Misc Computer Tips

A Link that Moves and Resizes Browser Windows

When opening a new browser window, the window is often not in the position you want or sized the way you want. I used to spend way too much time moving and resizing browser windows. Now I have a link on the browser's link bar (both IE and NS) that resizes and moves the window to the left side of the screen and another link that moves it to the right side of the screen. The links have the following text in place of the URL:


The Meaning of XML

What is XML? I've encountered a lot of misconceptions about what XML is, so I'm going to give a quick high-level explanation. XML is a character-level format on top of which element-level file formats can be built. That's an important thing to understand. Whenever a new human-readable file format is developed to save information to, it's necessary to worry about the file at the level of individual characters even though we're trying to save chunks of information. Every time a programmer wants to create a simple config file, they shouldn't have to write a parser that has to look at a text file and determine where certain chunks of information start and end and what things contain what other things and how to deal with inserting characters that are already being used as delimiters in the file. That's a lot of effort and the process can easily be error prone for all but the simplest files. Furthermore, the programmer will have no choice but to write the code that verifies that the file is correct. That's a tedious and often error prone process. With XML, we can use someone else's parser (since it's a widely known standard), or we can write our own parser once and make sure it does everything well. From then on, we only need to worry about things at the element level. XML is hierarchical, so it's more convenient for storing information than is a file that's organized into a table (like CSV). I'm writing a more in depth analysis, but the truly key issue is that XML is a character-level file format on top of which element level file formats can be built.

Dreamweaver Web Site Manager

I now use Dreamweaver to edit HTML pages and organize my web sites. Dreamweaver is excellent! It allows the user to edit a page by directly modifying the HTML code or by editing it in a WYSIWYG window. The coolest thing is that the generated HTML is actually well formatted for human eyes (unlike a certain popular HTML editor that generates practically unreadable HTML) and its possible to edit the HTML and have it update the WYSIWYG view in real time! Dreamweaver also scans all the pages in the site and checks them to make sure there are no local dead links. It's also possible to have Dreamweaver scan the pages for browser compatibility. (E.g., check to see if all pages on the site are compatible with Netscape 4.04 or IE3, etc.) If I move a page from one directory to a different directory (using Dreamweaver's interface), all links that point to that page will be updated to reflect the page's new location. Also, all the relative links in that page will be updated so they point to the pages they pointed to before the move. Dreamweaver has numerous other capabilities that make life easier for a site maintainer. In short, Dreamweaver is great! I strongly recommend it. Dreamweaver is made by Macromedia, costs roughly $270.

The only downside to the program (at least in version 2.0) is that it's rather slow. I still like it though.

ISO Date Standard

Although this isn't really news, it's information that I think should be spread: There is a standard ISO date format for date and time. The standard format recognizes (among others) the following date formats (I'm using my birthday as the example date):

  • 1975-09-12
  • 1975 September 12
  • 19750912
You might want to check out a page that summarizes the entire ISO date and time standard.

Kinesis Keyboard

After several difficult days using the Kinesis keyboard, I'm back up to, and possibly slightly exceeding, my previous typing speed. Due to all the possible factors, it's impossible to tell how much it's helping to reduce the joint pain in my fingers (the Advil, and once an hour stretching exercises obviously help quite a bit), but it definitely reduces wrist movement, and that can only be a good thing. I've learned that the pain in my finger joints is almost certainly not the result of anything local to those joints. Apparently it's caused by that nasty and vengeful Mr. Carpal Tunnel choking the nerves to my fingers (or something along those lines). I'd like to replace Mr. Tunnel with a better form of nerve impulse transit (cellular nerves?), but Microsoft's network of LEO satelites dedicated to transmission of nerve impulses hasn't been put fully in place yet and will probably be delayed till fourth quarter 1999 due to the justice department's apparent concern about Microsoft's potential control of million's of extra hands.



send mail to Geoff Fortytwo (remove "_REMOVE_IF_NOT_SPAM_" to get my actual email address) If you would like to contact me then then go right ahead and email me (Geoff Fortytwo) at happy42g42.org.
My homepage is located at http://www.ecstaticfuturist.com.

This page was last updated on 1999 November 25.