In this mini-tutorial, I’m going to show you how to customize the prompt to have a colorful Geeko greet you each time you open up the terminal. For someone who spends the majority of their day in the terminal like myself, it’s fun to customize it. I personally use zsh as my shell, but I’ve also tested this in bash with no troubles whatsoever. To begin, I found an image of Geeko on Google and Googled an image to ASCII art converter. There are plenty of them out there, so find one you like. Copy the output and save that to a file. I’ve got this here:

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Before I begin my examination of various distros, I’d like to retrace my steps and discuss some of my past experiences with the few distros that I’ve tried. When I first got into Linux and started using it, I went with Ubuntu 14.04 LTS. All of my Google searches pointed to it being the most popular distro with the largest selection of software available and the largest active community. I’ve also seen it called the “most noob friendly” distro on several occasions. Since then, however, I’ve tried out multiple other distros and desktop environments, in search of the perfect distro/desktop environment combination for me. Ubuntu was fine but after trying out a few other desktops environments (hereon referred to as DEs), I discovered that I’m not a huge fan of Unity. I’ll get to that in a minute though, I want to touch on distros first. For the purposes of this article, I’m going to focus my attention on what I consider to be the three largest players in the Linux world: Ubuntu, Fedora, and openSUSE.

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I have a tendency to play around with my system, which has been both very good and very bad for me. On one hand, I have learned so much from tinkering and inspecting files and breaking things, that I probably would not have otherwise learned. On the other hand, I do occasionally break the system beyond repair, which requires a fresh start and a couple hours of time to run the installation and follow up with re-setting all of my configurations. Since I tend to do this quite a bit, I figured it would be a good idea to just go ahead and automate this process. I have a small set of programs that I always need, and a small set of configuration files to go with them. By automating the installation and configuration of them, I give myself a lot more free time since I don’t have to manage these processes myself. Not to mention, this puts me in a good spot for upgrade time, which is about every 3 years for Debian. Each time a new release comes out, my post-installation setup will only take me about 5 minutes of actual attention required.

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Just over a year ago, I downloaded and installed Linux onto my computer for the first time. I wanted to learn to program and I had read that programming on Windows was pretty tough, particularly for newbies, and that Linux would be much easier to get going with, especially considering I didn’t have the money for a Mac at the time. I didn’t want to completely remove Windows, because I wasn’t sure that I would even like Linux, so I opted for the dual boot setup. I had no idea what I was doing, and I really got lucky because I could have easily wiped my Windows partition on accident and ended up with just Linux.

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For the past couple of weeks, I’d noticed that my site was randomly crashing due to MySQL failing on the server. In case any of you saw it, this is what was causing the “Error establishing connection to database” page (which I will customize for the future when I have a spare moment.) This seemed incredibly odd to me because my site is very low traffic, so it shouldn’t be having issues like this. I had recently installed the Jetpack plugin for WordPress, and shortly after that, I started noticing all of my problems. As a result, I mistakenly blamed the plugin for my woes and immediately removed it. The problems persisted, however, which led me to do some research. At first glance, many blog authors and commenters suggested simply increasing the memory on the server. Considering that 30 hits in a single day is quite an accomplishment for me at this time, I didn’t think that was the case, and I wasn’t about to start paying more on my server bill if it wasn’t completely necessary.

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When Amazon first released the Kindle, I wasn’t overly impressed. My opinion of it at the time was that it was an over-simplified tablet, capable of nothing more than opening eBooks. My tablet can do that, and it can surf the web, play games, and watch movies. What could be so great about a tablet that couldn’t do anything except read? Fast-forward a few years, and I land a new job where learning is law and there’s a culture of reading. So much so, that they sent me a Kindle with access to their Kindle library. At first, it seemed a bit unnecessary to me. I even mentioned that I have the Kindle app on my tablet and computer, so I could already get full access to their library and just read from there, but they insisted and got me the Kindle anyways.

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If you’ve been following my site at all, you’ll now notice that it, along with the apps hosted on it, are encrypted via SSL! I decided to take the time to set it up because I take security and privacy very seriously. Even though I’m the primary user on my site, and the one posting the most data, I still have left a few areas for readers to give their two cents, and as this StackOverflow user points out, connections should be encrypted anytime you transmit information that shouldn’t be made public. E-mail addresses, for example, are not something you want to freely give out, unless you don’t mind having your inbox filled with spam and potentially getting it and any accounts you have set up with it hacked. Anyways, here’s how I got it to work:

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My apartment doesn’t have wireless internet, but I do have ethernet access. In the past, I’ve used my laptop to create a wireless access point so that I could use my phone and tablet without worrying about running through my cellular data, but that was inconvenient because it basically turned my laptop into a desktop. A Raspberry Pi solved that issue for me.

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After much consideration, I’ve decided to take the workout generator I’ve been developing open source. I’ve always viewed it as a learning experience for myself, and a canvas of sorts on which I could develop my skills. With it being open source, I hope that other interested developers will join in and help me create something incredible, and that I can learn a thing or two from the code they contribute.

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