Build a Compact Linux Server for under $200

After having many headaches getting a LAMP environment running on Windows Vista, many limitations were soon reached, and I decided to set up a local Linux development server.  Keep in mind, I had zero experience configuring Linux, so it came with its fair share of roadblocks.  Once it was up and running, however, I realized it was one of the best decisions I ever made.  Here are the parts I used:

I am still tied to Windows Vista for my environment at work, so I needed a way to edit my PHP code, and view live web pages on Vista (testing in Firefox, IE, Safari).  I realize this testing could all be done via VirtualBox with avoiding Windows altogether, but as mentioned, I need a Windows machine at work (for now).

I did the initial configuration of the server using a faithful KVM switch.   After the nitty gritty was done, I set up Samba to allow a networked drive in Windows that mapped to the /var/www/html directory on my Linux  server.

After Samba was set-up, even a Linux novice like myself was able to do the remainder of the PHP/MySQL/Apache set-up using an SSH client on my Windows machine.  Using my favorite code editor, I was then able to start development, saving onto my mapped network drive, thus completing my local development environment.

Stop and Delete Print Jobs Windows Vista/XP/Windows 7

One of the biggest headaches with printers, especially USB printers, is getting a print job to stop once it has already started. Sometimes you can click cancel on the print job, but other times the job will go until completion. Even turning off the printer does not always solve the problem. I finally came across a solution that fixes all printing problems for me.

Step 1. If you need to immediately stop the printer from wasting paper/ink, turn off your printer. This may involve unplugging the power cord from the surge protector if the regular power buttons fail.

Step 2. Go to Start button > Run > net stop spooler

Step 3. Click OK

Step 4. Start > Run > C:WindowsSystem32SpoolPrinters

Step 5.
Hit OK, and delete all files within the “Printers” folder you just opened. This will delete any print jobs you had remaining.

Step 6.
Start > Run > net start spooler

Step 7.
Hit OK, and turn your printer back on.

All of your printing problems should now be solved. Please post comments if this did or did not work for you.

Disable Automatic Updates in Adobe CS3

I recently realized that Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Adobe Premiere CS3 were updating themselves without permission to do so. I looked for an option within each respective application to disallow automatic updates, but could not find one. After doing some searching, I found this workaround.

To disable automatic updates in Adobe CS3 for Windows Vista (Should work for Windows XP too):

1. Start > Run > C:Program FilesCommon FilesAdobeUpdater5AdobeUpdater.exe (if this does not work, navigate to to the common files folder and follow the same directory structure to get to AdobeUpdater.exe.
2. Adobe Updater will open, and select continue as it searches for updates.
3. On the screen where you tell it to download the updates, it will have a preferences link. Click the preferences link.
4. Un-check the box that says “Automatically check for updates.” and hit okay, then close out of the updater.
5. Enjoy.

Turn Off User Account Control Windows Vista

One complaint about Vista that is completely unwarranted is anything in regards to Windows Vista User Account Control (UAC). UAC is what causes those horrendous warnings to come up every time you try to make a change in the system. Why is the complaint unwarranted? Because it takes about 60 seconds to turn off. To turn off user account control, follow these steps:

– Go to Start > Settings > Control Panel
– Find User Accounts

Windows Vista Control Panel

– Open user accounts, and at the bottom, there is a link to “Turn User Account Control on or Off”

User Accounts Menu in Vista

– Follow the next step, turn off UAC, and restart your computer.
– Voila, Vista is one step closer to becoming usable.