I recently built out a NAS for our condo. Our friends Art and Raquel were visiting us from Philly. They have two awesome little kids, and a really sweet DSLR, and they love to take pictures of their kids. Art wants a nice NAS to store the pictures and backups, and asked my opinion. I was like “CHING!” Why don’t I buy one and find out what works.
I looked at a lot of the online options and considered building my own. It would have to be Linux based in order to serve my Mac, Android, and Ios devices. There is no way I’d build an Windows solution with NTFS partitions in this day and age. Linux would be great, and free, but it takes a lot of time to configure, get right, and then keep up to date. I wanted something hassle free, with easy to configure features like backup and a Media Server to stream to an Xbox 360.
Out of the list of the 5 best NAS solutions over the past two years, I picked the Synology DS212J. It cost $200 with no drives, runs Linux, has 2 bays, supports RAID1, is low-power, and has a ton of add-on features. The kernel is a modified Linux kernel, hopefully with many of the optional and vulnerable services turned off. The interface is nice. Here is a great review of the device:
Synology stats that the DS212J “consumes only 17.6W in operation and 5.5W in sleep mode”. I plugged it into my Kill-A-Watt and found that it actually uses less – 3.8 watts in Sleep and around 15 watts under load. Mine is built with two WD Green 3 TB drives running in RAID1. I think that the Green drives use less power than the ones Synology tested with.
I could write for hours about it. I configured it with ext4 volumes (heard it was the best) with a RAID1 setup. I want redundancy, but not to such a serious degree that I’d splurge on RAID5. I remember how slow writing to RAID5 can be from my Cisco days when my boss gave me a beast of a server to run early VMWare images from. So….Slow… RAID1 should do, and I’ve configured Synology’s remarkably well designed DS-Station to email me if either of the disks start to degrade.
Mission accomplished. $497 was the grand total from Amazon. Here are the parts I used.
And two of these:
I could have done 2x4TB but I didn’t really feel the need. Try this out and enjoy!No comments
At Opower, we spend some time asking “When was the last time you logged into your electricity provider’s website and had a look at your usage?” Our president Alex Laskey opened his recent TED talk with that question, and an unsurprisingly small number of people raised their hands.No comments
At Opower, we use the Google Geocoding API to help us find latitude and longitude for customer’s sites. Today, they pushed out a new field, called “score” that isn’t part of their API. Here is the new response body with lots of information redacted:
"long_name": "New Jersey",
…"formatted_address": "..., Teaneck, NJ 07666, USA",
We don’t yet know what it is or what it’s used for, but I suspect that it’s a score or confidence interval of how good Google things the result is. It caused a few JSON Parsers to bork since we were counting on the fields listed in the API to be the only ones in the request. That was not a wise assumption, and we used this Jackson annotation to prevent this from happening again:
@JsonIgnoreProperties(ignoreUnknown = true)
I’m out of the cast and into a boot now. I’m really happy to be making progress. The surgeon spent some time with me on Thursday and said i appear to be healing very well.
I haven’t been drinking much or at all, and have been eating at home most of the time. Melissa cooks a lot. I can make some simple stuff like tortellini and sauce. I bought a scooter to get around since when you use crutches, both of your hands are always tied up. I think that my healthy diet and lack of parties have helped with the healing.
I’m rambling a bit today. I took a vicodin and am goofy! I expected to be off of pain killers entirely by this point but that hasn’t happened. Usually i don’t need much, and I haven’t gotten a refill since the surgery on December 6. I know a lot of people become dependent on them so I’m trying to be careful. When they run out, i can’t get anymore, so I guess I’m done, right?
Damn, it feels so good to be out of that cast. The boot came off after i got home from work on Thursday and didn’t go back on until just now. It’s hurting and I think it needs some support. All of the muscle is gone.
Physical therapy from Monday. Things are starting to get better. Good night!
See the very graphic pictures that the surgeon took during the surgery. My ankle is cut wide open, so do not click if you’re sensitive to blood or gory scenes!
Link to pictures of my ankle during surgery.
I had surgery during the week of December 5th at Chevy Chase Surgical Center. It occupies the top floor of a medical building near Friendship Heights. Different surgeons perform their outpatient surgeries there. I was quite impressed, and everything went smoothly. Two anesthesiologists attended to me. They prepared me for general anesthesia and a Nerve Block. My surgeon arrived after they’d started work and put my mind at ease. He performs this surgery all the time. I was nervous beforehand – even wrote my will in my notebook (Melissa will laugh at me, but at least she wouldn’t have to go to probate if I died).
The Nerve Block is something injected into a nerve in your thigh. It completely numbs and paralyzes the leg below that point. It lasts for 24 hours, so it relieves a significant amount of the surgical pain as the leg swells and gets used to whatever tearing, cutting, and stretching went on during surgery. The anesthesiologists used a mini ultrasound machine to locate the nerve, then spread on a topical anesthetic, and then inserted the nerve block. I was getting pretty anxious by this point, so I turned my head and didn’t watch as they actually did it. Within 15 minutes, I couldn’t feel or move my leg. So weird.
Then the general anesthesia started. Well, from that point on, it’s pretty much a haze. Melissa brought me home after the surgery, and I vegged out on Percocets. They warned me to start taking the pain killers before the nerve block wore off. If you don’t, the nerve block wears off and BLAM, severe pain. I’ll never complain if the doctor asks me to eat pain killers. They’re quite nice!
Check out the pictures. They’re gross but AWESOME. I’ve never seen inside my own body before.2 comments
Nearly a month ago, I ruptured the Achilles tendon on the back of my left foot. I play on a soccer team on Saturdays and it happened in the middle of a game. All of a sudden, while I was running down the field after a ball, there was a loud pop and intense pain. I asked the guy on the opposing team if he’d kicked me, but he said no, and the ball was still in front of us both, so I believe him. It just snapped.
Since then, December 1st, I’ve been in two splints, two casts, and had surgery by an expert surgeon. Dr. Gary Feldman of Rockville, Maryland, was recommended to me by my friend Ravi who had had the same injury a few years ago. Dr. Feldman gives you the impression that he repairs half-a-dozen Achilles tendons per month, but still takes the time to explain the painful process to his patients and answer their questions. That is a doctors most valuable trait to a person like me who can search for and find endless Achilles horror stories, do-s and don’t-s, and useless products on the internet.
Immediately after the injury, I went to the ER Howard University Hospital in DC. The front desk people are truly awful, and kept me waiting for what seemed like an hour. I was in a wheel chair and in so much pain that I was having trouble drinking my water. So naturally they just let me hang out. I had to beg for X-rays for about 15 minutes. By that time, the soleus muscles that are usually held taut along the back of your lower foot were cramping, spasming, and bunched up right below my calf. There was a gross, gelatinous mass there that just appeared after the SNAP. I had no idea what was wrong with my foot at that time.
Once HUH got me inside, they took X-Rays and got me into a comfortable chair where I could elevate my leg. Once you are past the Howard UH front desk, the rest of the staff is great. Then came the Percocet! Finally the pain eased up with two giant horse pills. My wife, Melissa, also arrived at that time. An orthopedic resident came down, and after a quick examination, he gave me the bad news: a fully ruptured Achilles that would need surgery within a week. Surgery would be followed by two months in a cast and then a boot, and then extensive physical therapy.
I found Dr Feldman on Sunday through Ravi, and got an appointment with him in his DC office on Tuesday. Sweet Melissa was able to take time off of work to take me to Dr. Feldmans. I was so loopy from Percocet that I forgot Dr. Feldman’s address and we ended up in front of a kebab joint in Dupont Circle. Dr. Feldman confirmed that my Achilles was likely totally ruptured. They do a 2-step pressure test to determine if any of the the tendon is intact.
Laying on your stomach with your foot extended, squeeze the calf muscle (Try it on your own). If the bottom of the foot points, then the tendon is at least partially intact. If there is no foot movement, it’s likely that the tendon is gone.
Sitting on your butt, try to point your toe, or push your toes away from your body. With a torn Achilles, you either get no pressure on the bottom of the foot, or no movement of the foot at all. Scary to have so little control.
My tendon was completely ruptured. If there was any left, Dr. Feldman would need to do an MRI to determine. But since I would need surgery regardless if the tendon had a few strands left or if it were totally gone, the Dr. decided to cut me open and have at it.
In my next post, I’ll write about the surgery. I have some pretty graphic pictures that I will post! It looks like a bomb went off inside of a pile of meat. Stay tuned!1 comment