SimCity for all

Those lovely guys at EA have open-sourced the SimCity code for use on OLPC, except the actual name SimCity, which we must now call Micropolis. I'm afraid to say that it's only available for Linux at the moment but I'm sure its only a matter of time till someone ports it to Windows.

For the time being the .deb can be found here:

Or you could build it from source for your own nix system from here:

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 8:16 pm, , links to this post

Making your own webdev environment on Ubuntu desktop

These machines aren't all fun fun fun, sometimes you have to use them for some more serious work. In this post I'm going to tell you how to make your own php/mysql web development environment on your own Ubuntu desktop. Once you've done this you won't need to keep uploading files to your server just to check if something works.

Firstly I'd like to point to the post that originally helped me do this at

Now, time to open up our trusty terminal. It is possible to do this through synaptics, but its quicker to do it like this:

First thing is to install mysql for databases on our machine. Copy this bit of code into your terminal:
sudo apt-get install mysql-server
Next we need apache2 as our webserver. Here is the code:
sudo apt-get install apache2
Then we need to get php:
sudo apt-get install php5
There are our three basic components. Now we need to hook them together:
sudo apt-get install libapache2-mod-php5
sudo apt-get install php5-mysql
Now that's just grand. We've now got all the elements that we need to serve files to the net. The thing is, we're only doing this so we can work on stuff at home, in which case what we're really looking for is an easier way to do so. What we need to do is have a public_html folder in our user directory. Perhaps now would be a good time to do that. The next step is making that work on the webserver we've just installed. Run this snip of code:
sudo a2enmod userdir
Then restart apache:
sudo /etc/init.d/apache2 force-reload
You should now be able to reach your home folder via http://localhost/~yourusername/

Finally we want to be able to administer our mysql databases. Though there are many good tools for doing this I still go back to the web based phpMyAdmin. Apart from the fact that it's highly automated (which suits me just fine) it's also a very common program to find on your paid hosting, so would also be very familiar when you go live. For the quick and dirty way of getting it up and running, download phpMyAdmin and extract to your public_html folder. Personally I rename it to something a little easier. Then rename the file within from to and within that file put something in the blowfish_secret field. Then all you have to do is navigate your browser to something like http://localhost/~yourusername/phpMyAdmin

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 11:36 pm, , links to this post

os freefall

Its got to that time of the month where I have to reinstall my operating system. I can't blame the system, it is each and every time, without fail, my fault. I can't help but keep tinkering and playing with them till they fail on me. I remember when I first started playing with the things I would have to reinstall before I'd even finished the first install! At least now here are often months between.

I thought this time I might get out of my comfort zone for a bit. I decided to install the new fedora 8. I will be totally honest now and admit that it lasted on my machine for two days before I switched back to ubuntu. The problem wasn't with fedora per say, I could see almost immediately that this was a far more stable operating system with many of the features I like built in straight out the box. It clearly benefits from the good breeding of Red Hat. The problem I have is that I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination and fedora is clearly built for people who have some idea what they are doing. From what I found there seemed to be very little documentation for novices and to be honest I don't have the time for that sort of learning curve.

So here is what seems to have happened. I have acquired the same disinterest in learning a new operating system that my Windows using counterparts have always had. I hope this doesn't stick.

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posted by SkinOfStars @ 11:23 pm, , links to this post