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Computers are still a somewhat blackart to many people. Often, where it exists, the documentation can be impenitratable and few geeks want to change that. Its the old job security concept. I want to change that.

In this site you will find articles and links on various subjects; mostly Linux, Open Source and Programming related, but not exclusively. If you have any suggestions for articles or require expansion of any points in the articles, please feel free to contact me at this email address and I'll try to accommodate you.

Simple Remastering of RHEL / Fedora / CentOS

By Flib

2009-05-22

Category: Linux

It is often the case that you wish to automate some elements of an install CD (or DVD) but don't want to go through all the steps required of doing a complete remaster. What follows is the minimum steps to add (or edit) a couple of files on a CentOS CD.

Passing variable numbers of arguments to functions

By Flib

2009-05-20

Category: PHP

Recently a visitor in my IRC channel came in with an odd problem. He needed to send a variable amount of arguments to a function. The function wasn't under his control, so he was unable to pass an array to it and parse it within the function itself.

PHP as far as I can tell has no easy way to do this. This short article explains one method to accomplish the task.

Generating and Using RSA SSH keys

By Flib

2009-05-20

Category: Linux

Passwords are insecure. Unless you lock out accounts with something like fail2ban, then ssh accounts can and will be bruteforced by malicious attackers. Changing the port from 22 can help, but better still is not using passwords to secure ssh logins. Public key cryptography is the answer.

In this article, I explain how to get up and running with RSA keys in Linux.

Dynamic Buttons with GD and PHP

By Flib

2009-05-20

Category: PHP

On many sites its very difficult to predict exactly which graphics you might need. One answer is dynamic buttons.

Coping with heavy server loads

By Flib

2009-05-19

Category: Architecture

Not every site has been dugg or slashdotted, but when they do its a frequent occurance that the server is unable to cope with the sheer number of requests that are fired at it. However all is not lost, there are many little tricks that together can mean the difference between being able to weather the storm or being trampled by it.

Creating business cards with FPDF and PHP

By Flib

2009-05-19

Category: PHP

When I need to create business cards or similar documents, I frequently head for the text editor and knock out a small app. This is one such application.

Making Sessions Cluster-aware

By Flib

2009-05-19

Category: Architecture

Once your application scales to the point that a single server isn't able to serve all your visitors anymore, sessions can become a problem.

The default files-based session handler was only designed for a single server and so this must be taken into account if your application is to continue to run flawlessly.

In this article I try to show some of the options available for dealing with sessions in a cluster.

php_value, php_flag, php_admin_value, php_admin_flag

By Flib

2009-05-18

Category: PHP

If you change almost any of the PHP setting in php.ini then you affect all vhosts on the server. This can be a bad thing. Scripts may break and functionality may change.

Luckily, there is a more fine grained solution if you are running PHP as a module.

Useful Datasources

By Flib

2009-05-12

Category: Reference

A site is only as good as the content it contains and reusing existing content in new ways is an easy way to minimise the effort required to produce new applications.

In this short article, I explain a few of the freely available data sources online. Some of these may be covered at a future date in more detail. This is really just aimed as a quick overview.

Securing Variables with Hashes

By Flib

2009-05-11

Category: Security

Often, scripts need to send data in the url. The problem with doing this is that users may tamper with data possibly resulting in security problems.

In this article, I show you how to use hashes to secure GET variables and other data.

Optimising MySQL

By Flib

2009-05-11

Category: MySQL

Many times you find that as you grow the bottleneck becomes the database. While you can scale out across multiple machines in many ways, for many people this just isn't an option.

In this article I try to explain a few ways to optimise your MySQL use to allow you to squeeze just a little more work from it before you have to scaleup to a bigger server or scaleout to many servers.

Maintaining RAID

By Flib

2009-05-11

Category: Linux

RAID is often used without much understanding of what it truly provides. People have no idea of how it can fail or what to do if it does actually fail.

Worse still, they have no idea of what maintenance RAID needs or how to see if it is working propoerly.

In this article I try to explain some of this without too much complexity.

Elevating priviledges from webscripts

By Flib

2009-05-04

Category: PHP

Often you will find yourself on a server where permissions are restrictive.

In this article, I try to explain a few of the options

Using Cookies Across Subdomains

By Flib

2009-05-04

Category: PHP

Most sites, if they use cookies, use a single domain the whole time. Not all do.

For these domains an understanding of how sessions and cookies work and what needs to be changed is useful.

Using updated currency rates

By Flib

2009-05-04

Category: PHP

Often you have a need for up to date information, but rarely can find it for free. Exchange rates are a common need and a closely guarded secret by some developers.

In this article, I show you how to use exchange rates for conversion and where to get them from.

Making Friendly URLs

By Flib

2009-05-04

Category: PHP

How do you make your urls more readable both to humans and web crawlers? In this article, we look at some of the options.

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