OwnCloud – My Review


I have to give it to OwnCloud for making the installation really easy! In less thanΒ  two minutes I had OwnCloud installed and ready to go.The GUI has a nice sleek feel to it. It doesn’t have as much functionality as I thought it would, but none the less I took it from sandbox to live the same night. Linking my Desktop and Phone to the install was incredibly easy.

Now to the things that bug me enough to make me tell you about it.

  • No built in Quota bar. This is a MUST. How am I to know where my current storage limit is?
  • The default text editor isn’t a WYSIWYG (What you see is what you get). It is the ugliest interface for typing that I have seen since Basic on a Tandy Color Computer. You have no control of font size or formatting.
  • I would like to see some sort of a built in Open Office type suite. Not everybody wants to use Office to generate a spreadsheet or word document.
  • Changing the colors is a challenge. This should be an option in the Admin section. A user should not need to climb into the Terminal and edit config files to change colors or theme settings.
  • For music to show up in the Music category and be able to stream from the web GUI it shouldn’t be a requirement to have music in a folder named “Music”.

All in all, I am happy with it. It’s a nice alternative to Dropbox or Google Drive. However, if you don’t have an ISP with a decent Upload speed you will suffer a lot.

I will get some screenshots added later tonight.

OwnCloud


You’re familiar with the term cloud right?… If not, I’m sure you have heard of Dropbox, Box, Google Driveetc. These are all Cloud services, they store your data on a server that is accessible from anywhere. So, what I’m going to do, is create my own using OwnCloud and an Ubuntu Server I have (currently it sits and runs PyTivo.. That’s a different blog post πŸ™‚ ) (Edit: Yes I am aware of Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud Server.. I will look at installing and playing with this.)

I was watching TWiT‘s new show “Know How…” and their first episode was about rolling out your own cloud a few different ways, they shows the Tonido Plug and the Pogo Plug. Now Tonido has a software suite you can download and use but from the sounds of it, you are actually allow them to see some of your data (at least that is how it is with the Tonido plug device). I’m not so interested in allowing that to happen, not because I’m doing anything illegal but because I don’t like the idea of people willy nilly looking at my data.

Now, looking at OwnCloud you can run the software on your machine (Desktop or Server, I prefer server) and it will simply host a Web GUI that you can access your data from. OwnCloud comes with a client you install on your device and you can access your data from your server. I don’t know if there is a mobile app yet. I mainly want this setup so I can easily access content from my home server without needing to worry about a super low max limit (Dropbox currently has 4gb on my account and Box has 50gb).

I plan on toying with it and seeing what all it does and then writing a review on it. The idea of running your own cloud (If you have an ISP that gives you a nice upload speed and doesn’t limit you) is a really neat idea. You don’t have to worry about uploading to a server, where God knows who is looking at your data.

The other option is to use software to encrypt your data before you upload to these cloud services, the reason I dislike that idea is that when I want to run in and grab something quick I don’t want to have to worry about, “Does this computer/device have the software to allow me to view this?”

So, I will install and toy with OwnCloud on my Sandbox machine and see what I come up with.Β  If you do not have a sandbox machine. You should REALLY invest in one. Mine is basically an old computer I had laying around after an upgrade that I tossed some hardware into. You can also pick up computers pretty cheap on ebay or a local computer recycler. Free Geek is a good place to look too.

See you on the other side!

-Dan

Media Center PC


I recently put together a Media Center PC (more commonly known as HTPC, Home Theater PC) but after some reading I found that the hardware I used, which was an old Pentium 4, is on the “avoid” list.

So, I’m asking the internet this question, What is the best hardware on a budget for a MythTV Backend/Frontend Combo? Or if it will work better, Backend and front end separated.

Or, if you don’t suggest MythTV, What do you suggest?

Bash Scripts.


I run a web server that contains multiple websites and multiple SQL databases. I decided to use bash scripts to manage my backup’s and for any file restores that were needed. I know the argument will be, “Why bash scripts? there are software options that do the same thing”. The answer is, I couldn’t find one that fit my specific needs and so I decided to write something that fit my needs.

I read several forum threads of people trying to accomplish parts of what I wanted, but nobody had meshed everything together. If you are looking for a bash script that does a grandfather-father-son archive rotation of each user directory into it’s own archive and also does the same thing for databases, then these may work for you. The archives are stored in Daily, Weekly and Monthly. The rotation will do a daily backup Sunday through Friday. On Saturday a weekly backup is done giving you four weekly backups a month. The monthly backup is done on the first of the month rotating two monthly backups based on if the month is odd or even.

I hope you find these as useful as I did.

So this first script I found on the Ubuntu server Archive page.

This one archives the specified files/directories

#!/bin/bash
####################################
#
# Backup to NFS mount script with
# grandfather-father-son rotation
# of specified directory
#
####################################

# What to backup.
backup_files=”/etc /root”

# Where to backup to.
dest=”/backup/system”

# Setup variables for the archive filename.
day=$(date +%A)
hostname=$(hostname -s)

# Find which week of the month 1-4 it is.
day_num=$(date +%d)
if (( $day_num week_file=”$hostname-week1.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 7 && $day_num week_file=”$hostname-week2.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 14 && $day_num week_file=”$hostname-week3.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 21 && $day_num < 32 )); then
week_file=”$hostname-week4.tgz”
fi

# Find if the Month is odd or even.
month_num=$(date +%m)
month=$(expr $month_num % 2)
if [ $month -eq 0 ]; then
month_file=”$hostname-month2.tgz”
else
month_file=”$hostname-month1.tgz”
fi

# Create archive filename.
if [ $day_num == 1 ]; then
archive_file=$month_file
elif [ $day != “Saturday” ]; then
archive_file=”$hostname-$day.tgz”
else
archive_file=$week_file
fi

# Print start status message.
echo “Backing up $backup_files to $dest/$archive_file”
date
echo

# Backup the files using tar.
tar czf $dest/$archive_file $backup_files

# Print end status message.
echo
echo “Backup finished”
date

# Long listing of files in $dest to check file sizes.
ls -lh $dest/

 

This one keeps the same concept except that instead of defining which file/directory the script grabs all the directories within /home

#!/bin/bash
####################################
#
# Backup to NFS mount script with
# grandfather-father-son rotation
# of each home directory within
# it’s own archive
#
####################################

# Where to backup to.
dest=”/backup/users”

# Setup variables for the archive filename.
day=$(date +%A)
#folder=$(backup)

# Find which week of the month 1-4 it is.
day_num=$(date +%d)
if (( $day_num week_file=”-week1.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 7 && $day_num week_file=”-week2.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 14 && $day_num week_file=”-week3.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 21 && $day_num < 32 )); then
week_file=”-week4.tgz”
fi

# Find if the Month is odd or even.
month_num=$(date +%m)
month=$(expr $month_num % 2)
if [ $month -eq 0 ]; then
month_file=”-month2.tgz”
else
month_file=”-month1.tgz”
fi

# Create archive filename.
if [ $day_num == 1 ]; then
archive_file=$month_file
elif [ $day != “Saturday” ]; then
archive_file=”-$day.tgz”
else
archive_file=$week_file
fi

# Print start status message.
echo “Backing up This may take a few minutes.”

# Backup the files using tar.
for folder in $(ls /home); do
sudo -u $folder tar czf “$dest/$folder$archive_file” /home/”$folder”

# Print end status message.
echo
echo “Backup $folder complete.”
#date
done

# Long listing of files in $dest to check file sizes.
ls -lh $dest/
echo
echo “Backup is complete”
exit

 

Now, if you multiple SQL databases on your sever, this will benefit you a lot.

#!/bin/bash
####################################
#
# Backup to NFS mount script with
# grandfather-father-son rotation
# of all your SQL Databases.
#
####################################

# Where to backup to.
dest=”/backup/sql-backup”

# Setup variables for the archive filename.
day=$(date +%A)

# Find which week of the month 1-4 it is.
day_num=$(date +%d)
if (( $day_num week_file=”-week1.sql.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 7 && $day_num week_file=”-week2.sql.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 14 && $day_num week_file=”-week3.sql.tgz”
elif (( $day_num > 21 && $day_num < 32 )); then
week_file=”-week4.sql.tgz”
fi

# Find if the Month is odd or even.
month_num=$(date +%m)
month=$(expr $month_num % 2)
if [ $month -eq 0 ]; then
month_file=”-month2.sql.tgz”
else
month_file=”-month1.sql.tgz”
fi

# Create archive filename.
if [ $day_num == 1 ]; then
archive_file=$month_file
elif [ $day != “Saturday” ]; then
archive_file=”-$day.sql.tgz”
else
archive_file=$week_file
fi

# Backup the files.
MYSQL=’/usr/bin/mysql’

MYSQLDUMP=’/usr/bin/mysqldump’
DUMPOPTS=’–opt –hex-blob –skip-extended-insert’

user=”CHANGEME”
pass=”CHANGEME”
# Get the names of the database tables
databases=`$MYSQL -u$user -p$pass –skip-column-names -e’SHOW DATABASES’`

# Write the compressed dump for each table
for db in $databases; do
filename=`date +”$dest/$db$archive_file”`
echo “creating $filename”
$MYSQLDUMP $DUMPOPTS -u$user -p$pass –database $db
| gzip -9 > $filename

done

echo “Backup of SQL Datases Complete”
exit

 

I currently have not written a restore for the SQL backup, if you have phpMyAdmin, you can use the import function.

Okay, so we have backed up all the home directories. What if someone needs something specific from a specific backup. I know that this script doesn’t account for a failure. I’m working on that.

#!/bin/bash
##############################
#
# Script written by Dan Walker
# for Merval.Org Hosting to
# restore a specific file
# from a specific backup.
#
##############################

# Specify Backup Directory
echo -n “Where are we restoring from? (default is /backup/users): ”
while read -e inputline
do
backup_path=”$inputline”
# Display what user typed
if [ -z “${backup_path}” ]
then
echo “You didn’t type anything”
backup_path=”/backup/users”
echo “Using $backup_path”
else

if [ -n “${backup_path}” ]
then
backup_path=”$inputline”
echo “Using custom location: $backup_path”
fi
fi

# Lets ask what user to restore
echo -n “Which user?: ”
read -e user

echo -n “What are we restoring? (leave out /home/): ”
read -e source

# Now lets figure out what backup to restore
echo -n “Which backup? (Daily, Weekly or Monthly): ”
read -e choice
if [ $choice = “Daily” ];
then
echo -n “Which day? (Sunday – Friday): ”
read -e date
echo “You chose $date”
echo “Starting restore process. This may take a moment”
cd $backup_path
sudo -u $user tar -xzf $user-$date.tgz -C / home/$user/$source
echo “Restored /home/$user/$source from the $date backup”
fi

if [ $choice = “Weekly” ];
then
echo -n “Which week? (1-4): ”
read -e week
echo “You chose to restore to $week(s) ago”
echo “Starting restore process. This may take a moment”
cd $backup_path
sudo -u $user tar -xzf $user-week$week.tgz -C / home/$user/$source
echo “Restored /home/$user/$source to the back from $week week(s) ago”
fi

if [ $choice = “Monthly” ]
then
echo -n “Which Month? (1 or 2): ”
read -e month
echo “You chose to restore to $month(s) ago”
echo “Starting restore process. This may take a moment.”
cd $backup_path
sudo -u $user tar -xzf $user-month$month.tgz -C / home/$user/$source
echo “Restored /home/$user/$source from $month month(s) ago”
fi

exit
done

 

Suggestions are always appreciated!

Thanks for reading!

Been Nerdin’ Out..


So, I recently went on a bit of a nerd binge.. I found a Linksys 54gWRT Wireless Router and loaded DD-WRT on it.. I then found a Belkin F5D7231-4 and force loaded DD-WRT on it through TFTP.. I think I’m hooked LOL.. I have always enjoyed making things function in ways they weren’t meant to. I rooted my new phone, a Samsung Galaxy S 4G (still waiting for Cyangonmod… *taps foot impatiently*) and I loaded several apps on it that give me more control πŸ™‚

I am currently in the process of making a Clone of a hard drive that I have to a larger drive using the UBD (Ultimate Boot Disk).. I’m hoping it copies the boot sector too, that would make life SO easy. I converted my main desktop to Ubuntu and rather than dual boot it, I figured build a whole other computer and have a dual monitor that I can switch over with a KVM switch (in case you don’t know what a KVM is, it allows two computers to be hooked together through a device so you can swap between the two without swapping cables) so I can have an Ubuntu and Windows Box running at the same time and I can just hop between the two as I need.

Having both of those computers down, I am using an old Mac G4 Tower to write this blog, My Macbook is in the other room and I’m too lazy to go get it. Meh.. This old device needs to be upgraded soon. I saw a G5 PPC at Free Geek awhile back for $160 dollars but didn’t have the money to get it, I so wouldn’t mind having one of those.. it was a dual 2 ghz chip, When i was there not long ago they only had the big brother to the one i have right now, with no G5s… Oh well, maybe next time.

Upon getting my little DD-WRT addiction, I also bought up several routers (which aren’t too old, but they aren’t REALLY new either) and figured I would try and sell them on Ebay or CL.. Well that didn’t pan out.. So now I have several routers just sitting.. So if you know someone who needs a router lol let me know πŸ˜‰

The Belkin I put DD-WRT on, i don’t know that I will sell it, I might set it up as a wireless booter for networks that are a little out of my range. DD-WRT has a neat feature that you can connect out to a wireless access point and dupe it so you can connect to it from further away than normal (other wise known as a Signal Booster).. So i’m curious how that will work out. πŸ™‚

I bought the belkin for 9 dollars at goodwill, made into a 600 dollar router πŸ˜‰ and i bought the Linksys for 5 dollars at Value Village πŸ˜‰ made them both into 600 dollar routers lol..

 

Alright, I’m gonna take off and go finish that disk clone.

Don’t forget, WWE Hell In a Cell is tonight on PPV. I will have a post on that tomorrow.

Take care!

Dan