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There are some WordPress blogs where users don’t always have an understanding of HTML tags and styling. They usually write their posts on Microsoft Word or other similar software and then paste it on WordPress, carrying a plethora of ugly tags that break all templates.

Reasoning with them is of no use, they don’t see that God is in the details.The Lego Batman Movie (2017)

Here comes this plugin that I just wrote, encapsulating what was well demonstrated by Dariusz Lyson on Stack Exchange.

Check it out on the wordpress.org plugins repo.

Struggling with FreeNAS power consumption optmization

DisksView

I’ve been using FreeNAS 8.3.0 for several months now and it became such a work/entertainment hub that I simply started take it for granted. Yesterday I needed to create a new dataset and just out of curiosity I looked at the Reporting tab. My box has been running for over a month now, with all four disks spinning the entire time.

Ok, spinning disks evolved a long way but this is just a waste of energy. If it is in the middle of the night or during the day when no one is at home it should be in stand-by mode. I don’t want to manually turn it on and off because I will forget it and I don’t want to schedule power on and add a cron job to shut it down because I might be working late some day or just finishing a extra long movie and have to wait until it boots up again.Movie Fifty Shades Darker (2017)

It has to be automatic and seamless

Thankfully FreeNAS offers settings on the web ui to manage this. After a lot of experimentation and frustation I figured it out:

First of all, these settings seem to come into effect only after a reboot. A little note somewhere would have been helpful.

Second, on the View Disks page, the HDD Standby and the Advanced Power Management settings seem to be mutually exclusive. The first one just a “dumb” timer (that I don’t know if is in seconds of minutes, it’s behaviour is erratic) and the second one is a setting that is applied by the HD firmware. APM values lower than 128 allow the drive to spin down when idle.

After reading How to find out if a drive is spinning down properly and HDD standby times not as expected on the FreeNAS forum I did a couple more experiments.

All my drives have been set with HDD Standby = Always On and Advanced Power Management = 64.

Reboot and a improved check-spinning.sh:

#!/bin/sh

while [ 1 ]
do
    echo -n `date`    
    camcontrol devlist | awk -F\( '{print $2'} | awk -F\, '{print $1}' |while read LINE
    do
        CM=$(camcontrol cmd $LINE -a "E5 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00" -r - | awk '{print $10}')
        if [ "$CM" = "FF" ] ; then
            echo -n " SPINNING  "
        elif [ "$CM" = "00" ] ; then
            echo -n "   IDLE    "
        else 
            echo -n "  UNKNOWN  "
        fi
    done    
    echo
    sleep 5
done

I let it run for a few hours and the output was something like:

Sat Mar 16 21:41:23 BRT 2013   IDLE       IDLE       IDLE       IDLE    
Sat Mar 16 21:41:28 BRT 2013   IDLE       IDLE       IDLE       IDLE    
Sat Mar 16 21:41:33 BRT 2013   IDLE       IDLE       IDLE       IDLE    
Sat Mar 16 21:41:38 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:41:48 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:41:53 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:41:59 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:04 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:10 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:15 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:20 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:26 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:31 BRT 2013 SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING   SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:36 BRT 2013 SPINNING     IDLE       IDLE     SPINNING  
Sat Mar 16 21:42:41 BRT 2013 SPINNING     IDLE       IDLE     SPINNING

The second script I wrote was to log all processes touching the disk at the time that they were being used.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Following some suggestions from StackExchange, check-top.sh:

#!/bin/sh

while [ 1 ]
do
    echo -n `date`
    top -I -mio -b -n -a 2
    sleep 1
done

With the long output of this one I cross-referenced all times and found out that the culprit were three python scripts scheduled to run every minute: /usr/local/bin/graph.py, /usr/local/www/freenasUI/tools/alert.py and /usr/local/www/freenasUI/tools/autosnap.py.

They are responsible for updating the reports on the gui, for updating alerts and for generating automatic snapshots and replicating them to offsite FreeNAS boxes.

Don’t get me wrong, I use and love these three features, but I don’t need to have these scripts running every minute. Basically, if I am not connected to my NAS reading or writing files to it, I don’t need automatic snapshots or replication (nothing is changing right?). If there is no one connected, there is also no need to updating reports that no one is seeing.

How did I fixed it?

I wrote a bash script to check the state of my disks before invoking the passed command. Here is /conf/base/etc/runifspinning.sh:

#!/bin/bash

while read LINE; do
    CM=$(camcontrol cmd $LINE -a "E5 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00" -r - | awk '{print $10}')
    if [ "$CM" = "00" ] ; then
        exit 0
    fi
done < <(camcontrol devlist | awk -F\( '{print $2'} | awk -F\, '{print $1}')

$*

Then, I changed the base crontab at /conf/base/etc/crontab from:

*/5 *   *   *   *   root    /usr/local/bin/python /usr/local/bin/graph.py
*/5 *   *   *   *   root    /usr/local/bin/python /usr/local/www/freenasUI/tools/alert.py > /dev/null 2>&1
*   *   *   *   *   root    /usr/local/bin/python /usr/local/www/freenasUI/tools/autosnap.py > /dev/null 2>&1

To:

*/5 *   *   *   *   root    /conf/base/etc/runifspinning.sh /usr/local/bin/python /usr/local/bin/graph.py
*/5 *   *   *   *   root    /conf/base/etc/runifspinning.sh /usr/local/bin/python /usr/local/www/freenasUI/tools/alert.py > /dev/null 2>&1
*   *   *   *   *   root    /conf/base/etc/runifspinning.sh /usr/local/bin/python /usr/local/www/freenasUI/tools/autosnap.py > /dev/null 2>&1

Rebooted and bingo! Now, I still have all the functionality but only when the disks are already spinning. No more waking from idle to perform repetitive tasks.

A few last notes

  • To change the base configuration you will have to ssh into your box and be able to run commands as root.
  • All these changes will probably be lost when upgrading since they are not persisted on the config database.
  • To make /conf writable you can use mount -uw /.

Enabling sudo and persisting the sudoer’s list on FreeNAS

Fiddling with FreeNAS for a while now it was bothering me to have to su before running a command that requires root.

This sound simple but there is one caveat: If you just edit /usr/local/etc/sudoers, your changes will be lost when your box reboots.

FreeNAS stores some of its base files in /conf/base. To modify it you have to make it writable first, ssh into your box and run:

su
mount -uw /

Now you can nano /conf/base/etc/local/sudoers and add the following line:

%wheel ALL=(ALL) ALL

Make sure that the users that require sudo will be on the wheel group (you can change this from the web gui).

Reboot your FreeNAS and the system will apply this setting. That’s it!

More info on DistroGeeks, Karl Keppner and Sudo.ws.

Update 2013-10-26: Trying to apply this to FreeNAS 9.1.1 I noticed that the correct path to the persistent sudoers file is /conf/base/etc/local/sudoers.

Typo on hostname

Have you had the experience of finishing a Debian install only to figure out latter that it would have been better to use another name?

To do that you need to run the following as root:watch full film I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

echo "NEWHOSTNAME" > /etc/hostname
/etc/init.d/hostname.sh start

The first line replaces the contents of the /etc/hostname file with the NEWHOSTNAME, the second line runs the script that reloads it.

Simple as that.

sudo make me a sandwich

sandwich

I’ve been setting up a lot of Debian systems these days and sudo doesn’t come installed by default.Watch Full Movie Online Streaming Online and Download

Here is how you can get it up and running using apt-get:

 apt-get install sudo

After that, to add an already existing user to the sudoer’s list, just use usermod:

 usermod -a -G sudo USERNAME

Do not forget to use the -a option, otherwise the user is not going to be a part of the groups that he/she previously was.

Hello world!

“Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!”

lol. I don’t know how many times I’ve seen this phrase. After setting up a quite considerable number of WordPress sites you kinda get used to it. So… Here is another blog.

Why?

For quite some time I wanted to write a blog, the thing is I don’t really like to write, lol. What I DO like to do is to solve problems. When I am presented with a challenge, I do my research and come up with a solution. Writing down how that was done is something I never really gave much attention to, but without someone writing down and sharing how they solved their problems, I would not have much to research on, right?

Not too long ago I decided to checkout what exactly is this “markdown” text format that a lot of places are using nowadays and I was impressed. An easy an simple way to render beautiful html from standard text files. About the same time I came in touch with git (the kernel.org official version control system) and with puppet (a configuration management tool) and I noticed that basically all projects I have come in contact with since I started out as a programmer/admin could be greatly improved.

Some say that’s there is no place better then home. There I begun to apply my newly acquired knowledge. My mission was to format and reconfigure all my home servers using puppet to centralize management, git to version control the configuration files and markdown to record any information that I found useful in the process. Later I decided to add pdf-printed versions of the pages I found during my research for future reference.

So why this blog? My markdown-driven research folder is getting out of control and I want to contribuite back so going forward I intent to use this blog as a simpler way to save anything I find interesting and useful and if I can help someone trying to invent the same wheel, then that is good too.