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HOW TO: Install VPN server on Ubuntu when server is behind firewall

The whole point in this post is to run your own VPN service, and allow you to connect remote devices to your home network. To start off yo...

Dec 2, 2010

Upgrade Linux/Ubuntu Nvidia Driver

I always forget how to upgrade my Nvidia graphics driver, so here it is :

To stop gdm from virtual console (after going to virtual console by giving Ctrl + Alt + F1

sudo service gdm stop

To start after installing nvidia drivers:

sudo sh ./NVIDIA-Linux-*

To start it is as simple as stopping

sudo service gdm start

And I used these commands for this little beast:
Zotac ZONE (Fanless) GeForce GT430 1 GB 128-Bit DDR3 (700/1800MHz) PCI-Express Video Card - ZT-40601-20L

Nov 15, 2010

FreeNAS shares on Ubuntu

So I have FreeNAS running samba shares on my network, for the most part I really don't need to access the data on my actually Linux boxes - only my HTPC.

But I decided I wanted to create mount point on the media folder of my Ubuntu install.

So here is what I had to do in fstab (/etc/fstab)

//freenas_server/sharename /media/localsharedirectory cifs credentials=/home/macleod/smb.credentials,uid=mountuser,gid=mountgroup,iocharset=utf8,codepage=cp437,auto 0 0

My credentials are stored in smb.credentials, like so:


And I got most of the information from here:

Obviously replace mountgroup, mountuser with your ubuntu username and group (group is probably the same as name).  Also replace the appropriate shares and credentials - hopefully you get the picture.

I edited the fstab entry so I now define the iocharset and codepage, this is so foreign characters are displayed correctly in the filesystem, and applications.  I noticed the issue due to having display issues in iSub and Subsonic.

The DOS Charset should be CP437 - CP850 is missing a few which I needed for foreign language music artists.

Sep 27, 2010

Working around chroot jail to allow users to access other directories in my FTP server.

I was trying to use symbolic links:

ln -s /mnt/Personal/Music /mnt/user/Music

But I needed to add them to the wheel group - which didn't make sense, I tried doing everything relative, instead of absolute - like indicated http://www.proftpd.org/docs/howto/Chroot.html but it didn't work for me.  Adding them to wheel basically allowed them to navigate anywhere they wanted.

If anyone has had success using symlinks with their proftpd server, do let me know.

In the end I had to mount a null filesystem

mount_nullfs /mnt/Personal/Music /mnt/user/Music

This basically duplicates the filesystem, any changes made to the dupe will affect the original, so be very careful with your user privilages.

To undo this "link" you can simple umount the dupe

umount /mnt/user/Music

I do not currently know of any ill side effects to this, but I would appreciate any feedback from the guru's out there.

I do have to run these commands every-time the system starts - this is a real drawback - I would love to use symbolic links, but have not been able to work it out.

Learning FreeNAS: Configure and manage a network attached storage solution

Aug 23, 2010

Rii Mini

The Rii mini.  I just bought this tiny little keyboard to control my bedroom XBMC HTPC, I am thinking about buying another for the living room - it's perfect.  It's back-lit, wireless, rechargeable (lithium-ion).  What more could you ask?  Seriously, what else do you need?

Comment please!

Jul 1, 2010


So the other month I bought a ton of new equipment for a new NAS box.  The question was, which NAS software to go for?  As ever it needed to be free, preferably open-source, and have all the functionality I was looking for.

FTP server

I wrote about my excitment for OpenMediaVault (OMV) more than a few months back (http://bleedingedgegeek.blogspot.com/2009/12/current-nas-situation.html).  However during this wait my current NAS (FreeNAS) began to fail, due to harddrive issues, and the fact that it was a crappy old box.

OMV has yet to be released, so I was in a bit of a pickle, I have new hardware, I need a new NAS, so I began to try my alternatives.  I installed and checked out the following NAS solutions:


P.S. There are more, but some of them were ruled out due to hardware limitations, or pricing for several drive solutions (unRAID).

eBox was nice in the fact that it had a built in LDAP server, but I soon realized that it is not something I really need.  Openfiler was cool, but I had some issues with my WD EAR drives (advanced 4KB sectors), and I wasn't really a fan of the Volume Management. And Amahi... it sounds good, but the plug and play aspect is a little cluncky/cloogy in my mind.

So in the end, I stuck with FreeNAS!  I have implemented encryption on my drives, FreeNAS handles the WD EARS no problem, setup the UPS feature for safe power downs.  All in all I am happy with my decision, there is no guarantee that OMV will be in a good shape when it is release, so why take the risk - stick with something I know and love!

Mar 11, 2010

Custom Open Source Router Firmware (DD-WRT vs. Tomato)

I just bought myself the WNR3500L from Netgear, because it ca be flashed with custom firmware - which is great.  My old buffalo router could do the same, and I used Tomato.

I decided, new router, new firmware... not such a stunning idea.  My immediate issues with DD-WRT over Tomato:
  • DD-WRT Static DHCP is not as user friendly to set up as it is in Tomato
  • Upgrading the firmware without resetting all the settings is not advised??? WTF?
Other than these inconveniences I like it, I will update this as I find the time and move forward.  I am sure DD-WRT will become more user friendly, but I expected more from it - especially the way everyone rave about it.  For now I would tell ppl who are looking into these firmwares to go with Tomato.

Feb 18, 2010

Audio file conversion

So a while back I was looking for an application to convert FLAC to MP3, the solution resulted in Foobar 2000 (http://www.foobar2000.com).  Only problem I had with this amazingly fast little tool, was getting my hands on the lame.exe (http://www.free-codecs.com/Lame_Encoder_download.htm) but it only took a little googling to find - and I just gave you the link - so you are good to go

File Blender is a freeware application that is not only capable of converting audio files such as flac, but also image and other formats.  Will be checking this out!

Jan 27, 2010

Open VPN

So I have been thinking a lot about VPN, I want to securely access my home network and VPN is the best way to do that.

As I have mentioned in previous post I use Tomato firmware on my router.  This free software allows me to adapt my "$60 router into a $600 router".  One of the variants out there for Tomato firmware allows me to run an Open VPN server from the router.

Using this Open VPN version of Tomato firmware I would have the ability to connect securely and become part of my network from anywhere in the world.  This got me thinking a little more...

I have a small portable XBMC solution, running on Ubuntu, if I had a VPN server up and running on my router I could configure the VPN client on Ubuntu to securely connect and be part of my network - allowing me to stream my content securely/encrypted anywhere in the world!

OpenVPN: Building and Integrating Virtual Private Networks: Learn how to build secure VPNs using this powerful Open Source application

Port Triggering

So I am on the search, I need to find a good application for port triggering.

I use uTorrent for getting various content/distributions, however I don't want traffic hitting my router when I am not using the application.  To get the best out of uTorrent you need to open a port on your router (port forward), but I don't want that port to be open when my application is not running, so what's the solution - port triggering.

There is an application out there that will work Port Trigger, but it is not supported in Windows 7.  The basic idea is that when Port Trigger sees the application of choice (uTorrent) running, it will intermittently send a request to a port.  This port request can then be set up at your router to open the configured port for your application connection.  Then, when the application is not running Port Trigger no longer 'pings' the trigger port, and the router will not open the port for the application.

If anyone has any suggestions for a Windows 7 supported application, please get in touch!

My router running Tomato firmware:

Jan 21, 2010

File Renaming Utilities

So I used to be a big fan of Lupas Rename 2000 (http://rename.lupasfreeware.org/), but I came across a problem that it could not solve.

I had several files that had characters at the start of the filename that I wanted to move to the end... after some searching I found a utility (free too) that could accomplish my requirement.  It's called Bulk Rename Utility (http://www.bulkrenameutility.co.uk).

This nifty little application allows me to, for example, do the following:

Original filename - "(1937) Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.avi"
New Filename - "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937).avi"

This is an example you understand...

The application can be downloaded as an installer, or as a stand alone application - for all you portable pundits out there.

Jan 12, 2010


So I signed up to be notified about the boxee beta, but I never received an email - today I went to check the site out for an update... the beta has been out since the 7th.  I have downloaded the deb on my Ubuntu machine and installed it:

sudo dpkg -i "downloaded file name without quotes"

Probably have dependency issues...

sudo apt-get -f install

Worth checking on a few updates...

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Well, obviously I haven't had a chance to check it out, but we will see - I am very interested in the social aspects of the application, but I am loving XBMC with Rapier right now!

Check out boxee for yourself here!


So I played about with boxee for a short period, the beta is a much needed improvement, but I am not sure if I will switch to it from xbmc!