September 27, 2005
10 Days as a Windows XP User: A GNU Perspective on Things

I do not consider Windows ready for the desktop. I found it difficult to use, buggy and lacking in security. I also found technical support lacking.

While Windows captured a significant portion of the desktop market, the product is clearly not a good fit for consumers who do not understand the risks associated with logging on to the Internet. The costs of providing aftermarket products can run higher than the price paid for the hardware.

September 24, 2005
45 Minutes to a Linux Terminal Server

With a Linux Terminal Server and thin-clients, a business can remove many of the costs associated with maintenance, support, and licensing of countless desktop PCs. Thanks to the exceptional efforts of the Linux Terminal Server Project members, such a switch is neither dramatic, nor painful.

September 23, 2005
Ajax for Java developers

The page-reload cycle presents one of the biggest usability obstacles in Web application development and is a serious challenge for Java™ developers. In this series, author Philip McCarthy introduces a groundbreaking approach to creating dynamic Web application experiences. Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML) is a programming technique that lets you combine Java technologies, XML, and JavaScript for Java-based Web applications that break the page-reload paradigm.

CSS Techniques Roundup - 20 CSS Tips & Tricks

I never cease to be amazed at what problems can be solved with pure CSS. Here are 20 CSS techniques, tips and tricks that you may find handy.

September 22, 2005
Slipstreaming Windows 2000

Newer version of Microsoft Windows Operating Systems (2000,XP,2003) have the ability to integrate Service Packs and HotFixes into the initial installation of the operating system. You can use this method to replace the original source files with updated Pack files before installing Windows. When the operating system is installed, the Service Pack and Hotfixes are installed automatically.

September 19, 2005
Bart's Preinstalled Environment (BartPE) bootable live windows CD/DVD

Bart's PE Builder helps you build a "BartPE" (Bart Preinstalled Environment) bootable Windows CD-Rom or DVD from the original Windows XP or Windows Server 2003 installation/setup CD, very suitable for PC maintenance tasks.

It will give you a complete Win32 environment with network support, a graphical user interface (800x600) and FAT/NTFS/CDFS filesystem support. Very handy for burn-in testing systems with no OS, rescuing files to a network share, virus scan and so on.
This will replace any Dos bootdisk in no time!

Bart's way to create bootable CD-Roms (for Windows/Dos)

You (the technical guy) can create and prepare the structure for bootable installation, diagnostics or other CDs. And anybody in your company (without any knowledge about CD burning) can create and maintain these CDs by adding or changing files when needed. He just has to start a batchfile and select "Build & burn" to create a CD.

September 13, 2005
mdadm: A New Tool For Linux Software RAID Management

raidtools has been the standard software RAID management package for Linux since the inception of the software RAID driver. Over the years, raidtools have proven cumbersome to use, mostly because they rely on a configuration file (/etc/raidtab) that is difficult to maintain, and partly because its features are limited. In August 2001, Neil Brown, a software engineer at the University of New South Wales and a kernel developer, released an alternative. His mdadm (multiple devices admin) package provides a simple, yet robust way to manage software arrays. mdadm is now at version 1.0.1 and has proved quite stable over its first year of development. There has been much positive response on the Linux-raid mailing list and mdadm is likely to become widespread in the future. This article assumes that you have at least some familiarity with software RAID on Linux and that you have had some exposure to the raidtools package.

September 02, 2005
The IE Factor

In reality, I've now calculated the IE Factor can add upwards of an additional 10% in time and cost for each project, distorting the estimating process if it's not figured in.

Hack-free CSS for IE

Jeffrey Zeldman reports that the CSS validator currently regards the Box Model Hack as invalid CSS.

I'm not going to get into a philosophical debate over whether the validator or Zeldman is correct. Instead I'm going to suggest that there is a better way than the box model hack if you want to use style definitions specifically for specific MSIE versions. A way that may make the IE Factor smaller.

Fixing position:fixed for Windows Internet Explorer

This is a hack to emulate the CSS 2 positioning scheme position:fixed for Windows Internet Explorer without active scripting (including dynamic properties, behaviors and whatnot).

About Conditional Comments (Internet Explorer - DHTML)

One of the most common operations performed in a Web page is to detect the browser type and version. Browser detection is performed to ensure that the content presented to the browser is compatible and renders correctly. The browser type can be detected using many different techniques. Most methods of browser detection make use of either server- or client-side script, and each have advantages and disadvantages. This article focuses on conditional comments, which offer an alternative to scripted browser detection. Conditional comments offer certain advantages over scripted browser detection techniques and are also easier to use.

Conditional comments have been available since Microsoft Internet Explorer 5, but their use is not restricted to Internet Explorer. Examples are given that show how conditional comments can be used to customize the content delivered to both uplevel and downlevel browsers. Conditional comments make it easy for developers to write pages that downgrade gracefully in less capable browsers, while making it easy to take advantage of the enhanced features and performance offered by Internet Explorer 5 and later versions.

Stuff you need to know when dealing with stupid browsers.