Recent Developments, and a JTAG interface
It's been awhile since I've posted anything in this blog because, for the most part, I felt "done" with the DreamPlug. It wasn't necessarily doing everything I wanted it to, but it was definitely serving as a more full-featured replacement for my (bricked) Buffalo LinkStation NAS, and I even got LDAP and Kerberos working (finally) and have started converting local systems so that they use Kerberos and LDAP instead of local-only user accounts. Alas, there is probably no such thing as "done" when it comes to any computer. So, it's time for an update to cover some recent developments.
One important development is that the internal SD card, where I have MySQL configured to store its data, has been having file system issues. This resulted in it being remounted read-only, which then promptly interfered with MySQL. With MySQL not working, neither did the family extranet or my son's extremely-low-traffic Web site. As I researched how to resolve the problem, I ran up against a significant obstacle: To fix the file system, I needed to boot into single-user mode, and (not surprisingly) I could not find a way to do that through the one interface I have for the DreamPlug, which is network access. As I probably mentioned previously, I did not get a JTAG interface with the DreamPlug, and I knew I'd made a mistake in that regard not long after it arrived. I figured it would eventually become an issue, and starting in November (I think), it finally did just that. No JTAG, no way to fix the SD card file system, and no way to keep MySQL and various Web-based things going.
Of course, I could have moved the MySQL data to a different drive, i.e., the external USB drive that is hosting most of the files "on" the DreamPlug. However, that drive is actually the same one that was in that bricked LinkStation, and it's about eight years old now, so I have worries about how much longer it will last. While I do make backups, they're semi-automated instead of fully automated, so at this point it's not really where I want data to sit if it's potentially being updated regularly. Anyway, right or wrong, I want to keep the MySQL files on the internal SD card for now — but that means fixing the file system.
The answer? Order a JTAG interface, of course. Due to circumstances unrelated to this DreamPlug saga, I decided that instead of just ordering the JTAG interface, I would order another DreamPlug with the JTAG add-on. I've been considering getting another DreamPlug anyway, so the JTAG requirement became a tipping point. I ordered my second DreamPlug at the end of December (literally, with only about an hour left before midnight), and it arrived today. It's worth noting, if you order a DreamPlug, that they apparently don't just pull one off the shelf and ship it. From what I've read, it must be assembled for your order; as such, it's not a quick process, so patience is advised!
Anyway, I now have the JTAG interface, so later today I hope to have time to work on my first one ("golem") to get the SD card file system fixed. Once that's done, I'll work on the new one ("siren") to get it ready for its primary role, which will be a music server attached to the main stereo in our living room.
The saga continues!
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Stuart J. Whitmore is an author of fiction and nonfiction, as well as a photographer, technology developer, and more. If you enjoy reading his blog posts, you might also enjoy reading his books. Take a look at the books by Stuart J. Whitmore today, and download your copy of one that looks interesting to you!