How To Sync QNAP Shares To Amazon Drive

In this video, I’m showing you how to sync up your QNAP shares to Amazon Drive.  Enjoy!

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Reset ownCloud Passwords For Admin And Users Using phpMyAdmin

Warning:  Following the instruction below at your own risks, because bad things happen!  Don’t blame me for your bravery in destroying ownCloud’s database if something goes wrong and beyond one’s expectation.  Nonetheless, I’ve used the exact directives to successfully change the admin and users passwords for ownCloud.

Forgetting your ownCloud’s password?  Whether your ownCloud’s admin or regular user password is lost, you can always restore or change the password for the admin or user.  Perhaps, you forgot to enter the email address into user’s settings to receive lost password reset email, to think that you’re stuck is being crazy.  Of course, unless you forgot your MySQL database’s root password too, then you really are stuck and won’t be able to access your data that reside within ownCloud.  Nonetheless, let’s hope you aren’t yet out of options, then you can totally use your MySQL’s root password to edit your ownCloud’s admin or user password.  I won’t talk about how to access and edit any other database as I can barely get around MySQL.  Nonetheless, read on and the trick is here to treat you well.

I don’t even bother with MySQL command lines, and so I sure hope you have installed phpMyAdmin.  We will use phpMyAdmin to edit out the oc_users table’s passwords.

  1. So, first of all, log into your ownCloud MySQL’s database as a root user or the owner of ownCloud database through phpMyAdmin.
  2. Secondly, expand the left panel and expand the ownCloud database.  You should see bunch of ownCloud tables underneath ownCloud’s database, and these tables should begin with oc_ extension.  Try to find oc_users!
  3. Click on oc_users to access the oc_users table.  Before you even think aboud editing a user entry within this table, you must know that once you edit a user’s password there is no going back to the original password.  Of course, if you already know the original password, you wouldn’t do this in the first place!
  4. Click on the edit link next to the user to access the oc_users’ user entry.  In here you can change the password for a user.  Don’t do anything yet though, because the passwords store within oc_users table are encrypted with whatever.  If you delete the encrypted passphrase, you basically delete the password.  Nonetheless, you can’t enter a password of your own, because your password isn’t encrypted.  If you try to enter a plain password, your user account won’t see the password change.  Furthermore, if you try to empty out the password, ownCloud’s login page won’t allow you to access ownCloud service even though you had emptied out the password.
  5. If you read my instruction carefully, it means you haven’t done anything yet.  Good, because now you need to open up a web browser’s tab or a new web browser so you can go to http://pajhome.org.uk/crypt/md5/ (link).  If this webpage is still the same and has yet to be changed, under the Demonstration section you should see MD5/SHA-1 boxes.  Instead of entering a real password that can be read by the owner of this website, you need to enter a weak password (that you plan to change it later) into the Input Calculate Result’s top box.  When done entering a temporary password that is easy to remember, hit the SHA-1 button to allow the webpage to generate the SHA-1 hash.  Make sure you copy the SHA-1 hash result in the bottom box.
  6. We need to paste the SHA-1 hash passphrase into the password’s value field (box) of a user you want to change the password for within the database.  So, back in phpMyAdmin, within a user’s entry which resides within the oc_users table, you need to enter the SHA-1 hash into the password’s value field (box).  Hit the Go button which situates right underneath the password’s value field (box).  This should do it.
  7. Now, you can try log into ownCloud service with a new password that you had created for the ownCloud user.  Of course, the password isn’t the SHA-1 hash passphrase, because the ownCloud’s login page expects the regular plain password that you encrypted with SHA-1 hash earlier.  If everything goes as plan, you should be able logging into the ownCloud’s admin or user account.  From, here you can change the password in Personal page, and so you should change the password you just changed for your ownCloud admin or user into a really strong password.

Now, you can chuck down a beer and congratulate yourself a job well done.

Make Backup Before Ditching Mac OS X Mavericks For Yosemite

Are you using Mac OS?  If you are, you probably have heard all about how Apple just released the newest yet Mac OS X Yosemite.  I’d read some of the comments on various websites, and it seems that people are having mixed feeling about Apple’s newest OS.  Some people think Mac OS X Yosemite is ugly or just too plain.  In my opinion, I like it so far, because I like Apple’s simplicity design UI (User Interface) for Mac OS X.    With OS X Yosemite, things look to be simplified even further in term of the look of the OS.  Basically, Apple is trying to make Mac OS X to look like iOS, giving the users a feeling of unification between the two different systems.  Just like how Microsoft is trying to unify Windows Desktop and Windows Phone operating systems, Apple is doing the same thing.  I guess, by combining the ecosystems of the two systems together, thus Microsoft and Apple can provide same services for both systems (i.e., mobile devices and desktop computers).  Besides the point of providing the same services for both systems, these two companies are trying to create a togetherness feeling for applications and whatnot, thus providing a smooth service for different types of devices/systems.  I like this idea very much!

Although I like the idea of combining different ecosystems of different types of devices and systems together so the endusers can feel the applications that they work with become smoother in term of workflow and playflow (I made this word up), but to make the togetherness feeling happens Apple has to pool the services into the cloud.  This might be a good thing but also a bad thing!  For an example, iCloud is now becoming iCloud Drive — which is a good thing as endusers can now selectively browse the individual data within — and iCloud Drive will become evermore the focus point for hackers to try with hardy effort to hack into endusers’ data.  As Apple relies more on the cloud to provide essential services for endusers’ apps, it’s imperatively evermore for hackers to target Apple’s cloud services since endusers’ data are most likely pool abundantly into the cloud.  Instead of chasing different targets, hackers can just hack endusers’ cloud data to harvest whatever they need with less time wasting.  Cloud is good for endusers’ togetherness feeling, but it’s bad for endusers’ data security if Apple will ever provide the opportunity for hackers to loot endusers’ data.  In my opinion, Apple’s newest OS yet [cloudworries] me.  Recently, hackers were successfully hacked into banks and Home Depot, thus millions of endusers’ confidential data are at risks of being exposed to the blackmarket.

Besides of being dangerous but pretty and simplistic, you may find that it’s rather dangerously thrilling to upgrade Mavericks to Yosemite.  If you don’t do any backup for your Mavericks, you may not want to rush to upgrade to Yosemite.  I found out that once you upgrade to Yosemite, you cannot downgrade your Yosemite to Mavericks unless you wipe your hard drive cleanly and freshly install Mavericks.  Of course, others may have ways to downgrade Yosemite to Mavericks that I do not know of, but it’s for sure that Yosemite destroys the Mavericks’ built-in recovery partition and creates a Yosemite recovery partition.  This means that when you want to reinstall OS X through the fresh boot up or reboot gray screen using Command + R keys on the keyboard, Yosemite is the only built-in recovery you get to play with after you had upgraded the Mavericks to Yosemite.  Even if you have a USB thumb drive for Mavericks’ root installation files, Yosemite will complain how your Mavericks’ files are too old, consequently you cannot use the Mavericks’ files to downgrade Yosemite.

I’ve found this out the hard way as I had to wipe out my Mac HD just so to reinstall Yosemite fresh in order for Yosemite to work correctly on my Mac.   Luckily, I’d made backups of my essential data on my Mac before I said goodbye to all of my essential data.  Basically, the trouble was all about how Yosemite refused to let my Mac to have any Internet connectivity.  After I meddling with all network settings to be sure that the settings were right, Yosemite was even more steadfast in not allowing my Mac to have any Internet connectivity.  My only option left was to freshly reinstall Yosemite, because downgrading Yosemite to Mavericks might just be a lot harder.  Luckily, fresh installation of Yosemite was the solution.  Now, my Mac is connecting to the Internet just fine, and I’m having a blast of writing this blog post on Yosemite.  Like I said, please do many backups of your data before you even think about letting go of Mavericks or whatever OS X version you’re on, because Yosemite is that dangerously pretty and simplistic and cloudworried.

I found a pretty good YouTube video which explains Yosemite’s newest features in detail.  Enjoy the video right after the break!!!

How To Use CrashPlan To Backup Data To QNAP And Backup QNAP’s Data To CrashPlan Central

Normally, CrashPlan won’t allow you to backup computer data to network share/drive.  Nonetheless, you can get around this if you’re using iSCSI.  In the video right after the break, I show you how to create iSCSI with QNAP (Network Attached Storage) server,  connect to QNAP’s iSCSI target, and format iSCSI share as NTFS share for Windows 7/8.  This way, you can use CrashPlan software (free or paid) to backup data from a local computer to QNAP’s iSCSI share, and you can go one step further by backing up the data of iSCSI share (on QNAP or whatever NAS that may be) to CrashPlan Central (cloud service for hosting backup data).  Enjoy!!!

How Paranoid Should You Be For Backing Up Your Data?

Backup Backup Backup - And Test Restores

Backup Backup Backup – And Test Restores (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you ask me what is the best way to backup your data, I will probably direct your concern to more than one way.  I like to think of not placing all of your eggs in one basket kind of scenario.  What’s the point of backing up data in the first place?  It’s to hope that when things go crazy such as a computer’s data corruption might occur, you can then access your most valuable backup data.  If you only rely on one preferable backup method, then what if in a critical moment that even the backup data isn’t accessible through your preferable only backup method, what will you do then?  Even a perfect storm is a possible scenario for spreading eggs in more than one basket, therefore I think being paranoid about safekeeping your data with more than one preferable backup method is the best way to go about doing the backups for your valuable data.

For us normal folks, the regular Joe(s), who have data that we want to safeguard, it’s a must for us to spread our data in more than one basket.  It must not be that you have to be a company to take this approach.  Furthermore, nowadays regular Joe(s) do have plenty of ways to go about doing backups for their data.  Let me list few of them:

  • Google Drive
  • Pogoplug
  • Dropbox
  • Amazon Simple Storage Service
  • CrashPlan
  • External hard drives
  • Network attach storage solution such as QNAP NAS servers
  • Do it yourself FreeNAS server solution
  • rsync to a renting server with affordable monthly fee

And the list can go on a lot longer as third party cloud services are now in amble supply.  I think the problem isn’t about finding a backup solution or solutions for the regular Joe(s), but it’s about the affordability, speed, security, and conveniency aspects.  Let say, if a regular Joe wants to spread his backup data in more than one basket, how affordable can this be?  So on and so on…

I think affordability should not be as big of an issue as before the time when there were no third party cloud service and competitive (affordable) computer hardware pricing.  If you don’t intend to harbor 100 of Gigabytes worth of data for streaming purpose or whatever extreme configuration, backing up few Gigabytes worth of data should not cost you much at all.  Perhaps, you can do it at no cost too.  One example, I think Google Drive gives you around 10 Gigabytes worth of free data space or a little bit more than this, and just with this service alone you know you don’t have to spend a dime to backup your data as long you are not going over the free space limitation that Google Drive allows.  Don’t like third party cloud services for whatever reasons?  Computer hardware such as external hard drives nowadays are no longer pricing at outrageous prices, therefore it’s easier for regular Joe(s) to go this route for doing their data backups.  How about coupling Linux with a spare, dusty computer to form a local backup storage server at zero cost in term of money, but you have to spend time on putting things together such as installing Linux and deploying Linux’s network attached storage services to have a more complete backup server solution.

I can see that the many third party cloud services as good solutions for doing backups.  How come?  Let say you’re paranoid about the safety of your data to a point that you consider the scenario where local backup data can all be corrupted at the same time for whatever reasons such as a virus/hack attack (or by even a more nefarious scenario), therefore you think third party cloud services are the additional safety reservoirs for your backup data.  If you are this paranoid, I think you’re doing it right.  Although third party cloud services are good measures against local data corruption, there are problems with this whole approach in general.  Let me list a few:

  • Broadband’s upload speed (Internet connection) isn’t fast enough to do a major backup (i.e., backing up huge amount of data in Gigabytes worth)
  • Security issue… how do we know our data can be securely safeguarded and stored on the remote servers?
  • Trust issue… such as how do we know our data privacy and our privacy won’t be breached on the remote servers?

I sneakily snuck in the speed and security concerns about backing up data remotely through third party cloud services, but we should not take the security issue lightly since many people may not want their privately backup data to be made known to the whole world.  Security done right in term of backing up data locally and remotely, this will also address the privacy issue/concern too.  I think employing good network and computer security measures locally will enhance the security protection level for the backup data.  Such measures should be about employing hardware and software firewall, antivirus, and so on.  Don’t forget to update the software and firmware, because through updating these things that you can be assured of weeding out security bugs.  You can never be too sure about the security of your data when you’re backing up your data remotely, therefore you should employing encryption for your backup data before you upload your backup data to the remote servers.  One good encryption measure I know of is TrueCrypt software which can be downloaded and used freely.

I don’t think we should sacrifice our data security for conveniency, because data security is definitely more important than otherwise.  Still, conveniency should be considered in the calculation of our data backup challenge too.  It’s just that we have to make sure we don’t have to sacrifice data security for conveniency.  Let say, you want to backup your data to a third party cloud service, but you don’t like the idea of doing a local encryption for your data first… this means you are sacrificing your data security for conveniency and this is truly bad for you as the owner of the backup data (i.e., privacy concern).

In summary, I think if you’re paranoid enough about the health of your data, then you should devise many backup plans for your data.  You should try to backup your data both locally and remotely, but you should employ encryption for your data when you do backup your data remotely.  Backing up huge amount of data remotely can be very inconvenient at this point in time since so many regular Joe(s) do not have access to fast upload broadband speed.  Let hope this will change soon, and I know things will be moving in this direction since data streaming and data sharing and data backup are in much more demand than ever before.  One example would be Google fiber Internet service.  Google is driving the Internet Service Provider competition forward as Google deploys its Gigabit Internet connection service for many households in various lucky cities and towns.  With Google pushing for more competition in the area of broadband speed, I think the future — having great Internet connection for uploading our backups — is definitely bright.  As time is moving on, the costs of computer backup hardware and backup services can be even more competitive, we can expect the cost of deploying backup measures for our data can only get cheaper and easier.  I like the idea of having a NAS locally, and using one or two third party cloud services for my data backups.

(How paranoid should you be for backing up your data?  In my opinion, the answer should be, the more the merrier.)

Sending Email Attachment Larger Than 25MB Through Gmail Email Using Google Drive

English: Gmail logo

English: Gmail logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Today, I’ve found out that sending an attachment which is larger than 25MB or so won’t be possible through Gmail email.  Luckily, Gmail email service is intertwining with Google’s other web applications such as Google Drive, and through Google Drive I’m able to send attachment which is larger than 25MB.  Don’t know if it’s true or not, you can basically tell Gmail email to insert an attachment through Google Drive that is large as a decent video file size.  Isn’t it cool?