Wherever the Road Leads

News4Buffalo Update

Or, It’s Hard Work Being Scottish

The simplest method to have your own website is to go to a free web hosting site like www.webs.com. That’s what I did originally, as this site started out as an alternative for those of my friends who were unwilling to join FaceBook.

As I became more wordy and more skilled, a free web hosting service was too constraining. The next, most simple step is to go to a place like GoDaddy.com, who will register your chosen name for your website (domain name), then get you up and running with a web page builder program… click, click, click, add some content and some pictures and Bob’s Your Uncle. All for a reasonable monthly cost of next-to-nothing.

Things run perfectly for twelve months, when your renewal rates are invoiced at twice what your introductory “teaser” rate was, and in addition, you now have to fork over anywhere up to $30 to renew your web site name (domain name). Somehow you’ve gone from $60 per year, to $150.

Ach no, laddie. Ahm frae Scotland.

First thing you learn is to register your domain name with one service, then get web hosting from another. That way, if you become dissatisfied with your web host, he’s not holding your domain name ransom if you want to switch. More importantly, it’s generally cheaper if you shop around.

While I wasn’t necessarily unhappy with the firm that was hosting my site, I was interesting in changing. When I got a promotional email from Hostgator saying they were having a one-day, 51%-off sale on web hosting, I became VERY interested in changing. Included in the price was the offer to migrate everything from my original host over to Hostgator, so how could a conscientious Scotsman refuse?

Ach aye, laddie. Ahm frae Scotland.

host-gator1

This is the first post using Hostgator. If you get to poking around and notice anything amiss, please let me know so that I can fix it. Even if things didn’t migrate 100% perfectly, there’s nothing amiss with the price.

Being as I saved so much money on web hosting for the coming year, I decided that I could now afford a Raspberry Pi.

Raspberry-Pi

A Raspberry Pi is a tiny motherboard whose “hard drive” is an SD card like you have in your camera. Onto the SD card, you load a scaled down operating system… a version of Linux. (Pronounced LINN – ux.)

Linux is a free, open-source Operating System, like Winnders, but it’s free. Anyone can download one of the many versions (distros), load it onto an older computer, just to try it, or, like I did, load it onto a computer built with mostly leftover, spare parts and a paltry $200 worth of upgraded material from the computer store because, hey, you have to give this free system a fighting chance.

I have been running with LinixMint for the past few years and it can do everything just like a winnders computer except display the Blue Screen of Death. The one drawback was that it could not run Netflix, as Netflix runs on the Microsoft proprietary SilverLight, to make sure Hollywood is paid its pound of flesh. However, the most recent version of LinuxMint includes a program called “MoonLight” and it can now run Netflix.

The Raspberry Pi runs on a VERY lean version of Linux, where GUI’s (Graphical User Interface) are not in abundance – read, non-existent. So, after installing the original Linux image onto the SD card and configuring your Pi, hampered by the fact that I was using a wireless keyboard for which the system had not yet been set up, you have to load Apache Web Service software, mySQL database software and PHP – server-side HTML embedded scripting language.

But forget about point and click… you need Command Lines like…

sudo apt-get install apache2 php5 libapache2-mod-php5

sudo apt-get install mysql-server mysql-client php5-mysql

sudo wget https://raw.github.com/Hexxeh/rpi-update/master/rpi-update -O /usr/bin/rpi-update && sudo chmod +x /usr/bin/rpi-update

Okay, now that you have a LAMP stack (Linux, Apache, mySQL and PHP) on your Pi, you have to configure your router so that the Pi pulls the same IP address each time it’s turned on. Then, have the router listen on Port 80 and direct incoming http queries to the IP address you assigned the Pi.

Here’s the result: http://76.97.86.244/ Click on the link. It will take you to my Raspberry Pi web server sitting on the desk beside me.

mysite

I checked and the web site works fine on mobile devices. There is a “live” word in each of the top three lines that on mouseover will expand the information section like you see it above.

Ach, it’s a dawdle.

Update number three is that there may not be updates for a while. My Little Scottish Mother is coming down for a visit and for some reason does not like being ignored so that I can spend hours and hours in front of a computer monitor. She ain’t right.

She’s my mother and I love her, but she ain’t right.

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