Saturday, November 2, 2013

How to Create a CentOS 6 Minimal Virtual Machine with VMware Player

UPDATE: This tutorial was written for CentOS 6. Creation of a CentOS 7 minimal virtual machine is very similar, but there are some differences. For CentOS-7-specific instructions, see CentOS 7 Minimal on VMware Player.

Today, a lot of pre-built VM images for specific purposes (e.g., LAMP, Drupal, Moodle, Joomla, etc.) are available. They can save a ton of time since you don't have to start from scratch (assuming, of course, that the images come from a reputable source). However, bear in mind that whoever builds those images always makes certain assumptions. For example, it is almost always assumed that in a LAMP stack the web server and the database server should be on the same virtual machine, which may or may not be what you want. Of course, you could take two identical LAMP images, remove the MySQL-related software packages from the first and all the Apache-PHP-related packages from the second and make the two work together. Still, starting from scratch is also an option, and in some cases (when the requirements of your application are very unique) the best option.

There may be a whole bunch of specific reasons why one would want to start with a minimal installation of an operating system, so I am not going to speculate about those, but, generally speaking, it allows to avoid software bloat and, therefore, maximize utilization of resources and reduce security risks. Bear in mind that minimal installs of most Linux distributions are just that - just enough OS to boot the system or slightly more. So, in order for it to actually do something useful, you will have to install additional software (again, what software to install depends on your specific needs, of course).

This post provides step-by-step instructions how to
  • create a VMware virtual machine from a CentOS-6.4-x86_64-minimal.iso (or CentOS-6.4-i386-minimal.iso) using VMware Player 6.0.1 on Windows 7;
  • bring the virtual machine to a minimally usable state, i.e. to be able to connect to CentOS mirrors in order to update your new system and install additional software packages;
  • install VMware Tools 9.6.1.
Other versions of the software involved in all this may require slightly different steps, but the general principles are the same.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Web Content Management Systems: Poor Choices That Will Cost You

When it comes to web content management system choices, I often see two extremes:
  • one is using a "professional-grade" CMS for a mostly static site that has about a dozen pages and is often managed and edited by just one person,
  • the other is trying to turn a CMS into a full-blown data management application.
Both are about as practical as:
  • driving an armored personnel carrier to a neighborhood grocery store (unless, of course, you live in a war zone) or
  • picking raspberries while wearing boxing gloves.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Another Blogger Bug: In order to select an item from your on-line storage, please sign in

In a comment on my previous Blogger-mess-related post, Blogger Error "You have logged out from another location...", Blogger user Miyaka reported another "curious behavior" of the world's most popular blogging platform operated by the world's largest Internet company. Less than two days later, I was experiencing the same problem myself.

I must say that these Blogger glitches are getting really annoying.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The Weakest Link

The other day, I heard this piece about social engineering How One Hack Got to Engineers with Security Clearances by Queena Kim on Marketplace.

There are no eye-opening revelations there, but it is quite interesting in that it shows how human weaknesses (or, rather, the weakness of being human) may be exploited on social networks (including the so-called professional social networks).

Monday, September 9, 2013

Blogger Error: You have logged out from another location...

A couple of hours ago, I was hit by the infamous "You have logged out from another location. Do you want to log in again?" error on Blogger, which, as it turned out, has been known since at least September 2012 (see this "known issue").

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Describing Package Tours With Too Much Pain, Too Little Gain... If Any

Since I published some of my (mostly positive at that point) thoughts about structured data embedded in web pages in general and in particular (see Tour Shopping on the Web: the... Bad and the Ugly and Chicken Thighs, SEO, Structured Data... and More), I have been asked many times by quite a few tour industry professionals whether implementing mark-up on their sites is something they should consider.

If you want a short answer, it's in the title.

Below is a longer, minimally technical, answer. I may focus on the more technical aspects in another post when and if I have the time.
    First, let me explain the following:
    In order to test the benefits of markup for a web site of a small independent tour operator, a real web site was created. Real tours with very detailed itineraries and programs were developed.
    The site was run without markup for about two months, i.e. long enough for it to be fully indexed and start showing consistently in search results.
    After that, it was marked up with microdata using vocabulary and run that way for over five months (it takes a long time for Google to discover and "digest" embedded structured data).
    Below are some of the results of the test described as "non-technically" as possible.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Thank God, These Guys Are Not Surgeons

I don't spend much time on social networking sites, including LinkedIn, but, whenever I visit them, within the first couple of minutes, I always stumble on some bugs. Here is one I found today on LinkedIn (in order to actually see what's going on, watch the video in HD and full screen; it's a raw screen recording):

If you are familiar with how LinkedIn works, the video should be self-explanatory. If it isn't, continue reading.

Friday, August 23, 2013

The Latest Ain't Always the Greatest... Revisited

A few years ago, I posted The Latest Ain't Always the Greatest about upgrading applications for no real reason. Today, I would like to look at updating your Windows OS and whether it is really such a good thing to do.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Know Your Target Audience

First, let me say that, as a consumer, I deeply dislike advertisements that try to appeal to... well... things other than my rational mind. At the same time, as an analyst (broadly speaking), I do understand that some products, for a variety of reasons, just cannot be sold by appealing to the minds of the target audience.