Archive for January, 2007

Windows Vista

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

Since my school is a member of the MSDN Academic Alliance, I get access to a lot of Microsoft Software (legitimately, of course). The most recent addition (other then Microsoft Visio 2007, replacing the 2003 version), is the Microsoft Vista Business Edition. I installed it on a spare hard drive on my school and was impressed with the feel of the new operating system. However, the support for drivers is not quite there yet. A few friends of mine have installed Vista, and I’ve heard various complaints from them, and other online sources about driver issues. This can’t be Microsoft’s fault, a lot of the responsibility must lie with the manufacturer of the hardware. However, Windows XP did come with many drivers for different hardware, so why doesn’t Vista come with updated drivers? Again, I image the hardware companies have to catch release drivers for all the hardware they make.
From the various blogs that I read, I see that some people detest Vista, while some people are looking forward to it being released to the retail market. Personally, I like the look of the operating system, and some of the changes they have made, but I will be waiting until later this year before upgrading from Windows XP to Vista. Of course, I will be formatting my Windows XP partition and then installing Vista on the empty partition.

One of the things I like about vista is the new folder structure. In a default XP installation, the user accounts were located atC:\Documents and Settings. However, in Vista the user accounts are located at C:\Users. Instead of having the ‘My Documents’ folder with ‘My Pictures’ and ‘My Music’ and such folders inside, those folders are all at the same level. That is such a small change, but I like it! There are a ton of other features in Vista, take a look at the Wikipedia entry.

New Monitor

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

I recently added another new monitor to my setup. My friend recently sold his desktop computer and bought an Asus G1 (Nice gaming laptop!), so he was selling his 20″ widescreen LCD. I bought it from him for a reasonable price, and I’ve uploaded pictures of my desk, here and here. The monitor is a Benq FP202W.
I managed to find a software package called UltraMon, which has many features for dual-screen monitors. The one that I am using it for primarily, is to stretch one wallpaper over both of my monitors. I downloaded a bunch of wallpapers off of deviantArt, and have configured UltraMon. It’s working great!

I rarely, if ever, install custom screensavers. However, I did find a couple that looked cool, and did not contain spyware!. I can’t remember what they are called though, but they can span over both monitors, which I told them to.

In a post a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I was going to install FreeNAS on my spare computer, and use it as a backup/media server. I have not done this yet, I have been preoccupied with School and work. I’ve been thinking about installing FreeNAS to play around with for a few days, and then eventually install CentOS 4.4 and use it as a sandbox server for updates, etc (as well as backup/media server) that I do not want to deploy on the dedicated server.

Downtime and Server Status

Wednesday, January 24th, 2007

This website has been up and down for the past couple of weeks, and therefore I have not posted any updates. I’m still in the process of moving from a shared host to a dedicated server.

I did have the server up and running for awhile, on Plesk. I had my proxy sites setup, and they were bringing in money slowly. I moved them to my shared host while I had the server formatted with Cpanel/WHM instead of Plesk. My shared host suspended the account after a few days because of the high CPU usage by the scripts. I can’t blame them, but now I have had no daily revenue for almost two weeks.

What did surprise me however, is that I still received 10-15 pageviews on a few of the days that the proxy sites were down. I even received a couple of ad clicks, which is strange. I wonder if it was cached somewhere, and people were somehow using the cached version.

I thought I screwed up the DNS on the new server, however after waiting 4-5 days I found out that there the firewall was blocking the DNS (53), Cpanel (2082), and the Cpanel https (2083) ports. I hope that was the problem!

It’s the weekend!

Friday, January 12th, 2007

Well, it’s friday night, and I’m glad. Time to relax, hang out with friends, and work on some of my websites.

I’ve updated the theme, what do you think? I like it. I’ve also updated the links on the right side of this page a bit, added some and removed some old ones. If you see your link there, feel free to link back!
I have a computer downstairs that I’ve been letting my younger sister use for school, msn, and web browsing for about 8-10 months. I stopped using my old laptop for school, and now she is using the laptop from time to time in our living room. It is plugged in near the couches. Last night I was lying down on the couch, transferring some files off the computer onto my desktop. I will be formatting the computer and using it as a ’sandbox’ server, as well as a fileserver. It has 2 Athlon 2000+ MP CPUs, 512MB Ram (ECC), 250GB hard drive. Each CPU has a large fan, and they make quite a bit of noise.

I plan on installing FreeNAS and using it as a file/ftp/backup server, most of the time. I am planning on formatting the 250GB hard drive as using the FAT32 filesystem, so most operating systems can use it/write to it. I will throw an old hard drive (3-5GB) into the computer to use for the FreeNAS system, as the operating system itself requires only 32MB of space.
I have another 40GB hard drive sitting here, I might use that with an external case I have, or I could use it to install other operating systems to play with. I will be getting a free copy of Windows Vista (not ultimate edition though -_-) through th MSDN Academic Alliance program, through my school.

What kind of a computer/media setup do you have at home?

Update

Thursday, January 11th, 2007

I’ve had a ton of clicks on the Google Adsense advertisements on my proxies today. I’ve had 302 clicks so far, yet only $12.58 cents in revenue. I mean, having $12.58 cents in revenue is great for one day, however my revenue per click is $0.04 cents. I hate smart pricing so much. I usually get at least $0.15 cents per click, sometimes up to $0.60 cents. If I received $0.50 cents per click today, my revenue would have been $151.

Also, my proxies are currently not working. The pages load fine, however when I try to browse through them I get ‘Error: 110: Connection timed out (URL: www.google.ca). I’m sure that this is why I’ve received so many clicks today, which is double the amount I’ve been receiving the past few days. I am moving them elsewhere for now, while the current server I’m on is being formatted and reinstalled. After the upgrade, my partner and I will be running Cpanel/WHM with 6 ip address, instead of Plesk and 1 ip address.
School

Tommorow at school my lab partner and I will be wiring two patch panels with 25 pair cable. That stuff looks complicated, but it probably won’t be once we figure out the color chart. School is going pretty good, but I’m having a hard time paying attention during the Structured Cabling class, as a lot of the material has been covered already in previous courses, and I just don’t find the course that interesting. It is stuff that we need to know though, and I will definitely use. I made my first cat5 cable on Tuesday, which is pretty cool.

Planning A Backup Stategy

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Yesterday in my Windows Server 2003 class, the lecture was on Backing up and Restoring Data. Right now I’m working on a small assignment, which is to plan a backup strategy for a corporation with 5 servers, and 250 employees. Each server has a different configuration, and a different purpose. I’m just starting it, but I like trying to figure this stuff out!
Today it occurred to me that it’s been awhile since I backed up all of my documents, websites, or pictures. I’ve been organizing a lot of my data on my desktop, my document’s folder, and erasing stuff I don’t need. There are three backup strategies that I plan to implement within one month.

All three of the methods below would be after I finish organizing all of my files into the ‘My Documents’ folder.

1) Upload one full backup once a month to my dedicated server, over a secure connection. Also, weekly do a differential backup to the server as well. The server is located in a datacenter in Texas.

2) Use NTI Backup Now! to burn a set of DVDs with full backups one a month.

3) Upload one full backup every week to my local fileserver. Also, every morning around 5am upload an incremental backup or differential (haven’t decided) to my (soon to be) linux server.

I think these methods should pretty much cover any mistakes I make (Oops! Shouldn’t have deleted that!). I’m also thinking about imaging my drive once every two weeks and putting the image on my local server.

What do you do to backup?

Crazy Snow!

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Well, it has snowed once again in Beautiful British Columbia! The snow came down all day, I’m not sure how much snow we got exactly, but when I stepped outside on campus, the snow went up to the bottom of my kneecap. I’m a fairly tall guy, and this is a lot of snow. My old car has a ton of snow on the roof, I will try to take pictures tomorrow of the snow. It is supposed to be cold for another 4-5 days, so it’s not likely to melt. I must say that my back is aching from shoveling snow, but it’s a great workout!

I didn’t take the photo below, but it is near where I live and proves that there is snow!

Snow!

First Post of 2007

Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

I haven’t made any posts lately, but I’ve had a lot going on. This is going to be a long post, so here are the main topics in bullet form.

-Grandpa
-Xbox
-Sites Launched
-Cell Phone
-Flickr Limits

Grandpa

A few weeks ago, my mom’s dad was driving during the middle of the night. He fell asleep at the wheel, and drove into the oncoming lane and hit a semi-trailer head on. He survived, and was put into ICU in Kelowna. He has a broken hip, a few broken ribs, and some other stuff.

Xbox

The week after Christmas I was bored so I worked on my softmodded xbox a bit. To start I changed the default dashboard from evolutionX to Xbox Media Center, and uploaded a custom XBMC skin. I installed SNES and N64 emulators and some old roms including Super Mario World, Zelda: A link to the past, and Goldeneye 007. I also streamed some movies, music videos and music to my xbox using Windows Samba shares on my desktop.

Sites launched

One of my sites that I will abbrieviate simply by ‘GPTF’, has launched. I had a lot of problems with the template, but I finally compromised and got it working. The website is running CGIproxy, and I will market it on via Myspace as soon as I get hotlink protection setup in the script.

I’ve also launched three other proxy websites that I did not design, I used templates that I found online. I haven’t promoted these proxies much yet, also I may soon. They all have a custom hotlink protection script installed, so I don’t get people using my server without looking at my advertisements.

I’m getting an average of 1,000 to 2,000 hits a day on my sites, so now that I have some traffic, I need to improve my click through rate. I now have six proxy sites running, but I would like to develop some other websites so I don’t have all my eggs in one basket’.

I am currently earning between $1-3 a day with Google Adsense, although I’ve had a few $5 days.

The server that I ordered has been setup and I have transferred some of my websites over, and I will be cancelling my Hostgator account soon and transferring the rest of my domains over.

Cell phone

I was planning on purchasing a new cell phone on boxing day, however I’ve now decided that I will wait until after March 14, 2007 before switching. On that date, the mobile carriers will be required to provide wireless number portability to their customers. That means I can take my current phone number with me to another carrier when I switch. I currently use Fido as my mobile carrier, but I want to switch to a Virgin Mobile prepaid plan.

I also want to get a SkypeIn number, but they don’t have any in Canada. As soon as they get numbers in Canada, I will subcribe to both their SkypeIn and SkypeOut services. For now I am content with calling friends over Skype, PC to PC.

Flickr limits

Recently while I was uploading pictures to my flickr account, I was greeted with this notice. For now I do not think I will change to a different service, or upgrade to a pro account. I will probably upgrade to a pro account in the future, once I start taking a lot more pictures. I only upload certain pictures to my account, anyway.

Have a great year!