I am not the kind of guy who rushes off to try any beta product gets on his way. I don’t even like Microsoft’s products that much; I am a Linux guy more than I am a Windows guy. But, as soon as I found out there was a Windows 7 beta program open to all, I felt the urge to enroll.

There are a lot of questions to ask. Is all the talk about Windows 7 speed a myth or reality? Can they live up to the expectations of regular Windows XP user, or will they follow the unfortunate fate of Vista?

As a webmaster of several sites running on complex Content Management System solutions, I have regularly came accross the same issue: most CMS systems have some library directories which should be out of the reach of the random web visitor, yet they have to be on the same web-accessible location as the rest of the CMS. To top that, I also have the need to include some other private directories under the web server root, for example a downloads repository, just because PHP open_basedir restrictions won't let me do othewise. Is all lost, then? Is there no way to keep private directories really private?

I decided to buy myself a present for New Year's Eve, a brand new EeePC 900 16Gb. I bought the version with Windows XP, sold at roughly 300€ (VAT included), not because I am such a fan of Windows but rather because it was the only version in stock. Over the last two days I had the opportunity to give it a wild ride, so I just had to write about my impressions with this tiny gem! This, and stuff I tried on it as well ;)

Thank to a lower work load today, I was able to read some interesting articles on-line, discussing the important role of the Internet. The first article was published by my friend Harry in the blog called the Network for Social Change. He discusses the transformation of NGO's from grassroots opposition movements to a new form of interconected citizens' networks, partly thanks to the power of the Internet. It is increasingly more interesting because he also describes the importance of such establishments as NGO's. The original article's in Greek, but I found that the Google translation works wonders!

Ever since Mandriva Linux 2008 Spring, the MySQL server included with the popular distro won't play out of the box (on most end-user systems, I have to be fair). If you try to spawn the service automatically, it will give you no reason as to why it won't start, causing a lot of frustration. Trying to spawn it manually with service mysqld start from a root command line will give you a nice, cryptic reply like:

ERROR: hostname cannot be localhost,
	mysql_install_db is quite unstable

More than a year after their initial launch, Windows Vista - despite Microsoft's efforts to convince us otherwise - are yet another failure OS. Such a claim might sound propostruous, but let's talk some numbers here, shall we? I use Google Analytics on three sites of my sites. JoomlaPack.net (targetting techies and web developers) shows that 85% of the visitors use Windows, with the XP to Vista ratio being 3:1. The Association for Adult Education (with a wide target group, mostly on the lower end of tech-savviness) shows a whopping 96% of visitors using Windows, with the XP to Vista ratio being 4:1! Finally, this site displays the same ratios as JoomlaPack.net.

With a vastly different blend of target groups (and a very big sample of thousands upon thousands of visitors), it is quite clear that the XP installations outnumber the Vista installations by a disproportionate amount. But, then again, why is that?

Since the advent of GTK2 I hadn't really bothered with this old, seemingly outdated, beast called GTK 1. However, there are some useful applications which are linked against it and I'd like to use them. Most prominently, it's the Lazarus IDE (the GTK2 interface is buggy and the Qt interface requires tons of hacks to work). The most proinent problem I just couldn't stand is that the default font used in GTK1 apps looks ugly, so ugly it hurts my eyes and renders GTK1 applications unusuable. Fortunately, changing the default font is almost easy; you do have to edit some configuration files.

One of the most useful extensions to PHP is suPHP which allows any PHP script to be executed under its owning user privileges. This helps in administering sites which need write access to their files (like, for example, Joomla! does for its tmp and log directories) without the need for an FTP layer or potentially dangerous permissions tweaking. Let's see how you can implement this functionality on a home brew server based on Mandriva Linux 2008.1

It's been a long time since ntfs-3g has been the de facto NTFS driver option for leading Linux distributions. This allows for very convenient interoperability with a variety of external storage media with great capacities, like external hard disk drives. One of the problems I faced during the last year of using it, is that when I used KDE's automount feature (actually, the media:/ kioslave) I got boxes in the filenames instead of Greek or other national characters. The solution turned out to be simple in concept, yet obscure in application.

Having a Windows Mobile powered cell phone has its advantages over a "regular" cell phone. The larger screen, the wealth of added value applications and the power of almost infinite user experience customization being the spearhead of these devices, it came naturally to me wanting to personalize every aspect of the user interface. In this post I'll present some user interface customizations I dug up from the web. Some of them are only applicable to HTC devices (and therefore marked with "HTC" on the title), others apply to any device powered by Windows Mobile 6 Professional or Classic.