Blog Archives

Waken Your Synology From It’s Slumber!


Having the facility to store data using the Synology DS1513+ and the Synology DS212 NAS units, means that I can relax knowing that I have access to all my data as and when I need it.

During the day the DS212 is used as the main workhorse, with the DS1513+ used to take all the backups of data from the DS212 on predefined time through the day. along with other devices on the network that all have their own space on the DS1513+.

At night, the DS1513+ unit is not really needed, but as it’s locked up in a secure location, going in to turn it off in the evening and back on in the morning would have been a real pain, but thankfully the Synology NAS devices have the option to set them to power down and power back up at predefined times.

While this all worked fine, I then found that I needed access to the data on the DS1513+ while the unit was powered off. Initially I thought I would just have to wait until the unit powered up in the morning,  rather than having to unlock everything to get in and power it up early, but then I remembered that the LAN ports have an option for WOL (Wake On Lan), but had never gave it much thought… until now!

WOL

As my primary computer is an iMac, I decided to look around and see what would be required to wake the Synology NAS unit from being turned off. The help section on the Synology unit itself mentions applications to do this, but does not specify anything in particular, so the reliable Google search was undertaken to see what was there.

I have to say that for the Mac, I did find it difficult to find anything, but finally found a web site: http://www.readpixel.com/wakeonlan/ that had a FREE utility called WakeOnLan.

A quick download, and installation, and I was presented with a list of devices on the LAN. A simple click on the Synology device and tell it to wake up, and a few seconds later the unit was back up and running again!

LIST

To test it again, I went into the Synolgy unit, told it to shut down, waited, and then told it to start back up again using the utility, and it did so with ease!  I did try and use the utility to put the Synology DS1513+ to sleep, but no matter what i tried it would not do this, so I just use the DSM interface to do this as usual.

So, if you are a Synology user with a Mac, and like to save a bit of money by turning things off, but have these items in a hard to get location, than have a look at WOL on anything you are using and check out this application to see if it will make things easier for you.

UPDATE: With the WakeOnLan software, go to preferences and make sure that the option to SCAN AFTER WAKEONLAN LAUNCH is not ticked once it has done it’s initial scan. If you have this on, once you turn the computer off and the NAS is asleep, when you restart the computer again it will not be able to find the NAS device. If that did happen with you, the way around this is to make sure you make a note of the IP address of the NAS unit as well as the MAC address of the unit as well. Once you have that, all you have to do is manually add the device to the WakeOnLan software and it will allow you to restart the NAS whenever you wish.

If you would like to see the video’s I have created of my Synology equipment please visit:

Synology DS1513+ Unboxing

Synology DS212 Unboxing

Synology DS212 – Breaking Raid 1 Array

GRADO SR325i REVIEW


Once again, I have been given the chance to review another model of the GRADO series Headphones, the Grado SR325i unit by the guys over at “LOUD + CLEAR” in Glasgow who specialise in Hi-Fi, Cinema and Home Automation solutions. Expect to pay just over £300.00 for these.

Grado SR325is Features

  • Superb audio quality with full support across all frequencies
  • Special driver design and metal housing for low transient distortion
  • Comfortable design with adjustable headband and cushioned earpads
  • Drivers are matched to within 0.05dB
  • Vented diaphragms are de-stressed for great detail
  • Ultra-high purity long crystal copper wire voice coil and connecting cord
  • Aluminum air chamber
  • Standard stereo 6.35mm (1/4″) full size jack plug

Grado SR325is Specification

  • Type: Open-Air Dynamic Supra-Aural
  • Frequency Range: 18Hz – 24kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • Cord length: 1m approx
  • Connectors: 6.35mm stereo full size jack plug
The shape and design of these headphone’s are the same as the GRADO SR80i and GRADO SR125i models, but rather than being made of plastic, they are made from metal that adds a noticeable amount of weight to the headphone’s when compared to the other models. If you want a closer look at these headphone’s, I uploaded a quick video to youtube that you can check out.

When I put these on, I was expecting to be blown away even more than I was with the SR125i’s I reviewed recently, but I actually sat there stunned….

To me, these headphones seem to push the treble side of the music to the front and the bass is pushed right to the back, and the whole experience for me is one of thinking these headphone’s are more designed for being used on a better quietly amp, rather than through a PC setup/mixer solution. This feeling is further enforced when trying to listen to music through a classic iPod and iPod Touch, there just seems to be no real feeling of power and switching back to the mac/mixer setup the difference is night and day but seems lacking when compared to the SR125s model.

After writing the above, and spending a few more hours listening to music through the SR325i’s I realised that the problem I was having is that I was treating these headphones like a pussy cat… petting it and being nice to it, when in fact you should be pumping these things hard and let the headphone’s take care of the rest! The more you put into these headphones the better the experience, and they just seem to handle anything you throw at them.

I’ll still stick to my guns though in using these with the likes of an iPod, I really don’t think these are the right headphones for this sort of kit. Get a really good amp or push your PC audio through a decent mixer and the sound really does become quite incredible.

In testing the headphones out I used a wide and varied range of tracks that cover subtle sound, through Rock and the obscure, and as you can see below, I have tried to cover a varied range of tracks to prove my point. The hardware used was an i7 iMac, with my audio linked in via the Behringer Xenyx 802 Mixer, with the audio played via iTunes.

Mike Oldfield – Far Above the Clouds: This track is a great test track as it begins off nice and soft, a child’s voice, and a steady build up into a dramatic electric guitar and Tubular Bells climax that really is fantastic to listen to through these headphone’s. Absolutely zero distortion and absolutely everything clear and defined.

Uriah Heep – Wake The Sleeper: A great track for testing as it’s literally just electric guitar, powerful drumming and high-pitched audio. Playing this one loud really does feel like you are at the concert, in fact closing your eye’s you begin to wonder if you are in fact a bit too close to the stage!!!!

Velvet Revolver – She Builds Quick Machines: Classic Slash guitar work that comes across crystal clear, and the whole experience is handled distortion free. One thing I really picked up on was the deep bass coming in but it never seems to take over and distort the whole track that some other headphones seem to allow.

Once again, I suffered very sore ears and pressure on my head with these headphones and I really don’t think the extra weight helped here. The Grado’s just need slightly larger ear-pads I think, to get this ear pressure issue sorted out, but the manufacturer does not seen to offer any… so it’s a case of “If the ear’s fit” then you will have the comfort that people like me crave.

The standard connector is 6.35 mm, so you will need to get an adapter for the of 3.5 mm jack that is used to connect to most MP3/iPod devices. I only had a normal adaptor around, and as you can see it’s awful! Grado does sell a converter cable that will allow you to just extend the cable as though it’d part of the original cable, so nothing nasty will stick out!

I had one moment of panic that really had me sweating… the Right earpiece fell off!!! I went to alter the position of the cup on my ear as it started to ache again, and it just came off in my hand!!! A quick push of the cup back on the metal pin and it’s back to normal again, but at the price of these headphones surely this should not happen? My hear rate has went back to normal and after a few more hours the thing is still tight on, so I have no idea why on earth to came off so easily in the first place!

Overall, at the price, I really don’t feel that these headphones are for me. You on the other hand should take the time to go to a quality HiFi store and listen to the music for yourself. Take in your own digital media device and make up your own mind. As it is, they are very nice, but just not nice enough to convince me to pay for them.

GRADO SR80i HEADPHONE REVIEW


I have had the good fortune to be given a set of “Grado Labs”, SR80i headphone’s for evaluation by the great people down at “LOUD + CLEAR” in Glasgow who specialise in Hi-Fi, Cinema and Home Automation solutions.

The one thing I should point out about any headphone review, is that no matter what is considered good, or bad in a review, we all differ in what we want from headphones, and what we hear when we use any. So, this review of this item are based on my needs, my hearing range and my head shape!

Grado SR80i Features

  • Adjustable headband and cushioned earpads for comfort
  • Vented diaphragm and non-resonant air chamber for great detail and clarity
  • Drivers are matched to 0.1dB
  • Copper wire voice coil and 4 strand connecting cord
  • Standard 3.5mm stereo mini plug with 6.35mm adapter

Technical Specification

  • Type: Open-Air Dynamic Supra-Aural
  • Frequency Range: 20Hz – 20kHz
  • Impedance: 32 Ohms
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • Connectors: 3.5mm stereo mini jack plug with 6.35mm adapter

When you look at the box holding the Grado SR80i’s it’s basic to say the least, and on opening the only thing inside the box are the headphone’s, the foam padding, a couple of pieces of paper and the extra connector. Very basic to say the least!To see the box and components you can have a look a very short unboxing movie made to show the items you will receive when/if you purchase these headphone’s.

First impressions of the headphone’s is that they look like something “Biggles” would wear! Certainly a very retro style in my opinion!!

If you are looking for a set of headphones to use while in company, then the SR80i’s are NOT what you want as these headphone’s leak audio like water pouring through a sieve! So, if you are thinking of using this type of headphone on a train, plane or automobile, rest assured, your passengers will not be happy in having to be subjected to your music, and will probably make the point by subjecting you to a few pokes or slaps to turn your music off!

Are we off to a bad start? Not really, just pointing out that these headphones are designed to provide you with clear audio, and to give you the clearest sound possible whilst not hindering the sound by audio bouncing all around an enclosed ear piece and altering the audio experience.

The cable length if fine for general use, and the thickness of the cable seems very good, so there is no feeling that it’s going to snap on you easily.

In testing the sound quality of these headphone’s I had them plugged into a Behringer Xenyx 802 mixer so I could play around with the sound and push them to the limits of my audio needs.

As expected, the quality of the sound through these headphones is really good, and pushing the bass hard did nothing to phase them and no distortion was heard. The mid tones came over very clear as well, but I felt the sound felt sort of light due to the nature of the headphone’s openness. I prefer a more warmer/meatier sound myself, but these produced clear quality audio with no sense of being strained at any time.

Personally I found the ear pads to be quite uncomfortable and felt a lot of pressure on my ears, so for me these headphone’s would not be an ideal choice, but after having a few other people test the headphone’s out they said they felt very comfortable, light and had incredible sound quality, so it just show you that you really do need to go and test out serious headphone’s rather than just reading a review and ordering them up!

IOS5 & ICLOUD – WORKS FOR ME!


Upgrading my iPhone4’s to IOS5 along with the rest of the world, I have really liked the various changes that have been added, and I think Apple has improved an already superb OS just enough to make most of us happy.

Now all the excitement has died down a bit away, I’ve had to take a long hard look at the way I am starting to use my iPhone4 and my new iPhone4s.

Previously, I have used my iPhone4 mainly for email and general messing around, while my business related calls and contacts have all sat in a normal Sony Ericsson phone. This was done due to contracts I had in place, but now that I have upgraded to the iPhone4s I was a bit worried about how it would all work for me in my day-to-day business.

With iCloud.com being made available at the same time as IOS5, I visited it and flicked around with it for a few minutes and then dismissed it as of no real use to me. I went back to messing around with the iPhone4s and tried to arrange things into a working order for myself.

I transferred my contacts from Outlook into my address book on the iMac, and once I enabled the iCloud feature, everything transferred across to iCloud, and in turn on my iPhone4s, seamlessly! It just worked! On my MacBook Pro, same thing, all the contacts are there, the diary information is there, JUST LIKE THAT!

Now, you may be like me (initially), and maybe went “Pffftttt” there, snorted and thought, “What a load of crap”. But until you actually take on board, what is happening here, and really think about it, the new way of storing contacts and diary features really is pretty impressive… and simple!

When I am in the field working, I take photographs of various jobs as a reference on my iPhone, and previously I had to come back and connect the iPhone up, sync with iPhoto and then start to check the images out… whereas now they are all sitting there ready for me to view as soon as I sit down to the 27” iMac… how? The images transfer via WiFi and are there all ready for me by the time I sit down and need to do more work.

What it means for me now is that when I am out and about, I can update my contacts on my iPhone, sit at any PC and update contacts and their information, and no matter what piece of kit I sit a front of when I get back in, all of that data is there, so no need to worry any more about linking up different computer/tech components through the day!

Also, if I decide to go out and buy the likes of an iPad, I know that as soon as I link it up to iCloud, all my stuff is there and I am ready to get on with other things in a matter of minutes!!!

I’m not wearing Rose Tinted Glasses, and I am not a fanboy (honestly), but with Apple’s track record on their previous cloud ventures, it will of course take a bit of time before people can actually start to trust all of this 100%, as it all just seems too good to be true. And usually the old adage is pretty accurate when it comes to technology…. but I’m (at the moment) extremely happy with the way everything is connected and the way it’s running.

And this more than anything else is why people get excited about Apple products. They just link in and work, and there is very little brain power needed by the end-user to get things all set up!

So, to all the other brand phone users out there, I’d like to know what their systems are like for setting up and configuring, and what they think are the negative things about the whole Apple connectivity!

Is it Crucial for me, or is it Crucial for you?


64GB Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5-inch SATA 6GB/s

Over the last few weeks I have been pondering over what new item I might want to purchase for the Windows systems I have here. Usually I’m looking at various Apple devices, but the extreme costs of these products has allowed me to shift focus back to my roots, where the Windows PC is King, and the technology is affordable and varied as well.

For me, the boot-up time of any computer system is the first irritant of the day, and anything that can speed this up has to be a good thing in my book. I decided to look around and see if a new large capacity hard drive would be the way forward, but when you consider that my primary hard drive on the Windows 7 system here is a 1.5TB device, I decided that maybe I should be looking at a different technology completely! So, SSD drives got researched and after a few sharp intakes of breath on the current costs of them at the moment, I read into the technical specifications, watched a few YouTube video’s and after that, I decided that rather than going for a 128GB SSD device, a 64GB device would be better for me as this would allow me to have my operating system, applications and general files all on SSD, but the larger, rarely used items stored onto the 1.5TB drives I have attached externally.

The main Windows 7 PC system I use daily is ancient in technology terms, but does everything I need from a PC, except give me the ability to appear smug online and tell people how many cores I am running and much memory I have in it etc. Upgrading to SSD is more a case of me easing my “Technology Boredom” as it’s what you do with the computer systems you have that dictates if they are up to the job or not, and my current equipment performs perfectly for my needs, but I just want a new toy that might speed start times up a little more for me!

Windows 7 Professional
ASUS M2N4-SLI Motherboard
AMD Athlon 64 X2 Dual Core Processor 5600+ (2.80GHz)
4.00Gb RAM DDR2 (3.25GB usable as it’s 32bit edition of Windows 7 professional)
NVIDIA GeForce 7600GS Video card
Main OS Drive – Western Digital Caviar Green 1.5TB SATA Hard Drive

In the end I decided to go for the SSD drive from Crucial.com/uk details can be found in full by clicking on the link below.

64GB Crucial RealSSD C300 2.5-inch SATA 6GB/s from HERE

Ordering this in a Saturday morning (20/11/2010) is probably not the best time to do it if you wan’t things fast, but I’m patient at times!. Coming in at £110.44, it’s not cheap when you match it up against the likes of a 1.5TB or 2TB hard drive, but the benefit here for me is that its a 2.5 inch device, so I can test it initially in my main Windows 7 PC system and if it performs well, I can then test it out on the laptops I have here, and see if they benefit from this technology. The laptops don’t store a large amount of data anyway, so 64GB will be more than enough storage for them!

After placing the order, and advertising the fact that I had actually placed an order for it, I was not surprised at the general feedback that started to come through. The small 64GB size and the write speeds all got pointed out to me, but everyone seemed to be missing the whole point of the exercise, which is to test the technology and assess if its going to be of any use to me personally. I have absolutely no interest in benchmark tests where a millisecond is shaved of some stupid graph, where some file takes 10 seconds to be written up against 5 seconds, it’s all about the real-world general use that I have that matters. The benchmark side of things are what I read from other technical web sites, sift through 99% of the garbage and focus on the real world stuff.

Now, SSD drives seem to have the reputation of just being like a hard drive, you just pop it out of the box, install your operating system and that’s you done and dusted with whizz bang performance!
In theory, yes you can do this, but you will also find that your purchase may not be as great as you though it would be, more so as time goes by and you decide to actually use the drive! And if you are going to go down the SSD route you really should be thinking of Windows 7 as standard, and just ignore Windows XP as you will have quite a few hoops to jump through to get things running at maximum performance, and keeping it that way.

If you are considering purchasing an SSD device then you should have a read at the information contained HERE. It makes for very interesting reading!

There would also appear to be a number of changes that should/could be done for temp files, swap files and the likes, but I intend to approach the installation as simply as I can. Take unit from box, throw it into the main PC and do a fresh installation of Windows 7 Professional to see how long it takes. Once I have done that, I will then take my working Windows 7 drive and clone this onto the SSD drive and see what the real world usage will be like. This should be really interesting as the PC system here really will get a hammering very quickly! Once I grow tired of this side, I shall then replace the internal hard drive of the Samsung NC20 netbook with the SSD device and see if my other half can feel any difference in it… all without her being told of course… hidden observation shall be the key element here!

So…. it’s Sunday morning and I have the rest of the week to wait until the SSD drive arrives, so watch this space for a full review on the product, a YouTube unboxing video and various Twitter announcements on the good and the bad as they happen!

%d bloggers like this: