Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Plone: To use or not to use
Since Plone was mentioned as being one of the top 5 Open Source applications, I figured the least I could do would be to visit their homepage and snoop around a little. Plone is a python-based CMS (content management system) which is sort-of structured like a wiki. Plone itself sits on top of Zope, a "widely-used Open Source web application server and development system." Whatever that means.

The first thing that popped into my mind was "Hey, I could use this to take notes for next year!" It's true: using Plone could (and most likely would) be beneficial to me for taking notes out at college this year. However I'm still a little uneasy when it comes to going completely electronic with notes. What if something happens to my Plone server? What happens when there's a catastrophic crash, resulting in me never being able to read my sweet, sweet notes ever again? I don't know if my heart could take it.

I suppose there's always the possibility of just making backups. This is usually the best choice when dealing with really important data, and is the reason that my friend and I will be running a mirror raid for our server next semester.

Another aspect I'm worried about is whether or not I'll be able to even access a server over my Uni's network. Last year they had things pretty tightly bundled up, accepting almost no traffic from the outside world (or even across their own networks). The university does allow all students their own unix account, making it possible for me to setup my own webpage. However, they only ration off 5MB of space per student. C'mon, 5? Really? A little detective work will show that this would only house between 1/6 and 1/7 the space required for Plone.

I may end up just scrapping the idea, since last year's method of just taking notes in a text editor seemed to work just fine. However it sure would be nice to be able to link in-between notes instead of switching between two different files at once. Oh well.
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Waitin' on the Processor
Most of the parts for the new computer have come in. All but the Processor remain. I got a little anxious last night and opened the boxes, mounted the drives as well as the PSU. Now it's all a matter of waiting. I think I'm a bit too excited to finally put this computer together.

In the mean time, I'll read up on... well... I don't really know. Various aspects of Linux, I suppose. I mostly want to figure out where I went wrong with my freenx installation. Perhaps it was that I was a bit tired when I made the attempt and was impatient (see my first trial with awesome). Hey, maybe things will be different this next time around.

In fact, while I'm waiting for this part, I'll install the freenx server on my lappy and see if I can get at it with the family desktop. Fun fun!

Edit: Everything arrived, and I just finished putting everything together and getting everything installed in about 5 hours. I was really freaked out when the monitor wouldn't flicker on. However, after a few reboots, the system seems to be running flawlessly. Now the real test is to see if my Step Mother notices a HUGE speed increase. I'm pretty sure she will.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Settling In
Ahhh... Ok. Now over the next few days, you may notice a few small changes here and there. Otherwise, I feel like I have a pretty good little theme going. I made the theme with the PsycHo: Free Template Generator. I didn't have to lift a finger.

Well... I BARELY had to lift a finger.
Patience please
I'm in the middle of switching to a new theme. Patience please.
Sunday, July 27, 2008
OpenSSH Tools: I am in love
For a while, I've known about ssh. I've logged into my toy-around servers and my school server a couple of times, never doing too much in the way of being productive. I've only recently learned about sftp as well as scp. How awesome are these utilities? I ask this rhetorically. Through the use of one program, sshd, one can copy files remotely to and from a server, access it with an ftp server, and execute commands. All of this through one port. I just think that that is amazing. What I would really like to do, though, is read up on how to restrict access to folders on the server (create a jail, basically). There's no need for this in my life, though, so I probably won't bother to even look it up. Yet.

Anywho, just thought I'd express my nerdy love. No one else thought it to be quite as cool as me...
Saturday, July 26, 2008
A fresh install: Ubuntu 8.04
No, I didn't install Ubuntu on one of my own computers. Rather, I wiped clean the hard drive of my father's/family's computer and am now installing the latest edition of Ubuntu. Just from the live CD I can already tell that this is going to be a worthwhile endeavor; the printer is automatically recognized, as is the wireless card, two pieces of hardware that had caused me so much pain and heartache in the past. Sweet.

Not only this, but the GUI itself seems more responsive, even off the Live CD. I can't wait to have this bad boy completely installed and running.

This installation has made me realize why people still choose to install Ubuntu on a client's computer rather than Arch (if they know how to install Arch, that is). First off, Ubuntu will, more than likely, "Just work". If the tech doesn't feel like learning every inch of a customer's computer and doesn't feel like running into any snags, he or she could more than likely install Ubuntu without a hitch.

Also, there's very little these days that has to go into customization for a Ubuntu computer (at least from what I can tell). Arch is really something that someone who is feeling bold should undertake on their own time, rather than have someone do all of the work for them.

I understand now. I am enlightened.
Friday, July 25, 2008
New parts ordered
I ended up just ordering new parts for my Stepmom. I'll be building her a fresh computer, and it's only costing $234USD after shipping is factored in. It'll be a pretty nice system, toting an AMD dual-core 2.3GHz processor, 1GB of ram, and an 80GB harddrive (it's plenty of space, trust me). I'm actually pretty excited to put it together and have her give it a test run, just to see how she likes her new-found speed.

I can only look back on my most recent upgrade which ended up costing me around $800USD. Since it was a few year ago, quality:cost ratio has gone way up, meaning the consumer gets a ton more bang for their buck. I can only imagine when quad-core will be the new standard for building a machine.

Oh man... I really hope that I don't become one of those crotchety old guys that shakes their fist at technological advances. "Those darned kids and their atomic processors! Why back in my day..."
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Reinstall On the Laptop
I had a great weekend of relaxation at the beach. Tons of sun, and, unfortunately, a nice amount of sunburn. Ah well... that's what I get for being super pale.

Over the weekend break, I actually ended up wiping my entire laptop and installing Windows on a 25 GB partition, using the rest for Arch Linux in an LVM. Much like the desktop, I'll need that Windows partition for next year while in the dormatories. Also, since I take the laptop with me to my friends' houses, I'd like to be able to install any game without struggling with Wine. It's really all in the name of convenience.

In other news, my Step Mom now wants to watch movies with the Netflix streaming application. I'm starting to get a mark on my face from the amount of facepalming Netflix has caused me to do. Apparently, the Netflix Watch Now or whatever stupid program they use is Windows only. Stupid. Why companies don't go cross platform these days is beyond me.
Thursday, July 17, 2008
FINALLY! Google Gears starts becoming useful
Thanks to Lifehacker, I've learned that Google most likely plans on implementing Google Gears for Gmail and GCalendar. How awesome is that? Perhaps the Google gods will see fit as to do the same for Google Notebook. Please?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Quarantine, Bash Colors, Torrenting, and a Blogger Theme (?)
First thing's first: Sorry for the long title of this post. Now, on to the content!

I was perusing a certain forum recently and came across this little gem: Quarantine 2019. Being the sucker I am for browser-based games, I signed up and have been playing throughout the day. The game is modeled after Urban Dead, a Humans vs. Zombies type of game. Back in my heyday of trying every single free game out there, I threw a few weeks into UD, but never got hooked. Q2019 is still in beta stages, but seems to have caught my attention this time around. We'll see how long I stick with it.

I got an answer about more terminal colors thanks to goldfish in #bash. He pointed me in the direction of the Gentoo Wiki which has a great article in regards to using many more colors for your terminal than the standard 9-ish provided by bash.

While attempting to come up with another way to help the community, I decided to do something as simple as seed the Arch iso torrent. Although minor, the thought that I'd donating some of my idle bandwidth to my current favorite OS makes me happy.

I'm also on the lookout for a new blogger template. My current one as of writing this post is nice, but I'd like to stand out in the crowd just a little bit more. Perhaps I'll crack my knuckles tomorrow and dive into some simple web design.
Sunday, July 13, 2008
Dead as a Doornail. And some Diablo, too.
Turns out my step mother's computer is dead. At least the hard drive is. Bios doesn't even recognize it anymore. My step mother wanted me to compare prices between a pre-built system (from Dell or one from Newegg) versus building one from scratch, so I'll be doing that right after publishing this post.

In other news, I'm almost through Diablo (the original), and let me tell you I'm sorry that I waited this long to play the game. You wouldn't think it, but running around a randomly generated dungeon wildly clicking enemies and watching them explode is a TON of fun. The game's fairly short, though. There are only 16 floors or "levels" which you must go through. Although it has taken me this long since I bought the game to beat it, I haven't necessarily been playing it all too often. For example, I've been playing Earthbound for a bit longer and I think I'm just barely approaching the halfway point.

As far as getting the Blizzard downloader to work in wine, though... that doesn't seem to be coming along as smoothly as I'd like. I'm still getting the same error when attempting to download. I submitted the picture of the error and a bug report describing what's going wrong.

Just for good measure, here's the same error when trying to use the Starcraft installer:
Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Kicking the Bucket
I just received another email from my step mother concerning her old computer. This time around, it sounds like something finally snapped in that old box, and it may be time to build a new box. I feel bad for her, but I had explained before to her that a hard drive will eventually die out. Hopefully she won't be too disappointed if it really is fubar'd.

Let me explain that I know a hard drive would be pretty darn easy to swap out. However, I'd like to get her updated to at least a 64 bit processor system. Her old computer was running fine (aside from the occasional kernel panic), but it gets to a point sometimes when one just has to let go of older hardware and embrace change.

I'll be dropping by my father's house on Sunday to visit. During that time I'll give her computer a once over and assess the damage.
Sunday, July 6, 2008
FreeNX and the Fileserver
I'm really interested in FreeNX. This could be the answer to my friend wanting to use a kvm switch on the server (which I disapprove of for my own silly reasons, the most being the fact that it costs money). From the main page:
NX is an exciting new technology for remote display. It provides near local speed application responsiveness over high latency, low bandwidth links.

What's even cooler is that this thing runs over SSH. From the Archwiki:
Once installed the server is effectively running and ready to go, you do not have to do anything manually. The only thing that must be running in order to connect is the sshd daemon.

In actual fact, if you check the process list (ps aux) you may not see the nxserver running even though it says it is. This is because the nxserver is actually started by logging into sshd as the special user 'nx'. This user has been set up to use the nxserver as its shell, much like a normal user has bash as the default shell.

Read that and tell me that's not awesome. You can't. You just can't.

As far as the server goes, my friend and I have hit a stumbling block in that the case we wanted to use isn't going to make the cut, mostly due to its lack of... anything. Sure there are standoffs to screw the motherboard into, but there's nowhere to mount the cd drive, harddrives, or powersupply. We may end up just using one of the cases from my spare computers, which I'm fairly sure are from the PIII era.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
Gettin' Things Done, Baby
Today and yesterday have been (semi)productive days. I switched back over to using the stock ARCH kernel after not noticing much of a difference when using my own custom compiled Kernel. The switch back was mostly fueled by the ability to update everything with a simple pacman -Syu, rather than having to go out of my way to compile modules, update, etc. I guess this sets me apart from most other Linux users in that I don't go through torturous lengths to make my computer run a fraction of a second faster. Wanting to make your computer faster, if even by the smallest amount, is never a bad thing. All I'm saying is that I don't go the extra mile to make that happen.

I also got around to uploading The Brady Brunsh music to lastfm. I've wanted to do this for quite some time, and since I fooled around with LMMS this morning and created a new TBB song, I decided today was the day. First I tagged my music with Picard, and then created a new lastfm account specifically for the group. Give the music a listen here. Yes, it is supposed to be silly/bad music.

I sold a few more of my old games in order to get a few bucks. I'm hoping to buy the Diablo Battle Chest in the near future, mostly so I can have a bit of a background with the game, instead of just going right into D3 cold.

On top of this, I've made a bit more progress into Earthbound. I'm just at the part where the story forks. I won't reveal too much, since I'm not sure blogger does spoiler tags.

See, to me, this is getting stuff done. At least in the summer time. I did a few other things that actually matter, such as paying bills/taxes, but I'd rather keep this blog to technology related matters.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Psyched for D3
I've never gotten into the older Diablo games. What with D3 being announced, though, I may have to change that this time around. A few of my friends back at college were really into the game, so I'd at least have someone to play with.

Now I just need to solve the whole "bored with current resources" problem that I seem to be having. Perhaps I'll install Crux on a vbox. Otherwise I'll just be cruising various fora for some quick, cheap fun.