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Fun with PogoPlug

February 4, 2013

I had a bit of a gadget binge over the holidays between presents received and “presents” I bought for myself.  One of the items is a PogoPlug™, a tiny Linux unit with an ARM processor, ethernet port, and 4 USB 2.0 ports.  Out of the box this thing pretty sweet, you can access files from whatever drives you plug into it over the internet using a web interface.  There are apps for Android and iOS to play music or movies from your drives.  You can mount them in OSX Finder (by running their software).

I want MORE!  🙂

Drobo with Airport Extreme: 9Mb/s write, 10Mb/s read

Drobo with Airport Extreme: 9Mb/s write, 10Mb/s read

I’ve been doing TimeMachine backup, iPhoto and iTunes storage with a Drobo RAID plugged into my Airport Extreme router.  It’s sloooow… I read somewhere that the USB processor on it is a dog.  I want to stream music and movies to my new Roku player.  I want a network DVD drive for those rare times I need one.

Connected to the Airport Extreme the best speed I can get is 9Mb/s write, 10 Mb/s read.  Directly connected to my Mac with USB it’s 18.5 write, 25 read… how close can I get with PogoPlug?

Speed measurements were taken with BlackMagic Disk Speed Test.

First Steps

There are a couple ways to get more software onto your PogoPlug.  ArchLinux ARM is a great resource with lots of useful information and an active community.  I decided not to use it because I want to keep the existing features of and ArchLinux completely replaces the OEM software.

Mistake!  I ended up screwing around with Optware/ipkg for days.  I could never find the right combination of packages, compiling, configuration, etc to get disks mounted reliably (by label or GUID) and to get AFP sharing working.  Once I switched to ArchLinuxArm everything went much smoother because they have an active community and lots more packages.

I’m using an old USB hard drive for the OS and backing it up to a thumbdrive.

Time Machine and AFP

Drobo with PogoPlug: 10.5Mb/s write, 15Mb/s read

W00t! Drobo with PogoPlug: 10.5Mb/s write, 15Mb/s read

The article on the archlinuxarm site is out of date so use this instead:  It doesn’t say anything about setting up users but I went ahead and created one because other articles suggested netatalk wouldn’t permit the root user.  Perhaps this is no longer the case.

  • Format the drive to share as ext3 (hfsplus mounted read-only for me so wimped out and I bought Paragon ExtFS).
  • useradd pogoplug
  • touch /etc/afppasswd
  • afppasswd -an pogoplug
  • Edit fstab to auto-mount the disk to share
  • Do “chmod 777 MOUNT_PATH” to ensure all users can access the share.
  • Back on my laptop, configure OSX to allow 3rd party devices: defaults write TMShowUnsupportedNetworkVolumes 1
  • Browse for the server and mount the share

All set!  The TImeMachine preference pane found the drive with no trouble.

What’s next?

Now that I have this working (with a tasty speed bump)  I’ll try out some other things…

  • Stream iTunes music to Roku/Android
  • Stream Video to Roku
  • Stream iTunes Music to Mac
  • Network Optical Drive
  • Setup a home VPN
  • Better network iPhoto solution?
  • Rip DVD to Drobo, play from Roku?

Home automation?  Security cams?  Endless possibilities!


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