What Happened to My NAS?!?! And-- Chapter Five of Ghosts of Glory High

2020-09-17

Hello, crazy people! :D

It's been a little over two months since Insanely Witty Stupidity's last Witty News article. You may not have noticed. But-- a lot has changed around this place. The latest headache I created for myself is adding a public changelog to the index page. Now any time something changes, I add an entry with a date and write about it. That way, people can see all the fun hacking I've been doing! ;)

I also gave Insanely Witty Stupidity its own man page (lol). But, I mean-- with crazy features like Insanely Witty Stupidity's theme feature and its cat and ls scripts, there really *should* be a way to collect information about Insanely Witty Stupidity's features in a central location. Otherwise, users will have no good way of learning about the site's features and how they can be put to good use.

In other news, Insanely Witty Stupidity now has a DuckDuckGo portal. I added this to allow users to search the world wide web using a search engine that does not collect data about its users' searches and sell it to advertisers. Mainly though (like Insanely Witty Stupidity's Google portal), the portal allows a user to send a search to DuckDuckGo without pausing for a list of search "suggestions" to load. After all, this is a malicious feature that taxes a user's system unnecessarily, distracts a user, and (very possibly) subjects a user to fascist/non-scientific propaganda.

Now-- the main complaint I have about Insanely Witty Stupidity's DuckDuckGo and Google portals is that neither of them use encryption (https). I have never implemented encryption on Insanely Witty Stupidity. And, that's because popular browsers present a user with a horrifying warning if a web page employs encryption with a license that was not purchased from a private company-- that is secretly owned by the same corporations that develop popular web browsers. This is *obviously* a scam (similar to union dues). And, Insanely Witty Stupidity refuses to cooperate with such an oppressive abuse of power!!! D:<

However, I *do* plan on creating encrypted versions of Insanely Witty Stupidity's search portals some time in the future. And so-- the way that will be done is by encrypting the pages with a privately crafted "pirate's" license (arrr, matey!!) And, well-- that means a user will be presented with a rather nasty warning message when they use Insanely Witty Stupidity's encrypted search portals. But-- at least their data will be protected from ISPs and other sadistic data miners. And, *that* is why encryption is important. Not for the sake of coughing up Benjamins for multi-billion dollar corporations like Google and Microsoft.

As Tor users (like myself) know, DuckDuckGo also offers an onion site. I also plan on adding a portal for that. In order to do that, Insanely Witty Stupidity will need its *own* onion site. And, it's pretty easy to add an onion site to an existing website for Tor users. It's just a matter of spending a little time setting things up. For those of you who do not know what The Onion Router (Tor) is or how an onion site can be used to preserve a user's anonymity, I encourage you to educate yourself.

I haven't done a lot of work on Ghosts of Glory High, lately. I finally started outlining chapter five. When I say "outlining", I literally mean-- I am writing an outline (like I was taught to write in grade school). It's a new technique I'm trying out for my own writing. So far, I've found it makes it easier to collect elements of a chapter. And then, I can quickly fill in the elements with language. And finally, the language can be compiled into a file. And, it seems to help me stay focused and get a better sense of the overall picture. But-- still not sure if I like it or not.

I've been pretty distracted, lately. So, my work is suffering (as it usually does). For one thing, my NAS (network attached storage) took a shit on me a couple months ago. Now, if you're trying to understand why a computer problem a couple months ago would cause me problems now-- let me just explain a little bit about my NAS.

So, the main system is a Raspberry Pi 4. And, I have four USB 3.0 disks attached to it: one 10TB disk, two 8TB disks, and one 4TB disk. They are assembled as a RAID-0-- meaning they are collected as a 30TB device that can be used as a single disk. There is a completely separate system (another Raspberry Pi 4 that I call "my mirroring system") connected to five USB 3.0 disks: one 10TB disk, two 8TB disks, one 4TB disk, and one 2TB disk.

On the mirror, a 32TB device is assembled from the mirror's five disks. And, there are six images stored on the 32TB device (across two separate partitions). The reason I did this is because ext4 filesystems have an 8TB file size limitation and mount has a 16TB partition limitation on 32 bit GNU/Linux systems.

And so when I boot my NAS, I also boot my mirroring system. Then, the mirror's two partitions (shared using a SAMBA server) are mounted on my NAS. Next, the mirror's six images are attached as loopback devices (losetup -P /dev/loop[int] /mnt/mirror[int]/image[int].img). Once they are looped, they are assembled as a 32TB RAID-0 on my NAS. And finally, a mirrorored RAID (RAID-1) is created from the RAID-0 attached directly to the NAS and the RAID-0 created from my mirroring system's six images. That way, my NAS's data (currently 15TB) is always backed up-- across a network-- to a system in a basement in my back yard.

And so (when my NAS's RAID-1 broke a couple months ago), I wasn't sure what the problem was. So, I deleted the images from my mirror. And, I began manually copying the data from my NAS to my mirror. That way, I could start a brand new mirrored RAID on my NAS. And, so-- this takes about fifteen days to complete. So, there went half a month. Next, I re-created the mirrored RAID on my NAS. Then, I began copying the data from my mirror to my NAS. There went fifteen more days.

One month later (about the middle of August), I was ready to recover (meaning I was ready to attach fresh images stored on my mirror to a shiny, new RAID-1 I started on my NAS). So, I created a new RAID-0 on my NAS from six empty images on my mirroring system. And, I added that to the mirrored RAID on the NAS. The entire mirror is 30TB-- not 15TB. Therefore, it was going to take about thirty days for the mirror to completely recover instead of just fifteen.

About sixteen days in, the mirror broke again. However (this time), I had error messages. One of the 8TB disks on the NAS was having input/output errors. So, I used fsck to un-fuck it. And then, I successfully re-created the fresh mirror without the mirroring system attached. Out of curiosity, I also created a separate mirrored RAID from the mirror's images without the NAS's RAID-0. And (not surprisingly), all the data from the NAS was already written to the mirror's images. After all, sixteen days had past. That was plenty of time for all fifteen terabytes to be written to the mirror.

So-- that left me with replacing an 8TB disk on the NAS. Then, it became a simple matter of creating *another* mirrored RAID on my NAS, copying the data from the mirror (since it was already stored on the mirror), and recovering. I started copying from the mirror two days ago. In about thirteen days, that will complete. At that point, I'll re-add the mirror's images to the NAS's new-new RAID-1. And thirty days from then, I'll finally have my NAS back to normal. lol

I've encountered other computer distractions along the way. I got pissed and punched a monitor about two and a half months ago. It was the factory display of an Acer netbook. I was trying to reach the settings interface of an old router. And, I kept trying to dhcp for an IP address. And-- the stupid thing wouldn't give me one. I tried resetting it. I tried manually setting the IP (by guessing different netmasks I might have used). And, well-- I finally got frustrated and took it out on my netbook's display device. :(

I ended up scrapping the router. After holding a reset button and not getting an IP from a router using dhcp, I mean-- the fucking thing is broken. But, the experience left me with a conundrum. Now (obviously), the little netbook is not a big deal. I bought it used from Ebay for like ninety bucks. But, it hurt me spiritually. I have a spiritual connection with electronics-- meaning I understand how they work. I understand (literally) everything about *all* electronics.

It still frustrates me to think I destroyed a perfectly good monitor for no good reason (after all, it's not the monitor's fault a router won't give a network device an IP). So, I decided to replace the monitor. So-- I bought a used monitor from Ebay for twenty dollars. And, I popped the old one out. And, I replaced it. And-- the netbook has a blank, white screen now. Dx

I tried a different cable. And, I even reconnected the original monitor. And, even *that* monitor showed a white signal (on the half screen that still worked). And so-- my conclusion is that I (somehow) destroyed the main board's video port trying to replace the monitor. Most people would likely give up at this point. Me-- I got some old 7" LDMS devices laying around that I swiped from work. I plan on replacing the monitor with one of those and attaching it to the netbook's HDMI port (which still works). It'll just be a matter of drilling holes in a plate in the netbook's case and mounting the device with some machine screws. :D

I've set up Slackware on three other laptops over the past month as well. I have been pretty distracted, lately. But, Ghosts of Glory High is still being worked on. And, I will write an update when chapter five is finally finished.

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html revised 2020-10-26 by Michael Atkins.

The maintainer of insanelywittystupidity.com does not care if people duplicate this page or any part of it-- as long as this notice remains intact.