This wide- and large- screen layout
For several years, I got my computer jollies as a parent volunteer helping to administer the computers at the local public school. But that gig eventually ended when my yougest kid graduated from high school.
I've continued to fiddle with computers at my home, and have run across several issues that may be helpful to others:
Networking Windows XP Home Edition
Despite having almost exactly the same name, Windows XP Home Edition and Windows XP Professional Edition are very different to administer. For example the things you would do as an administrator to network Windows XP Professional Edition are almost exactly what you should not do in the process of networking Windows XP Home Edition. If you find it necessary to work with Windows XP Home Edition, here are some suggestions on how to network it.
Troubleshooting: Guidelines and Techniques
Often administering computers is just dealing with one problem after another: pin down the problem; fix it; rinse and repeat. Isolating and fixing problems is often called "troubleshooting". Think troubleshooting is a black art that a few people are good at while most only stumble along? It doesn't need to be. Troubleshooting can be broken down into detailed and specific steps that can be learned. In fact, here they are.
Using alternative DNS services for different or better functionality, even despite apparent "intercepting"
At its core, DNS (Domain Name System) —also called "name service"— translates human-friendly textual computer names into the numeric IPaddresses computers use internally. Although DNS service is usually provided by your ISP, some alternative services are also available. You may wish to use one of these alternative DNS services, either for improved performance or for access to different ancillary funtionality. Unfortunately using an alternative DNS service can be a bit tricky because it often appears DNS packets are being "intercepted" by the ISP. By understanding what's really going on under the covers, you can escape any possible "interception" in virtually all cases.
A useful part of Unix-derived systems is called "single user mode". Special Unix runlevels can be useful for system self-maintenance, for example repairing or replacing disk partitions. In fact often more than one thing is called "single user mode" ...which can be confusing. Redhat/Fedora/CentOS distributions of Linux try to reduce the confusion, partly by introducing some new technology.
It's unavoidable that almost all computer disks (persistent memory for "files") have microscopic flaws in the magnetic material that forms their surface. Normally the disk itself compensates for these flaws. But very occasionally there may be reason to use Linux software tools instead to compensate for these flaws.
Dealing with a web indexing delay
Hopefully web indexing results are very current, even for small non-commercial websites. This isn't always the case though. If all changes to your website seems to be subject to a one or two week delay before appearing in a web index, it's likely your website is being subjected to a poorly documented (and maybe even supposedly non-existent) penalty. You're probably not hallucinating (although many people will tell you you are), and situation isn't hopeless. It's usually possible to figure out what the problem really is and fix it.
Sometimes when a webpage under development just won't behave, it would help if the developer knew exactly which events were being fired, in what order, and how often. These pages alert you to the typical firing of several events. One is page layout-related events; the other is user interface-related events. (Having code figure out for itself which events a particular version of a particular browser supports is a harder problem which isn't addressed here.)
Actual Reported Web Device Dimensions
Actual Reported Web Device Dimensions (Unconstrained)
Particular browser and device combinations do not always report the dimensions one initially expects. Problems with Media Queries often trace back to assumptions about the dimensions reported by a device not being true. This is especially the case with devices that provide a viewport, which should be controlled by a meta...viewport... statement in the HTML of the webpage, but often isn't and often defaults to unexpected behaviors. It's instructive to compare reported dimensions with a meta...viewport... statement and without a meta...viewport... statement.
An Alternative to Media Queries
Using Both Coordinate Systems of a Canvas
We're accustomed to HTML elements
having only one coordinate system, which we specify in CSS.
remain defined for a few HTML tags, we've learned not to use them.
But the new HTML/HTML5 canvas
A canvas has two different coordinate systems simultaneously.
The display coordinate system, defined in CSS,
controls how much space the canvas occupies on the screen.
The model coordinate system, defined in the HTML,
Fully using both coordinate systems
allows canvases of different sizes to all use the exact same
Automatically Centering Text on a Canvas
Intermittent Connectivity with NTP Time Service
The current implementation of the hoary NTP Time Service works quite well, even with intermittent network connectivity, very accurate clock hardware, and the current expectation of much faster syncing. Be a better netizen by using NTP to set up a shared local time reference for all the computing devices in your house. Sharing a local time reference minimizes the load on both the network and upstream time reference servers. While the suite of NTP programs has grown quite capable, the lore of recommended usage and configuration tweaks has remained firmly in the past and is now ridiculously outdated.
Tweaking URIs (short version- the highlights) adapt new layout, be more friendly, improve SEO
Tweaking URIs (long version- the details) with Apache mod_rewrite via .htaccess file
Precedence of AND and OR in mod_rewrite RewriteCond combinations
The URIs you present to the world are in a sense your website's user interface. Your file layout and names on the other hand are essentially internal. Oftentimes external and internal match. But sometimes they don't. When they don't match, the web server needs to perform some sort of mapping from the URI requested by the client to the right file or return code. With the common Apache web server, there are several different ways to do that mapping (even on a shared webserver where the webmaster can access only their own area, not the global server configuration). The most comprehensive mapping tool is one of the many Apache plugin modules, the one called mod_rewrite.
Android Tasker offers a bewildering variety of string test alternatives
Tasker is a sort of programming tool commonly used to automate and/or customize an Android smartphone. Although not nearly as complex as a complete programming environment, it's nevertheless somewhat like a computer programming language. Tasker offers several somewhat different overlapping ways to test strings. It can be a little unclear which method to use when. Further, different methods provide different default options (for example one method defaults to case-sensitive and another to case-insensitive, and the way to switch case sensitivity is not the same for the two methods.) Although this is all thoroughly and completely covered as part of the Tasker documentation, you may find this description a little easier to follow.
My significant current interests include not only this fiddling with computers, but also exploring both old and new movies.