Archive | June, 2008

24 June 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Adobe – Back to Basics

Back in January of this year, I documented Adobe’s wild succes with their attempt to prevent people from downloading Acrobat Reader by utilizing getPlus(tm) from NOS Microsystems.

Today, I downloaded Acrobat Reader and much to my surprise, getPlus is no longer front-and-center.  I simply downloaded the executable and installed it.

What happened to getPlus?  My interest was piqued, so I had a look around the NOS Microsystems site to see what they offer.  As it turns out, some pretty cool technology.

“We offer the only simultaneous download, extraction and installation platform available.”

Sounds pretty cool, right?  Unfortunately, it has the side effect of modifying the all-too-familiar download and installation experience from Next -> Next -> Next -> Finish into something that looks like this:

You’ll find plenty of diagrams and literature on the NOS site about their technology, how easy it is to customize and how it increases customer satisifaction through ease of use and simplicity (this, I strongly doubt).  What you won’t find is screenshots.

Countless companies employ “Download Managers”, as though the Save File functionality in Internet Explorer or Firefox is insufficient for the task at hand.  Typically these serve as advertising shells or simply an excuse to get more software on your machine.  They all miss the mark; additional software downloaded and installed under the assumption a download will be interrupted or some marginal increase in download and installation time will make up for the additional complexity.

If Adobe has indeed continued to utilize getPlus, they’ve done a terrific job of hiding the complexity so that we reap the rewards without paying the price.

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18 June 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Eight Dollars

Scammers just aren’t swinging for the fences like they used to…

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12 June 2008 ~ 0 Comments

Redirects and mod_rewrite

I don’t write a lot about tech stuff in this space, but I do have one rule: if something takes longer than it should (or that I’d like) and involves much experimentation, I’ll share.

I’ve been using Google Webmaster Tools to track site statistics. Surprisingly, there were many incoming links to invalid URLs, all to my old images:

From my experience with WordPress I knew that URL rewriting could fix this. I want to replace “photos” with “galleries” and I’m all set. Seemed simple enough!

Tick tock… 12:30am turned to 1:30am… turned to 3am. In the world of technology, mod_rewrite and regular expressions are just about the two last things you’d want to mess with after midnight :)

The first part is easy – match all URLs that aren’t files or directories (in case these documents do actually exist) and contain the word “photos”:

                RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-f
                RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} !-d
                RewriteCond %{REQUEST_FILENAME} photos

I could have a blog post containing the word “photos” (I don’t) but I didn’t worry about that.

Next, through the use of a RewriteRule, I need to figure out how to turn this:

http://www.allaboutbalance.com/photos/creatures/slides/Rallying%20Cry.html

Into this:

http://www.allaboutbalance.com/galleries/creatures/slides/Rallying%20Cry.html

Not only that, I want the search engine crawlers to record it as a permanent redirect (HTTP 301) and stop perpetuating these old URLs.

                RewriteRule  photos(.*) /galleries$1 [R=301,L]

The tricky bits are the $1 and [flags]. The $1 refers back to the Pattern, photos(.*), and basically writes a new URL that starts with /galleries and appends everything that matches after the word photos.

The [flags] tell the browser this was an HTTP 301 Permanent Redirect, and that for the preceding conditions, this should be the Last rule (i.e. stop processing).

References:

Apache mod_rewrite Reference @ apache.org
Regular Expressions Tutorial @ regular-expressions.info

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