Don't worry…

I was working away in Dreamweaver 8 yesterday and I received the following error:

[Photo Missing]

It’s one of the strangest prompts I’ve ever seen on a computer. To reproduce the error simply right-click in the CSS Styles panel on a style sheet that is linked to, but not included in the current site definition and choose “Go to Code”.

Have programmers gone insane?

I tend to frequent downloadsquad.com in the search for quality software. Generally, I’ll hit the site once or twice a day to see if there is anything I would find useful. Frequently, I’ll see an article and screenshot of a program that is just what I’m looking for.

Then it hits me.

It’s Web based.

Aside from the fact that AJAX is just a clever combination of existing technologies (like DHTML) I don’t understand what the Web software craze is all about? I’m uncomfortable with the idea of placing so much personal information on-line, on a Web site that probably isn’t protected as well as my banking site (that’s an assumption, my bank might be wide-open).

I need a good task manager. But I don’t want to have it on the Web. I want it on my PC, where I can access it whether or not I have Internet access and I can easily back it up.

Some Web apps make sense, such as collaboration software though even then one should determine where the program will run from, who will access it, and what would happen if it was breached.

I don’t want my entire DVD collection, my list of things to do, or my important files backed up somewhere on the Net. I want it on my computer. In this age of increasing security concerns I must question the wisdom in placing so much personal data on-line? Some might argue it’s useless information. But consider that such information can be used to build a profile of a person… It’s personal so why put it on the Web? Many of us already have enough information out there and while identity theft is our primary concern at the moment we may learn there are other ways to come under attack simply by providing access to our hobbies and behaviors.

But most important to myself, I want it to run on my computer.

Virtual PC 2004 for Windows is Now Free!

Virtualization is a useful tool, especially if you need to test Web browsers for other operating systems, such as IE 5.5 in Windows 98 and IE 7 in Windows XP. Microsoft recently released Virtual PC 2004 for free!

If you’re interested, download the Microsoft Virtual PC 2004 Service Pack 1, which includes the complete program. As with any other virtualization software you’ll still need to have a legal license for the operating system that you choose to install.

NSLU2 – a.k.a. the Slingbox

I went up to Walmart to pickup a few items and noticed the Linksys NSLU2 on the shelf had been marked down from $88 to $25. I have been pondering the purchase of such a device for some time. This particular device connects to any USB hard drive to provide network storage without a complete computer system. At that price, it was irresistable even though it looked like it had been opened, returned, and shrink wrapped again.

I wasn’t able to connect to it via my router/switch, which I knew was most likely caused by the fact that I use a different subnet from the Linksys default. I temporarily changed my computer’s IP and hooked to it directly and was then able to access the admin interface to change the IP and other settings without difficulty. Nothing beats returned/reduced price electronic goods from Walmart that are in perfect condition!

The device includes one USB port specifically for USB flash/thumb drives and another port for a USB hard drive. I already have a flash/thumb drive and I also have a USB 5.25″ drive enclosure (I just need to get a good hard drive to place inside it). After digging around through the manual I learned something surprising that wasn’t stated (or at least not clearly) on the box. It only supports Ext3 partitions! I couldn’t just plug an NTFS/FAT32 drive into and then later plug it into a Windows based computer.

So I started searching on the net and the first hit lead to www.nslu2-linux.org. Chalk another win for the open-source community! I downloaded new firmware and was then able to use NTFS/FAT32 partitions in addition to other software, such as stand-alone Web server.

I’ll be toying with this new device over the next month.

This Project is Dead

I was tired of pouring money into the computer. To add one piece of useful functionallity costed $80 on average. It was a good project to attempt and may be worth revisting when I’m willing to spend more money on a high-end system.

For now, I think it would be much easier and less expensive to simply purchase a standalone DVR such as a TiVo or ReplayTV box.

I sold the computer to a friend, so now I’m relying on my G4 for my personal needs, which continues to serve me well.