2021 update on Nextcloud

I’ve bee running Nextcloud as my personal file server in ‘production’ for six months now and am more and more in love with it. I tried various installs over the last year – on a bare metal ubuntu host, on a VM Ware virtual machine but my current setup has Nextcloud running in a jail on my FreeNAS server. It seems very happy there, is easy to access from anywhere and seemlessly keeps my two work macs, my two linux laptops and my windows laptop synced. I’m on the verge of deleting my files from Google Drive which will complete one big thread of removing Google from my life.

Samuel Dowling’s super clear and comprehensive walkthrough was my key resource with this build. Thanks mate, as us Aussie’s say.

Synology security video backup to Google drive

I have battled to get my Synology DiscStation to do somethiong that I thought was pretty simple.  Its a DS214play running DSM 5.2.  I use Surveilance station to record motion activated video of the driveway at the front of the house.  This documents everyone arriving and leaving and has been pretty reliable for some time.  However I wanted to automatically backup this series of short video files to a cloud storage provider – I’m using Google.

The Synology has a tool called CloudSync which can do this sort of thing but it failed to backup the security video because it is kept in a series of folders owned by root and there is a permissions conflict.  A less direct route was required and I hit on the idea of copying the automatically recorded files to an easier part of the filesystem to access, to change the permissions and then to upload them.

So I hit the terminal. Interestingly ssh login as root is allowed but sudo is not.  An unusual combination that took me some time to puzzle out.  I created a directory owned by an ordinary user:

mkdir /volume1/DS/security
mkdir /volume1/DS/scripts
chown melba security
chown melba scripts
touch /volume1/DS/scripts/securitycopy.sh
chmod 770 /volume1/DS/scripts/securitycopy.sh

Now I set up a recurring task in the diskstation front end to run the script at /volume1/DS/scripts/securitycopy.sh every minute to accomplish two things.  Firstly to move the inaccessible security footage from a set of directories owned by root into an accessible area owned by melba, and, secondly, to alter all the files and directories to make the owner melba.  This will allow me to back them up with CloudSync.  The file securitycopy.sh therefore looks like:


# Variables

rsync -ra "$FROM" "$TO"
chown -R melba:users "$TO"
/usr/syno/bin/synologset1 sys info 0x11100000 "Security footage has been synchronised."

The last line there was the result of a little googling to allow logging of the running of the little script, largely for my own peace of mind. Thanks to the kind user whose post I’ve mislaid! The first time I ran the rsync command the system hummed away for about 10minutes but subsequently the sync takes a second or two.

The final stage is to set up a task with the CloudSync tool on the DiskStation.  This is a one way sync to my Google Drive which makes all the footage available off site and also in the event that the DiscStation is stolen.  I’ll need to report back on the latency of the system.

We are the Nerds

Book coverI’ve been reading the 2018 history of reddit by Christine Lagorio-Chafkin this weekend and I really enjoy this type of work.  The history of reddit.com is a little different from many US IT startups being initially East Coast and with founders who took an idea to product stage and indeed fleshed it out for several years before being hit by the realities of venture capital and the impact that has on the purity of a concept.  The founding concept of ‘the front page of the internet’ being stripped down, user contributed and devoid of editorial control remained true for many years and still largely exists today.  CL-C fleshes out the key characters with skill making them interesting, distinct and human – and for Ohanian and Huffman who spent 18 months alone in a Cambridge, Ma apartment writing code and contributing to their own infant site, thats quite an effort.

I like novels in this ilk because of the insight into the qualities that allow young risk taking upstarts to achieve so much.  There are lessons in that for all of us.  For me We are the Nerds ranks up there with some of my favourite reads: I Woz , The Smartest guys in the room and the old Zukerberg movie The Social Network.   The characters here are probably a bit more real and understandable than those of Steve Wozniac or Mark Zukerberg which may simply be because their financial success was more modest.  The novel is all the better for that and I’m sure it will be appealing to many readers.  Enjoy.

Boost Juice vs 7-Eleven Slurpee

Drink sketchAs my kids walk from school to swimming they pass a 7-Eleven and a Boost juice business and often want a drink. A Slurpee costs around a dollar while a juice costs about six times as much. They came to me today requesting more pocket money so they could afford the more expensive, premium and ‘healthier’ Boost juice.

A suspicious lightbulb lit in my head questioning whether the claim that one was healthier than the other was based on fact rather than fiction. Continue reading “Boost Juice vs 7-Eleven Slurpee”