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HTMLfixIT Archive for June, 2007




Friday, June 15th, 2007 by Franki

If I’ve come across a free tool online lately that I wish I’d written myself, it is this one. I was called upon recently to put a video online and embedded in a web page for a client so they could advertise it, and I needed to get it done ASAP. I was about to start hand writing code when I thought, ‘no I’ll give Google a chance first’ which I find myself doing allot nowadays. So anyway, I did a bit of searching and found this extremely well thought out and implemented online tool.

I’m still annoyed that I didn’t do this myself as I imagine it would be very popular and not that hard to knock together. The tool is called Embedded Media HTML Generator and it’s on the website of the University of California. You simply choose the format of the video you want to embed (from Flash, Quicktime, Real Media or Windows Media Video), you fill out the form detailing file names and locations as well as any optional settings and hit submit. You will then be presented with a heap of HTML code that can be inserted directly into your web page. Simple, easy and elegant. The only options they don’t provide are for choosing XHTML transitional or strict, but that’s easy enough to do by hand.

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Thursday, June 14th, 2007 by Franki

IT news has recently talked about how the Opera House and Sydney’s Museum of Contemporary Art websites were both compromised and how these sites were then trying to download malware programs onto readers computers. However I’ve not seen it mentioned anywhere that both of these high profile sites were running Windows server 2003 at the time. (see here and here.)

If these sites were compromised because they were not up to date with all current patches, then we simply cannot just blame the hackers/crackers for the problem. History has shown us time and time again that an unpatched Windows server will be hacked before long. That goes for any server OS really, but Windows especially.

I’ve been looking at stopbadware.org to see if they had some method of determining which sites were running Windows server, or at least some method of searching by country so I could write a script to do it myself but thus far I’ve been unsuccessful. If that changes I’ll be sure to let you all know.

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Wednesday, June 13th, 2007 by Franki

In a normal week, I probably try somewhere between 5 and 10 different programs for one reason or another. Once of the programs I tried this week is Eraser, mostly because it is GPL (Open Source Software) and is totally free. Recently I was called upon to recover sales data from a ex staff members laptop as said staff member decided that the company in question really didn’t need their sales data and deleted the lot (along with about 2500 emails) before returning the laptop.

What led me to Eraser, was the ease with which I recovered all the data. Sure it was time consuming, but in one evening, I’d recovered nearly all the data, and all the deleted emails from Thunderbird. (I’d have gotten all the data, but the laptop had been used for a couple of days and rebooted about a dozen times, so some of it had been overwritten).

Anyway, onto the theory. When data is deleted and emptied from the recycle bin, it isn’t really deleted at all, only its index is removed, the data itself is not changed. Think of it like a map book, the pages of maps themselves are the data and the index is the list of what data is in what place. Removing an entry from the index doesn’t remove the map, you just can’t find it anymore. Same with deleted data. The big difference is that once an area is cleaned from the index of a hard drive, the area in question is allocated as free space meaning it can be over written the next time some free space is need. As long as the data hasn’t been overwritten, it is usually recoverable. Anyway, the ease with which the data was recovered made me think about ways of making it harder, cheap ways at that. 30 seconds of Googling later and I was looking at Eraser. As a test, I put a heap of files between 20 and 700 mb onto a 120 gig hard drive. Then I completely deleted the lot and used Freeundelete (another great little free program) to recover the lot. I was not using this drive as my main system drive and had not added any new data so the recovery was 100% successful. Following that, I deleted the lot again, and ran Eraser on that drive to delete (overwrite) the deleted files and tried to recover them again. this time I was completely unsuccessful, I got nothing usable from the recovery at all. That is to say that Eraser did exactly that it was written for, it made recovering the data next to impossible. It is possible that some experts using much lower level tools could recover small parts of the deleted data, but for all intents and purposes, it’s gone for good.

Eraser is surprisingly easy to use for an OSS program. It works in a schedule type arrangement where you create tasks and then “run” them. So I created a new task, (in this case to erase all free space on drive D), then I right clicked on the task and selected run and off it went. About 4.5 hours later it told me my drives free space was clean. This probably wouldn’t be the NSA’s chosen program for covering their tacks, but for the vast majority, it’s more than enough (wouldn’t hurt to defrag the drive afterwards either).
It never hurts to cover your tracks, even if you are not doing anything questionable, if you don’t like the idea of someone going though your machine, make it harder. Besides, the price of Eraser is right (free), and it takes next to no space or time to use so why not? I give it at 9 out of 10 for doing perfectly, exactly what it is supposed to and nothing more. Small, fast and tidy.

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Monday, June 11th, 2007 by Franki

Apple has announced that they are releasing a version of the Safari web browser for Windows. Apple say that Safari for Windows is twice as fast as Internet Explorer (is that saying much?) and that a beta release is available for XP and Vista.

It will be interesting to see if the Windows and Mac versions render the same (unlike MS IE on Windows and Mac). Also interesting is the fact that Safari’s rendering engine is in part based on KHTML the Linux/*nix GUI, which will hopefully help raise the status of Open Source code even more.

Many people (myself included) were not terribly impressed with the layout of Windows Itunes, hopefully Safari will be a more intuitive experience. If we (as web developers) are really lucky, Safari will end up with 25% market share (who knows, perhaps the Iphone will drive that since it comes with Safari.) and the rest is divided between Firefox, IE and Opera. That way it will be impossible for any one browser to drive developers away from W3C standards ever again.

See Apple/Safari for more details.

1 Comment »

Monday, June 11th, 2007 by Don

This article discusses the ethics of blogging for medical professionals. What should the rules be? If you purport to be anonymous?

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Monday, June 11th, 2007 by Don

I have been trying to explain to someone the concept of designing with grids and using column widths that are friendly to the human eye. If you make your columns too wide, the eye cannot scan back to the left and keep it’s horizontal point of reference. I happened onto a nice little utility that will help you design column widths today. I also noticed that he had a great little idea on his comment form … a click off that you aren’t sending spam. Of course the spam bots will miss that and thus be relegated to spam. Good thinking x 2.

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Tuesday, June 5th, 2007 by Franki

Most of the work I do involves a text editor, be it HTML/JS/PHP/Perl or something else, a text editor is usually an essential part of the process.
Up until now I’ve only used Textpad, mostly because it was what I knew rather than for any specific reason. After using Notepad++ for a while, I’ve decided to start using it as my regular text editor. Not because it’s better than Textpad, but rather because it’s good in its own right and is free Open Source community developed software released under the GPL.

Notepad++ has all the basics covered like multiple language syntax highlighting, auto completion, document tabs, regex engine, integration with external tools, macros, zoom and more. Not only that, but the layout is intuitive and you don’t need to spend ages getting used to it. All in all an excellent freebie. It does a couple of things I’m not sure I like. but nearly everything is configurable via the inbuilt configuration settings.

Give it a shot, you may find that you need not spend money to get the features you require.

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  Time  in  Don's  part  of the world is:   October 22, 2017, 5:20 pm
  Time in Franki's part of the world is:   October 23, 2017, 6:20 am
  Don't worry neither one sleeps very long!



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HTMLfixIT Site Stats.

Browser Statistics
Internet Explorer 85.88%
IE 717.63%
IE 62.3%
IE 50.00%
IE other8.6%
Moz Firefox 3.x3.03%
Moz Firefox 2.x0.18%
Moz Firefox 0.x/1.x26.65%
Netscape 8.x0.00%
NS 6+/Mozilla2.73%
Moz Seamonkey0.00%
K-meleon0.00%
Epiphany0.00%
Netscape 4.x0.00%
Opera 9.x0.00%
Opera 8.x0.00%
Opera 7.x0.42%
Opera 6.x0.00%
Opera other0.42%
Safari Mac/Intel5.21%
Safari Mac/PPC0.06%
Safari Windows25.2%
Google Chrome1.51%
Konqueror0.18%
Galeon0.00%
WebTV0.00%


Resolution Statistics
640 x 4800.25%
800 x 60026.14%
1024 x 76836.55%
1152 x 8640.25%
1280 x 80011.68%
1280 x 8540.00%
1280 x 102417.01%
1400 x 10500.00%
1600 x 12001.02%
1920 x 12007.11%
2560 x 10240.00%


OS Statistics
Windows 741.55%
Windows Vista2.4%
Windows 20033.91%
Windows XP20.86%
Windows 20000.36%
Windows NT40.05%
Windows 98/ME0.05%
Windows 950.00%
Linux/UNIX/BSD8.76%
Mac OSX8.03%
Mac Classic0.00%
Misc14.03%



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