Earlier this year I decided to fulfill a long held ambition to find out what running a Low End Box entailed and found somebody to teach me. After a few days instruction I had one running for $10 annually and then paid for three more so I now have four Virtual Private Servers running in New York, one of which hosts this blog.

What I hadn’t bargained for was the downtime. Because it is so cheap (£7pa) I think they have over promised and under delivered in other words I think they have more customers than they have server space for so rotate the rented server space i.e. 95% uptime instead of the 99.999% uptime you get with more expensive hosting.

There is no way of predicting when the VPS will be down and out of the four I rent, one may be down at any time, normally for at least 24 hours and more often for a number of days.

So if you can’t connect to this blog one day, sorry. It’s not that I’ve closed the blog it’s just that for $10 a year I don’t get a 24/7 service. There’s always https://singleaspect.wordpress.com/ as an alternative which is the same thing in a different format.

Aerial photograph Crest Nicholson

I’ve been running a college website for what seems like forever but is in fact only 18 years and recently its free hosting failed. In the course of attempting to encourage others to reinstate it I have had to refresh my knowledge of PHP and MySQL so I thought I’d put a few notes here in case they prove useful to others in a similar position.

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Lately the BBC wants to know who’s watching and listening to what programmes all in the interests of data collection and probably eventually linking it to the TV licence database to catch the dodgers.

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How far have we come in a week? You may have seen my articles and decided to try Linux Mint at no risk to your computer by using the methods I have outlined in five articles. You will have needed a working Windows 7 or similar computer, two blank DVD disks and a 4GB USB flashdrive and some patience.


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We’ve tried Linux Mint as a DVD boot (slow) and on a USB flashdrive (faster) there is one more method we have not tried which may suit you better. That’s running Linux Mint as a virtual machine which is closer to a real installation than either of the two Live CD options I showed you so far.


This will only work if virtualisation is enabled in the BIOS of your computer and if the processor in your computer is capable of it. I am not going to attempt to cover all the possibilities of different BIOS’s and machine types here. I will start you off with this article and encourage you to do some research along these lines to establish whether or not your computer is capable of running a Virtual Machine.

How to Enable Intel VT-x in Your Computer’s BIOS or UEFI Firmware

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Boot your computer from the USB flashdrive we made last time and press Enter to boot from the linuxmint image we loaded onto the flashdrive.


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Linux Multisystem iso – III

January 20th, 2016

Download the latest Multisystem iso file to your computer and burn it to a DVD using a program on your computer.

You will need a FAT32 formatted USB flashdrive minimum size 4GB. You can format it from your computer.

Boot the computer from the Multisystem DVD being sure to press F2 when the initial menu comes up and choose English at lower left then press the UP arrow key for English, followed by the Enter key, otherwise all the options will be in French. Once it’s started the screen will look something like this.

a) Move the open window to the right with the mouse by grabbing the black bar at the top.

Screenshot from 2016-01-22 17_30_21

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Start your computer from the DVD we downloaded in the last post. Don’t try and log in you’ll just confuse it. Wait until it settles down to the main screen like this (click the link).

Add a wifi network connection by clicking the connect button second from left at the lower r/h corner of the screen. It looks like this:-


Or better still plug in a network cable. Now we’re ready to go.

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Linux getting started – I

January 17th, 2016

Why Linux? Because it is free of charge, although Windows 7 evaluation version can be run for a long time without paying for it (click slmgr /rearm) and then simply reinstalled if that’s what you’d like to do instead.

Why Linux? Because it does not crash or freeze and rarely needs rebooting following installation of an update.

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Hardware Simulator

February 26th, 2009

If you download the software package from this page:-


you will find a folder in projects called “demo” which contains three Xor files. If you open the Hardware Simulator and direct it to the “demo” folder the Xor.hdl file will run without errors because it is using builtin chips as expected, because it cannot find any other implementations of And, Or and Not.