geek(n): An intelligent, eccentric person with an interest in the perceptibly useless and esoteric.
asylum(n): 1) A place offering protection and safety; a shelter.
2) An institution for the care of those requiring organized supervision.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Web Server Reconstruction

In the last couple of weeks, Ive been upgrading my web server to the new versions of apache2, PHP4, and PHP5. This took a bit of effort because in order to support PHP4 and PHP5 at the same time, Gentoo have restructured the PHP directories, so I pretty nuch had to uninstall everything and start over, to get the new directory structure set up. This also involved updating the apache2 configuration and also reconfiguring a couple of internal webapps that I run here

Naturally the machine locked up in between uninstalling and reinstalling everything, and I hadnt thought to make a paper list or save my notes - it was all just sitting unsaved in memory. Doh!

Im just about done, so I will soon be starting to reorganise the web sites themselves. I had an online store for a while (which is technically still there, but disabled), and was working on a couple of other projects as well. I closed the online store temporarily when I went to Japan last year, and never got around to reopening it, partly because although it had several sales, it wasnt really bringing in enough to balance the amount of effort involved - I was making more on Ebay, and I had a full time job at the time, so accepting courier deliveries and getting to the post office, while not impossible, was a little difficult at times - even for the Ebay sales.

This time around, Im determined to do it properly. Ive had an idea of what GeekAsylum should be for a long time, but in the past Ive concentrated on building other web sites to try and bring in a bit of money. This time Ive realised that GeekAsylum is the cornerstone on which the other sites depend, so it will be set up first.

GeekAsylum will be a site for geeks like me who need a cornerstone to focus on and support and extend their web development habit. Im hoping to find a small group of local geeks who want to colaborate and build a few web sites together. There are a range of skills involved, and Ive noticed that web sites tend to be better when they are built by several geeks with varying skills, experience, and interests. Naturally, any revenue generated will be put back into the various projects, and any profit will be shared among the contributors. Other local groups may form in other locations, or even virtually over the internet.

I have a ton of project ideas for money-making web sites, so even if it doesnt work out as planned, it will still be there to support me in developing these sites. I also have quite a bit of code from previous web projects to contribute.

Anyway, thats the basic idea - without giving too much away, and I will post updates here as it and the other projects develop.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Tomoko Bucks

For my birthday recently, my wife gave me $300 Tomoko Bucks to go towards the HTPC! Thanks sweety! Tomoko Bucks come from the Tomoko International Bank. They only have two branches - one in Sydney, and one in Japan, and only one of them is ever open at any given time, depending on where she is... Too cute!

These will be redeemed soon, and put towards the CPU, Mobo and Memory which I mentioned previously.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Home Theatre PC Project (HTPC)

Recently I started on my Home Theatre PC project. This is something I have wanted to do for a while, but didnt really have the money for. Well, I still dont really have the money, but I have started on it anyway.

I started by browsing the web looking for a decent case, since not having much money means that the project will probably be sitting around for several months while Im saving up to buy the next piece, and I figured it was a good idea to have a box to keep all the pieces in. After searching for a few days and comparing several different cases, I decided on the Silverstone LC20M (pictured).

I read several reviews, and they all looked pretty good, so I headed over to CX Computer in the city to pick one up. I know I could have gotten one cheaper if I looked around, but they are close and had a black one in stock.

Now, here is the tricky part. The box that these come in is used for both the LC20 and the LC20M, and it has pictures of both models on the outside. I was specifcally after the LC20M, which includes the Multimedia pack (remote control, VFD and Software). I saw the remote control on the box along side the LC20M model number so I made sure the case inside was black, picked it up and headed to the register.

When I got home and opened the box, there was no remote control or software CD, and presumably no VFD (Its hard to see without pulling the whole thing apart). It took me a few minutes to double check, and thats when I realised that both models are shown on the box, and to make sure that you have the right one, you have to check the tiny shipping label on the side to see what model the box contains.

The guys at CX were great. I called the next day and they ordered the LC20M in for me. I returned the LC20 the following week, paid the difference, and I now have the LC20M here waiting for a few more pieces to be added to it.

The next components to be obtained will be the motherboard, CPU, and memory. At this stage Im thinking AMD64 dual 2.4Ghz CPU, Gigabyte board, and 1Mb of generic memory. When finished, it will be running MythTV on Gentoo Linux, with an EPG provided by these guys, and at least two Digital TV cards - possibly Haupage-350 if I can afford them. The box will have at least one hardware MPEG encoder, and a hardware decoder on each card.

I'll update the progress of this project as I go.

Monday, September 04, 2006

First Post

Updated: 19th Sept, 2006

I've been meaning to start this blog for some time. I actually set it up in October 2005, and its now almost a year later that I am finally getting around to configuring it and adding the content that it was always meant to have. Its been sitting there for ages, and occasionally I would add a post about something or other that was driving me crazy at the time. These have been moved to a new blog that I am setting up called Deep Water. I am continuing to add more to that blog from other web pages that I have maintained in the past.

Appologies for the URL of the new blog changing so often recently. It was hard to find a name and URL that I liked and was happy with. It should finally be stable now - Ive keept these kind of posts on a page called "Deep Water" for a number of years, and finally have a blogspot URL that matches that title (well, almost).