Category Archives: Coding and other Geekery

Computing, Ubuntu and Coding.

I’ve been away for a while, finishing of my last paper for my diploma, yay!  Homeschooling the kiddies, working on my internet business all gets in the way of reading, writing and blogging, but finally I can start putting some time toward the things that make me happy just doing them!

Anyway recently, well not so recently, for the last 6 months to a year, I have been contemplating overhauling our electronics at home, mostly on the computing side of things, the main thing stopping me is of course money, I have very expensive tastes 🙂 but also just wanting to familiarise myself with the hardware and software I need to make my goals happen.

Building a Website

At the beginning of last year I purchased an online store, selling homeschool curriculum, as well as sewing patterns, two of my most favourite things to purchase!  So of course wanting to save money I set up my websites (I split the store in two seeing as the products didn’t really compliment each other), using an internet host I have been using for a long time (Hostgator)  and in the process learnt such stuff as html, ftp, frontend and backend etc.

It has been a steep learning curve, I’ve constanly made use of several forums including the Zen Cart (which I use for my shopping cart), WordPress and the Hostgator forums and ticket system.  I have a working website that does it’s job but now I want to spend more time getting it working exactly how I want it.  This means an intensive course in coding, as I want it done properly.

I am not a  logical minded person, so code and computer stuff do not come naturally, I have a hard time understanding what is being said in forums, just because I’m not wired that way.  Instead I have to find people who speak in a way I understand.  I have to take several forum posts, and other information and pull the relevant stuff from them then set the info out in a way that is logical to me and that I understand.  Luckily I also have a Computer Tech for a brother, who is just a Skype call away!

Building a Home Network

I have set myself several goals in the personal computing arena of our family life:

  • Build a file/media server
  • Upgrade our current computer
  • Build a gaming computer

Why, well just because, computers are a integral part of alot of people’s lives these days, not everyone, but a whole lot more than when I was a child, and the only electronic entertainment available was a small black and white TV and a record play,  wireless!

My idea is to set up the server and transfer the current computer’ s harddrive to the 2TB external harddrive I got, then totally revamp the current computer, then when money allows, build the gaming computer.

Building a Server

My Server
My Server

I have several people ask me recently why I want a server, we’ve had a computer for several years now, we have 1 PC, a laptop, various gaming consoles, ipads and smartphones, all which I want to be able to access all our media from one central location.  Also for the learning experience, the kids are helping, and interested in the reasons one would use a server, and I’m learning a whole new world.  Sure a server is a little over the top, however I haven’t put alot of money into it

Once again, it has been hard, I don’t naturally understand stuff like compatible hardware, and where to find IP addresses, or even what sort of router I have!!  Sure I could buy a NAS, plug it in and go, but why, I won’t learn anything that way?  I purchased an old Dell Poweredge, SC440 server, an external hard drive, an extra screen, keyboard and mouse, all over the course of a couple of months and for under $300 total.  The Dell has 4GB of ram, an 80GB hard drive, which I’ve loaded the os onto, and two 250GB hard drives, in RAID, (have yet to configure this so have no idea what array it is in), was going to swap our the two 250GB drives and replace with 1TB but will go with the status quo for now.

In keeping with the money saving idea of my server, I decided to shun Windows and install Ubuntu server (Free download!!), of course if anyone knows what a server looks like on a computer screen, it was a bit of a shock to me to only see a terminal screen, I thought I had done something wrong till I rang my brother.   He thought it would be easier for me if I just install the desktop version of Ubuntu (I downloaded it here), and that is what I am working on now 🙂  I love Ubuntu, it seems very compact and unfussy, and is in my favourite colour, purple!  Of course I am currently using the server as an extra computer, as I still have to ring my brother and get him to help me through the rest of the server network install.  Once that happens, I will remove the screen and other peripherals and run it remotely.  (I am slowly learning to use the terminal, and command lines, which is so much easier than trying to find things through the programs etc.  everyone should learn how to access this basic area of your computer)

Tech question:  The cd only installed the 32bit os, it did not have a 64bit option I could choose at install, do I need a 64bit os on a server.  If the answer is yes then I will have to burn an iso onto a cd, I haven’t had much luck at this so far.

Next post:  Upgrading our current computer.

(Disclaimer:  There are no paid links in this post, all opinions are my own, or what I’ve found out through research, or what my brother has told me hehe.)