I am very aware of ransomware attacks on standard computers and keep the firmware and software up to date when I see the updates. Its clear the notification of updates could be more viable, as its not that often I’m logged into the NAS. I have email and push on but I’d like to see more options on this front.
I have no idea why or what happen, but this is likely the 4 or 5th time my Ubuntu machine has become unstable while presenting live on zoom.
Tonight I gave a presentation for the Mozilla Festival about adaptive podcasting. I did some tests because I wanted to see if I could switch the audio from my headset mic to the Android phone running the app. Things were not working, so I decided to use the audio captures instead. Everything was fine, presentation in Google Chrome using google slides and Miro in Firefox for the workshop portion later. Zoom for video sharing.
Everything was smooth then I started Chrome in presentation mode but remember I need to turn on auto-generated subtitles. I switch to Zoom on my second screen try and turn it on but everything refreshes and freezes except my mouse cursor. The camera light is still on and sound is working (both mic and audio). I am forced to run the whole hour long workshop with no access to my slides, zoom or anything else. So I freestyle it.
I remembered a few times before something similar things happening while giving a presentation at Agile Manchester, UCD gathering, Immersive Arts Lab 8 and last week at the publicspaces conference. However the difference has been the laptop had paused for a short while (couple of minutes) before returning to normal state. This time I ended up rebooting the whole laptop.
Thinking about the circumstances of the other times, I suspected it might be Zoom but then its happened with Hopin too. It can’t be the laptop because I now I have a brand new laptop and although they are both Ubuntu the first three were Ubuntu 18.04.3 LTS. While I was running Ubuntu 20.4.2 LTS for the publicspaces conference and Mozilla festival. This leads me to the other common element which is Google chrome, which I use because its google slides (I tend to only sign into my google account with chrome).
Even if its not quite right, I’ll be testing running Google slides from Firefox instead.
One upside of todays presentation is the amazing response I got from people on the call who really enjoyed the pure storytelling. Although I am glad for my co-host, having shared the slides and miro whiteboard right at the start.
Big thanks to everyone and the lovely words people have shared with me.
One thing I did look forward to was the new position of the webcam from the hinge alongside the keyboard. To the top of the screen like most laptops. There is a problem however, as the bezels get smaller the camera covers are not keeping up.
This isn’t just my new Dell XPS but also the Chromebook I got last year.
I have almost no words for what’s happened recently with my Qnap NAS.
I decided a while ago that it was time to replace the server in my bedroom with a QNAP NAS. I had it with the heat during the summer and frankly it was long overdue. Plus a few people recommended them to me, plus pointed me at NAS compares. I bought the NAS from Amazon.co.uk as it was the cheapest by about 100 pounds, plus they had the 8gig version of the TS653D. Almost everywhere else had a 4gig only version. I knew I needed a bit of memory as I was going to replace my ubuntu server, which ran at 45-70c depending if it was transcoding for plex.
I bought the NAS from Amazon.co.uk https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0896YVN5L. There was no mention this was coming from America as a grey import. After I bought it I noticed it came from Texas, USA with via UPS and it took about 10 days. I didn’t think too much about it once it arrived, got it set up and moved all my data over (this took weeks!). However when I tried applying for the 5 year extended warranty thats when things got interesting.
Having applied to Qnap, answered their questions, I sent them the invoice which I got from Amazon. However Qnap replied with.
From the invoice, this is sold by Amazon Export Sales LLC, and the customer also pay the import fee, the customer should know the unit is not from local distributor.
The note says: “Only products that are sold and purchased from the same region are eligible for a warranty extension.”.
Please confirm with Amazon.co.uk that the NAS unit came from UK (distributor) and not from US.
We went back and forth for a while but I got back on to Amazon. They insured me the NAS is a UK model. Qnap of course were not budging, the serial number wasn’t right and regardless if I bought it form Amazon.co.uk it was a grey import. I did think it was strange it was coming from America but I just thought it was where the stock was from. Plus Amazon kept confirming its a UK version.
Then finally I got into an exchange with Amazon customer services.
10:53 PM QNAP won’t provide a warranty for the NAS because its not a UK/EU NAS I bought it through the amazon.co.uk with pounds but say its a US version
10:54 PM Rizzwan | I can see it is Amazon global store order. Allow me a moment to connect you with them for further help.
10:55 PM Global order? I bought it through amazon.co.uk
Then Rizzwan was replaced by Tamsyn…
10:55 PM Tamsyn has joined and will be ready to chat in just a minute. Tamsyn | This is Tammy from Amazon. I’ll be assisting you.
10:57 PM Here is the email I got from QNAP… (same as above)
11:00 PM Tamsyn | Yes it is from a UK distributor
11:01 PM I need something from Amazon to prove this, as QNAP won’t extend the warranty otherwise I have given them the invoice already
11:03 PM Tamsyn | what is the for the return ?
11:05 PM I don’t understand?
11:05 PM Tamsyn | what is the reason for sending the item back ?
11:07 PM I can’t get a extended warranty for the QNAP NAS
11:08 PM Tamsyn | Reason I’m asking is because I can refund you
11:09 PM Its a sub £1000 device and want to make sure it doesn’t go wrong, so the extended warranty is important Can I exchange it instead? because all my data is on the device now
11:09 PM Tamsyn | cannot exchange
11:10 PM Do you have anything else I can send to QNAP to prove its a UK/EU version? They want proof – “Please confirm with Amazon.co.uk that the NAS unit came from UK (distributor) and not from US.
11:12 PM Tamsyn | We can send them an email what is the email
11:13 PM Its done through their support forum- as the email is no reply – email@example.com. If you can send me something I can try and get a email to send to them I’m sending them this… “I am talking with Tamsyn | Customer Service Amazon.co.uk and they confirmed it is from a UK distributor – Tamsyn is asking for an email address to forward you details of the UK distributor”
11:17 PM Tamsyn | yes that is fine
11:17 PM Is there a email I should ask QNAP to contact you on?
11:18 PM Tamsyn | yes
11:18 PM Thanks… you understand why I don’t want to send it back but I really want to get this sorted out because I want to keep it for at least 3 years 11:19 PM Tamsyn | Yes I understand 🙂
11:19 PM Thanks QNAP are slow to reply, so is there a way of holding the return based on the outcome of this conversation with QNAP They usually take about 2 days to reply
11:20 PM Tamsyn | okay that is fine
11:24 PM Thanks, and I guess once I hear back from QNAP I join this chat again Just for reference I’m talking with Gerry ********* from QNAP… “From warranty information, it shows the NAS unit was sold from Amazon US and not Amazon.co.uk
Please confirm with Amazon.co.uk that the NAS unit came from UK (distributor) and not from US.
Then out of nowhere Tamsyn was replaced by Collen…
11:30 PM C Collen has joined and will be ready to chat in just a minute. Collen | Customer Service Hello, Ian Please note this was a global store order Sold and shipped by amazon US Order Placed: Tuesday, 3 November 2020 (GMT) C
11:33 PM Hold on Tamsyn said it was sold from a UK reseller a moment ago
11:34 PM Collen | Customer Service Please look at email from Tuesday, 3 November 2020 01:51 (GMT) C
11:39 PM Collen | Customer Service Global Store Amazon Marketplace order with Amazon Export Sales LLC C
11:45 PM Collen | Customer Service Do you wish to return the item for a refund? C
11:45 PM I would like to do an exchange as I am using the NAS, Ok I see it says Amazon Export Sales LLC This was not clear on the site when I bought it.
11:48 PM Collen | Customer Service We can only refund a USA item only on return We cant replace it C
11:48 PM Right I see, can I get a UK version then return the old one?
11:49 PM Collen | Customer Service Yes C
11:51 PM This was not clear at all when I bought it on the site
11:51 PM Collen | Customer Service However you will need to re order C
So in short Amazon mislead me by never making clear this was a grey import QNAP NAS. Yes when I got the invoice, I could see it was coming from Texas but it was too late by then. Simple as this, customer service lied to me and to QNAP.
In the end Amazon/Collen did send me the return details and I had 7 days to return the QNAP NAS back to Texas. Annoyingly I had to print the return slips and I don’t own a printer, luckily colleague Jimmy helped out by printing them out for me. In the mean while I got in touch with QNAP, they pointed me in the direction of Scan.com and I was able to buy and get almost the exact same model sent to the next day. I say almost exact because I opted for the 32gig version as I was considering add more memory anyway and this would save me a lot of hassle.
Telling enough, Scan.com when I called them to confirm the speed of delivery, told me a few other customers have had the same problem with Grey imports sent from America and bought from Amazon.co.uk.
With the clock ticking, I was worried it was going to take forever to move everything across but I found it was super quick when I found this guide to move from one device to another. Pretty much start the NAS, update the firmware and slot the disks in the same slots. The migration took about 2hours in total, which is amazing. I was wondering about taking time off work to get this sorted but there was no need.
Just enough time to take some pictures of them side by side then box up the grey import/amazon one, add all the labels then take it to the UPS drop off which just happened to be in China town. Can’t tell you why I didn’t get a taxi or take the tram half the way there, but it was certainly a work out for my lockdown arms.
4 weeks later I received my full refund from Amazon.co.uk and I’m sitting pretty with my QNAP NAS with 5 year warranty.
However I noticed a feature on my router called link aggregation. In theory I can plug both LAN ports into the router and get 2gigabits of bandwidth to the NAS. Ok its only mainly useful for multiple connections to the NAS because everything else is sitting on a 1gigabit networking. But you can imagine uploading a lot of data from the NAS and also editing video on my LAN connected laptop.
When looking at the TPlink help page, it looks pretty straight-forward. However when looking at my router there is no options. No link aggregation options. I checked I have the latest updated firmware and I was thinking of sending it back… till I spoke to a friend and he convinced me to set up port trunking from the NAS side just in case the router has it enabled by default now.
As you can imagine, it worked… I mainly write this as I couldn’t find an answer when I searched for details previously.
Next upgrade for the switches will be from 1gigabits to 2.5gigabits.
I had bought a raspberry pi 4 at the start of April to replace my raspberry pi 2 and maybe add something to the kitchen audio setup. But hadn’t really done much with it. So the other day while watching a film I built the case, downloaded the yunohost image on to a 128gig microSD card and got it all running.
Got to say Yuno host is pretty nice and easy to setup. The hardest part was getting the DNS all setup with one of my own domains. Now its kinda setup, I have been looking through the app catalogue and spotted many of the apps/services I wanted to run in docker such as Funkwhale, Calibre-web, Pixelfed, Zerotier, Wallabag, Mastodon, Matrix, etc, etc…
I’m impressed so far… Although I am thinking it could be so much better on a more powerful machine. I could use one of my older laptops instead, however I gather the performance will actually be better on the pi. To be fair with a gigabit ethernet network adaptive, I don’t need to worry about storage so much. Although I’m looking at maybe switching my Ubuntu server to Yuno if I can get everything I currently run working.
Expect to hear more as I start installing more services.
I opted for the i5 version with 128gig of storage and 8 gig of memory. Why? Well I decided it needed to be slightly more powerful and act a bit more like a full laptop if it was going to run Linux apps. I see this Chromebook as a laptop I can use for most things including audio/image editing. Originally I got a good deal on a refurbished version which was great except Bluetooth was broken and it had to go back. I then bought this laptop brand new and it was shopped and delivered in all of 18 hours!
So far I have only installed htop, inkscape, Joplin, audacity, barrier, cheese and firefox in the linux terminal (love that its ian@penguin in the terminal and I have firefox installed!) then decided to install Flatpak on ChromeOS, I considered installing Snap but it sounds problematic currently.
Just checking out a bunch of ChromeOS blogs and I found this reddit faq useful to fix my linux install when it broke after I installed it and shutdown my chromebook too early.
Generally I’m very happy with this Asus Chromebook and its a good size, weight and I still love the tablet mode.
However I found I could use houseparty in a clean browser (chromium) – app.houseparty.com. as there was absolutely no way I was going to install the app on my pixel phone. After trying to play a game with friend I found the video worked but not the actual game.
As we moved on to using boardgamearena.com. I decided I wanted to delete my account and got interested to know how much data they had collected about me in my short time in houseparty.
Outcomes my GDPR request, I send it to firstname.lastname@example.org and nothing. I resend it to email@example.com and get my response. Back and forth then finally…
May 08, 2020, 20:46 +0100
Thank you for your response.
I’m glad that you’ve reached us regarding your request. We received your data request. Our team is working on pulling the data, and you will receive your data within 30 days.
Please feel free to contact us if you need any further assistance.
As you see can see the date of May 8th was 34 days ago and yes I get Covid19 but I’m not expecting the much data back. Unless there is a ton coming my way?
Either way I’m annoyed at being messed around at the start and also them not taking it seriously. I’m still not convinced Romeo Tango is real to be honest.
I received an email the other day. It looked like a classic phishing attack, except there was no link to fix the problem…
Your account is in violation of our terms of service
Hello. This is ************* from SpiderOak’s support team. I’m writing to inform you that your account is in violation of our Terms of Service immediate action is needed on your part.
Because of the amount of data stored in your account or the type of data you are storing, your account is negatively affecting the accounts of other SpiderOak users. Because of this it will be necessary to close your current account.
We realize this is sudden and we want to do what we can to help you.
We have two options to offer to help you move forward:
1. A 5 TB account at the same price as your existing account. If you choose this option a member of our support team will help you set up a new account, transfer your billing information, and place the new account on a 5 TB plan at the correct price.
2. Cancellation and a full refund of your most recent payment. If you choose this option our support team will set up a refund as soon as we hear from you.
If we don’t hear from you by the end of this week we will lock your account while retaining your data for a grace period of 14 days. At the end of the grace period if we still have not heard back from you your account will be canceled.
You can contact us by replying to this email, or by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please contact us as soon as possible so we can help you move to one of the options I mentioned.
The first thing I did was check my account directly and then replied with this…
Hello ************* and support
To check this isn’t a phishing attack can you tell me the name of the device and how much data is currently stored?
I’m keen to resolve this but it strikes as a phishing attack.
It felt like a phishing attack and since I have seen a bunch of new data dumps, you could hardly blame me.
But once I could verify everything I suggested removing some of my older computer backups after seeing this. This fell on deaf ears.
Unfortunately that isn’t an option. Your account has been using excessive resources, which has caused issues for a number of other users on the same server cluster as you. Because of the No Knowledge nature of our product we can’t tell you exactly what is causing the issue. I’m sorry that I don’t have more details for you.
The two options I can offer you are moving to a new 5 TB account (at your current payment price, normally it is a $320 / year plan) or cancellation and a refund. You won’t be able to keep your current account.
Note in option 1, if I pay more money I could still upload the same files to Spideroak!!! Something is fishy here. Either theres a problem with my files or not. I get the zero-knowledge issue but something doesn’t add up.
This is of course very difficult as its what we use at work and of course being in the middle of the covid19 lockdown, makes things tricky. Because of this, I’m going to still use it but with much more caution and I’m going to be a lot more forceful about the hosting side of it.
The defaults of Zoom, is setup for a semi trusted corporate environment. I understand the covid-19 pandemic changed everything but there has been many updates and only now is the defaults only just safe. Their share prices have rocketed but they are only now focused on security ahead of more features?
Their idea of end to end encryption is a total dump on top of the security findings saying some calls are being routed via China.. Today they announce you can choose your routing but you need to pay for it. More governments and companies are blocking zoom because they just don’t trust it.
Likewise neither do I… but I will use it… with caution.
I have been thinking about an equivalent, and thought about two.
I lost trust in Facebook a long while ago but still use it for volleyball events and the occasional post about something I feel could be important for friends, family and the public who don’t read my blog (as its posted on the internet already, I post publicly adopting the indieweb Posse approach, much to the surprise of some friends). For example I posted what happened on zoom yesterday there today.
Facebook was hardly trustworthy to start with and over and over again they took the living daylights with our data.
There was a point when Windows Vista pushed as the step/edition of Windows XP and I didn’t like what Microsoft had done to it. To be fair I didn’t trust them and saw shadows of where things were heading. So I switched to Ubuntu.I know the new Microsoft is quite different of course but the damage was done.
If you are hosting a Zoom call, please do lock it down theres a number of guides to help including this one.
I always expected an increase in my plex server usage from my friends as the UK enter the Covid-19 lockdown. Especially when I heard all the streaming services dropping back to SD To be fair its not been as big a demand as I expected but its noticeable compared to last few months of 2019.
The most popular clients seem to be Chrome & Chromecasts (not sure if Chromecasts sometimes report themselves as Chrome). Thankfully the Xbox has dropped because that client requires everything to be transcoded unlike Tizen which will happily if theres enough bandwidth send the original file and not require any transcoding.
Its really good and been using the listed feature for a my gratitude diary. However I checked out Joplin recently and quite like some of the features.
Evernote import works perfectly, meaning I get my rich evernotes back complete with attachments, Actually the way it handles attachments is a lot closer to Evernote. Syncing is done in a number of different ways including Dropbox, Webdav, etc and all done with encryption meaning its using the service as a file container like how I use keepass right now.I had tried to setup a standard notes sync server in the past but didn’t really put the effort in.
Standard note uses markdown which is good and quick but I like Joplin’s hybrid of markdown and html. This pushed further with web clippers in Firefox and Chrome. Making Joplin extremely useful for capturing online resources.
I like both but will find it tricky to use both although I noticed for example Joplin is really painful to use on my ereader, while standardnotes is super smooth. They are build for different purposes but working what do with each is a bit of a dilemma right now. Currently I have my evernote backup and standardnotes in Joplin thanks to export/import. Of course theres lots of duplicate notes which I really need to go through and delete, as I already imported my evernote into standard notes previously.
A long time ago, accessing cubicgarden.com meant accessing my direct server sitting in my home. I use to run Blojsom on top of Resin server. I was self hosting from my 512k ADSL line with 256k up (remember how fast that use to be to!?)
There were a lot of problems I grant you that but it mainly worked ok, although I didn’t like the sysadmin side of it all, as I was using Windows 2000 as the operating system. At some point I decided to switch to wordpress only because PHP hosting was cheaper than Java, although I got some incredible breaks during my time. In 2014 I moved my blog to WPengine thanks to dotBen
Since then I have been slowly adding more services to my server. I guess the most noteworthy ones being tiny tiny rss, icecast2, plex and zerotier vpn (which I’m considering changing to wireguard with the recent announcements). Tiny tiny RSS is useful as I don’t like what feedly and others are doing with my data. Zerotier VPN is very cool and very much like the old and forgotten Hamachi. Because it uses internal ip addresses (non-addressable?) any device I have it connected with can access those addresses like they are on a internal network. This ultimately means I can access all my services including tiny tiny rss without opening up ports on my firewall and exposing it to the internet.
But there is issue it seems when installing multiple services on top of each other. Most of the tutorials require a Apache or Ngnix then some SQL database. The tutorials are written like you are running just one service alone and things become more tricky when you have services using certain ports, etc. Trying to move the ports, database tables is sometimes tricky to follow.
Right now, I’m focused on doing one service at a time or really getting to grips with Docker which was meant to make this easier to deal with???