A Tale of Two NAS’s

Finally I met with success in two Network Attached Storage devices on my home network. Surprisingly, both at the same time, but different solutions.

I have a Synology DS1010+ that has been in use for the better part of a decade and I also had a FreeNAS homebuilt computer. The Synology’s job was for Plex media storage (PMS) and mass file storage. 5x 2 TB drives in a Synology Hybrid RAID (SHR) array. For a few years, the admin portal kept telling me there was array errors, yet all the files were accessible and the drive checks out were good. I purchased a WD 10 TB USB 3.0 drive on President’s day and painstakingly copied all the files from the Synology to the single drive over the past few days. I then wiped the Synology and let it rebuild over about 10 hours. When I brought it back up, SHR was not an option when creating the array. Only normal RAID levels. So I selected RAID 5 and went on my way. 24 hours later, no array errors are present. I think it’s fixed. Also, I found out how to use Domain Admins as admin accounts for the Synology (joined to Active Directory, obviously).

As far as the FreeNAS, apparently the motherboard was dying. I found a suitable replacement and used the latest version of FreeNAS, which is a completely different GUI. It seems to be working much better and I don’t have any errors when using Veeam to backup my VMware ESX server. This is the exclusive purpose of the FreeNAS system. It has 3x 2 TB drives in a ZFS RAID 5 array. The protocol is SMB. iSCSI proved too much hassle to get working. I’ve done it before, but simple Windows share is fine for me.

That’s all today, folks. Maybe next time I’ll announce my new 10 GbE network.

BlackBerry KEY2 and Verizon Wireless

Carrier and Model

This is a very unique accomplishment. I’ve hoped for this moment for a very long time and now that it has happened I am very happy and pleased. The BlackBerry KEY2 (BBF100-2) is fully compatible with Verizon Wireless. I am referring to voice, text, and LTE data. Also HD voice (in fact, only HD voice because the phone has no CDMA capability).

Please note, I am NOT referring to the BlackBerry KEY2 LE. See screenshot to the left. I am referring to the original BlackBerry KEY2, retail cost $650 USD.

BlackBerry BBF100-2 specifications:
https://www.gsmarena.com/blackberry_key2-9187.php#bbf100-2

When this phone was launched in Q2 2018, it was advertised as specifically not compatible with Verizon Wireless. I tried this myself and indeed placing a VZW SIM card in the phone said “Invalid SIM” and nothing worked. Then in Q1 2019 due to other events I tried a VZW SIM card in the phone again and this time it identified as “Verizon Wireless LTE”. The correct phone number populated and incoming/outgoing phone calls worked flawlessly on HD voice. I was able to brows the Internet and conduct a speed test. I assume that VZW has allowed more LTE bands to communicate on their network, which falls in the compatibility of this device. GSM Arena lists the capability of the BBF100-2 as LTE bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 17, 20, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66. I don’t know what VZW utilizes, but it must include some of these bands.

Unfortunately SMS (text messages) did not successfully test. I was able to send outgoing SMS messages but I could not receive incoming SMS messages. After many hours of troubleshooting, I finally received the definitive answer:

This device is not supported and will not be supported by the Verizon Wireless network. It is not compatible with our network.

VZW Tier 2 Support

I knew the solution was to add the SFO code 83856. This code provisions the network to accept a “CDMA-less device” and allow SMS messages to be received. VZW support could not add this SFO code to my account. I tried multiple times with multiple calls. Every one failed. I stumbled upon the solution randomly thinking about my issue. I borrowed a friends BlackBerry KEY2 LE (BBE100-5), put in my VZW SIM card, called VZW support, added SFO code 83856, then put my VZW SIM card back in my BlackBerry KEY2 (BBF100-2). As of that moment, all incoming SMS messages were successfully received from all tests on all networks.

Now that I posses the knowledge of how to get this phone to operate 100% on Verizon Wireless, it does not seem very difficult, yet it took me almost 3 weeks to become successful. You do have to find a donor BBE100-5 though. Best Buy will not allow you to use an in-store demo (I tried this). I am very frustrated that VZW told me the device is “not compatible” yet it obviously is compatible. I feel like I was lied to. I want to complain to Verizon Wireless management about this discrepancy.

There’s Still Moisture in South Texas

Dropped WAN packets like crazy.  Called Spectrum.  Took two technicians to figure out the line between the outside box and my Arris modem was bad.  I moved it to a backup location (a better RG-59 cable) and problem solved.

Meanwhile I’m wondering what caused the original cable to go bad.  Then I recall that some years ago I had to cut it and put two ends on it and a female-female connector.  I’m sure the connection steadily degraded over the years and caused noise.  Remember kids, always use pre-made cables wherever possible.

Losing Hope

Honestly there is not much hope left in technology for me anymore.  With Microsoft releasing “beta” (my word) software but calling it ready for prime-time and charging you like it when all the features are clearly missing in one product.  Meanwhile, I have to uninstall my Bluetooth driver software just to use Remote Desktop Connection again.  Google is releasing “Wellbeing” software for Android to help you use your phone less (sounds familiar? it’s called the tobacco industry).  Ford doesn’t make cars anymore.  Facebook is as trustworthy as a homeless man on the street (no offense to the homeless population intended).  What can I put my hope in?  Anything?

My Phone

My phone has a Snapdragon 835, has 4 GB of RAM, and 128 GB of non-expandable storage. My phone has two 13 MP cameras on the rear (one is black and white only for those art shots) and one 8 MP camera on the front. My phone has a 5.7 inch screen, edge to edge and not curved at 508 PPI. My phone comes in 4 colors and is made out of ceramic and titanium for ultimate durability. My phone has a 3040 mAh non-removable battery that quick charges extremely fast. My phone is unlocked and works on all carriers in the United States. My phone was designed and assembled in the United States. My phone carries no branding because it is my phone, not the manufacturers.

My phone cost $500 for me and you.

I am very happy with my phone. You would be too.