Upon the Subject of MP3

Next for IT 566 is installing support for MP3 creation in Ubuntu. MP3 is a patented audio format so Ubuntu does not install support for MP3 creation by default. However, it can easily be added by installing libmp3lame0 and Audacity via the Ubuntu Software Center (or Synaptic or any method you choose).

I used the Ubuntu Software Center. Here’s a screen shot of the MP3 I recorded using a microphone. Just hit the red record button and away you go. Then go to File and Export.

Audacity MP3  - Click for larger image

Here’s the MP3 file. Caution, my voice may frighten small animals. Or attract small animals in the case of my cats. πŸ™‚

Audacity Created MP3 file

Upon the Subject of Software – Ubuntu Software Center

More software installing for IT 566, this time with Ubuntu Software Center. I started the Ubuntu Software Center via the Ubuntu menu, Applications. I didn’t have any particular software in mind to install this time. However, I did notice that Ubuntu doesn’t install by default anything quite like Apple’s System Profiler or the System options in various versions of Windows.

There are various command line tools such as cpuinfo, meminfo, lspci, and lsusb. Ubuntu does include a system diagnostic program, System Testing, but it’s for running fairly extensive diagnosics on specific areas of your system.

I searched for “sys” in the Ubuntu Software Center and after a bit of scrolling I found a program called Sysinfo. It gets pretty close to the info that’s available in Apple’s System Profiler.

USC Sysinfo Install  - Click for larger image

One click and it’s installed.

USC Sysinfo Installed  - Click for larger image

Upon the Subject of Software – Synaptic

More software installing for IT 566. I chose to install Lynx. Lynx is text based browser that has been around since 1992.

I started the Synaptic Package Manager via the Ubuntu menu, System, Administration. You need to enter your password before the manager will start.

I searched for Lynx.

SPM Lynx Search  - Click for larger image

Marked it for installation.

SPM Lynx Install  - Click for larger image

Applied the Changes.

SPM Lynx Apply  - Click for larger image

Lynx is installed.

SPM Lynx Installed  - Click for larger image

Lynx viewing librarymonk.com

Lynx viewing web page  - Click for larger image

Upon the Subject of Software – Apt

Next on the agenda for IT 566 is installing software. One of the ways to install software in Ubuntu is via the command line using apt. The Ubuntu documentation has an extensive section on apt that includes a tutorial.

The tutorial explains how to install the racing game Torcs.

Here’s a screen shot of my terminal window where I’m follwing the commands in the tutorial and installing Torcs.

apt Torcs install - Click for larger image

And just to prove the instructions worked here’s Torcs running.

apt Torcs running - Click for larger image

Upon the Subject of Dynamic DNS

In order to give people an easier way to get to the web server I set up was time to give it a hostname. For that you need a DNS service. I’ve had an account with no-ip since the last time I ran my own server in 2003. This blog started on an iMac in my apartment. That lasted for a few months until I moved the site to a hosting company because just didn’t have time to tinker with it.

Anyway I dug up my username and reset the password and logged back in. As luck would have it no-ip has a detailed tutorial with screen shots on how to set up the service with a DD-WRT router. I followed that and had a name for the server, librarymonk.zapto.org in about 5 minutes. Can’t get much simpler than that.

Upon the Subject of Web Servers

Now that I had the computer and the network taken care of, it was time to turn the setup into a web server. Here we get into territory that’s pretty close to my job. So to make things more interesting for me and to help others in the IT 566 class I decided to look around for good tutorials and see if they actually worked so I could pass them along.

I found instructions in the Ubuntu documentation about ways to install a LAMP stack. (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP)

I chose to use Taskel because I hadn’t used it before. I used apt-get to install taskel (sudo apt-get install tasksel) and then continued to follow the instructions. I configured Apache and PHP 5. Other than changing the MySQL root password I didn’t do anything else to MySQL, since I didn’t need it at the moment. I stuck to making sure Apache and PHP 5 worked, even though all I absolutely needed at this point was Apache.

You can get to my server by going to http://librarymonk.zapto.org. I’ll explain how I got that name in another post.

Upon the Subject of Networking

I had one problem with my new Dell Ubuntu machine. The place I had to put to was nowhere near my router and cable modem. The cable modem and router are pretty firmly entrenched near my TV. I really didn’t want to touch the cable modem.

Several months ago I had a long running saga where my cable modem stopped working. It took weeks on the phone with Comcast and several techs checking lines outside my house to find the problem in the lines in my neighborhood and fix it. I also dropped Comcast home phone and got a standard cable modem. It works fine now and I don’t touch the cable modem. If I unplugged it or moved it to a different cable jack the magic that keeps it working would escape πŸ™‚

So I had to go wireless. I had an old pre Cisco Linksys USB wireless adapter, circa 2004. After tracking down the drivers for the exact hardware revision of this model I installed ndiswrapper. It turns out I shouldn’t have bothered, my version of the adapter, 2.8, doesn’t work with ndiswrapper. Just for fun I tired to get it to work with Windows XP, no luck there either. So it’s dead and in the trash now.

Time for plan B. I looked on the DD-WRT site and saw that DD-WRT supports wireless bridging. DD-WRT’s client bridge mode allows a router to pick up the signal from a wireless network and pass the network connection along to that router’s wired network ports.

I got a Buffalo WHR-HP-G300N to serve as my primary router. A nice thing about this router is that it ships with DD-WRT. Buffalo adds their logo and changes the colors a bit but other than that it’s the same as the version on the DD-WRT site.

Buffalo Router - Click for larger image.

I set up the Linksys in Client Bridge mode using the DD-WRT instructions.

Linksys Client Bridge - Click for larger image

Now the Dell Ubuntu machine is online using its wired connection and I avoided the fun that is Ubuntu and wireless.

Upon the Subject of Ubuntu

Next up in IT 566 assignments is installing Ubuntu. I only had blank DVDs so I went the alternate download route and downloaded the DVD iso for version 10.10.

I put the DVD in the Dell machine and let the installer do its thing. Other than picking the language, install partition, and a few other options it’s a pretty automatic process.

Here’s a screenshot of Ubuntu 10.10 up and running.

Ubuntu 10.10 - Click for larger image

Clicking the image will show a larger version of the file, if you’re so inclined.

Upon the Subject of Servers

One of the assignments for IT 566 is getting a server. This presented a problem for me, as I’m not in a position to spend even a few hundred dollars on a extra computer. My main computer is a 4 year old laptop that the keys have started falling off of. Luckily a friend at work had an old computer at home with keyboard, mouse, and 15 inch LCD monitor. All it needed was a new hard drive. Another friend gave me a 80 GB hard drive, so problem solved. Cleaned the dust out of the computer, installed the hard drive and presto free working computer.

The computer is a Dell Dimension B110.
Single core 2.53 GHz Celeron D processor
1.25 GB RAM (one GB DIMM, one 256 MB DIMM)
80 GB IDE hard drive
Integrated video, sound, and 10/100 networking

Picture is below. Sorry about the horrible quality. The only camera I have is the webcam in my laptop. I had to shine a desk lamp directly on the computer to even get a picture that good. You can sort of see the Dell logo and model on the front and the power light. There’s a Linksys router in the classic blue on the top of the computer. I’ll talk more about my network setup in another post.

Dell server - Click for larger image

Clicking the image will show a larger version of the file, but the quality isn’t any better.