Sun, 20 Dec 2015

Enabling WiFi on a Thinkpad X61 running VortexBox 2.4

First things first! If you are planning on configuring a Thinkpad X61 for wireless networking, make sure the wireless hardware switch on the front of the unit is set to on!

The root password for a default VortexBox install is: vortexbox

Create a USB key installer using the instructions here:

'yum' has been deprecated in favor of 'dnf'.

dnf -y update

To setup a static IP address on eth0, configure the network using system-config-network:

dnf -y install system-config-network

The X61 uses the 4965GN wireless controller. This driver needs to be enabled:

dnf -y install iwl4965-firmware

Some necessary tools are missing right out of the gate, so install them:

dnf -y install wireless-tools
dnf -y install NetworkManager-wifi

'cnetworkmanager' has been deprecated and orphaned, so don't try to install and configure it, as suggested in other HOWTOs. NetworkManager will be used instead.

After installation, reboot the system.

After reboot, configure the interface. My interface was configured with a static ip different from the one used for eth0 and a WPA2 key.

nmcli connection add type wifi con-name my-wifi-static ifname wlan0 ssid ssid_name ip4 static_ip/24 gw4 gateway_ip 
nmcli connection modify my-wifi-static ipv4.dns "dns_ips_separated_by_space"
nmcli connection modify my-wifi-static wifi-sec.key-mgmt wpa-psk
nmcli connection modify my-wifi-static wifi-sec.psk password 
nmcli connection up my-wifi-static

Aside from the wireless driver not installing automatically and some of the applications not being available out of the box, I find these network configuration tools to be quite elegant.

From here, you should be able to access the VortexBox server directly by IP via a browser. After connecting, under 'Network Configuration', set VortexBox to use a static ip.

Note: Something in the configuration might reset eth0 to the same IP as wlan0. If that happens, re-run 'system-config-network'.

Further Considerations

/storage mount

The default installation mounts /storage directly into the root file system, which the installer configures efficiently, leaving a large storage partition free for use. Create a new partition using 'fdisk /dev/sda'. Press 'n' to add a new partition and accept all defaults. Press 'w' to save.


Create an ext4 filesystem on the new partition:

mkfs -t ext4 /dev/sda5

'lsblk -f' will show the UUID assigned to the new parition. Add an entry to /etc/fstab to mount the new partition at boot:

echo "UUID=uuid /storage ext4 defaults 0 0" >> /etc/fstab


'df -h' wii confirm success!

Multiple CD-ROM Configuration

'/etc/ripit/config' contains autorip configuration settings.

tracktemplate="$artist - $album - $tracknum - $trackname"
Multiple CD-ROM Setup

Follow this HOWTO to configure multiple CD-ROM drives:


cp /opt/vortexbox/ /opt/vortexbox/

Get the edited script here:

Or edit '/opt/vortexbox/' yourself. Replace the line which reads:




Add an extra loop to work through each drive in the CDDEVICES array in sequence:

while true
   for CDDEVICE in "${CDDEVICES[@]}";
     CDSTATUS=`/opt/vortexbox/checkcd $CDDEVICE`

    sleep 2

'wodim' is a handy utility to check the status of CD-ROM drives:

dnf -y install wodim
wodim --devices



'lltag' doesn't exist on Fedora, must be compiled from source.

dnf -y install cpan
cd /usr/local/src
bunzip2 lltag-0.14.4.tar.bz2
tar -xvf lltag-0.14.4.tar
cd lltag-0.14.4
make install
cpan install MP3::Tag
Disable Logitech Media Server

To disable the Logitech Media Server:

systemctl disable squeezeboxserver.service
  • add user to 'users' group
  • create a symlink 'flac' to storage/music/flac
  • create a script 'change_permissions' that will set all permissions in 'flac' to chgrp = users and chmod = 775
chgrp -R users flac/
chmod -R 775 flac/

Then, create a script that will take you to NAS.

ssh -t 'cd /share/data/Audio && bash --login -i'

Then, create a script 'monitor_rip' to monitor rips.

tail -f /var/log/ripit.log



Thu, 17 Dec 2015

Debian on QNAP HS-210

Like my previous installation of Debian on a QNAP device, this one wasn't easy.

Like others, I followed Martin Michlmayr's HOWTO guide, but had enough problems to conclude that something is off in the way 'jessie' handles a flash bootloader and that it'd be better to install 'wheezy'. This would required a slight modification to his wget commands to get the older version of flash-debian.

cd /tmp
busybox wget
busybox wget
busybox wget
busybox wget
sh flash-debian

I had to follow the QNAP Firmware Recovery many times. When something went wrong with the Debian install, this was the only choice as I did not save any of my previous flashes anywhere to reload. After a while, I felt confident there wasn't a risk of bricking this unit as it could always be reset back to its initial configuration saved in flash memory. I would always manually load the latest firmware rather than use the automated firmware update which would download it each time and often not work.

Running the manual setup, I set a static IP address. When prompted to configure disks, I opted to configure disks later. SSH access is possible without first configuring disks.

It really help see what was going on during install by monitoring syslog on a secondary SSH connection.

tail -f /var/log/syslog

To begin setting up partitions, I selected 'Guided - Use entire disk', selecting the second partition (/dev/sdb) and choosing to put all files in one partition. When prompted to remove existing RAID partitions, I selected 'yes'. I then setup the first partition (/dev/sda) in exactly the same way. After that, configure software RAID1 with /boot as md0, / as md1, and swap as md2.

When selecting the kernel for the base system, I selected 'linux-image-3.2.0-4-kirkwood'. When prompted to include drivers, I selected 'generic'.

I also found that my old version of PuTTY was unable to connect to the default QNAP SSH server. Upgrading PuTTY to beta 0.66 fixed the issue. It also was necessary to start and stop the SSH daemon inside the QTS Control Panel under Network Services >> Telnet/SSH by unchecking 'Allow SSH connection', clicking 'Apply', and then checking the box and 'Apply' again.

Wireless Networking with D-Link DWA-131

'lsusb' reports the D-Link DWA-131 I bought from Amazon as USB ID 2001:3319.

Bus 001 Device 003: ID 2001:3319 D-Link Corp

which is the REV_E model based on the Realtek RTL8192eu chipset. This driver must be downloaded from D-Link.

cd /usr/local/src
mkdir DWA-131
cd DWA-131
tar zxvf 20140812_rtl8192EU_linux_v4.3.1.1_11320.tar.gz
cd 20140812_rtl8192EU_linux_v4.3.1.1_11320/
make install
echo "8192eu" >> /etc/modules
update-initramfs -u

My networking requirements for this NAS require that I set up a static IP address on wlan0 that will stay connected to my main subnet and an eth0 that will be configured for a local network. This was a little tricky to configure, since the only way to access the NAS is over ethernet of some kind. If for whatever reason both links were unavailable, I would not be able to access the OS in the NAS. This is how I set it up.

'wpasupplicant' was essential for WPA2 configuration. 'resolvconf' was necessary for getting DNS to work on the wlan0 interface, for some reason.

  ip a
  ip addr flush dev wlan0
  apt-get -y install wpasupplicant
  apt-get install resolvconf

My /etc/network/interfaces looks like this:

# This file describes the network interfaces available on your system
# and how to activate them. For more information, see interfaces(5).

# The loopback network interface
auto lo
iface lo inet loopback

# The primary network interface
#allow-hotplug eth0
#iface eth0 inet static
#       address
#       netmask
#       network
#       broadcast
#       gateway
#       # dns-* options are implemented by the resolvconf package, if installed
#       dns-nameservers

# my-wifi-static
auto wlan0
iface wlan0 inet static 
        # dns-* options are implemented by the resolvconf package, if installed
        wpa-ssid ssid 
        wpa-psk password 

# my-ethernet-local
allow-hotplug eth0
iface eth0 inet static


Tue, 19 Aug 2014

Installing DD-WRT on an ASUS RT-N66U

Installing DD-WRT on an ASUS RT-N66U is an exercise in patience. The installation process requires a lot of waiting, presumably for the firmware to flash onto the unit. The unit itself does not give many indications that anything is happening during the process, leading one to conclude that the device is bricked. Here are installation instructions that take into account the wait times for firmware installations.

Disclaimer: Because I was not patient at the outset of the installation, it could be the case that no intermediary firmware was required except for the final version of DD-WRT. I was not able to test this before finishing the installation.

Note: It is possible that this procedure will work best if the router is plugged into a switch and the computer that is used to configure the router is plugged into that same switch, rather than directly into the router Ethernet port.


  1. Verify the hardware version of the unit: ASUS RT-N66U H/W Ver: .B1
  2. Download and install ASUS RT-N66U B1 Utility version
  3. Download and extract Asuswrt-Merlin RT-N66U version custom firmware.
  4. Download dd-wrt.v24-22208_NEWD_2_K2.6_mega-RT-N66_64K.trx special 64k CFE compatible firmware. Standard DD-WRT builds will not work.
  5. Directly connect a PC to port 1 on the router with an Ethernet cable. Disable any wireless cards on the PC. Configure the NIC as follows:
    IP Address:
    Subnet Mask:
  6. Power off the router. Power on the router holding the reset button until the power light starts to flash. The unit will enter "rescue mode".
  7. Setup a ping test using the command line:
    ping -t
  8. Verify that the ping reply shows a TTL=100, which indicates the router is in "rescue mode".
    Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=100
  9. Start >> Programs >> ASUS Utility >> RT-N66U Wireless Router >> Firmware Restoration
  10. Browse for RT-N66U_3.0.0.4_376.45_0.trx and click "Upload" to start the firmware installation. The browser will indicate installation progress. Once the browser indicates that the upload has finished, continue to wait until the ping test indicates the operating system on the router is up and running. This could take in excess of 30 minutes. A ping test showing TTL=64 is the indication that the flash has completed:
    Reply from bytes=32 time=1ms TTL=64
  11. Clear the NVRAM by powering off the router, holding down the WPS button and powering the unit back on, continuing to hold the WPS button for 30 seconds.
  12. Verify the installation of the custom firmware worked by connecting to with a browser.
  13. Repeat the firmware upload steps 10-12 above for dd-wrt.v24-22208_NEWD_2_K2.6_mega-RT-N66_64K.trx. The flash process might take well in excess of 30 minutes. Be patient!

Helpful links:

DD-WRT on the Asus RT-N66U with 64K CFE
Asus RT-N66U -


Fri, 05 Oct 2012

Debian on QNAP TS-259 Pro+

I have Debian working on a QNAP TS-259 Pro+. I should have made this document as I was setting up the NAS the first time, but I had so many headaches and reinstallations that I couldn't concentrate on it at the time. I can't actually remember the details of all the steps I followed. The basic overview is:

You should be able to piece it together from the help files here:


No Automation Allowed

In recent months, MySpace has viciously cracked down on any form of 'automated use of their systems'. This would include automated messaging and commenting, but it also unfortunately includes trolling through one's own "Friends" and adding calendar entries. Nothing is more annoying than having to enter identical data into two separate databases. If MySpace lightened their hardline stance and let the user community decide was is spam rather than outright banning automation, the tasks that do need to be automated could be automated.


Lenovo Thinkpad W701ds

I broke down and purchased a Lenovo Thinkpad W701ds. I had two goals:

  1. Replace my constantly overheating Thinkpad T61p, my main machine upon which I engage in both business and pleasure.
  2. Finally overcome my demons and create a portable system I can actually make electronic music on without crying.

I am a technology curmugeon in that I really don't care very much about operating systems anymore and when I have to think about upgrading to the latest version of Office, it really makes me ill and I'll resist doing so until it becomes necessary. So it was with trepedation that I upgraded to Windows 7 64-bit, which you gratefully can configure to work exactly like Windows XP. Here's how you do that...

Ok, anyone reading this interested in this laptop needs to know a few things:

For low latency audio applications, so far the only thing I've had to do is disable my wireless network adapter in order to avoid any large spikes. That makes me happy.


Thu, 26 Apr 2007

Why Do I Need Always On Broadband?

Lately I'm starting to see that I've lost sight about why people use computers, particularly networked computers. As much as the Internet is supposed to be an active medium, one by which we pull content to us instead of getting pushed upon as passive observers, I find that half the time I'm reacting to websites or emails rather than thinking about what it is I am even doing on the computer. Sites like used to provide both an active and passive Internet experience whereby I could connect with highly intelligent people and what they value and comb between all their recommendations. Over time, as the site became more popular, the quality of the content diminished substantially. Yet I still found myself checking for new information to consume day after day, regardless of quality. So now I want to step back and start asking myself what it is that I want out of a relationship with computer technology.


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