From host to hosting…moving from local server to hosted server

Thank you Time Warner for wasting a ton of my time and in doing so preparing me for yet another move.
So for several years and several providers (Verizon DSL, Comcast Cable, and until recently Time Warner Cable), I’ve been running a small laptop as a web host.  It runs WordPress, Mediawiki, some static pages, and some other applications that I use (like MyTinyTodo).  I’ve also used it to host FTP for large files that I couldn’t attach to an e-mail, and many many other uses. It has proved a geeks invaluable tool. I used to keep up with any IP changes (which has happened a total of three times in five or six years). Now my upstream traffic is tiny and is probably not even noticed. The site gets very few visitors and viewing my web stats only a few MB per day worth of traffic. It was nice to have the ability to reach my home from the public internet. Continue reading “From host to hosting…moving from local server to hosted server”

After 1 month what I think about my EeePC 901

asus-eee-pc-901-headerI’ve had my EeePC 901 for about a month now. I’m using it as much, if not more than I thought I would. When in the house or even on the road, I reach for it unless I really need a larger screen and keyboard. In fact, I have changed my typical browsing location from my home office to my living room and den. It’s just more comfortable being on a couch with the EeePC in my lap and coffee on the coffee table than being in the office just to browse, e-mail, tweet, etc.
The battery life, while I do get a solid 5 or 6 hours of constant use out of it, could be a bit longer. The 1000HE looks to fit that bill with an advertised 9 hours. I bought a car charger for the EeePC on eBay for $8 + $3 S&H have have charged it in the car a couple of times while on the road.
The WiFi on the EeePC works as well as my MacBook Pro and much better than my wife’s Dell Inspiron Laptop.
Continue reading “After 1 month what I think about my EeePC 901”

Eeebuntu NBR on my EeePC

justlogo_390The out-of-the-box Xandros Linux that comes on the EeePC just seem too much like a toy. I was very familiar with Ubuntu so I decided to install an Ubuntu derivative on my EeePC 901. The top choices were the Eeebuntu or the easy peasy distributions. I liked the eeebuntu forums a lot so I decided to go with the Eeebuntu NBR (Netbook Remix) distribution.
I’ll attempt to describe all that I had to do to get it installed and go into some of the customizations or additions I’ve made and why.
Installing Eeebuntu was not very difficult but I did have a few challenges and even did a re-install to change the default partitioning to use both SSD drives.
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Ubuntu and an old PowerBook

tdyzvy2yjx1reeutstandardMy brother-in-law had an old PowerBook G4 laying around.  He said it had a bad hard drive and it was just collecting dust. He sent it to me to mess around with as I figured I could at least make it usable.

I was able to replace the Hard Drive rather easily by following the instructions at iFixit. I wanted to do a compare of speeds of doing normal tasks so I tried to install Leopard, but after the DVD spinning for a few hours I learned that the minimum requirements for Leopard is 512 MB RAM.
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A weekend of upgrades…

ubuntu_logo_iconwordpress_logoSo the weather sucked and I didn’t feel like playing any online games today.  I decided to do some updates, upgrades, and play around for a bit.
The first order of business was to update my Mac and iPhone and they were pretty easy and benign (and the latest iPhone upgrade rocks).  I applied all the updates to several Windoze computers or Virtual Machines, and performed all the updates for the various flavors of Linux running around the house.  No problems with the basic updates.  Everything went as planned.
Continue reading “A weekend of upgrades…”

MythTV easy … Comcast HD over Basic Cable not so.


So, I’ve been configuring my Mythbox as I have time.  Some of my hardware arrived late, but I put together the basic PC the first weekend, installed Ubuntu and did a burn-in (I am very happy with how quiet it runs).  My HDHomerun arrived a few days later and decided to interrupt my burn-in. I installed Mythbuntu and attempted to configure it. I hooked up my coax cable to the HDHomerun and ran a Cat5 to my switch and I was able to see it immediately in the MythTV configuration utility. I did a channel scan and was surprised to have 80 unencrypted hits. My jaw dropped, I had 80 HD channels over basic (analog) cable?
I need to backup here a bit and explain what I had learned through the internet and from a flier that I picked up at the local Comcast office, but even with the flier in my hand, I could not get a Comcast salesperson to give me a straight answer. It clearly states in the brochure that:

HDTV broadcast signals are included with subscription to Limited Basic Service. To receive other HDTV signals provided by the Company, an HDTV capable television set (not provided by the Company), Standard Service and an HDTV digital converter and remote are required. In addition to receive Expanded Service, Digital Starter, Digital Classic, Digital Preferred, Sports Enterntainment, Package or premium (i.e., HBO, Showtime) HDTV signals, a subscritpion to that service is required. (sic)

Continue reading “MythTV easy … Comcast HD over Basic Cable not so.”

Mythical TV … can Open Source tinkering be any cooler?


My DVD player, which is a Sony and only about 5 years old, is on the fritz.  My Tivo, likewise 5 years old, is showing heavy pixilation which I’m going to assume is related to it’s hard drive being 5 years old and having run 24×365 and starting to go (over 43,000 hours).  My (current) TV is standard definition, but I plan on upgrading to HDTV this Christmas (or sooner if my plans pan out). I wasn’t looking forward to the price of a set-top Blu-Ray player nor an HD Tivo, both of which would be limited to playing content only on the TV they were attached to, so I decided to go it alone and build a media center computer.
I poked around a lot and have setteled on an Ubuntu implmentation of MythTV called Mythbuntu. I seriously considered adding some stuff (a video capture card, larger hard drive, HDMI output, etc) to an older PC which I had just decomissioned and was planning on donating (wiped the hard drive and installed Ubuntu Hardy). However, after doing some research I decided to build a decently powered frontend/backend combination which will later be the hub of my content.  I’m going to be assembling the system this weekend and plan on tinkering a few days with it before moving it into the living room. I did my research and setteled on the following hardware:
Continue reading “Mythical TV … can Open Source tinkering be any cooler?”

Is Comcast blocking large HTTP POST transactions?


I’m not sure when this started happening, but I can’t seem to isolate the problem and I’m assuming that Comcast is to blame. I’m running this blog on a PC in my house connected to the interWeb via Comcast residential high speed Internet. I’m keeping DNS humming along using DynDNS even though my “dynamic” IP address (via DHCP) has not changed since the Adelphia to Comcast migration (and hadn’t changed on Adelphia prior to that migration). Even before I was running this blog, I had a wiki using MediaWiki running (it still is).
Here’s what’s happening….I can add a comment or a new wiki page (which is an HTTP POST transaction) from home or remotely (outside of my LAN). However, I’m limited to the size of my comments (or wiki pages) when I’m remote (outside of my LAN).  Once I get more than a paragraph or so in a comment (or a wiki page) and hit “send” my browser just hangs.  Incidentally, this also happens when creating a blog post while logged in to WordPress.
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Apple, MobileMe, and the eeePC (and all other Linux distros too)

MobileWho?It seems that Apple’s cloud computing push teknology for some reason decided that only Mac OS X and Windoze would be able to use their nifty cloud computing push iPhone teknology.  In other words, they have either left the open source community hanging or they intentionally pulled the plug on compatibility across platforms.  Try to browse to the from any Linux PC (unless you are running something under WINE) and you’ll get a big fat, “it ain’t like that.”  This includes eeePCs, the $199 gOS netbooks sold at GoodEmployeeBenefitsmart and anybody who decides not to back down to the evil empire or use an iPhone.  For all their embracing of open source, Apple seems to have left the open source community hanging.
What I’m getting at is that MobileMe does not support Linux.  I’m pretty sure it isn’t a compatibility or a features issue as if you spoof your browser using a well known FireFox extension (user agent switcher) you can get it to work, but why bother?  What is Apple saying to the non-Apple Hardware, non-Microsoft crowd out there?
I have an iPhone and a MacBookPro for work, but I’m pissed that I can’t have access to my address book from my eeePC or from any of my other Linux boxes.

Virtual Hosts

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In an effort to clean up my URLs for my personal Web site as well as the wiki I have been running, I decided to add virtual hosting to my Ubuntu Hardy (8.04) box. The most difficult and time consuming part of it was keeping what I was doing straight.  I was frustrated as hell with it until I realized that I had to continualy clear my cache of my Firefox broswer when I wanted to test a new setting in the /etc/apache2/sites-available directory.
The process included:

  1. enabling the virtual hosting module (a2enmod vhost_alias)
  2. creating virtual host config files in /etc/apache2/sites-available
  3. enabling the new virtual sites (a2ensite sitename)
  4. restarting apache (apache2ctl restart)

Continue reading “Virtual Hosts”