UNIX Stuff
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Frequently Asked Questions and my responses
Well its almost a FAQ, a list of topics and my responses to those topics will hopefully answer any questions about them. If you want to know about me, click on the about me link
I am an advocate of Macintosh's OS X, its ability to bring UNIX, Windows and Mac OS together in one means that you can run applications that you normally wouldnt be able to in a UNIX or Windows system. I have the ability to use Microsoft office, UNIX command line, photoshop, dreamweaver in one tight knit package with a great interface!

I own a few computers, at present I own a 17" Apple Powerbook, a 12" Apple ibook (which I am very soon going to sell), a Compaq 15" Presario notebook, a 1GHz desktop, a 800MHz desktop, a 533MHz desktop, a 266MHz desktop, a 200MHz desktop and a 133MHz desktop. The last 3 mentioned computers are pretty much living on thier last breaths or in need of a complete overhaul, all 3 were at one stage used as firewalls/routers with the 133MHz having an amazing 99 day uptime before a black out got to it. Though gone are the days when I relied on FreeBSD as a firewall/router, I decided to go out and invest in a so called "proper" firewall - I must admit that the FreeBSD one that I did build performed alot better than those things they package in a small box with a few ethernet sockets and fancy lights.

I have built many a FreeBSD firewall for my own puposes and untill a short time ago I had a unique Local Area Network (LAN) infrastructure. I segmented my LAN into 2 aspects I had a very secure local aspect that ran my personal computers, had a DNS, DHCP, SMB and web server on a FreeBSD box (the last 8 weeks of that setup changed from FreeBSD to OpenBSD) that secluded it from another local area which ran behind my router. It probably still would be the same if the 266MHz computers hard disk didnt decide to do a quick exit from the world.

At present I am sitting behind my purchased router, but things could change if I decide to do some more development. I want to experiment with Linux firewalling, which means that I will have to learn iptables (I got close to learning ipchains, but they then decided to change to iptables!?!). I do have the 800MHz machine running as a DNS server and webserver, though I havent configured php properly as its not holding variables, this is probably because I installed apache and php via the FreeBSD ports (yep I know I am lazy) and am too lazy to go through the configuration files - by the way for those who would care to know, I couldnt get mysql to compile due to a gcc error, when I tried to install egcs I got an error that was terminal - so I have come to the conclusion that the mod_php4 port on FreeBSD 5.1 wont install mysql which is quite annoying to say the least.

Operating Systems
Mac OS X is my preferred environment for reasons mentioned above. I tend to use a BSD variant with preference given to FreeBSD (I should say OS X as it is based on the BSD kernel) but I have been known to use OpenBSD quite a bit aswell. Once upon a time ago I was very Windows based but I felt that this was the limiting factor in development, lets face it, if your serious about developing anything from websites, to programs or to databases you need to expand your horizons and explore the real world. Power computing people prefer the other side!

From being a Windows user I decided to try Linux, RedHat Linux 5 was my first ever taste of any form of UNIX, that first install on a 486 took a lifetime - partly because I didnt have a clue as to what I was doing. I read the whole manual that came with my boxed set and it was only until a year later that it all started making sense to me, filesystems and partitions they were a mess of /usr, /home, /, root, ext*, ufs - it was crazy! I got that first install going, the default window manager was afterstep and it was very confusing - especially coming from a windows environment, needless to say I now prefer windowmaker which is pretty much the same look and feel as afterstep.

I used Linux for a few years, finally migrating to slackware after experimenting with redhat, mandrake and debian - if you want to learn Linux use slackware, its stable, doesnt depend on the gui for everthing and you dont need to rely on rpms or debs to install applications - you get to do things the way they should be done! FreeBSD 4.2 was my next experiment - what a change it was, all of a sudden Linux felt easy. Time, persistance and experimentation got me to where I am now, it just goes to show that you shouldnt be afraid to stick to something and keep at it.

The tools I used to develop shintara are (in no order): Macromedia Dreamweaver or Homesite, BBEdit, Adobe Photoshop, The Gimp, Anjuta, Ultra Edit, heaps of Jack Daniels and Coke and when sober copious amounts of Apple and Raspberry cordial. I use Transmit, GFTP or CuteFTP Pro as a means of uploading my sites to the real world.
If my webhost offered ASP at the same price I pay for PHP I may have considered it, though I do prefer PHP due to its robust nature, its freely available, Micro$oft doesnt have any rights to it and most of all because I am most comfortable with it. In all honesty I havent experimented much with ASP, maybe one day when I do decide to start crunching out ASP code I might start using it on - as it stands for now its all systems PHP.
Camera gear
My camera bag consists of the following: 1. Canon EOS 10d 6.3 Megapixel digital camera, 1. 17-35mm Sigma lens, 1. 35-80mm Canon lens, 1. 70-200mm Sigma lens, 1. 50-500mm Sigma lens and 1. Sigma 2x converter.

I also own a Manfrotto tripod, Manfrotto monopod and Manfrotto head to keep the camera stable. I have one 256Mb Sandisk Ultra card. Soon I will be purchasing either a 1Gb or 512Mb card, how much funds I have will directly relate to which compact flash card I purchase. I also own a Canon EOS 1000FN film camera which I hardly use.

Where do you take your photos?
Wherever I find a good picture to take. Of late I have been going out every Sunday to places I havent been and enjoying bush walks, animals or scenery which leads to me taking photos. The surroundings are the inspiration I need to get a good picture, and of course a good light source for the situation!

Latley I have been focusing on wild life photography, an aspect I never liked till a very short time ago - the 70-200mm lens combined with the 2x converter has proved to be great for such photography - the 50-500mm lens is too heavy, I need to use a tripod or monopod to hold it still enough which is a limiting factor in the usage I get out of it, but that extra 100mm reach makes a huge difference!

Computing and photography are my two main hobbies, for some strange reason they cancel each other out and keep me sane! I am also an avid reader, I dont mind a bit of sci fi, but you will often find me reading some form of technical magazine relating to computers or photography. Two magazines I can really recommend are APC and Practical Photography, they have brought me many hours of reading pleasure. I have also started reading a magazine called Australian Developer, so far it seems pretty good, if you can afford to outlay $14.95 per issue I do recommend it.

Drums used to be a passion of mine, but I just dont have the space to fit a drum kit let alone the time to play one, maybe in a few years time I will be sitting on a drum stool again.

My favourite band is Motley Crue - I spent my teenage years listening to the hair metal bands of the 80s - Poison, Bullet Boys, Danger Danger, Faster Pussycat, Vain, Autograph and Skid Row to name a few. I dont mind listening to any genre of music, if it sounds good I listen to it.

The last few CD's that I bought include: Anthrax - We've come for you all, Metallica - St Anger, Justin Timberlake - Justified and Audioslave - Audioslave. Dont ask me how Justin Timberlake got included in that, but I did purchase the CD, not that I listen to it much.