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Nightingale, Life, and More!
Monday, 17 October 2011
It's been far too long since I posted here! Since I last did, I've graduated college, gotten a job, left that job, picked up development on an opensource project, and many other things in between.

I graduated from Evangel University with a Bachelor's in Public Administration, and then moved on to start doing contracting jobs for php/MySQL, and Linux server management, despite my degree, which I guess just makes me good at managing tasks, people, and the like.

Furthermore, I've started working on the Nightingale project, which is a community driven fork of the mozilla based Songbird music player. We hope to make Linux support more prominent first, but also keep multiplatform support going too, while adding features and generally doing a better job than the Songbird team has since they started making money.

Otherwise, I'm planning on making some changes to my blog. I'm not sure what the template will look like, but I'm busy working on importing my comments, links, downloads, and of course my posts into wordpress, and also will find a way to to hopefully 301 all of the SEF urls from jooma as well.

Whatever the case, check out the blog here in a week or two and hopefully I'll have more to say!

Contemplating My Need for A Virtual Private Server
Monday, 02 August 2010

Have you ever considered using a virtual private server? They are nice, because you do maintain full control, with a peace of mind about not having to really deal with the hardware whatsoever, or even set up the operating system, whether it be *nix based, or Windows. I'm almost to a point with all of my websites that I may need to look into a VPS to at the very least host my busiest SQL databases. I'm looking for linux based hosts, and so far have found a few that look promising.

I need to decide how much RAM and diskspace I really need. Right now, my databases are setup to be as conservative as possible, but I have a feeling if I unshackled them so that I could unlock the full potential of my CMS softwares that I may get to the point of requiring more resources than ever imaginged. Being that I dabble in Black and Greyhat SEO, some of the applications, scripts, and techniques I use are...taxing, to say the least.

A VPS really is better than the current shared hosting I have. Only my data would be on the VPS, meaning more security. Furthermore, with guranteed resources, my sites would all perform as fast as they possibly could, depending on how much RAM and processor power I purchase.

My current shared host throttles my CPU, RAM, and disk space allotments. A VPS seems the next logical step, as dedicated servers are way too expensive - between dealing with purchasing the space, my own hardware, configuring it, and dealing with failures, it just seems illogical.

Wouldn't a VPS be the best of both worlds? It's managed hardware wise, so you don't have to pay for that, and it gives you complete backend controls with dashboards and what not, but without sharing with anybody else or maintaining expensive hardware of your own. VPS's also offer burstable memory and such, allowing you to deal with the digg effect without having a huge server crash as 50,000 people hit your blog simultaneously (I've dealt with that one on shared hosting before - it wasn't pretty).

Furthermore, I can have the VPS grow with me as my sites and their requirements for resources grow. Instead of manually upgrading anything, you in most cases just adjust a slider and lock yourself in for higher resources...nice and easy.

Besides being good for my blogs, VPS's are ideal for about anyone who forsees themselves doing any ecommerce, cloud computing, or large database type of serving, especially on a budget. These types of sites usually tend to grow anyway, and a VPS is a good deal because it is the perfect mix of shared hosting and it's ease of use, and the customizations available with dedicated servers, minus all the work to keep them maintained...

Do any of you have any suggestions? I know that a lot of the people that will read this post are in the IT profession, or at least have some experience with Linux or web hosting and design. If you could chime in with some information that would be great.

Original XBox - No eeprom? No valid XBox Partition Table? NO PROBLEM!
Tuesday, 27 July 2010
I know this is really pretty late, considering that I'm tinkering on an old original XBox. I got it at a garage sale for $35 with 4 controllers and the DVD kit...I figured it was a fun toy.

As soon as I got home, I set out to softmod the thing and install XBMC. I got that all setup and working, and then needed to use 360Xplorer to modify some things - it crashed, and I lost one of the partitions. I ended up getting xboxhdm to try and just rebuild the drive. I followed the guides to make my disk (though I didn't have my eeprom.bin saved!). Oh noes! It would seem hope is lost, judging from 20-30 posts on the same issue made by others I've found.

I have found a way to fix it. Go ahead and build your xboxhdm setup with your C and E drive files inside, and then proceed to hotswap your drive by unplugging the power to your XBox DVD drive, and then turn it on. Once it displays Error 12, plug the cable that usually plugs into your desktop's main hard drive into the XBox hard drive, after removing the IDE cable connecting it to the XBox. Make sure you just have the XBox and your drive with xboxhdm connected at this point, with the XBox drive on the primary IDE channel.

Proceed to turn on your computer, and boot into xboxhdm. Run xboxhd and see if your drive is still unlocked. If not, you'll need to reboot your computer with the xbox drive still connected, and once it gets to the xboxhdm boot screen, wait, and do the XBox hotswap process again by unplugging the XBox drive from the desktop, plugging it back to the XBox, and powercycling the XBox until it shows error 12 again. Then, reconnect the drive to your computer which is still on, and hit enter to boot.

After running xboxhdm, you may do something like wipe out the fatx partition table, or you may just have some weird stuff going on with the partitions (like them not being detected). The solution? Read on.

First, cd into /xboxhdm/xbox. Then, perform the following commands, one at a time:

dd if=head.raw of=/dev/hda bs=512k

dd if=fatx.raw of=/dev/hda seek=1 bs=512k

dd if=fatx.raw of=/dev/hda seek=1501 bs=512k

dd if=fatx.raw of=/dev/hda seek=3001 bs=512k

dd if=fatx.raw of=/dev/hda seek=4501 bs=512k

dd if=fatx.raw of=/dev/hda seek=5501 bs=512k

Finally, run "fdisk /dev/hda" and then hit "o" followed by Enter to create a new DOS partition table, followed by "w" and Enter to write it.

Proceed to run xboxhd again and select "1" to rebuild the entire drive. It should give the "[OK]" and walk you through the rest of the process! Hooray!

No muss, no fuss, no dumping of the eeprom that you should've done (I should have done :D ) in the first place, no more money to spend unlocking the #$*%ing drive.

XBMC here I come!
Moving Twice, Being Busy, Failing Over A Hard Drive
Thursday, 15 July 2010
It seems that I haven't posted in ... well, way too long. I do have excuses. I've had my share of fun and projects, but my summer started with a 3 week choir tour, before which I was moving the first time from campus back home. I did buy an HP netbook, which I promptply formatted and installed Archlinux alongside an nLited version of XP. I think Windows 7 is going to keep sucking until it's first service pack comes out.

Fast forward past some mostly boring stuff, and we get to where I am now, moving again with my family into a new house. It's a pretty neat old house, and I have plans to setup my network equipment, and headless machines down in the basement - after I run a few hundred feet of cat5 and build a shelf.

Other than that, I recently setup an Untangle gateway between my cable modem and my router - though it can act as a router, I still need to purchase a switch...but this distro is better than manually configuring my favorite distro, or using smoothwall (which is an old piece of crap IMHO). Props to Hak5, where I heard first about Untangle.

Finally, the best part is that I bought a SATA II controller with 4 ports that supports port multipliers and hardware RAID. I have no reason to use RAID yet, but I did need the controller to be able to use the two new 1TB Hitachi Deskstar drives I got for $69 each from Newegg (looks like they've gone up $10 since then). I have to say they are super fast and super cool (versus my failing seagate drive). The seagate drive is the reason for the purchase, as I don't want to lose my ~490gb of precious files that are important to me. Luckily, I'm rsync-ing them all over right now, so far no hiccups (which is weird, as this seagate drive is 3 years old and has seen better days).

If any of my text is misspelled or incoherant, note that I've been up for about 18 hours at this point, as I'm trying to get back on a decent sleeping schedule (read: normal).

Anyway, thanks for reading. I promise I won't take 5-6 months between now and the next post!
KDE3 and QT3 Fixes for Firefox Using gtk-qt-engine
Monday, 11 January 2010
Well, gtk-qt-engine isn't supporting KDE3 in new versions, and most people have forgotten KDE3 and moved on to the piece of crap KDE4. I use KDE3/QT3, and like gtk-qt-engine. I had a few issues with the look of firefox under it, though.

1. The biggest was that radio buttons and checkboxes got whited out whenever I'd click them and they'd be active.
2. The scrollbar's leftmost line didn't render properly, and only drew down the length of the slider..
3. The bottom statusbar was sectionized and thus ugly.

I've written a userscript/userstyle that fixes all of these. I suggest using the firefox extension stylish to use my userscript, but it should work just fine with greasemonkey as well.

Let me know how it works for you!
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