Tag Archives: Tools

Koala App All in one Less Sass Compass and CoffeeScript Companion

Recently I started using more and more sass in my workflow, but when I jumped on another workstation I had to go through the pain of setting up Ruby and Sass, etc. That is until I found Koala App. http://koala-app.com/

Its a click and drag GUI to all your favourite command line tools in one simple install-able package. Awesome!

So far I haven’t had any issues.


Spago BI Installation


Installing Spago BI.

  1. First install JDK and set 3 system paths:
    • JAVA_HOME: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk<version>
    • JRE_HOME: C:\Program Files\Java\jre<version>
    • Add to PATH: ;C:\Program Files (x86)\Java\jdk<version>\bin
  2. Now run the SpagoBI installer.
  3. Run SpagoBI from Start Menu
  4. Open up a browser and enjoy.

Here are some rough notes from installing Spago BI in a somewhat blind way. (I should have probably read the docs first.)

Installation Platform:

  • Windows Server 2003 R2 x64
  • 2gb ram
  • 2 vcpus
  • XenServer 6 as host.
  1. Download the SpagoBI 4.2 installer and unzip and run.
  2. Run installer, I ticked all the options (not sure that this was the best idea).
  3. Each package selected in Step 2 has to be individually downloaded, so it takes a while.
  4. Java needs to be installed. I grabbed the JDK from Ninite.
    But the System Path Variables also need to be put in place before Spago will run. (I used the Program Files (x86) folder in the paths below).

    • JAVA_HOME: C:\Program Files\Java\jdk<version>
    • JRE_HOME: C:\Program Files\Java\jre<version>
  5. After startup, open your browser at:
    http://localhost:8080/SpagoBISpagoBI login page will appair. Log yourself as:
    – biadmin/biadmin (technical user)
    – biuser/biuser (business or functional user)
    – bidemo/bidemo (showcase user)
  6. Nothing loaded for me. Trying a reboot.
  7. Reading the console output, I possibly shouldn’t have left everything ticked in step 2, now that it has to try and load them all.
    Finally it loaded and reported the following in the console:
    INFO: Server startup in 630557 ms (that’s 10.5 minutes!)
  8. Can’t connect to sample database, I found a “start.bat” file which complained about not having access to “JAVA”. Looks like I need to add JAVA bin folder to the System Path. Restarting Spago / Tomcat
  9. This time round, a second command prompt window has also opened loading the foodmart database.
  10. Demo now appears to be working.

Compiling PHP into an EXE along with additional command line arguments

Recently I was building a simple PHP script that took the input of a CSV and extracted the data from it and feed it into a JSON-RPC based API.

Originally I had planned to automate the FTP of the CSV to the server, but then I thought if I could take the PHP file to the CSV it might be easier. The other issue I had was that I didn’t want to setup a complete server just to run a single PHP file.

Enter PHC-WIN: http://wiki.swiftlytilting.com/Phc-win

phc-win appears to be one of the simplest options for converting a simple script into a simple exe file (although a handful of DLL files are required to make the exe file run).

After testing and experimenting with the compiler, I thought “wouldn’t it be great to be able to pass some additional command line arguments to the complied file (think the filename of the CSV file).”

Well it turns out that you can. The variable that sorts the additional arguments is the “$_SERVER[‘argv’] array.

A simple print_r($_SERVER[‘argv’]); command allows you to see all the arguments and the order that they are passed to the program. It appears that the first one (position 0) is always the name of the application.

Quick, simple and easy :).




How to download all the images in a web directory, using WGET

Sometimes you are faced with the issue of downloading an entire folder of images from a website and all you have is the apache directory listing.

You can download one of two ways.

1) Right click on each file individually and select download. But if you have more than about 10 images, this is annoying slow and painful.

2) Use some software to make it happen. I choose to use wget for this task, here’s how.


1) Install Cygwin in Windows, then when asked what packages to install, search for wget and tick that. Then press next and you’ll be asked to download and install some dependencies, click next and wait for it’s magic to happen.

2) When installed open up Cygwin terminal and issue the following command:

wget -rnp -N http://path.to.folder.with.images.com/path/goes/here

What that will do is download all the files that it can find under that directory and further down though the folders (the -r part). But it stops it from going backwards (the -np part) and finally, should you need to rerun the job later, the -N checks the timestamps so that you don’t have to download the entire directory again just for a couple of updated files.


Also, still no movement on the Google Nexus 4, but Kogan have released a new smartphone.

Standardized phone cap calculator

The other day I was trying to compare different phone caps across the multitude of carriers and I found the task quite daunting and difficult. The new price per unit or Standardized pricing that the supermarkets have been using is a great way to easily compare similar products. So I started thinking, why don’t we do the same for mobile phone plans? This would allow us, as customers to easily shop around and get the best deals, empowering us to make the best mobile phone plan choice that suits what we want and need.
And thus the phone cap comparing spreadsheet was born.
I now have 1 of my programmers working on turning it into something you can easily use on this site.
Watch this space over the coming weeks.

P.s I know the reason why this isn’t a popular thought, mobile phone companies like Telstra and Optus don’t want you to have the power to easily compare their plans.

Call us slow…but Hyper V Server is free…

Today we were researching VDIs in the office for a client and came across Hyper V server from Microsoft, after looking around it appears that it’s free. We are currently downloading it and will be testing it out over the course of the next week, along with CitrixXen Server and XenDesktop.

Do you have a favourite VDI or virtualization platform? Then be sure to let us know in the comments.

Microsoft Hyper V

Buy Cables in Bulk to save money [Tips]

Buy in bulk to save on computer cables.When working with computers you can almost never have enough cables. The main cables in use are

  • IEC Power cords (also known as Kettle Cords)
  • Power Boards
  • SATA drive cables
  • Molex to SATA power adaptors
  • VGA, DVI, HDMI video leads
  • USB cables

It’s rather annoying when starting on a project and you get held up because you don’t have the correct cable for the job. (You new mother board came with 2 SATA, and your trying to install 3 SATA devices). So by investing in a little bit of cash now you can save yourself time, effort and energy down the track.

I recently needed a couple of extra SATA cables for a job and some other upgrades. Instead of going to shop and buying them for $5 each I was able to pick up a bulk pack of 10 for under $7 online, with free shipping. That’s a saving of over $43, plus 1 hour of my time (remember time is worth more than gold these days) because I didn’t have to waste that 1 going to the shop.

Overkill Router for any small business (or advanced home user)

Small businesses generally have an IT budget of 0, but need the best performance that money can buy.

Most small businesses rely on their little modem/router/wireless access point combination plastic box to perform all the needed tools and utilities to get the internet around their network to all their uses. But sometimes there comes a day where the little router just doesn’t have the functions required for the expanding network. (Such as complex block lists, cache, VPN functions etc). But at the same time, any left over IT budget goes into upgrading staff machines, rather than the network infrastructure.

But you don’t have to pay a lot for these extra features. If you have an old machine lying around the office, the only major upgrade that you might have to do is spend $15 on a new PCI network card and 10 cents on a CD to turn that machine into a fully fledged Firewall/Router/Proxy Server/etc.

What we are doing is turning that old Windows 98 machine into a dedicated (i.e you can’t use it for anything else) firewall and router for your small business network.

Basically all you need is a copy of either of the following operating systems:

And a machine with 2 network cards.

*Endian calls itself a Unified Threat Management & Requires better hardware than the others listed. It can perform virus and spam scans on the data in real time as it passes though the firewall. Pretty cool ey.

Check out Episode 718 of Hak5 to see how they turned a few parts they had lying around (Motherboard with a Intel Atom processor, 2GB of ram, 250GB IDE harddrive, please note they do stress that what they are using is an overkill but the process is still the same. Ed Note: The current Firewall at the office here is a simple 133Mhz processor, with 32 mb of ram & a 3 GB hard drive, it runs 24/7 and serves upto 8 users, IPCop or Smoothwall can run on almost anything) into a dedicated router and firewall.

Once you have it setup, just plug it into your network between the modem and your switch and let it go.

Command Line Mounting and Unmounting drives/volumes – Windows

Today we came across an issue while working on a virtual server. We had created a virtual hard drive, attached it to the virtual Windows 2008 Server machine, added some files to it and wanted to unmount the virtual drive and then attach it to another virtual machine.

The virtual machine manager (XenCenter in this case) wouldn’t allow us to disconnect the drive, while the virtual guest OS was still using it.

A quick Google and we finally found this command:


Creates, deletes, or lists a volume mount point.

That’s exactly what we needed. Heres how to use it:

Creates, deletes, or lists a volume mount point.

MOUNTVOL [drive:]path VolumeName
MOUNTVOL [drive:]path /D
MOUNTVOL [drive:]path /L
MOUNTVOL [drive:]path /P

path        Specifies the existing NTFS directory where the mount
point will reside.
VolumeName  Specifies the volume name that is the target of the mount
/D          Removes the volume mount point from the specified directory.
/L          Lists the mounted volume name for the specified directory.
/P          Removes the volume mount point from the specified directory,
dismounts the volume, and makes the volume not mountable.
You can make the volume mountable again by creating a volume
mount point.
/R          Removes volume mount point directories and registry settings
for volumes that are no longer in the system.
/N          Disables automatic mounting of new volumes.
/E          Re-enables automatic mounting of new volumes.

To unmount the drive that was in use we just used:

mountvol E:\ /D

The E:\ drive was then released from Windows and this allowed us to use and mount the disk else where.