rashbre central: July 2021

Thursday 15 July 2021


Well, the boosted ethernet connections worked. Now I have a 2.5Gb Lan running across the house on what I am guessing is Cat 5e cabling. 

It was actually very simple. I just need to plumb in one of the little QNAP boxes at the far end of the cable run and then at the receiving end the signal magically jumped up to a higher speed. 

That may not sound too impressive, but it means copying a hard drive's files drops from about an hour to a few minutes. Now I have my contingent backup system located a long way from the main systems.

Sunday 11 July 2021

getting wired

It started with Cat 5 and then Cat 5e . The cables that everyone uses to connect their wired ethernets together. Nowadays many people don't even bother with wires, preferring everything to be beamed over wifi. 

They are the ones who will eventually lose their photos because they forgot to back everything up. 

I've got cabling as well as wi-fi and some of it is built into the house.


The electricians who wired it used Cat 5e cabling, which can run at up to 1Gb. I've noticed though, that on the long run between upstairs and downstairs, I sometimes get a negotiated 100Mb (ie 1/10 of the speed). 

That is where the length of the cabling starts to have an effect and is why more recent specifications up to category 8 are increasingly include better shielded cable twisted into pairs. It is quite different from the ancient Category 1 bell-wire.

Now I can't really justify having the house cabling ripped out, so I'm looking at other solutions. Roll-up IEEE802.11bz. It incorporates a clever way to squirt faster speeds down a lower speed-rated cable. Get the Category 8 effect from a Cat 5e cable.

The downside is that no-one supports it yet, or at least doesn't publicly feature it in their advertising. I looked around and found that 'Multi-Gigabit' seems to be an alternative name for a similar technology. And thus I found a little box which can slam 2.5Gb down a 1G cable. 

I hope it works!

Saturday 3 July 2021

Synology NAS with Final Cut Pro - Using Sparsebundles to make everything work.

Another post about the LAN changes I'm making at rashbre central. 

I still do quite bit of video editing but wondered about running the video edits across the LAN. The Synology server is quite fast, with up to four times 1 Gigabit ethernet links and about a half Gigabyte of cache memory. 

I have run a directly attached Drobo 5 with Thunderbolt, but I sense that the physical device is now becoming a little erratic, so the Synology solution should be more reliable.

Except that Final Cut Pro gives an error message when Network Attached Storage is used as the source for editing.

Luckily, I remembered what is, in effect, a hack.  I can create a sparse disk image on the NAS and then mount it to the iMac I'm using as if it is a local drive. Then I can add libraries from FCP directly to the sparse image. With 'proxy' switched on in FCP, it will use a 'proxy image' (ie smaller version) of the files I am editing and then only reassemble the full sized edit when it is time to 'Share' it.

I should add here that there are other solutions to this which involve changing the SMB settings on the iMac and typing a bunch of commands into the Synology server, during which at least one red screen pops up.

I'll regard this as a solution 'for the rest of us', which is intuitively easier to understand and for which the various files created are always restorable.

So here's what I've been doing:

1: Create a new sparse image using Disk Utility, on the LAN Server: I can make it a sparsebundle which takes up little space but specify a much bigger size (like 2 TB) so it has somewhere to expand.  This is my creation of the 'My example disk image' into a folder called VV_Video on the Synology NAS.

2: Now I can use the freshly created sparsebundle (ie disk image), which will have mounted itself automatically, as the target for an FCP editing session. And because it mounts to the iMac, it looks like a local file. It won't be 2TB either, but much smaller (20Mb?) and will grow as more files are added to it.

3: In FCP, I can create a New Project on the newly mounted "Disk" - ie the sparsebundle.

4: Then I can ingest video with the Proxy setting 'On' and away we go with happy editing. I can observe that the speed and 'scrubbing' through the video is as as fast as anyone would need it. It's not discernibly different from the Thunderbolt attached Drobo.

5: A spin off advantage is that I can now name my various video projects in separate disk images in VV_Video and keep all of the other files together. There is a real danger of becoming organised.

6: Happy days, although be aware that this is a hack and ideally will be replaced one day when  Synology and Apple talk to one another about video.

Thursday 1 July 2021

Boxed in?

Still on my reconfiguration of servers, I realised a silly thing. I was keeping a spare drive in a cardboard box, on a bookshelf, in case one drive failed. I took a look at the server.   Surely I could configure it with a hot spare instead? 



I received this notification today. We now have new and immensely useful bureaucracy associated with being outside of Europe. Our new domestic goods regulation regime is in place. 

Instead of using the CE marking to sell certain products in Great Britain, industry must take action before 1 January 2022. to get everything retested for conformity to UKCA.

At the beginning of the year, the UKCA (i.e. not GBCA) marking was introduced for selling goods in Great Britain (England, Scotland and Wales). There are now only six months to go until the UKCA marking becomes mandatory for most goods being sold in Great Britain that currently use the CE marking. 

For Great Britain products to continue being sold in Great Britain from 1 January 2022, it is essential to ensure product compiance with the UKCA marking as soon as possible. 

Do I hear the sounds of cut and paste?