Craig Mattson (Personal Website)
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Today put to sleep a myth about overcrowding (27/03/2007 05:30:34 AM)

Hi all,

image001Been a few days since I have posted here, but there really hasn't been anything to post about, unless you really want to hear about Trains being delayed, me standing up for a period of 2 hours to Warragul from Caulfield. On top of that, standing up 4 trips in a row. Anyway, I have installed Ubuntu Linux again, and found a way around the shell scripts (thank you Pranesh for your help) issue with it not liking ()'s. Cedega along with my VPN Client now fully work under Ubuntu. I even have GTA San Andreas, Counter Strike Source and Microsoft Train Simulator running at acceptable speeds under Linux.

The next step is Macromedia Dreamweaver, Flash and Fireworks. If these can install properly over Cedega, then well... what else can I say? Windows has no need on my system - besides, Beryl actually has useful features (even though some are 'borrowed' from Apple) and with a Glass theme looks more 'WooooW' than Vista itself. All of this, running on my ATI Radeon 7500 is working brilliantly. If for whatever I need a quick infrastructure network, I can simply enter the following commands:

ifconfig eth1 down
iwconfig eth1 mode Master
iwconfig eth1 essid NETWORKNAME
ifconfig eth1 up
/etc/init.d/dhcp3 start

After doing this, I have just set up my laptop as a Wireless Access Point (ie acts as a true router would rather than Windows and it's dodgey Ad-Hoc mode) and its done. What's even better is I have turned that into a shell script residing on my desktop. I simply run the shell script and dependent on whether I 'ap' or 'no', I can revert back to a search of current wireless devices.

ubuntulogo_400I also have Webmin set up on my Ubuntu desktop meaning I can monitor all of my processes from anywhere in the house, or even whilst I am on the machine directly, I can even use it to configure my web services for webdev. The 3D Cube is a lifesaver, especially when confined to my LCD only. Using Multiple 'Screens' means I can have a blank desktop, one with firefox, one with aMSN and one with OpenOffice all loaded up at the same time, and the push of a button, I can show them all up at once. I can then press F8 and all my windows show up on one screen zoomed out so I can see what's happening in ALL windows at once.

It's features like this I can't understand why Microsoft doesn't put in Vista. The whole OS seems to be about 'woooow'... even their advertisements state clearly 'Wow'. Yet, you show beryl in action (even on my relic ATI Radeon 7500 32MB 1xAGP), and it tends to get more of a 'Wow' than others :P

Sure, Linux has it's faults like the lack of native DVD playing support or MP3 support, but all these are fixed by downloading codecs, and/or running PowerDVD or WinDVD in Cedega :P I suppose for what it lacks in software, it makes up for in processing power. I have customised my desktop edition of Ubuntu so much that I know EXACTLY what is on the system. it barely uses over 100MB of RAM (in a 1500MB RAM system) and yeah - not bad for a desktop system with more 'wow' than Vista ;)

I have work on Thursday which should be good - means more money for my car I will get one day ;) Also - if you are coming to GreenTubeLAN 5: CNAP for Short , you probably should look at working out what CNAP stands for. You have approximately 1 month to do so, and a prize will be available on the night for the correct answer :)

Anyway, time for me to do some assignment work and excuse the picture above ;) But it's like the first picture for the Ubuntu logo on Google Surprised

[1 Comment(s)]

Bus Driver Game Released (24/03/2007 03:38:21 AM)

bdgAs you mostly know, I love simulators. One that hasn't been done yet (well, prior to yesterday) was a Bus simulator. It's now released, and costs a staggering $29.95 US. I'm downloading a trial now, and if it's lame enough, it may end up a prize for GreenTubeLAN Tongue out

Anyway, is the websites address if you really want to check it out. Um... if you want to download, get it off the FileFront website.

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You knew it couldn't last long (22/03/2007 07:49:51 PM)

I'm sitting here in Introduction to Security, and can you believe that there are things known as Personal Identification Numbers that are associated with Automatic Teller Machine cards? I mean, wow - this is some form of security that we must learn. Been somewhat bored today, so I thought I would draw an image:


Not much is on the agenda at the moment, just waiting to get paid for a few things to actually be able to purchase a car within the next few weeks. Until then, I'm kind of just working, waiting and working. Better go, I may miss an important part about setting read only on some files actually prevents them being written to :O

Later on today, I will be mucking about with linux too learning how to authenticate users :O /etc/passwd :O 


[2 Comment(s)]

OMG IT'S NOT A LINUX POST Part 2 (22/03/2007 05:57:03 AM)

Hi all,

Got back from my first day of work at 7:00PM this afternoon, and well, what a long day. At least they are paying me for it :D and quite a good dollar compared to the rest of the jobs I had applied for (and never heard back) so all is good. Now, what is it with Melbournians and Stage 4 water restrictions?!?!?!!? I mean FFS! We have had water restrictions stage 3 here for ages, and farmers in Thorpdale have had stage 4 for ages. For some reason, I think the farmers here need a bit more of a break than the people in Melbourne. Boo hoo, you can't water your gardens. We have been dealing with this for ages.

Anyway, that's my bitch for today,


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OMG IT'S NOT A LINUX POST (21/03/2007 01:57:55 AM)

Hehehe... Well, I thought I would mention today that I have finished a website for a client. It finally is usable and readable, and I now have an excuse to use RSS on their website. Tomorrow I have work, so I won't be around until 8:00PM tomorrow, so have fun without me :D

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Unix - The tool of the devil. (20/03/2007 03:33:19 AM)

I bet you guys are getting p!ssed off with all these posts about Linux and how it (as a server) tramps all over Microsoft Windows Server 2003. Well, here's another one to add to your emerging frustration with my Blog. Yesterday in Network Administration, I was appalled at the lack of logic that some people demonstrate. Since when is it so difficult to press the 'Next' button? Basically yesterdays task was to learn how to install a Linux distribution, namely Fedora Core on their PC's in front of them. The problems they had? Well, they didn't seem to realise pressing next actually did something, yet it's common in Windows to press 'next' to achieve something.

linuxFor the record, Fedora Core even from it's infant stages (version 1) had a GUI installer, which has always been quite easy to use, providing that you understand that to install the Operating System, you have to at some stage or another press the next button. Not a difficult task unless your keyboard and mouse have strangely not been detected by the kernel. For my group, I installed my other HDD and formatted it, letting them install openSuSE on it. They did that quite quickly (in fact beating the others by about 30 minutes). Whilst they were plugging the network in, I asked the tutors did they have a DHCP server set up, and they hadn't yet, so I said - ok I'd put up a basic one now in Linux. After hunting through repositories, I finally installed the dhcp3-server package, and had one written out.

To be honest, setting up a DHCP server under Linux is pretty darn easy providing you know the commands to initialise (which when you remember the commands, you then obtain an understanding of DHCP) as opposed to setting up on Windows whereby you have to use a wizard to do so creating weird-o scopes with no CLI configuration. To show you how simple it is to set up a simple DHCP server to work on one subnet, I have included it below.

default-lease-time 600;
max-lease-time 7200;

subnet netmask
    option subnet-mask;
    option broadcast-address;
    option routers; # I was sneaky here and hehe... controlled packets
    option domain-name-servers; # Got bored and had Bind9 aswell
    option domain-name "fit.lan";

So, I'm sure you are thinking now - that's difficult to memorise all of that. Quite the contrary actually, if you understand how DHCP works. Basically we have defined a default lease time for the IP address, the Maximum time to do so (before renewing), The range that we want (I have set up between 10-100, 150-200 to prove I could theoretically have servers on 2-9, 101-149, 200-254). The Subnet mask is necessary to determine the length of the IP Address, the broadcast address is the address to broadcast the DHCP address on, the Router (or default gateway on windows) is obviously there to route packets through a firewall (or to another WAN address or something) and Domain Name Servers. You don't need a DNS server, but who wants to remember a bunch of IP Addresses :P Unfortunately, I kinda got a bit frazzled myself when I couldn't get the DNS to operate for a while, and it just hit me straight in the face. Never bothered to check the IP of the current adapter now, did I? Basically it was an easy fix from the CLI. Basically what I entered below fixed it. I didn't necessarily need the first line, or the up on the second line. But this is how you change an IP address straight away. Much quicker than clicking Start, right clicking Network Places, clicking Properties, locating your LAC adapter and right clicking and going to properties, then locating TCP/IP and then clicking an option button... blah blah blah... Under Unix, it's done instantly using:

ifconfig eth0 down
ifconfig eth0 up

Well, I know there are going to be people out there who are used to Windows who will just say that it's easier to do this under windows because there is no CLI to worry about, and that helpful wizards are included. Of course it's easier for someone who doesn't know DHCP, but how many of these people have successfully set one up from first try letalone know exactly what their server is doing?

computer_problemsAs I have said countless times before, you know nothing about computing until you use Linux, and unfortunately there is a whole group of Windows users out there would debate the fact. But you ask them exactly what certain services do, and they have absolutely no idea. If they have absolutely no idea, how can they truly optimise their networks or PC's? <To see if anyone actually reads my blog, I have finally secured a job - $17 per hour, $19 and $26 per hour.> Efficiency is great too with Unix. VIM has become my favourite editor, more so than notepad after learning how to use it properly, as the features to find and replace everything takes no time at all. As I do change script variables regularly, I now have the knowledge to simply have VIM browse through my website directories, and by entering a command, I can replace EVERY INSTANCE OF A WORD, STRING or VARIABLE with whatever I want with no prompts. I can also define what sort of a pattern it must fulfil, like if there can be characters after it, or if it requires a number before... Directory listings is a good example. It is 33% more efficient to use ls rather than dir to locate your directories.

Whilst this is a Unix promotion post, I am not saying Windows is bad. Not everyone wants to learn or use CLI's. Hell, a lot of people hate working with Windows as is, and changing their OS on them will destroy them even more, simply because a process done one way on a machine is different from another. Windows XP isnt such a bad operating system either. Sure, I have more BSOD's in Windows a day than I've had on Linux since the start of this year.

Anyway, catch you around peoples 

[3 Comment(s)]

New RSS Feed System (19/03/2007 12:56:05 AM)
Hi all, please note that I have uploaded a new RSS system. You can access this one using:

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Linux Router (18/03/2007 03:29:52 AM)

180307_1810_400Well, I finally finished my Linux Router Project today, however it was yesterday I was reading on Digg about a guy who posted something to the effect of saying he set up a Linux Router in Ubuntu and the common response was 'this is nothing new' and 'think of the electricity wasted in powering the machine'. Well, although I tend to agree with DHCP chewing up too much electricity if that's all that's installed on a machine is not a viable option over a router, I don't know of many routers that can achieve what I have done right here.

Basically my router consists of: Intel Celeron 600MHz, 128MB RAM, 4.3GB HDD, CD-ROM, PCI Ethernet (Directly to Switch), PCI Wireless Card (802.11b in Master Mode) and a USB Ethernet (Directly to Router/Modem). It also has the following features: DHCP, DNS, WINS, SAMBA, Apache2, PHP5, MySQL 5, Webmin 1.330, Squid, SSH, FTP, Firewall/IPTables and SSL. This isn't alot for a machine of it's magnitude, especially when the website merely contains a small intranet site for hosting files, and displaying information. The Webmin component provides a web interface controlling all of these features of the server whilst SSH controls the OS itself. The system boots up in a respectable 60 seconds from power on (which can be made quicker by disabling RAM checking and IDE checking) and during this time bridges the PCI Ethernet and Wireless card, and obtains an IP Address via DHCP from the WAN Interface.

180307_1811_400Ideally, the system has become much more than a router. It provides a local intranet, website blocking (both keyword based and url based), bandwidth limiting per user (quota or speed), and updating to increase functionality is a case of running apt-get install at times. Overall, it is a speedy system for what its designed to do for a total cost of: a machine given to me because it's old and a $29 Asus 10/100 8 port Switch. The server has become a small data warehouse too containing databases for 3-4 applications and services on other computers whilst containing facilities to back up these computers (CRON).  Not bad for a machine using only 50MB of RAM (obviously more RAM is used when more and more people are looking at the website).

So, what am I using it for? Well, technically it's been specifically built for GreenTubeLAN, however given the nature of the Content Management System included and the servers name being called Intranet on a domain greentube.lan, it's fairly easy to modify or implement for a variety of other events that require a collection of PC's to both translate Windows and Unix hostnames with each other (something that most SOHO routers have issues with).

Anyway, over the next few weeks, I hopefully will be trialing a new commenting process, however it requires a user to 'activate' their comment by having an activation e-mail sent with each one they post. The other option is that darn squiggly text crap... I'll see what I plan on doing anyway :P


Oh and I am off to a training session for a new job :o

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Linux V Linux. (10/03/2007 05:03:38 AM)

I have said often enough that the Linux community can be complete and utter <insert bad names here>, especially when it comes to comparing the *nix based Operating Systems to Windows. The fanboyism can be downright annoying for both those who support and condemn any operating system, and it's something I strongly oppose and depicts a bad image of any operating system.

The funny thing lately I have been seeing are arguments that have changed in what they are attacking. More and more, there are discussions about Linux being better than Linux??? For example, over at Digg there have been some completely stupid and moronic discussions with fanbois of openSuSE, Ubuntu and Fedora Core. The discussion is about one Operating System being better than the other. The thing is, neither are better than one another. They are all different, they all have specific purposes and they all have varying levels of software support. As a matter of fact, I use all 3 (and then some)...

SuSE (SLED, openSuSE 10)
linuxThis seems to be a great desktop, easy to use interface (given they altered Gnome) and have XGL (the 3D cube) built-in ready to work out of the box. It comes with YaST (which is something you either Love or Hate) that allows for a robust install. Security appears to be tight in terms of commands such as ifconfig, iwconfig and many others are hidden from normal users. Ultimately, I use it on my Laptop because of the impressive performance I get with XGL loaded.

Ubuntu (Server and Desktop 6.10)
Probably the easiest of all 3 to set up. You put a CD in, load the OS up and click 'install' to which everything is installed to the HDD. Given it is based on Debian, aptitude is included (apt-get install <package> automatically installs applications from repositories.) which makes it easy to update applications remotely. Configuration of the server component appears to be easy as p!ss - to the point where I had a wireless router set up with DNS, WINS, LAMP and DHCP up and running in about 60 minutes. The major problem I found was the use of shell scripts, but for a server or someone installing packages designed for Ubuntu, it's a nice little OS to begin with. Certainly makes a great light-weight server for the next LAN party :P

Fedora Core (Version 6)
If there was ever a distribution suitable for ANYTHING, Fedora Core is the way to go. It has a fantastic package base for both a desktop and server environment, and is backed by Red Hat who offer certifications for their operating systems. The problem I found was the amount of configuring over the alternative OS's which can be good and bad at the same time. It's good given you can customise to the finest of details, however probably not suitable for a newcomer to Linux. The interface looks pretty ordinary, but certainly gets the job done. I use this primarily for proper web server because of the support, the easiness of configuring without requiring every package and the fact it's updated every 6 months with a new version does give me peace of mind.

Basically I'm trying to say that there is no right or wrong answer. As a matter of fact, for a Desktop environment for most users, Windows would still get my recommendation. Why? Well people just don't want to go through the trouble of learning a new operating system, and Windows is the one people have come to know and love hate. I just find it funny that the Linux community is getting bored of the Windows attacking that they have to resort to attacking their own.

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Ze Frank (07/03/2007 04:28:41 AM)
Yesterday, I came across this guy on the website TED dropping random jokes about Information Technology and the process before development. Thought I would share the video with you. Anyway, I managed today to install Beryl on my laptop (32MB ATI Radeon 7500) to which I have a much more user friendly and feature full Linux desktop environment using both XGL and the Vista-ish Theme. For those who don't know what XGL or Beryl is all about, then click here to watch a video on YouTube that demonstrates some of the features of it. You really have to use it to believe how much easier and productive Beryl on Linux is over Vista's new Aero interface.

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Linux. Is easier than Windows? (03/03/2007 06:11:32 PM)

linuxThere are many myths in the IT world, especially with those that don't know IT as well as they may think they do. One of the big myths in IT is how easy Linux is to use over Windows. But, is it a myth? In reality, the people who say Microsoft Windows is the easier operating system have generally used Microsoft Windows XP for 10+ years, or originally started using it at the dawn of the Windows age (1985 onwards). Now, if this time was invested into Linux/Unix based operating systems, surely one would consider Linux/Unix to be the easier operating system, but which one is correct?

Well, I have had many discussions last week with friends including showing them some of the features of Linux, in which some of them commented on how much Linux looked like Windows (for the record, I had Knoppix loaded up at the time). In my test environment, I used a wireless network card, a cabled Ethernet card, a digital camera, scanner and an nVidia video card and within minutes, I had all these devices working and fully configured for deployment. Lets start with Wireless technology. Granted, some vendors do manufacture windows-only wireless cards because it's supposedly cheaper to do so. Why would they hire a team of Linux experts when the market share is limited? Well even if one doesn't have a Linux-compatible wireless card, then they can always use the ndiswrapper which basically uses the Microsoft Windows based drivers and allows you to control your network that way. The card I used was a 3Com Prism 2.5 based card, and was picked up by linux straight away. So what do we do from here? I want to make an access point (something that just can't be done under Microsoft Windows), so to do that, I edit a file called /etc/network/interfaces and put in there information about the network card.

auto eth0
iface eth0 inet static
wireless_essid TestNetwork
wireless_channel 6
wireless_power off
wireless_mode Master

So what has that done? Basically it has assigned an IP Address of to the card, and using the master mode, it has turned it into an access point. I'm sure many of you Windows users are reading that now thinking that's easier than windows and are probably p!ssing yourselves laughing over it. It is infact  substantially quicker to type that in rather than clicking, right clicking, waiting, installing wireless drivers, turning on the adapter, then wait for a GUI to come up to fill in 'address, netmask' then you have to make sure that you can search for a wireless network. Long story short, what's here in the configuration file is only slightly more information than the steps you would take in windows, with the exception this works straight from a shell environment than from the windows GUI.

I suppose the bottom line is, you won't appreciate computing, let alone have the knowledge on how computers work until you do learn how to use Linux or any Unix operating system for that matter. Once you learn how a computer works, then you will find Linux a pretty darn easy Operating System to use, in fact easier than Windows for the most part. For instance, lets take a home user's uses. They use their computer to watch DVD's, play Music, burn CD's, burn Music, Word Processing, Internet Browsing, Printing, Instant Messaging, Payroll and Taxes, E-Mail and Solitare (yes, I'm sure that's why Windows 3.0 sold as many copies as it did :P). Linux includes most, if not all of that now. Watching DVD's requires a DVD Codec and/or player to do so legally, and does cost. Just as it does for Microsoft Windows. It just so happens that many DVD-ROM or enabled PC's already come with PowerDVD or WinDVD installed. As a matter of fact, Linspire has a commercial version of a DVD player available, Nero both have Linux versions of their application suites that include a DVD Player and XINE can take some questionable codecs to also play DVD's. Alternatively, one could simply use Wine to run their existing DVD Player. The rest of it is built into most of the popular Linux operating systems (yes, even my collection of printers all detect automatically thanks to a better version of CUPS).

penguinThere is an age old issue about how hard or difficult it is to set up a Linux Operating System, and I still think it is unreasonable to get any newcomer or someone who isn't into computers to install an Operating System. Essentially it is the role of most Windows installers to fully configure a Windows machine, so why not Linux? A user shouldn't have to worry about installing an operating system on their computer, especially when no matter how simple the install is, it is easy to *cough* up your entire system (I know myself after the amount of clients who attempted to install stuffed everything up and lost important data because they tried 20 odd times). The point is, just as on Windows where one needs to know how to install and configure it, the same must be done for Linux. For those who say Vista has a fantastic GUI, how about checking out Beryl or XGL and tell me which one is truly better, especially when one enables the Aero theme on Linux.

Remote administration is easier under Linux as well. Providing you know how the shell environment works (in which it didn't take windows users 24 hours to learn how to use DOS fully, if they learned it at all), and you have the capability to read a text file, you can diagnose the error by searching for the error logs (for Debian this is inside /var/log/) and fix it that way. If the user wants an application updated, under Debian you simply run apt-get install <package name> (or use Yum on Red Hat systems). The user doesn't have to stop working either. They can simply be working in whilst the update is executed without any notice to them. How? By using SSH or Telnet of course.

Ultimately I am not going to convince anyone that Linux is easier than Windows, that's something that one will have to sit down and use for a substantial period of time before coming to the realisation that Linux is in fact easier, especially if one has a working knowledge of how a computer works. So why is Windows so easy and why I would still recommend Windows over Linux? Because Windows is a supported Operating System. It has software on the shelves for it, and the internet is primarily aimed at Internet Users. There is much better gaming support, however this is slowly changing as games become multi-platform. Oh, and gaming is still easier on console - you pop the disc or cartridge in and it works. On a PC, you have to *shudder* install *shudder* it. Ultimately, people know how to use Windows, and don't give a sh!t about how their PC works. I'm sure if I put Linux in front of this group, most probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference except Surprised wow a new cool theme. But why change something for users that know how to use Windows? They don't want to learn a new operating system, or how to use a new application. They simply want to get on a machine and hope it works.

Anyway, I have 3 systems now to format and install Linux on Tongue out 


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Evil Prevails... (02/03/2007 01:28:41 AM)

It's a fantastic thing when scum can get around the law, yet you are the one that cops the full hand of it. You know - the kind where the 'law breaker' gets treated better than the 'victim'? Well it appears as if a certain forum that I belonged to prior to today appears to have allowed a particular rule breaker to well, take over the forum and is quite allowable to break rules. Long story short, be f***ed if I am going to put up with the shit.

Anyway, on a brighter topic, a big announcement in the GTA community is one where a trailer seems more exiting than the prospects of a game being completed Surprised There have been a few rumours at least so far about the upcoming installment of GTA. I am actually wondering if the trailer is an April Fools joke (you know, given last years GTA Chicago one) or it is the real thing. I'll do some searching tomorrow on whether Rockstar did make an official announcement or something later on. The second major rumour is the possible use of the Euphoria engine, and look at the pretty logo over at rockstar's website.

Well, I have a CMS Version 3 calling me, so better do some work on it.


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Off to Caulfield... (01/03/2007 05:17:03 AM)

buildinghWell, It's been a week since my last post, so about time I make a post (even if it's lame). I'm still looking for a job, and I still don't have enough for a car, so technically I haven't done anything Tongue out Anyway, this week was my first week back at University (mind you, I only had one week off after completing a couple of units over summer to which I got yet another HD and my lowest mark so far, a C.) I turned 19 last week so yeah - nothing much has happened.

Anyway, Caulfield certainly feels like a real university where it won't be possible for everyone to know your name, nor will you get to know the lecturers and tutors well enough Wink however it is much closer to me using Public Transport, so I'm not complaining. It was taking me up and beyond 3.5 hours per trip to get to Frankston, and well things are much easier in a more manageable 1.5 to 2 hours per trip at maximum. It'll be interesting to see how this year pans out. The course itself is starting to teach some of the more important aspects of Information Technology (all in which I have been doing for years) so hopefully I can pull out some more D's and HD's.

Not much other news is available I'm afraid, however I am playing SimCity 2000 again for some reason Yell and when I'm not doing that, I'm working on a new project to make me $$$. I'll let you know more about that at a later date.

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