Friday, August 3, 2012

Why I Chose Unraid for my Home Storage Solution



Unraid is a Slackware Linux based operating system that provides an easy way to create network attached redundant storage. It's best suited for archival purposes. It allows for the loss of one disk without losing data.

Unraid has three different licenses you can use, Basic (free), Plus ($69), and Pro ($119). Look at the license page for a description on how they differ.


  • Runs off of a USB flash drive. You don't lose a SATA port or disk for the operating system.
  • Mix and match hard drives and sizes. You can put drives of any size in the array. You only lose the largest disk in the array for parity. (Similar to a Drobo)
  • Web interface. A simple web interface lets you configure everything.
  • Supports various protocols including SMB, AFP, and NFS.
  • No vendor lock-in. Although you're using the proprietary Unraid system, all data is stored on the disks in the ReiserFS filesystem
  • Since it's using ReiserFS, if you lose more than one disk at a time you'll be able to get data off the rest of the disks in the broken array.
  • Use your own hardware. I built a little server with an Atom processor for less than the price of the cheapest Drobo.
  • Set it and forget it. I've had my system running for almost two years
  • Stable. I set mine up and have basically forgotten about it. It just works and has been since May 2011 when I configured it.
  • Spins down drives when not in use, unlike RAID-5.
  • Support and community. There's a very active forum and wiki to help you with any issues, add additional functionality, and much more.


  • Price could be. I purchased the $70 license. If you only have 3 disks and don't require some of the extra features, there is a free version.
  • Write speeds. If you have the need to push stuff to the server at more than 30MB/sec, this may not be the best choice. If you're just archiving stuff, it really is not an issue. You can also speed the writes up with a cache drive.

Why I Chose Unraid

Throughout my history of having redundant storage at home I've had two previous setups that really failed me.

Linux Software RAID-5

Linux software RAID is great, but I had two drives fail at once. I lost everything. With Unraid I would've been able to recover some of the data on the drives that had not failed. You also cannot mix and match drive sizes and the disks never spin down.


I had the second generation Firewire 800 Drobo. Transfer speeds were horrible. It still needed a computer running to serve data. I accidentally plugged the wrong power supply into it and it stopped working. I was now stuck buying another expensive Drobo to get my data or coming up with another solution. That is when I found Unraid.

The Drobo is actually a really nice device. The newer ones are supposed to be a lot faster and some even have sharing capabilities. It's just too expensive and they've got you with vendor lock-in.


If I haven't sold it to you yet, here's a few links to learn more about Unraid.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

MySQL: Change Collation on an Existing Table

I recently ran across an issue where a table's collation was set to latin1_swedish_ci and it really should have been utf8_unicode_ci. Just changing the collation didn't seem to be doing the trick because some characters were still messed up. That's when I realized you need to convert the current character set to UTF8. After doing this everything worked as expected.

ALTER TABLE table_name CONVERT TO CHARACTER SET utf8 COLLATE utf8_unicode_ci

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Configure PhpStorm to Auto-complete CakePHP Models, Views, and Controllers

After playing around a bit today I finally figured out how to get PhpStorm to auto-complete methods for models and controllers. Here's what you need to do.

Removing Multiple Definitions

First, let's tackle the multiple definitions problem that we see below.

Multiple Definitions

There are multiple places defining AppController. We need to remove the ones that are included in the following locations from our 'Directories' in the project's settings.

The two locations are:
  • $CAKEHOME/cake/console
  • $CAKEHOME/cake/tests
Exclude Directories

Next we need to mark the following file as plain text.
  • $CAKEHOME/cake/libs/controllers/app_controller.php
Mark as Plain Text

You should now see that PhpStorm is no longer complaining about multiple definitions. If it is you may want to check your plugins/components to see if they're mucking it up. If they are, just mark the file with the definition as plain text.

Multiple Definitions Resolved

Auto-completion should now work for the controller. However, it's still not working correctly on our model.

Autocomplete works, but not on the model.

Adding the Model

To fix the model we need to add a magic property to the class.

 *@property ModelName $ModelName  

Here's an example from the controller we've been working in.

@property ModelName $ModelName

 We can now auto-complete on our models in the controller.

Auto-complete on the model.

Defining Model Relationships

Lastly, we need to add magic properties to our models to define its relationships with other models. Basically, for each "belongs to" relationship defined in the model's file you need to add the magic property comment.

Define belongs to relationships

We can now auto-complete these relationships.

Auto-complete model relationships

Setting Up Helper Auto-completion in Views

To get auto-completion working in views we need to include a file created by junichi11 over at GitHub.

Download this file and save it in a directory somewhere outside of your current project. I did this so I could use the same file on multiple projects.
Now add that directory to your current project.

Open a view file and add the following variable definition.

 *@var $this View  

You should now be able to auto-complete helpers in your view!

Auto-completion of helpers

Core Component Auto-Completion

Add the following to your app_controller.php file and this will add component auto-completion.

  * CakePHP Component & Model Code Completion  
  * @author junichi11  
  * ==============================================  
  * CakePHP Core Components  
  * ==============================================  
  * @property AuthComponent $Auth  
  * @property AclComponent $Acl  
  * @property CookieComponent $Cookie  
  * @property EmailComponent $Email  
  * @property RequestHandlerComponent $RequestHandler  
  * @property SecurityComponent $Security  
  * @property SessionComponent $Session  

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

SABnzbd URL Bookmarklet (NZBMatrix)

Here's a simple bookmarklet that will take the URL of the current page you're on and tell SABnzbd to download it. It works great if you're using NZBMatrix and on the page for the post you're wanting to download. Perfect for your mobile browser.


Be sure to insert your SABnzbd API key and hostname (or IP address) into the bookmarklet's code.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Perl Find and Replace One Liner

I'm constantly needing a way to easily change a line in a bunch of configuration files. I thought I'd share the way I do it here.

perl -p -i -e 's/oldstring/newstring/g' *

This allows you to use a regular expression and perform the find and replace.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

HOWTO: Set the SSHD Idle Timeout

Here's something that I usually forget to change from the default and then get annoyed when my terminal hangs.
  1. As root open your sshd_config file in an editor.
    su -  
    vim /etc/ssh/sshd_config  

  2. Add the following lines.
     ClientAliveInterval 600  
     ClientAliveCountMax 3

  3. Restart the sshd process.
     service sshd restart
That's it. That will keep you logged in for 30 minutes at a time without activity. (600 seconds x 3)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

M3U Playlist Copy Script

A couple of months ago I picked up a Garmin Nuvi 760 on the cheap. As it turns out this great GPS unit can also play music quite well, especially for riding on the motorcycle. The only problem was there was no good way to get playlists on the device that I could find. Enter the following bash script. This script will read an m3u file, copy all associated mp3 files, and generate a new m3u file. Now all I have to do is specifiy m3u files that I exported from Mozilla Songbird and the path to the Garmin's SD card.

 # April 4, 2009  
 # Take an m3u file and copy all associated mp3 files  
 # to a destination directory and generate a new m3u.  
 # Used to copy m3u playlists from computer to Garmin.  
 if [ $# -lt 2 ]; then  
 echo "Usage: some.m3u /dst"  
 exit 0  
 # Read the m3u file into an array  
 declare -a M3U  
 exec 10<"$1"  
 let count=0  
 while read LINE <&10; do  
 exec 10>&-  
 # Determine the m3u's filename  
 if [[ $1 =~ [^/]*m3u ]]; then  
 # If playlist arleady exists, delete it  
 if [ -f "$m3u_path" ]; then  
 rm -f "$m3u_path"  
 # Loop through the m3u lines  
 while [ $i -lt ${#M3U[@]} ]; do  
 # The current line is a comment, do nothing with it  
 if [ ${M3U[$i]:0:1} = "#" ]; then  
 echo ${M3U[$i]} >> "$m3u_path"  
 #Current line is a path to an mp3 file  
 # Get the current songs filename  
 if [[ ${M3U[$i]} =~ [^/]*mp3 ]]; then  
 mpath=$( echo ${M3U[$i]} | tr -d '\r' )  
 # if the song doesn't exist, copy it to the desitnation folder  
 if [ -f "$2/$song" ]; then  
 echo File Exists -- $song  
 echo Copying -- $song  
 cp "$mpath" "$2/$song"  
 # Write the song in the m3u file  
 echo $song >> "$m3u_path"  
 echo "The regex for finding the song's filename is fraked up."  
 let i=i+1  
 exit 0  

In the middle of writing this I really started wondering why I used bash. Perl would've been a lot easier.