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Why releasing firmware updates should be done often

I have developed, maintained and sold as product manager many devices. Many devices with firmware, like Routers, Mediaplayers but also NAS Devices.
you can say that I am expert on various levels (from Technical point of view, but also from Marketing / Commercial side making the right choices for the company and customers).
One of the latest products I created from idea to end product (of course with the help of other people) was the a very nice NAS available on the market today.
it won around 7 prices (WOW!, we actually did something good).
Unfortunately I am not involved in that project anymore as I am no longer employed, but I am still following the process of this product, as I think this product is still awesome, with Private Cloud (with Tonido) and the Marvell 6282 chipset .. (Best features, performance and quality for the price you are paying).

But every product has bugs and my idea is always to test the device on main topics to see if a firmware upgrade can be done safely and if data will not affected. If so, check the release notes and test the fixed bugs or new items inside. Release the firmware as a beta firmware and have it tested further by your userbase. Make a single point of contact and collect the input of the users. of course it will take time, but the buzz about your support and device will be granted with people advising your product to other customers/users.

When people are postive about the beta, make this beta public and go further with another beta.

I have seen great success with the Conceptronic CH3SNAS and CH3MNAS where I released many fw, but also for the Conceptronic CFULLHDMA(i) where I released almost every week a new firmware. (I had around 700 beta testers, and from those 700 around 50 gave me daily/weekly input of their tests.. Awesome. (not only for me, but also for the factory). I can say that due to this, more devices have been sold than if we would not have done it.
unfortunately above 3 devices are not sold anymore nor maintained by Conceptronic or manufacturing factory. As long as you buy in good quantities a factory is willing to maintain it, or you pay a nice NRE fee and they run for you as well ;-)

Your keyusers will love this way of working (you show development / progress). And Less experienced users will not even try to upgrade, but will do this only when they encounter an issue or have called with your local service desk and are requested to upgrade safely to a released version.

I encountered an issue at my side some time ago: I was unable to store more than 88% of the total disksize of the NAS. After 88% copying of files to the NAS was giving a lot of troubles.. which resulted in broken and failing copy actions. Bummer …
I do not know if there are more users having this issue cause it might only happen when you store a lot of data and files (I was using a 6TB RAID0 configuration)
so to store more than 4.5TB will take some time ;)

I deleted a lot of files and I was able to store data again.. I forgot about this issue for some months but I saw it again when I tried to copy 2.5TB of data last week. Checking the website: no new fw release. ??? That’s wierd cause I expected a new one as I know that there are some things what could be improved.

So this time I was not that happy and took some time to analyze the issue. It looks like it was related to samba, but after debugging the logfiles there was no real error what could be related that samba was failing.

To make a story short: I found out that the kernel version the NAS was using did not optimze the filesystem nodes properly. So a lot of space was wasted when there came data in or out. As a result of this there was no space anymore to store more nodes when we store more data in the system.
I managed to update the kernel (do not ask me how)…(Actually you need an ssh enabled fw release (not available to the public), the official fw release did not enable ssh (removed). No idea if a released GNU/GPL sourcecode will give you the opportunity to upgrade the kernel image.

for me by only upgrading the kernel:

1. My 88% issue was fixed, I can store data again and as a positive side affect:
2. Improvement of write speed towards the NAS: the device reached a 40MB/s write speed what I never saw before. Finally the Marvell chip could be used what it was designed for… Storing at this speed was not seen before. (Read speed around 50MB/s but I have seen a 65MB/s, which was the top, but could not be maintained).
very very satisfactory.

I wish they will release a fw update soon .. because unfortunately it seems that no new firmware upgrade has been released yet. I do not know why, and actually I do not want to know why …
but I think that their policy is not to release firmware upgrades often and first test it internally.
A totally different strategy than what I should have proposed or done. As single person a device like a NAS has too many features you can test in a timely matter and in various configuration settings. You need the help of others.

People might disagree about releasing firmware upgrades often.. If so: I would love to hear the comments why a vendor should not release (beta) firmware often.

Note: I have not mentioned names of the NAS device nor I have mentioned brands and factory names as I think this is not important for this story.

Personal Achievements: Create a product what can win prices

Proud, proud to see that the product I have developed, (from idea to end (the whole product development )) finally wins a price in the category: Best Professional Storage Product. The Freecom SilverStore 2-Drive NAS wins over Promise, G-Tech, Synology and IOmega.. the MAC WORLD 2012 awards ..

Bummer …. and they had to let me go due to an internal reorganisation. I am Seeking a new job …. with this kind of achievement somebody must notice and see the potential not?

Okay what was my part in all of this:


Artikeltje in Digitailing ..

afgelopen maand een klein artikeltje gemaakt die geplaatst is in de Digitailing ..

Nadat ik de opzet had gemaakt is het natuurlijk onder redactie geweest en is eea iets anders opgeschreven. Echter kern van het verhaal (grin) is overeind gebleven ..


Artikel gaat over Netwerk en NAS ;-) . M’n werk aan een nieuwe NASjes krijgt eindelijk goede vorm in testsamples en wat al niet meer. Na lange studies, discussies en wat al niet meer krijgt het product echte inhoud ;-)

Request for Feedback: NAS Devices

As my visitors are the best average consumer available I have some questions for you. And with your answers I will be capable of doing nice things ;-)

This is your way to express what you want or tell me what you need.

  1. If you would buy a NAS, why would you buy a NAS and not a USB DISK?
  2. What is the main reason why you want to buy a NAS?
  3. Is price the most important part in your descision or also the features?
  4. What features are the most important part for you?
  5. What

Just a howto for a Tweaker

Do not use this howto if you are using fun_plug or nzbget already! [updated 01-03-2010]

this howto is a first test for me to see if I can write a howto out of experience and without the need to do a complete install myself (No NAS available to do it).

updated: 17-11-2009

Enjoy!, This howto should be working now.

Continue reading

CH3SNAS firmware 1.04RC4

As it was the purpose to have the 1.04RC3 being released officially I’ve decided not to release it through the official channel. I have just received an important bugfix which was finished earlier than expected. So probably early next week this version will be released.

In this release only the following has been fixed:

  • The samba server time setting is not synchronized with FTP server and device web time setting.

This means that in certain conditions you could see time differences when uploading / copying files to the CH3SNAS. Download the 1.04RC4 here

Note: the PS3 issue is still under debugging. Playing a 7GB .ts media file can show the correct size, but it can only be played for 2 hours.

CH3SNAS: Firmware 1.04RC3

After listening to users of CH3SNAS I finally present you the 1.04RC3 which will be released on the official webpage soon as 1.04-0627 version

Release notes:

In this release we have fixed a number of issues needed to be fixed for an official release:

(this release is about to be released through the official channel as wel as official supported download)

  1. http://ch3snas/server.pem & http://ch3snas/etc/shadow can reveal information: fixed
  2. Certain UPnP Devices (Like PlayStation 3) could only browse but not play content: fixed
  3. Files > 2GB could not be played entirely: should be fixed
  4. Issue with mt-daapd when using bonjour tool: Partly fix: we only support to see the status. New features needed can be proposed and if useful, we can try to add.

Please reset your device to factory defaults after upgrading to have certain scripts work properly. Without resetting to factory defaults I cannot guarantee any option to work properly.

Download the 1.04RC3 file here.

CH3SNAS: 1.04RC2 firmware

Release Candiate 2 1.04 firmware CH3SNAS

if this version is suitable enough it will be released on the Conceptronic website as 1.04 relaease.

In this firmware release:

UPnP Server instant update bug.

For freaks: the /usr/bin/inotify_upnp script was only be executed or running when the server was enabled and folder is ROOT, when enabling another folder, only prescan was executed. (Thanks Matthijs for doing some testings with me and having patience ;-) ).

Support for IFO, M2TS, TS, MKV etc. was added. Note: it’s extremely important that your media device is capable of working with UPnP AV with these extensions (especially on IFO and ISO part cause it can cause some issues when reading this data (unexpected UPnP AV feature).

A second remark is that you have to disable the UPnP server totally and reboot, so that the database will be updated removed and updated totally. Cause it’s possible that certain files are not being indexed or seen after disable / reboot / enable.

We also added a new feature in this 1.04RC2 release:

It is possible that a RAID1 enters a ‘DEGRADED’ status. Normally, after a reboot, the device will ‘RESYNC’ the HDD contents automatically. But in certain conditions the status will not change from ‘DEGRADED’ into RESYNC’ and you can only fix that when forcing the HDD to be member of the array again (fun_plug needed). The feature will only be seen when using your Harddisk in RAID1 mode.

A reboot is required for a forced resync.

Feedback is appreciated

CH3SNAS: Volume_1 & Volume_2 (sda / sdb)

CH3SNAS when using 1 disk, no matter which slot you are using: it will always be Volume_1 (standard mode or normal mode). Under the hood the Volume_1 is a a symbolic link to sda or sdb. If inserted left Volume_1 is a symbolic link to sdb if inserted right: the disk is sda

So at the bottom: the sda and sdb will make a reverse change, so the user won’t notice it has changed

So if you want to have sda equal to Volume_1 in all circumstances: start using the HDD in the right HDD tray. 

CH3SNAS 1.04a1 release

1.04a1 release CH3SNAS firwmware, 1st release in 1.04 range. Only for beta-testers.

Drop your comments here

  • UPnP Media Server content instantly updated by SMB and FTP transfer
  • Sending e-mail: allow the use of . and – in e-mail addresses
  • NFS v3 Server Support (kernel module support) enabled. Engineer forgot to enable it previous time(s) where it should be enabled as we wrote it was supported. Additional you need Fun_Plug to get it working
  • Scandisk feature: removed. Too much issues

This firmware is as-is and not qualified (yet) to be released through the website.


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