Entries in Category Administration

Link Love from MAKE, Others

Some of my projects have been drawing attention from Maker circles lately. I'm very excited that the Color Changing Doorbell was featured on the blog of my favorite magazine MAKE.

Also, a website called BuildLounge was kind enough to link to my serial-controlled fireworks igniter, under a category of "Explosions". Welcome, new visitors from these sites!

Fixing Subdomain Configuration on Mediatemple DV

I recently found myself having to make some php configuration changes which are specific to a particular subdomain on my Mediatemple DV web host, and found that yet another part of subdomain setup is mildly broken out-of-the-box. This is the sort of thing that most people who need it can probably figure out for themselves, but I'm posting the solution hoping someone will find it useful.

On my DV the domain specific apache configuration is located in /var/www/vhosts/domain-name/conf/, where domain-name is of course replaced by your actual domain name. In this directory you should find at least httpd.include, and possibly vhost.conf as well. If you open httpd.include you'll find the following alarming warning at the top:

The Cobbler's Children: Now with Shoes!

I'm sure that all three of my regular readers will notice the long-in-coming change now visible at eikimartinson.com. Most of my friends are probably sick of telling me what they think of innumerable design mock-ups, so I just went ahead and implemented one of my ideas, and I'm actually happy with the results. It's not too fancy, but I think it'll get the job done.

All the pages are valid XHTML and CSS, or they should be; if there are any exceptions to that, I'm interested to hear about them. That contact page, by the way, is a new feature; I've implemented a mailer form and script for purposes of spam protection. The site is composed according to the vertical rhythm concept (click the check box in the footer to see for yourself) with a new addition of my own—a bit of javascript to maintain the rhythm across images of any possible height.

Giving Subdomain FTP Users Shell Access on Mediatemple DV with Plesk

I recently created a subdomain on my Mediatemple DV service, but for various reasons, I wanted to have a separate user responsible for that subdomain, with FTP and shell access. The user can be created along with the subdomain in Plesk as normally. Unlike the creation of users associated with domains, however, there is no option in Plesk to give this subdomain user shell access.

Fixing it is trivial if you have root access. Just edit /etc/passwd, find the line that starts with the username you just created, then change the last field of that line from /bin/false to /bin/bash (or whatever shell you like). This will allow you to su to the subdomain user or login via SSH, as you prefer. Easy, I know, but I noticed the option wasn't present in Plesk and well, maybe this tip will be helpful to somebody else out there.

Comcast DNS Broken

I've been getting a few complaints about various sites not being accessible by Comcast users and discovered that quite a lot of domains are inexplicably not resolved by their DNS servers. Here is an extremely partial list, generated purely at random:

These are all popular blogs, and none of them work on Comcast's DNS. So I switched to OpenDNS, a free public dns service. You can sign up for an account, which gives you access to some features like porn-filtering and statistics on DNS usage. You don't have to have an account, however, you can just go ahead and start using the servers: and