Automatic SD card backup with USBmount

As I've mentioned before, I'm using HP Microserver Gen8 as a small home NAS. There is a lot of stuff stored there, but the primary reason why I actually started using NAS (back then slow, but hackable D-link DNS-323) was to store my photo collection. With ZFS, mirrored drives and extra backup to off-site location, the data on it should be reasonably safe, right? However that's not all that useful if most of the recent photos reside on the SD card inside the camera on in the case somewhere, just because I didn't have time to copy them to the NAS yet. So what can we do about it if we have 15 minutes to spare? Let's automate it a bit!

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Rebuilding NAS with ZFS & Docker

It all started with tripped breaker. In fact it tripped multiple times before I got home. Luckilly the spinning rust drives with data survived that without any issues, but the flash drive didn't. So with system FUBAR and some (little) time on my hands, there's only one thing to do - upgrade.

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Pushing the check states from Xymon to Graphite


Chances are, you never heard about Xymon (formely Hobbit), so let me give you some idea. It's actually pretty decent monitoring system - if you still live in 90s. :D But hey, let's give credit where it's due, compared to other systems at that time, it was reasonably fast, has quite easy to understand configuration, comes with many standard checks out of the box and comes with a web interface. Probably that's why some people still use it to this day.

In our company it's one of those legacy systems, that we need to replace, so as a first step, let's see if we can get some of the data out while we're still using it.

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The monkey remote desktop experiment

The waste of being present

From time to time I work from home - nothing unusual here, I'm actually surprised that this practice isn't more common. After all - unless you're working manually, chances are you are working remotely anyway. Your email, instant messaging - you might be reading them locally on your computer, but they are all stored, transferred and received by server somewhere in datacentre. All your applications are moving to your browser, all your files are moving to cloud. The point is this: A lot of people are working remotely even while sitting at their office chair. Whole companies are like that.

Yet, every morning, there are traffic jams and the public transport is overloaded.. And it seems like a huge waste to move all these people around, just to have them working somewhere virtual anyway.

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2016-05-14 00:00 Miroslav Prasil

Free SSL with static website on S3

So there's this nice thing called Let's Encrypt, I'm sure you're already aware. If you want to get free certificate for your website in an automated way, it's definitely great. However in my case I would have to make sure to renew the certificate before it expires, which would defy the whole point of using static website on S3 - that is, unless I want to change something, I don't have to touch it. I could perhaps set up a daemon somewhere that would take care of it, but then again I would have to make sure that the service actually runs.

Fortunately, there is a way to get the same results with just AWS services.

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What I've learned from my son

There's one thing that fascinates me about kids. I actually only noticed it recently while watching my little son.

The thing is, kids do everything 100%. There's no multitasking, whatever they do, they only do that thing and they are completely focused on it.

My son doesn't even speak and probably only understands very few words, yet nobody else will listen to whatever you say like he does. Obviously that's only true when he is listening, when he's not, he's not listening at all. There's no pretending. You either have his undivided attention or you have none of it.

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2016-05-03 00:00 Miroslav Prasil

Small box, small problems


Weeks passed and Eggsnows' Celeron J1900 based fan-less PC on my desk was replaced by this little box called MSI Cubi.

I've bought the Intel Pentium 3805U based model - there is one model even cheaper than this one with Celeron inside and there are i3 and i5 based variants as well if you need some extra power. I went with the bare-bone version, though if you don't feel like getting the other components (you'll need RAM and some mSATA storage) there are also models with the necessary components already installed.

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Using Docker with ZFS storage driver


So I've ended with this ZFS and Docker combination on my home storage some time ago. I use ZFS on Linux to safely store data and I use Docker to run services like samba, plex, owncloud, and others on top of that data.

I've been using devicemapper on top of ZFS and it was mostly good. Every now and then I had this strange issue of layer not being available while starting container, (as if docker tried to spin up the container before having the storage ready for it) just re-running the container solved the issue. I've never seen this at work, where we use Docker in production quite a lot and in my case it was transparently handled by upstart so I've just assumed the combination of devicemapper and ZFS caused these. Besides that I was quite happy with the whole system.

Recently I was wondering if there was some progress on the ZFS storage backend and I was pleasantly surpriset, that this is actually built in sice couple versions ago. (how did I miss that, I have no idea) So let's try it?

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2016-03-04 00:00 Miroslav Prasil ,

Four cores, no fan


So I've recently bought this Eggsnow Fanless Mini PC to be used as a silent, but powerful enough desktop. Most of the work I do on it is done remotely, so what I really need is something capable running browser, couple terminals and perhaps able to play a movie every now and then.

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