An Easy Way to Install Arch Linux on a Virtual Box VM

Archlinux Logo 2007

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This post is actually a couple of simple links to good sites that were helpful for installing Arch Linux on my desktop at home (Mac (21.5-inch, Late 2009) 3.06 GHz, 16 Mb RAM). Side note – RAM is super-cheap right now, and I just upgraded this machine from 4 Gb to 16 Gb for about $70. This is a huge performance difference on my old-ish Mac. The VM and everything else wants about 7 gig just sitting around, so the extra memory is helpful.

I am trying to make a replica of the server that one of  my teammates is using to serve an application we’re working on (which will be another exciting post 😐 ). His is an Arch Linux OS on a Raspberry Pi, 32 bit version. To develop some modules for this web app concurrently I wanted to replicate the server environment as closely as I could.

Mostly I used a great instruction page from Columbia University They occasionally direct us to the Arch Linux Beginner’s guide:

Assume you have Oracle’s handy (FREE!) VirtualBox application already on your machine. It’s a good idea to download the ISO disk image of Arch Linux from their repository before you start from Make a new VM with Arch as the OS and it’s ready to roll. Just follow the instructions on the Columbia site to get your system up and running quickly. There are a lot of extra complications that you don’t need to worry about if you’re just setting up a mock server for experimenting. Obviously, in a professional setting, you’ll follow the proper protocols for integration that your organization requires.

I will have to do a follow-up post talking about starting up our server and all the goodies we loaded on it (Ruby! Mongo! Postfix!). Mostly, getting Arch loaded with all of its partitioning and disk mounts was enough for one evening’s work.

The Plain English Campaign’s Gobbledygook Generator

Hello, and welcome back. Some people hunt down and destroy — oh, say — ISIS terrorists. Some fight the good fight online to destroy obfuscatory written language. Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Plain English Campaign‘s Gobbledygook Generator.

I am concerned that there is no equivalent American effort.

English: Title page of "A Dictionary of t...

English: Title page of “A Dictionary of the English Language,” written by Noah Webster. Image courtesy of the Yale University Manuscripts & Archives Digital Images Database, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How to Make Your WordPress Blog Not Run Faster by Using a CDN That Goes Out of Business and You Suddenly Realize After the Fact That Maybe It Wasn’t Such a Good Idea In the First Place

My difficulty instituting a CDN continues


I had been using a CDN, the acronym for “Content Delivery Network”, to deliver the pictures on this blog to your browser. The reason for doing this is to speed up the load time of the web page and it certainly fit in my “Experiments with WWW” or whatever I’m calling it. A CDN stores your pictures/videos/whatever (content that is larger than the rest of the html in a site) and when the page loads your server doesn’t have to spend a bunch of time pushing that heavy content around, it can focus on the simpler and faster html  and associated scripts.


But, what happens when your CDN provider gets shut down and you didn’t even notice? Or get a notification? And what if that happens at exactly the same time that you upgrade your caching plugin, which leaves a file on your server that breaks the website? And not just your website, but the other three websites on the same host? What happens is that even if you put your server right side up again, all of the pictures that you call on the deceased CDN no longer answer.


Oh MY GOD this is SO boring!


The CDN I was using was called “SimpleCDN“. SimpleCDN logoAs I recall, they offerered 150Mb of storage, and up to a Gb download per month for $FREE. I’m using MAYBE 10% of that. I could pay some “cloud” service like Amazon $100.00/mo. And there are others, most of which are as expensive. SimpleCDN “fit my needs”, as they say. Apparently, SimpleCDN were using a hosting service then reselling it as a content delivery network. This article explains it better than I will, so you should read it if this type of thing is interesting to you. So the host shut them down. Hit the kill switch, with no advance notice. UH OH! Now you have subscribers who are using your service to run their websites, and they all go dark (sort of, I mean, their content wouldn’t be visible if the page tries to refer to stuff on the CDN server).


Two lessons I learned from this experiment:


  1. You get what you pay for. This is an immutable natural law. Whether it be for Graphic Design, a CDN, or a bottle of wine.
  2. If you want your blog to stay online, you MUST do some maintenance and pay attention to all the stuff you have tacked on to it.


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How to Make your WordPress Blog Stop Working by Trying to Make it Run Faster

I finally found the time to update this blog, hopefully some fresh content will finally get me a third reader.

Why I haven’t posted since March, 2010:

I decided that enough is enough and after having been laid off by no less than three printing/marketing places, then suffering through unemployment along with the other thirty million Americans like me, I went back to college to get my BS. That is, an official BS, not the BS I usually deal in (HA!). Thankfully, I have been working during that time, and so was left with very little time left to write on this.

Why my blog went off the air:

I thought that the internet had, like, ghosts or something that would alert me to problems. Let’s say you installed a plug in on your WordPress blog, in order to make it run faster, as an “experiment in www”. Then let’s say that this plug in, out of the goodness of its heart, creates and deploys what’s called an .htaccess file all up in your server’s face to get it to do its bidding. Now, this is a long story, and I’m not going to bore myself with the details of it, but let’s say that the plug in did this WITHOUT TELLING YOU. I’m not mad at it (I am kind of mad at it). Now, when you put a(n) .htaccess file on the root folder of your webserver, usually that’s okay, it actually needs those instructions. But when you put that file in a subfolder on a server, and you point a URL to that subfolder, apparently you are then FORBIDDEN to enter. As in “403 Forbidden“. After a couple days, I was able to find the .htaccess file that was hurting me, hid it, and voila, my site pops back up. Thankfully this is my own thing and I’m not running it for someone else, otherwise I might be looking for yet another job. Thanks a lot, W3TC!!! But I will not give up on the whole CDN thing. Once I nail it down I can pretend to be cool by saying my website utilizes a cloud-computing architecture, or some such gibberish. {I did not know the word gibberish was spelled with a “g;”. I’ll be darned.}


Buried deep in this post is another reason I am back on this experimental blog. I DID in fact set up a site for someone else, and I will probably need to test some stuff out over here to make sure everything works before I deploy it on my client’s site. Here it is:

studiolazerus logo

studiolazerus logo

So, go check it out (yes, I am telling you what to do), buy some jewelry for yourself and your loved ones, and stay tuned to see the results of further experiments in www and in real life as well.

The Shocking Tale of BookLocker v. Amazon

Bangor, Maine based BookLocker has won a suit against which claimed Amazon violated anti-trust law. The complaint was that Amazon used intimidation and other mafia-like tactics to shut down a publisher’s ability to use their own printer by attempting to force these publishers to use Amazon’s own POD printing business, BookSurge (now called CreateSpace).


You will respect Amazon's authoritah!!!

Let’s say you are an independent publisher, a niche publisher or a small digital printing company. Continue Reading →