FastCGI on AWS

The following provides a brief outline of the procedure for getting FastCGI (with SuExec and PHP) working on an EC2 instance running Amazon’s Linux distribution (AMI) under Apache 2.2… Compile the Module: (dependencies include the httpd-devel package) sudo -i yum install httpd-devel cd /usr/local/src wget tar -xzvf mod_fastcgi-2.4.6.tar.gz cd mod_fastcgi-2.4.6 cp Makefile.AP2 Makefile make… Continue reading FastCGI on AWS

WinAmp UAC

I am quite fond of WinAmp, but ever since I started using Windows 7, WinAmp would bring up a User Account Control dialog each time it was started. The cause of this was the ‘Restore file associations at WinAmp start-up’ setting, which requires registry access. Disabling this setting stops displaying the UAC dialog. Steps: Open… Continue reading WinAmp UAC

A Lizard’s Tale

Occasionally, I find myself having to talk to young children (ages 9-11) on the topic of science. I have found that whether students enjoy science or not, a good story will almost always get their attention and have them asking for more. At that age, I believe it is important to instill a curiosity for… Continue reading A Lizard’s Tale

Invalid MS DOS Function

I came across an interesting oddity today. When I went to play a video file, after copying it between two partitions on the same hard drive, the first part played fine, but it reached a particular point where it almost completely froze the machine. At this point, the hard drive light was consistently on (not… Continue reading Invalid MS DOS Function

Bundle Error on AWS

On servers running certain forms of chroot, a file system loop is created (in /var/named/chroot), causing errors when attempting to bundle the volume. This occurs in particular when running BIND (named). To successfully bundle the volume, simply stop named: sudo service named stop ec2-bundle-vol {options}

Setting the timezone on PHP

Versions of PHP after 5.10 include the date.timezone directive in php.ini. Many applications which reference time need this directive to be set. A list of accepted values can be found at: The timezone is set as a quoted string, with no delimiter at the end, for example: date.timezone = “Continent/City” The location of the… Continue reading Setting the timezone on PHP

Wide Screen Math

I was recently asked an interesting question about how the area of a widescreen compares with the area of a traditional display. Now, usually, one hears that you get to see additional parts of the picture on a widescreen, so that was my conditioned response. However, I decided to delve into the math a bit,… Continue reading Wide Screen Math

A Procedural Methodology for Diagnosing (Home) Internet Issues

I recently had some internet problems, most pages wouldn’t load, my connections to servers (e.g. FTP, SSH) would quickly drop, but, yet, I was able to download a file at a reasonable rate. There are different approaches to narrowing down the problem. For some problems, the symptoms will direct one’s focus to likely causes, but… Continue reading A Procedural Methodology for Diagnosing (Home) Internet Issues

Considerations When Shopping for Laptops

I have never been a big proponent of laptops – historically, their performance has been dwarfed by that of lower priced desktops, and the advantage of portability was often offset by poor performance and short battery life. Recent processor generations, and advances in mobile computing have, however, made laptops a viable competitor for today’s applications.… Continue reading Considerations When Shopping for Laptops

The Shortcut to Resolving an IRQ Conflict

During my hard drive adventures earlier in the day, I removed a PCI IDE-SATA card from an older computer, and replaced it with the PCI sound card that was previously in that slot. Computer started, and all was good – however, the audio was routed through the integrated sound instead of through the discrete sound… Continue reading The Shortcut to Resolving an IRQ Conflict

Time on AWS Linux AMI

The time on the Amazon Linux AMI is set, by default to UTC. To change this, symlink one of the timezone files from /usr/share/zoneinfo/ to /etc/localtime. The change takes effect immediately (and will also affect most logs, etc). For example: ln -sf /usr/share/zoneinfo/EST5EDT /etc/localtime To make the change persist through updates, it is necessary to… Continue reading Time on AWS Linux AMI

Using a SATA hard drive through IDE – Part 1

One of the older computers I have around is from before the SATA era – it only supports IDE. Unfortunately, most new hard-drives are SATA, especially those of reasonable sizes (250GB, 500GB, etc). This machine previously had only about 60GB, which was insufficient for its purposes. I find external hard-drives to be impractical for day-to-day… Continue reading Using a SATA hard drive through IDE – Part 1