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Accessing localhost and Virtual Hosts Across a Local Network

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I have several computers on my local network each with a local server environment provided by XAMPP. As it stands, the local server on each computer can only serve pages stored on that machine. This means that if I have a local site on computer A that I wish to access on computer B I have to replicate that site’s entire folder structure on computer B and on all other computers I want to access the site from.

No big deal really as I currently use ChronoSync to synchronise my site’s folder structure across computers. However, it is possible to have any computer on a local network serve pages that are stored on another computer on that same network. Here’s how.

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Google Public DNS: Faster Internet Access?

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You may have heard about Google’s recent release of Google Public DNS which, amongst other claims, aims to speed-up your browser’s interaction with DNS servers thereby making the internet appear faster. Well, that’s my interpretation anyway.

Google states that “…Google Public DNS takes some new approaches that we believe offer more valid results, increased security, and, in most cases, better performance.”

I was particularly interested in the possible speed increase after finding these benchmarks where the comparative speed of Google Public DNS (8.8.8.8), Level 3 (4.2.2.2) and OpenDNS (208.67.222.222) were tested.

Using these same DNS servers, here are my results for a handful of sites I visit regularly:

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Setting Dimensions of OS X Finder Windows

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One small annoyance I have with the OS X Finder is its apparent inability to let me set a default Finder window size. However many times I resize windows with the mouse, the Finder will eventually reset them to some arbitrary dimensions.

If, like me, you find this aspect of the Finder’s behaviour particularly irksome then try this AppleScript.

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Outbrain and Blogger Read More Links: A Better Solution

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A a couple of days back I posted a workaround for using read more links and Outbrain’s Rating Widget (ORW) in Blogger….
“As you’ve no doubt noticed I use post snippets or read more links on my blog using Blogger’s jump-links code. I’ve also recently added the Outbrain Rating Widget (ORW). Unfortunately, the two don’t play well together as the ORW is always displayed above the read more link and I’d rather it appeared below, or failing that, not at all.”
The workaround I posted isn’t particularly elegant and it has a couple of downsides. Afterwards, I got to thinking that there must be a better way. Well, there is and it’s so deceptively simple and effective that I’m ashamed to admit that I didn’t think of it before. (more…)

Using Blogger’s Read More Links with Outbrain’s Rating Widget

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As you’ve no doubt noticed I use post snippets or read more links on my blog using Blogger’s jump-links code. I’ve also recently added the Outbrain Rating Widget (ORW). Unfortunately, the two don’t play well together as the ORW is always displayed above the read more link and I’d rather it appeared below, or failing that, not at all.

While searching for a solution I found this post on the Outbrain support forum regarding this, but sadly no answer. After several unsuccessful attempts at trying to fix this, including positioning the ORW with CSS and some JavaScript, I came up with a workaround which, while not perfect, is appropriate for my situation.

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Vertical, Horizontal & Diagonal Spry Sliding Panels

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I was recently looking to give my photo gallery an overhaul. I’m quite a fan of Adobe’s Spry framework, so I thought I’d give the Sliding Panels widget a try. There are several examples on Adobe’s site showing panels sliding vertically, horizontally and in any direction. The direction is controlled by some CSS and after successfully playing around with vertical and horizontal sliding I couldn’t figure out from the examples how to get the panels to slide in any direction. That is until I realised how the panels are laid out and the importance of one particular CSS declaration.

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Installing PEAR Mail Package on MAMP and XAMPP

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If you want your visitors to be able to send you an email from your site there are several options including mailto, sendmail or Postfix. There are also numerous sites offering contact forms for free. For a while I was using the excellent swiftmailer which performed perfectly on both my local and remote servers for a while, but subsequently ceased working on my remote server (presumably because of some configuration change by my hosting provider which I never did get to the bottom of).

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Starting XAMPP’s Apache Server at System Startup on Mac OS X

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Until I recently switched to XAMPP I had been using MAMP to provide a local server environment on my Mac. A small but none the less important feature of MAMP is an option to have the Apache and MySQL servers started when you open the application. So, by checking this option and including MAMP as a Login Item my MAMP servers were up-and-running when I logged in. Unfortunately, XAMPP has no such option. Including XAMPP as a Login Item merely opens the XAMPP Control.app and I have to start the servers manually. An extra step I’d rather not have to do.

So, how can I have my XAMPP servers running whenever I login? The answer, by using a daemon.

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eMobile and Snow Leopard Fix. Hoorah!

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After successfully performing a clean install of Snow Leopard on my MacBook I fell at the first hurdle: eMobile. My D12HW USB Modem simply didn’t want to connect under SL.

A quick call to eMobile and I was told to simply re-install the eMobile HW Utility and use it to configure the modem. No luck. SL kept reporting an AutoOpen error whenever I tried to open the utility. A second call to eMobile. Now I’m told that the eMobile HW Utility is not compatible with SL and they have no idea when it will be. Sigh.

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