Beware of the Sheevaplug & Globalscale Technologies: Fried Power Supplies

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux | Posted on 02-06-2010-05-2008

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I’ve written a few articles about my Sheevaplug and how great I think it is. It’s a fantastic $99 ARM server. Just add a USB hard drive, and you’re good to go! However, it looks like the power supplies are almost all universally bad. Check the Plug Forums link here. More and more of these things are frying. I thought it was just a few faulty units, but one day, I could no longer SSH into my server. I opened it up, and I noticed that my power supply was fried as well. Also, Global Scale Technologies, the primary seller of the Sheevaplug, isn’t giving any RMA #s outside of a 30 day warranty. So we’re all screwed and out $100. To make matters worse, it looks like the recently shipping Guruplug is having issues as well! As much as I love this small ARM-based platform, it’s really making me consider moving to something like the Artigo A1100! Buyer beware!

Quick Guide: Installing VMware Tools with Fedora 12

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux, Technology | Posted on 25-01-2010-05-2008

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After installing Fedora 12 on a new virtual machine with VMware (I use Fusion on the Mac), the first thing you’ll likely want to do is install VMware tools. You need to install a few packages in order to make the installation seamless, however. There are countless posts around the internet with people looking for help with this. Here’s a quick 15 step guide to getting up and running.

  1. Download Fedora 12.
  2. Install the OS.
  3. Boot up the virtual machine.
  4. Open up the Terminal.
  5. Run “su” and type your root password to gain administrative control.
  6. Run “yum update” to update all the packages to the newest version.
  7. Reboot.
  8. Open up the Terminal.
  9. Run “yum install kernel-devel kernel-headers gcc mkinitrd”
  10. Reboot.
  11. Click the menu option in your VMware application to install VMware tools. This should put a compressed folder on the desktop.
  12. Expand the zip file and using the terminal, navigate into the newly created directory.
  13. As the root user, type “./vmware-install.pl”
  14. When it asks you questions and prompts you for a response, just hit enter. Everything should be properly configured at this point.
  15. Reboot when the script finishes. That’s it!

Once the machine reboots, you should be able to immediately play with some of the more useful features of vmware-tools. For example, you’ll notice that if you drag the edges of the window to resize it, the resolution of the Guest OS will automatically adjust on the fly. If you drag files from your Host OS into the window of the desktop OS, they will copy over. Additionally, you should be able to copy and paste between the two systems. Enjoy!

Tonido: Sheevaplug Installation and First Impressions

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux, Technology | Posted on 27-12-2009-05-2008

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Keeping with the theme of recent Sheevaplug related articles, here’s a post about a new, interesting piece of software called Tonido. Tonido advertises itself as a “personal cloud,” allowing you to share all of your personal files to anywhere. It’s a software platform that you install on your own home server. Once you’ve installed the platform, you can run a plethora of applications, and they have an SDK, in hopes that others pick up and write their own apps for it as well. It’s cross-platform. You can install it on Linux, OS X, or Windows. Or if you want, you can even buy their own plug PC, the TonidoPlug. Read on to hear a bit about installation on my Sheevaplug and my first impressions of the software. Read the rest of this entry »

Marvell Presenting @ CES in January: 2GHZ in a Plug!

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux, Technology | Posted on 22-12-2009-05-2008

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Just a quick note to anyone who will be in Las Vegas for CES (wish I could be there!) in a couple weeks. There will be a Plug Computing Pavilion, likely to showcase all of the great things that people are doing with Plug PCs like the Sheevaplug, Tonidoplug, and Pogoplug. I really think that a Plug PC has the capability to take over the home server market. Two cool things that are happening…

  1. Marvell is going to be showing, in one way or another, a 2ghz plug! Right now the Sheevaplug runs at 1.2ghz. I’m fine with them leaving the RAM at 512MB, but it would be GREAT if they could bump the storage up to 1GB of internal flash.
  2. They’re running a competition right now to see who has the best idea for a killer “plug app.” I have a couple great ideas, and I’ll be sending one in!

If anyone is going to be at the Plug Computing Pavilion and would volunteer to send me pics to post, i would be MOST grateful! Leave a comment or shoot me an e-mail if you’ll be there.

Guide: Keeping Your Server’s Music in Sync with Your Main Mac/PC

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Apple, Linux, Technology | Posted on 21-12-2009-05-2008

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If you have read some of my recent posts about setting up a Thin Client or Sheevaplug to act as home server, capable of distributing music across the house with Squeezebox Server, acting as a NAS, or running cool apps like Tonido (here are my first impressions!), then perhaps you have wondered about the best way to get your personal music collection on that server. Or once it is on the server, what happens if you want to add more? How do you keep music on the server in sync with your laptop? I hope this article will give you a great solution to that answer! I’m very happy with how it has been working for me. All you need is RSYNC, SSH, and CRON! Read the rest of this entry »

Guide: Setting Up Your Sheevaplug to be the Ultimate Low Power All-Purpose Server

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux, Technology | Posted on 18-12-2009-05-2008

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Before I dig into the guide, it’s best to briefly explain what the Sheevaplug is. As computers have gotten faster and faster and cheaper and cheaper over the years, the focus has shifted from being “the fastest” to being “good enough.” Take a look at the Intel Atom chip. It has flooded the market, and it seems like airports are now more filled with netbooks than they are with traditional laptops. The atom is fast enough for most people, and it uses very little power, enabling the devices to be much smaller and use way less battery. This low power technology translates extremely well into the home server or electronic appliance world. More and more of the devices in our household are becoming connected, and we need low power chips to help connect that world. What if you could have a server so small that it was only slightly bigger than a traditional wall wart plug? Marvell had this idea, and they came up with the concept of Plug Computing. Plug Computing means taking a a barebones PC with a low powered Marvell ARM CPU and sticking it inside of a “plug” and then letting companies / users explore the possibilities. There have been a few pre-packaged offerings like TonidoPlug (or you can set up Tonido on your Sheevaplug!), PogoPlug, and a few others. The Sheevaplug is a development unit that people can buy, and it’s great fun to play around with! I’ve been able to turn it into a NAS, a music server, and a few other things, all at the same time! Read on to find out how to get this thing set up for the first time. Read the rest of this entry »

Howto: Building a Squeezebox Server for under $100… Yes, it can be done…

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux, Technology | Posted on 23-11-2009-05-2008

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When was the last time you bought a CD? For me, it was back in college. I bought the Chris Brown CD, and it is still in my car CD player today. And no… i’m not addicted. Rather, my car’s stereo hasn’t been set to CD mode since then. I use my iPod through the auxiliary port input on the head unit. It can often times be difficult to get digital music anywhere besides a PC and an iPod, and many companies have stepped up to the plate to solve this solution. Getting music to play around the house is an issue. For a dorm room, you only need a single computer. For a household, you need multiple speakers in multiple rooms. Sonos, Logitech, Apple, and many others have been battling it out to come up with the perfect solution. After careful research, I decided to go with Logitech’s Squeezebox line of products. Like most “digital living room” products, you need a server of some sort to power it all. This is where things start to get expensive. So I set out to create a Squeezebox Server for under $100, and I was successful! Read on to find out how I did it. Read the rest of this entry »

$100 Squeezebox Server – Can it be done?

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux, Misc, Technology | Posted on 26-10-2009-05-2008

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I have always been intrigued with getting some sort of networked music playing system in my house. Sonos looked great, but it was always too pricey. I really liked the open source DIY nature of Squeezebox Players and Squeezebox Server, but I figured that building a server in addition to buying all of the players would be too pricey. The Logitech Squeezebox Radio was recently announced, however, and I REALLY wanted it. So… I ordered it. :-) . I am on a mission to build a Squeezebox Server for $100 or less. I’m going to be doing a few posts about the parts I chose, how I’m configuring everything, and whether or not I’m successful or not. I think there’s a chance I may have to buy more expensive hardware, but I’m doing my best to get this done for less than $100! Read on to see my parts list and how I’m thinking i can configure this thing up…

Read the rest of this entry »

Intel Moblin Beta 2.0 First Impressions

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux, Technology | Posted on 21-05-2009-05-2008

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Netbooks are all the rage these days, but there is a constant debate around which OS to run. Microsoft has made a hard push to make Windows XP the OS of choice, Canonical has their Netbook Remix of Ubuntu out the door, and now Intel wants to try their hand with the Moblin OS. Read on to find my opinions / impressions of the newly released OS.

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Thoughts on Ubuntu Netbook Remix

Posted by Kevin Hanson | Posted in Linux | Posted on 16-05-2009-05-2008

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This past Mothers Day, we all pitched in and got Mom a netbook, specifically the Asus Eee PC 1000HE. I chose this model because it used the slightly faster Atom 280 processor and had a great battery, which they claim can last up to 9.5 hours. If it can get 2/3 of that, I’ll be satisfied. It came with Windows XP preinstalled, but my mom’s a mac user – she wouldn’t dare play with something as dirty as Windows XP. So I decided to give Ubuntu Netbook Remix a go! Read below for my thoughts.

Read the rest of this entry »