Feb 232014



As you’ll no doubt recall from my earlier 2012 article, I have a NAS in my home office.  It is a Thecus N5200XXX 5-bay Network Attached Storage device, and it sits on my home gigabit network.

The Thecus features an OS which accommodates pluggable “modules”, one of which is a licensed copy of Twonky Media Server. 


Twonky is a DLNA (Digital Living Network Alliance) compliant media server which broadcasts (via UPnP) to media receivers on your local network.  The server has device profiles for a range of media receivers, and is pretty easy to configure.


Configuring Twonky

The majority of functionality Twonky exposes is fine out-of-the-box, but there might be some cases where you’d want to modify or augment functionality.  In my case, I wanted to change the way Twonky displays Pictures and Videos when viewing by date (to sort by most recent, and by Day instead of Year./Month).

To make changes you’ll need to hand edit the various Twonky configuration files – a warning up front – if you aren’t confident in messing with configuration files, this might not be a step you want to entertain. 

Accessing Twonky configuration

As would be no surprise to many network gurus, the Thecus module files aren’t directly accessible via a Samba or NFS mount.  This means you’ll need to employ a different approach – namely secure shell (SSH) – in order to get at the Twonky configuration files.

Here’s an easy to follow guide on configuring and using the Thecus SSH module, or see below

  1. Install and start HiSSH module on your Thecus NAS
  2. Activate the HiSSH module (by default it is configured to use your admin account’s password)
  3. Use an SSH client to connect to the NAS (using user: root)

Personally, I disabled the SSH module after I was finished accessing the NAS.

Free SSH Clients for Windows

If you are running a version of Microsoft Windows, these SSH clients are worth a look:

For this article, I’ll be using winSCP as it has a nice Explorer-style User Interface and allows the use of interaction with your clipboard for copy/cut and paste operations.

Accessing the Twonky Configuration

Once you’ve authenticated, you’ll find the main module files under the path:

Warning!  Before you attempt to make any changes to any module files, I highly recommend making backup copies of any files or folders you want to modify.

In my case, I wanted to edit the device configuration for all devices, so I navigated to the following path:

Click on the image for a closer look

Opening the view-definitions.xml file, it was a simple matter of replacing the “bydate” container configuration under the video container configuration, with this:

<container name='bydate' id='video/date' sortcriteria='-dc:title' 
           createClass='object.item.videoItem.movie' class='object.container'> <container buildon='dc:date[1:10]' sortcriteria='+dc:title'
           createClass='object.item.videoItem.movie' class='object.container'/> </container>

I made a similar change for the Pictures container object.  Once saved, the Twonky module needed to be disabled and enabled again.

Useful Links


Feb 122013

To some an ‘Agile’ project means delivering value to a client or business more frequently than with other methodologies.  This can be achieved, with the right people, the right sponsorship within the right organisation which is open to the concept.

Other times, trying to run a successful Agile project will look a lot more like this clip below from YouTube

Unfortunately, this clip likely is a better representation of reality than we’d care to admit.

Without the appropriate buy-in from all stakeholders in a project, and acknowledgement that the Agile approach doesn’t necessarily align with more stringent or rigid processes and frameworks, an Agile approach simply won’t work.

If you want to know why, perhaps it’s worth reading the Agile Manifesto itself.  Believe it or not, behind all the hype, there’s real method to the principals of the manifesto – many of which fly in the face of more rigid and stringent “quality” measures.

Share this article if you agree….

Celebrating 8 years of technical blog writing

Jan 192013

Rega RP1

Time for a little “off topic” content.

Just after Christmas last year, I ponied up the cash to purchase a new turntable.  The new equipment – made in England – is the Rega RP-1 and includes the RP-1 performance pack factory fitted, and I bought the “cool grey” finish.  Because my Sony Muteki amplifier doesn’t have a Phono setting, I also bought the Rega pre-amp.

Rega RP1

As I have a fairly decent range of vinyl, I figured it was about time I upgraded the turntable.  I guess now I’ll need to think about the amplifier and speakers, but that’s a problem for another time.

Rega RP1

The reviews for this particular turntable are pretty good.  When I saw the tone arm demonstrated in-shop, I realised just what a work of art this thing is.  The arm moves almost seamlessly down onto the surface of the record, with the slightest touch.

The unit is fully manual – no auto return – but the absence of automation means Rega were able to put in a serious cartridge and drive belt.  There’s also no speed switch, to switch from 33 to 45, one must physically remove the platter and then move the belt, but it’s really simple!  Takes literally a few seconds.

Rega RP1

The unit is striking as well as performing admirably and for something under AUD $600, hard to beat at that price point. 

It takes only a few minutes to set up (it’s almost entirely plug and play) but once you get going, you’ll be astounded by how much more natural base is from your LPs, and how little (actually none) interference comes from the turntable itself.  It’s like being in the studio when an album was recorded.  Sweet.

My previous turntable has been relegated onto the desk in my office where it plays the less conditioned of my LPs.

For more info – here’s a link to the RP1’s manual.