WD My Cloud – Don’t Buy

My brother-in-law was given a last gen version of the My Cloud, so I figured I’d give one a try. Ended up purchased a Refurbish one directly from WD. 2TB for $89, not that bad. And I played with it for a few days.

Don’t let its external USB port fool you, it is basically useless. Basically WD’s idea was if you plug a external drive in, it would just move everything off of it, in to the drive. That didn’t even work.

You can create local user accounts, I was able to make 1. Which I can use to access the drive over my network. Much like Apple’s Time Capsule, but much more limited. Basically useless.

HOWEVER, it will let you backup photos and files from your phone. But, since WD was hacked user data was lost, why would you want to do this!?

Unless you have NO computer skills, and no where else to backup your phone, I would NOT recommend this device.

UPDATE: Had attempted to share an attached external drive, the idea being to use the My Cloud to host Plex server (it has an app for it). But it appears to be blind to attached external drives, HOWEVER, it sees thumb drives.. It basically just copies the thumb drives contents to itself. Which can be handy since I don’t trust thumb drives beyond a few months of use. … I have it coping files right now, lets see if I can manage what is copied to the drive once it is complete.

UPDATE: The coping and sharing of data from thumb drives appears to work fine. But it is a very limiting use of this device. It should be able to do so much more. And it appears to time out often when attempting to access remotely (I have 1 gb internet, over fiber and I test often. So it isn’t my internet access. And it is plugged directly into my router.)

Portable Imaging

Over the last few months, we’ve developed a need to image computers away from our SCCM Imaging Server so I’ve tasked myself with coming up with a solution. So far there are two, one is Ventoy and the second a “iodd” drive. Both have their advantages and disadvantages.

After overcoming challenges with both systems Ventoy has come out ahead.

This is the Iodd2531 USB3.0 HDD SSD Virtual CD-ROM Enclosures – Made in Korea purchased from Amazon ($85.00). Basically it is a portable hard drive case with a little computer built in. It comes in two firmware versions exFAT and NTFS, both should work equally well and shouldn’t affect results. The instructions are a bit of a challenges due to language barrier. I installed a 1tb SSD, formatted as NTFS as per my firmware, created a “_iso” folder and placed some ISO’s in the folder. Making sure your computer has Secure Boot disabled in bios, you select the iso you wanna boot from using the selection switch/button on the side. Boot computer using F12, select the drive, and wait.

Ventoy, works pretty much the same way, but easier.

We installed 500 gb SATA SSD drives, in POSUGEAR 2.5” Clear External Hard Drive Case ($6) just for uniqueness.

Then you download, install and run Ventoy. It’ll setup your select drive for use. You then add a folder called “_iso” and copy your iso’s to the folder. As with Iodd drive, you have to disable Secure Boot in the bios. Again, just boot using F12, select your drive. The system will boot and display a list of bootable iso, for your selection.

The hardest part was figuring how how and when to partition and format the iso data drives, and how to disable Secure Boot.

MQTT Data Flowing

Finally got MQTT data flowing in and out, over the internet, not just on my local network. Router isn’t the easiest thing to figure out. Had to turn off DMZ and forward ports manually to each server. Now web site traffic and data flowing to correct boxes.

MQTT – Finally!

After a few months of off and on again trying to get my data parse, collect and displayed the way I wanted it. I finally found a little tid bit of info that pointed me in the right direction.

rtl_433 -F “mqtt://192.168.1.15:1883,retain=0,devices=Pipedream/TempSensors/[protocol]/[id]” -M utc

As you can see I am using rtl_433 to receive data from various sensors around the buildings. It gets sent to our MQTT Broker for redistribution to computers that have subscribed to selected topics. Since we have a few sensors of the same model we use [protocol] to group those sensor together, but each sensor has its own feed.

Funny thing is we are now finding sensors, we didn’t know about. We will be watching the data being collected and see if we can figure it out.

Below are the sensors we need to figure out (what they are) 211 and 17. All the rest (so far) we can already id and parse the data correctly.

Do NOT Recommend Using These!

For those looking for another network jack, do NOT buy a Ethernet splitter. Buy a mini switch for just a few dollars more. The splitters have nice drawings that show how they work! But they don’t! The only case they would work is if the existing jack is wired for such purpose, in the case of older networks where it could work, it would make the whole network slower.

Had a good laugh yesterday when customer requested a splitter, even sending an Amazon photo. All the network people huddled and asked what would happen. Because all our networks are all Poe, it would be dangerous! Very likely causing damage to anything plugged into it..

Also there are mini hubs and mini switches. Hubs are slower basically acting like an old scanner moving data from one port, then the next. Would recommend a Switch any day!

Just passing on info.

MQTT Progress

After a weekend of diving into things I should have learned years ago, I’ve made progress. One of the things I’ve always wanted to be able to do, it update graphics realtime from a webpage, and if needed convert text to graphic. Finally did it, ImageMagick and open source project. One of my customers uses ImageMagick to take ID Photos then insert text over the image. They use a script converting camera images. In my case I am taken data, and creating images of text.

The hard part was setting up the server (which is now Windows, since all jobs currently held by Macs are being converted to Windows). And I am still learning MQTT, which is turning out to be very useful and now I GET IT, very easy.

We’ve converted an old Raspberry Pi with connected Arduino, with a connected Weather Shield to all work with MQTT, almost 100%. If you’ve see my other posts you can see the weather station has been around. And now for some odd reason it isn’t sending Wind Speed. I haven’t given up hope. Just need a break from dealing with that equipment.

Also from another post, I have temperature sensors, and weather stations that use 433 mhz scattered all over the property. Now that I’ve learned to properly format MQTT, I can start posting their real time data…. I was using FEEDS in RapidWeaver, but it wasn’t built for what I am doing, so tossed that idea, and now I am using PHP and Python..

Will give more details and instructions when I complete it.

Watching the Vision Pro videos

See this as next big thing, other companies haven’t found a way to push VR out and make lots of money. Think Apple has, waiting, building a video catalog, games and programs that work on AppleTV. However I am not going to be paying $3-$4k for VR headset, nice as they are. I’ll wait till the AppleVision, (minus the pro). Just like Apple always done, MacBook Pro, Apple Pro, iPod, Watch, the works. They’ll get as much as they can, the WOW look at this a cheaper model. Yeah I know it’ll miss a lot of the fancy features, most of which we can live without. Looking forward to AppleVision…

Another Weekend of Mac Fustrations

Gave up on trying to revive old project and programs on the Mac, decided to work with micro controllers, Arduino and Raspberry Pi. Will say, once again, Apple is showing its true colors.

Using an Intel iMac 27″, 500 gb hard drive. Problem is drive is filling, and because iCloud put my home folder in the cloud, Arduino IDE doesn’t work. It appears since the libraries are really stored in the cloud and the Arduino IDE doesn’t like that. Tried to change permissions and security settings, but still no luck.. HOWEVER, everything works fine on OLD Windows 10 machines.

Sorry, this is just getting silly.

macOS Apple’s downfall

Having been a big Apple supporter since the early 90’s, I am quickly loosing all love I had for the system. They basically made their machines into a pretty short term, but expensive machine, with many equally expensive and pretty add-ons. But the computer is becoming useless for anyone that does really anything with a computer.

Its lost PHP, Server features (even as a add-on), upgradeability, parts swapping for repairs. And the list goes on.

Starting to think the PHP and server functions were cast off due to its relationship with one of it major shareholders, Microsoft. And I assume with Apple’s need to have something to show its customers every year, new faster than anything out there processors. There are customers that can really use those functions, but nowhere near the numbers that will keep Apple alive.

The bad thing about killing off features, like PHP, is they go out of their way to kill it. Even third party groups that TRY to breath live into ageing machines are getting fustrated.

Personally I won’t be buy any NEW Apples ever again. Maybe second hand have a fraction of their original price (Mac Pro Trashcan, orginally $3k, purchased for $300).

Apple Watch exploded, nothing dramic like bursting into flames, just popped the case apart. Making it worthly. Just months after the warranty expired.

I have Xserves, Flower Pot G4s, Cubes, all still work, but no way to upgrade the OS beyond what they currently have. So no browser updates, no security updates. My friends say “install Linux on them”. Which is possible, but then that causes all sorts of other interconnection issues.

Apple is after the money and short term customer satisfaction. Personally I got into computers because they were fun.