Featured articles and original content.

How to setup Clonezilla on Linux (Ubuntu). Quick start guide.

Replace Symantec Ghost Enterprise with Clonezilla.
Since posting my article listing the open source alternatives to Symantec Ghost Enterprise, I have received a lot of questions related to installing and configuring Clonezilla, so I thought it would be a good idea to post a “quick start guide” for installing Clonezilla.

The following applies to setting up a network boot environtment using the PXE capabilities of your network card. If you simply want to image a single machine, then I suggest you use the Clonezilla Live CD. You simply boot your system from the CD, mount a network drive, and save your image to the network. It is the same as using a ghost boot disk in DOS but, without all the network card configuration.

If you are anything like me then you don’t like having to remember what you did with a boot disk and have to image a system a lot more often then a couple of times a year. In that case, follow along to setup a Clonezilla server your clients can use to boot from without the need for a boot disk.


How to listen to Sirius online with your Nokia N800 N810 internet tablet.

I’ve had a subscription to sirius satellite radio for the last four months and I can’t say enough good things about it. The best thing about it, besides the lack of commercial interruptions and music selection, is that with the online streaming, you don’t really need to purchase a sirius radio as long as you have an internet connection where you want to listen. This is the case for me.

Over the the last few months I have been able to integrate sirius with MythTV, my Linux and Mac laptops, and now my Nokia N800 internet tablet.

Radio? We don’t need no stinking radio!

I would like to give credit for most of the grunt work to jtyrrell and m00s3computer of the internettablettalk.com forums. All I did was clean up their instructions and verify the procedure.


Cheap embedded or nearly embedded Linux servers.

For awhile now I have been searching around for a cheap and low power replacement for an old P4 3.0 GHz server that I use as a dedicated Linux/NAS. During the middle of last year I picked up a used Mac Mini off of eBay, loaded Ubuntu on it, and have been using that as a dedicated server with an external USB drive. This has served me well but, I feel like I’m waisting a perfectly good core 2 duo as a lonely file server. Linux doesn’t need that kind of horse power and the Mac Mini is better suited to being a MythTV front end. So the hunt is on.


Linux backup software. The old standby and the scrappy new kid.

Amanda vs Bacula Open Source / Free Backup Software
One of the most popular questions I get concerning using Linux in a production environment is how to back the system up without having to resort to non-open source solutions.

Backing up Linux isn’t any different then backing up any of it closed source counterparts. The options range from simply writing a script to copy your most critical files to a CD to making a complete copy of the system with an imaging program such as ghost. These options are great if you are backing up an end user system, such as your laptop but, don’t really meet the requirements of a sound backup strategy when a production server is the concern.

To answer that question I thought I’d compare and contrast the two open source Linux backup software options I use day to day. Amanda and Bacula.


Forget talk radio and news shows. My top 10 list of useful podcasts and IPTV shows for techies.

I figured it was time to take a break from the tutorials for a moment and have some fun. Well, that’s not completely true. NPR is having one of their two week fund drives and I can’t personally stand to sit through that on the way to work. It would be different, if once you made your donation, you could some how stop hearing all the fund raising breaks. Something to work on.

Anyway, seeing I’m solely depending on the content on my iPod to entertain me during my commute, I thought I’d share my top ten favorite podcasts and IPTV shows with you.
Safety Tip: Only use the IPTV shows if you take the Bus.

The internet can be your best friend or your worst nightmare. Morons beware!!

This story comes to you from Philadelphia where Jesse McPherson spends his days as a front-end web developer, but in reality he claims to be a Rock Star. On March 12th, Jesse’s house was burglarized and his xbox 360, an old powerbook (which they grabbed the wrong charger for) and TV that was ripped off the wall were all stolen.

Having little faith in the local authorities to locate and recover his stuff, he took it upon himself to do his own detective work. He used google maps to locate the nearest pawn shop and contacted them about his missing items. The pawn shop owner remembered someone trying to sell a G4 powerbook without the charger and a dead battery (same as Jesse’s), but the shop’s owner wouldn’t buy it from him.

Luckily, this pawn shop had cameras and he let Jesse view them and take pictures of the suspect. After getting the photos, he contacted the detectives for his case but he waited around for 3+ hours and no one ever showed up. (I guess there must have been a buy 12 get one free donut sale going on) He waited about a week and still no response.


Finally get a stable router using open source firmware. DD-WRT or Tomato.

Every week I hear the following questions:

I just ordered a broadband connection. What do I need to share it among my computers?
What do I need to use the wireless card in my laptop at home?
I keep having to reboot my router to get my internet connection to work. What can I do to improve it?

The answer to the first question is you need a router. To cover question two, you need a wireless router. Finally, to cover all three questions with one answer, you need the WRT54GL.


How to listen to Sirius online radio with Linux or OSX.

I never thought I would actually pay for radio until a co-worker of mine signed up for Sirius satellite radio when Howard Stern made the switch to Sirius. Now, Howard Stern I could care less about but, this gave me my first extended exposer to the music channels. Every afternoon, for weeks, I would hear a great song off an album I had long forgotten, on the Alt Nation channel, wafting over the cube wall. I was just about sold.

The only problem remaining was reception. My co-worker sat next to a window and was having reception problems despite Sirius having a land based repeater in our market. I’m located closer to the center of the building so using a satellite radio probably wasn’t going to work. So I waited. Sirius offered online streaming but it was only a 32k stream. Not going to work for me.

Finally, Sirius started offering near CD quality streams but, only offered a Windows based player in a browser. I love my tunes but, not enough to switch back to Windows. So the hunt was on to find a way to stream Sirius online to Linux or OSX. If you want to try Sirus for three day for free sign up here.


How to install WordPress on OSX using MAMP to make life easier.

A lot of the people asking me how to install WordPress on OSX have new babies. I’d like to apologize up front to the rest of the internet for bringing more new baby sites to the internet and thus hindering the speed at which we all can download music. Sorry.
How to install WordPress on OSX using MAMP

Since starting this web site I’ve gotten a lot of questions about how easy it is to use WordPress. The answer is it couldn’t be easier but, I would recommend that you setup a development environment first so you can test everything. That led to a second set of questions from all my friends that use OSX. How do I setup a test environment on my Mac? I know that the Apache web server is included in OSX but I can’t figure out MySQL or PHP. It’s true that OSX comes with Apache, and you could use it, but there is a much simpler way. Use MAMP.

MAMP stands for Mac, Apache, MySQL, and PHP. You have probably heard of LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) which is the standard web development platform on the internet. There is also WAMP; Windows, Apache, so on and so forth. One more acronym, WIMP; Windows, IIS (Internet Information Server. The default Windows web server), MySQL, and PHP. I’m so clever. You also might be thinking that I’m not very clever because I felt the need to explain what IIS was. In either case, I don’t care and you are probably correct.

All these acronyms provide all the necessary components to run WordPress locally on your given platform. In this case, the wonderful OSX.

Anyway, read on to learn how to install WordPress on OSX using MAMP.


Symantec Ghost who? A list of open source alternatives.

Have you ever just finished something important and all of a sudden the lights dim, your PC begins to sound like the clothes washer, and then bam, your work is gone? Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, right? Maybe I should have taken my watch off before sticking my hand in that running PC after all.

Well, the thing that annoys me most is, not losing the work, but knowing I’ll have to spend the next two days rebuilding the system just in order to recover whatever I was working on. Like a good boy, I save my work to multiple locations. If you care about it, don’t trust it to a computer, I always say. Strange advice from someone who is a computer professional.

Anyway, the solution to this problem has always been to ghost your system. Ghosting your system means making a backup image, applications and all, so that you can restore your system to a running state quickly. Strangely enough the product most people use to do this is called Ghost. Get it? Ghosting? If you have ever used the recovery CD that may have come with your system then you have probably used Ghost without knowing it.

So if you already have a rescue CD from your computer vendor and have used Ghost before why should you read this. Well, I’m willing to bet that you have added a ton of applications, system settings, and other things that aren’t included on that rescue CD so, its probably a good idea to update that image once in awhile. Here is the gotcha. If you want to do that then you need to buy Ghost. Buy Ghost? Why would you do that when there are better, free, open source alternatives. See, I thought this might be worth the read.