Monthly Archives: May 2016

When Servers Blow Up – Disk Images Save The Day

We rely heavily on our ownCloud server here on the farm. Be it keeping up with our finances or maintaining health records on ourselves and our animals, we couldn’t live without it!

Friday brought severe weather in Florida, and a power outage that occurred during that storm was very hard on some of our electronics. We lost 3 cameras out in the goat pen, plus a computer monitor, and most importantly, our ownCloud server.

Yes, we have house-wide surge suppression, and yes, everything that got blown up was plugged into a further surge suppressor and UPS! Still, lightning goes where it wants, and on Friday, it chose those items.

Enter today’s tale of recovery. You see, while setting up an ownCloud server from scratch isn’t all that hard, it is very time consuming. Getting the Apache web server running just the way you want it, with SSL properly configured can take hours. But, not when you can work with a disk image!

Once our ownCloud server was up and happy many months ago, we used a Linux utility already installed in most Linux platforms, to do a mirror image disk image of our ownCloud boot disk. That disk image sat on an external USB hard drive, just waiting for the day it was needed.

First thing to do was slap a new computer together from our vast stores of often ancient computer hardware. Next, take the drive you want to use for the new server and plug it into a USB drive adapter. Those are handy devices to have around, and are very inexpensive.

Plug your hard drive via the USB cable into a working computer, and then launch the Disks utility

Click on your Menu button, and select Control Center.

Control Center

Control Center

Then select Disks which will launch today’s useful software tool.

Disks Utility

Disks Utility

Here’s where you need to use caution. Make sure that the drive you have selected is the one you wish to write to, and not your current computer’s hard drive!

Select the drive you wish to write to, select the disk image you wish to put on that disk, and let ‘er rip!

Preparing for the restore

Preparing for the restore

Because the new drive was much larger than the original, you’ll notice the warming in the above screen grab. After the disk was written, I then used GParted to resize the Linux partition to use the entire available disk space.

Of course our ownCloud data directory is on an external drive to our ownCloud server, so once the new drive was written and installed into the new computer, all we had to do was boot it up, plug our data drive in and it’s like it never blew up!

So save yourself some grief, make that disk image of your ownCloud or NAS server now, so you have it when you need it!

 

PGA Tour Flash Version Checking Kills Website Access

First things first, Adobe flash should die. It should have died 5 years ago. It’s a terrible, awful plugin that is prone to hacking, memory leaks and a host of other stuff. We all know that!

I watch ONE single sport here on the farm. That sport is golf. Once an avid player, now that I’m in a wheelchair, I can only enjoy the game on TV. Using a standard antenna for television here on the farm, I’m stuck with only watching on the weekends when a match is broadcast on a local network.

When I’ve been interested in watching on a Thursday or Friday, I’ve always relied on the web. PGATourLive has always been my go-to web site for that purpose, until this year.

Wanting to catch up on a couple favourite players this afternoon, I opened the PGA’s video web site and am greeted with a nice new error message.

PGATourLive error message

PGATourLive error message

It seems the webmaster of the PGATourLive website, decided to do version checking for flash, and they refuse to allow you to view their content unless you’re using version 17+

That’s fine, but the version of flash that is used in Linux, always reports as version 11.2.  So even though I’m running the latest version of Flash where Linux is concerned, web sites that do version checking don’t know that!

2 hours of searching the net, trying to find a way to spoof my flash version were unsuccessful, so I guess watching golf via a web browser under Linux is no longer an option. Thanks guys!

Hey PGA Tour, it’s 2016! How about joining the rest of us and use an html5 compliant video format on your sites!