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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Dropbox on the Pi

The Pi that I gave 12 volts to, looks like it isn't going to recover. Oh well. It's just as well they're so cheap! But then I got to thinking, I wonder if it really was 12 volts? So I put the multimeter on it, and blow my fuses, it was 17 volts. So I did a bit more thinking, and then I measured the voltage of all the various power supply things I've got, and made labels up to label them properly. I've always assumed that five volts means five volts, but it turns out to mean anything from four to seven. That's my asparagus in action - I have a condition that makes me excessively gullible. I believe labels on power supplies, for example, and it had never occurred to me before that they could be wrong.

Most of the rest of the day was spent getting Dropbox working on the Raspberry Pi. You can't just install it as you would on an Intel box - I tried. I got quite far, and then when I tried to download the daemon, I got "Platform not supported". I guess this means no ARM version.

So I can see two ways to do this. The first way would be to put Dropbox on an Intel machine, and use mirror or scp to synchronise the files to that. But that means I'm using a tower for this, plus in my experience a system that depends on two computers to cooperate is always less reliable and more hassle that something that stands along. And what would happen if I decided to change that tower to a Pi?

There's a better way. It's a shell script that uses curl. You can upload, download, list and delete, and I used that, and it works fine. To do that, I have to create a Drobox App, and that would have been easy, except that Dropbox wanted to send me an email and I'd click on a link in the email. I guess that's no big deal for most people, but I don't use a web-based email reader, I take my email as plain text. I can still click on links in emails ... but my email reader is behind a firewall that doesn't allow that unless I open up the firewall just for that ... you can see how this goes. So I told Dropbox that I have a new email address, using gmail (then I can just click on the link), but Dropbox, quite rightly, needed some confirmation that my email address is changed ...

And thus it was that I found a small security hole in Dropbox.

If you're logged in (or find someone else's account logged in), you can change your email address, and all that Dropbox does, is send an email to the old email address to tell them so. And from then on, the Dropbox account is tied to the new email address, and with that, you can change the password. Still, I can't imagine that anyone keeps anything important or of value in what people are calling "the cloud", but which should more accurately be called "someone else's computer".

Anyway, eventually I made Dropbox happy, and the shell script works fine.

I've also started on checking the seven servers I brought back from Cheltenham. I've already found a gigabyte of memory that's faulty, and one 2tb hard drive that will be going back for warranty replacement.

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