Technical Blog

Nothing to see here

This blog has been neglected quite a bit so I’ll catch you up on what I’ve been doing in the last several years. I worked several interesting places including the NC Department of Revenue for five years. Before that I worked for a couple of places that are less memorable. I finished up ten years of state government service and left the public sector for private.

My sister-in-law lived with us for awhile with my niece and nephew while my brother divorced her. That made for some drama but the kids are doing well and life moves on. I’m back to talking to my parents less again. The less said the better.

I have recently been posting to another blog of mine called “Something Completely Different” that talks about my technology hobbies. The Seagate BlackArmor NAS is favored heavily in the last several months and some Android programming stuff.

In my regular life, we are in the middle of a major renovation/addition to our house. A first floor master bedroom, master bath, sun room and garage with bonus room are coming together. Living in the house as the work happens has been a challenge on occasions. Part of doing the renovation included doing all the phone and network wiring myself so I’ve probably over done the cabling.

I got a job at SAS Institute about six months ago working for their OnDemand Validated Hosting group. I’m liking it quite a bit and learning lots of things in lots of different areas of technology. The above renovation was partly due to my proximity to my job being biking distance. My commute is really nice and I’m looking forward to walking it when I get in better shape.

Those are some highlights. I’ve completely skipped talking about the kids and my amazing wife as those would take a whole post each.

Debian on BA NAS 110

Hajo on the BlackArmor Forums has an older posting about getting Debian Linux 5.0 (Lenny) installed on BA NAS 110/220/4x0. This is not a port that includes the kernel but simply a minimum install that gets the system setup to install binaries out of the Lenny EABI ARM platform. The kernel that comes with the BA NAS is compatible with those binaries. The newer kernel for the Debian 6 or higher is not compatible with the BA NAS. This has some limitations but offers a way to get to some newer software pre-compiled. I don’t want to loose the existing functionality on my test system but the draw to DLNA services is pretty strong right now.

To top it off, Debian has a nicely setup cross-compilation setup documented for people working on non-Intel platforms. This offers a way to compile newer software without killing myself anymore on building the entire compiler and supporting software myself.

The goal has always been to make the NAS device useful and I want to play my movies off it to my TV upstairs so this might be the next thing I play with on the development NAS.

miniDLNA

I was reading a bit more on DLNA servers and found that someone had gotten miniDLNA working under the Debian port for the BlackArmor NAS. NickolasZev looks like he is enjoying his Debian install on his BA110. He is documenting his Debian initial install, adding miniDLNA, a webserver, bittorrent and download manager. I’m not interested in putting Debian on mine and want to stay as close to the vanilla firmware as possible but it is nice to see that someone has it working on the hardware.

DLNA server for BlackArmor NAS

Today I was reading a couple of forums and bumped into a write up on the “BubbleUPnP - UPnP/DLNA Control Point and Renderer” application for Android that has both DLNA client and server support. The BubbleUPnP setup also has a Java based server mentioned in their section on NAS devices, such as the QNAP which is very similar to the BlackArmor NAS.

Earlier in my writing, I was reviewing a version of Java for the ARM that was called “Sun Java SE for Embedded”. It would allow for executing a Java application on the BlackArmor. Up until now, I did not have a Java application to really motivate me to install and test this but the BubbleUPnP DLNA server might allow for my BlueRay Play, Roku and Android cell phone to play my movies directly off the BlackArmor NAS.

There is one problem which is getting the ffmpeg library compiled and running. This is described in the docs above for the QNAP NAS but I’ve not been successful at getting a working toolchain yet. I may have to backtrack and see if I can just use the toolchain provided by Seagate to compile this newer version of ffmpeg.

Another issue is that the Java SE for Embedded is licensed strangely by Oracle. It cannot be redistributed and requires licensing costs if it is redistributed by a professional package.

So step one would be to compile the ffmpeg library and test it out. I hope to try that out with the existing Seagate toolchain. The next step would be to get the Java SE Embedded to run a basic HelloWorld application on the console. After that, try to get the BubbleUPnP server running.

I’ll see if I can get a couple hours together to work on this this coming week. It would be nicer to have an open source DLNA server but I’ll take what I can get. Since I’m talking about taking some time to compile C/C++ code anyway to get this working, I checked on open source DLNA servers and popped up something from eLinux that was interesting to read over. It looks like MediaTomb, uShare, and Serviio are candidates that could replace the BubbleUPnP server if I get the compiler toolchain working.

We will just have to see how much time I can get together to play around with this.

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