Monday, May 31, 2010

Benefits of Using Web Proxy Server

There are, in fact, many benefits of using a web proxy server.

Some of the more common ones involve maintaining your privacy and getting around blocks placed upon your IP address, such as the ones placed on school computers.I wouldn't recommend using a proxy service to get around blocks - they are there for a reason - but for many other legitimate uses they can be a real boon.

In simple terms, a proxy works thus:

You want to connect your computer (1) to another computer or website (2) but you either cannot, or you want to do so privately.
In this case you would then use a proxy (3) to connect to computer or website (2), thereby gaining access without the computer or website the other end knowing it was you that had made the connection.

Here are a few reasons why you might want to do something like this -

Improved Security

If you visit a website that you think may pose a risk to your computer for some reason then using a proxy can give you an added layer of protection, much like using a firewall does.

You will not connect directly to the website in question and so you will have a further degree of protection from any malware that the site may try to infect you with.

Hacking Protection
Using a web proxy server between your computer and the web will prevent hackers from obtaining your IP address, thereby drastically redusing the risks of them being able to gain access to your cache or hard drives.

Website Filtering

The ability of a proxy to filter certain sites is quite variable so you will need to put in a little research time to take advantage of this feature.

Big players who use proxies to block certain sites include the United Arab Emirates and, more famously, China who block large parts of the world wide web from their citizens.

On a more personal note, you could employ a proxy service to prevent your kids watching porn or your employees from accessing social networking sites such as Facebook, Friendster, Plurk and Twitter.

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Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Basic Understanding of CSS Frameworks

You don’t have to write the same CSS-code or (X)HTML-Markup over and over again. Whatever project you’re starting to work with, at some point you have to define classes and IDs you’ve already defined in your previous web-projects. To avoid unnecessary mistakes you might want to start not from a blank file, but from an almost “perfect” scratch. The latter might contain some basic definitions you’d write in your code anyway. However, once you’ve decided to create such a scratch, you need to make sure it is really bulletproof — besides, if the stylesheet also sets up optimal typographic rules and basic form styling you manage to kill two birds with one stone.

And this is where CSS Frameworks and CSS Reset are becoming important. Using them, you can get yourself a perfect default-stylesheet and markup, save your time and ensure the best quality of your code from the very beginning. But what are CSS Frameworks? And why do you need the Reset for?

So What is a CSS Framework?

A framework is a basic (usually abstract) conceptual structure which you can use as a “scratch” for your web-projects. For instance, instead of defining global reset, consistent baseline, typographic rules or basic styles for forms over and over again — every time you work on a new project — you can prepare a default-style once and reuse it in all your future projects. This is what you call a CSS Framework.

CSS frameworks don’t have to be complex or large, they may contain a set of simple CSS-styles such as
  1. typography.css for basic typographic rules,
  2. grid.css for grid-based layouts or
  3. layout.css for general layouts,
  4. form.css for basic form styling,
  5. general.css for further general rules
and so on. In your code segmentation you can also go further, for instance: structure, typography, design presentation, specialist sections (e.g. menus, navigation), print, mobile web, tweaks (mostly old style browser hacks), browser specific workarounds (via IE conditional statement).

List of CSS Frameworks Available on the Web

  1. The Blueprint CSS framework, created by Norwegian tech student Olav Frihagen Bjørkøy, is a very promising foundation for developing typographic grids using CSS. The framework offers an easily customizable grid, sensible typography, a typographic baseline and a stylesheet for printing. It also uses relative font-sizes, provides a CSS reset and is supposed to be cleaned of code bloats. The latter isn’t always true.
  2. YAML is based on web standards and supports every modern web browser. All Internet Explorer’s major rendering bugs are countered. YAML fully supports all IE versions from 5.x/Win to 7.0.

    Apart from a number of standard-conform layouts the framework also offers a debugging stylesheet, print stylesheet as well as various robust tools for web-development in YAML. All CSS components of the framework as well as the various layout methods are thoroughly documented in both English and German, supplemented by numerous examples.

That's it for now. On my future post i will discuss about CSS Resets. If you have any suggestions comment below. Meanwhile, for additional topic relating to Web Design and Web Development you might consider reading What is really Web 2.0 and Mashup means?

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The House Attack

In 2006, artist Erwin Wurm had an art exhibit at Austria’s MUMOK (Museum Moderner Kunst), displaying work that was often architectural in nature such as ‘fat houses’. Outside the building, the theme continued with an installation called ‘House Attack’ – an actual house imbedded in the museum’s roof.

Photos are from An-Architecture

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Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Choosing A DSLR Camera

There are a wide range of options and features available for DSLR (digital single lens reflex) cameras and it can be confusing if you are buying this type of camera for the first time. This guide will help you decide which features are important to you and hopefully help you to choose your ideal DSLR camera.


A major factor in your decision is, of course, the price. DSLR cameras start at about $400 and can be as much as $8000 for a top of the range camera. A camera of between $400 to $1000 would probably be a good choose for a newcomer. Lenses tend to be expensive and can cost more than the camera body do make sure you take this into account when you make your budget.

Format Size

There are four format sizes at the moment for 35mm DSLR cameras.

Full Frame

This format, with a sensor size of sensor size is 36mm x 24mm, is found on most higher end cameras and is the same size as that used in 35mm film cameras.


On a Canon camera this format has a 15mm x 22.5mm sensor and on a Nikon 15.6mm x 23.7mm. This format is used by most DSLR cameras except some higher end cameras and Olympus makes. Nikon call it a DX format.


This format is only found in a few cameras such as the Canon EOS 1D MkIII and has a 18.7mm x 28.7mm sensor.

Four Thirds

This is a smaller format at 13.5mm x 18mm and is found on Olympus and Panasonic cameras. The aspect ratio is 3:4 unlike other cameras with an aspect ratio of 2:3.

All of the formats will give a good print out up to 11″ x 14″ which is the largest most amateur photographers will usually need. Most cameras below about $1000 dollars use the Four Thirds or APS-C format so the choice is usually dictated by the price rather than performance.

Image Stabilization Systems

Systems for image stabilisation vary between manufacturers. Some systems are mounted in the camera body others on the lens itself. Nikon and Canon use a lens based system and use gyros on the lens to sense movement and keep the optical groups stable. Gyros mounted on the camera body are used by Sony, Panasonic and Olympus in a stabilisation system called a sensor shift. The sensor shifts to compensate for any movement. Although both systems perform equally as well the lens mounted systems need to be included on every lens which adds to the cost. In addition not all lenses have the system included especially prime lenses under 200mm.

Size and Weight

Cheaper cameras tend to be smaller and lighter although, as no DSLR camera is going to fit into a pocket anyway, the size is not of primary important.

Pixel Count

DSLR camera start at about 6 mega pixels (MP) and can be as much as 22 MP for a high end camera. The pixel count will dictate the size that a print can be blown up to and you need to decide how large you would like your prints before you decide on which model to buy. 240 pixels per inch will give a very good quality print so a 6 MP camera will be adequate for a high quality 8" x 10" print.

If you need larger prints a 10 MP camera will be capable of producing a good print at a size of 11″ x 14″. A top of the range camera with a pixel count of 22 MP will give excellent 11″ x 14″ prints.

ISO Settings

ISO ranges between 100 and 1600 are found on most lower end cameras. Mid range cameras may have settings up to 6400 and a high end camera can reach as high as 25,500 and as low as 50. Most DSLR cameras will give pictures with low noise at ISO settings between 100 and 800 but the noise dramatically increases above this. The noise at the higher levels can vary considerably between models so, if possible, try to see images taken at higher setting with the cameras you are considering.


All digital images will have some noise which will be more noticeable at higher ISO settings. Noise comes from the electronics and sensor when the digital signal is produced from the analog signal. All DSLR cameras have noise filtering systems but this works less well above an ISO setting of about 800. Noise reduction softens the image so try to see images taken in low light if you will be using the higher range ISO settings.


Autofocus systems vary a great deal between manufacturers. All auto focus systems work well for static images but can vary a great deal for moving subjects, especially in low light. Check reviews of specific cameras for information on how well auto focus works for the model you are considering.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Buying A Used Computer? Then Learn to Evaluate it

Used computers are available plenty in number. But, the prime concern is that how it will satisfy the needs of the purchaser. The next one is about the functionality of the used computer and the longevity of the computer parts of the used computer. Many people decide to purchase used computers due to a tight budget, but they should not end up buying a showpiece rather than a working piece. This makes it very important to evaluate the used computer before buying it. Evaluation can be done by the purchaser himself provided he has some knowledge on computers and their parts. If not, he can get some help from their friends or relatives who are good in evaluating computers.

The used computer’s physical parts should be inspected thoroughly. First step is to look for any damages and then trying to turn on and off. It should be done by the buyer or by his friend rather than watching the computer sales person do it as it will alert for any glitches. Checking needs to be done to find out if the used computer has an original version of the operating software without which the computer is not worth buying. Manuals, licenses for software applications, discs and fonts should be got along with the computer.

The operating system of the used computer should be compatible enough to run the required applications of the buyer. Some times the seller may sell a used computer along with used disk drives, scanners and printers and include the cost of them too. It is not wise to buy used scanner, printers or disk drives as they have peripherals with moving parts which wear and tear with the passage of time and also the cost of them can be deducted making the price of the used computer even lesser.

The speed of the central processing unit needs to be checked. If it is not up to the expectation of the buyer, it needs to be found out if the used computer system can be upgraded for improving the speed and functionality. The entire hardware components should be checked including the keyboard, speakers, monitor, mouse and microphones. It should be if all the hardware components inside the computer like the CD-ROM drive, sound card, number of RAM sockets etc are if present or not and if present what are the components in use. Also it needs to be checked whether it has a provision for adding different type of cards etc.

If the purchaser has already got some computer components like the monitor, printer and so on, the used computer which is bought should be compatible with them. Nowadays used Pentium machines and power PCs are available at very low price. It is not advised to buy a used computer which is very old. Also it is good to find out if the used computer comes with a transferable warranty or service, if so it is worth buying.

The buyer should not end up overpaying as used computers depreciate at a lightning speed. There are many online auctions, which can give the idea of how much people are ready to pay for a used computer. Unfortunately, there is no reputed or unbiased source for knowing the prices for used computers.

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