Archive for the ‘tech’ Category

Ubuntu: Feisty, Indeed!

Friday, March 23rd, 2007

The upcoming Ubuntu release is entitled Feisty Fawn, in keeping with the adjective-animal naming convention. I installed the current test release, herd 5, and although I’m reluctant to proclaim that it a drop-in replacement for the typical home user, I may begin using it as my default desktop OS. (more…)

REST Easy, Rails 1.2 is here

Tuesday, February 13th, 2007

Rails makes it easy to relate URL’s to their respective controller methods. If you want another action, just add the method to the controller and append the name to the controller URL. However, this controller-centric approach is a mixed blessing, because it lends itself to redundancy and extraneous methods. The recent Rails 1.2 release introduces RESTful facilities and a resource-centric URL structure that makes it easier to remove the junk and keep the CRUD. (more…)

Paint.NET 3.0 Released

Wednesday, January 31st, 2007

I was introduced to Paint.NET following the recent 3.0 release. Rather than try to compete with the likes of PhotoShop or Gimp, this open source program nails the “basics” with an interface whose simplicity belies it’s strength. (more…)

Translucent Tables with CSS

Monday, December 11th, 2006

An intranet site facelift recently called for a table with a translucent background. Firefox, my preferred browser, has supported PNG’s optional alpha channel for some time — a feature that assigns an opacity to each pixel, from fully transparent to fully opaque. A quick google search revealed that Internet Explorer has offered PNG alpha support since version 5.5, so I got started. (more…)

Rails Page Caching Explained

Saturday, December 2nd, 2006

Page caching is the simplest form of caching that Ruby on Rails offers. When invoked, page caching saves output to Rails’ public directory where it is subsequently served along with the other static pages. Of course this is advantageous for high traffic sites or pages that are slow to render. In most cases, page caching works without any config file editing. I, however, encountered a minor problem that prompted me to investigate this simple mechanism a bit further. (more…)

PowerShell: Windows Administration Evolved

Wednesday, November 15th, 2006

Yesterday Microsoft released their new command shell, Windows PowerShell (via Aaron Tiensivu). This next-generation shell offers an administrative environment that strives to replace a jumble of administrative commands with a consistent, extensible interface. (more…)

Welcome to the Zune ads

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Microsoft is taking a decidedly muted marketing approach with Zune, their potential iPod competitor. We’ve been inundated with ads for the incrementally improved iPod Nano and Shuffle, but there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent Zune campaign, despite the imminent November 14 release. Zune Insider offers a peek at some TV ads, and my opinion is mixed. (more…)

X-Box 360 Red Ring of Death

Tuesday, October 3rd, 2006

Console gamers like myself are largely insulated from problems that plague PC gamers. Just insert game, press power, and play. No specifications or tweaking to worry about, no drivers to upgrade, no crashing… Here, let me turn on the X-Box 360 and show you. Wait, what?! No, Dead Rising is not supposed to look like colorful HD noise! I’m sure it’s a fluke, I’ll just reset… Uh oh…… the pretty green lights around the power button have turned red and the 360 refuses to boot! (more…)

Microsoft Rocks, Dude!

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

When perusing Microsoft’s Coding4Fun community site I came across a blog entry from the VS Express Lead Project Manager describing the Made in [SQL Server] Express contest: “like American Idol, *you* get to choose who wins the Community Award! See below for more information on these fun, cool, and useful applications!”. Pop culture references? Contests? Get your XXTreme flair today, dude! Microsoft is clearly making an all-fronts Web2.0-enabled marketing push. Even the Word Team just started a blog! (more…)

Atomic Content vs. the B-Side

Wednesday, July 26th, 2006

Traditional media tends to offer package deals. Television networks, magazines, albums, … — each of them aggregates content in wholesale manner that, when done successfully, offers the consumer more than they want. But why should consumers pay for the excess bundled content that they don’t want? (more…)

Microsoft’s JPEG Killer?

Friday, May 26th, 2006

Microsoft’s new image format is poised to compete with JPEG. Windows Media Photo was announced yesterday at WinHEC 2006, along with a comparison that favored WMP over JPEG and JPEG 2000 at 24:1 compression. With any luck, WMP will succeed where JPEG 2000 failed. WM Photo support will be included in Windows Vista, and as an upgrade to Windows XP. (more…)

Dusting Off the Gmail Account

Wednesday, April 19th, 2006

I’ve had a Gmail account since September 2004, when invitations were fewer and farther between, but I never saw much benefit to an additional web mail service. Hotmail was sufficient (predominantly via hotwayd). I was also skeptical about Gmail’s copious storage space and it’s marketing implications. But today, as I consider a new ISP and primary email address, I see Gmail’s advantages vs. Hotmail. (more…)

WordPress Tagging

Tuesday, April 4th, 2006

Once I resolved some minor rewrite problems, Christine Davis’ brilliant plugin Ultimate Tag Warrior allowed me to add a tag cloud to my humble blog. I extended HJL’s workaround to fix problems I encountered with both tag feeds and traditional feeds. (more…)

Symlinks in Windows

Friday, March 31st, 2006

A:\File\by\Any\Other\Name would smell as sweet… Symbolic links have been a *NIX staple since the earliest iterations. Windows finally began supporting the concept with NTFS5, introduced in Windows NT4SP4 and included with Windows 2000. Unfortunately Windows built-in toolset is somewhat lacking, and there are a few gotchas. (more…)

TrackBacks, Pingbacks, and Backlinks, oh my

Thursday, March 30th, 2006

Back-links are the backbone of the blogosphere, allowing bidirectional linking that creates a web of conversation. Several standards exist, so how do they stack up? (more…)