Category Archives: Data Storage

Manually Installing Plex on Synology NAS

Although Synology provide a quick install package of Plex Media Server, it doesn’t supply the latest version or automatic updates. Fortunately, Plex provide a ‘Plex Server for Synology’ package that can be installed manually.

For a manual install it’s first necessary to adjust the Package Center Trust Level. This is done through ‘Settings’ in the Package Center.

Adjust the Trust Level

The default Trust Level setting is to only trust packages from Synology Inc.

This should be changed to Trust Level Synology Inc and trusted publishers to allow installation of the Plex key and package.

Download and Install Signing Key and Package

  • From the Synology Control Panel, check your processor type (Intel or ARM)
  • Select and download the package for the correct processor type
  • Download the Plex package signing key

With the key downloaded navigate to the certificate settings  where we can add and remove keys on the Synology device.

Click ‘Import’ and add the PlexSign.key that you just downloaded by using the browse option in the import window.

Once added, you will see that a second key named Plex is listed.

In some instances it’s necessary to reboot the NAS drive before installing the Plex package (otherwise you may get a ‘port undefined’ error).

The Plex Media Server can now be installed by clicking on ‘Manual Install’ in the Package Center and selecting the package that you downloaded.

Click on ‘Apply’ and the install should complete.

Gathering clouds

In a previous article, I recommended using cloud storage to make your files mobile and to provide a means of backing up vital files and data. For file back-up, the idea of cloud storage is appealing as it fulfils one of the main tenets of secure back-up by providing off-site storage should your premises or house be desimated by fire or flood.

Fire and Flood

Don't let this happen to your data

All well and good, until recently when there was a huge stushie over file sharing company Megaupload which was shutdown by US officials on 19th January 2012 and charged with conspiracies to commit racketeering, copyright infringement and money laundering. The background to the case is that Megaupload were allegedly encouraging users to upload and share popular files leading to copyright infringements including software, video and music piracy. Whatever the outcome of the case against Megaupload, it has already had an effect on the online storage industry and some similar cloud providers are restricting or closing down their service including FileSonic, FileServe, FileJungle, UploadBox and UploadStation.

For your average and genuine user, the concern of this is that the many legitimate companies that provide a useful and innovative service may be tarred with the same brush and put at risk by this action.

So where does that leave us ……?

The Silver Lining

My advice is not to be put off using cloud storage for both personal and business use but to use it as a convenience rather than rely on it as an absolute necessity. This means keeping a local copy of your files and all the best cloud storage providers will have a synchronisation utility to do this automatically, giving access to your files even when you’re offline. For extra security, sensitive files can be encrypted using an on-the-fly encryption utility such as AxCrypt and TrueCrypt can be used with Dropbox to create a secure container. The great thing about Dropbox synchronisation, unlike with many other services, is that it only transfers the part of the file that has actually changed not the whole file, so you won’t use lots of bandwidth to update your TrueCrypt containers.

Dropbox offers 2Gb of free storage but if you’re looking for more, then I can recommend 4shared who provide a generous 15GB of free storage. I’ve been evaluating their service for a while and I like the web interface, which is much better than that from Dropbox and more like a proper file manager. 4shared also provides two free programs to synchronise your files with your PC, ‘4shared Sync’ synchronises the whole 4shared account, while ‘4shared Desktop’ is similar to an upload/download manager and allows you to synchronise a particular folder. I’ve emailed 4shared a couple of times with general questions and their responses have been quick and helpful. It stands out from the rest and is worth a look.

 

They should be locked up

Do you store sensitive or private information on your computer? If your computer was lost or stolen, would this information be accessible to anyone?

Lock up your dataIf you’ve password protected your PC or laptop Windows account then you may think that your personal data is safe. But Windows user and administrator passwords can be bypassed thereby opening up all of your files for viewing by prying eyes. Safeguarding your personal information such as bank details, tax returns, resume and even family photos etc is an essential step towards avoiding identity fraud or credit card theft.

I use two methods for encrytping files and folders, AxCrypt and TrueCrypt.

AxCrypt, an open source file encryption application for Windows that integrates with Windows Explorer right click (secondary mouse button click) menu to allow file encryption and unencryption on the fly. An individual file, group of files or a folder can be encrypted simply using the AxCrypt context menu. Double-clicking on an encrypted file prompts for the password, and then opens the file in its associated application.

The second method is another open source application called TrueCrypt that allows you to create a virtual encrypted disc or volume as a file and mount it as a virtual drive. It may require a little more technical knowledge to get started but there is extensive documentation available online. The encrypted volume cannot be mounted without a password but once it is, files can be read and written to the volume as if it were another drive.