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Fun With My Computer — Why Now?
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Fun With My Computer


I’m converting something that was created decades ago to a web-based version, and it has been “interesting”.

I’ve spent three days, on and off, fighting fighting to install Apache, PhP, and MySQL on a Windows machine with three books because I have to package this all up and send it across the country to an individual who is a user with no desire to be anything more.

I already had old versions of all of this software on my test machine, but I had to clean it off and install the most current stuff so I would get a feel for what the end user will go through. Hell pretty much describes the experience. On a Linux machine this just happens, but not on a Windows machine.

I have had all of the pieces working individually for some time but they haven’t wanted to talk to each other. Talking to each other requires editing text files and remembering which files want / and which files want \ when writing a path.

This is so easy in Linux, and such a pain in Windows.


1 Kryten42 { 06.30.08 at 9:38 pm }

LOL I have deja vu, again! LOL I’ve had a cat sleeping in a PC I was trying to build. She snuc in when I went to answer the phone. I still have the scratch marks (long healed) trying to persuade her to find a better roost!

… I have No idea why I am laughing! 😐 Hmmm. Must be the Codeine! 😀

Have you looked at XAMPP?

Made my life a whole lot easier! 😉

If you need the latest versions of Apache, PHP, MySQL etc (Apache (2.2.9), MySQL (5.0.51b), PHP (5.2.6), phpMyAdmin (2.11.6), mod_perl (2.0.4), OpenSSL (0.9.8h), and eAccelerator (, there is the latest beta here:
XAMPP Beta v1.6.7-beta4

Cheers. 🙂

2 Bryan { 06.30.08 at 10:19 pm }

Thanks, but these guys are definitely not “Beta” material.

It’s not bad after you’ve done it a couple of times, but the pain was figuring out that if you don’t do Apache, MySQL, and then Php it won’t work.

I used a “wamp” originally for my testing on this site, and then did a full install, but that was Apache 1.3 and version 4 of the others. This is probably the only version they will ever install, so I’m playing with the most current stable versions.

I’ll modify the php.ini and httpd.conf and ship them with the install software.

The aggravation is that this is a standard setup and you don’t have to do all of this messing around in Linux.

3 Kryten42 { 07.01.08 at 1:36 am }

I understand that. 🙂 It’s not the component parts that are beta BTW, just the integrated installer. 🙂 Apache etc are release versions. They have older versions of XAMPP depending on what versions of the components you need. 🙂

Good luck with it m8. 🙂 Hope it all works out easy for you 🙂

4 Bryan { 07.01.08 at 11:48 am }

Understood, Kryten, and I may give it a shot after I clear out the current loads, because this is going to be too much for them. I’ll copy the config files and dump the rest, to test something else.

I do not want to fly out to take care of this.

5 Badtux { 07.01.08 at 3:56 pm }

Definitely do not want to fly out to do *anything* nowdays. I’m expecting any day now to find out that airline passengers are required to fly naked and endure cavity searches in order to ensure that they have nothing on them capable of bringing harm to the plane… and that’s if there’s even a plane going where you want to go, and if said plane even has any space. Airline schedules have gone all to hell lately what with the Busheviks destroying the air traffic control system and the airlines bleeding red like a guy stuck a dozen times with a knife.

– Badtux the Flightless Penguin

6 Bryan { 07.01.08 at 5:15 pm }

In my case, my choices would be a minimum of three legs to the trip, starting with a “crop duster”, a 6-hour drive plus parking fees to get to a direct flight, or a 3-hour drive plus parking fees, a direct flight to take another 3-hour drive in a rental car.

I do not want to do this even though I would go to the airport “clean” having shipped everything ahead by UPS. If they can’t hack it, I’m going to price a cheap box that I can set up here and ship to them, because that’s got to be cheaper than the air fare, parking, hotel, etc.

7 Kryten42 { 07.01.08 at 10:08 pm }

Yup! Gotta agree there. I never want to do onsite again. And as you say, proper planning upfront will usually avoid that (though sadly, there are always those problems that pop up that you can do little about, like users for example!) LOL

I went for a job interview some years ago as the Service manager for a large insurance company. I discovered that the previous guy had been there 8 Months, which in that company and that job, was considered long service. Their service department had more staff than the sales department! What’s wrong with this picture?

needless to say, I beat a hasty retreat even though I was offered a good package and well above industry standard wages (about 30% higher. Again, what’s wrong with that picture?) LOL

As an manager for a large project many years ago, I made sure everything was designed for all imaginable contingencies with a goal to minimizing downtime. We were successful. Out of over 6k units sold, fewer than a dozen needed repairs or service within 5 years. And they were simply replaced. The Company saved a fortune when compared to another companies lousy produce (which was cheaper) that it replaced. Nobody cares about that these days though. It’s all abut short-term ROI now.

One of my projects (when my hand heals and I can do stuff) is a Linux based firewall/junior smartass control/gateway system. 😉 LOL An engineering and ex-IT friend was complaining that his 16YO son is always bypassing the security and chewing up the Internet bandwidth and the bills are going through the roof. He’s given up trying to stop him short of pulling the plug! Having been something of a junior smartass myself, I have a handle on it. LOL I’ll spend a month evaluating things and then a solid bit of planning and strategy with various people I know. There is simply nothing out there (for any reasonable price at least) that will do the job. I am aiming for a price-point under $500. Will be an interesting project for me. 🙂 It sounds simple, but I know it isn’t by a long shot! I love that kind of challenge, it’s been too long. 🙂

8 Bryan { 07.01.08 at 11:12 pm }

Fortunately with this client my biggest problem has left the company. This was an individual who resented the fact that the firewall and virus software complained every time he visited his “special sites” and he kept getting the system infected by shutting off the protection.

A good, solid parental control package should be a money maker, especially when there are bandwidth charges involved.

I remember the old days when everything was burned in for at least 48 hours before being sold. At the end, a 10% failure rate out of the box was considered good for a component. “Better, faster, cheaper”, became “cheaper”, and I don’t mean less expensive.

9 Kryten42 { 07.02.08 at 9:24 am }

Yes. When i started, 10% was the goal. My goal was always better than 2%. 🙂 Everything is just a throw-away commodity now. Consumers can pretty much forget about whatever *rights* they think they have.

An article on XAMPP that might be interesting for you, and gives more information on what it is and why it’s useful. 🙂

XAMPP: The PHP Developer’s Dream

One of the primary reasons I use it, is that it makes installation of the AMPP stack easier on Linux, OS-X and Windows, and gives a common config and tools.

10 Bryan { 07.02.08 at 12:53 pm }

It is definitely something I’m actively looking at, if for no other reason than we can synchronize our computers, a major headache at various times over the years.

Now that they have prisoners and third-graders building the components that can’t be put together by robots, there is definitely a lack of quality control.

11 Badtux { 07.02.08 at 11:34 pm }

At my last job, I was in charge of manufacturing burnin and pre-delivery quality assurance. I am happy to report that of our first 100 units sold (this was an expensive high-end storage system, not a PC, so we’re talking $150K+ apiece, i.e. real money), we had one (1) failure. And when that system returned to us, we plugged it in and it worked fine, so my speculation is that user error was the culprit.

But if it hadn’t been for me, the only person in the company who had the slightest clue as to how to actually manufacture computing hardware in a quality manner, that company would have delivered shit to customers. And my reward at the end for making sure that this company could actually ship quality supportable product to its customers was a bad evaluation because “we’re not really sure what you do or what value you add to our company”, swiftly followed by my resignation letter as I accepted a job from one of the many, many companies that were ringing my phone off the hook asking if I was available to work for them.

So now you know why so many companies deliver shit product to people. It’s because the people who know how to deliver quality product get the “we don’t know what value you add to our company” evaluations and quit. Luckily I have no connection with the hardware side of the business at my current company, and don’t have to deal with that anymore, not to mention that we’re small enough and our senior engineering staff hardware-savvy enough that we know the value that our manufacturing department and its final quality assurance measures add to our company. But I tell ya, being in this business for a while sure makes a guy cynical…

– Badtux the Computer Penguin

12 Bryan { 07.03.08 at 12:29 am }

The true annoyance is when customers raise hell with small companies but won’t even return garbage they get from the big guys.

There was no worse experience than going in to a client’s to do an install and then having to explain why the hardware is busted and the install is impossible.

You end up wasting your time getting someone else’s problem resolved, so you can make your money and not screw up your schedule.

It’s amazing how many company’s assume that everything new works, so if they put something together from new parts it will just work.

In San Diego county I always checked the voltage when I went to a new client, because they have a third world electrical grid. There were places in the older part of town where getting a voltage above 100 from a wall socket was a good thing. You went through a lot of power supplies in that county.

On the front lines you learned who was watching their product, and who was just churning them out, or you had a lot of annoyed customers.

QA and burn-in lead to happy users. If a supplier or product had a bad run, it was dead to the local guys. Even with good margins, you don’t need the bad feelings.

13 Kryten42 { 07.03.08 at 1:13 am }

So now you know why so many companies deliver shit product to people. It’s because the people who know how to deliver quality product get the “we don’t know what value you add to our company” evaluations and quit.

Yup! That’s what happened to me essentially.

I went for an interview after making it to the shortlist for a head of department role in a very large global company some years ago. The head of the whole IT division interviewing me was about 10 years my junior. He told me that he couldn’t hire me because I’d have his job in 6 Months. If anyone didn’t deserve such a position, it was him. And yet, that level of insecurity and inexperience is so common these days sadly.

The problem you, Bryan, and Badtux have, is intelligence, common sense and experience. 🙂

14 Bryan { 07.03.08 at 3:02 pm }

They want a lot of guys willing to work 16 hours a day to produce what could be written in 2 hours by a good, experienced programmer.

This is the era of rating by the number of lines of code produced, when rated by people who don’t have any idea how many of those lines are actually required.

Programs are bloated generally, but really cursed with a lot of code that is never, ever called, or even reachable. It is left in because the new team is only supposed to look at new features, not make an organic whole of the program.