An Interesting Predicament

For the last month or two, I have been doing some side work updating a Web site and adding a few new features to it. The problem is, however, that I can’t visit the site from my home computer. Somewhere along the way, my connection to the site seems to be blocked.

CenterNetworks Updates (and upgrades) Design

Our sister site, CenterNetworks, unveiled a new Web site design late last week. I must admit that, though I never really had any problems with the previous design, I think the new one is a real upgrade. The new design features cooler colors, working within the blue and green spectrum, and a slightly more intuitive layout. The ads seem a little less obtrusive and more of the items people are apt to use on a regular basis are easier to find. Let me know what you think of the new design, especially if you had experience with previous incarnations of the CN design.

Web Accessibility Basics

What is web accessibility & why is it important?

Web accessibility is about making your website accessible to all Internet users (both disabled and non-disabled), regardless of what browsing technology they’re using. In addition to complying with the law, an accessible website can reap huge benefits on to your website and your business.

Please read the articles, Benefits of an accessible website – part 1 and Benefits of an accessible website – part 2 for more about the importance of web accessibility.

Your website must be able to function with all different browsing technologies

The first and perhaps the most important rule of web accessibility. Not everyone is using the latest version of Internet Explorer, with all the plug-ins and programs that you may require them to have for your website. Different browsing technologies can include:

  • Lynx browser – Text-only browser with no support for tables, CSS, images, JavaScript, Flash or audio and video content
  • WebTV – 560px in width with horizontal scrolling not available
  • Screen reader – Page content read aloud in the order it appears in the HTML document
  • Handheld device – Very small screen with limited support for JavaScript and large images
  • Screen magnifier – As few as three to four words may be able to appear on the screen at any one time
  • Slow connection (below 56kb) – Users may turn off images to enable a faster download time
  • 1600px screen width – Very wide screen

DirecTV versus Dish Network versus cable

When I first signed up for DirecTV, I did so rather begrudgingly. I hate signing long-term contracts for services, but I was truly tired of only having five networks from which to choose (we were only able to pick up NBC, CBS, Fox, ABC and three PBS channels – we didn’t even get UPN or the WB – which, in our area, consequently became MyNetwork and the CW, respectively).

However, I’ve actually become rather attached to the service over the last year or so. I like the all-digital network (which cost me more than twice what DirecTV is costing me when I had the digital cable service when I lived in a cable-ready house), with the built-in programming guide. I actually am at a loss for what to do when I turn on the television at someone else’s house, and I can’t just hit the “guide” button to see what’s on.

An Amusing and Disturbingly Accurate Post

I came across a very amusing and disturbingly accurate post the other day on a blog I frequent. The content of the post deals with how to diplomatically deal with the barrage of requests you get for “front page exposure” at an institution of higher learning.

I’m not sure how much of this translates to the corporate world, but this is a common occurrence at many colleges and universities.

Thankfully, I don’t deal with this at my job nearly as much as Drew seems to.

Running PHP Scripts with Cron

Lots of programmers like PHP for its ability to code and develop web applications fast. Well, this programming language was built for web. We have recently did post on caching with php to make your web sites faster. Today we want to cover another topic many developers are puzzled about, “How to run PHP Scripts with crontab?”

Cron is normally available on all Unix and Linux distributions; if you cannot access it, contact your root or server administrator. It is a daemon which allows you to schedule a program or script for a specific time of execution. If you want to learn more about cron, click here or type “man crontab” at your command prompt.

I have found myself in the need to run PHP scripts at specific times. For example, to update the content of a website, to remove expired articles, to send out e-mails on a given date and a lot more. While some may think that this is were PHP is doomed, I will show you how it’s done.

A Manual crontab?

The first solution that came to my mind was to run the script directly from my browser (e.g. entering www.mydomain.com/script.php into the web browser).

Since I need to run my script on a regular basis, I squashed that idea. My goodness, all the extra hassle is ridiculous.


Developer Resources