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Thanks to all who have helped with previous ones, which I posted on:

If anyone could have a look at my last computer problems entry, I would be much obliged.

Despite all the exhortations to revert to WinXP, I actually do like a lot of Vista's features. Not only is the look of Aero quite sleek (something I consider a minor cosmetic improvement over XP), but Vista really does have better driver support. Video, rendering, audio, and multimedia are smoother. The new applications (IE7 and Windows Media Player 11) seem all right; I use Firefox and Mozilla instead of IE7, but I use MP11 instead of iTunes. I'm sure I'll get to appreciate the printing, networking, and security features of Vista Ultimate once the full version is out. So far, I have not used the ActiveSync replacement; but it seems to be an advancement over ActiveSync v3 and v4.

Here's my fortnightly update:

  • 1. New Vista Build: I still don't have anything more recent than CTP Build 5270, and would be much obliged if someone could help me get a more recent version. Before I commit to reinstalling, though, I'd like to know whether a) 2Gb of RAM is supported and b) the headphones now work.

  • 2. Registry Preservation: Given that I may revert to WinXP but will most likely upgrade to the next build of Vista, I'd still like to know how to back up and restore the registry, to go on using installed applications if I forgo formatting my applications drive.

  • 3. Old Computer Problems Return for a Wild Card Round: Both problems are still extant.

    • Compact VOIP for WiFi devices: I haven't backed up Turuphanto to test out Shoretel, the product darana suggested in February. Any other suggestions? I do have an COMPAQ iPAQ H3635 (200MHz RISC) that I'd be willing to try overclocking, but I've heard that Skype for PocketPC can't work on anything less than 300MHz, and I don't think I could get 50% out of this thing. I could be wrong, though.

    • Microsoft Office 2003 and the speech recognition annoyance: It just won't stop, and I'm this close to uninstalling and reinstalling Office 2003. I'd do it now if I were sure it would work!

Now for the new questions:

Content Management Systems

I've had the following recommended to me:

  • Tiki - scottharmon set up a couple of these (geckies and RoboSim) for me once upon a time, and since then I've started learning how to use them for the NSF ITR project (LEAP-KMC) and bayesnets. I'll most likely be using TikiWiki for the NSF FIBR project and migrating BNJ's content to a MediaWiki.

  • MediaWiki - Not only is this used for Wikipedia, but it is also the heart of the Memory Alpha (Star Trek), Wookieepedia (Star Wars), Supermanica (Superman), and BattlestarWiki (Battlestar Galatica) fandom wikis. It's just sleek, flexible, and all-around nice. I believe zengeneral and several others have recommended it.

  • Joomla - jereeza and dashamus played with this a while back, and I hear good things about it from jereeza, but I don't know much about it. Anyone have experience with it?

  • Plone - "It's Python-based and secure" is all I've heard. Jeremiah Shirk recommended this one.

  • Mambo - martinsamuel recommended this, and it looks as if the SANToS group uses this for a lot of its content. It looks quite clean and reasonable, but I've not researched the platform on which it's built.

I've been asked to narrow our list of CMS installations to one or at most two. At this point, I've ruled out only Smarty and PHPNuke. I will most likely use 3-5 of the above, but have 2 of my favorites at K-State and 1-3 off-site.

What do you all suggest?

Windows Annoyances

Besides the speech rec thing, there are a few things in Vista that are starting to test my limits of tolerance.

  • 1. Loss of Ctrl-W. I am really quite hooked on being able to close windows with Ctrl-W, especially because I still use the classic mode of "open each folder in its own window". (Those of you who are made nervous by my plethora of windows - this is why I have so many.) Ctrl-W doesn't work in Windows Vista, though. Any idea why? More important, is there a way that I can remap keys or create a system macro to restore this basic function?

  • 2. Suppression of security warnings. This is driving me quite batty. I shouldn't have to answer "yes" to three system dialogs when I just want to move a shortcut or a file, damn it!

  • 3. Defaulting of file extensions to something stupid. When I edit a Trillian .log file using Notepad, then try to save it, it doesn't simply save to the old file. Instead, it tries to turn it into a .txt file, and I have to override that to get it to even try to save the file as a .log file, after which I still have to reply "yes, overwrite the existiing file". This is maddening, because I'm usually trying to save out a 0-6Mb log file before someone types another line into an IRC channel or my IM window. The time it takes to rename is just a little too long for a brisk chat, and I can never remember to come back and save the log later, so I lose lines.

  • 4. Trillian 3 doesn't open log files any more. On a related note, I can't use "view Activity History" in Trillian 3.x to bring up a text file as I could with Trillian 2.x. It works just fine with all versions of Trillian 2. v3.1 build 121 works under Windows 2000, but not under WinXP or Vista. Has a patch been released that fixes this?

  • 5. Uppercase image file extensions by default. How do I get Windows to save JPEGs as .jpg instead of .JPG?

  • 6. Loss of Hotmail/Live Mail in Windows Mail 7 (ETA, 12:20 CDT Sun 07 May 2006). Windows Mail (formerly Outlook Express) doesn't support that proprietary HTTP-based Hotmail/MSN Mail any more - does anyone know how to get it to work with Thunderbird? I tried Hotmail Popper, but IIRC it's a commercial product. Is there a free (preferably open source) version?

Good Linux for graphics and databases

What would you say is the best Linux distribution for each of these? The worst? How come?

  • OpenGL - for g++ Cygwin, or for Visual C++ (or C#)

  • ORACLE 10g - I need to run a small server and a larger one.

  • MySQL - I need to run several installations for my Wikis.

  • postgresql - I would like to have an assignment using it in my Database Systems course (CIS 560) this fall.

  • Content management systems - please see above

  • Web servers - I'm planning on using Apache, but I'm open to any and all suggestions



( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 7th, 2006 03:24 am (UTC)
Wikis - I don't have any first-hand experience running a wiki, but I've heard that PHPWIKI is good. Also, go here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_wiki_software

Linux - As far as what distro you choose, it's not so much a question of what you want to do as it is a question of how you want to administer it. Hit "distrowatch.com" to check out descriptions of the main distros. Basically, all the distros are the same "under the hood." The main differences are in:

a) installation process
b) update cycle
c) security model

If you install debian, for example, you get a rock-solid system with software that has been rigorously tested. But because it's so tested, you won't have the most recent technology. Ubuntu is basically the testing arm of debian with some glitz. Something like SUSE - IIRC - doesn't even have version numbers for the distros, because when you install it it automagically downloads the most recent versions of all the packages. So, you get a system that is more current, but that is also less stable.

Also, I'm not sure it's a good idea to do development on the same box that you are using to run multiple web services. As far as GL goes, the main thing there is driver support. Probably any distro with good driver support will be fine - ubuntu, mandriva, etc. If you just want a web server to run off in the corner, put debian on it and let it tick away. Set it to do security updates, and you'll never have to look at it again.
May. 7th, 2006 07:39 am (UTC)
Personally, I use Nuclear CMS for content management because it's no more complicated than I actually need to manage my content. It's incredibly simple to skin (something I can't say for PHPNuke or the wikis), so it won't look like every_other_wiki_site.

I have also used drupal in the past, and have enjoyed working with it moreso than PHPNuke-y things.

I don't like wikis so much, as a user, because they can become very cumbersome to navigate through and it can be difficult to find what you're looking for.
May. 7th, 2006 04:55 pm (UTC)
we use plone at work. its pretty nice
May. 7th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
Tell me more, please.

How does it compare to other CMSes for speed?
It will need to be at least as good in feature quality for me to consider it over TikiWiki (in which I'm heavily invested) and MediaWiki (because I like it, and I am slow to change my ways when I find a system whose look-and-feel I like).

May. 7th, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
Re: Plone
i think it existed before TikiWiki. I've never heard of media wiki

it did EVERYTHING that we needed for the website of a visualization research lab

thats about all i can tell you. we never had any downtime, and no problems with it whatsoever.

I think its the 'most professional', meaning most enterprise, of the ones you listed. but that also often means its harder to set up.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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