Synology Updates Cloud Station

Synology has released a minor update to Cloud Station with 8 documented fixes.

Synology released Cloud Station 3.2-3479 for DSM 5.2. I installed the update on my DS1815+ without any problems. It automatically and silently updated the client software running on my Macs. (I don’t have any Windows machines currently running Cloud Station but it should automatically update those too.)

Documented fixes include:

  1. Fixed an issue that might caused high CPU usage using QuickConnect connection.
  2. Fixed an issue where proxy setting cannot be enabled.
  3. Fixed an issue where an expired certificate might cause verification failure.
  4. Fixed an issue where certain domain users cannot be properly enabled.
  5. Fixed an issue that might cause high CPU usage on Mac computers after rebooting.
  6. Fixed an issue where shared folder list cannot be displayed in certain QuickConnect connection.
  7. Fixed an issue where admin users cannot restore and download historic versions without Cloud Station privilege.
  8. Fixed an issue to support directories with brackets.

I have never encountered any of the problems so I can’t say whether or not they are actually fixed.

Apple OS X Mavericks 10.9.3 Released

Apple released OS X 10.9.3 today.

This update:

  • Improves 4K display support on Mac Pro (Late 2013) and MacBook Pro with 15-inch Retina Display (Late 2013)
  • Adds the ability to sync contacts and calendars between a Mac and iOS device using a USB connection
  • Improves the reliability of VPN connections using IPsec
  • Resolves an issue that prevented Font Book from installing PostScript Type 1 fonts
  • Improves reliability of copying, editing and inspecting permissions of files on an SMB file server
  • Improves reliability of network home directories
  • Improves stability when installing configuration profiles
  • Improves login speed for users in Active Directory groups
  • Includes Safari 7.0.3

No info on the security content yet.

I updated my Mac Mini without any immediate issues. I’m waiting a day or two before updating my MacBook.

Synology DSM 4.2-3211 Released

Synology released an update to their Disk Station Manager software. It is mainly minor fixes, at least for me, but only took about 10 minutes to install.

Update tilesSynology released an update to DSM 4.2 back on April 18th which I got around to installing this weekend. Overall it is a pretty minor update but only took about 10 minutes oer NAS to install From the release notes:

  1. Fixed an issue where users could not connect to the DiskStation via FTP over SSL.
  2. Fixed an issue which kept the DiskStation from connecting to SNMP (Simple Network Management Protocol) UPS devices.
  3. Fixed an issue where domain users could not obtain an emergency code for 2-step verification.
  4. Improved the compatibility of file sharing via SMB/CIFS with Mac computers.
  5. Improved the stability of generating Disk Usage Reports.
  6. Improved the stability of iSCSI LUN.
  7. Improved the compatibility when backing up data between different versions of DSM.
  8. Improved stability when syncing files between two DiskStations with Shared Folder Sync.
  9. Improved the stability when backing up data to another DiskStation with Time Backup.
  10. Other issue fixes and enhancements.

Items 4, 6 and 8 could potentially help me in these areas although I never really had any problems so far. I had some Mac sharing problems but they want away and I figured it was a network or transient issue. I do sometimes get errors with shared folder sync but when I’ve bothered to track them down they all be files changed or deleted during the sync, The next sync has always worked just fine.

Audio Station, Cloud Station , Photo Station and Video Station packages also received minor updates. My CloudStation clients were automatically updated once the package on the Synology NAS was upgraded, which was nice.

WordPress 3.2 Released

WordPress 3.2 has been released. Promoted as improving performance and streamlining WordPress. The update closed 402 tickets in the WordPress trac database.

The upgrades keep right on coming for The OS Quest website. WordPress 3.2 was released today and I jump right in and updated this site. At this point there’s been so many changes I won’t know where to start if something stops working. The stated focus of this update was to streamline speed-up WordPress. Check out the previous link to see all the changes.Or view the Trac database to see all 402 closed tickets.

Some key changes are:

  • Dropped support for PHP 4. PHP 5.2.4 is now the minimum requirement.
  • Support for IE 6 was dropped (I hope no one regrets this change).
  • Dropped support for MySQL 4. MySQL 5.0.15 or greater is required.

I upgraded all my sites through SVN but was notified and prompted to upgrade through the dashboard. It was necessary to upgrade the database once the files were upgraded. The database upgrade prompt came at the first site access after the upgrade so be sure the visit the admin dashboard after upgrading. The SVN upgrade command is:

svn sw http://core.svn.wordpress.org/tags/3.2/ .

The above command assumes it’s executed from the WordPress installation directory.

Yet Another Update: iOS4 for my iPod Touch

Tile for Quick Bits Software UpdateApple started releasing iOS4 today so I went ahead and updated my iPod Touch, which is the third gen 64GB model.

Since getting my iPad I use the Touch mostly as a music player so I haven’t really given the new OS a workout.

A “check for update” on my iPad doesn’t show iOS4 as available for it yet. Just as well. Since the iPad is more of a daily user for me I’ll hold off and wait for reports on the experiences of others.

Windows Home Server Power Pack 3

Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 was released Tuesday and I’ve applied the upgrade. While I didn’t have any serious problems it didn’t go exactly as planned. Just problems enough to cause some momentary heart palpitations.

Screenshot showing WHS Power Pack 3Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 was released Tuesday and I’ve applied the upgrade. While I didn’t have any serious problems it didn’t go exactly as planned. Just problems enough to cause some momentary heart palpitations.

As with any upgrade I make sure my backups are all in order before continuing then I do a pre-upgrade reboot to make sure there’s no errant or corrupted programs in memory. After the reboot I let things settle down and it’s about an hour before I fire up the WHS console go into Settings => General and click the “Update” button to get the update. There were a couple updates that came down along with Power Pack 3. The installs went fine and when the installs finished I clicked the button to restart immediately. That’s when things went off the script. The restart never occurred.

So after waiting about 20 minutes just to make sure it wasn’t still applying the patch I reconnected through the console. No problems connecting and no messages in the logs about starting a reboot. So I restarted again using the WHS console. This time it restarted on it’s own. But it never responded to ping and never became accessible over the network (never = about 20 minutes). Hooking up a monitor and keyboard showed a “service failed to start message” that I could clear with the mouse, but the keyboard didn’t work and the logon screen didn’t accept mouse clicks.

So I held in the power button until the server turned off. This time when I powered it on the start-up was successful and the WHS was available online. Now the problem was the lack of the expected message telling me I needed to upgrade the connector on my Windows 7 PC. The connector seemed to work fine and the console started, but it hadn’t been upgraded. The file in the Home Server Connector Software directory (in the “Software” share) had been upgraded so I ran the install from there.  It uninstalled the current connector and installed the new version without a problem.

I also had to manually upgrade the connector on my other PCs as none gave the expected upgrade needed message. All the upgrades went fine once I manually started the installation.

Once everything seemed to be fine I did another reboot just to be sure it started OK and it did. I went back into software update and found there were two more updates (one for search, one for the remote console) which required yet another reboot which was successful.

In going through the logs I noticed that during the first group of patches (which is when PP3 was applied) KB917013 was removed. This was a Microsoft search related update. There’s really no way for me to know if the failure to restart, or the lock-up on the restart was due to WHS Power Pack 3 or one of the other patched. In any event, there have been several successful restarts since then without a problem.

The screen shot at the top of this article shows the version information for Power Pack 3 – 6.0.2423.0. For the connector, since I’m on Windows 7, I checked the version by going into Control Panel => Programs to check the version as shown in the screen shot below.

WHS Connector showing Power Pack 3 version
WHS Connector showing Power Pack 3 version

Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 brings the following new features:

  • Windows 7 Library Integration – When the connector is installed on a Windows 7 computer the WHS share folders can be accessed through the Windows 7 libraries. I’d already manually added these folders to the libraries so this wasn’t much of a change.
  • When WHS backup is enabled the Windows 7 action center will no longer display a warning that Windows Backup is not used. This warning could already be turned off so the update just makes it automatic.
  • Some minor Windows 7 compatibility updates such as displaying Windows 7 as the OS in the Computers & Backup tab. While I never had problems with Windows 7 waking from sleep to do the WHS backup some did and this should no longer be a problem. I also didn’t have any problems running the WHS console under Windows 7 but now it’s officially supported.
  • Windows Search 4 is included and includes the standard line that it’s bigger, better and faster. EFS encrypted files are now supported.
  • Better media center integration and support. While I store my video library on the server and watch videos from it, I’m not a media center user although it does seem like something I should look into.

So, all-in-all, despite the speed bumps the Windows Home Server Power Pack 3 upgrade went fine. None of the new features are earth-shattering so I’ll see over time whether the better Windows 7 integration and improved search are noticeable in my everyday work. The complete release documentation is available from Microsoft.

WordPress Updates & Converting to SVN

 

WordPress 2.8 came out awhile ago and there was immediate talk of WordPress 2.8.1 to fix some issues. So I was in no rush to do any update despite liking to stay up to date. WordPress 2.8.1 was released so I decided to bring all my sites up to WordPress 2.8.1 and to update the theme or convert to svn as appropriate. I had tested using svn to maintain WordPress awhile back but this site and a couple had yet to be converted. It was time to convert them now that there’s a WordPress upgrade.

The steps I followed were pretty straight-forward and allowed me to update all my sites quickly with minimal outages.

  1. Validate my previous night’s backup of the databases and file system.
  2. Update plugins to make sure they work with WordPress 2.8.1
  3. Create a new directory called newsite.
  4. Use the subversion command
    svn co http://core.svn.wordpress.org/tags/2.8.1 .
    to install the latest WordPress into this subdirectory.
  5. Here’s where I departed from the WordPress.org instructions for converting a “traditional” WordPress install to svn. Instead of looking for custom files and copying them and plugins individually I used the following copy command with my old website directory as the current directory:
    cp –p –r –i –u . ../newsite
    –p says permissions should be copied
    –r will copy subdirectories (recursive)
    –i is interactive and will prompt for any file overwrites
    –u says to update only only newer or missing files will be copied. The –u should prevent overwriting any files installed via svn and the –i switch should prompt me before any are overwritten in case I’m wrong. I use the dot ‘.’ to indicate the current directory in order to get hidden files too. If I was to use ‘*’ the hidden files wouldn’t be copied. This made sure I didn’t miss any files while not overwriting any WordPress 2.8.1 files.
  6. After the copy I issued a svn update (svn up) just to make sure nothing was overwritten and nothing was.
  7. I then updated the theme files in the newsite directory if I needed to update the theme for the site.
  8. I added the following directive to my wp-config.php file (in newsite) to allow plugin updates without having to edit file.php. This is new with WordPress 2.8. See my article on enabling automatic plugin updates for more information.
    define('FS_METHOD', 'direct');
  9. When it came time to update the live site I enabled the maintenance mode plugin and issued the following two commands. The first backs up the sites directory structure and the second moves the newsite directory to the location of the live site. (My live site is in the public directory)
    mv public public-old
    mv newsite public
  10. Run the WordPress upgrade (http://www.sitename.com/wp-admin/upgrade.php) to upgrade the database.
  11. At this point I’m done except for the testing and turn off the maintenance mode plugin. The actual site outage was only a couple of minutes during steps 9 and 10.

This made it easy to update my live sites along with test and sites in development without any problems and in record time.

The OS Quest Trail Log #36: Year End Edition

This site has been silent for a couple of weeks so I figured I’d end the year with a Trail Log. I’ve been considering an expansion of the OS Quest data center and finally pulled the trigger with Newegg’s Year End Sale and placed an order on Saturday. I’ll wait for the stuff to arrive before I get into the details since it should be fodder for a few posts. Included are parts for two system builds and some network upgrades. Between the holiday and the fact that I like to pay as little as possible for shipping I probably won’t have anything in time for next weekend.

Software Updates

There’s been the usual flow of software updates. I’ve no idea everything that I’ve updated and haven’t already mentioned, but I do recall a few. Apple released OS X 10.5.6 and it went smoothly for me even though I used Software Update which caused problems for others. I picked up the habit of rebooting before applying OS patches so that may have helped me. All three of my Macs updated without a hitch. While my iMac (my workhorse computer) doesn’t crash a lot it’s not the solid OS I remember when I first got a Mac. The latest 10.5.6 doesn’t appear any more stable to me. Just today it wouldn’t shut down or log off . I hadn’t experienced any problem but needed to shut down to switch a power cable and ended up having to hold in the power button to force it off.

The one update I’ve really benefited from is Handbrake 0.9.3. While the version increment is minor there’s a bunch of new features. While I haven’t used any of the new capabilities I’ve benefited from the enhancements to existing features. It’s stability is rock solid. Over the holiday, while I was away two days, it churned through the encodes I had queued up. The previous version wouldn’t have allowed me to open that many files as the file open dialog would cause a crash if I used it that many times. So far every file it’s encoded has been valid. Another nice feature is that it caches the queue. My iMac crashed (there’s that instability again) while running Handbrake. After the restart the queue for Handbrake was still there.

WordPress 2.7 has also been released. Hopefully by the time you read this I’ll have upgraded but as I write this I’m still behind.

I’ve kind of lost track of all of Microsoft’s Internet file sharing options. FolderShare has been retired and folded into Windows Live Share which I use for one thing. The one thing I use it for is syncing Windows Live Writer drafts between my Windows VMs. I started with FolderShare and the upgrade to Windows Live Share doesn’t seemed to have caused any problems. Live Mesh has also received some updates and a Mac client.  And let’s not forget that SkyDrive has been up’d to 25GB of storage. Still, despite these options I’ve gravitated to Dropbox and use that for my file sharing and have stayed there, it just works.

Seagate 1.5TB Firmware

I still haven’t updated the firmware on this drive. I’ve downloaded it and created the bootable CD but still haven’t had the drive and DVD with me when a PC was available. I’ll probably end up doing the upgrade when the Newegg order arrives and I start the builds, so it’ll still be a couple of weeks.

Drobo

I figured I’d update the Drobo saga with the end of the year. It’s been a solid backup device since the firmware upgrade and repartitioning. It’s still not a speed demon, but solid. I’ve been tempted to try other drives in there to see if performance improves. While the speed doesn’t seem to approach the limits for the WD drives I use they aren’t fast drives and I wonder if the power saving benefits are affecting performance. I’m thinking about trying some of the faster drives I’m getting in for the builds to see if they’ll make a difference. I’m just not sure the time required to do the testing will be worth it to me. Especially since I’m considering moving the Drobo to my Airport Extreme so it can be easily shared on the network. If I do this it will have a USB connection and faster drives aren’t going to benefit me.

Network Printing (2nd Try)

I moved my Canon IP3500 printer to my Airport Extreme to free up a USB port on my iMac and to more easily share the printer. I haven’t used it enough to call it a success (and move the printer to where I want it) but so far I haven’t experienced any of the problems I had with my Epson printer.

Wrapping Up

This will wrap up the year as I’m unlikely to post anything in the next couple of days. This will be the 154th post of the year, and 502nd overall. If my stats program is to be trusted there’s been 41,475 unique visitors so far this year. January saw 2,164 unique visitors during the month and by September the monthly count had more than doubled to 4,449 unique visitors. December is on track to have the highest count of the year which will probably exceed 4,800.

The 5 most popular posts this year were WD My Book Button Manager Removed and Some Frustrations with 5,326 views in 2008 (still popular even though it was written mid-2007), Fedora 8 on VMware Fusion with 4,107 views, Centrally Managed iTunes Library on Windows Home Server with 2,554 views, Data Rescue II – File Recovery For The Mac with 2,449 views in 2008, and finally Ubuntu 7.10 (Gutsy Gibbon) on VMware Fusion with 1,831 views.

I’m not sure what any of that means exactly, but I like stats so figured I’d end the year with some.

Best wishes for the new year and good luck beating those computers into submission.

Apple Software Updates

I finally got around to applying to recent Apple updates to my iMac. I’ve been queueing them up starting with the iTunes 8 update. Part of the reason is I wanted to limit changes while I was recovering my Windows Home Server. But the main reason was I’ve come to expect problems when applying updates from Apple. So far the problems have been minor.

While waiting to apply the updates I’d read about people losing iTunes songs and album art after installing iTunes 8 A common thread for the missing files was that the files weren’t consolidated by iTunes which matches my configuration. I have files in three different locations, none of them the default. I keep most songs on an external hard drive and it happens to be the location specified in iTunes prefs. Videos, audio-books and some music in different shares on my Windows Home Server.

After the upgrade I did have some videos missing, but in going to the pre-upgrade backup they were missing there too so it probably wasn’t upgrade related, they just didn’t get flagged until the upgrade.

I also had some album art missing. I’m not big on album art, when I add music I have iTunes check for album art, if it’s there great, if not I move on. But some of the missing album art was from the free singles I’d downloaded from iTunes so it was there at one time but I can’t say they were there right before the upgrade.

The annoying problem I do have is that the option to “Keep Movie Window On Top Of All Other Windows” no longer works. It keeps the window on top of the main iTunes window but that;s all. Other windows appear on top of it. A visit to the user forums shows it’s a common problem.

I’ve had one other annoying problem. While I can’t say which update caused it I figure its OS X 10.5.5. Parallels has lost its menu bar (the one that appears on the OS X desktop, not in the VM) and it no longer hides when I tell it to hide. Selecting “Hide Others” from another app causes the apps in the Vista VM to minimize but the full Parallels vm stays front and center. This is annoying but not a real problem so I’m hoping it goes away on its own before I get annoyed enough to look into it.

So far there’s hasn’t been any problems, but it’s only been a couple of hours.

OS X 10.5.5 Released

Apple has released OS X 10.5.5 today. Apple’s release notes were quite detailed this time. They also released a separate bulletin with the security related updates that are included.

I installed the update on my MacBook a little while ago without incident. It was a 136MB download through software update on my Intel MacBook. It’s also available a a standalone download from the Apple download page. The MacBook had already installed the iTunes 8, QuickTime and FronRow updates.

At this point I haven’t installed OS X 10.5.5 on any other Macs yet. I’ll wait and see what problems are reported and probably catch up with the updates this coming weekend.