YUMI – USB Multiboot installer

Written by keith.pettit on . Posted in System Admin

If your like me you don’t like or want to carry around CD or DVD’s anymore for installing OS’s.  YUMI is Multiboot installer designed to make your USB thumbdrive bootable and give you a menu of different OS’s to install.  I use it to keep multiple Linux and Windows installers on one thumbdrive so I don’t have to keep a ton of CD’s.

Ninite – Easiest way to install a bunch of software in Windows

Written by keith.pettit on . Posted in System Admin, Windows

On most new computers you can end up spending a few hours installing the same software over and over. Finding, downloading, then installing a dozen apps can really suck up your time.  Ninite makes installing the most common Free and Opensource apps a breeze. The basic idea is to go to their website, check all the software you want then click a button to install it.  It will download and install all the apps without popping up a dozen different dialog boxes saving tons of time.

Use ssmtp and Google mail as local Sendmail replacement

Written by keith.pettit on . Posted in Linux, System Admin, Ubuntu

Typically on a new Linux system you’ll need some sort of way to send system email’s.   You can always setup Sendmail/Postfix/Courier/etc, but it’s a pain to setup all the MX records, reverse DNS, etc.  If you don’t care about receiving email and just want to send messages this is a good way to go. “SSMTP is a program to deliver an email from a local computer to a configured mailhost (mailhub)”.  This basically means you can replace the local sendmail command with this application and use your Google email account to send messages.  These instructions are for installing on Ubuntu but it’s a fairly standard package that you can install on most distro’s.  

How to block websites in Linux

Written by keith.pettit on . Posted in Linux, System Admin

Here is a quick way to block websites.  Typically I use this for kids to keep them away from websites I don’t want them on while they should be doing school work. This technique overwrites the DNS entry for the website you don’t want them on to your local computer.  You could also re-direct it to any other server you wanted.  For example a webserver with a default page that says “Your not allowed to view this site” or something similar.  But for right now we’ll go for the simple version.

Apache and MySQL tuning for WordPress

Written by keith.pettit on . Posted in Linux, System Admin

WordPress is wonderful to use from a user standpoint but from a admin point of view it can be a real resource hog.  Ubuntu and most other LAMP setup’s are not very well tuned out of the box for WordPress.  I’ve found various tips over the years that have helped me fine tune the Apache and MySQL parts of a LAMP setup to perform better.  There are also various WordPress tweaks (caching, etc) to help it get better performance, but for right now I’m going to focus on some LAMP ones.

HTML and CSS Caching

Written by keith.pettit on . Posted in Development, HTML

Caching is great but can cause lots of problems if you change things and the user doesn’t see those changes.  Also during development caching is a bad idea.   It’s hard to tell what your doing if you don’t know what is or isn’t cached.  To make things more complicated CSS caching is different than HTML caching and isn’t cleaned when you “clear cache” in your browser. So here are some methods for making sure you HTML and CSS are loaded fresh each time.

BigBlueButton: Web conference and meeting room review

Written by keith.pettit on . Posted in Open Source

I really hate WebEx.  Maybe it’s becuase I’m a Linux user and there is no client for Linux.  But generally speaking I don’t like thick client apps that only install in Windows.  So I’ve been on the lookout for sometime for something to replace WebEx that worked on the major OS’s and didn’t need a client installed, enter BigBlueButton.