Need a server for a quick little project? Or maybe even for some long-term development? Check out TurnKey Linux and their virtual appliances. This is a brilliant little solution! Just download a Linux-based VM configured and ready to go with whatever your app needs. Very slick.
Turnkey Linux is a virtual appliance library that integrates and polishes the very best open source software into ready to use solutions. Each virtual appliance is optimized for ease of use and can be deployed in just a few minutes on bare metal, a virtual machine and in the cloud.
For instance, I wanted to do some quick and dirty experimenting with WordPress the other day. Downloaded the appliance, fired it up with my VMware Workstations and I had a fully functional server ready to go in a matter of minutes. And not just WordPress; I also had PHPMyAdmin and even Webmin installed, configured and ready to go. Compared to building my own server and configuring it this saved me quite a bit of time.
The WP appliance is just over 200 MB and the VM is configured to run using 256MB of RAM. Works great with VMware Workstation and I have no doubt it would be just fine with the free VMware Player as well (and heck, probably Server and ESX as well but I haven’t tried those yet).
First time you run the appliance you provide some basics (like passwords) and it gets all configured up. When ready you have a nice informative display with everything you need to get rolling:
When you’re done with the project, chuck it and start another. You’ll always have a clean playing field. This really takes a lot of time out of starting up a new project or even doing some research. I’m a fan! Give it a shot. They have all the major CMS, blogs, and popular apps all ready to go.
There’s also the Turnkey Hub but I haven’t done any work with this one yet. Looks like a quick way to deploy a server to Amazon ECS if you’re into that sort of thing.
So here’s a gap in the “Linux in the corporate world” thing…
I’ve been looking for a convenient way to access our Exchange 2007 server when not at my desk. Sure, I have a rather nice laptop… but it isn’t svelte and while at the office it is docked with a bunch of USB stuff and a pair of 24” monitors attached. I figure a smaller laptop that could just get me to my mail and tasks would be ideal, especially when out of the office.
To minimize licensing costs (OS and Outlook) I thought I’d start with Linux. I have Ubuntu on an older IBM ThinkPad and Ubuntu 10.04 NBR on my little 7” Eee netbook. Both are light, very portable and boot quickly.
Damned if I can figure out a way to conveniently connect to our Exchange server though!
Here’s the wrinkle: We don’t open a lot of ports on our Exchange server. No IMAP or POP3. We just use the HTTP connection options when out of the office.
First I tried Evolution. Turns out it doesn’t have the ability to access Exchange servers newer than 2003. Via Twitter, it was suggested that I try the Evolution-MAPI provider. This works pretty well when at the office but doesn’t make it through the firewall. Close, but no cigar.
Thunderbird? I didn’t find anything useful there either.
Outlook Web Access? Tolerable in a pinch, but the non-Internet Explorer experience is lacking. Good enough to check the inbox and send off a quick mail, but for longer term use – I use lots of rules that move mail to lots of folders – it gets a bit tedious.
Anyone cracked this nut yet? I really don’t want to have to fallback to opening up IMAP… surely someone has figured out “native” Exchange ‘07 from Linux?
Here’s a fun little Chrome tip I picked up from a recent episode of the Security Now podcast. It might help some pages load a bit quicker and even help you stay a bit more secure with some control of Flash thingies on pages…
By default, you can go “under the hood” and determine if all plugins run automatically (the default) or are all blocked. To get there go to Options –> Under the Hood and then click on the “Content Settings…” button.
However, you can tweak that a bit to get to a “Click to Play” mode. Just type
about:flags in the address bar and hit enter. Tons of interesting options here – be careful! Scroll down a bit to “Click to Play” and enable it. Now scroll all the way to the bottom of the page and click “restart now” to have the change go into effect.
Next, go back under the hood and Content Settings. You have a new “Click to Play” option listed.
Select that and start exploring web pages. When you see a black box or a message like the one below you can click on it if you think you’re missing out – or just ignore it. Saves seeing a lot of ads…
This isn’t the first time I have written about finding a use for an old Pocket PC. And, amusingly, the use is the same this time as it was last time I wrote about it: eBook reader!
I have had this iPAQ 4355 Pocket PC sitting in a desk drawer for a few years now – and that pains me as it really was a much loved little gadget. But, well… you know how it goes. I’ve had a series of new smart phones and the poor ol’ iPAQ just couldn’t compete.
My 10 year old son is really enjoying a series of books. Unfortunately, he’s read all the ones we have at home and our local library doesn’t have many more. I did some digging around and realized I have most of the series in various eBook formats that I’ve “accumulated” (*cough*) over the past decade. I suddenly realized we had a use for the iPAQ.
Thanks to the wonders of Calibre – the BEST ebook library / conversion /utility tool – I was able to quickly convert the books to the native .LIT format and throw them on the iPAQ. My son has been devouring the books ever since. He’s loving the eBook experience.
[I just realized I've never written about the wonders of Calibre. Shame on me! A favorite utility!]
Having the iPAQ around has had me playing with it a bit as well. We’ve connected it to the home wifi network for some quick and easy web surfing. We have also rediscovered some old favorite games. And, thanks to that old post I linked earlier, I’ve been reminded about some more eBook reading programs to get installed on it.
It sure isn’t a Kindle or Nook – but the price is sure right and the screen is definitely larger than my smart phone’s.
Here’s an awesome Event Log error I found on a client’s server yesterday:
An application pop up happened. From an application. Problem is, it doesn’t tell me what the popup said — or what application popped it!
I was amused.