Too good to be true

As I was setting up my text-based server install of Ubuntu 12.04.1 I was pleasantly surprised to see that it detected my Panda USB WiFi NIC. I was prompted to enter the SSID and WPA2 passphrase and it was off and away downloading updates as it installed the core OS.

However, once the OS was completely installed and I rebooted the system the Panda NIC could no longer obtain an IP address. The device shows no errors, and DHCP worked just fine during the installation phase, so I am not sure why it is failing now. It’s possible that one of the updates may have killed it, but there are no errors listed during POST. 

So, I can try to continue troubleshooting it or I may just throw the whole darn thing away. As I let the Optiplex 320 fester I got an Ubuntu 12.04.1 server VM up and running in minutes with just 1 virtual CPU and 512MB of RAM. Seeing as I now have 8GB’s of RAM in my laptop I could easily run 4 of these guys simultaneously without disrupting my laptops overall performance too much and that’s only if I need 4 servers running!

Once I have played around with the VM a bit more and have a configuration I can back up and restore then I may invest in some decent hardware for my home lab.


Wealth of information

So may times I go to Google/Yahoo!/DuckDuckGo and search the web for information on how to setup a DNS server, File Server, Print Server, etc etc. However, there is a ton of information freely available directly from the source!

These tutorials are awesome. I am in the process of installing the text-based Ubuntu Server in my lab (the desktop GUI version is slowing the Optiplex 320 down) and will begin building my lab from the ground up.

Private Jabber IM server anyone?

Face the music

It’s time to face the music and dance!

So far, all of my Ubuntu dabblings have involved me installing Ubuntu desktop on the host and then using ssh to remotely access it from my MacBook Pro. However, with all the great improvements in Ubuntu 12.04.1 it is slowing down my old Optiplex 320 a lot.

That is why I am going to install Ubuntu Server 12.04.1 instead. The server edition has everything I need, but it also has everything my computer doesn’t need… a graphical user interface!

As part of my previous job I was very familiar with CentOS Server, which is a RedHat derivative, but I have never used Ubuntu Server before. Seeing as I use ssh to access and configure the box there will be no difference, but the one thing I like about a GUI is using it to troubleshoot issues when I need to be physically in front of the box.

Startup Disk Creator has just alerted me that the latest image of Ubuntu Server is now loaded onto my USB flash drive, so now it’s time to crack on with the installation.

Areas of focus

Here are the areas I will be revisiting when it comes to clearing out the crap that has slowly formed over the last couple of years. Once I start actually pulling stuff out and throwing it away I will make a full list of each individual item, so that you get a true sense of how much stuff I am getting rid of.


Cult of Less

Courtesy of @KellySutton I introduce to you, the Cult of Less.

This blog post isn’t tech related, but I thought it would be worth writing. I stumbled across Kelly Sutton’s site a couple of years ago and started my own little Cult of Less project. It was rather successful, but only at the time. I have since discovered, mostly by accident and laziness, that trying to own nothing is harder than letting junk accumulate. Being goal oriented it was fun to say “Get rid of X items by Y date”, but just like normal day-to-day cleaning it is clear that in order to stay true to the Cult of Less one must continue to be aware of the clutter and prevent it from accumulating.

At the end of the day the goal is not to get rid of stuff and never accumulate anything new ever again. That would be silly 🙂

It was great to have that initial purge of all the crap that surrounds me, as the first attempt is most likely going to be the largest. However, the real task is figure out what needs to go when you do start accumulating new items. “Do I need to keep this?” and “What does this new item replace?” are the key questions going forward.

So, even though I don’t have a great deal of new stuff I am giving myself until the end of the year to do another purge. Then, going forward it will be a new years resolution of mine to be mindful of the clutter as the days turn into weeks and the weeks into months.

This week I will put a list together and post it on here then on the weekend I will begin throwing stuff out.

Stay tuned!

Cloud formation

So here goes, I am currently using the following cloud services:

  • Box for Docs
  • Amazon for Entertainment
  • iCloud for Email, Contacts, Calendar, Notes, Photo Stream, iMessage, iOS backups, Things & Bookmark syncing
  • My Yahoo! for News and Social networking

Box finally stopped forcing users to pay for the high-end account (cheap for businesses, but expensive for personal use), so now I feel more inclined to use it as I can now easily sync docs between my MacBook Pro and iPhone.

I am sticking with Amazon for all of my digital entertainment needs. I’ve been doing tests all week between Amazon’s Cloud Play and Apple’s iTunes Match. Amazon’s Cloud Player is so much better at streaming music over the cellular network. This is what my test consisted of:

  1. I created identical playlists on each service
  2. On Monday’s drive to/from work I used only iCloud to stream my music while on the cellular network. End result = could play one song in its entirety, but for the most when it was time to move on to the next track it would time out and the music just stopped. I think the best I achieved was two songs in a row, but then it crapped out on the third. Made a couple of attempts to pause/resume, but I don’t like using my phone while driving, so I gave up.
  3. On Tuesday’s drive to/from work I used only Amazon’s Cloud Player on the same cellular network. On the way there it crapped out on the 9th song in the playlist. Far better than iCloud, but yet it still crapped out. However, I was able to easily resume playing the next track. On the way back it was flawless
  4. Wednesday I tried using only iCloud again. I didn’t even make it past one exit before it crapped out mid-song! Bad buffering. Traffic came to a halt, so I switched over to Amazon Cloud Player and have used it ever since.

The only thing that gets me down about Amazon Cloud Player is the web interface, but as part of the transition from iTunes to Amazon I have all 8GB’s of my music stored locally on my MacBook Pro, so I just use iTunes as a player. If iOS 6 includes some enhancements for streaming music over the cellular network then I may not need Amazon, but until then I am sticking with it.

For everything else iCloud is great and I have been making more use out of iMessage and Notes on Mountain Lion, which sync disgustingly well with my iPhone. Add to that the fact that I use Safari as my primary browser with iCloud being the keeper of my bookmarks I am a very happy camper!

Here’s a new thing I have started doing. I am now letting My Yahoo! take care of all my news and social media. It’s set as my homepage and is now my one-stop shop for all my favorite news feeds, it integrates with Facebook and Twitter, so I can see all the latest posts/tweets on each platform and a whole host of other stuff that I am playing around with. This is what I used to do years ago, but as a culture everybody migrated to Facebook. That’s not a complaint, but in addition to that I started separating out all my feeds. As you may know I have an entire bookmarks folder called “Tech News” and every morning I’ll grab my coffee and open them all at once. Over time I would add more and more sites to the list, which required more and more tabs and pages to load. In an effort to consolidate as much of that as possible I am going back to my roots and using My Yahoo! as a way to display everything that I need on one page. If I see something interesting I’ll open the link in a new tab and read it.