Endy's Blogomat

My Linkstation runs kernel 2.6.22

After getting fooled for about 6 hours by my cisco home router I finally managed to install u-boot bootloader on my linkstation and also boot a 2.6.22 kernel. What you basically need are the binaries for u-boot you can download here, and a linux or unix PC having netcat installed. (more…)

Custom 2.6 kernel available for LS2

One of the biggest issues regarding the mips based Linkstation seems to be solved! According to this thread and this detailed howto, a guy from linuxnotincluded managed to port the u-boot bootloader to the mips Linkstation. Now it should be possible to build and boot a custom kernel having all the desired bells and whistles like inotify support, bluetooth support, xfs support any everything else the 2.6 kernel can provide. I will now start implementing this on my Linkstation – keep fingers crossed that I don’t brick it ;-). The proceedure does not yet look trivial but I think its worth to give it a try to have the kernel available for further features.

Spinning down your Linkstations HD

While playing around with mediaservers and my ps3, I noticed that I still had not fixed my HD spin down issue on my FreeLink Linksation. Some months ago I evaluated what my cause hdparm spindown timers to fail. I found out that some processes still work on logfiles, I tried to minimize them but still the HD spin up to often. I now use this setting for hdparm:

 command_line {   

  hdparm -q -m16 -q -W0 -q -d1 -S120 /dev/hda



which equals 10 minutes idle time. In addition i added the noatime,nodiratime flags to my /etc/fstab entries locate on the harddisc. This is what I already had, but still the spinup problem. I found a posting a while ago – I don’t know where – about moving the /var directory from the harddrive onto a flash drive or USB stick. This is what finally solved my issue! I just stopped all daemons accessing var (cron, atd, syslog, etc.) and copied over the complete /var directory to a USB stick partition. Then I changed the /etc/fstab file and moved the old /var directory out of the way, created a new on and mounted the flash drive – also the reboot test was successful. I was more than happy finding out that now th HD spins down and only spins up if I mount the Linkstation or need to access or execute a file on the HD. Next I will install a new more silent fan and I will not hear the Linkstation any more 🙂  

mediaserver evaluations for PS3

I started to setup a mediaserver for my PS3. After noticing that I’m not the only one who is working  on this i followed cirrus porposal and evaluated TwonkyMediaServer. It worked well on my LS2 linkstation (running full blown debian etch – they call it FreeLink – it can now be installed without much pain using this tutorial – when I started I had to do everything on my own including disassemling of the box). The only two issues I see with Twonky are:

  • It costs money (but is still affordable)
  • It does not support my .ts files recoded with my dbox2 I have to rename them to mpg.

I then found another project on sourceforge called mediatomb which is an open source project. It took me some time to compile the code on my linkstation since this box is not that fast – but i managed to get it up and running wihout any problems and the box seems to be also powerful enough for this software. After adding the required mime type to the config.xml and added the required paramter to enable the box to work with my PS3, I now have the same status as with twonky, apart from the nice itunes xml integration. One nice feature of mediatomb is that it is actively developed and that it can be scripted very nice – it should be also possible to integrated last.fm notifications easily.  

Figthing with Time Machine on OS X (Update 2)

As mentioned earlier, time machine is not working out of the box on network shares as promised initially by Apple. After reading some Forums and blogs it looks like Apple stripped down Time Machine Configuration options in the final release. Never the less i managed with the help of the information provided in these forums and blogs to workaround this issue and enable Time Machine to backup to my netatalk AFP share on my Buffalo Linkstation. All you need is a spare USB disk. Here are the steps: 

  1.  connect the USB (or FW) drive to your mac
  2.  if time machine recognizes the drive just ignore it
  3. Rename the Drive to the name you would like to use for your backup share e.g. Backup
  4. Open Time Machine Configuration Dialog in System Preferences
  5. Now select your attached USB drive
  6. You will see the next backup Timer countdown, just cancel it by pressing the X button
  7. now connect your AFP share (Finder Cmd+K) 
  8. next open a terminal and copy two files from the USB Disk Volumen e.g.  
    cp /Volumes/Backup/.com.apple.timemachine.supported /Volumes/Backup-1/ 


    cp /Volumes/Backup/.00* /Volumes/Backup-1/
  9. now disconnect your USB Disk and unmount your AFP share
  10. Reconnect to your AFP share and select Backup Now by right klick (or Ctrl-Klick) on the TimeMachine Dock icon.
  11. Voila !  now your Backup should start.

you should see something like this: 
Time Machine creates not a simple Directory like on the attached Disk but a sparse Image which is then automatically mounted and used as the target.

Update 1:

After hours of waiting and finally a successful backup, I found out that time machine itself does not use the created backup on the network share – so you can make an automatic backup but not use the fancy interface – which is from my point of view only about 50% of what I would like to have or in other word useless 🙁 

Update 2:

hopefully this guy is right 😉