Justin Latimer

pfSense Plans

At home I run a pfSense server, which is the backbone of my network. It runs a firewall and filter between the LAN and WAN links, as well as a DHCP, DNS and NTP server, etc. One thing I've tried to do with it without success is run an HTTP filter with something like squidGuard.

At the moment I'm running it on a borrowed ALIX 2D13 which a buddy had spare after he upgraded to an APU which he got from Nicegear. It runs of a compact flash card and therefore uses the nanobsd build of pfSense, which the squidGuard package isn't compatible with.

My plan is to get a new mini server to replace the trusty ALIX. My requirements are as follows:

  • Fanless
  • Low power draw
  • Relatively cheap
  • Well supported by pfSense
  • 2 NICs
  • Can route over 100Mbit
  • Able to run squidGuard

After looking around, I think my best bet is an Intel D2500CCE. Dual core Atom 1.8GHz, dual Intel gigabit ports, fanless. Either that or the APU, but I'm not sure that CPU wise the APU will be up for the packages I need to run. The option of upgrading the RAM on the Intel board is a good one as well.


Raspbmc to OpenELEC

Last night my Raspbmc setup hung while opening a movie. I cycled the power, and I guess that corrupted the memory card. When it booted, it got stuck in an infinite loop trying to start XBMC. You know, the infamous "Relax..." screen. Well, yeah, I was trying to relax and watch a movie, but ended up rebuilding my media center instead. I tried all the usual tricks to fix a XBMC reboot loop:

  • Reboot without network plugged in.
  • SSH in and remove the ~/.xbmc folder.
  • Desperately try removing the ~/.xbmc-current symlink.
  • Try and edit /scripts/xbmc-watchdog.sh to actually write logs somewhere, which doesn't work.
  • Throw raspberry pi out window.

Once I had resigned myself to rebuilding the image, I decided to switch to OpenELEC. A couple of hours later, everything was up and running. I have my library running on a MySQL server and all my media accessed via SMB, so once I copied the right XML files over everything was just like I left it.

Installing tvheadend was a bit different from Raspbmc. OpenELEC doesnt come with it preinstalled, but it includes an add-on system that shows up in the XBMC menus. So all you've gotta do is pick the package and go. It was really easy, much easier than I expected.


New Blog

I've rebuilt my blog using DocPad. It's now hosted on Amazon Web Services using S3 and CloudFront.

I'm using the following tools:

  • npm scripts to build and deploy.
  • s3_website to sync to S3 and invalidate CloudFront.
  • Cloud9 IDE to code anywhere.