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All items from December 2013

31 Dec 2013 : Music in the Air #
After wrangling for days with all of the other services to try to get them set up properly on our new home server (mostly the print and folder shares), setting up media streaming has been a breath of fresh air. A quick install of MiniDLNA from the repositories and some minor tweaking of the configuration file, and we can now access music and video from anywhere in the house. Particularly nice is the fact we can upload music via ownCloud and immediately access it direct from the TV. It's all very impressive, for negligible effort on my part (which is just how I like it)!
28 Dec 2013 : Constantia Mk II Goes Live #
After over five years running as my main server resource the time has finally arrived to retire my mini Koolu server, called Constantia. The last few days have been spent transferring its contents over to a new server, ready to take on the same role. The switch has been necessitated by the ageing hardware of the Koolu device. While it's still running beautifully the last Ubuntu release to support the hardware dropped out of its support period earlier this year.

The new hardware is an Aleutia T1 device. With its fanless chassis, low (10W) power consumption, tiny (20cm × 18cm) footprint and supported hardware it makes an ideal successor to the Koolu, as you can see below (Koolu on the left, Aleutia on the right).

Aleutia build the devices for projects such as solar classrooms in rural Africa, but they were also very happy to supply a single machine, even going to the trouble of preloading Ubuntu with a bespoke configuration.

I've been working with it for a couple of days now, and first impressions are good. There's a big performance improvement (noticeable even when accessing basic server tasks over the LAN). The more recent Ubuntu support means a host of new useful features and so far the the new server has picked up the following roles:

  • DNS server.
  • Apache SSL/TLS web server.
  • Subversion repository.
  • SMB shared folders.
  • Shared print server.
  • OwnCloud cloud storage and services.
  • Trac project management.
  • OpenVPN secure remote access.
  • DLNA media streaming.

Most of these were transferred over seamlessly; for example clients see the Subversion repository as just a continuation of what was there before. I'm looking forward to the improved performance, increased functionality and a more robust server to run the network for the next five years or more! Constantia Mk II can be found at