Category Archives: Information Technology

Promote IT

It’s been almost a month since I’ve posted something, which is too bad. I cannot believe how much fun I’ve been having this summer. The freedom of lengthy days, no need to get up early (unless I want to), so I can stay up late at night (and sometimes through the night) tinkering on stuff I’ve found on the Internet, or somewhere in a box in my garage, or perhaps from one of my many geek centric sites I frequent on occasion.

Party like IT’s 1999!

While cleaning out my over crowded garage this past week, I came across a dusty box labeled Toshiba Portege…and low and behold, that’s exactly what was in there! Not only was there a Toshiba Portege 3110CT complete with software and all available accessories in the box, but also inside was a Toshiba Libretto 110, also complete with software and all accessories!

I can almost hear the groans and sighs of “who cares” through cyberspace…but I do care. These two systems were handy little systems. And, for the IT traveler, carrying either of these systems is much easier on your shoulder, since they weigh about the same as the netbooks of today.

But these systems have Windows 95 or 98 on them. And they work great! That said, I recall putting Windows 2000 Professional on one the Portege, so I’m going to do that again, for old times sake. Journey with me now, as I return to the days before Y2K…

Some of you older IT folks recall those days spent in mild panic or complete annoyance at the massive preparation being done to update software and check hardware systems for compatibility before the year 2000 struck. All that hard work and overtime paid off when everything continued to function, networks didn’t crash, and the world did not end.

But I digress. Let’s get back to why I made this post – I’m going to install Windows 2k on a Portege 3110CT, with a whopping 64MB of RAM, and a spacious 6 GB hard drive. Some of you may ask why bother to do that? Well, Windows 95 rev A didn’t support USB. Windows 98 did support it partially, but flash drives were not auto-detected all that great. Windows 2000 (Win2k) did a much better job supporting USB flash drives. Since I want to leave the external floppy drive and CD-ROM at home and just take my Portege laptop, I wanted to first install Win2k so it works great with USB flash drives, should I need to share files or install something on the laptop while I am traveling, or away from home.

So here’s how I installed Windows 2000 Professional. In the box was a complete recovery CD-ROM set, complete with Windows 95 (rev A) and Windows 98, plus the drivers for the external PORT 24x CD-ROM drive. I don’t need the CDs, but I’ll need those CD-ROM drivers.

1. I powered on the Portege, and simply canceled the login prompt (you could do that back then) and reached the Windows 95 desktop. I opened Control Panel, clicked on Add/Remove Programs, and clicked the Startup Disk tab. I then located an inserted a blank 1.44MB floppy into the drive, and chose to Create a Startup Disk. Clicking that button created a bootable Windows 95 floppy diskette.

2. I took that bootable floppy and also copied the PORT 24x CD-ROM drivers to the diskette. I needed to modify the autoexec.bat and config.sys files to insure that the CD-ROM, which is an external PCMCIA one, wouldn’t be recognized without a specific driver loaded first.

3. Next, I used the Recovery CD to format the drive into two drive partitions, one formatted as FAT, the other as FAT32. From a command prompt, I inserted the bootable disk, and typed “SYS D” to create a bootable partition on drive D.

4. Next, I loaded the Windows 2000 Professional CD into the drive. Using My Computer, I opened the CD, and copied just the I386 directory into the partition formatted as FAT32 (aka as drive D).

5. I then loaded Diskette 1 of 3 for MS-DOS 6.22 and installed MS-DOS on partition 1, the FAT drive. After switching out each diskette, I rebooted into MS-DOS.

6. From the C: drive, I changed to the D drive (>C: cd D:), and opened the i386 directory (>D: cd I386), or alternatively, I could have just typed cd D:i386.

7. From the D:i386 directory/folder, I typed “WINNT”, and wallah, the Windows 2000 setup began. From there, I simply followed the prompts as requested, accepting all default suggestions.

8. When the Windows 2000 Professional installation is nearly complete, you are asked to enter an administrator password. DO NOT FORGET THIS PASSWORD. You’ll need to login when the installation is complete.

Well, that’s all there is to it, now a couple hours later, and I’ve got a lightweight laptop that I can use for writing in coffee shops, and I can easily transfer my Word 97 documents to flash drive and print or edit them to my heart’s content on my other systems at home.

Crank IT up!

I know this only my fourth post, so some of you may wonder why I have taken a detour from blogging only about IT stuff. Well, quite frankly, because I can, it is my blog, you get IT? (*smile*)

I am curious to get feedback about something I’ve noticed over the years as I worked with other IT people. I’ve noticed that many developers prefer to listen to something on their headsets while coding on a daily basis. I suppose it helps them to relax, or perhaps makes the time go by a bit faster. Whatever your reason or personal theory is, I’d like to hear it. I don’t normally allow comments on my blogs, so here’s your chance to provide feedback, but please keep it on topic..

I personally enjoy listening to my iPod, and I have specific lists of songs that I enjoy, but I’m curious as to what others prefer to listen to while developing, troubleshooting, debugging, testing, or documenting your code.

Post the stuff you like, and also if you actually document your code or not. I’d be interested to know, and may we might share similar musical interests, or not. There’s no right or wrong answer, whatever works for you – is something I’d like to know. Call it a social experiment…

To my readers who don’t know how to program, what are some of your favorite tunes, and why?

LAMP, turn IT on

For the majority of the readers of this blog, you probably already know exactly what a LAMP is. So why not go down a Monster, or grab that third cup of coffee, and skip this blog entry.

For the rest of you who don’t write code everyday – I’m not talking about a lamp that requires a lightbulb and plugs into the wall. I am talking about a Linux/Apache/MySQL/Perl, PHP, Python server.

It is, as the acronym indicates, a Linux operating system, Apache web server, MySQL database, and one of the “P” scripting/programming languages. There are many sites that will teach you how to learn basic Perl, PHP and Python scripts, which, combined with some HTML code, would give you a functional and very inexpensive website. It’s actually free, although the time you spend setting it up is probably worth something to you..

And, my time is money too, so I’m not going to reinvent the wheel in this blog and talk about how to install or configure a LAMP server, that has been done already, and very well, I might add, on many other sites. Consult Google to find them.

And if you haven’t left to do that yet, you should know setting up a LAMP server is actually not that hard to do using Linux Ubuntu 10.04 version. You don’t need years of programming experience – actually you don’t have to do any programming at all, other than how to follow default settings during the installation. Just select LAMP as an option during the simplified installation process.

So thanks to the efforts of community minded open source developers, this blog actually tells you all you need to know to get a LAMP server up and running.

The alternate is that you would have to pay out some of your hard earned $$ for Microsoft’s equivalent of Windows Server 2003 Web Edition. With that statement, a light should have gone on over your head.

Ubuntu server…like IT so far?

A few weeks ago, I downloaded and installed Ubuntu server 10.04 on a Toshiba Tecra 8200 series laptop. I downloaded the ISO image from their website (which is a great site, by the way).

For the impatient people… If you cannot wait, you can download the server version or go to the main page.

Where was I? Oh yes. (Sometimes I talk to myself while typing these, so get over IT) Anyway, I downloaded the ISO image, and then burned it to CD on my Microshaft Windows XP Media Center running on a Dell Dimension E510. I burned it with a free program called InfraRecorder. Then I simply loaded the CD into the laptop CD/DVD drive and went through the default installation process, which anyone can do.

I noted that with this version (10.04), you can setup a Linux / Ubuntu server and add additional applications. I choose to create a LAMP server. You merely need to select the option. Presuming you have an Internet connection or you are connected local area network that allows DHCP clients, it will also automatically setup your network, go out and get the install packages, and when complete, you will have a fully functioning LAMP server!

For those of you who do not know how to use Linux commands, be aware that the server version by default is not installed with a Graphical User Interface (GUI) interface. I would recommend you try the Ubuntu desktop instead. Again, you will need to create a CD from the ISO image that you download. If you do not know how to burn an ISO image to a CD-ROM disc, please get the free program listed above.

Jeez, I went off on a tangent there…you’d think I’m getting paid for each of these links or something… Getting back to the Ubuntu server, I went in and modified the default index.html page, and entered some really basic HTML.

[ Edger Heckten Tip: I wanted to find out the IP address assigned via DHCP to my LAMP server, so I simply logged in, opened a command prompt, and typed ifconfig. ]

Then I went back to my Dell E510, typed in the IP address into my Firefox web browser and the web pages I just created showed up. If I had not already created literally hundreds of web pages, this would have been a memorable occasion. Instead, I remarked “cool.” and moved on.

Ok, so what are your thoughts about IT? Let me know right here – post your comments!

Boot up…starting system

This is my first blog entry EVER, believe it or not. You can call me Edger, or just “EH”… I’ve decided to create this blog as a journal of sorts to track all the stuff I experiment with when I am not working for a living. If you haven’t figured it out yet, Edger Heckten is a pseudonym. It is not my real name – if there is an actual person with that first and last name…it’s not me!

Undoubtedly, many of you might scoff at the ramblings on these pages, and to those of you who do, have a go …idk! Some of you may find what I write is rather basic stuff, and it is. Who cares what you think anyway?

If you find yourself reading this and forming an opinion of who I am, or what my skills may be, STOP. You’ve just made an ERROR in judgment. Never judge a book by its cover, or a blog by its first post, or a person by what they have written, unless you enjoy making mistakes.

I am not an arrogant person. I am not a “know-it-all”. I am not the typical geek, nerd, or tech. But at one point or another in my life, I’ve been labeled with all of these. Most, if not all of you, may never meet me, and vice versa, so lighten up, get a sense of humor, and enjoy life. Oh, and keep reading my blog if you’ve ever wondered what this (or many other) geeks, nerds and techs do on their free time.

OK, Ok, if you some other label than “eh” for me, I’ve have also been known to answer to “IT Professional”, as in Information Technology or just give me the nickname “IT Pro” for short. And this is the reason every blog entry title (except this first one) uses the uppercase IT. Now you know the reason why…I’m IT, so get used to IT!