Migration complete

Nov 8, 2013

Finally, after migrating from my outdated Joomla 1.5 to 3.1.5, and then after lots of troubles with updating from Joomla 3.1.5 to Joomla 3.2, the site is running again how it is supposed to run. All the content is back, including all the comments!

An update on this website

Oct 29, 2013

A few things changed on this website since my last post, and many things stayed the same. The things which have changed are small in number: A slightly changed design due to a CMS update to the most recent version (which I should have done a long time ago). Everything else has stayed the same, as long as I can manage to get all the articles back like before (including all comments). Right now I am too busy to keep updating this website. My GuruPlug is running but it only serves as a proxy at home so I can use it when I am travelling abroad and I need one. I haven't done anything else with my GuruPlug since.

I hope I can get all the content of this website back to how it was before, and maybe in the future I will get back to the GuruPlug (or whatever is popular by then). I'd love to try out the Raspberry Pi, but I did not get that chance yet. In the meantime, I hope the information on this website will be of use to many people.

Unbricking and Booting from microSD

May 18, 2012

After messing up my GuruPlug (writing the wrong U-Boot to my GuruPlug, and thus ending up with a bricked device), I finally managed to make it run again. I also started to test Amahi, which looks vers promising.

I wrote two new articles, one on how to Unbrick (flashing with JTAG), and one on how to boot from microSD. However, those two articles are only written very quickly. Hopefully they are useful for some of you, since the described information was hard for me to find anywhere else.

DAS DS4600 now running on eSATA

July 14, 2011

Finally, my semester is over and I have time to continue my GuruPlug setup. Today I connected my DAS via eSATA to my GuruPlug. I hope this will give some more speed to file transfers, I will run some tests later.

Important update on Silent Cooling post

June 26, 2011

I have an important update on the silent cooling post. My fan sometimes stopped running and needed some help to run again. Please read the warning with further information and updates.

UPDATE: I have replaced the resistor with a red LED. Read more in the updated post.


June 17, 2011

It seems like I'm getting into a one-month cycle with my posts... I was quite busy for a while now, with exams and projects, but I'm back soon to take care of my GuruPlug :)

Just some news I have to mention. Well, I'ts not very new any more, but still worth to mention. Once again it's about a new plugcomputer from GlobalScale: the D2Plug. The highlights of this plugcomputer are the 2D/3D acceleration (1x HDMI 1080p output with CEC, 1x VGA out), 8GB onboard flash memory and 1GB DDR3 SDRAM.


GuruPlug Server Plus and U-Snap: end of life?

April 29, 2011

I was just browsing the GlobalScale website and found some interesting information and news.

U-Snap: As the news say, U-Snap will not longer be supported due to low customer demand and to keep the cost lower. It will only be available as "Customer Build" for high volume OEM customers.

GuruPlug Server Plus: It seems like that the GuruPlug Server Plus is not available any more: "GuruPlug-ServerPLUS is not available for on line purchase anymore as our inventory is 0-out". I guess this is the result of the new Dream Plug which was released recently. The Dream Plug is a further development of the GuruPlug Server Plus, but for a slightly higher price.


March 30, 2011

GlobalScale Technologies recently released a new Plugcomputer, called the DreamPlug. It is basically a GuruPlug Server Plus in an new enclosure, with additional features like audio and a 2GB on-board microSD. Hopefully, the enclosure is well designed and there are no heat problems (quote: "with no internal moving components"). Without any heat problems and no fan, I would really consider it a dream plug.

So far, I'm still busy with my GuruPlug Server Plus as long as I have some time for it (which is not the case recently). I'm excited to see reviews if anyone got a DreamPlug.



March 04, 2011

Again, quite a while since the last update. However, the current update is not related to plugcomputer, I just addes some advertisement to the site. Hopefully it does not bother anyone and it will give at least some visitors helpful links.

If it bothers you, let me know. Otherwise, support me ;)

Icon makeover

January 25, 2011

The website got two new icons:

  • First I finally created a favicon to make the website better identifiable: favicon
  • Second, I replaced the ugly dot which was shown in front of lists like this one with this nice green arrow: arrow-1

The favicon is a quick combination of some other icons. I am not very happy with it now, but better than nothing. The icons used to create the favicon and the list icon are all from OpenClipArt.org

I hope I find some time soon to remake the current template with a matching favicon. Right now, it is just a downloaded template with some minor modifications.

GuruPlug Display is available

January 12, 2011

I just figured out that the GuruPlug Display is available! No announcements in the news from GlobalScale and also not under their GuruPlug-Menu in the products-section on top of the page (so a little hard to find :p).I have no idea since when it is available. NewIt does not sell it yet.

Here are some of the specifications:

  • Marvell ARMADA™ 168 800MHz
  • 512MB DDR2-800
  • 1 x Ethernet 10/100 Mbps
  • 4 x USB 2.0 ports (Host)
  • 1 x USB 2.0 OTG micro-AB port (Device/Host)
  • 1 x Micro SD Slot (w/ 4GB card)
  • 1 x Micro SD Slot w/ JTAG I/F option
  • 1 x Internal Micro SD card – 8GB
  • 1 x Serial Port over USB (for console)
  • 1 x HDMI Output Port with CEC
  • Power and Interface cables
  • Debug Interface board
  • Debian Linux Distribution


Everything about temperature and noise

January 12, 2011

The hardware modifications are finished and I even did some temperature measurements to make sure everything works well. The following articles are new:


Back with some hardware modification

December 28, 2010

After a while with no new blog posts and no new articles, I am back with some hardware modification to make my GuruPlug more quiet. The best idea I found is the idea from this forum thread. I like the idea mainly because the inside of the GuruPlug is not modified a lot and also the appearance does not change a lot. In addition, the airflow is quite perfect since it flows through the whole plugcomputer cooling all the components.

I just started the modification and of course documented with pictures for every step. The only thing I have to solve now is if I use the current fan from the GuruPlug (at lower speed) or if I should order a different one with sleeve bearing (should be more silent). I have to run some tests there and I'll post my results as soon as possible. The article can be found here.

As loud as a blowdryer

September 20, 2010

Finally I got the GuruPlug Server Plus back! Everything is working fine, but the new fan is quite noisy. I defenitely can't let it run for too long nearby me, it is way too loud. I will probably modify it as soon as I have some time. I don't want to send it back again and since it is a development kit, let's develop a little ;) Here are some new articles from the last few weeks:

The next article will be how to set up samba. My samba server is already running, but I faced some problems which I hope to resolve soon. At the same time, I am trying to run my 4.5TB Raid 5 DAS on ESata. At least it is working well on USB already :)

Good news and bad news

September 08, 2010

I am back from vacation but sadly I have to announce some bad news, but don't worry, the good ones will follow.

The bad news first: I still did not get my GuruPlug back and Global Scale has removed their statement about the upgrade kit which should, from the date of the release of their news, be ready "in the coming weeks (not months)". The mentioned upgrade kit should include a small fan and the equipment to connect it - on request and free of charge. I am wondering what the removal of these news could mean, but the good news followed soon after. Not from Global Scale, but from NewIt (where I got my GuruPlug). NewIt has two despatch dates, September 10th and 15th. A few days later the units should arrive in the UK and forwarded to the customers. However, they are still waiting for the upgrade kits or any news about it. Let's hope it all works out. If it does, I should get a new/fixed GuruPlug at the beginning of October.

GuruPlug on vacation

July 14, 2010

Finally, my last exam is over and I can enjoy the summer time! This means a lot of relaxing time for me, but also no updates for the next 6 weeks.

When I am back, I hope I finally have time to finish some things with my GuruPlug. These things are torrent download (transmission), wuala, samba, firewall and setting it up as a gateway (which I already wanted to do a while ago). I will also take the chance and send my GuruPlug back to NewIt where I purchased it and get a replacement because of the broken USB-ports. I just hope I have it again when I get back from vacation. I don't know yet if I will get one from the new ones or just a replacement.

So far, my GuruPlug is running for 4 days and 5h without any problem (cooled with the usb-fan). The load average is very low of course since I am not really using it yet, but I am very happy because the housing of the Plug feels very cool (even though the environment temperature is near 30°C).

In addition to the mentioned things I want to finish, I will continue on posting tutorials on things which I come across, like DynDns and Wget, and I started to make a list with important commands I use often.

Alright, more in 6 weeks. Have a great summer!

My GuruPlug is online

July 11, 2010

Since yesterday, my GuruPlug is accessible over the internet and I will let it run as long as possible to see how reliable it is. So far, the uptime is 1 day and about 2h. No special services are running except dyndns-updater, webserver and samba.

So far I did not want it to be accessible from the "public" because I was concerned about security. I then followed a few steps to ensure at least basic security, hopefully I can set up a firewall soon to improve the security a little. The next step was to use DHCP on one of the network interfaces (eth1) which is directly connected to my ADSL-router. The router is set to IP-forwarding for eth1 which gives the public IP-address to my GuruPlug at eth1. eth0 is manually configured with a local IP-address and used for local access like ssh and samba. The last step was to configure DynDNS locally and on www.dyndns.com to have a easy way of accessing my GuruPlug (tutorial will follow). During these steps, I also changed the hostname which then caused some problem after setting my basic security, thus I wrote a short tutorial about how to change the hostname on the GuruPlug (or any Debian system).

News from GlobalScale

July 10, 2010

GlobalsScale Technologies, the provider of the GuruPlug and the Sheevaplug, made an announcement a few days ago regarding to the GuruPlug overheating problems. Unfortunately, there will be no replacement of the daughter board as stated in my last post. They came to the conclusion that the main problem is the load on the CPU which can be caused by running the GB-Ethernet, Wireless and other interfaces at the same time. Their recommendation is to run the network interfaces at 10/100MB to reduce the CPU load. In a few months, they will release a "Professional Upgrade Kit" to solve the problem. How this upgrade kit is going to look like is not published yet.

Some users of the Sheevaplug also faced a problem, but with the power supply. It is now possible to buy a new power supply and replace it with the old one. Here is a guide on how to do the replacement.

Revised GuruPlug

June 29, 2010

Many people face the problem that their GuruPlug gets very hot. There have been many attempts to cool the device by adding a fan, a heat sink, or as I solved it by using an external fan. However, this can't be a good solution since people want to buy a device which works and which does not have to be modified. The developers at GlobalScale are now revising the GuruPlug. So far, it is not sure how the replacement will be realized. Either the people with a faulty unit will just get a new one, or the customers/resellers will get a replacement board (the daughter board) with a new power management chip (and most likely some other improvements).

As mentioned previously, my USB-ports are broken and my GuruPlug gets quite hot. Luckily, the reseller where I got my GuruPlug (NewIT from the UK) is very cooperative and they will advise their customers as soon as GlobalScale defines a delivery date for the replacement board. This means that I can keep my GuruPlug until they get the 2nd batch with the applied upgrades, and I will get a new one from the 2nd batch. Right now, I actually do not have much time for developing because I have my semester finals within the next three weeks, but whenever I have some time, I'll move to the next step: Using the GuruPlug as Gateway between the ADSL-router and my home network. The main thing I am struggling here is to find the right setting for the ADSL-router and to understand the IP-forwarding and DHCP-functionality for the LAN, but since Debian has it all within the packet management, it is only a few commands away ;)

GuruPlug reset

June 16, 2010

To see if my GuruPlug works fine (since I heard about rebooting issues and network problems), I just let it run over night, of course with my USB-fan running to assure a good air flow. The next day, everything was fine as far as I remember but when I tried to connect to my USB hard drive, I figured out that my USB ports don't work any more. There is no 5V power and also an external USB-drive does not work, neither does the SD card.

Now I am wondering what could have happened. Did the constant 80mA of the USB-fan destroy the USB-interface? That should be impossible since the USB specification requires a current up to 500mA, and it's running on my PC's USB for a few days now without problem. Is it a heat problem which made my USB die? or did I mess up some configuration? Since I do not want to loose warranty I did not open my plug yet. It might just have burned some part which is easily replaceable, but if I can't fix the problem without opening the case, I will first try to return it before I do anything else.

To figure out if I messed up the configuration, I decided to re-flash my GuruPlug. This is also a great possibility to get to know the boot process better and get some insight into the file system. The tutorial I am following is the reflashing-tutorial on plugcomputer.org. It seems to work, but I am having some troubles getting the root file system to the plug using tftp. Here are my experiences with tftp and the installation process. I also added a short tftp-tutorial.

Amahi and vim
June 15, 2010

One project that I came across just recently is the Amahi Home Server. It seems to be some free alternative to the Microsoft Windows Home server (WHS) and it just looks great. The requirements are a 800MHz CPU, 512MB ram and Fedora 12. It would be really great to have Amahi it on my GuruPlug, since it includes DHCP, VPN, VNC, backup, file sharing, web applications like wordpress or joomla and much more exciting stuff.

So far, there is a beta version available for download after registration. One problem is of course, that it is based on Fedora and it is not ported to the ARM yet. This forum thread indicates that there are some attempts to make it run on a Sheevaplug, and here is a tutorial how to install Fedora 12 on a GuruPlug.

New article:

I added a quick tutorial on how to use the terminal text-editor vim. Very useful to edit text-files on the Plugcomputer.

GuruPlug overheating and USB-fan

June 14, 2010

Cooling your GuruPlug might be an important criteria if you have one of the recent ones. It seems to be a problem with the design since there is no heat sink and not enough space for air exchange. I hope we would get further information from GlobalScale. It seems like they are redesigning a few things. This post shows some e-mailed information from GlobalScale.

Here is another interesting thread on the NewIT forum, since it describes some problems people have and there are also some solutions with some interesting pictures (it seems like you have to be logged in to see the pictures...).

My solution so far is to cool the GuruPlug housing from the outside with a 12cm 12V fan using the 5V of the USB-interface. Of course, I share my idea and wrote a small tutorial about my USB-fan.

The beginning

June 12, 2010

The website is up and running, some initial articles are created and they contain my first thoughts and recognitions. So far, my GuruPlug is running as is should (a little hot and cooled with a usb-powered fan, more on it later) and I set up the network configuration to my needs. I also ran an update and installed Java because I will most likely need it later for several tasks. Since Java (openjdk-6-jre) is pretty big (171MB), the flash-memory of my GuruPlug is already filled by about 58%. This is why I got a 8GB microSD card which I want to use to arrange (if possible) the memory in a different way.

I have many ideas what I could do next. The most important thing is that I can use it for file sharing, so in the next few posts, I will describe how I set up samba and if necessary, any related components.