Recently Spotify updated it’s Linux repository to include version 18.104.22.168.gd6cfae15-30 (At the time of writing) of spotify-client. There are some issues such as missing system tray icon, missing window menus (Probably intentional but stupid anyway), entering offline mode(!) and and so spacious ui that you could fit an ocean tanker in there without hitting an element so some may want to downgrade to 0.9.x.
Luckily somebody on Spotify’s team seems to share this concern as they are hosting the old version too as spotify-client-0.9.17. So to get the old one back just do:
sudoapt-get install spotify-client-0.9.17
This will remove the new one and install the old version which is at the time of writing is 0.9.17.8.gd06432d.31-1.
To make sure you don’t lose the good one you could use apt-mark to mark the packet as held to prevent automatic upgrade and removal of the version. To do this you can use:
sudoapt-mark hold spotify-client-0.9.17
You should still probably upgrade the packet if they update it, though.
And just in case they remove the old packet you could store it yourself. If you just installed it you should be able to find the .deb file in /var/cache/apt/archives/. If it’s already gone you can fetch it again using apt-get with –download-only and –reinstall:
The only issue with this is that you might lose protection against security issues as you might not receive latest updates. Luckily the attack surface is quite small, realistically only the spotify: URIs and .mp3 files if you are into importing those.
Recently I was scouting the market for a smartphone with reasonable specs and wireless charging. Surprisingly it turned out to be mission impossible. Luckily I was offered an almost-new OnePlus One which despite of its age is still on par with reasonable new smartphones.
The OnePlus One has everything I was looking for except wireless charging (and maybe a fingerprint scanner but that was last on my list). So I decided to hack one in and more or less surprisingly it works. This has been done before (For example on xda-developers forum) but most of the hacks I found are just messy or break NFC functionality.
I got a USB wireless charging receiver with the phone which worked fine so I just cut off the USB cable and replaced it with thin breadboard jumper cables and soldered it to two utmost pins of the phones USB connector. In case you are wondering, the two utmost pins are shorted together, probably to make sure the traces going in the phone can handle the charging current. You would probably be fine with just one as the qi pads can only take 1A and the supplied charger is rated 2.1A but it’s easier to solder to two pins anyway so do it.
At this point charging was working just fine but the bottom part with speakers would never fit because of the additional wires. I sorted that out by carving the plastic to make some room. It turned out that the plastic is very easy to work with so no issues there. Unfortunately the wires need to be crossed as the receiver thing has contacts on the opposite sides than the phone and has shielding allowing it to work only on one side. I was too lazy to start moving the shielding so I just crossed the wires and carved out some more plastic.
The last issue that needs sorting is the shielding behind the NFC antenna that will block the charging receiver. It is likely unnecessary for the functionality of NFC but I decided to rip the damn thing off the NFC antenna and stick it to the battery behind qi coil. That is probably wise to minimize heating of the battery by induction that misses the coil and its tiny shield. This was also the most tricky part as the shield and antenna are glued together but I managed to do it without breaking anything by peeling carefully.
And that’s it, wireless charging working at the speed of 1A charger and NFC still working fine.
I have been wanting to build a home server for quite a while already, a Raspberry Pi has done some of the duties I have had in mind but it’s woefully under-powered for most of the stuff and it’s memory card failed a while back so why not build a proper one this time.
From the beginning it was clear that the machine would run a bunch of virtual machines. With this goal in mind it was clear that it would be based on VMware ESXi 6.0 and needed 16 GB ram and something along the lines of Xeon E3-1230v2. Rack mounting was unfortunately not an option as there just is no space for a rack in my current apartment.
I happened to have a bunch of 3 TB hard drives, a mix of Western Digital red and green, available for this project but everything else was on shopping list. I will get back to performance of this drive mix later but I’m hoping the greens will play nice with the raid.
Do I need to build it myself?
First I thought of HP’s home server / small office offering carrying the name Microserver, possibly with an upgrade to Xeon E3-1231v3 but decided against it because of seemingly short lifetime. Microserver has only one PCI-e slot and lacks proper integrated hardware raid. This means proper hardware raid would take the only PCI-e slot and there would be zero room for upgrades. Also VMware does not support this platform at all so ESXi runs on it only as long as HP is willing to provide drivers for it (Of course it will run longer if you are willing to hunt and use third-party drivers, but I’m not). It is definitely a cheap option to consider, but I think a more generic build will become cheaper in the long run as components can be upgraded as needed.
After exploring the Microserver I was pretty much settled on 16 GB of ECC ram and E3-1231v3, which seem to provide very decent performance and most bang for the buck. So the important stuff left to hunt were motherboard, raid card and enclosure.
Building it myself
Lets begin with the raid card, I’m not going to go all the cards I thought of as that would take forever so lets just cut to it. I decided to go with Dell Perc H700, which is pretty much an LSI MegaRAID 9265-8i. I admit it’s a bit on the older side but it provides very decent performance for a home server and can’t beat it in bang for the buck. The Dell one is the cheapest 9265 clone I could find at around 80€ used and it seems to have decent support from both VMware and Dell.
Motherboard was definitely the hardest part, I’m not exactly sure why because I ended up with a Supermicro board that has pretty much everything I want but was quite hard to find. The board is called X10SLL-F and I managed to source it from a German reseller for a little shy of 200€. This board is based on Intel C222 and features two PCI-e x8 plus one x4, double nics and ipmi with dedicated nic. And every single bit is supported by ESXi 6.0 out of the box.
Finding a proper enclosure wasn’t an easy task either as I initially wanted Microserver-like external hard drive caddies but had to give up on that idea as I simply couldn’t find a good one featuring at least 8 of them. After looking at a bunch of more ordinary cases I chose to go with Fractal Design Define R5 because of the nice hard drive “caddies” and the good experiences I have had with Fractal Design cases before. To make it a little bit less boring I chose to rotate the hard drive cages 180 degrees to face the other side panel for easier access as the server will be located so that the side you would normally open will be facing a wall. They have definitely not planned for this but it works ok, you have to temporarily remove the plastic things guiding the upper cage to make it fit under the optical drive’s cage which I decided not to remove. It is a little wobbly but works just fine.
Complete home server shopping list
Rest of the build is pretty standard, here is the complete home server build, just add some hard drives. Notice that those Amazon links are not the ones I bought, just couldn’t find manufacturer’s site for them and the eBay items I bought are not likely to survive as long as Amazon ones. The battery and battery cable are actually for even older Dell Perc cards but work just fine with H700 and were a little cheaper.
The whole thing comes out a little short of 1000€ when all parts except the raid adapter are bought new. HP Microserver with the same ram and CPU upgraded to E3-1231v3 would come out as about 575€ with integrated raid or about 700€ with the same raid setup so I consider my build to be definitely worth the 300€ extra, and if you are on a budget you can probably cut it down to pretty near the 700€ by buying used.
Sorry for the quality, I will get a camera, promise.
I have already installed VMware ESXi (vSphere) 6.0 and additional VIBs for raid status to be visible to ESXi and Dell’s OpenManage to be able to control the raid card without booting the machine all the time. I might write another post on the installation as it wasn’t very straightforward and guides I found online are outdated. But now excuse me as I’m going to play some more with the new home server.