Aside

One of my household IT projects this weekend was to build and deploy a samba4 Domain Controller. I know marginally more than zero about Active Directory, but I am not even exaggerating a little when I say I understand the behind the scenes glue a thousand times better than I did on Friday. 

I can’t tell you how to do anything in the GUI, but I can sure as shit manage a GPO with zsh and vim. 

(To be fair I have used various LDAPs, was using Heimdal when it was introduced to OpenBSD-CURRENT, but still, I’m rusty on all of it and wasn’t ever an expert. #humblebrag)

My Distinguished Name

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Krebs reviews eero: A Mesh WiFi Router Built for Security

User-friendly and secure. Hardly anyone would pick either word to describe the vast majority of wireless routers in use today. So naturally I was intrigued a year ago when I had the chance to pre-order a eero, a new WiFi system billed as easy-to-use, designed with security in mind, and able to dramatically extend the range of a wireless network without compromising speed. Here’s a brief review of the eero system I received and installed a week ago. — Brian Krebs

 

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FreeNAS 9.2-RC: Shit’s Getting Real

Jordan Hubbard has been in the dugout at ixSystems for less than a year now and already we’ve seen some miraculously fast releases for FreeNAS that include a jump to FreeBSD 9.1 and now 9.2 is a release candidate which fixes some really vexing AFP warnings and errors by virtue of a new release of netatalk build that addresses that issue.

One of the more interesting features added in the candidate for RC2 has to be the addition of Linux jails:

* A jails templating system has been added, allowing the quick deployment of new jails from existing templates and the ability to create custom templates. Linux jail support has also been added and installation templates are included for Debian-7.1.0, Gentoo-20130820, Ubuntu-13.04, Centos-6.4, Fedora-19, and Suse-12.3.

Hey-oh!

Also notable in that release of netatalk is possible support for Spotlight indexes on AFP volumes exported from FreeNAS, permissions fixes, and some home directory hooks with the FreeNAS admin tools, so I’m not hating those prospects.

Aside

Finally got around to the FreeNAS 9.1.1 upgrade today, and I’m delighted to tell you that the Plex Media Server plug-in is available right in the administration interface and works just as you’d expect it to. It creates a jail and installs the software without a hitch and BABAM: instant mobile and household media streaming.

The only hiccup I had was when I renamed the announced Media Server name and had to restart the service. It indexed movies, TV shows and this time I even threw some photographs at it without incident. If I get brave I’ll try Music, but for what my household uses Plex for it’s great and frees my desktop workstation from being the choke-point for playing videos and gives my quad-core NAS something to do besides sit idle and handle NFS requests from a handful of computers.

This will likely inspire me to configure another jail for a dovecot IMAP server in the near future. It will probably wait until I get more storage plugged in though, since I’m now below 1TB remaining and I’m nervous about ZFS being unhappy about it.

Plex Media Center is on my FreeNAS

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a Canary in Every Coal Mine

Checking in on your home with Canary

Canary is a single device that contains an HD video camera and multiple sensors that track everything from motion, temperature and air quality to vibration, sound, and activity to help keep you, your family and your home safe.

This is an absolutely brilliant product and a market that is just beginning to be realized. Smart learning thermostats like the Nest, portable environmental monitoring Cubes and personal weather stations from Netatmo that observe and monitor air quality are already taking home automation and monitoring out of the garages of Arduino nerds and putting them into the homes of the less-nerdy but still geeky.

Canary can notify you when people enter and leave your house, and records videos of anomalous activity. It has alarms and push notifications. It monitors allergens and temperature in addition to humidity.

How many homes have you been in that leveraged X10 lighting controls and switches? How many families have no idea what the hell an “exten” even is? These gizmos and the Canary in particular are exactly what is needed to allow people to really make use of this type of technology without shitting up their homes with haphazard Rube-Goldberg-and-wire projects.

Ignoring the DVR, night vision, behavior learning and environmental monitoring, the best part about Canary is probably that it’s all contained in a cylinder that looks like a piece of modern art, costs USD$200 and doesn’t involve drilling holes into your rented apartment.

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FreeBSD port of Plex Media Server

This may get me to convert my NAS from FreeNAS to the unfortunately named NAS4Free — a FreeBSD port now exists for Plex Media Server, which would remove the requirement to have one of my Macs dishing up media for the house.

I rather like FreeNAS but I’ve been really annoyed with the lack of an IMAP service that works on it via their jail implementation, among a few other annoyances. Maybe I’d be happier if I just switched over? There are some other benefits too, such as running Virtual Box on the NAS hardware to host guest VMs there. Since my NAS host is an intel core2quad system that isn’t such a dumb idea.