Using Electronic Devices Brought from Another Country

If you are an international worker, expat, or frequent traveler like me, you will no doubt at some point be bringing your electronic devices with you. I thought I would write a quick write up on things you should be aware of when bringing devices from one country to another. It seems this is one of those things that is misunderstood by a majority of people. It's actually quite simple to understand and you can easily get your devices to work in pretty much any country you are visiting with little to no cost.

The common misunderstanding is that you need a step-up or step-down transformer to use your devices. I can't believe how many people spend upwards of 50-100 dollars to buy a transformer to use with their electronic devices which is absolutely unnecessary. Read more »

Where it all started...the IBM 5150 PC

I have to start by thanking my mom for getting me into computers. It was back when I was 9 years old and my mother brought home this thing called a PC from work. I guess they were upgrading all of their machines and gave some of the machines away to their senior level staff. This so called PC was the IBM 5150. It ran on a floopy disk drive (a 5.25 size floopy disk) and it was one of the first personal computers that you would find in American homes at the time.


My Top Picks for Infant/Baby iPad Apps

The iPad has been and continues to be a truly useful consumption device. Sure, most users use it to simply play games and watch movies/TV shows, but it can do so much more. It's a great educational device. Seeing that I have recently become a father, I have been researching some good apps for my son. I'm not sure if I want to get him hooked on electronics right away, as they can be extremely addicting, but they can also be an amazing learning tool. Who am I to keep him away from computers and electronics, I have been playing around with them since I was 9 years old when my mother gave me her work computer.

I will quickly list some of my favorite apps that I have tested out and recommend spending money on. I will update this posting later with photos and my reviews: Read more »

Sun Solaris 10 - Understanding Sun Solaris 10’s New Service Management Facility


Sun Solaris 10 is VERY different from previous versions of the operating system. It makes use of its new Service Management Facility. This software runs all processes and helps to control them and their dependencies as well as whether or not they need to be started when the server starts.

The main two commands you need to remember are svcadm and svcs

This is used to display what processes and software are in online, offline, and maintenance mode. This can be helpful if you are trying to troubleshoot something and you are noticing things not working quite right. For example, if you are installing apache for the first time and your web server is not displaying. A quick check to find apache in maintenance mode would reveal you have some problem with your configuration.

To display all currently enabled and disabled services type either:
# svcs
# svcs -a

Sun Solaris 10 - How to setup a SAMP Server + VSFTP + phpmyadmin (Solaris Apache2 Mysql5 Php5)


This tutorial assumes you have some basic knowledge of how to use Unix and/or Linux and you have already installed and setup your Sun Solaris server. If you have not, please check my other tutorials on setting up a Sun Solaris server and come back to this tutorial. I will be right here waiting for you!

Okay let’s get started, and as always we are assuming you have installed and have pkg-get working with blastwave set as your mirror site.


Let’s take a look at the available packages to install first.

# pkg-get –a | grep mysql

This should output a good list of packages. I am going to install mysql 5 for this tutorial.

# pkg-get install mysql5

This should install several packages that mysql depends on. So let this run for a while, it might take a while depending on your internet connection. Go ahead and select “y” to all questions.

It should finish successfully and say something like this:

Sun Solaris 10 - Installation Guide to Sun Solaris 10

The Install Process
I will be very detailed on the install process and explain each aspect as if you are new to unix. Please feel free to skim through this section if you have previously installed Unix or Linux.
You will need to first go to Sun’s website and download the 5 Sun Solaris 10 x86 CDs or the Sun Solaris x86 DVD. For this tutorial we will be installing the x86 version of Sun Solaris 10. After you have downloaded these CDs or DVDs, burn a copy of them so that  you can install them on your machine. Insert in the install disc and boot up your PC.
I will put screenshots when I feel they are necessary, otherwise I will just indicate which option to select. Feel free to select a different option that fits to your needs. For example, I will advise to select English as my default language, however you might want to have your system installed in a different language, please go ahead and select that option.

Sun Solaris 10 - Post Installation - Basic configurations and General Usability

So I am assuming you have successfully installed Sun Solaris 10 and you are able to login to the terminal or the GUI. This tutorial will go over all the basic settings and how to make changes. After you have mastered how to edit the basic settings of Sun Solaris 10 you can read my other articles on how to setup services such as apache, mysql, dns, and others.
Let’s first launch the terminal. If you are using the JAVA GUI, click on the Launch button then navigate to Application -> Utilities -> Terminal. Or simply right click on the desktop area and select the option to launch the terminal from the pop up window. The terminal window should open and you should now be able to run commands. If you are new to Linux/Unix this is the most important tool in your arsenal. It allows you to pretty much do anything, it’s the Terminal. I usually use all of my Linux and Unix servers through an SSH client and always in terminal/command mode.

Sun Solaris 10 - Post Install Advanced Configurations

Let’s understand the pkg-get more thoroughly:
Let’s say we want to list all available packages to install, we would type this:
pkg-get –a

But there are a lot of packages so let’s just find packages having to do with apache.

pkg-get -a | grep apache

# pkg-get install top
Cron is laid out a little different from the Linux distros. Let’s say you want to edit the crontab file, you will want to edit the root’s crontab file, so access it here:

# vi /var/spool/cron/crontabs/root

PHP Compile from Source
bash-3.00# /usr/sfw/bin/gtar xzvf /Desktop/php-5.2.6.tar.gz
cd into the directory and now we want to run the configure script which will make our make file based upon our system settings,file locations, etc.
# ./configure
# make
# make install

Simple isn’t it. I bet you thought it was much more difficult or something extremely complicated. As long as you have all the dependencies installed, it’s just that easy. And if you don’t you simply need to go and download those dependencies and install them.

Let’s now install gcc so we can compile things if we need to.
# pkg-get install gcc

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