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  • Jay Versluis 10:01 am on April 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Announcements, Linux ( 7 )

    LAMP Stack for Humans – now available on Amazon 

    Lampstack-SoftcoverMy new book LAMP Stack for Humans is now available on Amazon. It this 284 page guide I’ll walk you through the process of turning an old laptop into an always-on server. You can use it to run web applications in the comfort of your own home or office – no “cloud” required.

    Together we will configure the entire server: you will learn how to install CentOS, Apache, PHP and MySQL (or MariaDB) and WordPress. I will show you how you can reach your server from other computers on the network and how to create regular backups.

    Perfect for the Linux newbie and those who want to get started with web applications without spending money “in the cloud” (in my opinion THE WORST expression for describing remote computers).

    If you’re an avid reader of this site and have always wished that some instructions would be presented in a more cohesive form rather than in snippets, then LAMP Stack for Humans is perfect for you.

     

    Grab your free sample today, or read the entire book for free via Kindle Unlimited!

     

     
  • Jay Versluis 12:58 pm on August 31, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Screencast, WordPress ( 68 )

    WordPress Screencast, Part 6: Embedding Videos 

    In this video I’ll show you how to embed videos from YouTube and Vimeo into your posts and pages. This works with some magic called oEmbed, a technology that only requires the URL to the video, from which WordPress can determine the correct width for your theme and pull in the complicated code we once had to post.

    This principle works for embedding other sources as well, for example images from Flickr, Tweets from Twitter and even Kickstarter campaigns.

    The full course is aimed at beginners and medium casuals alike. Whether you’ve been away from WordPress for a while, or if you’re a complete newbie, this is a very un-intimidating “getting started” guide.

    I’ll release one episode every week on my iTunes Podcast Feed, or you can watch the full course on one convenient YouTube Playlist.

    Enjoy!

     
  • Jay Versluis 12:54 pm on August 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Screencast, WordPress ( 68 )

    WordPress Screencast, Part 5: Images 

    In this video I’ll show you how image uploads work in WordPress, and how to embed images into your posts and pages. We’ll also discuss Featured Images, the relation between the “image embed code” and the actual image sizes on the server.

    The full course is aimed at beginners and medium casuals alike. Whether you’ve been away from WordPress for a while, or if you’re a complete newbie, this is a very un-intimidating “getting started” guide.

    I’ll release one episode every week on my iTunes Podcast Feed, or you can watch the full course on one convenient YouTube Playlist.

    Enjoy!

     
  • Jay Versluis 12:53 pm on August 17, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Screencast, WordPress ( 68 )

    WordPress Screencast, Part 4: Widgets and Sidebars 

    In this video I’ll show you how to use widgets. They usually materialise in a sidebar, but some themes have widgetized areas elsewhere, such as the bottom or the top. I will also show you how to remove unwanted widgets.

    The full course is aimed at beginners and medium casuals alike. Whether you’ve been away from WordPress for a while, or if you’re a complete newbie, this is a very un-intimidating “getting started” guide.

    I’ll release one episode every week on my iTunes Podcast Feed, or you can watch the full course on one convenient YouTube Playlist.

    Enjoy!

     
  • Jay Versluis 11:01 am on August 14, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Categories: Linux ( 70 )

    How to disable the user list at login on CentOS 7 

    Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 10.51.47

    By default, CentOS 7 will display a list of all users on the system. Click on it, type in the password, and you’re in. This works well when you have a handful of users on the system.

    However, on systems with a lot of users, not everyone can be displayed in that list – and scrolling up or down is impossible (and even if it was, it’s impractical at best). The solution is to replace that list with a box to type in a user, much like what would happen when you choose the “Not Listed” option.

    Here’s how to do it:

    From the command line, login as root and create a file called /etc/dconf/db/gdm.d/00-login-screen. By default it does not exist.

    vi /etc/dconf/db/gdm.d/00-login-screen

    Now add the following lines to it and save the file:

    [org/gnome/login-screen]
    # Do not show the user list
    disable-user-list=true
    

    This will tell GNOME not to display the list anymore, and instead bring up a text box as shown below. For the change to take effect, we need to update GNOME with the following command:

    dconf update

    And that’s it!

    Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 10.54.55

     
  • Jay Versluis 10:48 am on August 13, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Categories: Linux ( 70 )

    How to enable automatic user logins in CentOS 7 and GNOME 

    CentOS-LogoIf you’ve read my previous article about how to enable automatic logins on CentOS 6, and it sounded a little daunting, you may be pleased to hear that it’s a little easier to accomplish the same thing on CentOS 7.1.

    If you’re using GNOME in a single user environment, and you’re confident that nobody else will use your system, you can enable auto-logins without the password questions like this:

    1. Login to GNOME as usual
    2. Find your name at the top right and click on it
    3. Now select Settings
    4. In the new window that opens, find Users
    5. Click on Unlock at the top right
    6. Select your own user and turn on Automatic Logins

    You need supervisor privileges to make this change. Next time you restart your system, you’re logged in automatically.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 10.19.12

    Thank you, CentOS!

     
  • Jay Versluis 12:48 pm on August 10, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Screencast, WordPress ( 68 )

    WordPress Screencast, Part 3: Custom Menus 

    In this video I will show you how to use custom menus in WordPress. It depends on the theme if and where menus show up, but the principle of adding items to a menu and how to order them are the same no matter which theme you use.

    The full course is aimed at beginners and medium casuals alike. Whether you’ve been away from WordPress for a while, or if you’re a complete newbie, this is a very un-intimidating “getting started” guide.

    I’ll release one episode every week on my iTunes Podcast Feed, or you can watch the full course on one convenient YouTube Playlist.

    Enjoy!

     
  • Jay Versluis 12:46 pm on August 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Screencast, WordPress ( 68 )

    WordPress Screencast, Part 2: Writing Posts and Pages 

    In this video I’ll show you how to create posts and pages, and what the differences between them is. We’ll also discuss formatting and briefly how to use the HTML editor.

    The full course is aimed at beginners and medium casuals alike. Whether you’ve been away from WordPress for a while, or if you’re a complete newbie, this is a very un-intimidating “getting started” guide.

    I’ll release one episode every week on my iTunes Podcast Feed, or you can watch the full course on one convenient YouTube Playlist.

    Enjoy!

     
  • Jay Versluis 12:42 pm on July 27, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Screencast, WordPress ( 68 )

    WordPress Screencast, Part 1: Themes 

    In this video I’ll show what themes are and how to use them in WordPress (downloading, installing, activating and deleting). I’ll also show you how to preview themes before putting them live.

    Themes are what WordPress uses to style the look and feel of the front page. Depending on what theme you use, options in the back end may vary because some themes provide additional functionality (much like plugins). In this course I’m using TwentyThirteen.

     

    The full course is aimed at beginners and medium casuals alike. Whether you’ve been away from WordPress for a while, or if you’re a complete newbie, this is a very un-intimidating “getting started” guide.

    I’ll release one episode every week on my iTunes Podcast Feed, or you can watch the full course on one convenient YouTube Playlist.

    Enjoy!

     
  • Jay Versluis 4:35 pm on July 24, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    Categories: Linux ( 70 )

    How to install Parallels Tools via the Command Line in CentOS 

    I like setting up barebones CentOS and other flavoured VMs on my Mac via Parallels Desktop. Trouble is, for such things like time synchronisation to work properly, something called Parallels Tools needs to be installed on each VM.

    This is to make sure Parallels Desktop can speak to the VM and communicate with it properly. It’s more important for GUIs so that the screen resolution and mouse handling is more accurate.

    Thing is, when you have a VM with a GUI, installing Parallels Tolls is extremely easy and may even happen automatically as soon as you install the OS. But if you have a command line only interface, it just doesn’t happen, and it’s up to us to install those tools manually. Here’s how to do it in CentOS 6.

    First, boot up your barebones VM and wait for it to start. Now head over to the VM’s menu and choose Actions – Install Parallels Tools. If they’re already installed, this message will change to “Reinstall Parallels Tools”.

    Screen_Shot_2015-07-21_at_16_39_13

    If your VM has a graphical user interface, this process will kick off the actual installation, but on barebones machines, it will merely attach the ISO image that contains the tools to your VM. In an ideal world, this tool would even mount the image for us, but sadly it doesn’t work with CentOS. Therefore we have a bit more work to do until we get to the installation part.

    You’ll see the following message to confirm the attachment:

    Screen-Shot-2015-07-21-at-16.29.35

    Now let’s login to our VM as root using our favourite SSH client (or simply use Parallels Desktop). We’ll create a directory to which we can mount the image. As suggested in the Parallels documentation, we’ll use /media/cdrom:

    mkdir /media/cdrom

    With this directory in place, let’s mount the ISO image to it so we can address it:

    mount -o exec /dev/cdrom /media/cdrom
    mount: block device /dev/sr0 is write-protected, mounting read-only

    The message is fairly self-explanatory: no writing to that ISO image. No problem! To start the installation, enter the directory and call the install script like so:

    cd /media/cdrom
    ./install

     

    Help! That’ didn’t work!

    Sometimes (in CentOS 7 for example) the ISO image isn’t properly mounted, and instead Parallels Desktop mounts a directory containing the ISO image. That’s no good of course. If you receive an error message along the lines of “command not found”, take a look at the CD Rom’s directory with the ls command.

    If there is no file called “install”, and instead there’s something like “prl-tools-lin.iso”, you need to manually attach the ISO image to your VM. To do this, restart your VM and select Devices – CD/DVD 1 – Connect Image. Now navigate to Applications – Parallels Desktop.app – Contents – Resources – Tools and pick the appropriate ISO file.

    Screen Shot 2015-08-07 at 12.49.50

     

    For all Linux flavours this is prl-tools-lin.iso. Once attached, mount the device as discussed above and you should be able to run the installer.

     

    Parallels Tools TUI in action

    The script will greet us with a TUI and some steps we need to complete, one of which may be that some additional components (such as make and gcc) need to be installed. That’s not always the case on barebones systems. Lucky for us, the script will take care of this for us too:

    Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 16.33.51

    And that’s it! The script will finish fairly quickly, and at that point, Parallels Tools is installed in your VM. Congratulations! There’s only one final step: reboot the VM. You can either do that from the VM’s menu under Actions – Restart, or by issuing the following command:

    reboot now
    
    Broadcast message from root@yourserver
    (/dev/pts/0) at 16:53 ...
    
    The system is going down for reboot NOW!

    As soon as the VM is back up and running you’re all set :-)

    Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 16.38.48

     

    Further Reading:

     
  • Jay Versluis 9:39 am on July 21, 2015 Permalink | Reply  
    Categories: Screencast, WordPress ( 68 )

    WordPress Screencast, Part 0: Introduction and Workflow 

    I thought it’s about time that I update my old WordPress course, and here’s the first instalment. I’ll talk you through WordPress 4.2. This part focusses on general workflow, how to log in, how WordPress works and how to use the integrated help system. I will also cover software updates for WordPress, Themes and Plugins.

    The full course is aimed at beginners and medium casuals alike. Whether you’ve been away from WordPress for a while, or if you’re a complete newbie, this is a very un-intimidating “getting started” guide.

    I’ll release one episode every week on my iTunes Podcast Feed, or you can watch the full course on one convenient YouTube Playlist.

    Enjoy!

     
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