Monthly Archives: October 2007

Use Firefox People


Download Firefox Now!

If you haven’t already… Download the lastest version of Mozilla’a Firefox Web Browser… NOW!!! There are many reasons why you should use it, but by far the best reason is: IT IS SO MUCH FASTER. Along with the speed, it is safer to use, you can extend it, and change its looks using themes. Trust me you’ll notice a difference. What are my suggested extensions?

For the average Jane/Joe: Adblock, Adblock FilterSet.G, PopupSound, Stop AutoPlay, & Vista-Aero

For the developer in you: FireFTP, Web Developer, & Firebug

Code Commenting

I recently took full control of a clients website.  And as I was doing a few requested changes, I kept running into coding difficulties.  My main problem was that I had to spend a substantial amount of time figuring out what was changed for what reason.  If not do it for the next webmaster :), do it for yourself… comment on your coding. A nicely documented page of code will always be read twice as fast!

Useful information

By default the osCommerce team have put some very useful information regarding your shop’s order on the admin index page (no longer used in osCommerce RC1)…

os_useful_1.gif

But once we pass this page, that useful information is gone. So I did a little editing… the end result is everywhere within a shop’s admin section you’ll have access to that information…

os_useful_2.gif

The modification is very simple. It is now a contribution on the osCommerce website, here.

Alexa Ranking

I have been evaluating Noteful.COM’s Alexa Ranking and notice that it changes drastically from time to time.  Why is this happening?

My professional guess… It is because very few people actually install the Alexa Toolbar.  How do I know this?  Remember… I am a system administrator.  I have seen my share of “other people’s” systems.  People generally use the default MS IE without any addon toolbars.  For more savvy people, they use FireFox which doesn’t support Alexa.

My current opinion of Alexa is if Amazon (Alexa parent company) doesn’t do something to get more people caught onto it’s Ranking System soon it will be too late.

ASP.net Paging

So, the users of a certain website of mine have been requesting that I add paging to one of my controls. I initially didn’t want to do it, not because I couldn’t do it. But because the control didn’t really call for it. But they are my users, without them the site wouldn’t be there right? So I went ahead with it. Its been a while since I used any paging code, so I was refreshed after reviewing ASP.net paging webcontrols:

System.Web.UI.WebControls.PagedDataSource

What we have to do for us to paging through our data vs. displaying all of it at once? We simply inject the paging into our data before displaying it. In my case, I am using a repeater:

'get the data
Dim myData As System.Collections.ArrayList
myData = ** myStoredProcedure **
'ensure there is data to work with
If myData .Count > 0 Then
'create a new instance of PagedDataSource
myPagedDataSource = New System.Web.UI.WebControls.PagedDataSource
'set my pagin preferences
myPagedDataSource.DataSource = myData
myPagedDataSource.AllowPaging = True
myPagedDataSource.PageSize = 5
myPagedDataSource.CurrentPageIndex = myCurrentPageIndex
'then finally bind the data to my repeater
myRepeater.DataSource = myPagedDataSource
myRepeater.DataBind()
End If

Quite simple to use. Knowing that the webcontrol is there really is the hard part of it all.

Cheap Linux Hosting

Below are my recommendations for cheap reasonable, reliable website hosts:

Lunarpages.com
+ Affordable Plans ($6.95 monthly)
+ Decent Support
+ Linux and Windows Hosting ($8.95 monthly)
++ (10) Free Addon Domains
++ WHM (web hosting manager)

Siteground.com
++ Affordable Plans ($5.95 monthly)
++ Excellent Support
– Linux Only Hosting
– – Only (1) Domain

Hostgator.com
+ Affordable Plans ($6.95 monthly)
+ Decent Support
– Linux Only Hosting
++ Good Reseller Plans
++ WHM (web hosting manager)

Godaddy.com
++ Dirty Cheap Hosting ($3.99 monthly)
– – Poor Service
– No cPanel
++ Up-to-date Software

Please note that it really depends on what your goals are and what you need your site to do. Give me a ring if you can’t decide or need help.

Your System Optimized

If you are reading this, it mostly means that your system was worked on by yours truly. For my time and work, I ask that you donate a small contribution to my “tech toys” fund. 🙂

Let me point out that the mentioned fund is and will always be short of proper funding. 🙁 So, please click on the button below to help me out!

 

System Recovery

The perfect Microsoft setup? Is there such a thing? Yes, if you plan ahead of time for disaster. What am I talking about? System recovery is today’s topic.

The best way to prepare for a failing system is to separate the “system” and “storage”. Why? With the system and storage separated, we can do anything to the system and at the same time preserve our stored data. I have been SEPARATING the two for a while for all friends and family members that have totally missed up their systems. Does the system have to be totally wiped? No, that’s about the only time users will seek help. The process is pretty simple but very effective:

Separation in Bios – here we make to physical partitions out of one hard-drive

  1. Boot from you favorite OS CD, mostly a Microsoft OS
  2. Wipe out the whole hard-drive
  3. Create 2 or more partitions, the first partition should be C: and at least 10GB (more if you have a bigger HD)
  4. Install the OS on that partition

Separation in OS – here we make use of the second partition

  1. After everything is done, login into OS
  2. Open “My Computer”, right click C: drive, rename it to “System”
  3. Right click to rename the other drive to “Storage”… you may have to format it
  4. Exit everything, right click “My Documents” properties
  5. Click on “Move To”
  6. Browse to your “Storage” drive/partition, make a folder, select it

That’s about it. What we did was first made to partitions, on for the operating system and one for storage. Just in case the OS needs to be fixed. With there being a drive just for the OS, if needed it can be wiped without messing with the personal data.

But for all this to work, the user MUST NOT save any important data on the C: drive. Thanks to Microsoft’s design, personal data is sent is mostly sent to “My Documents”, which we move to the “Storage” partition.

We can go further by cloning our “System” partition, but that’s other article.

DNN Installs

Installing DNN on shared hosting as always been a hard task. And to think I’d have it down by now. I at least remember by heart the basics:

  1. Download the software from the DNN site
  2. Upload the files to the shared hosting
  3. Ensure permissions for the ASP.net user are correct
  4. Setup the database and user
  5. Config the webconfig, ie. enter in the DB connection data/string
  6. Go to browser, invoke install @ http://mydomain.com/install
  7. Change admin and host passwords

Thats is normally it, unless you run into permissions problems; which is often on shared hosting servers.

But while trying to setup my Freedotnetnukeskins.com on Lunarpages.com servers, we (support and I) discovered that the directory “skins” CANNOT be used as your virtual directory. My guess is this might be in the DNN manual somewhere, but we were using the “auto install DNN” plesk so it was hard to pick out.