Archive for 20080223-Sat

.htaccess / mod_rewrite Tutorials

The .htaccess file and Apache’s mod_rewrite module may be some of the most under-utilized web server utilities.

Millions of websites suffer the ignominy and shame of having hardcoded filenames
on their websites such as:

or unsightly url’s for their (sometimes dynamic) subpages, for example:

.htaccess and mod_rewrite can dramatically change these unfortunate websites for the better. They may become


Not only will the new names be easier to read and more intuitive, they will also be search-engine friendly and one step closer to a proper RESTful methodology.

For a good introduction to .htaccess, see:

There is a good mod_rewrite “cheatsheet” here:

For more reading on RESTful principles, see:

Finally NAS Manufacturers Step Up to the Plate


Linksys NAS200

Linksys NAS200



Presenting the Linksys NAS200. Finally, NAS manufacturers are starting to take notice of what their business and soho end users want: cheap RAIDed network storage. 


Unfortunately, there is still one component largely ignored by manufactures: Wireless-N support. Many models (excepting this one) are now supporting gigabit ethernet, which is a terrific step in the right direction. But for true standalone, plug-and-play integration, end users should be able to eschew the wires, and take advantage of the three fold speed increase (over 10/100 ethernet) that MIMO 802.11n offers. 


Another component useful for the small business or home user would be integrated power protection. Not everyone uses UPS systems for their auxiliary data storage, though they should. Few non-enterprise end users have power conditioning units or proper power protection at all. However, few network storage vendors provide built-in power management.


A simple low-capacity, self-charging battery and a simple safe shutdown procedure would be right at home in the heart of every NAS, be it soho or enterprise bound.



(The link above saves you $24 on the Linksys NAS200, valid 2/12/08-2/22/08).

Not Your Normal Captcha

Submitted by Your Computer Genius on Mon, 2007/12/03 – 9:00pm.

reCAPTCHA is not your normal “CAPTCHA” program.

CAPTCHA is a general name for the anti-spam, anti-abuse code that people place on their websites, especially on comments sections for blogs, or new account registrations, to prevent bots or automated computer programs from exploit or over-using web services.

As they state on their website, 150,000 hours of human time are spent solving CAPTCHA-style problems, or filling out CAPTCHA-style forms.

reCAPTCHA captures and channels that energy, adapting it to a useful and usable form — namely it aids in transcribing text from digital images into text, forming a critical link in the digitizing of physical books and the archiving of human knowledge.

The reCAPTCHA system uses this available source of human work to help with this archival process when automated OCR runs into problems.

You can tap into this system for free, and use it on your website to filter out spam and non-human users, all the while aiding this noble project.

Tips And Tricks To Save You Time: Mirroring Remote Servers


Do you spend a lot of time in FTP programs, or perhaps SFTP and WebDAV?

If you are not regularly backing up your files, you should be.

Every time you make more than just a minor change — and even then, if there is risk of corruption — you should have a backup.

Backups to your local machine work great in these days of fast connection speeds and cheap local storage.

The best way to not spend an inordinate amount of time doing this is to use a mirroring algorithm, one that checks the files based on modify date and time and automatically only downloads the ones you need.

Keep a local directory on your hard drive that you use for these “mirror-downs” — when you need to make a backup, which should be often, initiate a mirror-down. When it is finished, simply duplicate the directory and retain the duplicated directory as a dated snapshots of your remote servers. Leave the mirror-down directory active: it will save you tons of time the next time you need to backup the particular remote server you are working on.

Always following the same, efficient path will cut down on the time you spend backing up, and the results of following this methodology will pay off in spades the first time you need to restore one file.

If you are running Mac OS X, Panic makes a great piece of software calledTransmit. You can pick up a copy for a reasonable $29.95, and using it’s “mirror-down” and “automatically detect server time offset” features will garner you an incredibly high ROI.


iMacs Are The Best Desktops On The Market


Submitted by Your Computer Genius on Fri, 2007/09/21 – 6:35pm.


Simply put, Apple’s line of iMacs are the best choice for desktop consumers.

Apple recently has begun making what is universally considered far-and-away the best meld of hardware and software, from boot to shutdown. Apple’s engineers have been doing amazing things with software that works not only on the new Macs but also on all Intel-based machines, including those running windows.

For example, Bonjour is a zero-configuration networking protocol that literally connects your shared printers (among other things) in milliseconds.

There really are no negatives to this one. IMacs come standard with WiFi, Bluetooth, USB 2.0, DVD-Burners, and the whole host of Mac OS X Software (built-in PDF manipulation, the journaling file system). The open source remote desktop software built for OS X, CoRD, works far better than Microsoft’s own client, either on the Mac or PC.

Apple has long been criticized for being more expensive, pound for pound of raw power. But years of paying attention to the details make purchasing an iMac (or Mac Mini, or MacBook) worth every cent.

Of course, you can run Windows natively on these (or in a Virtual Machine) but why would you? Mac and PC formats for every file have been completely compatible and 100% interchangeable for years.

Apple is making the best computers out there these days, and of these, the iMac is the #1, top-flight recommendation for desktop consumers, businesses, and power users.

Dell Releases VOSTRO Line Of Laptops

Submitted by Your Computer Genius on Wed, 2007/09/19 – 6:43pm.

Dell has released a new line of laptops named “VOSTRO.”

These are exciting because they herald in a new era of hardware/software suppliers’ accountability to their customers.

New computers are routinely flooded with a bevy of ad-supported and other gimmicky software before leaving the depots. Dell has changed all that with the VOSTRO. As part of the machine-building process, Dell allows customers to modify the nitty-gritty details of the software that they are receiving.

It lets the choice of precisely what is installed fall to the customer, which in the case of small companies, may equate to hundreds of dollars of IT time which would be otherwise spent mindlessly clicking “uninstall.”

Linkage: Dell’s New VOSTRO Line of Laptops


Submitted by Your Computer Genius on Wed, 2007/01/24 – 1:41pm.


My goal this year: to not install Windows Vista AT ALL.

I would like to declare Microsoft’s stranglehold on the desktop over, or at least weakening.

I am recommending MacBook Pro‘s to my clients, even ones in Active Directory domains, with out-of-the-box compatibility provided by Remote Desktop Connection and compatibility in the extreme by Boot Camp.

Samba 4 may, in time, mature into a first-class replacement for Active Directory (pdf).