Online Purchases Will Only Increase

Online purchases are going to increase tremendously in the next few years as access to the web becomes ubiquitous via smartphones, tablets and traditional desktop systems. Recent demographic studies show that online purchases is not for Generation Xers only. It’s also popular among middle-age groups, the 35 to 45 and 45 to 55 year old groups.

When we think of e-commerce, we often associate it with the largest online retailers like Amazon, eBay and Alibaba. These are companies that primarily sell online goods and services over the internet and via the browser. The online shops are often called e-shop, e-store, web-shop, web-store, online store, online storefront, or virtual store.

While Amazon tend to sell everything, others online stores such as Home Depot, Best Buy, Frys, Bed Bath and Beyond are much more specialized. Home Depot sells things you normally find in a hardware store. Frys and Best Buy sells electronics. Meanwhile, Bed Bath and Beyond sells only household items.

If that wasn’t specialized enough, you’ll find just about anything you want online. If you want kites, there’s Into The Wind. If you want costumes, there’s Pure Costumes. If you want jewelry, Fusion Beads has quite a variety of beads online.

The shopping workflow typically starts with consumers browsing the virtual storefront. They see a product that they want, and they add it to their online shopping cart. The shopping carts are usually powered by some shopping cart software installed in the storefront. Once the consumer is done shopping, the checkout process can then begin. Products are sometimes shipped for free, or for a nominal or standard fixed fee.

Online shoppers usually pay via credit card or a Paypal account. Others stores also accept more traditional types of payment methods such as checks, money orders, cash on delivery or COD, debit cards, even Bitcoins.

One of the advantages of shopping online is convenience. It’s perfect for buying products that you’re already familiar with, and you’re comfortable with, ordering it online with actually seeing it or trying it out. Another advantage is online reviews. You can read about a product and how it’s rated by others who’ve purchased it. Another advantage is price. Sometimes online prices are cheaper, plus most of the times there are no sales taxes to deal with.

There are disadvantages as well. Make sure you’re shopping with a reputable store. Make sure the online stores are practicing safe and secure policies.

Online purchases are only going to accelerate in the future, as better methods and ways to shop online will become a reality.

32GB Flash Drive

I picked up one of these at Frys Electronics the other week. It’s USB 2.0 32GB Flash drive for just $25. What a bargain! It’s not quite as fast as USB 3.0 drive, but it’s fast enough for what I’ll be doing, just copying media files from one computer to another. It’s small and compact. I’ve attached mine to my key ring holder. I forget it’s even there sometimes.
hpv165whand

Frys link

Purge Bloated Phone Apps

My two year commitment on phone is coming up in November. I’m about due for a phone upgrade. Six months ago, my phone started slowing down to a crawl. Not only that, I started exceeding my 300Mb limit. The extra fees was enough motivation for me to start uninstalling apps that were taking up CPU time and using large amounts of data. After purging the phone from the bloated apps, the phone went back to its old self. Lessons learned. Pay attention as to which app takes up CPU and data usage. Chances are, some of these apps can be accessed from your mobile browser.

Be careful when using Usermod

When adding an existing user to a group, be careful of using ‘usermod.’ If done incorrectly, you can remove a user from its existing groups. In my case, I used ‘usermod’ to add myself to the www-data group. Since I did it wrong, I lost ‘sudo’ access on the next reboot. I ended up booting up from a rescue CD and restoring /etc/groups. Thankfully, Ubuntu keeps a backup copy called /etc/groups-.

Wrong way:

sudo usermod -G www-data username

Correct way:

sudo usermod -a -G www-data username

Install Laravel 4.2 on Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS

I was having a little trouble getting Laravel installed on a newly installed Ubuntu 14.04 LTS server. I’ve decided to document the whole process in hopes that I’ll use the documentation to good use once again sometime in the future. Who knows, someone will benefit from reading this. I’m not the only one that will be doing a Laravel installation on Ubuntu.

If you need to install Ubuntu from scratch, I recommend that use install LAMP and SSH because you’ll need those services to support Laravel. PHP, MySQL, Apache and SSH would be installed for you right out of the gate. In addition, I recommend that you install PHPMyAdmin for database administration.

In Ubuntu, the default document root is /var/www/. Before starting, let’s make sure we got the correct permissions for Apache, and for the user (you). This is to prevent so you don’t run into issues with write permissions on the document root.

Permissions for /var/www/

# Set group to www-data
sudo chgrp www-data /var/www
# Make it writable for the group
sudo chmod 775 /var/www
# Set GID to www-data for all sub-folders
sudo chmod g+s /var/www
# Add your username to www-data group
sudo usermod -a -G www-data username
# Finally change ownership to username
sudo chown username /var/www/
# Your account shouldn't have any more permission issues

Let’s get the prerequisites taken care of before installing Laravel

Install Curl

sudo apt-get install php5-curl

Install Mycrypt

sudo apt-get install php5-mcrypt

Activate Mcrypt

# Create a symbolic link
sudo ln -s /etc/php5/mods-available/mcrypt.ini /etc/php5/conf.d/mcrypt.ini
# Enable extension
sudo php5enmod mcrypt
# Restart Apache
sudo service apache2 reload

Enable Mod-Rewrite

# enable rewrite
sudo a2enmod rewrite
# restart apache
sudo service apache restart

Set up your Apache virtual host

# Copy default Apache conf
sudo /etc/apache2/sites-available/000-default /etc/apache2/sites-available/laravel.conf
# Edit laravel.conf and change DocumentRoot to /var/www/laravel/public
sudo nano /etc/apache2/sites-available/laravel.conf
# Edit laravel.conf add the following and save.
DocumentRoot /var/www/laravel/public
<Directory /var/www/laravel/public>
 Options Indexes FollowSymLinks MultiViews
 Allow Override All
 Order allow,deny
 allow from all
</Directory>
# Reload Apache
sudo service apache2 reload
# Disable default Apache conf
sudo a2dissite 000-default.conf
# Enable laravel.conf
sudo a2ensite laravel.conf
# Reload Apache
sudo service apache reload

Install Via the Laravel Installer

I found the Laravel installer to be the easiest way to install Laravel. Easier than Composer and Git.

cd /var/www/
wget http://laravel.com/laravel.phar

Move it to /usr/local/bin

sudo mv laravel /usr/local/bin/laravel

Make it executable

sudo chmod +x /usr/local/bin/laravel

Install Laravel

# projects is the destination folder
cd /var/www/
laravel new projects

The cool thing about this example is, I didn’t need to change permissions to “app/storage” since the user has the correct permissions to /var/www. Access Laravel from the IP address of your Ubuntu Server. The IP address of your Ubuntu server should be set to static. The network config file is located in /etc/networking/interfaces.

Ubuntu Network Restart

Starting Ubuntu 14.04, you no longer can bounce the network using the following command:

sudo /etc/init.d/networking restart
sudo service networking restart

But, I managed to do this:

sudo ifdown eth0
sudo ifup eth0