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netsperience 2.x
Drupal web development and other stuff

decibel.places's blog

decibelplaces' week off with Precise Pangolin Ubuntu Linux

I'll admit I have been a Windows user since Windows for Workgroups 3.11. Currently I have my second HP laptop-desktop-replacement which arrived with Windows 7, which is a little better than Vista.

I have been stubbornly developing Drupal on Windows, even running Drush locally using Xampp and bugging moshe weitzman et. al. about supporting Windows. I don't think drush mmas works yet on Windows, perhaps it never will.

Recently I needed to use ffmpeg for media conversion, and although there are Windows binaries, Drupal modules did not know what to do with the Windows version. I ended up working on the dev server, which was not my usual process. Usually I work on a local version of the files and database, synchronize them with Git or SVN version control, and ultimately upload them to a development server before staging and production.

During a week hiatus between projects, I decided to set up a Linux workstation, to better match the LAMP web hosting environment.

My old laptop had a dual boot to Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04. I had a hard time setting up my Windows wifi driver with ndiswrapper. It was sort of a novelty.

Since then, I have installed Ubuntu as a desktop OS on a couple of cheap computers from Property Room as gifts for friends, and also when a friend's Mac had terminal kernel panic, I wiped the drive and installed Ubuntu. People who were never used to Windows found Ubuntu pretty easy to use.

Ubuntu has come a long way, and with the addition of the PHP GD image library in Ubuntu 10+, it is pretty compatible with the web hosting servers I use, in fact my last project was hosted on a server running Ubuntu.

So first thing I did was get the wubi Windows installer for Ubuntu Desktop 12.04 LTS so I could install it as a dual-boot (I'm not abandoning Windows, I'm just broadening my horizons). Why Ubuntu? Many web servers run CentOS or Red Hat Linux - I installed CentOS at - but Ubuntu is particularly well suited for a destop operating system, and hey, Linux is as Linux does. Plus I have a friend who runs Fedora on his desktop so he gets the latest updates - and he's always crashing and patching. I used the Virtual Machine in Windows to test web sites on Internet Explorer 6 running on XP (glad we mostly don't have to do that anymore) and I'm not very interested in using Virtual Box to run two operating systems at once. I also read warnings that it's easy to accidentally restart Linux in the Virtual Box, and that can destroy your Linux system.

Each release of Ubuntu has an alliterative animal name, 12.04 is called

Precise Pangolin (a Pangolin is a scaly anteater)

Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin

Next I needed to set up my machine for Drupal development, which also requires a web server, and MySQL and PHP (the "MP" in LAMP). I'm not sure what the best guide is, but the first one I followed was pretty old,  and it told me Ubuntu doesn't let you create web site directories at /var/www so I had to create a symlink from /home/www to /var/www and it caused lots of problems and eventually I ditched my configuration and started over without the symlink and everything is fine. The second pass I also found an excellent post about configuring Precise Pangolin for Drupal by Laura Scott with some nice tips. I had trouble posting a thank you comment, Laura had to tweak the Mollom anti-spam settings because it was refusing everything, the shoemaker's children always go barefoot.

DrupliconIn short, I had to install the Apache web server (I briefly considered nginx server, but mostly my projects are hosted on Apache), PHP and MySQL. Set up a vhost (virtual host) for the localhost web address in the browser, and a database. I have been configuring vhosts and databases for some time in the Xampp Wampserver for Windows, so I already knew how it works.

Finally, I installed Drupal 7.

I also installed Drush (of course) and Compass for SASSY stylesheets, and - yup, ffmpeg - and Git to connect my project to my Github repository.

Then I had to think about code. On Windows I mostly use the EditPlus text editor, which has syntax colorization for HTML, PHP, CSS, Javascript - and has a really good "find in files" search. The default gedit text editor for Ubuntu is pretty good, with syntax colors and stuff - but sometimes I would use the Eclipse IDE on Windows, although it always felt like driving a bloated Hummer in a bumpercars ring. I poked around a little and found some Drupal plugins for the Netbeans IDE, so decided to try it out. So far it's great, more lightweight than Eclipse, but it did not come with PHP enabled when I installed it from the Ubuntu Software Center, so it took some research to figure out how to turn PHP projects on in Tools > Plugins. I also added Drupal Templates for Netbeans so typing in "hook_form" (for example) will display a dialog with options for pre-configured Drupal code blocks, which saves a lot of time:

Now that I could code and view the web site on the local server, I had to think about some productivity tools, and other stuff I was used to on Windows.

Thou Shalt Not Direct Message Bot On Twitter

DM from NYCLUI hadn't thought much about this - but when I followed the New York Civil Liberties Union after reading about their "Stop & Frisk" mobile app, there was the DM, with a link to their Facebook page.


the 11th Commandment: Thou Shalt Not Auto-Direct Message On Twitter

Thanks to Sean R. Nicholson aka @SocMedSean

one of my Empire Avenue Investments

Who Hasn't Woken Up On The Subway With Your Head On A Stranger's Shoulder?

On the Q train, couldn't resist capturing this slice of NYC life, catching a few more zzzs on the way to wherever - the stranger sitting next to her is priceless too

Moog Google Doodle

In honor of Robert Moog's 78th birthday Google has a HTML5 virtual analog Moog synthesizer which is not only playable, but they also provide a 4 track recorder and a share link for your composition.

Play My Moog Google Doodle

I had access to an ARP 2500 analog synth and a digital Synclavier in college; the ARP studio had 4 track recorders and quadrophonic sound. I found an old cassette of my compositions.

I posted some of my tapes on SoundCloud



What is "Riffing" on socl?

socl logoI have been following the troubled launch of Microsoft's new social search community socl - which seems to have stabilized after some shaky hours today.

So, what is riffing?

Like Google Plus and Facebook, you can comment on a socl post - and you can reshare it - but riffing is like collaboratively sharing it - and the original post is attached with its comments - and there is a link to view all riffs as a category

riffing on socl

well, Microsoft had to do something different, didn't they?

Please +K my influence in Social Networks on klout


Errors and Inconsistencies on socl

I joined the new Microsoft social search network socl

They are having some birthing issues:

socl site issues

Now You See It Now You Don't

I did a search for "Drupal" and added some links to my favorite resources to a post in my feed.

shows up in search

Someone even favorited it, I got the notification.

Later, I wanted to let Chris Voss know - and my post was gone.

docl post deleted

Then I clicked on the link to it on my Facebook, and it was back.

now you see it - socl

But then it was gone again. - or is it back?

I just tried to post a link to this blog post on socl, and nothing happened.

Please +K my influence in Social Networks on klout

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