I'm not a big user of images - though I have a digital camera, I typically end up using it less than I probably should. I think one of my goals for next year will be to actually get some of the images off the memory card in the camera and let people see the pictures I've taken. One step in that process is to get them in a format that makes them nice looking. A single page without much around it, as you often see on a web page, can be downright ugly. Enter Lightbox.

This JavaScript framework is a fairly simple way to display pictures with a sort of frame around them - the image is actually assigned a special HTML segment, and the surrounding section of the page is blacked out, giving the viewer a much more pleasing experience than a simple image without much around it. There are three problems with Lightbox. The first is that it's big, the second is that it's slow to load and the third (and most important) is that it doesn't work! Luckily, there are some options.

Let's say that you've read all the hubbub about aXXo - one of the most popular seeders of movies, whether you like him or don't - and how he suddenly removed all of his torrents from The Pirate Bay. And you want to be sure that you're getting only true aXXo releases, because you know all sorts of junk gets put out with variations on "axxo" in the title, just so everyone will download it. Hey, it happens.

You could go to a number of other places that allow you to pull an RSS feed by user. But that would be the easy way out. So you decide to stick it out at The Pirate Bay and hope that aXXo comes back. Maybe he will, maybe he won't. Or maybe you just want to learn something. Then read on.

When Six Apart released the latest version of Movable Type, the software underwent a massive rewrite. The interface changed considerably from what it had been, and by most accounts it is a good change. There are, however, a few things that just don't work quite right.

One of the things that is perhaps most frustrating is the editing box. There is little that can be done with this for now, especially if you want to maintain the WYSIWYG editor. Similarly, the syntax highlighting function of the template editor causes problems too, especially on lesser-used editors like Opera and Safari. So we have to focus elsewhere, perhaps on the menus.

Though the drop-down menus are certainly cool, they tend to get stuck open, and that is terribly annoying. There is almost nothing worse than trying to work, only to find yourself sitting there looking at a menu that appears to be looking back.

I've recently installed the Microsoft Small Business Accounting package. I have to say I'm enjoying it and think I'll keep using it. Unfortunately, I didn't like the Business Contact Manager for Outlook, as though the two would supposedly talk to one another, I didn't think it integrated particularly well on either side.

In any case, the application makes use of MSDE for database storage. This is all fine and dandy but it doesn't really help with backing up data or anything of the like. So I had to go digging through pages to find some decent Transact-SQL references. This one is to back up a database from the command line.

Make sure your form is set to use the "POST" method. Make sure that the "enctype" is "multipart/form-data". Add a field of type "file". That's it for your HTML. The rest of the work is done on the host side. And that isn't really that hard either, but different browsers make it more challenging.

It is a good idea, for security reasons, to prevent visitors to your site from seeing the files in any given directory. While this will not prevent users from accessing the files, it will keep them from knowing what files are there, which does help to some degree. It's easy to implement such a feature using the .htaccess file.

I use remote desktop (terminal services) quite a bit. I also regularly use other remote access methods such as PCAnywhere or VNC. As such, I'm almost always greeted by the default wallpaper when logging onto a PC. Much of this is courtesy of Dell, but others do it too. Yet I couldn't figure out how to get rid of it.

As I was working on a project, I noticed that the page was no longer rendering in IE (6.0, XP). Strangely, the title had turned into just the URL, as if there was none, and the styles were gone.

On a whim, I moved the title attribute above some meta tags, and it jumped right up on the page, indicating an apparent problem within those meta tags. Sure enough, after looking for just a moment, I found a set of double quotes contained within the tag. Oops.

Apparently IE (6.0, XP) doesn't like this. Interestingly enough, IE on a Mac (5.2, I think I was told) and Firefox, on either Mac or PC, interpreted the string correctly.

I recently signed up for Google Analytics to see what sort of web site tracking they offered. I like the idea of easily-accessible data, and Google has typically been very good at providing just what I need.

Since the service has apparently received overwhelming response, Google has turned off the ability to sign up for new profiles. Presumably this will be back soon. I hope so, because I was waiting until things worked on one site to set up the other. Yes, I know you can track two sites using the same code with filters. I didn't want to do that.

While trying to hastily assemble a Javascript image rotation script, it occured to me that you could probably do the same thing with PHP - and it would not only be easier, but more reliable, since PHP happens on the server-side, independent of the browser someone is using. Sure enough, a short search resulted in an easy-to-use image rotation script written in PHP.

I really, really wanted to do a search and replace in MySQL, but I just couldn't find it. Then I did.

  update tablename set field = replace(field,'search','replace');

Just a few minutes ago, a friend asked about displaying a future date on his web site. In this particular example, he wanted the name of the next month. In other words, he'd like the word "October" displayed, since it is currently September. Next month it should change to "November", and so on.