A DreamPlug Saga

This is the tale of my experiences with a DreamPlug from GlobalScale Technologies.

Prebuilt vs Making Your Own

This blog post is not about the DreamPlug per se but it relates to plug computing and low-cost, low-power project-oriented computers (e.g., the Raspberry Pi) in general, and how they compare to embedded computers in prebuilt systems. In particular, I'm going to describe my experiences with an Insteon starter kit that I bought at Costco. I decided to go with Insteon for simplicity as well as cost — the starter kit offered a lot of gear for a relatively low price compared to buying separate pieces of a system. It was my hope/assumption that buying a prebuilt system would save me some time and hassle, so that I could get the core functions I wanted relatively quickly. Having spent the money, I'd like to say "Insteon did not disappoint" – but the opposite is true.

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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.

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Success with Kerberos and LDAP!

Due to some grumbling among the users (a.k.a., family members) about the name I assigned to the DreamPlug — hard to spell, hard to type, etc., etc. — I decided to change the hostname of the device to something shorter and easier to type. I knew this could open a can of worms with configuration issues, so I was pretty careful. The one thing I wasn't sure about was the Kerberos database. Now, if you've followed along with this saga, you might wonder why I bothered to keep the never-properly-functional Kerberos setup on DreamPlug. I guess it boils down to a mix of being stubborn and sloppy.

Local Blogs: 

USB Device Assignment

Since I appear to have resolved the USB device mounting issues (mentioned in the previous blog entry here), I figured it would be good to document these changes to my DreamPlug for others and for my own future reference, while it's still fresh in my mind. This is specific to having both the internal SD card and an external hard drive be mounted consistently, which wasn't happening based on the original configuration.

Local Blogs: 

Samba, Apache, and Kerberos

I've made a little progress on my DreamPlug configuration. Now that I fixed a Samba configuration problem causing smbpasswd to fail in some cases, the basics of using the DreamPlug and its external hard drive as a network-attached "Windows share" file storage device seem to be in place. I discovered that, unfortunately, the system does not consistently mount the external USB drives at the same point each time; the drive that was at /media/usb2 shifted to /media/usb1 when I rebooted, without any change in the hardware. I will apparently need to force that mount to be where I want it so that the shares defined in /etc/samba/smb.conf will actually work consistently.

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