About Greg

Tall, Dark, Raver.

Cheap hardware RAID for ESXi 6

I recently put together a budget ESXi 6 server for home and I wanted a cheap hardware RAID card for it.

I purchased myself this card – a SilverStone SST-ECS03. It cost about Β£40, which is a lot cheaper than any of the cards on the ESXi 6 HCL!

I installed the card and disks, then formatted a new RAID1 array with no issues. But of course… ESXi 6 didn’t recognise the card. It transpires this is because VMware removed support for any devices not on the HCL. However… this support can be added back in!

1/ Enable SSH

2/ SSH into the box and type the following –

esxcli software acceptance set –level=CommunitySupported
esxcli network firewall ruleset set -e true -r httpClient
esxcli software vib install -d http://vibsdepot.v-front.de -n sata-xahci

3/ Reboot the ESXi host

4/ Marvell at the hardware RAID card now being available! πŸ™‚

Sources –

https://www.scan.co.uk/products/silverstone-pci-express-card-2x-sata-6-gbps-ports-supports-raid-0-raid-1-span-and-non-raid-function
http://www.thomasmaurer.ch/2015/04/enable-ssh-on-vmware-esxi-6-0
https://communities.vmware.com/thread/505243

Fedora: DVD ripping

AcidRip looked like a good solution so I installed this.

However…. it didn’t work. After a bit of digging it seemed I was missing libdvdcss, so I located and installed this, and now it appears to be ripping quite happily!

 

Clone a Windows boot disk to a smaller disk using Linux

I while ago I foolishly borrowed a 4Tb SSHD from an ongoing project and now I need the disk back whilst preserving the data that’s on it. All I have is a 2Tb disk, which is enough for me to fit all the data on, but the disk duplicator can’t deal with it as the source drive is bigger than the target drive.

1/ In Windows – I used disk management to shrink the partition on the 4Tb disk down to the smallest possible size – approx 1.5Tb.

2/ In Linux I examined /proc/partitions and worked out my source disk is /dev/sdd and my target disk is /dev/sde.

3/ I used DD to copy the entire disk –

dd if=/dev/sdd of=/dev/sde bs=128K conv=noerror,sync

This eventually errored saying the disk was full. Another glance at /proc/partitions suggested the operation had failed, as I could only see /dev/sde (and not also /dev/sde1, /dev/sde2, etc). This was the case even after a reboot.

4/ However, I fired the disk up in Windows where it was immediately recognised as the originally 4Tb drive that’s now a 1.5Tb partition, along with an additional 0.5Tb of free space.

5/ I used computer management to resize the partition to maximum size (2Tb) and now I’m running chkdsk /f (or… from the properties of the target hard drive… tools / error-checking / check now)… because you should always do this after manipulating partitions before you re-use the source disk! πŸ™‚

Hive – more pairing information

After more time on the phone to Hive this evening here’s the definitive guide on re-pairing the boiler module (as is it’s technical name!) should it go offline.

1/ Hold the “Central Heating” button until the boiler module flashes pink.

2/ Hold the “Central Heating” button until the boilder module flashes yellow.

3/ Hold the “Back” and “Module” buttons down until a countdown starts. Continue holding until the countdown completes. This will factory reset the thermostat/boiler module.

The boiler module should then pair. This will reset your schedules and you will need to set them up again.

Energenie Mi|Home pairing issues

After 6 devices, two months worth of emails and returns, then two days of phone calls with members of the Energenie team I (note I !!) have worked out that there is a potential issue when pairing new devices.

When you go to pair a new device you have the option to select various different devices types (Monitor, Adapter Plus, Adapter, etc). These are all different colours. If you select one of the cyan (/ blue) devices it is possible to pair with “nothing”, ie you think you have paired the device because it appears in your console but really this is a phantom device as you have not really paired with anything. Hence if you try and switch this device off or on – via the web console or your mobile phone – nothing will happen!

Therefore when you pair your device you must follow the instructions exactly –

1/ Click “Pair New Device” within the web console
2/ Select the correct device (Monitor, Adapter Plus, Adapter, etc)
3/ Click “Pair Device”4/ At this point – and not before – hold the physical power button on the device you wish to pair until the power light starts to flash
5/ Click “Start Pairing”
6/ Wait for the “Pairing In Progress” prompt and click “Finish Pairing”
7/ Ensure the power light on your device stops flashing

Following this exact sequence of events you should then be able to control your device via the web console or your mobile phone.

It seems this issue is only possible with the cyan (/ blue) devices. If you select any other colour device it will not pair with “nothing”.

I would hazard a guess that this is because the cyan (/ blue) devices don’t “feed back”, ie neither the web console nor the mobile phone app know whether the devices are switched on or off, but that’s just a guess.

Hope this helps somebody out there! πŸ™‚

Flash Gordon: Trip to Mars – DVD correct running order

This DVD is a trip down memory lane for me, taking back to my childhood. I vividly recall “people” (I thought they were Mud Men but it seems they were actually Rock Men) emerging from and disappearing into the walls, and I am very much looking forward to reliving these memories!

However… before I purchased this DVD I had read that the episodes appear in the wrong order, so I wanted to work out the correct order first.

Here is the order in which they actually appear on the DVD!

  1. 01 New Worlds to Conquer
  2. 02 The Living Dead
  3. 03 Queen of Magic
  4. 04 Ancient Enemies
  5. 05 The Boomerang
  6. 06 Tree-Men of Mars
  7. 10 Incense of Forgetfulness
  8. 11 Human Bait
  9. 12 Ming the Merciless
  10. 07 The Prisoner of Mongo
  11. 08 The Black Sapphire of Kalu
  12. 09 Symbol of Death
  13. 13 The Miracle of Magic
  14. 14 A Beast at Bay
  15. 15 An Eye for an Eye

As you can hopefully tell from the above section 3 (should be episodes 7-10 but are actually episodes 10-12) and section 4 (should be episodes 10-12 but are actually episodes 7-9) are the wrong way round.

Additionally the episodes are presented in the wrong order on the back of the DVD!

Hope this helps a Flash Gordon fan somewhere! πŸ™‚

Playing Ultimate Doom via Steam

I had the problem described and seemingly resolved hereΒ in that when trying to play Doom on Windows 7 via Steam the colours were all bright pinks, blues, greens – all forms of strange colours.

The fix in the post above nearly worked but I had to modify the “machine” entry slightly, as follows –

Go Here.
C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\SteamApps\common\Ultimate Doom\base

Open this file in notpad.
ultimatem.conf

Change these lines to read.

fulldouble=false
fullresolution=desktop
output=openglnb
machine=Svga
aspect=true

and that sorted it! πŸ™‚

Hive Active Heating (British Gas) – some of my experiences

Back in September I ordered myself a Hive heating system. This was on the back of the announcement that the Amazon Echo would shortly be available in the UK.

Since it was installed I have had a number of problems with the hub going offline. After a few discussions with British Gas first line support I was passed over to second line support, mostly because I have a “non-standard” network – ie it’s not just a sky router.

Problems included –

  • The hub going offline with an orange light. Rebooting the hub generally brought everything back to life.
  • Door/window sensors appeared offline after rebooting the hub. Initially removing and replacing the battery fixed this but toward the end even this didn’t work.
  • At one point I think I rebooted the hub too often and I got a flashing red/amber light and no network connectivity. It took a couple of days of leaving it unplugged/rebooting it to get it to come back to life.
  • Push alerts stopped working. I tried adding email alerts but they didn’t work either (I got the occassional email telling me the house was too warm but never any alert emails).
  • The hub appearing to go offline but the light on the hub was green.

The second line engineer decided to just send me a new hub rather than troubleshoot the problems. This was mid-October. It took me some time to install the new hub (Christmas got in the way) but I finally did this on 31st December 2016.

To do this I had to make three calls to Hive support, as each time I spoke to somebody they talked me through what I had to do there and then, but there was no discussion re: what I would have to do next. So I post these steps here in the hope that they are useful to somebody else.

To swap your hive hub for a new one –

1/ Firstly, you will need to call Hive support to have the old hub removed from your account. There doesn’t seem to be any way you can remove it yourself.

2/ Once this is done, you can log into your hive account and then you will need to enter the ID of the new hive hub.

3/ Then you need to put all your devices into pairing mode. Without this they won’t be picked up when you click “install new device”.

Thermostat – I had to press and hold the left (back) and middle (menu) buttons together for a short while. I can’t remember if this is everything I did or what the resulting lights were, but after this I was able to “install new device” in the console and hive detected it.

Receiver – I had to press and hold the button in the bottom right hand corner of the receiver (central heating) until it turned pink and started flashing. I then had to press it again until it turned amber. Then I could add new device in the console and hive detected it. These instructions might also be a little shaky as these two devices were installed whilst hive support were on the phone.

Socket – I had to hold the button on the top of the socket until it flashed. Then I was able to “install new device”.

Light bulbs – to put these devices into pairing mode you have to turn them on and off a number of times until they occassionally “blink” at you. The Hive support operative said we had to do it six times, so he likes to do it seven times to be sure. When I tried it later with my other lightbulbs it only needed four iterations.

Door/window senors – I was told to take the lid off, remove and replace the battery, then hold the button I found inside until the light flashed green. This didn’t work. After some conferring I was told to instead press the button a number of times – again this didn’t work. Eventually I worked out that I needed to press-and-hold a number of times – four seemed to do it.

What nobody told me is that this process would wipe all the data from my console, so my schedules and the first four months worth of data was now missing. If somebody had mentioned this I would have taken some screen shots, but there you go.

But… finally I had installed the new hub and all my devices. Everything was showing as online in the console, push alerts were back and also email alerts now worked. Maybe this time it would be much better!

Less than 24 hours later I woke up to find that the hub had gone offline again (although resetting the hub – which had an orange light on it – did bring everything back). So I’ve written this to keep a record of what occurs from here!

One other point to note is that around mid November I decided to purchase an Energenie MiHome hub and a remote controlled socket. The idea here that if hive went offline I could remotely reboot the hive hub. I installed this toward the end of November and – unlike the hive hub – it hasn’t gone offline at all!

Plesk – extract all email addresses from database

I recently needed to email everybody on my Plesk server. Traditionally I’ve done this by maintaining an “all@domain.com” list for each subscription but of course that requires constant maintenance.

So instead I did a bit of searching, amended what I found (on the plesk forum I believe), and came up with this (which requires ssh access) –

# log into mysql
mysql -uadmin -p`cat /etc/psa/.psa.shadow`

# Once logged into mysql 
use psa;
select concat(mail.mail_name,"@",domains.name) as address from mail,domains,accounts where mail.dom_id=domains.id and mail.account_id=accounts.id order by address INTO OUTFILE '/tmp/emailaddresses.csv' FIELDS TERMINATED BY ',' LINES TERMINATED BY '\n';
exit

# This will create a file /tmp/emailaddresses.csv, which you can email yourself as follows
mail me@domain.com < /tmp/emailaddresses.csv

# and then delete the source file for good measure!
rm /tmp/emailaddresses.csv -f