Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Coming soon: Super-robust music server

I'm a huge fan of the Logitech's (or should I say Slimdevice's) range of Squeezebox players. I own three currently and use them every day to stream my entire CD library in high-quality FLAC format around my house. I absolutely love them.

Accordingly, I'm a long-term user of the Logitech Media Server software (nee. Squeezecenter, Slimserver) and have run this on all sorts of servers over the years, including a custom build PC server, a Buffalo Linkstation, and currently a Synology Diskstation. The Diskstation is brilliant - well supported, small, quiet, and efficient. However, with now over 1,000 CDs on the system, I've started to think about building a new super-robust server to protect my collection.

So, here's what I'm planning:

  • HP Proliant N40L Microserver. Currently £230 approx, with £100 cashback until the end of March. This is an absolute bargain in my opinion for a 4-bay, 2Gb RAM server including a 250Gb disk. I have mine currently on order from eBuyer (www.ebuyer.com).
  • Sony SATA DVD drive from which to install the OS.
  • 4Gb USB flash drive to install on the Microserver's internal USB port onto which to install the OS.
  • 1x WD 2TB hard disk. I have this spare from a previous project and will use this to start my RAID array. Once up and running, I plan to migrate other disks from my existing NAS to increase the capacity on this new server.
  • Total cost after cash-back: £149.00
  • I have been exploring the excellent FreeNAS 8.2 (www.freenas.org) and really want to use this for the following reasons: ZFS file system for fault-tolerance and error correction; regular filesystem snapshots; RAID 5; small & fast footprint; very quick to install, and good support.
  • Logitech Media Server (LMS) 7.7.1. This is the tricky bit as there is no official method that I can find to install this on BSD UNIX (on which FreeNAS is based). I've played around with this on Virtualbox and haven't found a way yet to install LMS yet. Herein lies the major challenge of this project!
I'm looking forward to putting this all together and if I can get LMS working on top of FreeNAS I'll let you know how I do it. Meanwhile if anyone has already achieved this please post a comment with some tips!

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Convert UK (or other) Motorola Xoom to GED with Jelly Bean

** IMPORTANT EDIT 31/07/2012 **
If you have been patiently waiting for Jelly Bean to land on your GED Xoom, wait no more. You can force the upgrade by clearing the Google services framework via Settings - Apps - All - Google services framework - Clear data.

Having done this, go back to 'About Tablet' and hit the 'Check for updates' button and the latest update should appear. 4.1.1. This has worked for me today.

EDIT 24/07/2012: Confirmation that Jelly Bean is on its way for the Xoom - hopefully within the next week:

EDIT 28/06/2012: With Google's announcement of Android 4.1 'Jelly Bean' yesterday, it appears that the Xoom will receive this update some time in July. I hope this will automatically appear on my ICS Xoom, so when it does I will post an update with details on the upgrade.


I bought a Motorola Xoom last year and think it is superb. Living in the UK though I have been keen to obtain Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) but rather disappointingly it hasn't officially been released yet. It turns out that the non-US Xooms are not officially 'Google Experience Devices' and so have some amount of customisation in their OS, making updates slower to emerge as a result. The US devices however have no such restrictions and are already able to upgrade to ICS.

The excellent Xoom forums have a good article posted on how to safely convert your Xoom to one running the stock US ROM, which you can then update to the latest release. I tried this the other day and am delighted with the results. Everything works - I still have access to the UK App Store (with prices in GBP) and the ICS experience is genuinely much slicker than Honeycomb. So, if you are impatient and wish to try this yourself, here is how I did it.

Firstly a warning:


Still here? OK - I'll start with two pages for reference from which I derived this procedure:


You will need to install the Android SDK on your PC / Mac / Linux box - see elsewhere in this blog for instructions for various Linux installations, or visit this page:


Now for the procedure:

1. Connect Xoom to your computer via USB.
2. On the Xoom, go to Settings -> Applications -> Development -> Enable USB debugging - tick this.
3. Download MZ604_HWI69.zip from the Motorola Developer link above. You will need to register to access this file but this is a simple step. Unzip contents of MZ604_HWI69.zip into a folder. Move this folder into /Applications/eclipse/android-sdk-mac_x86/platform-tools/, or wherever this folder exists in your Android SDK on your hard disk. This last stage is very important you do correctly otherwise the commands below will not be able to find the ROM image files.
4. Now, open a terminal and execute the following (these examples were run on a Mac but should be the same for Linux. Windows users will need to adjust these to suit - see the Xoom Forums post for examples for Windows):

cd /Applications/eclipse/android-sdk-mac_x86/platform-tools

5. Check your PC is talking with the Xoom over USB with:

./adb devices

Which should return something like:

List of devices attached 
3848204958a394e5 device

6. Then start the procedure to flash the US ROM with:

./adb reboot bootloader

7. The Xoom reboots. When the Xoom screen shows "starting fastboot protocol support" now type in the terminal:

./fastboot oem unlock

8. Now use 'volume up / down' buttons on the Xoom to answer the displayed questions to accept the license. After some formatting, the device reboots. Now manually power off the Xoom and then, holding the 'volume down' button, power on again. You will enter fast boot again. Now in the terminal type:

./fastboot flash boot MZ604_HWI69/boot.img 
./fastboot flash system MZ604_HWI69/system.img 
./fastboot flash recovery MZ604_HWI69/recovery.img 
./fastboot flash userdata MZ604_HWI69/userdata.img 
./fastboot erase cache
./fastboot oem lock

9. Again, use the 'volume up / down' buttons to answer the questions. The Xoom now reboots into the US ROM. Once booted for the first time, start downloading all the system updates in the usual way. After 5 or 6 of these, your Xoom will eventually boot into ICS. That's it!

To return to UK version repeat the above using MZ604_H.6.2-24_Retail_Europe.zip (N.B. I have not tried this - I plan to keep my Xoom in it's GED guise and hope it receives Android Jelly Bean later this year)!

I hope this works for you. Good luck if you do try, and thanks for reading.