Monthly Archives: June 2013

TI LaunchPad Stellaris and Anaren CC2530 Zigbee BoosterPack kit

I recently got the chance to evaluate the Anaren AIR CC2530 BoosterPack Kit, which is a ZigBee eval platform for TI’s LaunchPad products, i.e MSP430 and Stellaris.
Kudos to the good folks at element14 for providing the kit as part of their RoadTest program.

The review is found at element14’s site, but also here for completeness. I will also post further developments using the kit here on the blog, as described in the review I have some ideas around a cat-detector… So many projects, so little time.

The review follows below.
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Netgear RN312 firmware upgrade 6.0.6 to 6.0.8

Firmware 6.0.8 just became available for the x86 based Netgear NASes. Interestingly enough, it is called “firmware” version, but to me (and others familiar with electronics and embedded systems) a firmware is low-level software running directly on the CPU/MCU. Maybe there are such components in the Netgear firmware too, but most part seems to be just updates to the NAS’ Linux environment (or more specifically: to the Debian Wheezy packages).

Anyway, that’s mainly semantics. My worry was that the upgrade would overwrite the 3rd party software I had previously installed (htop, tmux and CrashPlan).

Turns out there was no need to worry. All three works flawlessly also after the “firmware” upgrade. Nice.


tmux on Netgear RN312 NAS

If you spend any time at all at the Linux command line, you need tmux. Period. It makes you orders of magnitude more effective, there’s just no excuse for not using it.

Given that the RN312 NAS is x86 based and using Debian Wheezy, there’s an already compiled package for it. Installing it is trivial. Just ssh into the NAS, then issue:

apt-get intall tmux

That’s it. Copy in your favorite ~/.tmux.conf file, and you are set.


htop on the Netgear RN312

Just a quick post on how easy it is to set up the invaluable htop package on the Netgear RN312.  For those not familiar with htop, it’s a super-powered process monitor, way way better than the old legacy top command. Nice stuff, must have.

Turns out the pre-built package for htop is borked though (apt-get install htop fails) . Bummer.  Time to pull out the command line magic..

ssh into the NAS, then set up a build environment and a couple of dependencies. Compile and install (set the debconf to dialog and medium level):

dpkg-reconfigure debconf

apt-get install build-essential

<wait for looooong time>

cd /root/dl


tar -xvzf htop-1.0.2.tar.gz

./configure; make; make install


checking for refresh in -lncursesw… no

configure: error: You may want to use –disable-unicode or install libncursesw.

Ok, so let’s fix that, we need dev libs:

apt-get install libncursesw5-dev

./configure; make; make install

Fail 2, we need another set of ncurses dev libs:

apt-get  install libncurses5-dev

./configure; make; make install

… and that does it. Enjoy htop on your x86 based Netgear ReadyNAS!

CrashPlan on Netgear ReadyNAS RN312 – hello!

Edit: Installing according to the instructions below works, but it does place CrashPlan’s log and cache files on the very size constrained root partition of the ReadyNas. Especially the cache files will quickly fill that partition of you have lots of files.
It is however easy to move those cache and log files to a better location, so once done with the instructions below, check out this post for details on how to move cache and log.


I’ve been using CrashPlan for a couple of years now, it’s a great service. In particular I like the peer-to-peer backup feature, where I can configure my parents’ (or friends) computer to back up to my small headless server during the night, making sure they don’t loose their pictures due to some unfortunate keyboard sequence.. The paid-for service is very reasonably priced too, giving me unlimited backup space for $4.79/month, given a 2-year signup period. Nice.

The downside is that you must keep your computer on at all times. Sure, that might be fine, but given that I try to reduce the carbon (and energy, in general) footprint around here, I’d rather put my computers in sleep or hibernation when not used. The one exception I am willing to make is a good NAS, and possibly also a jump host that will give me ssh access to my home network. Maybe the two combined in a single server – or the jump host in a very small and low power server. Anyway, after years of trying out different setups, mainly focused around a) my iMac with an external USB drive, and b) headless servers (I have all of the Bubba servers,, awesome servers, but even the B3 is today slightly underpowered. Tough challenge keeping up with all the new hardware architectures coming to market. So when the Atom powered dual core Netgear RN 312 was announced it seemed like a nice platform. The java powered CrashPlan application should not be a problem (others have successfully installed it on other x86 powered Netgear NAS:es), it supposedly also nicely handles lots of UPS:es, including (I hope!!) the slightly uncommon Bluewalker UPS that I use. Anyway, getting CrashPlan up and running on the ReadyNAS was top prio. Turned out that some changes were needed, compared to the walk-throughs for earlier ReadyNAS versions. First, the usual disclaimer: One or more of the suggestions in this blog post and related posts on this blog may very well void the warranty of your NAS devices. So. Enough. Given the risk of myself having to re-do this at a later date, or for the benefit of others having the desire for the same setup, here we go:

  1. has been invaluably helpful, providing general ideas on how to approach CrashPlan on ReadyNAS:es. Still, as the instructions there doesn’t work for the RN312 series, I feel it might be useful with some additional comments.
  2. On the RN312 (using the standard web UI), create a share named “Crashplan”. It will be stored under /data/Crashplan Enable ssh root access (once again, using the standard UI).
  3. ssh into the NAS, using something like ssh root@192.168.1.x, adjust the IP address as needed. Use the pwd of the admin user, that you set when configuring the NAS.
  4. create a working directory, I use /root/dl (as in “download”):
    mkdir dl
    cd dl
  5. Install Java:

    apt-get install openjdk-6-jre-headless
  6. Get CrashPlan (adjust as needed to get latest version):

    wget tar -xvzf CrashPlan_3.5.3_Linux.tgz
  7. You need to install some packages to get things working:

    apt-get install dialog
    dpkg-reconfigure debconf
  8. Set the debconf level to “dialog” and “medium”. It turns out the pre-installed version of cpio doesn’t quite cut it.. Replace it:

    apt-get remove busybox-cpio
    apt-get install cpio
  9. With Java installed and some environment changes in place, time to install CrashPlan:

    cd /CrashPlan-install
  10. Just press enter to use the default settings, except for where to store the CrashPlan data. Full conversation follows (with EULA slightly shortened). Also, line breaks were lost in copy-paste process, so what’s shown on screen probably differs a bit from the below:

    Welcome to the CrashPlan Installer.
    Press enter to continue with installation.
    Validating environment... detected root permissions 49581 blocks
    You must review and agree to the EULA before installation. Press enter to read the EULA.
    Do you accept and agree to be bound by the EULA? (yes/no) yes
    What directory do you wish to install CrashPlan to? [/usr/local/crashplan]
    What directory do you wish to link the CrashPlan executable to? [/usr/local/bin]
    What directory do you wish to store backups in? [/usr/local/var/crashplan] /data/Crashplan
    What directory contains your SYSV init scripts? [/etc/init.d]
    What directory contains your runlevel init links? [/etc/rc5.d]
    Your selections:
    CrashPlan will install to: /usr/local/crashplan
    And put links to binaries in: /usr/local/bin
    And store datas in: /data/Crashplan
    Your init.d dir is: /etc/init.d
    Your current runlevel directory is: /etc/rc5.d
    Is this correct? (y/n) [y]
    Unpacking /
    ./CrashPlan_3.5.3.cpi ... 49581 blocks
    /usr/local/crashplan/bin/CrashPlanEngine: line 113: warning: setlocale: LC_CTYPE: cannot change locale (UTF-8.UTF-8): No such file or directory
    Starting CrashPlan Engine ...
    Using standard startup OK
    CrashPlan has been installed and the Service has been started automatically.
    Press Enter to complete installation.
    Important directories:
    Installation: /usr/local/crashplan
    Logs: /usr/local/crashplan/log
    Default archive location: /data/Crashplan
    Start Scripts:
    sudo /usr/local/crashplan/bin/CrashPlanEngine start|stop
    You can run the CrashPlan Desktop UI locally as your own user or connect a remote Desktop UI to this Service via port-forwarding and manage it remotely. Instructions for remote management are in the readme files placed in your installation directory: /usr/local/crashplan/doc
    To start the Desktop UI: /usr/local/bin/CrashPlanDesktop
    Installation is complete. Thank you for installing CrashPlan for Linux.


  11. Reset debconf to non-interactive (using “noninteractive” and “medium” as settings):
    dpkg-reconfigure debconf

With this, it should be a smooth ride following the previously mentioned blog post to set up CrashPlan. Worked for me, a few hours later the RN312 has now backed up a few GB and progressing nicely. The full backup will take weeks or more, but that’s fine – the summer is long and I have other backups in place meanwhile.