Monday, August 28, 2006

To infinity and beyond

I will be working on another project shortly (I know when am I not working on some project ;-)). I really like this blog and it has been really fun since I have set it up a couple of months ago, but there are a couple of additional avenues I would like to go down and some limitations to what I can do on this site.

First off since this is a hosted solution I don't have the exact freedom I would if I hosted this myself. Although I have never hosted a blog before so I don't really know the pros or cons, but that is something for me to figure out in the coming weeks and months while I test home hosted solutions. Secondly this blog is nice for when I want to write short articles that are updated daily/weekly, but it does not offer the type of indexing in case I wanted to create more long lasting articles or ones that I would frequently like to update like a top 10 list. Another shortfall is that user contribution at this point is hovering around 0%. I would like to introduce a more collaborative work environment at least for some issues and topics. Media content and organization is limited as well. There are some solutions I am looking at for a hosted media location and then eventually branching out to a home created one.

These are just some of the issues and projects I will be working on in the coming months as time permits. My current projects are varied about 4-5 right now, but the one I started work on today was starting my own private wiki. I have been quite interested in the idea of being able to create an environment that offers social collaboration and community updates. Creating multiple wiki's might be interesting as well for instance I could create a collaboration page that my whole family could access and update with information, events, pictures, etc. An additional one could involve hobbies or interests that I share with my friends and family and articles and topics that could be updated and discussed by everyone interested. These are just a couple of the ideas I have in mind. I probably spend way too much time on all these projects, but for me it is exciting just trying to take something new, learn how to use it, and eventually finding a use for it. At first a lot of these ideas don't seem to offer a purpose, but then one of them jumps out at me and I see a reason behind it.

I will keep everyone here posted as to my progress and will probably add links to my new projects as they are completed. Let me know if you have any suggestions on anything really. I would at least like to hear from someone out there. Thanks.

Hilarity at the Emmy's

Conan Intro

Conan Monologue

Sunday, August 27, 2006

For all those OHIO State fan's

What do you think it is?

So what you think this is supposed to be? Let me know.

I like my URL's Tiny

Have you ever wanted to cut down the length of some of the URL's you type? I am not sure maybe instead of typing in maybe you would rather type in Now this might not seem like such a savings of time, but I am sure you have seen a huge string of characters that sometimes appears in some address bars after going to certain sites. This website can help shorten all of them to a couple of characters.

The name of the site is TinyURL and just like it's namesake says it shortens URL's. Shorten them to the point where like in the above example it is just a couple of characters. This is definately good if some of the URL's you are trying to post to someone are too long or include spaces that do not past correctly in email. Another great feature is that they never expire so as long as the original URL existes so will the TinyURL verison. Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

The #1 viewed YouTube Clip of all time

Pretty Damn funny if you ask me. This guy has to have had a couple of caffeine injects before he did this.

I wish I could play a guitar like that

So I ran across a couple of videos the other day and after doing some research I found that other's have been looking into the same information I have been looking for. Who is the player of the clip below? A 23 year old Korean by the name of Jeong-Hyun Lim is the actual player of this clip. You definately have to take a look at this article if you are interested in learning more about his story and how this clip came to be one of the top 10 videos viewed on

As an added bonus I am going to also put the original done by Jerry Chang on here as well. You can check out his website at He is the original composer of this version of the song. Who do you think does a better job? Let me know.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

So you want to setup a Web Server PART 4

So you say you found you public ip address and you put it in your browser yet you cannot access your website. Well if you have a router then maybe you just need to point your router to the proper location. You have to look at your router as traffic signal that directs many lanes of traffic. If you don't tell your router what it is supposed to do with certain traffic coming then they will get an infinite red light. Your job is to set up the green lights. That is what this next tutorial should help you set up.

Setting up port forwarding on your router to allow external access
  1. So you probably already have your public ip address and you can access your website internally, but you still cannot access the website externally for some reason. This is probably due to the router not allowing external access. Which is exactly what it was meant to do, but we now want to allow certain restricted access to allow access to the web server.
  2. Now setting this up is going to be different on different routers seeing as each brand is different, but I will speak in as general terms as I can so most of you will be able to access this information and get the job done.
  3. What you will need to do first is access your router's configuration page. This is normally done by typing the ip address of the router in the Internet Browser address bar.
  4. Once you have successfully opened up that page, locating the section that allows port forwarding is going to be the most difficult part of this exercise. Each manufacturer and firmware has a different location and a differnet way of labeling it. Here are a few suggestions: First check the instructions that came with your router they will probably tell you. If that does not work look at the manufacturer's website. If that does not illicit any help you can always do a Google search.
  5. I would say that on most routers it would be under advanced, virtual servers, port settings, or port forwarding. If none of those show up just click on each of the options until you see a screen that has information discussing “inbound ports”, “destination, local, or private ports”. There will also be options to enter port values and probably a type of port as well.
  6. Once you have located this screen you will need to enter the following information.
  7. Enter a description for the port such as “Web server”.
  8. Next enter “inbound port” that you will be using to allow external access. This most normally is 80 for web servers. If you need to enter a range just enter 80 in both blanks.
  9. Next you want to choose a Type that is an option just choose TCP.
  10. For the “outbound, private, or destination port” you will put the same information you did for step 8.
  11. Now it will ask what private ip address you want to forward this port information to. This will be the DHCP assigned ip address of the computer running the web server.
  12. To find this information go to START->RUN and type CMD.
  13. This will bring up a command prompt. Go ahead and type “ipconfig”. You should see a line that reads “IP Address”. It should probably be something similar to the ip address to your router.
  14. Now take this ip address and put it in the field we discussed in step 11.
  15. Now there should also be check box or the option to enable this rule. Go ahead and click enable.
  16. Next click Apply to have this rule applied to your router.
  17. Now if you try to type your public ip address in your browser as follows you should be able to access your website: “http://123.456.789.10/
  18. If you still cannot access your webpage here a couple items you want to check.
  19. Can you still access your website locally by typing http://localhost/ in the web browser?
  20. Is your web server running?
  21. Did you apply the settings?
  22. You might have to reboot your router in order for the changes to take affect.
  23. If none of these items help you will probably have to contact your manufacturer for further guidance.

So you want to setup a Web Server PART 3

So now that you have a fully functional webserver and secured the database what is next. Well so far you probably can only access the webserver locally, but what good is that? You already know how good of a site you have created. You want to show the world what coolness you just created, but how do you do that. Oh well that is easy, you need to find you address.

Now I don't mean you street address, but your IP address and the ip address that your router gives you does not count either. You need to find out what your public ip address is. By finding this information you can allow other users on the internet to see what you have spent so many hours working on. So here are a couple of steps to help you find that information and test it out.

How to find your public ip address
  1. Why am I going to need to know this information? Well if you want to access your website from outside your local network then you are going to need it.
  2. So how do I find it can I just use “ipconfig”? Well no because that will only give you the DHCP assigned address that your router has given you.
  3. What is a router??????? Well if you have to ask that question you probably don’t want to setup a web server to begin with and you probably like spyware, adware, and viruses as well. Do yourself a favor and get some kind of router it will save you sooooo many headaches in the long and short run.
  4. Anyway back to business how to find your ip address. There are 2 ways that you can easily find your ip address. First is by accessing your router by typing its ip address in your web browser. You can find your router's ip address in the instruction guide that came with it or you can look on the manufactures website.
  5. On your router's homepage you should see something that says something like “public ip address” or “WAN ip”. This is your public ip address on the internet. It is like your home address everyone has one and every one is unique.
  6. Now I will show you the second way to find your ip address and in the same instant verify that you found the correct ip address from step 5.
  7. By going to the internet and searching for something like “what is my ip address” will probably bring up at least a couple of sites that can tell you your public ip address. I am going to save you the trouble and give you an example site:
  8. Once you access this site in big bold letters you will find out what your public ip address is. Now if you compare this to what you found in step 5 you are golden. If not go back to your router’s main page and search for this ip address and write down what your router calls it so you can locate it in the future.
  9. Next take the ip address that you found in Step 5 or step 8 and type it in your browser. It should look something like "http://123.456.789.10". If you have the correct ip address and your webserver running you should come up with the default homepage of your webserver. For Xampp this would "XAMPP for WINDOWS".
  10. Now there are some cases where this will not work. One of them being the router preventing you from accessing the port that the webserver runs on.
  11. In the next tutorial I will show you how to forward a port on your router so you can get to the proper port on your webserver. Until then have fun.

TIP of the DAY

Remember never ever delete the root user of your MySql database...especially when it is the only user that can create users...;-)

So you want to setup a Web Server PART 2

This really is not a long step, but it is very important nonetheless. If you remember in the first part of the tutorial I was referring about security, well one of the first things you will want to do is change MySQL's root password or more importantly give it a password.

How to change MySQL root password
  1. First you need to your MySQL database. Since we went over how to setup Apache, PHP, and MySQL in the last lesson you should also know how to connect to the database with the phpMyAdmin.
  2. Once you connect to phpMyAdmin you should see 2 columns in the main body of the webpage. One should read MySQL - 5.x the other should say phpMyAdmin 2.x.
  3. Under the MySQL - 5.x header find the word "Privileges". Once located click on it.
  4. Now you should see a listing of all the users that are currently setup in MySQL. Currently you should only see two users pma and root. If you look at root you see it has NO password set. If you look closer you can also see that it has ALL privileges. This is not a good thing.
  5. If you look across the root row passed GRANT you should see a little person and a pen. Please click on this.
  6. This brings up a screen to edit the privileges of the currently selected user.
  7. Down near the bottom you should see a heading that reads "Change Password". You should also see that the "No password" radial button is selected. This is not going to do.
  8. Click on the radial button in front of password and type a nice secure password. It is recommended that you choose a password with upper and lower case, at least one symbol, and one number. Putting down "password" or "root" for the password is not going to cut it. **NOTE** please oh please write this password down. Otherwise you will not be able to connect to the database to change it, well actually you can, but that is beyond the scope of this article and it is really much easier to just write it down.
  9. After you have typed the password twice click the "Go" button that immediately follows the "Re-type" box.
  10. At the top of the page in smaller black text you should see a confirmation that reads "The password for 'root'@'localhost' was changed successfully". You will also see the exact SQL query syntax that you would have needed to type in order to have successfully changed your password if you were not using the interface.
  11. Now more than likely once you have changed the password and try to go back to the MyPhpAdmin homepage you will receive an error.
  12. This is normal seeing as that you just changed the password that myPhpAdmin uses to interact with you MySQL databases. What you will have to do next is exactly what it tells us to do in the error text which is to edit the file to include the new password.
  13. If you are using the Xampp package and accepted its default installation path you will need to go to the following folder: c:\program files\xampp\phpMyAdmin\
  14. Once you open up that file do a search for "root". Once you have located it you will find that the line to enter in the new password is directly below it. The line should read "$cfg['Servers'][$i]['password'] = ' ';.
  15. Now go ahead and type the password you came up with in step 8 between the single quotes on the right side of the '=' sign.
  16. Once this is complete go ahead and save the file.
  17. Now go back to the phpMyAdmin homepage and you should now be able to access it properly again and as an added bonus you now have a location you can go to if you ever forget the root password (if you remember what file that was ;-)).

So you want to setup a Web Server PART I

I have had a couple of people recently ask me questions on how to setup a web site, webserver, MySql, PHP, Domain names etc. Well I decided to work on creating a set of tutorials that will help a user install, setup, and maintain their own webserver. Everything that I am going to go over in this tutorial will involve freely available open source software and it will be geared toward Windows boxes. These instructions will be different based on what software you use and what environment you will be running the software in. Please don't contact me for questions about other software or environments other than those discussed in these tutorials, but feel free to discuss alternative setups in the comments to this article.

Now before we get too far into it this tutorial a few warnings. Setting up your own public webserver is not easy business and something that you need to be very careful about. If you don't setup the configuration correctly an outside source could easily compromise your data stored on the site on in your database. So for the meantime take these instructions as to be a nice introduction for setting up a test environment and don't start publicly publishing your webpage until you are completely comfortable in its security.

Now that we got that out of the way the first part will involve installing a preconfigured package that is very easy to setup and maintain. The package that I am referring to is called XAMPP and is put together by the open source community using open source software. By the end of this tutorial you should have a webserver running with PHP and MySql.

Installation procedures of xampp
  1. Download Xampp from website
  2. Run installation
  3. Choose Language click OK
  4. Click NEXT
  5. Choose a location for the installation. For this tutorial I am going to accept all defaults which in this case should be “C:\Program Files”. Click the INSTALL button.
  6. Click FINISH
  7. Xampp will then ask to install Apache, MySQL and FileZilla as services. Click YES.
  8. It will then ask to Install Apache 2 as a service. Click YES.
  9. A screen will then pop up explaining that Apache 2 Service was installed successfully! Take note of the ports 80 and 443. Click OK.
  10. Next it will ask to install MySQL as a service. Click YES.
  11. A screen will then pop up explaining that MySql was installed successfully! Take note of port 3306. Click OK.
  12. Next it will ask to install FileZilla FTP Server as a service. Click YES.
  13. It will ask again. Click YES.
  14. It will then ask it you want to autostart Service. At this time we will not set this service to AutoStart so click NO.
  15. It will then ask to Start Server. Click YES.
  16. You will then receive a Congratulations screen and it will ask you if you want to start the XAMPP Control Panel now. Click YES.
  17. This will bring up the Xampp control Panel. It will list items Apache, MySql, FileZilla and Mercury. At this time you should at least see MySql and FileZilla running. Mercury should be greyed out and Apache will probably not be running.
  18. If Apache is not running click on the Start button next to Apache and it should then start and you should see “Running” next to it.
  19. At this point you can minimize the control panel.
  20. Next open up Internet explorer
  21. Type in the following address: http://localhost/xampp. Hit ENTER.
  22. You should then see something that says “XAMPP fur Windows”. This package originates from a group in Germany so we will have to change the language to English.
  23. Look at the left hand of the window and you should see a list of items. Scroll down to the bottom. Under SPRACHEN click on ENGLISH.
  24. Now everything should be in English. You have now officially installed your first Web Server.
  25. Now a couple of items you might want to check. First would be on the same tool bar where you chose the language. If you scroll all the way to the top and click on the item that says “phpinfo()”. Once you click on this you should see something that says PHP Version 5.1.2 in a purple box with a table of information beneath it. If this is true then you have PHP working properly on your machine.
  26. Next item to try is to make sure MySql is running properly. In the same menu find the TOOLS heading and click on the item that says “phpMyAdmin” This is the Graphical User interface for MySql.
  27. If you receive a message #2003 – The server is not responding means that the MySql service is not running or configured properly. If everything is running properly you will be introduced to a screen allowing you to start manipulating the databases.
  28. That is pretty much it in setting up the Apache server, PHP, and MySql. These 3 programs together will allow you to create a functioning website.

Where is everyone...echo....echo...

So as you can probably could tell I have not updated the blog in a while. Yeah a couple of projects came up, had family stay with us for a while, and just needed a little break, but now I am back. I have been compiling quite a few interesting links in my absence and some ideas for some great articles as well. So sit back relax and enjoy the return of Daily Scribbles.