Archive for April, 2012

Clickbank Analytic Software

There's a site called cb-analytics.com which has always been a great resource for information on Clickbank products. However, I've always found the site hard to navigate and I wanted a site that showed some of the "hot" clickbank products. So, I've written a site called cbniches.com which I hope will rectify these issues.

The site shows all the latest products in each category and shows gravity and earnings per sale. It also has a graph for each product to show gravity over time. I think this will be pretty helpful to affiliate markets looking for new products to promote on Clickbank. Check it out at http://cbniches.com. I wrote it with the latest version of my LavaPHP framework, another product I've been developing as open source. LavaPHP can be found on github, but it's still in early development.

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Weird video issues in LinuxMint (and others) Gnome 3 + Netbeans Re-Revisited

I've posted about this issue on two other occasions, and I finally decided to really dive into it and find the true problem.

If you have noticed some video/graphics issues in LinuxMint or another Debian/Ubuntu based distribution along the lines of slanted tooltip fonts, random desktop environment restarts, and strange menu issues in Java apps, you may have the same problem I have been having.

My issues were a lot easier to resolve than I though they were going to be. The problem stems from an older version of the AMD/ATI video drivers that are found in the repos. If you have installed them and see these issues, then I may have the quick and easy solution for you.

This is the post on the LinuxMint forums that helped me considerably:
http://forums.linuxmint.com/viewtopic.php?f=46&t=96957#p553730

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Gnome 3 + Netbeans Revisited

I wrote at some point in the past about a small bug in Gnome 3 where Netbeans menus behaved strangely. My solution then was to switch to Gnome classic. Well I started using Cinnamon recently and found that it has the same issue. So I wanted to find a better solution.

I came across a strange way to fix the issue. I tried it out, and it worked beautifully, even if it is weird.

Unmaximize Netbeans so that it is in a Window on the desktop. Grab the top left corner of the Window and move it all the way to the top left side of the screen. Now, maximize it. The menus work again.

It's weird, but I'm glad it works. I spend most of my time in Netbeans, and I'm really digging Cinnamon.

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Introducing LavaPHP – Yet Another PHP Framework

I've used quite a few PHP framework to varying degrees, and like many other PHP developers, I've decided to make my own. Of all the current frameworks available, I prefer CodeIgniter, because it is easy to use, has great documentation, and generally stays out of your way.

Everyone has their opinion of the best PHP framework, but I like the ones that let me write PHP and don't throw a lot of features that I don't need into the mix. I found that no matter what PHP framework I was using, I was always creating a table for users. I was always creating login functionality for users. I was always creating email confirmation functionality for users. I was always creating an admin interface for working with my configuration. I was always creating classes that helped me work with web services/REST APIs. I always need a small web service of my own for Ajax functionality. I always needed to add curl functionality just in case the hosting provider had fopen disabled (which most do).

Those were the things I needed. ORMs are great and all, but I really didn't want to learn proper YAML syntax just so I could setup automatic object models for my database tables. Creating models for my database isn't that much of a chore. Creating a complete user system can be.

So, I set out to create a framework that I can use for my own projects and have all the functionality that I find I usually need right out of the box.

Another thing about frameworks is that they are designed to make enterprise level sites. They aren't designed to create software system which can be distributed. By that, I mean I wanted to create a software package that could be installed by end users and used by them to create their own websites (custom CMS system with a specific purpose). A normal framework doesn't work well in this area because of the way views are usually handled. Mainly, I wanted third parties to be able to create themes for my CMS systems without much effort. With something like CodeIgniter, I could use a templating engine via a plugin or Codeigniter's own minimalist template engine, but I don't like take one piece of software and adding on a bunch of plugins.

First you have to learn how to use the plugin. Then you have to hope that there isn't a bug in the plugin that will spring up in your app. Then if there is some small customization that needs to be made to the plugin, you could spend days trying to figure out a way to make it work with your system, when it would have taken less time to just write your own. Using plugins also feels a bit like cheating to me, as well. I want to know every little part of my system, so that if a bug comes up, I'll know right where to look or at least have a decent idea where to look.

With all that said, I'm announcing my PHP framework. I've written it completely from scratch and I'm hosting it on Github. I also have purchased the dot com for it. I'm calling it LavaPHP. The motto will be "LavaPHP - Add a little lava to your LAMP" and it will have a lava lamp as it's mascot/logo. If you'd like to help with the initial development, hit me up and fork the project here: https://github.com/lpcustom/LavaPHP

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Slow internet in LinuxMint

I installed LinuxMint earlier today because I found that I really liked the Cinnamon desktop environment on my laptop. I promised that I would post how well it works on my desktop.

Well it mostly works fine. There's still a slight hiccup that I'm trying to work through, where the desktop environment just seems to die. I have this same problem on Gnome 3 and Unity though, so I think it has something to do with the ATI drivers. I wish I had a good nVidia card to go in this thing.

There's one bug that I had to post about. I was getting terrible internet speeds from my LinuxMint install. My top speed was around 190KBytes/sec. Some people may still regard this as fast, but I'm on a 30Mbit/sec connection. I should be seeing speeds around ten times that.

It was across the board too. I thought it was a bad mirror at first because I first noticed it while trying to update the system and install new software from the repos. I soon found that the problem was also happening from every web site and speedtests showed the same results.

I started out by searching for the issue and was coming up with a lot of duds. It was the standard first level support answers like "unplug your router and modem". No need, I know that's not the issue. After some intense searching, I finally found the answer. It was a problem with my network card drivers in the latest versions of Ubuntu and LinuxMint.

My system was showing a RTL8111/RTL8169 network device. The 8169 is the part to look for. This driver is built into the latest kernel and it has problems. I found that the solution was to build the r8168 drivers (note that's 8168 not 8169) from source.

A full walk-through can be found here: https://unixblogger.wordpress.com/2011/10/18/the-pain-of-an-realtek-rtl8111rtl8168-ethernet-card/

Follow those steps and you'll not have this issue again. Much thanks to the author!

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Cinnamon – Another reason to love Mint

There's plenty of Debian-based distributions out there. So many, in fact, that many of them have derivatives of their own. Ubuntu has been a leading distribution for many years, and it owes much of its fame from its Debian roots. Enter many Ubuntu-based distributions which add to the great works done on Ubuntu.

LinuxMint is probably my favorite of the derivatives. It started out as a more feature-rich, multi-media version of Ubuntu. It also added its own (better looking) theme. I've always disliked the default themes in Ubuntu, whether it be orange, brown, or purple, although I give them point for originality. LinuxMint brought a minty green flavor to the Linux desktop.

I've recently posted that I can't stand Unity or Gnome 3, and I was searching for an alternative in a more modern distribution. I could have went with Debian Stable or CentOS 6, which still use Gnome 2, but I wanted a distribution that uses more up-to-date versions of software like Blender, LibreOffice, Firefox, and such.

The problem with that scenario is that there aren't many "modern" distros which use something other than Gnome 3 or Unity as their default desktop environment. I tried to use XFCE4, but it just wasn't for me. I can use it in spurts, but I wouldn't want to use it permanently. I wanted something that looked fresh.

For a few days, I tried to adapt to KDE4. You know things are rough in my Linuxland if I'm trying to adapt to KDE. I was getting by and actually liking the experience until I tried to do a little Java game development. For some reason, anytime I switched my Java app to fullscreen and then back to a window, it would disable my second display. This peeved me off enough that I just installed Windows 7. I've been using it for the past month.

Today, I was messing around on my laptop, which happens to have LinuxMint 12 installed on it, and I remembered reading something about a Gnome 2 fork that the LinuxMint crew was working on called Cinnamon. I thought, "what the hell, I'll give it a shot".

It was impressive. It was actually more than impressive. It was exactly where I thought Gnome should have went. It's like a better looking version of Gnome 2, with all the same Gnome 2 features. It felt like home, which is coincidentally like the subtitle of the Cinnamon homepage:
"Love your Linux, Feel at Home, Get things Done!"
This is a great slogan, because it really goes right along with how I felt about Cinnamon. I loved using Linux on the desktop again. I felt at home. I bet I'll be able to get things done in it as well.

I rarely use that laptop, so next I'll be installing LinuxMint on my main desktop again. I'm going to cross my fingers and hope that their isn't some annoying bug that makes me wish I'd stayed on Windows 7.

It's pretty sad when a Linux advocate, that loves working in the command line, doesn't want to use Linux because of the sad state of desktop environments. I wish the main developers of this type of software would lose the "unify everything" mentality and make the desktop just work.

Hopefully, I'll be able to give Cinnamon a thumbs up on my main desktop and just stay in Linux heaven. I'll post my results later.

»crosslinked«

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