Articles

Category Archive Articles

Turnkey Linux: 100+ Free ready-to-use software appliance solutions

Originally posted in March 2015

Turnkey GNU/Linux is a free Debian based library of system images that pre-integrates and polishes the best free software components into secure, easy to use solutions. http://www.turnkeylinux.org/ . ***The original content referenced throughout this article are the copyright of Untangle, and are used under fair use.

About Turnkey GNU/Linux

TurnKey was started in 2008 by Alon Swartz and Liraz Siri who were inspired by a belief in the democratizing power of free software, like science, to promote the progress of a free & humane society. Without the freedom to freely distribute, tinker and learn from free software the Internet as we know it would not exist. Free software is the silent, often invisible power behind the greatest technological marvel of our era.

Debian, the largest GNU/Linux distribution has over 37,500 packages in its software repositories. The free software movement has collectively created a treasure trove of software that anyone is free to use, distribute, modify and learn from. In essence, it is the original app store!

Unfortunately, much of this treasure is locked away because too few know about it and even fewer have the skills to take full advantage of it. Imagine how much good we could do if changed that.

Discovering, configuring and testing combinations of components can be notoriously challenging, time consuming and inefficient, especially if everyone keeps reinventing the wheel by rolling their own solutions.

To maximize the amount of good we can do with the resources we have we’ve created a simple yet powerful Linux distribution development toolkit that makes it easy to create pre-assembled solutions that can be deployed in just a few minutes from a CD image running on bare metal, a virtual appliance running on a virtual appliance, or a cloud instance controlled from your browser.

Turnkey Linux has been featured in Magazines such as Linux Journal, Information Week and InfoWorld.

Benefits of Turnkey Linux Solutions

  • 100+ ready-to-use solutions: discover and leverage the best free software. Deploy solutions quickly on bare metal, virtual machines, or in the cloud.
  • Free for long term use: free software with full source code and a powerful build system. Free of hidden backdoors, free from restrictive licensing and free to learn from, modify and distribute.
  • Secure and easy to maintain: auto-updated daily with latest security patches.
  • It just works: designed for ease of use, built and tested collaboratively by the community.
  • Backup and migration: built-in backup software saves changes to files, databases. Encrypted storage to protect server data and the ability to automatically restore servers from backup.
  • Based on Debian 7.2 (“Wheezy”): with automatic security updates for over 37,500 packages.
  • TurnKey GNU/Linux is licensed under the same terms as Debian. In other words, you are free to download, use, distribute and modify any solution or component for any purpose.
  • Easy to use: includes a web management interface, web shell, and simple configuration console (screenshots).
  • Lightweight (starting from 150MB): each solution is carefully built from the ground up with the minimum components needed to serve its role with maximum efficiency and security.
  • Assured integrity: solutions are built from verifiably unmodified Debian binaries, except for a few custom components for which full source code is available. Releases are cryptographically signed.
  • Turkey Linux pre-assembled software appliances work successfully in multiple Virtual environments such as VMWare, VirtualBox, SWSoft Parallels and Xen.

The 100+ Turnkey pre-assembled software appliances feature products which can be used for many of the services such as…

  1. Network Infrastructure Management (Domain Controller, OpenLDAP, File Server, OpenVPN)
  2. Website Content Management (Joomla 2.5, Drupal 7, WordPress)
  3. Website Shopping Management (Zen Cart, OsCommerce, Tomato cart)
  4. Support Ticketing Systems (OTRS, Sit!)
  5. Project Management
  6. CRM
  7. ERP and much more.

Linux provides the option to obtain and use free software for the purposes of supplementing or replacing specific business functions. An internal Linux expert is recommended to manage those systems.

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

Canadian DRAM Class Action Settlement: Claim a minimum of $20 back

Originally posted at www.triella.com in March 2015

Did you purchase an electronic device with DRAM between 1999 and 2002? If so, then you paid too much! Go to https://www.themoneyismine.ca/

 

What is DRAM and who can get money from the settlements?

Dynamic random access memory (DRAM) is a form of computer memory that is contained in computers and many other electronic devices.

You (individuals, businesses and governmental entities) can get money from the settlements if you bought DRAM or electronic devices containing DRAM between April 1, 1999 and June 30, 2002. Products that qualify include:

 

  • computers (laptops or desktops)
  • printers
  • memory modules
  • graphics cards
  • video game consoles
  • DVD players
  • personal digital assistants (PDAs)
  • MP3 players
  • personal video recorder (PVR)/TiVo/digital video recorders
  • servers
  • computer based point of sale systems
  • all other products that contain DRAM

 

Show me the money!

You can apply for money by completing an online form.

The simplified claim takes less than 3 minutes to complete!

You must complete the form by June 23, 2015

Everyone who qualifies will receive at least $20 (no receipt required), and possibly more (receipts required) depending on the quantity of electronic devices containing DRAM purchased.

If you bought DRAM or electronic devices containing DRAM for manufacturing purposes, resale or purposes other than personal use, you may receive much more depending on the amount you purchased and your position in the distribution chain.

Claim Deadline

At the time of writing this article there was less than 90 days left to claim your portion of this action. Again, all claims must be filed no later than June 23rd, 2015.

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

 

Oracle’s VirtualBox: Free Enterprise Class virtualization Software

Originally posted on www.triella.com in March 2015

VirtualBox is a general-purpose full virtualizer for x86 & x64 hardware, targeted at server, desktop and embedded use. https://www.virtualbox.org

Editors Note: This article is technical and geared towards enthusiasts interesting in learning and using virtualization technology.

The History of VirtualBox

VirtualBox was initially offered by Innotek GmbH from Weinstadt, Germany under a proprietary software license, making one version of the product available at no cost for personal or evaluation use, subject to the VirtualBox Personal Use and Evaluation License (PUEL). In January 2007, based on counsel by LiSoG, Innotek GmbH released VirtualBox Open Source Edition (OSE) as free and open-source software, subject to the requirements of the GNU General Public License (GPL), version 2.

Innotek GmbH also contributed to the development of OS/2 and Linux support in virtualization and OS/2 ports of products from Connectix which were later acquired by Microsoft. Specifically, Innotek developed the “additions” code in both Microsoft Virtual PC and Microsoft Virtual Server, which enables various host-guest OS interactions like shared clipboards or dynamic viewport resizing.

Sun Microsystems acquired Innotek in February 2008.

Oracle Corporation acquired Sun in January 2010 and re-branded the product as “Oracle VM VirtualBox”.

What is VirtualBox?

VirtualBox is a powerful x86 and AMD64/Intel64 virtualization product for enterprise as well as home use. Not only is VirtualBox an extremely feature rich, high performance product for enterprise customers, it is also the only professional solution that is freely available as Open Source Software under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL) version

Presently, VirtualBox runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh, and Solaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4, 2.6 and 3.x), Solaris and OpenSolaris, OS/2, and OpenBSD.

VirtualBox is being actively developed with frequent releases and has an ever growing list of features, supported guest operating systems and platforms it runs on. VirtualBox is a community effort backed by a dedicated company: everyone is encouraged to contribute while Oracle ensures the product always meets professional quality criteria.

What Host hardware requirements are needed to run VirtualBox?

  • Reasonably powerful x86 hardware. Any recent Intel or AMD processor should do.
  • Memory. Depending on what guest operating systems you want to run, you will need at least 512 MB of RAM (but probably more, and the more the better). Basically, you will need whatever your host operating system needs to run comfortably, plus the amount that the guest operating system needs. So, if you want to run Windows XP on Windows XP, you probably won’t enjoy the experience much with less than 1 GB of RAM. If you want to try out Windows Vista in a guest, it will refuse to install if it is given less than 512 MB RAM, so you’ll need that for the guest alone, plus the memory your operating system normally needs.
  • Hard disk space. While VirtualBox itself is very lean (a typical installation will only need about 30 MB of hard disk space), the virtual machines will require fairly huge files on disk to represent their own hard disk storage. So, to install Windows XP, for example, you will need a file that will easily grow to several GB in size.
  • A supported host operating system. Presently, it supports Windows (XP and later), many Linux distributions, Mac OS X, Solaris and OpenSolaris.
  • A supported guest operating system.

Sample Settings Screen Shots

For a thorough introduction to virtualization and VirtualBox, please refer to the online version of the VirtualBox User Manual’s first chapter. This can be found at https://www.virtualbox.org/manual/ch01.html.

* For the original posting of this Article please visit Triella Corp at

http://www.triella.com/publications/index.php/blog/

 

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

 

Square Inc.’s Mobile Card Payment Reader for Tablets and Smartphones

Originally posted at www.triella.com in February 2015

This article introduces and discusses this rather new technology that is certain to make an impact with mobile small businesses, and independent service professionals.

Square Inc. started in the U.S.A. in 2009, and arrived in Canada in October 2012 where Canada’s strong small-business population and payments innovation made it a natural choice as Square’s first international market. Square’s presence in Canada also includes an engineering office in Waterloo. The Square Inc. website for Canada can be found at https://squareup.com/ca

THE MOBILE CREDIT CARD READER

Square Inc is continuing to develop more products, but the current offering that is making the most buzz is their Mobile Card Reader. https://squareup.com/ca/reader

This little Credit Card Reader is extremely small and plugs into the headphone jack on any Apple Iphone & IPad, or any Android smartphone or tablet.

Accept credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, Discover & American Express) anywhere, as long as you have an internet connection.

Card payment information is immediately encrypted the moment a card is swiped and no information is stored directly on the device. It meets the industry standards for PCI DSS security.

There are no upfront costs to the Square Business Partners. All payment swipes are processed at a 2.75% fee, and payments are deposited into your business bank account next day.

As long as you are a Business, sign up for free. Provide your shipping address online and Square will send you a free card reader. Alternatively, you can pick one up at your local BestBuy, Apple Store, Shoppers Drug Mart, Home Depot or Amazon.  You can also request free signage to use at your place of business.

THE REGISTER APP

The Square Register App is free to download on Apple IOS or Android’s Google Play.

Square Register gives you everything you need in one free point-of-sale app.  Free app updates keep you equipped with the latest features.

  • Apply discounts and taxes.
  • Enable staff to collect payments on your behalf.
  • Send receipts via email or text message, or print them out.
  • Issue partial or full refunds.
  • Print or email sales reports.
  • Get paid faster with online invoicing.

It even allows businesses to capture customer signatures at the time of payment, by having them simply sign on the tablet or smartphones touchscreen.

If you are a mobile small business, Independent service contractor, or a professional Consultant, looking for an inexpensive way to accept credit cards and help you compete with the bigger players, this maybe the answer you have been looking for. Sign up is free, the reader is free, and the App is free.  This is going to be the future of Credit Card Processing for Businesses and the future is here today!

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2015 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

 

Microsoft Xbox One:  2014 Holiday Gift’s Tech Review

Originally posted at www.triella.com in December 2014

The XBOX ONE makes a great give for gamers and non-gamers alike.

PS4 or XBOX One?  You can’t really make a bad choice.

To help you decide which console to gift, have a look at this video.  Note that the Kinect sensor is now optional with the XBOX One and the price without the Kinect is the same as the PS4.

The main differences between the two consoles are:

  • You can connect Cable TV to the XBOX One so that TV can be viewed using the unit.
  • The PS4 has a faster graphical processing unit.
  • The PS4 has a smaller form factor.
  • The XBOX One has the Kinect sensor which allow full voice and the motion of you body to control game play and interaction with the console.
  • There are unique game titles exclusive to either platform.

SYSTEM HARDWARE SPECIFICATIONS (The Beast Beneath)

The XBOX ONE has phenomenal hardware, but nothing that really sets it apart from its main competitor the Sony PlayStation 4.  Both devices will likely perform the same given the XBOX’s cache and higher CPU speed assisting where the PS4 has a faster GPU.

XBOX One PS4
GPU 1.31Tflops 1.84Tflops
CPU 8 Core, 1.75GHz 8 Core, 1.6GHz
Memory 8GB, DDR3 8GB, DDR5
Cache memory 32MB 0MB
Optical Blu-ray Blu-ray
Bluetooth No Yes

 

THE FEATURES

  • Play Blu-Ray movies
  • Play Music
  • Stream digital content such as movies through NetFlix and a variety of other services.
  • Content can be launched immediately during download.
  • Kinect 2 Motion Control Sensor for a more immersive experience.
  • SmartGlass App for use on Android, iOS, and Windows Phone and Windows 8, which allows these devices to be used as second Screens for the XBOX One.
  • There is also video Skype and Party Chat.
  • Watch TV.

It’s really difficult to separate the XBOX One from the PS4.  Anyone purchasing an XBOX ONE will be very happy with their purchase.

 

How much is it and where can I get it?

Fans of the XBOX One can find them at most retailers or online for the holiday season starting from around $399 CDN and up, depending on the bundle chosen.

December 25th is coming up fast, so go out there and get them while they are hot, and still available!

Happy Holidays!

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2014/15 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm

 

Sony PlayStation 4: 2014 Holiday Gift’s Tech Review

Originally Posted at www.triella.com in December 2014

Gaming, Social, Music and networking are all part of the appeal of PlayStation 4.

First, My Gamer Background

To give you a brief background of who this article is coming from and why I feel qualified to write about it. I am a 42 year old father of four children ranging from ages 2 to 16 years old.
I was a gamer at a very early age, and I grew up with a younger gamer brother as well. The very first computer I had ever played a game on was the original Apple Macintosh Computer. (Black and green Display, oh yeah!) Our very first home gaming system was the Atari 2600. (Wow there are more colors then black and green? Awesome!) I spent most of my childhood in the gaming arcades after school, and I have probably owned every home gaming system ever made. I was one of the first Canadians to actually order the 3DFX gaming video card for desktop computers when it was first launched in the USA, and began the 3D computer gaming revolution. So I have a good 30+ years of gaming experience behind me. Don’t ask me how much I spent on my gaming addiction over the years; I cringe to even hazard a guess now. Probably the cost of a new car, I imagine. Currently, my brother, my oldest Son and I are all the proud owners of the Sony PlayStation 3, it seems gaming may run in the blood. It may be time for an upgrade very soon.

I don’t actually own a Sony PS4 – yet. Let me just say that, I am very detail oriented when it comes to my gaming experiences and visual quality is a big thing for me, that being said I’ll admit I am a little biased and just struck by the PS4 technical specification which, in my opinion, blow everything else up to date out of the water (Sorry Xbox, no hard feelings). I will admit, what made a gaming system great 10 or 20 years ago does not exactly apply today; it’s an entirely different ball game now, we are on a whole different level.

Hardware Technical Specifications Summary

The Sony PS4 boasts a main processing unit utilizing an 8-core AMD x86-64 Jaguar 1.6Ghz CPU, and AMD Radeon Next Engine GPU capable of 1.84 TFLOPS. It has 8GB of GDDR5 memory, and Built-in 500GB hard drive, an optical drive that combines a 6x Blu-ray & 8x DVD reader. Super-Speed USB 3.0 connections, Data Communication utilizing up to 1000Base-T (Gigabit 1000 Mbps) Ethernet, up to IEEE 802.11N (Wifi N 300Mbps), and Bluetooth 2.1. The audio video outputs are HDMI and Digital Optical. For a techy like me these specs represent breath taking power. It’s like that supersonic luxury sports car that one can only dream of ever owning. Awesome! To everyone else, the experience will speak for itself, and when you hear everyone else saying “Wow!”, you will know what I mean. This is going to change everything, mark my words.

The Features Summary…

The Sony PlayStation 4 is an awesome Home Video Game Console, but is also much more. There are far too many new features to list here, such as Live Broadcasting, and Share Play, to name a few.
Once again like the PS3, you can play Blu-Ray movies, which was absent on the Xbox 360. Play Music and Stream digital content such as movies. (Yes, Netflix fans, that and so much more)
It has the ability to learn what your preferences are such as your likes and dislikes and customize your content accordingly.

You can play downloadable content such as games, while they are downloading, so you don’t need to wait until the downloading is completed before enjoying your media.
It can be paired up with the Sony PSVita to unlock and enhance the entire experience between the two systems.

There is now a Sony PlayStation App for Smartphones and Tablets that allows your devices to become second screens for your PS4, allowing them to view in game items, make purchases and downloads directly to the PS4 from the PlayStation Network.

The DualShock 4 wireless controller also has an integrated Touch pad to take system interaction to a whole new level. There is even a share button to allow for media sharing now.
Use of a Camera and microphone allow not only for in game multiplayer chat, and Video Chat outside of games, but will also allow for voice control of the PS4 interface.

A welcome new feature is the ability to multitask applications, so while you are playing a game you don’t need to exit the game to use the Internet browser, which was the case on the PS3.

The PS4 web browser is far more compatible than its predecessor on the PS3. It is compatible with HTML5, and uses the same Webkit core as Google Chrome and Apple Safari.

How much is it? Where can I get it?

Finally, it’s been just over a year since the Sony PS4 was launched and this holiday season many retailers and selling a basic bundled PS4 with one game (The Last of Us) for around $450 CDN, but there are a few retailers offering additional free games, usually one or two titles at no extra cost, and considering these games sell for around $70 each, that is a very good deal, and with the holiday’s fast approaching these deals will be in limited supply and won’t last long. So get out there and snap up this little treasure as soon as you can, before it’s too late.

Paul Comtois is a Client Support Specialist at Triella, a technology consulting company specializing in providing technology audits, planning advice, project management and other CIO-related services to small and medium sized firms. Paul can be reached at 647.426.1004. For additional articles, go to www.triella.com/publications. Triella is a VMware Professional Partner, Microsoft Certified Partner, Citrix Solution Advisor – Silver, Dell Preferred Partner, Authorized Worldox Reseller and a Kaspersky Reseller.

© 2014/15 by Triella Corp. All rights reserved. Reproduction with credit is permitted.

 

All my Articles can also be found on linkedIn at…

Under my profile https://ca.linkedin.com/in/pcomtois at 

https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/0_2d-_Qoz43qmUS-7EMrVVh9?trk=prof-sm