Friday, December 28, 2012

D-Link DNS-320 briefly walkthrough

I was looking for a NAS backup solution for sometime. I am looking for a 4 to 5 bay raid storage, target was Drobo solution,  but was keep away by their pricing. Recently it just came into my mind, why not a cheap D-Link DNS-320 as a temporary solution?

I get a barebone DNS-320 without hard disk for RM 199 (about USD 65). The hard disk cost much more than that.

EOL. This product was phase out on January? 2012 (EOL, end of life). According to the website, EOL means the product is not sold any more. You may consider DNS-320L cloud, which was available at the time I bought 320, price at 50% more (still cheap).

3TB support. If you are interested to use 3Tb hard disk, you might need to check the hardware and firmware version, which will be stated at the bottom of the package box. Mine is H/W version A2 F/W version 2.02. You need firmware 2.02 to support 3Tb, latest firmware is 2.03. Make sure your hardware is upgradable with firmware version 2.02.

Firmware and setup software is available at D-Link support site for DNS-320.

Some people experience the hard disk shown up as 4xxMB capacity, is a common problem. I experienced it as well after the first time system shutdown. I reformat the disk again, but still not sure how it happens. If you were worried, use 2Tb or lower capacity.

Installation and setup. Just follow the installation guide. It should not be a big issue for most people.

Startup/shutdown. There is a small button on the right side of the front panel, press to start up. Press and hold to shutdown. Or you can shutdown from web UI, Menu, Management, System Management, System Settings, Shutdown.

You can schedule your shutdown time for each days as well.

Create share folder. Share folder is the folder that you can see from the Windows file explorer. The NAS will share out the volume without password protection as default, you can disable it and share out other folders with password protected.

To create new share folder, Web UI, Menu, Management, Account Management, Network Shares, New...

Quite a number of user having problem with create new share folder. You need to click on the text to open sub folder, or create new folder.

Click on the text to open sub-folder or create new folder

Select the folder to be share out.

AFP vs Samba/SMB/CIFS. DNS-320 use CIFS/SMB by default. Mac OS X is able to access with smb. OS X Finder Menu, Go, Connect to server... smb:// (just an example). I would prefer to use AFP (Apple Filing Protocol).

Enable AFP from Web UI menu, Management, Application Management, AFT service. Click enable.

For Linux users, can enable NFS.

About performance of CIFS/SMB vs AFP, NSF can refer to here. If is not a few times different, I don't really care about which protocol to use. I just prefer to use the native protocol.

BitTorrent. This is another main reason (other than price), why I bought the DNS-320. I don't have to on my PC overnight to do the downloading, if I need to download a big image or software.

Bittorrent can be enable through Web UI menu, Applications, P2P downloads. Once you enable, the system will create a p2p directory under the volume. You can just drop your torrent file in p2p/Torrent directory. The bittorrent application will pick up the torrent file from the directory automatically. If it doesn't, just enable it from the web UI.

UPnP AV Server. Enable UPnP server turn the NAS into a media streaming server. Enable from Web UI menu, Management, Application Management, UPnP AV Server.

Use VLC (I am using version 2.x as example) to connect to the server to stream video file. Windows VLC menu, View, Playlist, Local Network, Universal Plug'n'Play. The media file on your NAS will be shown, it may take some time to refresh. You can play the media file or add to the VLC playlist.

Other features. I just cover 10 to 30 percent of the features. There are more to be explored, but the above already good enough for me, especially for a cheap and affordable solution.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Discover Waze 2012

Waze is a community base turn-by-turn navigation mobile apps, available on both iPhone iOS and Android platform (on few other platform as well) for free.

I have heard of this application for quite sometime. Since I am not driving that frequent recently, I never try out the application. Until I travel to Penang last weekend with some friends, it suddenly came into my mind, why don't I take this opportunity to test the application?

It works. I don't have high expectation to GPS navigation software, especially when it is free. Waze just works for the 2 days driving. My friend is driving, I am just checking is Waze providing the correct navigation instruction or not.

Is fun. Is fun to travel with Waze. Since it is a community base, users on the road report real-time situation on the road like slow traffic, road block, accident etc. Drivers can route to other road to avoid heavy traffic.

Waze link to foursquare to search for target destination name. This is the powerful of community base software that TomTom and Papago can not compete.

There are a lot of other features came with Waze, like driving with group, chat with other driver and etc., which I didn't try out one by one. Too many features just make the users confused. What I need is just a navigation software which are working, and Waze did the job and fit my needs.

For Waze is just a community base application through driving. Is a fun driving with Waze, the only drawback is it will drain your mobile battery if you do not have a car charger for your smartphones.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Free Whatsapp with Digi SmartPlan

The day for "free sms" has come, that's for those who doesn't know Whatsapp. For those who knows, that day already here.

Whatsapp is a mobile application which allow users to send sms to the others who has installed whatsapp aplication, through internet. Whatsapp is a paid application on iPhone iOS, and free (for now) on Android system. Whatsapp is not really free, because it use your mobile internet (or Wifi) to send message. 

It will be very much cheaper sending message through whatsapp or similar application. Who still want to send SMS which cost 10-20 cents each? Is time for the mobile operators to think over on their sms charging rate, may be 1 cent sounds more reasonable.

Digi came out with a DG SmartPlan prepaid, which allow user to send Whatsapp message for free. The usage on Whatsapp is not included into the mobile data quota. The package came with free mobile data, free talk time and free SMS (and MMS), depends on the top up amount.

For example, top up RM50 came with 1Gb data, 100 minutes talk time and 100 SMS. It can be accumulate, but there is a limit for the accumulation. Unfortunately switching from current prepaid plan to DG SmartPlan prepaid is still unavailable.

What does it means for Digi and other celco operators? The expensive SMS rate has come to an end. Even SMS may never dead, but more and more mobile users are using whatsapp (or related application) to send message.

Mobile operators must change their strategy. Since Digi has no bill shock for mobile internet (no extra charge when exceed quota), provide a package with bundle free whatsapp has very low impact to their existing strategy.

This is not just a SmartPlan for users, but a smart marketing move for Digi too.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Google unveil 7-inch tablet for USD199

Google announce their first ever tablet, Nexus 7 which came with Android (version 4) Jelly Bean OS. This 7-inch table manufacture by Asus Tek, Taiwan.

Nexus 7 is very similar with Kindle Fire in terms of display size and price. USD200 is an attractive price as for now, but 7-inch? I am not so sure. Nexus will impact current android base tablet as well.

Google Unveils Nexus 7 Tablet, Nexus Q, & Project Glass

Monday, June 25, 2012

Playnote weekly: Microsoft announce Surface tablet

Playnote weekly 25: Microsoft announce Surface tablet

This week news flooded with Microsoft surface tablet.

Microsoft announced its own tablet on 19 June, it was named as Surface table. It came with soft rubber keyboard, and it run Windows 8 operating system. Some information is not available to the public yet, like pricing and battery life.

Windows 8 is the new operating system which will runs on desktop, tablet and mobile phones. Windows 8 will not just available on Intel cpu. Windows RT is a light version of Windows 8 which will run on ARM cpu. Most tablet and smartphones available on the market now is using ARM core CPU, including nVidia Tegra, Samsung Exynos, Apple A5 cpu (except Qualcomm Snapdragon) are all ARM core chips.

Playnote: Side track bad news. Microsoft also announced that current Windows smartphones are not upgradable to Windows Phone 8 system. Is a big slap on Nokia face, who has just release a Windows smartphone Lumia 900 not too long ago. We know at some point of time, new software will not support those old hardware, but not at this point of time. What Nokia will do next? Release a Lumia 1000 which use Windows Phone 8? or Go back to Symbian again?

(19 June) Apple extended two years exclusive deal for Liquidmetal meterials technology. 
Liquidmetal is a new type of alloy which Apple use is for the iPhone 3GS SIM eject pin as a testing, before it was used in a bigger and wider range of Apple product.

(23 June) 100th birthday of Alan Turing. 
Alan Turing is a mathematician and computer scientist. He invented the turing machine which is an important factor as the invention of computer. Turning Award name after Alan Turing. Turing Award is the Nobel price of computing. Ken Thomson and Dennis Richie awarded Turing Award for create the UNIX operating system.

Turing Award, named after Alan Turing.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Paranoid and Lego Mindstorm XNT programming

I notice some parents are paranoid. I am worried. Andrew Grove (former Intel CEO) says that Only Paranoid Survive, he means himself, not everyone.

Some parents notice their 5 years old kid score higher than them in Angry Bird games, they starts paranoid. Quickly enroll a whiz kid discovery program, just in case their 5 years old kid is computer genius.

They can't wait for their 5 years old kid to learn robotic programming, programming for preschoolers, like this Lego Mindstorms programming (which for 10+ years old kid). The software can be downloaded but the lego robot cost about USD 250-300, not cheap. It's cheap if you can discover a computer genius.

If the kids can not operate Windows, Mac OS X or Linux operating system properly, don't bother to send for the robotic programming.

If the kids can not answer what are the 5 (or 4) basic components that make up the computer, don't bother to send.

If the kids can not answer what are the 2 basic things that computer is good at, don't bother to send.

Send them to some basic computer course, start from the beginning, build some basic from there.

Programing is not hard, but please start from the basic. May be can start learning from the Logo programming.

I am sure robot will bring interest to the kids. Just go back to Angry Bird game, it has similar effect.