I spent my Christmas break traveling and hacking on Little Backup Box. So I used what’s left of 2019 to push a handful of improvements and new features.
The most significant addition is the all-new file viewer. Thanks to the Samba and miniDLNA servers, you can access and manage the backed up contents from any machine and device. But there are situations, when none of these approaches are practical. For example, to access the backed up files on an Android device, you need to install a file browser that supports the SMB protocol or a dedicated uPnP app. A more convenient way to browse through the backed up storage and quickly preview individual photos is to use the browser on your device. And the integrated web-based file viewer allows you to do just that. Instead of writing the file viewer from scratch, I used Cute File Browser as a starting point.
Integrating the file viewer caused me some grief. I couldn’t for the life of me make the FancyBox lightbox work. It works fine on my local machine, but refuses to do anything on Little Backup Box. I tried everything I could think of, but I still couldn’t make it work. If you have any ideas or suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.
As if this wasn’t enough, my Raspberry Pi started misbehaving. Every time I’d insert a USB storage device into one of the USB 3.0 ports, it’d lose the Wi-Fi connection. It also became increasingly confused about storage devices and failed to perform backups. Strangely, it worked perfectly well with the USB 2.0 ports. I’m still trying to figure out what causes the problem and how to fix it. For now, it seems that starting Little Backup Box without any USB storage devices connected solves the problem.
Little Backup Box also features a simple multi-file upload interface. It’s still considered experimental, so to access it, you need to point the browser to http://127.0.0.1:8000/upload.php (replace 127.0.0.1 with the actual IP address of the Raspberry Pi running Little Backup Box).
When traveling I ran into a small but annoying problem. I discovered that I cannot use the
arp command in Termux anymore to find out the current IP address of Little Backup Box. And since I used Little Backup Box without an OLED screen, there was no easy way to figure out which IP address I should use to access the web UI. So instead of quickly backing up SD cards from my camera, I had to spend time finding an Android network analyzer that would give me the IP address of the Little Backup Box. To avoid this happening in the future, I cobbled together a stupidly simple solution, consisting of two scripts. The ip.sh script runs every 5 minutes on Little Backup Box via a cronjob. It obtains the current local IP address and sends it to the ip.php PHP script running on a remote web server. To see the IP address, simply point your browser to the URL of the PHP script.
To make this simple system work, put the ip.php file on a web server that runs PHP, and specify the URL in the config.cfg file. Needless to say, this feature works only if the Raspberry Pi running Little Backup Box has an internet connection.
If you are interested in what Little Backup Box-based devices other users build, take a look at the amazing work done by Kerry P Staite (Tiny LBB build Question).
Finally, I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for all your help and support, and wish you a very Happy New Year!