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Messages - lotusrootstarch [ switch to compact view ]

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51
Living Room / Re: NAS Recommendations?
« on: October 06, 2011, 05:27 AM »
ReadyNAS RND4000

52
Living Room / Re: Steve Jobs is dead.
« on: October 05, 2011, 08:46 PM »
Steve Jobs showed little inclination to use his personal wealth for philanthropic purposes.

And, strangely for a self-professed Buddhist, he did not embrace environmental concerns

Says it all really, what a horrible human being he was.

WTF this is the most heartlesssssss comment I read today.

53
Hi all,

Here I'm going to share with you a small web app I developed to access Locate32 search database over HTTP.

A little background/rant

I coded it out of frustration from all the fruitless efforts looking for a file-based indexing solution that both:
1. Indexes network share folders/mappings
2. Provides a web GUI for remote search queries.

I heavily rely on Locate32 to index, on a daily basis, all my mapped NAS drives across my residence. These individual NAS mappings contain significant amount of media files and folders (100K+) and are mapped in the same way as my DLNA server advertises to media devices (such as TVs, Blu-rays players, media players, iPads, Android tablets that supports DLNA or local streaming services).

With all the drives and multi-level nested folder structures advertised to the media devices by the DLNA server, navigating using remote control has becoming a major headache, in that the process itself is somewhat slow, really inefficient and unpleasant if you couldn't pinpoint where your stuff was.

This is the sad status of the current DLNA implementations - all the media are available to you for streaming, but you just might not know where they are.

To workaround this problem, I did frequent Locate32 searches on my PC prior to picking up the TV remote to make sure that I'll navigate to the right locations on first try, however the process of logging into RDP, waiting for the session to load and launching Locate32 program to do a simple quick search is somewhat discouraging. And when this process got repeated several dozen times a day, it proved itself unacceptable.

And imagine the trouble of maintaining a laptop in living room just for this process.


My small piece of solution - a web GUI for Locate32

on PC Chrome Browser
Main Search Window.png

on iPad
Live Search on iPad.PNG


How to deploy

1. Download and install Locate32

Daily builds of Locate32 can be found here: http://locate32.net/files/daily/

2. Create one or more databases and update schedules in Locate32

Loc32 DBs.png
Loc32 Sche.png

and note down the full path(s) to the database file(s).


3. Install an ASP.NET application server (such as IIS Express) or Turn on IIS with ASP.NET feature on Win 7 Ultimate

Win 7 Ultimate:


Make sure your web server is running before moving on.


4. Download the attached source code and extract the content into the root directory of your web server/site.


5. Modify only the bold text below in settings.aspx to allow the scripts to correctly communicate with Locate32:

<script runat="server">

   string Path_To_Locate32 = @"C:\Program Files\Locate\"; <-- update this with the Locate32 installation path
        
   string[] Locate32_Database_Locations = new string[] {
      @"C:\Locate32 DB\default.dbs",   <-- update this with the full path you noted down in Step 2
   };
   
</script>


6. Navigate to your new live search site and enjoy instant results!


Credits

This is my first ASP.NET project, and I could not have done it without the help of the following:
1. Various authors - who contributed code snippets used in this project
2. Google - for finding (1)
3. Krishean @ Donationcoder - for testing and offering great advice on C# coding.
4. Lanux128 @ Donationcoder - for testing and valuable feedback.


Misc

View silly pic below to see how this can fit into your home DLNA environment:
live search DLNA.png

54
Living Room / Re: What's the red thing in the NASA logo?
« on: September 22, 2011, 10:05 AM »
the red chevron is a wing representing aeronautics.

55
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 08, 2011, 10:59 PM »
Ah... makes sense... there's an onboard host SATA port. :Thmbsup:

56
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 08, 2011, 10:52 PM »
Quick one: how do we connect one 4x Multilane bridge to 10 SATA drives, isn't there a shortage of 6x?  :)

57
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 08, 2011, 10:41 PM »
plus a $500+ Infiniband PCI-e host adapter when you attach this to the PC?

58
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 08, 2011, 10:06 PM »
What's the hardware BOM and total cost of this solution for an aggregated storage space of, let's say, 20TB?

Then we can nail it down to dollars per TB and compare.

59
Living Room / Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« on: September 08, 2011, 06:20 PM »
Sorry JJ I kept thinking along the lines of "a PC must be connected to an LCD monitor". :redface: :wallbash: My bad.

I did raise a question to myself about the capability of GFX card passing through 5.1/7.1 TrueHD audio via HDMI without downmixing it to stereo. Looks like this problem can be overcome by purchasing a right model of GFX card connecting to the right TV, which will pass the audio in original lossless format via ARC link to a home theater amplifier.

P.S. Cyberlink PowerDVD Ultra is pretty good for software playback.

60
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 08, 2011, 05:33 PM »
Hi superboy, have u checked the pricing on 2TB SAS drives? I think that's one important step before you commit to buying that big box.

61
Living Room / Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« on: September 08, 2011, 08:36 AM »
Er.. I have to respectfully disagree a bit on this but hey I just realized that standards on what actually qualify as HD experience do vary from person to person. Maybe it's just a preference/bias - a recent CNET review reckons that 60 inch is now the new minimum, while I would get distracted by the edges on any display smaller than 55 inch when visiting friends, and my mom is totally happy watching 1080p movies on a tiny 13-inch MBP.

62
Living Room / Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« on: September 04, 2011, 10:45 PM »
A few things will be missing with most PC playback solutions for now:
1. 48-bit deep color (xvYCC) playback... the vividness, accuracy, and saturation cannot be matched by True-Color displays.
2. Intelligent contrast using localized LED dimming... I don't see any LCD monitor does it.
3. Sitting on an office chair and staring at a 24-inch monitor does not give you immersive experience.

I agree with JavaJones on the digital sound part. :)

63
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 04, 2011, 07:58 PM »
Steel's suggestion above is some of the absolute best advice I've ever read here.

A few things to consider when going for an ESXi server configuration for purposes beyond file storage, esp. in the multimedia area:

1. Performance tends to be a hit or miss
In addition to the overhead caused by virtualization, Disk IO/RAM/CPU resource allocation/throttling can majorly affect your experience under load.

2. Free version of ESXi hypervisor enforces limitation on hardware utilization

3. Graphic card accelerated computing is not supported (not even on the roadmap iiuc)
Essential for transcoding large 1080p videos (a lot of online benchmark reports suggest that the performance difference is staggering without CUDA/DXVA)

4. The yet unproven capability/performance of USB 3.0 pass-through (to guest VM) in ESXi vSphere 5.0
I don't assume that you'll have a Blu-ray built-in on the server. To work around this, an external USB 3.0 Blu-ray reader/burner attaching to a USB port on the server is likely needed. For guest VM to access this device, you have to create a mapping that pass-through this device to the guest VM. USB 3.0 support is only just recently introduced in vSphere 5.0 and I haven't got time to test it out.

P.S. Blu-ray and USB 2.0 do not go together, at 2x speed you may wait half a day to just burn a single disc, and any other intensive IO operation during the burning process may cause it to fail.

Update:
It's no go. See: http://virtualizatio...vm-capabilities.aspx
"it is limited to USB devices that are connected to the machine on which you are using the vSphere client or web client. So, you still cannot connect a USB in the ESXi server and pass it through."



Creating/deleting VMs in a lab does not give you much indication of limitations mentioned above until you run into problems in real world production environment. ;)

64
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 04, 2011, 05:37 PM »
100Mbps is unusable
-lotusrootstarch (September 04, 2011, 09:11 AM)

Except in the USA where most connections to your ISP don't even get to use all of that.

Ain't leaving something as important as your Internet connection completely at the mercy of private corporate interests a grand thing? The competition was supposed to make things better. Instead it resulted in higher prices and less bandwidth than what's found in many other industrialized nations. And lets not even talk about the joke the US cellphone system has rapidly become.


I was talking about using 100Mbps link for LAN sharing. :D

65
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 04, 2011, 09:11 AM »
My observation is that media traffic can easily be "crowded out" by traffic such as file transfer, network backups etc. And due to whole bunch of factors (everyone's got his/her own opinion on this), I see the actual maximum aggregated speed over a 1Gbps link seldom goes above 40MB/s for a single session (such as one SMB file sharing session), and tend to drop below 20MB/s when you have multiple sessions (such as file transfer, heavy Internet downloading, streaming) going on concurrently.

Don't forget 1Gbps is just a theoretical max, and a bunch of factors slow it down to a disappointing real world speed -- host CPU power, switching/routing infrastructure, host NIC card quality, cable quality/length/distance along the path, disk IO speed, TCP congestion avoidance mechanism, etc.

100Mbps is unusable but don't put too much trust in 1Gps either, it ain't that good.

66
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 04, 2011, 03:46 AM »
What is the easiest way to add 10+ hard drives to my current setup?

According to my research, there's none on the market as yet. The closest solution for you is probably getting one or more mega USB3.0/e-SATA enclosures with a shitload of bays on each... directly connected to the desktop/server. Last time I checked there was no such thing. Even if it does come to existence some time on the road, I'd imagine heat dissipation and costs being significant obstacles for adoption.

The dilemma is that, at some stage, within that single device, whether it being a beefy server or desktop, the constraints like the physical room/capacity, connectors, heat, and other performance factors will force you to take the networked, distributed approach.

And the biggest problem with a networked solution is obviously the network itself... Let's look at your requirements:

i don't want transfer speeds any different than my regular sata drives I use right now.
connection can be unstable and disconnect occasionally

You can actually achieve these using:
1. Gigabit ethernet aggregation (minimum 2Gb/s aggregrated single direction)
2. Powerful switching backbone capacity (heaps of switches that have gigabit ports do not have corresponding switching fabric to support the performance)
3. SMB 3 / NFS / iSCSI as transfer proctocols

At this level of requirement, it is the networking components that demand the biggest budgets. Switches that will properly support Ethernet aggregation with a beefy backplane performance that deliver all the data transfer at line rate do not come cheap. Early this year I deployed a home theater set up for a long-time friend, the wired networking plus storage part of Bill of Material boiled down as follows:

1. Backbone: Cisco 3750G x 2,  @ 2 x $3500 each
Running two 4Gb/s ethernet aggregation via CAT6 cables to two distribution layer switches located in major entertainment hubs in the residence.

2. Distribution/Access: Cisco 3560G x 2 (model with 4 uplinks),  @ 2 x $2800 each
Running 4Gb/s ethernet aggregation back to the backbone switches

3. Miscellaneous customer-grade Gigabit switches,  @ $2000 total
Uplinking to backbone/distribution via single gigabit link.

4. 6 x ReadyNAS 1500 with 4 x 2TB drives,  @ 6 x $2400 each bundled
Connected directly to backbone switches via dual Gigabit ethernet aggregation (maximum uni-directional transfer speed of 2Gb/s)

5. One PowerEdge server, 64GB memory, dual quad-core Xeon with 12Gb/s ethernet aggregation, @ $3500
Connected directly to backbone switches, and thus to all the NAS appliances.


YET there's only less than 40TB of useable storage and there's still noticeable performance degradation when the load is concentrated on a few NAS boxes. There has been no solution, just bear with it.

So... focus your budget on the stuff that you value most, be prepared to make compromises, everybody has to, even for people among craziest of the crazy. :)

In your case, a few NAS boxes plus a customer-grade gigabit switch is really the best solution.

67
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 03, 2011, 10:46 PM »
Well summarized Steel.  :Thmbsup:

A caveat: one problem with having ESXi is that you won't be able to take advantage of gfx-accelerated transcoding using CUDA/DXVA, that is, if you MUST "re-encode" videos.

68
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 03, 2011, 08:30 PM »
LOL, that's ok. I remember the times I was happier being clueless. Whatever works for you, good luck. ;)

69
Living Room / Re: Should I Get A Divorce?
« on: September 03, 2011, 01:40 AM »
Apple builds great user experience there's nothing wrong with loving Apple stuff. ;D The only thing I don't like about Apple is its ideology/philosophy, otherwise all good.

iPads are dominating the tablet market thanks to the greediness of various Android vendor trying to market immature products at marked-up prices, esp. here in Australia, where you pay a whole lot extra on tech stuff.

Apple pioneered and successfully opened a new market... it is the big corps like HP/Samsung locking themselves out of the market while trying to push noticeably lower value deals at premium costs to customers. The mega fail of WebOS/Touchpad proves the point, it just couldn't hope to take off against iPads (or even Androids) with its pricing.

70
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 03, 2011, 01:19 AM »
superboyac, if you are able to configure NIC teaming (with your switch) or proper load-balancing it should work out fine.

If the plan is to rely on single Gig link to the backbone switch please be very patient during file operations. :o

71
Living Room / Re: I found a home theater configuration expert!
« on: September 01, 2011, 08:19 PM »
I'm curious because if I spend top dollar on a nice rig, I want to set everything up for maximum quality playback.  I don't want any desampling or loss in quality.

From what I've read above, for your holy grail of "maximum quality playback", stop thinking along the lines of "re-encoding" and "PC-based software playback". Playing back HD content on a PC is like running Windows 7 in safe mode... dissatisfaction guaranteed.

The formula for maximum fidelity playback is nice and simple:
BEST available source content + Bit-by-Bit ripoff + Professional HT-grade playback devices = Maximum satisfaction

72
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 01, 2011, 08:01 PM »
Noise? Total bullshit. Anything from a PowerEdge 1800 or newer has fan speed controls. Sure under peak load they sound like a vacuum cleaner, but at idle - where they'll be spending all their time - they're whisper quiet.

Well I cannot comment on the PowerEdge 1800 since it looks like it's barely entry level and you'd probably better off getting a beefy quality desktop for the price anyways. I was referring to normal servers such as DL385/R710/R810.

Oh, and it up to the individual to decide if their data is worth keeping ... There are whole TV channels dedicated to movies from the friggin 20s. So obviously somebody had to be hanging on to that shit for some time now... Huh??

Much less applicable for young generations but granted you've got a point. :)

73
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 01, 2011, 07:06 PM »
The schism/stepping off point is (or seems to be) cost. For the cost of 10TB of BestBuy class NAS boxes one could easily just get a refurbished commercial server that will always have parts available, is designed to take 100+ times the beating you'll ever give it, and it has a proper true hardware RAID controller ... With a year warranty ... For roughly the same price.

The running cost, the noise, the heat, the storage space... all for just 10TB in a home storage context? Hardly worth it IMHO.

I'm going OT a bit to look at this from another perspective, do we really need the "redundancy and high availability" for this kind of usage? I used to deploy RAID 10, get my AV content carefully ripped, well organized, double-checked for corruption... only to have the majority of content replaced in less than a year due to newer releases which entail better content, higher definition, 2D->3D, etc.

Take Avatar (2009) for example (I assume most of you have watched it by now), I had over 150GB data turnover on this particular title alone.

1. Avatar BD 1080p - Ripped, organized, verified, gave away and removed from storage.
2. Avatar BD 3D 1080p - Ripped, organized, verified, gave away and removed from storage.
3. Avatar Extended Collector's Edition 1080p - Ripped, organized, verified, gave away and removed from storage.
4. Avatar Extended Collector's Edition 3D 1080p - Ripped, organized, verified, currently in use, hopefully it'll last another year or so before they re-master it to go beyond 1080p.

Same theory applies to audio as well, at least in the genres that I listen to (DTS Master HD soundtracks and classics).

Thus there's not much reason to spend so much money and effort to have HA storage in the home media context. :)  The content is disposable and is likely to be phased out before you have a clue.

74
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 01, 2011, 05:29 PM »
there is no commercial grade NAS
-lotusrootstarch (September 01, 2011, 07:28 AM)

Hmm...

There's a huge market for something bigger than a file server that doesn't entail the complexity and expense of implementing a SAN solution. That's where NAS really shines. Several of my corporate clients already use NAS appliances. And several others plan on getting one.

So...perhaps somebody better inform NetApp, HP, Hitachi, and a host of other manufacturers, that there's no such thing as what they're selling?  :P


True. I'm not trying to deny the business merits of NAS appliances, I was just saying that there are a bunch of factors that prevent NAS from playing a serious role. :)

To list a few:

1. The NIC becomes a serious bottleneck with increased capacity. How long will it take to back up a 10TB NAS with a SMB transfer speed of ~35MB? Very cumbersome to move large chunks of data for purposes like archiving/making backups.

Think about it even in a home usage scenario, a normal BD burning session at 8x from a NAS can easily max out its link.

2. Lack of fine-grained access management even with AD integration.

75
Living Room / Re: Building a home server. Please help, DC!
« on: September 01, 2011, 07:56 AM »
does it cost an arm and a leg more
Definitely.

I believe all the above discussion was about just setting up a home theater, not trying to start up a baby YouTube-alike business. ROFL.

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