ESXi Whitebox

I did a lot of research recently to build a Vmware ESXi whitebox server. I wanted to build an ESXi server to learn about Vmware as well as have all the virtual machines run 24/7. With the File Server, I have to stop the Virtual Machines running because of the Macrium Backup, which is extremely annoying.

My basic requirements are :

  • Low power usage, because it will run 24/7.
  • Easy administration
  • 5 or 6 hard drives
  • Run all my virtual machines

The two best ressources I found are :

Update 1/14/15: I bought 32 GB of Ram for the ESXi server to be able to run a lot more virtual machines.

The server has the following parts :

Cost: 945 $

Here are some pictures :

ESXi1 ESXi2

Plowshare4

I was looking for a way to automate my file downloads with cloud based file hosting services. I searched for a windows tool and did not find what I wanted. None of the softwares had the features I was looking for. I was looking for a software where I could create a text file with the hyperlinks and I would download the files on it own. In case of captchas, it could send me an email or download the picture so that I could access it not via the webpage and answer it. I stumbled across Plowshare by pure chance.

Plowshare4 is a linux script software that can accept a text file with hyperlinks and go and download the files on its own. It is a great tool because it also has incorporated many file hosting providers as well as the waiting periods between files, so once you have created the text file, you can let Plowshare work on its own. It is of course not true in the case of a file hosting service that uses captcha for validation. Plowshare4 actually downloads the captcha image for validation and let you enter the text for validation in command line. I could have written a script to let me know when a captcha image has been downloaded and send to me via email for validation. An other option would be to use a captcha solver. For now, I validate the captchas manually. I installed Plowshare4 in my Kubuntu virtual machine, and it is working like a charm.

A couple of examples:

$ plowdown http://www.rapidshare.com/files/86545320/Tux-Trainer_25-01-2008.rar
$ plowdown -m file_with_links.txt

Domain Name DNS

For my past website, I had been using a free domain name provided by a DNS hosting service,  first by DynDNS and when they changed their policy to not support free domain service, I moved to No-IP. I got tired of the renewal via a link every 30 days with No-IP so I decided to by a domain name. I did some research and finally decided to go with Namecheap. I bought my domain named for 5 years for 38.45 $ (7.69 $ per year), this was quite the deal and I won’t have to deal with those annoying renewal every 30 days. On top of that, I can have subdomains for different applications.

Plex

I was looking for a media server and stumbled across Plex Media Server for the first time while I was researching information on Vmware ESXi, by pure luck. I had previously looked at Twonky Media Server and Kodi (formerly XBMC)

I read a lot first about what Plex was and what it was doing. Plex consists of two separate software :

Plex Media Server enables you to stream your media content to almost any device: Iphone, Ipad, other computers, TVs, etc… . It also contains a powerful transcoder to transcode your files to adapt to the network bandwith and capacities of the receiving devices. In addition, you can also transcode some files and put them in the cloud (Cloud Sync) to see them even if in the case where the server is down.

Plex uses a pretty strict way of organizing and naming the files and uses the TVDB for the metadata, it took me weeks to organize my series and animes correctly.

After using it for a few weeks, I decided to buy a lifetime license for 75 $ and was lucky enough to buy it before the significant price increase.

For the moment, I only use Plex Media Server with the web interface and it is meeting all of my needs. All of the users at home use it and love it. Long term, I plan on building a small PC client with PHT and connect it to the TV via HDMI.

I Installed Plex Media Server in a Windows 7 Virtual Machine and allocated it two of the four cores of the i3 3225 of the server that it runs on.

Here is a screenshot.

Plex

Massive Spamming and Plugin Change

Hi all,

So after the installation of WP-reCAPTCHA , my blog was still being massively spammed (40-50 per day and gradually increasing). I researched online and adopted a new plugin for protection and activated it for the comments. Since then, i really have seen a massive drop in the spam comments to about a couple a month.