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Our beta testing is complete, and we’re ready to send Feedsource for Windows Home Server out into the wild! What is Feedsource? Feedsource is a Windows Home Server Add-In that publishes secure Really Simple Syndication (“RSS”) feeds for Shared Folders through the Remote Access web site. Authorized users access Feedsource RSS feeds from inside or outside the home network to view new and changed files in Shared Folders using any RSS reader that supports authenticated feeds. Features Authenticated RSS feeds for Shared Folders that show create, delete, rename, and change events for...

A couple of weeks ago I hinted that we had an unannounced Windows Home Server Add-In in development. It’s time to let this particular cat out of this particular bag, and start a new closed beta. Feedsource for Windows Home Server is an Add-In that publishes authenticated Really Simple Syndication (“RSS”) feeds for your Shared Folders through the Remote Access web site. Authorized users access Feedsource RSS feeds from inside or outside your home network, using any RSS reader that supports authenticated feeds, to view the latest changes in your Shared Folders. Key features:...

By now, you’ve all read that Drive Extender has been pulled from “Vail” and “Aurora”. Here’s Microsoft’s announcement post and attempt at damage mitigation: When weighing up the future direction of storage in the consumer and SMB market, the team felt the Drive Extender technology was not meeting our customer needs. Therefore, moving forward we have decided to remove the Drive Extender technology from Windows Home Server Code Name “Vail” (and Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials and Windows Storage Server 2008 R2 Essentials) which are currently in beta. While this removes the...

Alex Kuretz and I are on Home Server Show #105, talking about developing add-ins for Windows Home Server. It was a lot of fun, so if you’re interested in a bit of Disk Management history, and a discussion about the economics of add-in development, go grab this episode and listen. Backing up your Backups with Alex Kuretz, interpreting the data from Black Box with Sam Wood, it’s the HomeServerShow, Developer Deep Dive Edition.  Episode 105 is a long one and we get in depth with with two developers that have been around since the beginning of...

The guys over at the Home Server Show talk about the Blackbox CTP (and Disk Management) in episode 104. Go check it out; it’s well worth a listen.

Tim and Andrew from Using Windows Home Server have posted a video preview and walkthrough of Blackbox for Windows Home Server. Go check it out.

Big thanks to the WHS community for the great response to our CTP announcement for Blackbox. We’ve got our test team full for this initial round, but look out for more opportunities soon.

It’s that time again! Tentacle Software is looking for testers for our latest Windows Home Server Add-In, Blackbox for Windows Home Server. Blackbox for Windows Home Server provides in-depth real-time monitoring of motherboard, disk, UPS, and graphics card hardware sensors. Administrators can define alerting rules to take actions when a sensor exceeds a specified threshold.   This is a preview release of Blackbox and is intended to showcase the major features that will be present in the release version, and to give our users the opportunity to provide input on the final feature-set....

The Home Server Show is the best podcast in the world because it’s about my favourite subject: Windows Home Server! The boys have just recorded and released their 100th episode, and as part of the celebration we’re providing a super-secret coupon code to get 50% off Disk Management. We’ve also thrown five free licenses for Disk Management into the prize pool as well. You’ll need to hit the Home Server Show site to get the code. Hurry, the special is only going to last one week!

The We Got Served forums have a dedicated board for user-submitted ideas for Windows Home Server Add-Ins. I like to know what users think WHS is missing, so I keep an eye out for any new posts. Yesterday, Ron Levenberg posted an interesting request: I would love to be able to get a daily e-mail that confirms to me that all my PCs connected to my home server have been backed up successfully and, if not, which PCs don't have current backups. It could be something like the Computers & Backups page data. I don't...

I spent almost an entire day last week fighting with UTF-8 encoding and PayPal IPN integration with the Tentacle Software store. From a development perspective, I really like IPN. It lets your order processing workflow accept payment notifications from PayPal when a transaction is completed (not just standard purchases, but recurring payments and even any refunds that you issue), and it’s been pretty much rock solid since we launched Disk Management a couple of months ago. That was, of course, until the ordering process happened to send a non-ASCII character in a payment request to PayPal (an accented...

Björn Bürstinghaus has reviewed Disk Management 1.1 on his Windows blog: [Google Translation] The hard drives are, in my opinion the most important components of a home server, because there all data is stored centrally. Unfortunately, the Windows Home Server Console no native support for display of information on the built-in hard drives. With the add-in Disk Management for Windows Home Server Tentacle Software you have a perfect overview of the status and activities of the individual hard disks in your home server. Thanks Björn!

Intel have released new drivers (Intel Rapid Storage Technology Driver v9.6, previously known as Intel Matrix Storage Manager) for their desktop RAID controllers, and in some cases it appears that SCSI paths for disks attached to the controller are changing. A change in SCSI paths isn’t anything catastrophic, but it does mean that your Disk Management wireframe might need to be reconfigured. The wireframe tracks disk locations based on their SCSI path, and will highlight a drive bay in red if a particular path isn’t present anymore. If you update your disk controller drivers and some drive...

We’re into the second week of the Disk Management 1.1 release, and we’ve had lots of positive feedback so far. Here’s a selection of reviews and release announcements: UsingWindowsHomeServer.com Tentacle Software announced the release of their updated Disk Management Add-In this weekend and I spent an evening in “hard drive information overload” as I reviewed this sweet update to an already cool tool! Is this Add-In for me? Heck yeah. My parents? Not so much. This Add-In is well worth the $10 for any avid WHS user. Access...

posted @ Thursday, March 04, 2010 9:55 PM | Feedback (0) | Filed Under [ Site ]

Over at the Ignition Development blog, I’ve posted an article on the development of the content management and online store framework that runs Tentacle Software. The old Tentacle Software website wasn’t a looker by anyone’s standards; it functioned, in that it served HTML pages with text and links, but it was by no means a stunning piece of architecture. In fact, it was just a couple of raw HTML pages and some JavaScript. Foundation In the run-up to launching Disk Management, we redesigned the site using a free CSS template...

Tentacle Software is proud to announce the release of Disk Management 1.1, the next version of our very popular Windows Home Server Add-In. It has, as they say, been a long time coming. We’ve kept this release under the radar, for the most part. We’ve talked about it in hushed whispers (through various threads on We Got Served, and teaser posts here) for at least a year and a half. Why did it take so long? We really, really wanted to get it right.   New Features We re-architected the entire Add-In to use a Windows...

We’re in the process of changing the Disk Management and Tentacle Blog sites over to a new web server. DNS takes time to replicate, so you might notice a few broken images and links for the next 24-48 hours.

Blogger Al West has posted a review of Disk Management 1.0.9.8, including a walkthrough of importing and editing a server wireframe. Overview The Windows Home Server Disk Management Add-In is a very nice presentation of an important part of any Windows Home Server.  It provides a great way to see what each of your disks is contributing to the storage pool and potentially helps you decide which disk to target in the event of changing your storage configuration.  Thanks Al!

LifeHacker has a follow-up post on their favourite WHS Add-Ins: In our overview last week, we briefly touched on the idea of using add-ins to enhance your Windows Home Server experience and get more out of the console. This week we're highlighting five add-ins and providing a little more detail on their functionality and how they make your Windows Home Server experience even better. WHS Disk Management is the first Add-In listed. I’m going to interpret that favourably!

AutomatedHome.co.uk has posted Mark II of their DIY Home Server build, and the article has some great things to say about WHS Disk Management. There are some interesting screenshots of their custom wireframe in action, as well. A few weeks ago we ran a story on a particularly impressive 20 terabyte home server belonging to one Automated Home reader.  Looking at his setup we made sure to install the excellent Disk Management add-in.  Amongst other things this allows you to create a wire frame graphical representation of your server.  You need to do this right at...

It’s only for a couple seconds, but WHS Disk Management got a demo in the latest Tekzilla episode on Windows Home Server. Check out the stream starting at 13:55. Of course, ignore their erroneous description of how Drive Extender works. We’ll forgive them for that, because free plugs are free!

Chris Bickerstaff from HomeServerLand recently interviewed me for their Add-In Author Interview series. On this edition of “The Interviews”, we interview the Add-In author who's Add-In is probably sitting on more Windows Home Servers than any other Add-In that is currently available. The Add-In author who’s Add-In is most likely in the top 5 of Add-Ins first installed by everyone when setting up their Windows Home Server for the first time. The Add-In author who’s Add-In is sitting on the Windows Home Server’s of Add-In authors. The...

Ok, you can all stop emailing me now! I’ve uploaded a bunch of H340 wireframes to the WHS Disk Management download page. Big thanks to everyone who contributed; I’ve received more H340 wireframes than any other OEM Home Server, and I could only post a few.

Alex Kuretz over at MediaSmartServer.net has just posted a deep-dive into the new HP MediaSmart EX49x series servers. Today HP is continuing that evolution with the third generation of the EX series and have announced the upcoming release of the MediaSmart Server EX490 and EX495. I’ve been fortunate enough to have spent the last couple of weeks using and evaluating the EX495 model running the new 3.0 version of the MediaSmart Server software, and I’m ready to give you a tour of what you can expect from the new MediaSmart Server. Some of the...

Thanks for the great response, everyone. I’m closing invitations now. If I need more testers, I’ll let you know here.

The new shiny GUI for v1.1 is going out to beta testers soon (hit the Contact link if you’d like to play), so I thought it would be fun to go back through the history of WHS Disk Management and have a look at how we used to do things. By random chance, I happened to save screenshots of all the previous flavours of the interface, so we can do it in pictures! Hello World Here is my very first attempt at an Add-In. You can tell I’m using Brendan’s templates here because of the icon. Check...

If you’ve been browsing the site in the last hour, you would have noticed quite a few broken images. That’s because I’ve put in a redirector to a different image upload location, so I can reduce upgrade headaches the next time I change to a new version of Subtext. Of course, as part of the change I managed to delete the images for a number of blog posts (including one of the tutorial sections, ouch). Always check the name of the folder you’re deleting, kids. I use Windows Live Writer to post, and I work from either my...

Brendan Grant at Microsoft has provided an answer to a question we get about WHS Disk Management fairly often: Why are internal SATA disks identified as SCSI? Short answer: You’re using a 3rd party driver to control the SATA adapter, which reports itself as a “SCSI” controller. Long answer: ATA miniports in Windows (until Vista) had no capability to support more than one outstanding request at a time.  This is because ATA devices were originally able to handle only a single request at a time.  Although native command queuing (NCQ...

The last few months we’ve been working towards making Tentacle Software a bit more real. Yesterday it all came together (finally), and we’re an officially registered company (in New Zealand, at least), with two shareholders and a corporate HQ. This doesn’t mean much for you guys at the moment, but it’s a pretty big milestone for us. It gives us more opportunities to do the thing we love; building kick-ass software for Windows Home Server. So, long live Tentacle Software Limited!

posted @ Thursday, June 04, 2009 2:43 PM | Feedback (2) | Filed Under [ Site ]

Timothy Daleo of UsingWindowsHomeServer.com has posted a nifty walk-through of installing WHS Disk Management and configuring a wireframe from scratch. I am very happy with this Add-In. It has some good information about the drives and a cool Wireframe creation tool. You cannot tell from the amount of screen shots I had to take but the Wireframe is pretty easy to set up. I would like to see future revisions offer some different options for the external drives we all use and maybe even some additional name labels. Again though, overall this is a good Add-In...

Dave from The Home Server Show posted a great walk-through of upgrading the storage capacity of his very full HP MediaSmart server. My parting thought is that you should think about swapping in larger drives before your other drives get full in order to make the swap as easy as possible.  If you don’t, you might be looking at some cleanup or possibly adding some temporary USB drives to help facilitate the swap.  I know what you’re thinking.  Use the Disk Balancer utility to balance up those drives.  Don’t think I haven’t thought about it but...

Maybe a long-awaited, and much asked for, feature of WHS Disk Management 1.1? I guess we’ll find out soon.

I’ve just finished uploading the latest batch of community-created wireframes for WHS Disk Management, including three versions of the new Norco RPC-4020. I have a feeling that the RPC-4020 is going to be a popular WHS platform! Thanks again to everyone that contributed a wireframe. If you’ve sent me one and I haven’t posted it, my apologies; it might have been trapped by my spam filter, so send it through again. You can find the new wireframes in the Download section of the WHS Disk Management site. As always, more contributions are always welcome.

WGS have posted the results of their Reader Awards 2008 competition. Windows Home Server Disk Management was beaten out this year by Kentdome Technologies’ Grid Junction Add-In. Of course, I can’t complain; I use Grid Junction on a number of Windows Home Servers myself! So, congratulations to Alexander on winning this year! We’ll have to be content with second place.

Our domain registrar has had major issues with their nameservers over the last 24 hours. This has meant that our web site has been inaccessible for a long period of time. The provider in question has informed us that the issue has been resolved, but it may take up to 24 hours for DNS replication before the site becomes accessible globally once more. Thanks for your patience.

Just upgraded the blog from Subtext 1.9.5 to 2.1. It was a seamless process; I spent more time trying to get a decent database backup than actually running the upgrade wizard. I’ll play around with some skins now, so don’t be alarmed if we suddenly turn bright purple.

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I've enabled comments on the blog. If the spam gets too bad I'll turn commenting off again, but for now, let's see how it goes. Next part of the tutorial coming up this weekend.

I just processed another batch of community-created wireframes and added them to the WHS Disk Management site. They look great; thanks to everyone that's contributed so far. I've also gone through and added screenshots for every wireframe. You can click the image link icon next to each wireframe to display a visualization before you download it. If you've sent me a wireframe and it hasn't shown up yet, fire me an email reminder. Sometimes they get lost in my inbox.

After a long-weekend marathon, WHS Disk Management v1.1.0.0 has finally reached alpha status. I'm looking for a few brave souls to help with testing; if you're interested, send me a private message on the We Got Served forums, or contact us using the blog. So what's new in this release? Well, exciting things are afoot. We've changed to a client/service architecture, removing the heavy-lifting from the Add-In code and pushing the processing out to a Windows service. The change was made for a number of reasons, the most important of which are: To follow...

From the ‘Entirely Unexpected But Definitely Awesome’ department comes an MVP award from Microsoft, for my development work with Windows Home Server. I’m now amongst such illustrious luminaries as Terry, Phil, and Ken Warren. Between you and me, I almost deleted the welcome email as spam. Now, of course, I have to live up to the hype. I’ve mostly been posting on the We Got Served forums, and occasionally on the Windows Home Server Microsoft Forum, so I haven’t had a central place from which to pontificate about Windows Home Server development topics. Good excuse for...

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