Marketing, design, and technical resources for making your digital and print communications more effective.
February 6th, 2009
I happen to read Guide to Key Comparisons of Linux vs. Windows Servers over at work.com and thought it was worth pointing out to those who might not be that familiar with the fundamental differences between Windows and Linux Web server environments.
Because this it’s such a common misconception I should mention first that running Windows or Linux on your Web server has no relationship to the operating systems you and your site users are running on their personal system. Individual computers running Windows or Mac OS Xand and using common Web browsers don’t care what operating system the Web server is running on.
Here highlights I took from the article:
- Both Windows and Linux are about equal when it comes to market share, reliability, performance and security.
- Because Windows is proprietary commercial software and Linux is open source software, if your business decides to own and operate your own Web servers, Windows can be more costly. However, this base cost is nominal if you choose to outsource your Web server hosting and management.
- Linux offers the inherit advantages of open source . . . in terms of flexibility and customization. The author states:
Linux distributors, using an open-source application with more flexibility, can implement “extensible” packages with greater customizability. In normal situations, the performance of the two is comparable, but if system functionality is most important to you, this may have an impact on your final decision.
Another critical consideration that wasn’t mentioned in this article is total cost of ownership. Linux is generally regarded as the leader in this category, but not necessarily, it all depends on each organization’s goals and required applications. Researching total cost of ownership can be confusing . . . since many of the most popular studies are drawing data mostly from very large IT enterprises and in very large enterprises TCO tends to level out between Windows and Linux.
As a general rule the smaller the organization, the more clear-cut are the TCO benefits of Linux over Windows. This does not imply that Linux will not be the best choice for the largest enterprise environments (examples of Linux enterprises include the city of Los Angeles, NASA, Amazon, American Fidelity Assurance Company and Overstock.com), but what it does mean is that any business should spend the time to evaluate the options in light of their specific needs to get the right answer.
Posted in Tech Notes, Web Development | Comments Off on Comparing Linux and Windows Web Development
November 11th, 2008
We encourage everyone we can to use Firefox in place of Internet Explorer . . . there are a lot of good reasons to switch—Firefox’s adherence to Web standards (which equates to increased quality and compatibility for the user) its superior performance, options and increased security.
A number of people have brought to my attention that they’ve noticed fonts appear much crisper and readable when viewed with IE 7. With the release of IE 7, Microsoft introduced what they call ClearType . . . a font smoothing algorithm that increases readability for those using LCD displays. It really makes quite a difference and is probably the most impressive thing I’ve seen come from Microsoft in the last few years (I confess to not being much of a Microsoft fan).
For those surfing on a Firefox / Windows XP combo, the process for activating ClearType is quite simple:
- Minimize all your windows and right click anywhere on your desktop.
- Select Properties then choose the appearance tab then click the Effects button.
- Make sure the check mark is in the box next to “Use the following method to smooth edges of screen fonts:” and select ClearType. Then click OK.
Once you start surfing in Firefox again you should notice a marked improvement to readability.
Tags: cleartype, firefox, fonts, windows xp
Posted in Tech Notes | 4 Comments »
February 1st, 2006
Today’s post is the last in a series of four. In Part 1 we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives, in Part 2 we talked about the importance segregating the data on your hard drive, and Part 3 covered external hard drives.
This concluding post emphasizes archiving your vital data. I recommend creating a special folder within your data folder hierarchy that contains your most important data – something akin to the type of important information you would store physically in a safe deposit box. I protect this data two ways:
- First, I periodically burn it on a DVD and keep it in a safe deposit box.
- Second I use an encrypted automated FTP backup service that automatically updates my critical files every evening. My company sells this service for less than $30 per year. Search for “online file folder” at RisingLineWeb.com.
These are worst case scenario precautions, if my office burns down my most important data is still secure.
So, in conclusion, you’ve got to have the mindset that your system will crash. So many people who’s life and livelihood are based in the millions of 0’s and 1’s that they’ve created on their PC’s fail to realize the likelihood of a catastrophic system failure and the impact it will have on their lives.
The strategies I mentioned are the only solutions, or even necessarily the best, but if you implement them you will have a multiple redundant system in place to recover your most important data.
Posted in Tech Notes | Comments Off on Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 4
January 28th, 2006
In Part 1 we reviewed the strategy of having two identical synchronized hard drives. In Part 2 we talked about the importance segregating the data on your hard drive.
This weeks strategy is about using an external hard drive for data backup. There are numerous options for dedicated external hard drives designed specifically for small office backup solutions, many that feature automated backup software. There are lots of good products on the market, but some of the better values I’ve found are from SimpleTech:
- 160GB External USB 2.0 with backup software, 1 yr warranty ($96 at Costco.com at the time of this posting).
- 500GB External USB 2.0 with 1 touch backup software, 3 yr warranty, Kensington lock bracket.($219 from Costco.com at the time of this posting).
- 400GB SimpleShare Wireless NAS. It doesn’t seem to be listed on Costco.com but I saw this recently at a Costco store…it featured a 802.11 Network Attached Storage unit that could accept additional external hard drives, was
priced at Costco at $389.00. More info can be found at simpletech.com
(Costco is one of my preferred suppliers for computer hardware peripherals because they have the most liberal return policy for computer hardware of any supplier of which I’m aware.)
Buying a dedicated hard drive backup solution allows most users to back up an entire drive, but really the critical files you want backed up are your data files. So, depending on how much data you actually have, a large external drive that backs up your whole drive (operating system, application files, and data files) might be overkill, especially if your already replicating your hard drives internally as mentioned in part 1 of this series.
Another, less expensive option, is to buy an external hard drive enclosure ($20-$40) in which you can mount a extra hard drive. If you’re like most small businesses, you probably have accumulated a small stack of these extra hard drives…just make sure the hard drive you pick was not orphaned because it had potential technical issues. External hard drive enclosures connect to your PC via USB or Firewire cable, and you can buy a software utility to automatically backup or just back up manually on a regular basis. As long as you’re not relying on this as your only backup it’s an inexpensive and effective option.
Ideally, you should physically move your external hard drive backup to a safe, or at least another room, when you’re away; or buy one with a Kensignton lock bracket (you’ll have to buy the Kensington cable lock separately). That way you’ll be more likely to retain your data backup if your PC is stolen.
Try searching for “hard drive enclosure” at Tiger Direct, or CDW.
Next weeks post: Remote data archiving for disaster recovery.
Posted in Tech Notes | Comments Off on Easy Inexpensive Ways to Protect Your Data-Part 3