Category Archives: Overly Complicated Projects

Battery backups: maintaining access when there’s no power

A little background: Some years back I learned a very hard lesson about losing power on a RAID array that didn’t have an onboard battery backup. The result was ~7TB of data gone, about 1.5TB completely irreplaceable including old school work and photos. This was a hard pill to swallow and helped me get better about redundant backups and another thing that was especially important: UPS backups, or Uninterruptible Power Supplies.

A UPS is a device which provides power for a short time during a home or business power failure by providing an AC output to whatever is plugged into it. I have several of these scattered throughout my home, including for my desktop and a couple lights around the house which act as emergency lighting using older, smaller UPS devices. My servers are always running UPS backups, but on a big larger scale.

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Raspberry Pi offline Wikipedia

Wikipedia is a vast archive of knowledge and information we tend to forget is there. An encyclopedia of knowledge brought by users and edited by a community, it has a high accuracy rate and information on just about any subject you could want. You can also download an entire archive of it at around 90GB at the time of this writing!

I’ve had the idea for a while now about making an offline version to run locally for myself or friends, maybe something just to browse during a flight or roadtrip. Or, as my prepping thoughts say, maybe something for when the power’s out and easy to access! Enter the Raspberry Pi, a low cost and low power computer to run this using a suite of tools you can run off a battery pack and access from one’s phone/tablet/computer. Well, this is easier than you might think! I’ll be going over the ideas and thought processes of this at a high level as the project took some time. I can provide more details if you’d like by reaching out to me at if you’d like.

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Project: NAS backups share using Windows/Backblaze personal

There’s two types of people: Those who have backups, and those who will lose data. Several years ago I had a raid card failure on a RAID 5 array (three disks) that lost about 5~ TB of data. Of this, about 1.5 was completely irreplaceable data, things as far back as high school projects. After this, I went into backup mode and always had redundant copies both locally and online (cloud based). At this point I’ve made a pretty solid system for handling this across multiple systems. Lemme walk you through it.

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unRAID: capacity and ease of use over performance

I’ve been looking over various NAS (Network-Attached-Storage) operating systems for some time now. Naturally, there’s two big players in the game that everyone seems to go to: FreeNAS and unRAID. Both boast a considerable user base, community add on support and a ton of customization but one big difference at a quick glance: FreeNAS, as the name implies, is free while unRAID is a pay for licensed OS. But a quick glance only shows so much.

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Automated Youtube Downloads Into Plex (Windows)

Welcome to another Overly Complicate Project! This time, it started with some advice from our friends at r/DataHoarder and a fun tool called “youtube-dl”. This has taken a bit of tinkering and some custom code, but I now have an all-in-one solution that downloads Youtube videos from a playlist/channel, confirms progress to save bandwidth on future downloads, and stores them into a Plex library for local viewing. Let’s begin.

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Archiving youtube and website data

YouTube has become a bit of a dilemma for many people like myself who enjoy music and video edits with said music; We love supporting artists we enjoy along with the video edits. But, with companies locking down on content, these videos and channels are going offline suddenly and often without warning. I’ve taken to downloading backups of these as often as possible. With a little help from r/datahoarding, I now have a great set up that does this with minimal user intervention.

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Overly Complicated Project: FTP backups on local network

With the revision of my Cloud backups from CrashPlan to Backblaze, I lost the ability to handle backups from a network share. There are complicated ways to install devices and make network shares work as local disks, but it seems like a mixed bag of results. I’ve had the idea for a while now and I decided to make it happen: FTP backups on my local network from any Linux systems and possibly Windows.

Goal: Backups to be as easy as possible and require little to no future proofing after install. Think I got it down.

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Backblaze backups: Initial impressions

Welcome back! I received an email this week from CrashPlan (CrashPlan for small business account) that they will no longer be supporting backups with such extensions as OVA, VMK, VMDK, etc. This knocks out several of my backups (OVAs are what I use from my ESXI system) and will make my online backups no longer effective.

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Overly complicated ideas: IRC command of servers!

A little background: I get these ideas once in a while that eventually come to fruition after a couple months of brainstorming and tinkering. I’ve had the idea for a while of having a central way to maintain my fleet of Linux servers I host along with Windows if possible. In the past, I used ssh keys to login and run updates. It worked pretty well but I’d like a way to remotely run and/or monitor these. Enter IRC…

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