Friday Funny

Published on Feb 27, 2009   //  Cartoon

A cartoon created by artist Rob Cottingham.

 

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If you have an idea for a future comic or would like to submit your own BlueFur cartoon let us know in a comment.

In The Sphere: Ebooks, Photos, and McBarge

Published on Feb 27, 2009   //  In the Sphere
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The weekend is finally here! To celebrate yet another Friday, we have collected a series of eclectic posts for another edition of In The Sphere. Happy reading!

Yuwanda Black has an argument that goes against conventional wisdom, explaining to us why you shouldn’t write an e-book. Many Internet marketers will tell you that an e-book is a good way to make money and to expand your brand presence, but there are reasons why you may not want to self-publish too.

MoneyNing encourages us to consider the lifestyle choices that some of us make, describing the stress of having a supersized lifestyle. Do you always lust having the faster car, the bigger house, and the more expensive meal? Sometimes, we just need to consider a more modest approach to life and the choices that we make each day.

John Biehler has taken it upon himself to post a new picture to his Flickr account each and every day. This new photography project will go for an indefinite period of time, largely as an exercise of discipline and commitment on the part of John to experiment more with his photography, using any camera that he happens to have with him at the moment.

Enkay Blog has a very interesting question for us to think about: Does the economy affect blogging? The Internet knows no bounds, but it is still contained within the very real world. The blogosphere can clearly be influenced by what’s going on with the housing market, the automotive industry, and unemployment issues in our society.

Rebecca Bollwitt gives us yet another glimpse at Vancouver history by bringing up the famed McBarge. This was the floating McDonald’s restaurant that came about with Expo ’86, but the poor boat is now cast into oblivion somewhere on the Burrard Inlet, 400 feet offshore from an oil refinery. You can spot it through Google Maps.

Moving Beyond SSH: Domain Name System

Published on Feb 27, 2009   //  Development

Moving Beyond SSH

Domain Name Systems (DNS) is a vital part of a web server, allowing the use of domain names to access the web server. If you want to learn of the technical details of DNS, you can read about it on Wikipedia. We will be installing and using the BIND DNS Server and Webmin to create our DNS records.

Setting Up Custom Name Servers

First of all, you should collect some information. You’ll need a domain to use for name servers (you don’t need a specific domain for this, a domain you already use will work), you’ll need to know your server’s primary IP address and one of the secondary IP addresses.

After you’ve collected that information, you’ll need to go to the registrar of your domain to register custom nameservers. The process of doing this greatly varies from registrar to registrar, some have it available in their online control panel, and others require you to email them to do it. Look at your registrar’s documentation or contact them if you’re unsure how to do this. Your primary name server should be ns1.yourdomain.com, primary name server IP should be your main server IP, secondary name server should be ns2.yourdomain.com and secondary name server IP should be one of your secondary IP addresses (replace yourdomain.com with the domain you’re going to use for your name servers – it doesn’t have to be a .com).

Install BIND

After you’ve setup your custom name servers with your domain registrar, you’re ready to install the BIND DNS Server on your server. SSH into your server and run the following command to install BIND (it may already be installed):

yum install bind

Setting Up DNS Records

Now, login to your Webmin panel. Expand the “Servers” link on the sidebar. Click on BIND DNS Server, if it isn’t there find it under “Un-used Modules” and enable it.

Now, under Existing DNS Zones, click on Create master zone. We’re going to setup a DNS record for our main domain and name servers. Replace yourdomain.com with the domain you used. Enter the following information into the textboxes:

  1. Domain name: yourdomain.com
  2. Master server: ns1.yourdoman.com
  3. Ensure Add NS record for master server? is checked
  4. Email address: Enter a “webmaster” email address here

Now, click the Create button. Click on the Name Server icon. ns1.yourdomain.com. should have already been created, so type ns2.yourdomain.com. (including the period at the end) into the Name server textbox and click Create.

Click Return to record types at the bottom of the page. Then click on the Address icon. Make the following records:

  • Name: ns1 Address: Your primary IP address. Click Create
  • Name: ns2 Address: The secondary IP address you used for your custom name servers. Click Create
  • Name: www Address: Your primary IP address. Click Create
  • Name: leave blank Address: Your primary IP address. Click Create

Click Return to record types at the bottom of the page. Then click on the Check Records button at the bottom of the screen. If no errors are reported, click on Apply Zone, then on Apply Configuration at the top-right of the screen.

You have now created custom name servers, installed BIND and added a DNS record for your name servers and domain. You can now start to point your other domains to your name servers. For each domain you host on your server, you will have to add a DNS record for it. Just follow the instruction above, however leave out the ns1 and ns2 records under Address. Don’t forget to add these domains to your Apache Virtual Host configuration.

Next week

At this point in the series, you should now have a fully-functional web server. Next week we’ll be securing our server by installing a software firewall, changing the SSH port, etc. So, you should (try to) refrain from using your server for hosting sites until then.

Marketing 101: Perceived Bundle Value

Published on Feb 26, 2009   //  Marketing Tips

A fantastic way to simultaneously increase your bottom line and to improve your customer experience is to offer bundles at special prices. One of the more recent examples of this that I experienced was with Street Fighter IV, a video game for the Xbox 360. I was going to buy this game one way or another, but I opted for what they call the “Collector’s Edition” even though it was $10 more than the regular game. Why?

Most stores were selling the game by itself for $70, whereas the Collector’s Edition sold for $80 to $90 (I found it for $80). With the Collector’s Edition, you get a few “bonus” items, including an anime movie, the official soundtrack CD, and a special collector’s figurine of one of the game’s characters. This helped to complete the Street Fighter experience, so to speak, because it added some fun extras.

The kicker is that I would not have purchased any of these “bonus” items on their own. Had they sold a $10 bundle that included the soundtrack, movie, and figurine, I probably would not have purchased it. Because it came as part of a special bundle though, I was able to justify the increase of $10 in price. In this way, the game publisher was able to get an extra $10 out of my wallet that they would not have received otherwise.

In looking at your company’s marketing efforts, think about bundling together related products or services at a slightly reduced price. While you may lose a little bit of money on the people who would have purchased the bundled items separately, you gain a lot more from the people who may not have purchased everything included in the bundle. For example, if you’re running a restaurant, you can have a special deal that comes with a three-course meal. Many people don’t buy appetizers and desserts regularly, but if they perceive a “savings” with the meal deal, they’ll opt for that instead.

3 Years of Posts (Please no Patty Whacks)

Published on Feb 26, 2009   //  News Worthy

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When we started our blog 3 years ago who would have thought it was going to grow to be this big?

We currently have 1373 posts on topics ranging from business, technology, gadgets and software. We have 3042 comments from you our loyal readers and community members. The blog has gone from 1 visitor a month to over 1.7 million page views last year and on mark this year for 3 million.

What does this mean for our business?

While others hosts are throwing money into expensive advertising to acquire customers or using high payout affiliate programs, we are using the power of social media to grow our business. We continue to see growth even during a recession which is impressive.

Where do we go from here?

We will continue to create content that fits our communities needs and working on developing our blog to create a stronger community of webmasters.

Fantastico Update

Published on Feb 26, 2009   //  Fantastico Updates
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Software Updates

Last night Netenberg updated Coppermine, Moodle, Noahs Classifieds, PHPlist and WordPress…

Updates:

- Coppermine Photo Gallery: 1.4.19 -> 1.4.20
- Moodle: 1.9.3 -> 1.9.4
- Noahs Classifieds: V8 (2.4.1) -> V8 (3.2.0)
- PHPlist: 2.10.8 -> 2.10.9
- WordPress: 2.7 -> 2.7.1

If you are using these software’s I suggest you upgrade.

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