How ’bout a bit of a worst-update regarding worst-writer’s tech krapp? Yes. No. Well, then… buckle up butter cup cause I haven’t typed anything all day and I am seriously itchy￼. Or maybe not.￼
As of late 2020 there’s nothing left to be (technically) done, changed, updated, booted (into the bin) or saved￼ in my humble abode of tech krapp galore￼. In fact, everything in my reduce & simplify tech world works great right now. Reduce & simplify means nothing more than getting rid of truck-like tech devices, an effort I consider complete as of 2018 which is also reflected in the fact that I have a half dozen (or so) SBCs doing things such as: stereo systems, media players, bluetooth audio end-points, servers, etc. Cool, eh. More worst-writer posts about the journey is here (tag link).
By-the-buy, worst-writer’s SBC journey includes not only Raspberry Pi but also Pine64. So let me discard a few worst-words about that. At this point I’m pretty much done with Pine64. It’s not that I don’t like their boards. It’s just that getting them to work is above my pay-grade. That worst-said, I’ve still got a RockPro64 running as a samba server and as a Jellyfin media server. Reason for Jellyfin? My linux distro of choice for both the the RockPro64 and a lingering Rock64, i.e. that which fits my pay-grade, is DietPi. It’s the only Linux distro I’ve been able to manage on both the RockPro64 and the Rock64 with only minor headaches. Even though I’ve tried distros that include OMV (Open Media Vault), I’ve always found myself resorting back to DietPi–on account I couldn’t get the others to work. ￼In fact, my Rock64 (the little brother of the RockPro64) is connected to an external 4-bay HDD enclosure which I use to back up my RockPro64. It’s also serving as a PiHole anti-ad server—which I kinda love. The problem is, I’m starting to feel as though these two devices are at their end—at least in my worst-world￼.￼￼ And get this.￼ The RockPro64 feels like it has a bit more life left in it, the Rock64 is pretty much maxed out. I think. Pause. Drink. Gulp. ￼I should move￼ on.
Thank goodness last summer (or fall), as I was losing my $hit over Plex (hating it) and looking for a replacement (within my pay-grade), DietPi began offering Jellyfin in their repository. Since Jellyfin is an open source fork (I think) of Kodi (or is it Emby), which I’ve used on Raspberry Pi, I quickly felt at home with it. My only question has been: how long will it work–before all else fails (which seems to be a result of my low-pay-grade Linux capabilities)? The good news: So far so good–and even my better-half is getting used to using Jellyfin. My better-half, btw, hated Plex more than me and she totally ￼refused to use it. I’m sorry to get on Plex so much. But, as the saying goes, never go full retard, which Plex has done with its microsoft-like, big bloated-ness. But on that note, I die-gress.
As far as media servers go… With Plex on my $hitlist, do I even need a media server? There was actually a short stint there where I thought I’d just give up completely on a media server and use the various Raspberry Pi’s as media players that simply access files via samba. And they worked.￼The problem with that, though, is, it seems, my iPhone and iPads couldn’t handle the (direct) file access using VLC. I’m not sure if that has to do with my home network setup or VLC on iOS. It doesn’t really matter because, no matter what I tried, I couldn’t get seamless playback using any iOS device via samba. Once I started using Jellyfin the iOS devices worked toot-sweet. I suppose that has something to do with transcoding. And so. Back on to SBCs.
After a few years of use, worst-writer is questioning how long will the RockPro64 last and/or when will I replace it with, say, a Raspberry Pi compute module 4? At this juncture, after using an RPi4-4gb for the past few months as a desktop PC, where I mostly watched YouTube videos, streamed movies or TV (from my media server) or used the Terminal app to manage my Linux devices, I’m tickled to death about how well it actually￼ works. In fact, I was really tickled by how well the newest 64bit version of Ubuntu worked on it. I can’t praise Raspberry Pi enough for such an achievement with these little devices. And, by-the-buy, to my worst-mind, Raspberry Pi’s achievements is only rivalled by what Apple did with the first Mac and later the iPhone. And so.
The Raspberry Pi is nothing short of phenomenal. Not only has it rocked my low pay-grade world but it’s obviously gonna be even more valuable in the near future for my everything networked household. That you can get an RPi for less than a hundred bucks with only a few bucks more to turn it into (what I consider) a high-end audio player (HifiBerry!), it’s no longer a question of if but when these little things will completely over-take the PC world–let alone the fact that I have never regretted selling all my old standard high-voltage stereos and A/V receivers. Add to that the new RPi compute module, which should eventually replaced my RockPro64, I’m tickled to death that my choice to start fiddling with these things￼ in the first place so many years ago was the right choice.
But. As usual. I’m probably off worst-subject. As I’ve said with a whole lot of nothingness here and there, what’s the deal about non-nas-nas and my daily rig (the title fo this worst-post)? Well, since the/my non-nas-nas is based on an SBC, albeit the RockPro64, which, as stated above, I’m not sure how long it’s gonna be around, I can’t complain all that much. It does work–as a samba server. And samba is all about file sharing. And as far as I can tell, I’ve lost no data after fiddling and fiddling. But I have gone through quite a bit of headache and troubleshooting. I’ve also concluded after all this time and effort, Pines64/RockPro64 ￼is not a NAS replacement–unless you’re interested in a lot of troubleshooting and Linux headaches. But it does look good in that Pine64 case (see pic above). Or?
Since I refuse to buy a NAS (aka Synology or Drobo), beggars can’t be choosy. I’ve had to fiddle quit a bit to the point where I’ve (pretty much) given up on having a home NAS as a file storage device. Since my wife and I are Apple fans and we use Macs and iOS devices, I simply maintain a TimeMachine drive that is connected to an old AirPort Extreme which backs up our Macs. It works and works and works. Other than that, we use 200gb of iCloud space for important files and photos on both Mac and iOS. So I guess. If I wanted to. I could provide a half decent worst-argument that average tech users don’t even need a nas. I mean. I’m using the RockPro64 as a media server only on account my pay-grade can’t really get it to do anything else. But. Again. I die-gress.
As far as I my home rig goes. Get this, dear worst-reader. Like I said above, I’m really, really, seriously impressed with the RPi4-4gb as a desktop PC. In fact, I’m so impressed with it, that I’m probably gonna buy the RPi4-8gb this spring, relegating the 4gb device to some media player service and then, when it’s available, getting the RPi compute module 4 so I can get rid of the headache that is the RockPro64–and then, finally, begin the process of getting into some kind of truly functional non-nas-nas configuration. OMV, as far as I can remember, works great on RPi (and terrible on Pine64)–it’s just been a matter of waiting for RPi to provide some kind of SATA interface. If/when Raspberry ups the RPi4 to an RPi5, though… well, heck, don’t you know. I’m already re-thinking weather or not I’m gonna replace my MacBook with a new M1 device in 2021. And even though the new Macs with M1s are rockin’ good, the thought of actually getting a M1 MacMini just ain’t in the cards on account how well RPi’s are working these days. As far as my 2017 Intel MacBook goes, slow or no-slow￼￼, avoiding Big Sur (and Apple’s stupid update policies), etc., etc.￼, I’m still kind of good so I’ll probably keep it a while longer. ￼And so.
Tech happy, baby. Nuff typed.