Wednesday, 15 December 2004

What else requires stamina? Building your own homepage.

My homepage is currently being redesigned. I'd say it's around 60% finished. Alhamdulillah.

I didn't really expect that building a simple hompage would cost me many days of work: designing, preparing the layout, actual writing of the content, the uploading etc. Lots of work, I tell you.

I must say that I've gained a newly-found respect for webmasters and web designers. Sure, you have tools like Frontpage, Dreamweaver etc., but still you'll have to start somewhere. Beautiful-looking websites are a result of many years of experimenting and experience. Plus, keeping up with standards is part of the job. Web design itself is part science (organizing the logical structure), and part art (layout, color scheme).

I'll tell you when it's ready, Insya-Allah.

"It is wiser to find out than to suppose." -Mark Twain

Wednesday, 8 December 2004

Attending Weddings Require Stamina

Last weekend my cousin held an engagement ceremony in Malim, Melaka. I was excited to go because it was partly a family reunion because some of my relatives who are living in the Southern states of Malaysia decided to attend.

It was great to finally see them again after so many years. My small cousins are off to school while the slightly elder ones are furthering their study at colleges. Some are even working already.

It made realize that we're in the middle of the school holidays (no one in my family is attending school anymore) and this is the time people flock together and decide to have weddings. In huge numbers. So nowadays it's no suprise to hear people say, "I'm too tired today. Weddings all day long." And I'm not talking about people who are involved in them, but people who are invited to attend them. I'm sure many of us have encountered the situation where we have several invitations in one day, the places for them are scattered miles apart from one another, sometimes even at opposite ends of the state. You'll have to manage your time, energy and of course, stomach, to be able to arrive and partake in the generous spread provided.

But it's always good to hear that people are getting married and getting invited to weddings. To all you lucky and lovely newlyweds out there, especially my former classmate, Khairul Azami: Have a wonderful, blissful life together and may God bless you and your families.

Thursday, 2 December 2004

Linux to go, please! Yes, fries and cola too.

Linux is an alternative operating system for your PC. Operating system is essentially the main software that makes your computer run. Linux is open-source, available for free and said to be a serious competitor for Microsoft Windows.

However, I have always been reluctant to install Linux on my PC for a few reasons:
  1. I have limited hard disk space (I'm still studying and I can't afford to buy a new one at the moment)

  2. I don't my PC to get confused due to having 2 operating systems (Linux and Windows, although Windows XP Pro is said to be able to juggle this problem)

  3. Linux is too unfamiliar and too technical for me (I wish to avoid unnessary problems that might cause me to reformat my hard disk)

I want to learn to use Linux, but without having to sacrifice hard disk space or risking my PC's health or getting lost in all the technical confusion. Can all this be overcomed or am I just being unreasonable? The answer is yes, and yes. My silent wish has come true, and that I can be unreasonable when there's a lot on my mind.

Say hello to 'Linux live CD'. With this lovely baby you can use Linux without installing it. Yes, you heard me right. No installation, just boot with the CD and you can Linux right away! Bring the CD with you and run Linux on any PC. All you need to begin is to burn the CD image file ,downloadable from the website, to a blank CD-ROM and set your PC to boot from CD first (read the guide for more detailed information and 'how-to's). Best of all, it can even run on a slow machine but make sure that you have enough RAM (although 30MB is the minimal requirement, 128MB is recommended for optimum performance).

SLAX Linux Live and KNOPPIX are just two of the many variants (or flavors, as Linux users like to call it) available. Other than the Linux OS, the CDs also contain loads of useful application software like browsers, media players, security tools and even CD burning tools.

While all this sound like lots of fun, please take the time read some of the articles on Linux. It's a known fact that most of the time, Linux is still too clunky and inconsistent for an average PC user. Try installing and unstalling program in Linux and you'll see why. Linux is promising, but it's definitely not for everyone especially those who are not used to OS other than Windows. It has a long way to go before it can really go head to head with Windows, but the future does look interesting.

Sunday, 28 November 2004

All fired up! Mozilla Firefox 1.0 is out!

It's official, Mozilla Firefox 1.0 has hit the streets.

In case you're unaware, Mozilla Firefox is an alternative browser to Microsoft's Internet Explorer (the default browser, if you're using Windows operating system). The Mozilla DNA (ok, source code) originates from one of the earliest browser ever made, Mosaic, and later was made into another browser that many would recognize, Netscape Navigator.

What's so great about Firefox? For starters, it's a lean program (worth only 4.7MB in download size), has a very clean interface that both novice and seasoned surfers would feel at home with and the most important feature to note is the automatic pop-up blocker (yay!).

It's also safe from any exploitation caused by stealth programs that uses Microsoft's ActiveX technology (which is not actually meant to harm, but greedy people are often the creative ones as well), and offres tab browsing (open a new page in same same window: this you have got to experience it to believe it, trust me). It's free, customizible (using extensions that you can download), adware-free, spyware-free, open source (in fact, it's the darling of the Open Source Movement at the moment) and there's a large group of volunteer behind it dedicated to make sure Firefox is bug-free.

Try it and find out for yourself.

Some extentions that I tried out

Mozilla extensions are small add-ons for your Firefox browser. They can add extra functionality that can make your online life a whole lot easier. The team behind Firefox purposely excluded these extensions in order to make Firefox leaner and less bloated in size. Instead, individuals and developers are involved in building the extensions, with the Mozilla developers' supervision of course. Here is the list of recommended extensions that I've tried. Remember, this is only my suggestion, if you have an even a better one, please tell me. And also note that new extensions are added all the the time (that and also latest version of existing extensions) so visit the extensions page often.

  • Adblock. It's undeniable that Firefox is better at deterring those pesky pop-up ads with its automatic pop-up blocker, but extra help is never unwelcomed.

  • Autocopy. Ever wish you could copy by just hightlighting, just like when you're using chat clients like mirc or Trillian? Well, now you can (a bit buggy at times though, so be extra careful with this one).

  • ieview. Not every page is compatible with Firefox. This extension helps by allowing you to open an incompatible page in Microsoft's Internet Explorer.

  • Image toolbar. If you often save images from the Internet (for good and legitimate reasons I hope), this extension is a life-saver.

  • Open link in... A useful extension that gives you options to where you want to open a link. Truthfully speaking I haven't figured out how it really works, I installed it because it couldn't find the exact extension that I installed when I was using Firefox build 0.8 (an earlier version).

Please also note that if you install Firefox 1.0 over any previous versions (build 0.8 or 0.9), all installed extensions will be removed. That's the reason why I myself am still experimenting to see which extension is useful and which is not because I just migrated from build 0.8 to this latest version. So far so good, but I still have to do some adjusting.

Asides from the above, Firefox also has developers tools for CSS, JavaScript and DOM (among others), RSS-feed enablers and also extensions that are third-party supported like the search sidebar.
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