Monday, June 30, 2008

Old Sites Going Up

To make the Projects page of BlakeNet more useful, I decided to set up some of my old sites from the source code archives available from the Sites page to make fully functional recreations of the good ole sites featured on the page. I didnt think the screenshots and descriptions were cutting it. :)

Just a little tip to anyone bored enough to log in to the admin sections of the old sites and try to screw around with the databases or files, give up now. All of the database and file alteration functionality has been commented out. However, dont let that stop you from checking out the admin pages. They can all be accessed with the username 'admin' and password 'scinfaxi'.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

On-Demand Graphing

Something Ive been wanting to do ever since I learned how to use the imaging features of PHP is create a script that can take in some data and generate a graph on-the-fly. Useful? Definately. Invisionary? Probably not. In fact, Ive seen tons of PHP and CGI scripts that are used to generate graphs for things such as poll results. However, Ive yet to find a script that is open for public use or indy developer interfacing. Plus, most of them only do lame, boring graphs like bar graphs and pie charts. I wanted to introduce a script that can do them all, from bar graphs, to spider charts. In fact, the spider chart is the main focus of the project, and is the closest to being completed.

This script will appear in LeetBoard a lot, as well as an open-source model available on BlakeNet Source. No ETA yet, since Im still gathering up the types of charts I want to include in it.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

BlakeNet Goes Live

In another step towards making it a reality, BlakeNet is finally open to visitors.

The first complaint came in the other day about the performance of the Contact Us form, citing that it took a full minute or two to send messages from it. Upon investigation, I found that it was Sendmail's fault. My first instinct was to find an alternative to using Sendmail. I had the idea to do what I traditionally do with contact forms; Make them go to a SQL database, not mail them directly. Then I would set up a crontab that would mail me a digest of the SQL data every day or so. This would eliminate the wait to submit the forms, and would also make it easier for me to check and harder for me to avoid keeping up with (Yes, Im a very lazy person, if you havent noticed. As the quote goes, "all good programmers are lazy").

Today, I decided to take a whack at fixing Sendmail instead of setting up an alternative. My /etc/log/mail.log file had some interesting information. "My unqualified host name unknown" and "Unable to qualify my own domain name", to be exact. So, I guessed this was something to be fixed in my /etc/hosts file. I pulled it up and, after a couple tries, finally got everything running smoothly with no more complaining Sendmail. The line I edited now looks like this: localhost localhost.localdomain blakeserver

The first bit is the loopback IP address, followed by the localhost host name, then the localhost.localdomain alias, and finally my servers hostname (If you dont know it, you can find it with the hostname command). Everything should work on your own machine, except the hostname. Hopefully, this can help someone out there with similar problems.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Starting Fresh: Day 4

I reformatted and reinstalled Windows this morning. It surprisingly only took an hour or so. After that, I spent the rest of the day installing missing drivers, customizing settings, and installing and configuring security programs. I have to say it wasnt as bad as I expected it to be. I was expecting to have to spend an entire week getting everything back to my liking, when it actually only took somewhere around half the day. I give credit to nLite for allowing me to set up the installation ahead of time. Tomorrow, I will start reinstalling games and other programs I like to use.

This post concludes the Starting Fresh project. Good luck to those of you thinking of doing the same!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Starting Fresh: Day 3

I took the last couple days to take a virtual inventory. I wrote down the programs I wanted to reinstall after the reformat along with any registration keys if they needed them. I also wrote down locations of files I wanted to put back on the clean machine from my backup, like pictures and music. This list makes it a whole lot easier to put everything back how you want it after reformatting. Remember that everything goes bye-bye when you reformat your hard drive.

If I can finally muster the nerve to go ahead and reformat, Ill start it tonight and reinstall Windows in the morning.