capi - 1.0.1-1 - capi module for asterisk
asterisk14-core-sounds-en-alaw - 1.4.19-1 - asterisk-core-sounds-en-alaw
asterisk14-core-sounds-en-g729 - 1.4.19-1 - asterisk-core-sounds-en-g729
asterisk14-core-sounds-en-gsm - 1.4.19-1 - asterisk-core-sounds-en-gsm
asterisk14-core-sounds-en-ulaw - 1.4.19-1 - asterisk-core-sounds-en-ulaw
asterisk14-extra-sounds-en-alaw - 1.4.11-1 - asterisk-extra-sounds-en-alaw
asterisk14-extra-sounds-en-g729 - 1.4.11-1 - asterisk-extra-sounds-en-g729
asterisk14-extra-sounds-en-gsm - 1.4.11-1 - asterisk-extra-sounds-en-gsm
asterisk14-extra-sounds-en-ulaw - 1.4.11-1 - asterisk-extra-sounds-en-ulaw
asterisk14-moh-freeplay-alaw - 0.0.0-1 - asterisk-moh-freeplay-alaw
asterisk14-moh-freeplay-g729 - 0.0.0-1 - asterisk-moh-freeplay-g729
asterisk14-moh-freeplay-gsm - 0.0.0-1 - asterisk-moh-freeplay-gsm
asterisk14-moh-freeplay-ulaw - 0.0.0-1 - asterisk-moh-freeplay-ulaw
asterisk14-moh-opsound-alaw - 2.03-1 - asterisk-moh-opsound-alaw
asterisk14-moh-opsound-g729 - 2.03-1 - asterisk-moh-opsound-g729
asterisk14-moh-opsound-gsm - 2.03-1 - asterisk-moh-opsound-gsm
asterisk14-moh-opsound-ulaw - 2.03-1 - asterisk-moh-opsound-ulaw
asterisk16 - - Asterisk is an Open Source PBX and telephony toolkit.
asterisk16-addons - - Asterisk extras
asterisk18 - 1.8.4-1 - Asterisk is an Open Source PBX and telephony toolkit.
I'm going to install version 1.6 and the GUI, I chose 1.6 because some people are having issues with getting the GUI working with 1.8.

Installation was as easy as ipkg install asterisk16 and ipkg install asterisk-gui.

Following that I attempted to start asterisk and was presented with the following error.

BackupCentre> cd /opt/etc/asterisk/
BackupCentre> asterisk -vvvvr
Asterisk 1.8.4, Copyright (C) 1999 - 2010 Digium, Inc. and others.
Created by Mark Spencer
Asterisk comes with ABSOLUTELY NO WARRANTY; type 'core show warranty' for details.
This is free software, with components licensed under the GNU General Public
License version 2 and other licenses; you are welcome to redistribute it under
certain conditions. Type 'core show license' for details.
  == Parsing '/opt/etc/asterisk/asterisk.conf':   == Found
  == Parsing '/opt/etc/asterisk/extconfig.conf':   == Found
Unable to connect to remote asterisk (does /opt/var/run/asterisk/asterisk.ctl exist?)
I had to start it with asterisk first and then I can reconnect to it... duh!

Following that I made the changes suggested in this awesomely timely post  from the Synology IPKG Forum and now, after a quick reboot, I can connect to the webpage front end.

Now all I have to do is determine the correct password..... :)

Until next time when I configure some extensions and start making test calls.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Synology NAS hosted home Asterisk Server: The plan

Readers of this blog will be aware that I purchased and setup a Synology DS211J a few months back, if not you can check out the series of posts starting with "Finally getting a backup solution". Readers will also be aware that I have started a new job that involves equal parts sitting at home turning into a slob and travelling around meeting clients and working on site. So what I am currently trying to do is optimize my home office and communication solutions.

At home I've got a NodePhone account and it is currently connected to a base station and linked into a few wireless handsets. This works pretty well for a home phone, but none of the handsets have headsets or speaker phone so conference calls are going to be a killer. Unfortunately NodePhone doesn't support multiple registrations in its current guise so simply logging in on the laptop with a headset or something similar isn't going to work.... or is it!

The plan then is to have an Asterisk server log into the NodePhone account and then let my current router and it's inbuilt ATA log into the Asterisk server, plus also I will be able to have other computers and phones logging into the Asterisk server and sharing the line out and also allowing me to register to the Asterisk server remotely and call the home phone as well as make cheap international and other calls. Now the beauty of the plan is that I should be able to install Asterisk on my NAS creating a NAStrisk solution (terribly imaginative name) that means I don't need to have another server on the network and the associated upkeep.

So the stages for this (as far as I can tell are):
  1. Install ipkg package manager on the DS211J
  2. Install the Asterisk ipkg and its dependencies.
  3. Configure Asterisk and make some local test calls.
  4. Configure router to let SIP traffic through to the NAStrisk
  5. Get NAStrisk connected to NodePhone account and forwarding calls to other sip accounts locally.
  6. Connect routers ATA to the NAStrisk so that the WAF isn't affected.
  7. ....
  8. Profit
Hopefully I'll have the time to get this going in the next week or two, of course I will be posting here as I go, so you can all feel my pain bask in my success!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New job, fewer updates

So I started a new job on the 4th of January and to say things have been a little hectic would be an understatement! I have already traveled to Phoenix, Arizona for a conference, to a customer site in Sydney and now I am in Madrid for a training course. Needless to say that sort of travelling, plus the massive amount of stuff that I have to learn for the new job doesn't really leave that much time for posting. Unfortunately this means that new posts from me will probably be few and far between for a while (unless I am stuck somewhere and have a wave of inspiration wash over me when I miraculously have no work to do).

Hopefully when things slow down a little bit I will have the time and the inspiration to write some more posts but for now things will likely remain a little quiet.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Most Popular Posts of 2010

Perhaps 2010 is a bit rich, as I only really started this blog in June. All the other blogs out there seem to be doing a most popular posts of the year past so I may as well join the crowd.

Overall I must say I am fairly happy with the traffic that I have been able to generate to the blog. I never really set out with the intent of attracting lots and lots of readers. However I must admit that I get a little thrill when I check the stats and see that people have been viewing my posts.

The most popular post, Synology Disk Station 211J Setup Part 1has more views than my entire blog received in the first 5 months of its existence. The second and third most popular are the two follow up posts to the most popular post, Synology Disk Station 211J Setup Part 2 and Synology DS211J to Samsung Story 3 Backup. This is altogether not too surprising.

What does surprised me a little bit was how much search traffic I receive, indeed most of my site traffic is from google. I guess it shows the importance of getting the keywords and that sort of thing right if you intend to get a lot of traffic into a blog. It also showed to me why there are so many sites out there dedicated to new hardware reviews, it is all well and good for me to try and write about the things that I find interesting, Stuxnet, Memristors, employee performance evaluation and career development and self improvement, but what really pulls new readers into the site is content on new hardware and software. 

I don't see these observations really changing what I post on here very much, I will continue to try and improve my writing style and hopefully find the time post longer posts with more detail and background. I find that I enjoy the writing, but at times struggle to think of good topics to talk about.

Over the coming weeks I'll either post a lot or not much at all depending on whether the mood strikes me. I have some plans for background posts, talking about my Theses for example but I haven't had the time to put them together yet.