Updates: major update for backups with PBA

We’re happy to announce the release of PBA version 0.20. We think we have nipped the infamous “error #22” in the bud in PBA the backup app for Amahi.

While we were with PBA (Personal Backup App), we also decided to do some restructuring, since the package is so large. It’s 65MB of backup goodness. We have split it in two. A larger part, which changes rarely, and a smaller app, which does change more often as we add features to the backup manager.

PBA is made of two parts, conceptually. One part is the backup program itself, which is made up of programs to guide in the backup, and then mainly a very small Linux distro called INSERT. The larger part is the INSERT mini-distro. For a distro, it is very very small, however, when put in a package, it is on the large side, and can some times make Amahi users think it’s hung downloading.

The other part is the Amahi app that lets you manage the backups, sort through them, see how much disk they take, how long ago each backup was taken, etc.

Changelog is as follows:

  • The main cause of the common “error #22” should be fixed now.
  • The package has been split in two:
    • pba-0.20, with the core of the amahi app
    • pba-base-0.1, with the PBA core, which includes the micro-distro INSERT and the programs to manage the backups. this one is 64MB of PBA goodness. This will help in releasing new quick fixes in the small package. The big package does not change often.
  • Layout fixes to the table rendering in PBA
  • Fix an issue where deleting backup files did not always actually delete a backup
  • Add a spinner for user feedback while deleting the files. Some of backups may use 30GB, 60GB … or more and that can take a few seconds to delete!

The program was originally contributed by Roland Hui, to whom we take this opportunity to send great kudos! We heard from him today, regarding new ideas for PBA:

  • Processing LVM partitions more efficiently (at the moment these are done with the fallback low level method (a.k.a. brute force dd, no compression).
  • New PXE client (long overdue)
  • A system rescue cd as a client (pop a cdrom into the machine, and backup! no need to boot off the network!)
  • Adding back the possibility of using ssh/sshfs, useful for situations where NFS does not work well.

Good stuff!

Thanks to Robert and Gerald for helping reproduce and test this important release!

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First independent Amahi theme: Agedashi!

We’re happy to announce the initial release of the very first independent Amahi theme! Agedashi is it’s name!

Agedashi theme

Along with this, we are also announcing an upgraded version of the Amahi (RoR) platform software to make the theme engine work smoothly.

What that all means is that it’s the first theme that works as an easy to install app! Scroll down to the end for the cool screenshot from a running HDA.

We have talked about themes and Agedashi before, however, this time we’re really happy to say that it just works out of the box.

Agedashi was brought out by a collaboration of 4 Amahi enthusiasts!:

  • The theme concept was done by Alvin Lai way back. See it in his Flickr album.
  • Gairy Spiers toook a first shot at the theme, decomposing the image in it’s parts and layers, to be used in Gimp or Photoshop.
  • Gerald, who masterfully hacked the CSS to work, pulled the images together and generally helped with the debugging of the theme engine inside the Amahi platform.
  • Yours truly, integrating all the pieces, and put together the bits in the form of a release.

Kudos kudos kudos to everyone for pulling it together!

I remember the sensation when it worked for the first time yesterday, seeing my HDA in a whole new light after such a long time seeing the same theme. It was so cool! Someone in my family saw it (we all use the HDA dashboard as our home page), and he said he was “shocked” :-)

To make it work, you install the theme as as app, and click on the icon or go to the setup page. In there, you go to the Theme tab and browse the themes. Click on the one you like!

The code is in SourceForge, under the directory called themes/agedashi.

We have at least two people interested in doing new themes for Amahi. That would be very cool It should be much easier now that we have a fully working theme!

What would be also extremely cool is a screencast and/or tutorial on creating themes! (Hint, hint)

Here is the changelog and known issues. Thanks again to all involved to make this very cool feature happen!!

  • hda-theme-agedashi is the rpm name, version is 1.0
  • The theme engine does not support theming the pie charts showing the disk usage (yet).
  • The platform software required is version 0.90, which is also released along with this theme release.
  • When clicking on the theme icon, it should take you to the theme selection pages, not to the setup page – this is a feature that needs to be addressed at the platform level.
  • Themes should be selectable on a per-user basis. At the moment it’s an HDA-wide setting, so all users see the same theme. It is suspected that different people have different tastes, even in the same home network :-)
  • The wiki does not support theming yet.

Agedashi Amahi Theme Screenshot

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Updates: PicLens slideshow, name server

Quick update, announcing the releases of these updates for the Amahi Linux Home Server:

Amahi Linux Home Server

  • slideshow 0.25:
    • new custom piclens logo. very purty! :-)
    • two column layout for the picture folders
    • small improvement in speed
    • cached thumbnails get automatically refreshed when they are requested, so the cache does not expire based on when they were created
  • bind (name server):
    • amahi fixes for the x86-64 architecture (as reported upstream to RedHat)

Try the new slideshow! Piclens has also been updated by CoolIris (the authors of PicLens), which is a bit nicer as well.

We also found that if there are a lot of pictures in the pictures folder (over several thousand), piclens takes a few seconds to become blue – which is how it says it’s ready to go.

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Backups in Ubuntu HOWTO

You, or someone in your network, likes to use Ubuntu, and you’d like to do backups to your Amahi HDA. How do you do that?

Ubuntu Logo

That is what one Amahi enthusiast, Gairy Spiers wanted to do.

So, he figured it out and wrote a great HOWTO on doing backups of Ubuntu machines on to his HDA!

Thanks Gairy!

Great Backup HOWTO!

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Amahi Updates: Uniform Themes in Apps, Calendar

We have some quick Amahi Linux Home Server updates:

Amahi Calendar

  • Version 0.88 of the platform software, with new and improved support for themes, not only in the dashboard, set up and platform screens, but also incorporates a “theme server” for other apps, so that changing the theme in the platform settings can change the theme across apps. This version also contains some minor stability improvements.
  • Version 0.25 of the webcal app (the one showing the calendars through a web interface), is now using the theme server in the base Amahi platform to get part of it’s look and feel.
  • We have been working hard on improving the general usability of the Amahi web site.
    1. We have added the capability to send feedback to us directly from your amahi.org account (we got some already!). This is a great way to submit questions to the FAQ!
    2. Completely streamlined and interactive set of step-by-step instructions. Many of the new users have followed them already and you guys have provided good feedback on it. The wiki instructions for install will be phased out over time.
    3. FAQ Questions in the FAQ Categories are now collapsed, since they were getting too big. You can go one by one or just search the page for the topic you are interested in!
  • Things coming up: a configuration wizard to let you configure your HDA(s) without sending email to support, easier navigation and account preferences. … And we have not forgotten about the infamous “error 22” …
    1. We wanted to give a Great Big Thanks to Gairy Spiers, who has been relentlessly helping out in various areas!

      One thing that he did is write a How-To on how to do automatic periodic backups from Windows XP machines to the HDA. Hit the image to see the How-To.

      Windows XP Backups to the Amahi Linux Home Server

      Not only that, Gairy has also been working on promotional banners for Amahi, which we will talk about soon, and working on the first real theme for the Amahi dashboard. He was also instrumental in getting the WeightWatcher app back in shape (pardon the pun). More about these two topics soon!

      In the mean time, many thanks to Gairy!

      We would like it if you all contributed to the Amahi wiki documenting your insightss in the areas you are most experienced in for the benefit of the other users!


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