Everything you ever wanted to know about theAxeRant and more!
This web site theAxeRant.com is housed on my Linux server in my basement. The machine name is oldBox, running a LAMP server.
The story of oldBox
This story of the server is a simple one. The computer that was destine to become oldBox was an old computer sitting under the desk of one of the executives. It was a pretty tired Dell machine running Windows XP. The order came down the line to get rid of the old machine and replace it with something new and fast.
When I was at UMass Lowell I was a computer science minor. Therefore I had a Unix login and an account to work on my programming tasks and submit my homework. However when I graduated the account went away. Unix/Linux environments are, in my opinion, fun and interesting. They are a place where there is always something new to learn. Plus having started with computers before the dark days of Microsoft Windows I had to know how to use the command line interface and kinda got to missing it.
I am an old Linux user. I started trying it out when it was in it’s infancy with the first couple of releases of Red Hat, before the nice GUI’s came around. So I decided to try it again. I decided on SuSE 10 which I bought at BestBuy for about $40. I opened up the case of the old computer and give it a MUCH needed cleaning. Three hours later the SuSE installation is almost finished and it asks me for the host name for the computer. Hmm… something good, something cleaver, something that I won’t forget. Well oldBox just seemed to fit and so it was set.
The story of Axe’s Web Page
When I got the oldBox system up and running I started exploring the server functions that Linux is known so well for. I started slow, giving myself access to the computer from outside my room, and soon access from outside my house.
It was nice. I now had a server that I could access from any ware, well any ware I could get an SSH (secure shell) client to connect to the server with (basically my work computer and my notebook computer). I decided to start playing with the Apache web server that came installed on the SuSE version that I installed and within minutes I had a VERY basic site that I could access through the internet.
I kept playing with features and add-ons until I reached the point where I am today. Which is a content driven web site. A web site which has some static pages that don’t change much, or ever, and some dynamic pages which can change every time you visit them.
The story of TheAxeRant.com
Well I have had a working web page running on oldBox for several months. My web page has slowly grown from a static web page, which would require me to upload the whole page each time I made a change in FrontPage to the site that you see here now. This site is a Dynamic Web Site which I can add/change/delete content from just by logging into the web site and changing it. With all of these changes being made I decided it was time to finally get a real domain name.
Well to be completely honest I was just tired of having to type in 18.104.22.168 (the ip address changes periodically, it is no longer this) to get to my site. What was worse than that was having to tell people who wanted to go to my site that the address was 22.214.171.124. Just an F.Y.I. those for series of numbers ranging from 0 to 255 are the IP address of the machine. All machines connected to the internet have IP addresses. The pages are translated from plain text (ie. www.theAxeRant.com) to the IP address numbers (126.96.36.199 in my case, it was that is). Don’t believe me? Google.com’s IP address is 188.8.131.52. Click on the link or type it into your browser and see where it takes you.
So I had to pick a name for my web site to register and have pointed at my computer. As luck would have it www.axe.com was taken. But the yahoo domain name hosting system is very cool and will give you LOTS of alternate sites that are available. I went though several ideas www.axeman.com, taken; www.axesite.com ,taken; www.superaxe.com, not taken … but I really didn’t like it. Finally I got to what you see before you.
I figured that for the most part this site was to share pictures with friends and a place that I can keep people up to date on what is going on with me. When you put that together with the kick ass blog system I installed, which is mostly me ranting. I though that theAxeRant fit well.
The Great Server Move!!
The most recent change to theAxeRant.com is that it has move off of the ever faithful oldBox server and is now housed on the new noteBox server. This is a VERY old notebook that has been passed around through the family for the past 7 years. It is a good old machine that will not consume the large amount of electricity that oldBox sucked up each month. So far noteBox seems to be handling the load of hosting the web page well. The beauty of Linux is that it can work on an old machine and work well. If anyone happens across something that does not seem to be working correctly please let me know.
Retiring the Custom Site
theAxeRant.com is now powered by a wordpress blog engine. The days of writing the code behind the web site are over and now I am getting to enjoy a very nice admin section for the web page. This thing can handle most of the things that I had to do by hand before. Like uploading pictures to the site, creating new galleries. Monitoring the messages through the use of the comments. Basically I can do more, with a lot less effort.
Moving to the Cloud
Recently theAxeRant.com has moved from a machine sitting in my basement to a virtual machine hosted by linode.com which has been quite a change for me. There is not more punking out and going to sit at the machine, use the desktop, and figure out a problem. Now it is command line only, no alternatives.