Synology Updates Photo Station and Video Station.

Synology updated both Photo Station and Video Station. No new funtionality but they are needed for security and compatibility.

Synology has released updates to Photo Station and Video Station.

Photo Station is up to version 6.2-2945. The changes are covered in one line:

  1. Security Enhancements

Video Station is up to version 1.5-0754. Again, the changes are covered in one line:

  1. Upgraded to be compatible with DSM 5.2-5565 update 1

I applied both updates to my Synology DSM 5.2-5565 NAS (the base DSM 5.2 installation) without an issue. I applied the update before DSM 5.2 Update 1 since the Video Station update was needed for compatibility.

 

Synology Releases DiskStation Manager 5.2

Synology has released DSM 5.2. My upgrade from the 5.2 beta had some hiccups but the upgrade from DSM 5.1 was problem free.

Synology feature image tile - blackToday Synology Released DiskStation Manager 5.2 (a.k.a. DSM 5.2). I’ve been running the beta version since it was released and I’ve liked it. The beta has been problem free, at least for me, although the upgrade from the beta wasn’t. My problems appear beta related as a second Synology NAS, that was running the latest DSM 5.1, not the beta, didn’t have any problems.

The process I follow for upgrades is fairly straight-forward:

  1. Update all installed packages to the latest version available.
  2. Download and update DSM through the Control Panel.

The only beta upgrade issue I consider serious is that CloudSync no longer starts because of some version confusion1. After updating to DSM 5.2 the CloudStation package won;t start because it says it’s incompatible with the installed DSM version. The package won’t update because it’s a higher version number than what’s available for installation. The installed version is 1.0-0327 while the version available for install is 1.0-0263 and dates back to December 2014. I’m hoping Synology is just slow in updating the repository or can quickly update the version check and the package actually works. I’m going to give them a few days before I uninstall and then re-install the package. I’m concerned that the re-install will force a new sync which I’d prefer to avoid. [Updated 5/13 – Sure enough, the CloudSync package had an update waiting this morning and it’s fine after the update.]

The beta upgrade did not re-start any of the packages. Some started manually but some did not so I rebooted the NAS and they all started.

Neither of these problems occurred when I updated from DSM 5.1 to DSM 5.2.

There’s a long list of updates. Here’s what they’ve chosen to highlight. The full software specs are here.

Most iOS, and I assume Android, apps were also updated.

  1. CloudSync is not CloudStation, CloudSync synchronizes with with Cloud Services such as DropBox and OneDrive.

Synology DSM 5.1-5021Released & Apps Updated

Synology has updated DSM 5.1 and several of their packages.

Synology has updated DiskStation Manager 5.1 to version 5.1-5021. The update includes (from the Synology DSM release notes):

Version:5.1-5021     
What’s New

This update includes all bug fixes as well as security fixes in the previously released critical updates since DSM 5.1-5004.
Fixed Issues

  • Enhanced data security by disabling “Mount automatically on start-up” after restoring an encrypted shared folder.
  • Fixed a vulnerability that allows senders to access unintended destinations during a backup job.
  • Enhanced stability on Amazon S3 on large file backup.
  • Upgraded OpenVPN to 2.3.6 to address a security vulnerability.
  • Fixed a vulnerability that allows local users to initiate a denial of service by queuing the maximum number of file descriptors (CVE-2014-7824).
  • Upgraded PHP to 5.5.19 to address multiple vulnerabilities (CVE-2014-3669, CVE-2014-3670, CVE-2014-3668, and CVE-2014-3710).
  • Improved DTV dongle compatibility.
  • Improved file-copying stability on DS2015xs.
  • Fixed an issue where DS213+ and DS413 could power up unexpectedly when backup tasks are scheduled.
  • Minor bug fixes.

Synology has also updated many of their packages (a.k.a. applications) with minor enhancements and bug fixes. Of the packages I use, the following have been updated:

  • Audio Station
  • Cloud Station
  • Cloud Sync
  • Download Station
  • Note Station
  • Video Station

All the changes are minor, the only one I personally noticed is that Note Station now sorts the Notebooks in the sidebar list which makes them easier to find.

I updated both my Synology DS415+ and Synology DS212+ without having a problem.

 

Synology Releases DSM 5.1-5004 Update 2

Synology has release Update 2 for DSM 5.1

Twenty three days after the official release of DSM 5.1 Synology has released an update.

Version : 5.1-5004 Update 2

(2014/11/29)
Fixed Issues:

  1. Fixed an issue that could cause a false alarm in Security Advisor after upgrading to DSM 5.1-5004 Update 1.
  2. Fixed an issue where Firewall rules did not apply correctly.
  3. Fixed a security issue that could allow remote attackers to cause a denial of service via a crafted ECC certificate or certificate signing requests (CVE-2014-8564).
  4. Enhanced HA stability on system updates.
  5. Fixed an issue where DS213+ and DS413 could fail to execute scheduled tasks after entering system hibernation.
  6. Fixed the send-mail function in PHP.
  7. Fixed an issue where packages failed to start or users were unable to install packages on entry models.
  8. Fixed an issue where CGI cannot be executed in Web Station.
  9. Fixed an issue where DSM mobile was not correctly displayed on Chrome v39 on mobile devices.
  10. Fixed an issue where installation of digitally-signed packages could fail on EDS14.
  11. Improved QuickConnect mechanism on complex network environment.
  12. Fixed an issue where scheduled power-off function could fail to execute when DSM Auto Update was enabled.
  13. Fixed an issue where false warning could display in System Health on Play-series.
  14. Fixed “Customzie PHP open_basedir” function to accept directories that have not been created.
  15. Enhanced security on SSH/Telnet connections.
  16. Fixed an issue where EDS14 could fail to apply updates.

The update is available through automatic update in control panel. Like all firmware updates a reboot is required.

DSM Control Panel showing available update

The update took less than 10 minutes each on my DS415+ NAS, DS212J and DS212+.

Synology Note Station First Impressions

Synology Note Station is one of the new features delivered in Synology DiskStation Manager 5.1 (DSM 5.1) . It’s a additional package that can be installed (like Video Station, Photo Station, etc…) and includes mobile apps. Comparisons to Evernote are inevitable, and justified. It shows a lot of promise as a Evernote replacement for me even though it is far behind on any feature comparison checklist and being a new application it’s rough around the edges. Here are my first impressions.

Synology Note Station main screenSynology Note Station is one of the new features delivered in Synology DiskStation Manager 5.1 (DSM 5.1) . It’s a additional package that can be installed (like Video Station, Photo Station, etc…) and includes mobile apps. Comparisons to Evernote are inevitable, and justified. It shows a lot of promise as a Evernote replacement for me even though it is far behind on any feature comparison checklist and being a new application it’s rough around the edges.

It does include the ability to import directly from Evernote which is a feature I’m still working through and testing. I’ll write about it once I’m done. It’s one of those rough around the edges areas.

What’s Missing

Based on the Evernote features I use Note Station lacks features that compare to the following (some of these Evernote features may be Mac only or Windows only.):

  • Cannot add notes via email.
  • Cannot add notes via a “print to…” selection.
  • Cannot set up a directory to automatically import files.
  • No Notebook Stacks – Note Station notebooks are a flat list.
  • Tags cannot be created in a hierarchy, they are a flat list in Note Station.
  • No integration with other applications or services.
  • There is no native app for Windows, OS X or Linux, it is web based. (There are mobile apps.)
  • Syncing to mobile devices is different than Evernote and potentially (depending on your needs) less robust and useful.
  • The mobile apps cannot accept links (or anything else) from other apps on the device. Likewise, they cannot share notes with other apps on the device.

What Synology Note Station Has

  • It has the look and feel of Evernote
  • Notes can be created with embedded images and other types of files can be attached.
  • Excluding mobile apps (more on them later) Note Station appears robust and able to scale. I’ve been regularly using Note Station with 30 notebooks with about 800 notes. I’ve also tested with another 1,000 (or so) notes in another notebook.

My Initial Impressions

I tested Note Station during the beta and began using it when the production version of DSM 5.1 was released. Much of that time was spent testing and deleting and then re-adding. It’s been part of my workflow for the last few days although I’m still figuring out where I’m comfortable using it.

Performance

It doesn’t run as smoothly as Evernote and this can be annoying at times. For example, scrolling a long list of notes in a notebook pauses as it works to refresh the list. I would sometimes reach what I thought was the end of the list only to have it refresh and grow a few moments later. The easiest way to get to the bottom of a list is to reverse the sort order.

The iOS app would also appear to hang up at times, most often when I tapped the menu button.

Mobile Apps

The iOS app is buggy (at least on my iPhone 5s). Unlike the Android app it hasn’t been updated since the initial release in September so hopefully these bugs will vanish in the next update. The app would frequently crash on me, usually after doing nothing except displaying a note for a couple minutes. Syncing was also quirky (and possibly the cause of the crashes). I had all my notes, yet DS Note would always be in a “syncing” state when it loaded. Often it would stay there until the app crashed, even when I knew there were no changes since the last sync. I didn’t notice any discrepancies in the notes between devices, so syncing seemed to be working. Along these lines, the last successful sync date was often older than the changes that were actually in the notes. Meaning, notes were syncing but the last successful date wasn’t updating. I never had missing notes, and changes synced quickly no matter what the sync date said.

Evernote has the ability to sync individual notebooks to the mobile device. DS Note (the mobile app) does not. All notebooks are synced, in a manner of speaking. Attachments are not synced although they can be downloaded one at a time when viewing the note. Inline pictures aren’t viewable when the Synology NAS isn’t available unless they were previously viewed and cached on the phone.

I couldn’t find any way to delete downloaded attachments or cached pictures so they appear to keep building up. There’s no setting to limit local storage. The only way I can think of to free up space is to delete, then reinstall the app.

Things to Know

These aren’t necessarily bad, just things to know.

* Images are displayed inline but all other files are attachments and show as links. For example, PDFs don’t display inline like they do in Evernote. Attachments must be opened in another application, or another browser tab if the browser supports the file.

* In a browser, the left pane, where the notebook list is displayed, is not sorted. Mine is still in the reverse import order (first imported notebook at the bottom). They can be sorted in the middle pane when “Notebooks” is selected in the left pane.

* Chrome or Firefox is needed to record audio notes.

* I use Evernote to take pictures of receipts, or any document, using an iPhone (I don’t have any other phones to check but it’s probably the same on all smartphones) and have found it does a nice job of automatically cropping to the receipt size. There’s no automatic cropping in DS Note and no built in manual photo editing either.

* I renamed “My Notebook” because I like my default notebook to be called “Inbox”. This worked fine until I restored Note Station. Inbox was restored just fine but “My Notebook” was also there since it was created when Note Station was installed. Neither could be deleted and both were marked as default. For the record, this was during testing and I have since reinstalled/reimported from scratch. I ignored any problems that occurred when I had two default notebooks so every issue in this article is based on a “clean” setup. While I hate the whole “My …” naming convention this problem wasn’t annoying enough for me to try and find a work around.

Wrapping Up

Synology Note Station is still young, so I’m optimistic it will improve. I don’t expect it will ever have “Mail To” or “Print To” support since I don’t expect it to ever have a native Mac or Windows app. I also expect it to remain browser based. I hope the mobile apps do get sharing features.

The inability to easily email a note is also a real problem for me as is the ad-hoc way attachments are synced to the device. I don’t want to have to pre-sync individual notes or rely on a connection back to home in order to get a note. This just adds too much uncertainty for some of my uses.

The slowness of the IOS app (when I tap the menu button) means I can’t quickly reach the icons to add a photo or audio note so it limits it’s usefulness there. A 5 or 10 second delay seems like an eternity.

With some recent Evernote changes (i.e. Contexts) I’m beginning to think Evernote is starting to see me as a product rather than a customer (I pay for premium) but this is a topic for a different post. I’m not getting out the torches and pitchforks, but I’m glad for the opportunity to move some of my Evernote usage to local tools.

This seems a little more negative than I mean it to be. But the fact is Note Station can’t compete with Evernote on features. A year ago I was using Evernote as a file cabinet where I manually opened and closed the drawer as needed. In the last year I began to use more integrations and time saving features. A year ago I could have dumped Evernote for Note Station and not missed anything. It’s the features I’ve begun to use in the last year where Note Station suffers the most.

I’ll continue to use Synology Note Station for Notebooks where I don’t need the missing features and I look forward to seeing improvements over time.