Apache Friends – Xampp

This is a rave about a group called Apache Friends. Their claim to fame is that they package up XAMPP

Ok I can hear you say “Whats Xampp?”.
XAMPP is an super easy to install Apache distribution containing MySQL, PHP and Perl. You just download, extract and start using. It’s main use is if you want to develop PHP/MySQL websites. With this program you can carry the whole server on your laptop and work on your stuff even without a connection. When you get a connection upload the changes to your production site and you are 99.99% sure it will work.

Now from a support point of view there are some other reasons to have a copy of this lying around your PC/Laptop. Picture this: You are at a site that has a remote IT admin (they are in another city) and you need to upload some patches or material to the local system. The IT people are in a meeting, what do you do?

Well, plug your laptop into a spare network port. their DHCP will give it an address, note down the address (START >RUN >CMD >ipconfig ). Open your firewall port 80 (or whatever you have apache set to) and then from a machine on the local system open a browser, key in the laptop’s ip address and download the material from your “Laptop WebServer” ip. Simple, effective and make sure you didn’t sign the AUP document.

Seriously though, as a development platform XAMPP is awesome. (This entry was written on my laptop hosted copy of WordPress and then exported to the live server you are reading it from… just because I can).


Strange Horizons and Lucy A. Snyder

This is another good one for a Sunday afternoon spent in the bowels of a building reconfiguring stuff.
Your Corporate Network And The Forces Of Darkness, by Lucy A. Snyder

Cybermancy is the hottest new trend in information technology. Companies worldwide are eagerly deploying cybermantic networking strategies to open doors to a whole new reality of profit.

“Is it a big deal? Absolutely,” says Mindy Axedame, a top human resources specialist who consults for many Fortune 500 firms. “These technologies enable communication with the dead. That’s huge. If a key employee drops dead from a heart attack, now you can ask him questions that would normally be lost to the grave,” Axedame says.

“But it goes way beyond conference room Ouija—you can keep the dead employee on the job! Or truck in cadavers to raise for menial labor. One network tech can monitor and control up to twenty undead taking customer support calls—that’s incredibly cost effective.” It’s also incredibly funny.

Lucy also wrote a lovely piece on how to install Linux on a dead badger. It’s funny from where I am sitting today.

Trust No One

Hollywood Owns Your Tele Part III

Continuing on from Hollywood owns your Tele Part II, CNET News has a FAQ on the next WIndows DRM and antipiracy stuff. You need to read between the lines a bit but it’s a good read.
FAQ: Vista’s strong, new antipiracy protections | CNET

My Favourite Quote… “The new technology, which could go as far as automatically turning off outputs connected to devices deemed insecure, is aimed at persuading Hollywood studios that the PC can be as safe as any consumer electronics device. Microsoft hopes that Windows-based computers will ultimately form the heart of digital home entertainment networks”.

Yeah sure guys. You win us over by not allowing us to watch legally purchased DVD’s because we didn’t buy a new monitor/video card/PC to go with the NEW operating system. This is not unlike the RIAA’s strategy of putting copy protection stuff on CD’s so that it wont play in PC’s/ car cd players/walkman’s because I just might pirate it. So I wonder how Microsoft are going to get around that one?

This sounds like a winning strategy to me.

Trust No One

National Geographic Magazine: Prescience

Here it is a beautiful spring day in Melbourne and I am sitting in a computer room reconfiguring servers. The upside is that I have had a chance to read an article Jools sent me.

About a year ago National Geographic wrote an article about Louisiana’s Wetlands . It detailed a scenario for a hot August and what the implications were to New Orleans if a Class 5 Hurricane hit. It wasn’t a “the sky is falling piece”, it was well written, well researched and eerily accurate almost to the fictional body count.

Trust No One

Those French people (insert head shaking here}

Back in May the BBC reported that the French were going to fight back the “forces of darkness” otherwise known as American culture. BBC NEWS | Europe | France to develop Google ‘rival’ “France is spearheading a project to make European literary works available online in an effort to counter growing US cultural dominance worldwide. The virtual library initiative follows a similar move by US firm Google to make 15m works available on its site”.

Now here we are 6 months later and I am still waiting to see french ads in my browser.

Beside’s if they dont win they can try to treat Google like thay did Greenpeace except that these days it would be called state sponsored terrorism. Oh silly me… no oil involved.

I like the bit in the article that implies that the French will lead the project and get the EU to pick up the tab.

Technology Trust No One

Hollywood Owns Your Tele Part II

Some more on the Micro$oft – Hollywood – DRM owning your TV (see Previous Article
This comes from
Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows | CNET

“For the first time, the Windows operating system will wall off some audio and video processes almost completely from users and outside programmers, in hopes of making them harder for hackers to reach. The company is establishing digital security checks that could even shut off a computer’s connections to some monitors or televisions if antipiracy procedures that stop high-quality video copying aren’t in place. ”

I can see that some of the more technically literate are going “Well we’ll just use a MAC/Linux/whatever and go around it”. Not quite, Australia signed a free trade agreement with America with a bunch of draconian clause regarding software patents and if a court in America finds that Linux is violating the copyright of the DVD decoder software then it will be illegal to sell disstribute own that software. I will get some more references on this next week.