Tag Archives: computing

You are NOT a Software Engineer

Below is a link to a great post that is dead on. I used to think about the fact that software engineering doesn’t follow the same work pattern as engineering physical things when I worked in industry. People get the idea that you can schedule software projects when it is more like forecasting. I liken it to the tides versus the weather, you can schedule plans around the tides, years in advance, as there are actual schedules of the tides, a.k.a. Tide Tables,  not so with regard to the weather.
You don’t always know where things will be at a certain point in the future. Predicting things a few days out OK, trying to plan a software project grandiose style 6 months ahead and know where it is going to land, is like trying to make plans around a sunny and 72 degree July 4h BBQ, but trying to figure out that probability in January!

Chris Aitchison, says what I was thinking for years, but much better than I could have put it….


Sent from my Android phone with K-9 Mail. Please excuse my brevity.

Windows 9 gets a start menu again

People complain pretty hard about Windows 8. I hear it all the time. I’d kind of wish they would give Linux a try, but that is not the reality for most. With the advent of Win 8, bad timing for Microsoft. I think a lot of people are hanging on XP still actually because it was so good as far as start menu and etc. I was in Staples and the county library, they both still use XP. Microsoft is possibly missing a market here. They plan on having a core that will go across all platforms. If they could offer an easy upgrade route on older machines XP->9. I am thinking like the way there is a light version of Linux Mint or Lubuntu. They could get some XP diehards to switch to 9. In other words, new kernal, stuff under the hood, but simplified desktop and lower processor load version.


But here is an article and a preview of 9….


I am not surprised that the start menu is back in 9.

The old server

I had an old NEC P3-500 computer from 2000 set up as a server. It ran Lubuntu 13.10. SSH, vsFTP, LAMP stack, Webmin, Samba, code for remote desktopping and a WordPress install.

I used it to test out things, I learned a lot about WordPress in a short span of time on it. Plus I had it running two web cams and placing time lapse frames on line. I was using the cams to monitor indoor temperatures when I was away from home in the winter. It was a good test bed, but quit in late March. No video, no booting, I decided not to troubleshoot, it was old and worked long enough. It still had the original 8gb HD, which started with Win98 then XP, the Ubuntu 9.10, then Lubuntu, good life span for a drive.

NEC Server
NEC Server on top of workstation

A few months ago I came across a Dell Dimension 2400 at no cost. Higher performance than the NEC. So I will go with that as the replacement. The idea is to load Ubuntu Server on it, no need for a desktop, I realized. I am comfortable enough with the Linux command line, been using it since 1997, to go without a “desktop”. In the meantime since the last server, I discovered ownCloud 


OwnCloud will let me set up a personal cloud, limited only by hard-drive space. I have not used it much yet, but it would be good for storage of photos and music, plus contacts, bookmark and calendar sync. It seems promising. I am reading the user manual and administrator manual. Two of the features that I am interested in are, making a photo gallery in it and being able to store music files and streaming them. Then I could have my personal “internet radio” station and listen to the music that I want to on any device, in theory, anywhere.


I finally got Samba working, which allows the Linux computer to interface correctly with Windows as far as file sharing. Now I can create a network folder on the Linux server to access with a Windows computer, which will be good for backups. It can be treated like another hard drive and files can be transferred easily. It was a lot of work, one small mistake that I made in providing a name was the problem. Windows did not like the use of special characters, slashes like / or \ in the name of the folder! It kept telling me, I don’t have permission for the folder and that the path did not exist. I thought I was being smart naming the network folder the same as it appears on the server computer, /files/erick, that was a big mistake! I went crazy checking the firewall, checking the DNS names & addresses. Reading things online. Then I added a new folder with a simple name, just files, and it worked, so I changed all of the folder names to something simple and it worked fine! I will use the Samba shares mounted as drives, for backup of the Windows computers, in one location.

I did learn a useful command in the process of troubleshooting, running…

smbclient -l    //serveripaddress -u username

from the server CL lets you see all of the computers on the workgroup to make sure they show up and names are being resolved. If they look OK then you know you have that part working alright. As far as the firewall, it is off by default when Ubuntu Server installs. This can be confirmed by a dump of the iptables.

And of course, I installed the server with the SSH option turned on. So I can do all of this without having to be in front of the machine.

IP is set to static too. I learned that you can now set the DNS servers in the same config file as setting up static IP.