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Add Ons

D-Link has also improved the 325's value proposition (and doubled its price) by including the ability to have features added via third-party developed Add Ons. The initial group of Add Ons is:

D-Link has selected an interesting and potentially useful set of initial Add Ons. Unfortunately, you may struggle with setting them up because they don't come with documentation in either the Add On files or in the User Manual. So you'll have to depend on Forum searches and the websites of the actual apps, which I've provided above.

Since I have a few Squeezeboxes, which are currently supported by SqueezeCenter running on an old QNAP TS-109 Pro, I gave the DNS-325's implementation a shot. The install was confusing. Installing the file downloaded from D-Link initially shows you a message instructing you to download a file from Logitech and place it in the Volume_1 folder. But when you do that, nothing happens. I finally decided to try loading the D-Link file again with the downloaded Logitech file in place, which finally gave me an working server.

The fun wasn't over yet, though. When the SqueezeCenter server launched its setup wizard, I had to poke around the Linux file system it showed to find the public folder where I had copied my test music (Tip: look under /mnt/HD/HD_a2/). Once I did that I let it scan the couple of test folders and I was ready to play.

But when I tried to play the files, my player responded with a "can't play file". Long story short, it appears that the old 7.3.2 version of SqueezeCenter that you must use, doesn't support playing non copy-protected .m4a files (purchased from iTunes) that were among my test files. .mp3 files, though, played fine.

I tried to install the latest 7.5.4 Squeezebox Server by using the same method as above and renaming the downloaded Perl Source code version from squeezeboxserver-7.5.4.tgz to squeezecenter-7.5.4.tgz. But no joy. So until D-Link makes a more current SqueezeCenter version available, you better plan on playing only AIFF, FLAC, MP3, OGG, WAV or WMV files.

Still in an audio mood, I next tried the Audio Streamer plugin. There is a reference to IceStation in the User Manual, which I took to mean that this Add On is actually Icecast. But, no matter, it didn't work. I dutifully added one of my uploaded albums and figured out that I then had to enable the stream by scrolling the window over and clicking a button.

Audio Streamer interface

Figure 8: Audio Streamer interface

But the URL given in the User Guide to play the file didn't work, not did entering the 325's IP with port 8000 specified (http://10.168.3.151:8000). I finally ended up clicking on the little play icon shown in Figure 8, which launched a new window at http://10.168.3.151:8000/Playlist-01.m3u that just showed Waiting for video in white on a black background with Firefox 3.6.17. I tried Chrome 11.0.696.60 and got the same result. But when I finally launched my ancient IE 6.0, after a dramatic pause, I saw iTunes launch on my Win XP system and start playing the song! So much web-based streaming!

My last Add On trial was the Photo Center Add On, which is the Gallery open source application. Gallery has all sorts of plug-ins and customizations available, but they are not in the D-Link Add On. Figure 9 shows the one test photo I uploaded, which was purposely a rotated shot. Gallery did not auto-rotate it, nor could I manually do it because the plug-in for this wasn't included.

Photo Center Add On (Gallery)

Figure 9: Photo Center Add On (Gallery)

Unless you're really hard up to display photos direct from your 325, you probably shouldn't even bother loading this Add On. You can't upload folders of files, nor can you copy a folder to the 325 and have Gallery add them. There is also no slideshow feature. In all, pretty unappealing.

So that makes it 0 for 3 for the Add Ons I tried. Maybe you'll have better luck with the other three.

Drive Pull Test

Given that most of the NASes I test are variations on established models, I haven't done a drive pull test in awhile. But the DNS-325 was different enough that it rated a test. The 325 was configured in a RAID 1 volume and I started a file copy of a big folder. After the file copy was underway for awhile, I pulled the #1 drive. About 10 seconds later, Windows told me that the copy destination was no longer available! But when I browsed the network back to the 325, the share was still there along with the files that had been copied so far. I was then able to restart the copy and it worked fine.

I had set up email notification, but neglected to check the Volume/Disk Status Has Been Changed option, so didn't receive a warning email. Since the DNS-325 has no beeper, there was no audible alert. The only visual failure indication was that the Drive 1 front panel LED was out.

I logged out and back into the web GUI and was not presented with any obvious indication that something was amiss. The Storage Status area looked unchanged from normal operation. The Recent Activities (log) list did log the drive removal and also had a "Volume_1" Has Degraded message.

I then powered down, reinserted the drive and powered back up. On login, the My Favorites screen once again didn't show any obvious sign that the volume was rebuilding. But, this time, there wasn't even a rebuild notice in the Recent Activities area. Browsing to the Disk Management screen, however, clearly showed a rebuild in progress, as Figure 10 illustrates.

RAID 1 volume resync after drive pull

Figure 10: RAID 1 volume resync after drive pull

Note that the Volume had been configured for automatic rebuild. Had I not done that, I would have had to initiate rebuild with the manual rebuild button on the Disk Management page.

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