Been a long time… December 4, 2011Posted by jmcomputer in Android, Gadgets, Linux, Ubuntu, Upgrades, Work/Career.
Tags: Android, e-cig, e-cigarette, Evo 4G, Kubuntu, Ubuntu, Upgrade, Work/Career
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Yeah it has, and in most cases, it could be considered as reasonable and/or understandable. So I’ve had a lot of things happening, and I thought I would finally update people here…
So, where to start? How about the most exicting part: my career!
I finally got a position with a company called Netsmart Technologies (http://www.ntst.com) as a Systems Engineer/Admin. This is a HUGE step for me as it means that I am FINALLY back into the technology/IT field in a role other than “Independent Consultant/Contractor”. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great title, but the pay I was getting as an independent was a little on the slim and irregular side. The good thing on at this position, I am getting some seriously great experience and exposure to several platforms. The OS’s include AIX, Solaris, HPUX, Linux, and all flavors of Windows. I’m also learning more about MUMPS databases, Java programming, scripting in Windows and Linux, OS tweaks, etc. This position is opening a lot of doors for me, and I am so excited to be there! I was recently placed as their first third-shift person, and while there are some who can complain about the shift, for a company willing to give me work to do and a paycheck to match, I’m not going to complain. After two years of unemployment, it really puts things into perspective. There is only really one down side, a 1 – 1.5 hour commute, one way.
So what would be next, how about a 6 month review of my new cell phone?
So after getting my job, and checking finances, cell phone plans, etc. I ended up getting the phone I REALLY wanted; the HTC Evo 4G. After using it for 6 months, I am still in love with my phone. While I have had a LOT of issues with Sprint’s service, including spotty service during my commute, lack of signal in my home, and even with a VOIP-relay for our phones, we are still getting messages of “Please try your call again later”. So what have I done with it? Well, it’s still stock; I know, I should have rooted it by this point, but when looking at benefits of doing so I would only get minimal benefit. Basically I would be able to remove the stupid Sprint software (Stocks, NASCAR, Football, and Sprint Radio apps), and I would be able to tether my laptop to use the phone’s 3G/4G service. So not rooted…. YET. I have installed a few games, Irssi Connect, Google Sky, and CarCast. Of all of these apps, CarCast HAS to be the one I use the most. I have had some issues with battery life, but a lot of that tends to be resolved by killing certain applications (Facebook tends to be the biggest offender), and generally just watching what I am using throughout the day. My wife is already talking about leaving Sprint’s service when our contract is done, which I am starting to side with, but there’s no telling at this time as I will have to watch what Verizon does with their Data Plans. If they go back to unlimited, I’ll probably go for it, but if not I don’t think I can jump ship as I am really dependent on high download rates.
Okay, the next big news is my Ubuntu upgrade. This one was more dramatic than the ones I have done in the past as I actually went through two versions of Ubuntu. I was previously running 10.10, and I finally bit the bullet and upgraded to 11.10. I did have a lot of problems, but I think I have figured them out after the fact. For some background. I am using a System76 Pangolin (Panp4n), which just recently went out of it’s 3 year warranty (wish me luck). I needed a larger hard drive, so the only change I have made since I’ve ordered it has been the OS versions and went from a 320GB hard drive to a 750Gb hard drive (ONLY because the 1TB hard drives will not fit in traditional laptop cases. I have the drive partitioned in 3 parts, first is the primary / (root) partition (20-30gb), secondly is the /home directory (appx 715gb), and finally (although this has been a hotly contested issue lately in the Linux community) a 5GB swap file. The reason for the separate /home directory for those that are not familiar with Linux, all user files, settings, bookmarks, emails, personalized items, etc are all store in this location. So you can erase EVERYTHING else on the system, and you would not lose anything important (unless you’re a kernel hacker, application customizer, or just working every else other than /home). With that said, here’s what happened. As I have previously mentioned in other posts, me and PulseAudio DO NOT get along; particularly with Wine application. So as I proceeded with KPackage’s upgrade method, I let it complete both upgrade (10.10 -> 11.04 -> 11.10) and awaited eagerly until it had completed. This took approximately 6 hours for both parts. Since I had upgraded, I thought I would show off Unity to my wife, and install XFCE-Desktop since I’m thinking more on resource usage. After installing Unity, it attempted to completely take over my ENTIRE system. Even my KDE menus were altered, and my wallpaper was changed to some Firefox screen capture that I don’t recall. When I went into Unity, the menus were missing, and just looked and handled horribly, so maybe the upgrade method wasn’t a good process for that one. Downloaded the newest Kubuntu image, burned it, killed all my .kde, .gnome, and all other non-essential directories. Everything installed just fine, and possibly even cleaner now than was before. Now that I was finally into the system, I checked to see if Pulse was there, and indeed it was. Okay, so I purged out the PulseAudio server, this was no problem, but when I went to remove the client libraries, it wanted to remove ALL the applications (not just the meta packages). So I had to leave those. The system was working fine with two exceptions; Firefox is being extremely laggy, and the game that I play in Wine is crashing before I can even complete loading it. Firefox is a relatively easy fix; I pulled down Chromium and it was not lagging like Firefox was (lag while changing tabs, minimizing/maximizing, etc). So I added a link on my desktop to Chromium and we are using that exclusively now. Now for the Wine game… after much thinking, etc I started looking around on my system (as the game worked rather well previously, so I know it’s not hardware) and really started thinking through the loading process. What I ended up trying first was my video drivers. And once I updated those, everything worked perfectly!
Now my final piece of news is more on the “Health Front” and mostly off-topic for this site I guess, but there is a tie-in, I promise. Ever since Ohio has increased the taxes on cigarettes, the prices have been getting more and more outrageous and expensive. Since the new laws went into effect over 5 years ago, prices have gone from $2.50 a pack to between $4.25 – $5.50 a pack. I wouldn’t consider myself a heavy smoker, as I had only smoked about 10-15 cigarettes a day. So I have done all sorts of things to make it cheaper, between going to generics (even the really cheap generic sold by the stores on a military base) to “rolling my own” with an injector type machine. The rolling had to be the cheapest, but took a considerable amount of time to do so. I have tried to quit a couple of times as well, and didn’t last long for one reason or another. “Okay, so what, what does this have to do with computers or anything technology related?” Okay, so this is more of a gadget piece. While at work, we recently got a new employee who at first appeared to be a smoker, until I noticed WHAT he had in his hand. Looked like a marker or something with a cigar tip on it. When I ask him about it, he tells me that it’s an e-cigarette. Now I have seen ads for these online, but never in person, nor have I heard of anyone using one until now. He tells me a couple things that highly intrigued me; no more wheezing/coughing, no more after-smell, and “cheaper!” This got me so interested that I had actually stopped at truck-stops, gas-stations, supermarkets, and even called smoke-shops asking about inventory for them! So what it is? If you haven’t heard about these, it’s a battery, a cartridge/tip, and an atomizer. It uses “juice” that produces a smoke-like vapor. No burning, no tobacco, according to the ingredient list of the “juice”: distilled water, vegetable glycerin, nicotine, pure grain alcohol, and flavorings; notice the lack of 400+ other preservatives, cancer agents, etc. The “vapor” is the same thing as the fog-machines, aside from the nicotine added in. So here’s what I ordered: from The Vapor Pro I ordered an eGo Mega Starter Kit, 30 mL Vanilla with 18mg nicotine, and30mL MLB2 (tobacco flavor) 18mg nicotine. I have also ordered some other accessories from Good Prophets. So what do I think? It is definitely a lot cheaper! This as well as the “no more cigarette smell” has definitely sold me on this, everyone’s excited that I’m quitting smoking. At first I didn’t think of it as such, but I guess it is. I have noticed some other benefits as well. I’m not coughing as much, I can run up the stairs at work and not get winded, and my hands don’t reek from burnt tobacco. I would definitely call this a BIG WIN for smokers considering quitting or just an alternative, now as long as the FDA keeps their hands off of it, or limit their “legal” aspects to a printed FDA label on the juice. Will I decrease my nicotine strength or stop even “vaping” altogether? That remains to be seen at this time.
So that’s all for this update, I will have to be more regular, but I can only post when I have something to actually talk about… sigh… Until next time!
Another new server, Days 1 and 2 February 16, 2011Posted by jmcomputer in Linux, Projects.
Tags: Business, Configuration, CRM, Linux, Server, Ubuntu, vTiger
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So I was recently contacted by a client to come in and install a server for them. Requirements:
- Repurpose existing hardware (i.e. no new hardware purchasing)
- File Server
- Program Versioning System
- Customer Relation Management
Gee, this is sounding familiar, and I wish I had checked here before starting the install, as I could have save myself some headaches from the perspective of Day 2. Since I am a day late in updating for this, I’ll recap Day 1 of this build.
After some consulting with the client, it was decided to use a net-top (micro-sized pc, Atom processor, limited memory and hard-drive) and an external 1TB hard drive. Only problem here, no internal or external CDROM drive, so took about an hour to figure how to put ubuntu-server on a jump drive for installation AND get the net-top to boot from USB. For the File Server, requirements were: a shared-folder/drive type setup, all employees have same access, so single-user account in Samba should do fine here. For the Program Versioning for their programming work, decided to use Subversion, and found a decent gui management tool for later. For the CRM, vtiger of course, since I’ve had previous experience with it. At the end of Day 1, here’s what I accomplished:
- Installed Ubuntu Server 10.04.1 i386
- Installed LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySql, Php), Samba, and OpenSSH
- Updated all the packages
- Fleshed out user requirements to plan on package installation
- Started Server Documentation
And now for Day 2:
“The essence of stupidity is performing the same action repeatedly, and expecting different results.” – author unknown
That pretty much describes the end of Day 2, in a nutshell. What I got accomplished:
- Installed the desktop packages for easy user performed administration
- Configured SSH
- Installed Webmin for easy administration
- Configured basic User Accounts
- Attempted both the binary and source installation for vtiger
The last bullet is the inspiration for the quote above, instead of referencing back to the previous posts of mine, I tried the same steps over again, expecting it to work nicely, and was met with the same problems just on the installation. Also side note: when I performed the earlier server install, I could have sworn I had seen an easy-to-use tool for administering and configuring Apache in Gnome; but for the life of me, I cannot remember the tool or location for it to try to use it again. Really made virtual hosts and apache2 configuring REALLY easy. Tried finding in Google searches and in Synaptic, but no such luck. Ah well, back to command line and Midnight Commander for me. Hmmm… wonder if Webmin is easy to configure Apache? Will see tomorrow.
Starting my new home theater January 22, 2011Posted by jmcomputer in Home Use, Linux.
Tags: ALSA, Amarok, Gadgets, Home Theater, Kubuntu, Linux, Pulse Audio, Ubuntu
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So I’m a little late to talk about holidays, but I did want to throw this out there. The holidays are always a fun time, between watching my oldest son unwrapping his gifts and looking up to me saying “Batteries daddy, fix it” to having the family together and having dinner and laughing. This past holiday gave me a great surprise. I received a 42″ LCD HDTV, and let me tell you, it ROCKS! Shortly after getting it unloaded from the box and place way up on top of what we are using as an entertainment center, I was already thinking of possibilities of what to hook up to it.
Of course, the first thing in my mind is my laptop, which has a convenient HDMI out on the side. “This is going to be GREAT!” if my first thought of course. Hulu, Youtube, and of course some of my games on a bright, wonderful high definition screen, larger than life! (Compared to the 15.4″ screen on the laptop) So, I go down to a local electronics store and grab an 7m. HDMI for less than $10, hooked it up to the TV, and got a gorgeous 1080p desktop! Only complaint at first was that the drawing speed was a little slow, when you move the mouse around, it takes about half a second to update on the TV. I set my audio over to use the HDMI out instead of the onboard sound card, tested with Amarok, and looks and sounds great. Then I decide to pull up Hulu in Firefox, start up a clip, and now is where I get a huge surprise.
The audio from Firefox ended up playing through the onboard speakers rather than through the TV! Now this isn’t right, I checked ALSA config, KDE’s sound system settings, and even KDE’s mixer to make sure nothing was muted or anything. Everything’s checking out okay. Now I’m really confused. After some searching, I find several threads where people were successful getting Firefox audio through the HDMI, but every one of those solutions involved altering the ALSA configuration to bridge or pipe the sound through Pulse Audio, and Pulse Audio ends up passing the audio through the HDMI channel. Well wouldn’t it figure? I had dumped Pulse Audio because of the audio issues generated by Pulse Audio in some of the games I play in Wine. So without using Pulse Audio, I am unsure how to get the audio from Firefox through the HDMI channels.
If anyone would care to give hints or anything, please feel free to leave a comment or a link to a solution.
Some updates November 29, 2010Posted by jmcomputer in Linux, Presentation, Teaching.
Tags: Business, College, Linux, Public Speaking, VirtualBox
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Well, I know this blog has been inactive for quite some time. I really didn’t have much to write about until recently. Keep in mind that I try to limit the amount of “useless information” on the web as well. So I finally have some updated stuff.
Recently (relatively speaking), I obtained my Linux+ certification and have been hired on to be an Adjunct Professor at a local community college. While this doesn’t sound like much, it’s big for me as I had always enjoyed teaching and relaying knowledge (maybe not so much with application training, but that’s a different story). I have just wrapped up my first quarter teaching, and while the grades weren’t what I was expecting, they are about average from a realistic approach. But here’s the cool part: while the class is an Introduction to Operating Systems, I get to teach a quick intro to Linux.
So, I can provide awareness of the Linux based systems, and even have the students install Linux into virtual machines and let them play on it. After the first class, which ended with nine students left in it, three or four of them are showing a lot of interest into using Linux on a regular basis, including two that are going to replace their Windows OS on their systems with either Fedora or Ubuntu.
Okay, I do know what some people are thinking at this point. “Aren’t teachers supposed to be unbiased?” To answer, yes they are, and yes I was unbiased; as much as I could be anyways. I only provided the basic information that is agreeable in the majority of textbooks, and the students did the rest. So without being a “fanboy” or advocate, I have actually converted more people to Linux (while they may still use Windows in a dualboot or virtual machine environment).
Also, another “WooHoo” moment came for me during the class when there were labs to complete. I asked the students to install VirtualBox on their computers and/or laptop in order to complete the labs and be able to play around on Linux outside the classroom, and while I cannot verify each installation, I can venture to say that at least 80% of the class had installed it. So not only have I exposed them to Linux, I have also exposed them to virtualization, which most will find very helpful for their careers.
Now that the quarter is done, I can finally look at upgrading Ubuntu to the 10.10 release on my laptop.
Business and Open Source February 22, 2010Posted by jmcomputer in Linux.
Tags: Business, FOSS, GPL, Legal, Linux
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One of the things I have noticed is that a lot of companies are generally resistant to Open Source software for many different reasons, and only a few can be considered as “Valid”. I think the most “valid” is where there is a proprietary tool that they must use. But the one I am stunned by is the response of “We don’t want to give away our software, we need money”. Also, I need to preface this entire post with “I AM NOT AN ATTORNEY, DO NOT USE THIS POST AS LEGAL COUNSEL/ADVICE”.
After talking with quite a few Linux Professionals and Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) people, it seems that businesses don’t fully understand the licensing or legal aspects of using Open Source in their business. Or the possibility that they do not have the time nor money for their legal department to analyse the GPLv2 (General Purpose License) and what it would mean for the company. I hope in this short post that I can clear some of that up in layman’s terms…
Businesses can FREELY use Open Source Software inside their business for ANY purpose. You are permitted to install Open Source based servers, workstations, and use any software package covered under the GPL. This means that yes, you can use a LAMP server, you can give your graphics people The Gimp, the whole company can use Open Office instead of MS Office, your programmers can use gcc, etc. Without any worry that by using Open Source software, they are committing themselves to some contract where they have to give things away.
The basics of the GPL that relate to businesses are:
- You have the right to use the code/binaries
- You have the right to distribute the code
- You have the right to modify the code
- The catch: IF you should give the code/binary TO ANYONE ELSE, you must provide the source code
What does this mean anyways? As an example, your company installs several web-servers to handle an e-business. You are allowed to use as many copies of Apache, Linux, etc as you want; for free. You are allowed to alter the code base of Apache, Linux, etc to fit your business needs; for free. You are allowed to give away UNMODIFIED versions of the code/binaries; for free (in some cases you can charge as well, so long as you give code and credit to the original authors).
What you cannot do: give away the MODIFIED code/binaries WITHOUT providing the source code including the changes.
Again, “what does this mean for a business?” A business can use anything they want in the Open Source Community, they can change it to fit their needs. If you want the quick and dirty: As long as they are not giving away OR selling the application/code to a third-party, there are no problems!
To finish, let’s have an example:
Company A downloads and installs Open Office on all desktops, this is permitted. Company A downloads the source for it and builds a customized version in order to do internal work (say edit data in a proprietary data format), this is permitted. So far Company A has not infringed on any portion of the GPL License.
Company A has a visit from Company B, Company B likes the customized version of Open Office and wants a copy of it. Company A sells them 200 “licenses” or “copies” of the application. So far, even this is permissible (with conditions). Company B wants the source code with the modifications, Company A refuses. Now we have a full breach of contract with the GPL.
Again, there is debate of whether the initial sale of the software constitutes a breach, and I have not heard of a final decision (although there is a new version of the GPL, so that’s important to look into).
So as a general rule, a business is allowed to use Open Source in may different ways and still be compliant to the GPL.
Ubuntu woes… December 24, 2009Posted by jmcomputer in Home Use, Linux.
Tags: Gnome, KDE, Kubuntu, Linux, Pulse Audio, Ubuntu, Upgrade, Wine
First, let me preface by saying that I do enjoy using Linux for my desktop, I have been able to do everything I was able to do in Windows and then some, and all for free. The reasons I’m even posting this is for people to see what steps I took, and in case a developer sees this, can fix it. Also if you have fixed this issue, please let me know!
Since I am not in classes at the moment, it’s a safe time for me to perform the typical distribution upgrade. For those of you who use Windows, this isn’t like a service pack, this is a free upgrade to the latest version (for example: upgrading from Windows Vista to Windows 7, easily and without the need to purchase a CD or anything). Ubuntu 9.04 is now Ubuntu 9.10! The upgrade went almost flawlessly, the only hitch I came across was that the new kernel did not load into the grub bootloader menu. That’s easily resolved by editing it myself.
Things I noticed immediately: MUCH faster boot time! Since I don’t use a bootsplash (the nice graphic that shows you it is loading), I can see all the commands and feedback that the system is going through during boot, and aside from AppArmor causing a bit of a slowdown, it is MUCH faster than the previous version! KDE looks similar to what I had before, but there are a couple changes, the “cashew” to unlock widgets is much smaller, and the menus and all look a little more polished (yes, the developers DO listen to comments). Booted into gnome (which incidentally hasn’t worked for me in the last couple months [my fault, I broke a couple packages]). Desktop looks the same, menus are a little quicker, and more polished as well, nicely done Gnome Team! So at this point, everything looks wonderful!
Now is where the problems become apparent. I play a game using Wine (for the Windows people: Wine is an application that allows MOST [not all] Windows applications/games to be run in Windows by making the application think that it is running in Windows), when I started the game, the sounds were “off”… The easiest way to describe is a slight garble that eventually faded into complete silence. This is different… After some tinkering with the game, I find that I can still hear the integrated voice-chat feature, but I cannot hear any other sounds from the game. Now THIS is odd, I have experienced a lot of interesting and obscure errors between both Windows and Linux, but to have an app where one sound doesn’t work, but another does when they are both streaming through the card is a really odd one. Usually either it completely doesn’t work, or it all works, and this is on ALL operating system.
Okay, time for the “fun” of Linux, I know the issue is either with Wine or PulseAudio sound system. So let’s see what I can do… I searched around and found the previous version of Wine that I was using, installed it, and I still have the same problem. This removes the possibility of Wine being the issue, so now I know it’s all the PulseAudio sound system.
A little bit of history on Pulse: Linux has several sound architectures, and many apps rely on different ones, for example: Advanced Linux Sound Architecture (Alsa), Open Source Sound (OSS), OpenAL, eSound, etc. An analogy to this would be in the video area, you have DirectX and OpenGL libraries to run graphics. PulseAudio is supposed to be a “mixer” of these different systems, so Alsa and OSS will be piped into Pulse, the benefit of this is multiple applications can play a sound in different architectures, and all will be heard at the same time (think mp3′s, videos, and website/flash/java sounds all playing at the same time, rather than only one application having sound control at any given time).
Back to the issue, since I now know it’s in the sound system, I start looking around for ways to roll it back to the version I KNOW worked before. Current version in Ubuntu 9.10 is Pulse 0.9.19, and the version I had before upgrading was 0.9.14 (still in Ubuntu 9.04 repositories). Okay, easy enough to just download the package for Pulse 0.9.14 and install that, or so I thought. The easiest way to do this is when you download, you open with GDebi, which complained because a more recent version is already installed. No problem I can force the install, just need to grab the other packages for the supporting files/modules. This is where I notice a different, Ubuntu 9.04 relied on HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer) for it’s device control, but now Ubuntu 9.10 uses udev (unknown what this stands for), the pulse files for 9.04 were made for HAL use, and not udev use, so I am hesitant to force this one. Well, let’s see what else I can do…
PulseAudio’s website (http://pulseaudio.org) has an updated version of 0.9.21, this could fixed the problem, but it is only available in source code. For me this isn’t too big of a deal, the “Infamous Three Commands” of .configure, make, sudo make install aren’t new to me, and generally most of the time I haven’t had issues on this. After installing, I try to check the version (pulseaudio –version) and I am not getting an error of cannot find a file (libpulsecore-0.9.21.so). No big deal, copy that from the source code folder and drop into /usr/lib folder. That didn’t fix the error.
Okay, “Google is my friend”, I start searching around and I find quite a few write-ups, blogs, etc where people have had similar issues. One in particular says to delete the settings folder for Pulse in the user directory. Not a bad idea, these things are auto-generated anyways, and maybe an old config from before the upgrade is causing the issue. I deleted the files (~/.pulse and ~/.pulse-cookie). I tried out my Wine game, and hey, it worked, I now have full sound in the game! Unfortunately I found out later that this was only temporary, I have to do it each time I want to play the game.
The next site I come across talked about the same issue and suggested installing an updated Alsa set and PulseAudio set from the ppa repositories (ppa’s are repositories/download areas that are not in the “mainstream”, so you generally get Beta or “Unofficial” packages, does not mean they do not work, just means they are not in the “approved” repos, yet). I get both of these installed and then get to test them. The sound in the game is still garbled or silent (save for the voice-chat feature), and only one application can use the sound card at any given time (Amarok can play fine, but when I start a video file in MPlayer, the sound will not play in MPlayer).
After more Google sifting, every site I have come across has had the same suggestions as these (building from source, the development ppa’s, or deleting the pulse settings). Now I am annoyed, let’s just remove Pulse and use eSound. As I try to remove Pulse, the package manager says that it needs to remove ubuntu-desktop as well since Pulse is part of that package. Well, I can’t have that happen. But here’s some light at the end of the tunnel, KDE does not need Pulse, only Gnome does. This laptop has fared pretty well since it has gone through 2-3 distribution upgrades without a fresh install, I think it’s about time to do a clean install (i.e. delete the packages only and start over, for the Windows folks: user settings, documents, music, photos are stored in a different section of the filesystem, and thus are unaffected by re-installs, unlike in Windows where even when you reinstall Windows and all the applications, you do not get to keep your settings).
This time I am going to install Kubuntu (KDE only variant of Ubuntu), and use the Phonon sound system (does the same thing as Pulse, but only works in KDE). It’s a shame that I will end up having to remember/re-obtain all the wireless network passwords again, but since the wireless networking was being handled by a Gnome application, I won’t have that around after the re-install. Looks like I will be doing the install this weekend after the holidays, until then I can use the deleting pulse settings to do what I need to do.
If anyone has had better success or knows something that I have missed, please feel free to post, I’ll be checking here and at System76′s support forum before upgrading.
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Okay, so the server is mostly done, it’s done enough for production uses anyways. Things left to do: Still need to migrate the /home directory to the RAID, more configuration in vTiger (user email settings, roles, and business process stuff). In regards to the RAID, I’ve been noodling how to move the CRM over to the RAID nicely as well… I’m thinking a symlink in the /var/www to a folder in the /home (something like /home/vtiger or something). This would make both the user directories and the CRM have a hot backup… Hmmm, should I move the DB to it as well?
In other news: I’ve purchased a voucher for CompTIA’s Linux+ Certification exam, which expired 12/31, so it seems I need to get on the ball and start studying. Then I will finally have a certification in SOMETHING! Been off and on studying for A+ but have never followed through on it.
New Server, Day 4 December 2, 2009Posted by jmcomputer in Linux, Projects.
Tags: Configuration, CRM, Linux, Server, Ubuntu, vTiger
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So today I started off running late as it was, so I didn’t get to get much done today. What I did get done: I got the hostname changed from a generic one that I put in there for the installation, to the company’s website name; I also got the username put into vTiger, I can honestly say I wasn’t prepared for how full featured it was (more on this in a bit); I also figured out how to hook the Webmail and mail features tied into vTiger (again, more later). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to get a hold of the networking company for the building, but I at least emailed the contact, so all I have to do is wait.
STILL TO DO: Email aliases, talking with Networking firm to get NAT working to our server, transition from GoDaddy hosting to local hosting, move the /home and /var/www directories to the RAID, and have them permanently mounted as such.
So going back to the user accounts, I was really surprised with the features in vTiger! For instance, for the email, each user can configure the email server each uses (if you want to use gmail instead of the local, while others use local, etc). Other things that have to be done: you can designate Roles for the users (i.e. CEO, Salesmanager, Saleman are the pre-configured); now I have to see what needs to be done to change it to our use of a small, three-owner company. Hmmm… also wondering if it has a user template that they can use to create new users easily with all those things “pre-configured” (i.e. mail settings, etc). It also seems to handle more of the HR side (to an extent at least, no payroll, benefits or the like), as it will handle “Reports to:”, Departments, Titles, etc. I guess for the more advanced things, such as business processes and such, I’m leaving that mess to the owners… they can sort that stuff out
So my next project (once this one is completed), to make an Asset Tracking database using a LAMP server (Ubuntu +XAMPP), using this book.
New Server, Day 3 November 18, 2009Posted by jmcomputer in Linux, Projects.
Tags: Configuration, CRM, Linux, Server, Ubuntu, vTiger
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Okay, so after my success with the VirtualBox install of vTiger, I went to the office to try to install vTiger on the server again. This time I am following a couple walkthroughs that I found earlier here and here. The first link is how to do the initial install, and written very nicely on a forum. The second link is how to finish the installation using vTiger’s Installation Wizard (completely html/php based).
So, I completely removed the old database, deleted the entire directory of vTiger in /var, and re-extracted the files again (good thing I saved that .tar file). After getting apache2 setup, and working my way through, I got to the configuring of vTiger, and had access denied messages, seems I had forgotten I had altered the envvars for Apache on my last few attempts. At this point, everything seems to be flowing nicely. Now I take a moment and write down all the different users/passwords that are being used (mysql, vtiger, user accounts, etc)…
Well, that went off nicely, now we have an empty CRM that we can start using (as soon as I start adding users into it). I’ve also got a couple bandwidth monitoring things running (I think I’ll have to start using screen on this too). Got Dovecot, Postfix, and SSH configured.
TODO: Add users to the CRM, add the mail server to the CRM, get hostname configured properly (aside from localhost stuff), and finally contact the network provider to get NAT tables set up for this server.
WOW! Almost finished on this thing!
VirtualBox Presentation November 14, 2009Posted by jmcomputer in Linux, Presentation.
Tags: College, Demonstration, Linux, Public Speaking, Ubuntu, VirtualBox
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While I am not extremely fond of public speaking in general, there are topics that I do love to talk about. I was recently asked to do a presentation on Virtualization and Linux at a local Community College where I live. Seems they have a Linux class that the instructor teaches, and the instructor enjoyed my presentation when they first saw it last year. So this morning I packed up my trusty System76 laptop andheaded down there. Presentation was very smooth for being my style of a free-form presentation (no slides, no outline, etc.), students had great questions, and some good ideas already on virtualization.
Ran through the typical “How-To” for VirtualBox, described a little on the differences I’ve noticed between VirtualBox and VMWare’s Server2. Even got to throw in some interesting commentary for prepping for real world (“Don’t completely believe advertising from any direction”, “There is always the right tool for a job, sometimes it’s Linux, sometimes it’s not”, “Coolest thing in virtualization, in VMWare’s ESX moving a RUNNING VM from one host to another seamlessly”, “OpenGL and DirectX Support in Windows Guests, as long as Guest Additions installed in Safe Mode”, etc).
Also a good mix of students in the class as well (and only one playing games during half of my talk that I noticed, oh well). Had some who immediately recognized what a TI-99, and a Tandy 1000 was, others familiar with BBS’s, to those where computers are still somewhat foreign to them.
Can’t really say if I made any new converts to the Linux side, but was definitely an eye-opener when they saw my Ubuntu/Kubuntu laptop instead of Fedora’s desktop that they are using in class. Also, this does show that I should really consider becoming a teacher; while I have fancied the idea of teaching part-time at a community college as a supplement to a “real” job, it would also give “warm fuzzies” and “feel good”s for hopefully making a difference. No, I would not consider high school or lower, and there’s a reason, I wouldn’t be able to put up with three things: the mentality of the students, the politics, nor the parents.