Home Networking Recap

Watching the home networking space is interesting. The whole space is exploding, many people approaching it in many different ways.

We hope to have a good approach with the Amahi Linux Home Server. We wanted to recap a bit a few interesting links we have been gathering.

Amahi Home networking

Education on Home Networking

One thing most people realize is that enthusiasts and “DIYers” have an edge: education.
So, for instance, Sony spends some nice effort educating US customers and potential customers through their Backstate101 site. They have a large number of tutorials and courses. Take for instance this excellent online course on advanced home networking. It is particularly thorough and informative. Here are the lessons:

  1. Advanced Networking: basic infrastructure, like setting up a client/server configuration (that’s our interest!), wiring (ethernet, power line networking, hubs), sharing printers, etc.
  2. Advanced Network Security: protecting your network, firewalls, testing your setup for security, etc.
  3. Wireless networking: all about wireless
  4. Advanced topics: remote access/VPN, hosting a web server or email server, distributing audio and video, etc.

It covers a whole range of networking topics fairly deeply. Here are other home networking tutorials. They are sprouting everywhere!


The projections in the humming home networking space are periodically pouring in. This one from Parks Associates, indicates home networking worldwide will reach 170 million units in 2006.

Home networking penetration worldwide is predicted to increase nearly 50 percent from 2006 to 2008, reaching to almost 170 million units by the end of 2008 from 114 million in 2006

According to Parks Associates’ white paper “Europe: Home Network Update”, service provider-led deployments of residential gateway solutions, particularly in Europe drive the growth of households with data networking solutions for broadband and file sharing. Amid aggressive competition, European broadband providers will have deployed residential gateways to more than 16 million households by the end of 2008, up from 11 million at year-end 2007.

Online Media and Home Networking

Check this one out. A nice fellow got to find out the hard way that apparently Comcast limits monthly downloads at the highest speed to *cough* 384GB *cough*. Not bad. After that, you get some slowdown. For the geeks out there, 384 is, of course, 256 + 128, a nice round number. Clearly, the next slowdowns come at 448GB and then 480GB :-)

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Hardening PBA, the network backup tool

Trying to harden backup tools is hard. The reason is that there are so many possible configurations that may be used by the customer that it’s impossible to test them all.

We have been trying to chase down one particular issue, called “error 22”, which happens occasionally when trying to back up NTFS disks.

PBA Backups

One thing we were thinking it could be happening is that the NTFS disk subject to the backup has not been shut down properly. Being a journalling file system, this is ok, however, the tool we use in PBA for backing up NTFS partitions (ntfsclone), cannot handle disks improperly shutdown.

As usual, please only test (recovery of) PBA backups with e.g. alternate disks, keeping the original safe (i.e. not with real data). And report back, including if you have positive experiences, to build up confidence in the tool. We have no reports of failures so far, but you never know.

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A quick updates on the latest happenings around the Amahi Linux Home Server before talking about themes. We fixed one issue yesterday where some apps need to be reinstalled, otherwise they would crash.

Agedashi theme

We still have the other issue where sometimes apps status gets out of step, and one app needs
to be installed, then uninstalled and installed again, in order for it to be clickable and running. Working on this and the update to the photosorter app.

The photosorter is meant to show an app that includes a flash object in it that plays in the user browser.

The reports we have it that it always gets stuck at 80% or some other percentage number.

However, I wanted to talk about themes. One things that keeps on coming up is being able to configure the HDA
dashboard environment to look differently. My graphics and CSS skills are less than optimal, to put it nicely 😉

We have one theme that was developed partially, called Agedashi, and designed by our friend Alvin Lai. Some functionality is there to make interfaces themable, but it was never finished to the point that was working. Only mockups were developed (click on the image for the full screenshot).

I was wondering if someone is into CSS, HTML and graphics and would be interested in this :-)

The current theme is (very imaginatively!) called ‘main’. There is a theme directory in the sourceforge svn repo,
with one theme directory called ‘slick’.

This is not Agedashi, however, it could be used as a stepping stone to make “slick” the new life of Agedashi

Basically all is needed is CSS and some graphics mojo!

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More about FAQs

We’ve added a little structure to the FAQs page on the web site. The questions are now categorized so less sophisticated users can learn about certain areas by reading the FAQs in that category.


If there are any particular questions you have, please comment, and we will add FAQs or respond appropriately.

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A few updates: new “ajaxified” recipes app, platform updates

In an attempt to “catch up” the apps to the Ruby on Rails 2.0 upgrade that we did not so long ago, we released today a new version of the recipes app.New Amahi recipes app

This version is all “jazzed up” to enter, search and display recipes in a very interactive fashion:

  • Full blown ajax, in the display of the recipes
  • Ajax autocompletion in the search box
  • Auto updating of the number of recipes
  • Toggling of recipe details

This being our most “ajaxified” app, we also wanted to show it off :-)
So, it comes preloaded with some highly-rated 25 recipes!

You should be able to see it in your “My Apps” section of your HDA’s dashboard.

One caveat, you may need to uninstall and reinstall the app twice before it comes up.

We have made an attempt to fix this, however, it may not be completely fixed.

If all else fails, do hdactl-hup and (as root): service httpd restart.

More soon!

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