I own and operate a website called Destination4x4.com. I started the website about two years ago with the primary goal of keeping my website skill set at a cutting edge of website development. My past projects include a lot of LAMP based database driven content and custom built shopping carts. During my time doing web development it became easy to fall upon past skills, knowledge bases and technology, however the results continued to be profitable. Several years ago, my career path was changed rather dramatically.
I lost a job of 15 years which I loved, and found myself looking for work for the fist time in over a decade. Fortunately, my job search did not last long and I found myself working in the Gaming Industry here in Nevada. As new opportunities presented themselves, I was quick to prove my worth and began to flourish in my new job. However, I could tell that my old skill sets were being diminished as time went on. As much as I love my new job, it is not a creative endeavor.
To address my own personal needs I decided to start Destination4x4.com. The site combines several personal points of interest: off road and back country driving, 4x4s, camping, hiking, photography, exploration, history and website technology. The primary purpose to personal continuing education, but as an additional side effect, the problem solving and research that I already conduct for my own trips, now has an outlet and can be branded to a property that I own.
For years I have wanted a centralized digital home theater system. The limitations of almost every component failed for a variety of reasons. Cost being a big issue, limitations in computer speeds, noise and complexity all played their part in preventing me from getting the system that I wanted. The biggest issue was not requiring a full blown media center enabled PC on every television in the house. Even the cheapest PC is several hundred dollars, and you are forced to deal with consumable parts such as hard drives and fans wearing out. Size is also a big issue, and boot up times is REALLY annoying. Additionally, even the quietest of PC’s will add at least 30DB’s to the noise of the system by the time you add in several quiet cooling fans, power supplies, spinning hard drives, etc… The way around this is long cables, dedicated rooms, etc… which is just more cost, complexity, etc…
Recently, I inherited a project which caused a bit of nervousness. I inherited a custom compiled application with a set of dependencies that can’t be fulfilled with modern Linux distributions. This program needed to compiled against MySQL headers for version 3.23. To compile the program, it was determined that the best solution was FreeBSD 6.2. This was the last version of FreeBSD which supported the required libraries. I did try other distributions included Suse, Gentoo and Redhat, but I ran into circular dependencies issues which precluded this use. However, the HCL for FreeBSD 6.2 is a little old at this point.
Today, a jeep trip was cancelled at the last moment. The cancellation was no ones fault, just life. As such, I found that I had a “found” day today and started work on a new website. I am not ready to announce the site at this point, I have a lot more to accomplish before that event.
For my new website, I have a new philosophy that I am working under. My idea is the build the site with as many off-the-shelf open source components as possible. This will re-educate me to the various projects out in the world and hopefully allow me to deploy quickly. Beyond just open source, I am hopeful to exploit some of Facebook’s developer features to market the site amount other things.
Although keeping copyright information in open source files is a common feature of open source tools, in order to further pay back the community and the developers who work within it, I have decided to call them out specifically on this site.
Open Source Tools:
ImageMapster is a jquery plugin, which allows a developer to quickly build image maps for their website. This plugin is written and maintained by James Treworgy and more information is available at http://www.outsharked.com/imagemapster
Sliding Login Panel with jQuery is available from web-kreation.com. This plugin adds a cool div overlay which can be dropped down to all your users to register and login. Very cool gadget and easy to implement.
Several few days ago I completed an overhaul of my Linux server. The purpose of this rebuild was to freshen up the file systems, packages, and fix a few issues caused by system bloat over years. The new version of OpenSuse Linux combined with a clean installation on a new SSD drive, made for a very fast boot time and system considering the motherboard and its limitations.
The problems solved with the new installation were many. The system boots significantly faster and reboots cleanly. Sound issues were immediately solved, and several small issues with KDE were fixed. I am thrilled with the results of this work, and the old system continues to serve web pages and email very well indeed.
Today, I discovered that something was not quite right with the new server. I started to see that the volume of email dropped. A quick look at the log files revealed that the log files where stale and not being updated. At first I worried that I configured the drives incorrectly. The files and partitions looked fine and another quick check verified that the file system was fine and nowhere near full. I then check the status of the syslod daemon and discovered to my surprise that the daemon was not running. When I tried to start the daemon, it failed.