Sunday, February 26, 2012

Our Site has an Icon

It was bound to happen. As I was working on updating the site it occurred to me that all of the Sites that I visit have an Icon that appears on the Address Bar of my browser and also on the Tab of my Browser.

Took only a few moments to make up my mind. Had to have one and got started right away.

Did a few searches on Google to find out what size to make the new Icon. As I soon discovered, the correct size for the icon is 16 X 16 pixels.

So I opened up Gimp on Linux Mint and started by opening a blank image and setting it size to the desired dimensions.  Once on the screen, I then used the Preferences to set the grid size to 1 pixel X 1 pixel and proceeded to create my first Website Icon.

If you would like to see it you can visit our website here.

Before I could use it however, I had to find out how to use it. Spent most of the next hour trying different variations of code that is to be put between the <head> and </head> tags in the html of the Website.

My final code looks like:

"<link type="image/x-icon" href="busnet.ico" rel="SHORTCUT ICON"/>

All of the other variations that did not work were very similar to this. The only thing that I changed was the name of the file it referenced as well as the location. The other variations seemed to indicate they referenced a file location, so I just kept after it with no success at all. So I turned back to my Google Search and checked a few more listings which all seemed to adhere to these indicators. Finally after some desperation, I decided to go to a few websites and look at the source of the sites, the html code, several used the quotes around the file name and not a location or directory structure. Having seen it now, I then did a few more searches and html checks to confirm what I was seeing.

The code above I pulled out of another site, but it gave an error.  Then I noted that the first work "link" was all in upper case. Once I changed them all to lower case the error went away and my new Icon displayed on the web browsers.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Apache, Webmin, and more!!!

Friday night and the Web server is up and running.  Even have a map that everyone in the family can now check on and see what progress has been made from time to time.  You can check it out Here if you want.

It took me some time, just had to take a few deep breaths and clear my mind and take it a little slower.  Turns out the Webmin TWiki has a great getting started guide here. Was able to get the site up and out to all of you in fairly short order. Had some trouble getting the map to a viewable state, as it turns out even after you include a folder, you have to set the folder permissions to "Access files" and readable before the server will allow them out.  Just don't give everyone in the world write access to your files.

Once I had it up, I started poking around and found a host of other plug-ins (modules they are called) that are available to enhance what it is that Webmin can be used for or interact with.  Now I am very interested in what else Webmin and other servers can do for me.

If you have any questions, do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Next up is running a cron job that will run the mapper program and update the site periodically with out having to do it manually every time.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Simple Linux FTP using Nautilus

Alright, something new that I learned while doing all of this!!  Spent a couple of hours trying to find an FTP program within the Linux Community for uploading to the servers at the host.  There are several that are available and I was not having much luck finding anything that resembled what I have used in the past.

This post likely should have come before getting the Site up, but I forgot about this little tid-bit of info till now.

I was getting pretty frustrated with how it was going, it all seemed to be Command Line (Terminal in Linux) based, and finding the correct commands to utilize were not making themselves very evident.

Then out of the Blue, it occurs to me to check my file manager that is built into Linux Mint.  The little program that it comes with is called Nautilus and is as far as I know just that.

Except that when I pull it up, I decide to click on the File Menu and to my disbelief it has an entry that reads, "Connect to Server...", sure enough, it gives me everything that I need in a single program that I already had.

I choose FTP with Login, utilized the info that was provided by my host and click on make Bookmark and gave it a name and what do you know, take a look!

Notice on the left-hand pane, at the bottom of the list is my FTP entry, all I have to do is navigate into my above "Websites" folder, select the file I want, right-click to bring up the drop down menu, choose "Copy" off of the Menu, then click on the FTP server connection, it jumps right into the server folder and then paste the file right into the server folder of my choice.  Nautilus even gave me the option of remembering the password for the server so I do not even have to remember it.  Heck even on the previous FTP Clients that I had used in the past, it would give you a split window and have you select the file, select the remote folder, select the move button, or drag and drop then ask for a confirmation.

This is so easy, just click, copy, click, paste.  How simple is that?? Does Windows Explorer do this?

Keep it simple Stupid

Update: Site has been moved to in-house server, Link below will now take you to the new server site, as the membership at the host as been cancelled.

OK, so it turns out that even having an Interface for Apache is not something that I should be looking into using. At least not yet.

I have never seen so many different settings in one place in my life.  That was by far very overwhelming, and unproductive.  I spent hours trying to get my site live or published so the family could see it and nothing I was doing was getting it out there.

Well, after expending all of that time, I have decided to use a Free Web host, that will give me plenty of space and of course being free, is not going to have any initial cost.  I finally decided to use www.000webhost.com due to the fact that they told me up front what I was getting and it included FTP, which will allow for easy upload to their servers and not confine me to using some website builder they have built in with a handful of templates that really do not fit what I want.

OK, so I have it up, if you would like to, Click here, to view the site. Its not all that pretty or fancy, but I have site that is now available for the family to use, even point some friends to if they would like to.

Now that I have it up, and I am attempting to flush it out with some features, I discover that there is not enough space on a Free Web hosting to also include the Map.

OK, so maybe that means I am back to figuring out how to make Apache work and just keep the Map on my Server here at home?

I may just serve the site myself to the WWW

So, for the first attempt at getting the site out to the rest of the world, I decided that as easy as it has been to get a website built, there must be just as easy a program that would allow me to host the website from the home server, right??

With some searching, I have found that the most widely used Web Server software used in the world is Apache 2.  So, I downloaded it and ........ how do you interface with this?  A command line......OK, so that is as far as I am going to get with that I think.  With some more searching I discover another program called Webmin that is supposed to be a graphical User Interface that will allow me to configure Apache and get my site live.

OK, so 2 Weeks Later and I am looking for a Website Host that is free........

Putting together a Website

Alright, so back from church, its my wife's Birthday, took her and the family out to lunch at BK.  I noticed that they have reduced the size of their Burger Patties, but still got plenty to eat.  A great example of inflation at work, although none of us really ever needed Burgers that big anyway.

Back to the matter at hand of documenting the process that I have gone through to get more out of the Minecraft server than just playing a game with a few people.

So I decided that I wanted to have a website that people that play with us would be able to go to and see what kind of Mods we are using, maybe get some help with getting said mods installed, view a render of the map, and see some screen shots of Players and of our World we are playing in.

I started with finding a website building tool that are known as WYSIWYG or in long hand (What You See Is What You Get) editors.  Years ago I had built a website for My Dads Cabinet shop using MS Frontpage (credit given to Microsoft), but I was on this occasion introducing myself not only to running a server, but running it on a new Operating System that is not mainstream in Linux Mint.  So keeping with the theme of doing it all for the least amount of money, I decided to do a little research and see what is available for Linux that Might do the Job.  What do you know, there are a few and I found one that is the sibling of one that I had tried years ago.

When I was first starting out with website editing, I had found a few that were great for very basic sites, but when working for family and designing something that would feel a little more professional, I felt compelled to buy something and was happy with it.  I still have that program and could use it again, but having an old spare laptop, I decided to install Linux Mint 10 onto it and see what I could do via this new Operating System Platform.

The previous web editor that I had used was called Nvu, and has now become Bluegriffon. It also is a free program like Linux Mint, and I was able to build a very basic Website.  It is well enough and all I need now is to get it made available to the rest of the world.

Things I Tried

OK, so just a little background for my second post.  This will serve as a short things that I have attempted to get to the end results list.
  1. Had to build a little computer to run the server on, as running it on my system was really reducing performance, and tied up my computer when it was needed for other things.
  2. As I am a computer junkie/geek, I had to make a decision, do I spend money on software and use old hardware to build a server, or do I buy new hardware and jump into one of many free OS's available?
  3. Decided on New Faster hardware and have played with a dozen or more different distributions of Linux and its Flavors.
  4. Have decided to jump in with both feet and use Linux Mint 10, I know that I don't want to have extra stuff running to save resources, but this is all new to me.  So Mint has been the easiest to transition to, with more features that are geared toward the beginner, and it has a great support community.  Not to mention, it was a free download, burn to a CD or DVD and install it.
  5. Mint also provides a way to get Java and its clunky, but it works, and I need to have Java to run the Minecraft server.
  6. Once up and running, some port configurations for the Router, getting the External IP address (Just Google "External IP" without quotes, then give out the IP with the port that the Minecraft Server is using and my Kids 400 Miles away were in and Playing too. The External IP and Port you provide looks something like this, 198.456.3.21:10000 when you put it into Minecraft.
Well, its up and running, people in the family are joining, we are all building things, people are starting to encase others homes in Snow mounds and fill them with water.

Just Getting Started

First Post, yeah!!!   OK, so I have decided to start a blog on my families Minecraft Server and trying to get it set up with some extra features.

I first started by making some decisions about what it is that I would like my family and friends to have access to that do not live in the house.  After all, with some research and some hard work, I have been able to Render our map, install a bukkit server and some plug-ins, and even learn how to modestly mod our clients to enjoy higher resolution details on in game objects and even provide an in game mini-map.

So how do I share this with the rest of the family?  I know! I will build a website!