So How Can You Graphically Install Ubuntu 7.10 On Generic VGA, Anyway??

by Jon Davis 30. March 2008 21:13

I noticed in my Start menu that I had installed VirtualBox a few weeks ago. In a bored moment, I fired it up for the first time and started up the Installer/LiveCD for Ubuntu 7.10.

When I went to install Ubuntu, I got stuck right from the get-go. I couldn't click on 'Next'! The installer screen was way too large, and the high resolution VGA drivers weren't installed yet (as Ubuntu wasn't installed yet) so I couldn't change the resolution.

Classic moment of pure ludicrous idiocy here. Those Linux folks are always so smug, with such attitude, they deserve shame when they screw up this bad. Yay for corporations with coordinated QA teams!!

And yes, I did try using tab + spacebar. Got me to the next screen (time zone map), but tab doesn't work to change button focus on that screen; once the drop-down list has focus it won't let go of it with tab. 

Geek buddy says, "That's normal. Your environment can't support graphical mode installation. Graphical mode installation is for systems that can support it. Yours can't, because your VM video card isn't on the built-in drivers list."

That's crap. Hardware vendors, not OS distros, provide hardware drivers. Generic VGA @ 800x600 is a well-established minimum common standard. You install the hi-res video driver post-install; the fact that OS distros often have the driver bundled is just a bonus. Besides, I am in graphical mode!! If it's not supported because of resolution, it should say, "Sorry, you must reboot and enter Text mode to install, because in graphical mode we want to be promiscuous with your screen real estate when installing, and we don't know how to do that with your hardware." But that would still suck. Best to just scale down these rediculous installation screens! Or, at *least* set a maximum window height to the desktop and insert ugly window scrollbars if the height has max'd out.

Sure, perhaps I can track down valid hardware drivers (in this case VirtualBox drivers) and activate them somehow at runtime, just to get to the Next button. That's not the point. Sure, I can choose install in text mode. That's not the point, either. The point is that this is lunacy. If they just scaled down these windows, the user experience would have been acceptable. It's like these Linux people DEMAND and ENFORCE that you geek out just to get yourself initiated. Yet they keep bragging about how user-friendly Ubuntu and other distros like it are.

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Operating Systems | Linux

WebToolkit.info Scripts Wrapped

by Jon Davis 30. March 2008 02:59

A buddy and I were poking around at the sample scripts at http://tide4javascript.com when my buddy noticed a crc32 implementation. I followed the trail and found a number of interesting utility scripts at webtoolkit.info.

I thought they were pretty worthy so I wrapped them up and packaged them as a utility library and posted it here:

http://cachefile.net/scripts/webtoolkit.info/ 

I also added a test page, which also makes for a decent quick and dirty demo page.

http://cachefile.net/scripts/webtoolkit.info/2008.03.30/test.html 

UPDATE: I stumbled upon a blog post called "Top Ten Javascript Functions of All Time" (http://www.dustindiaz.com/top-ten-javascript/). I decided to append these functions. I quickly deprecated the webtoolkit.info URL and made it just "webtoolkit".

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Web Development

Oliver Steele, Javascript, and Data Models

by Jon Davis 30. March 2008 02:48

Ugh, just when I was getting all smug about our progres with CRUD operations and how we've designed a rediculously simplistic yet powerful approach to our new Javascript framework at the office, my co-worker finds this and asks, "Hey, why aren't we doing it this way?"

http://osteele.com/archives/2008/02/synchronizing-client-models

And then I realize we're just not doing enough. Good blog post, though.

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Web Development

Highlighting a TR (HTML Table Row) With A Border

by Jon Davis 29. March 2008 15:44

Here's another workaround to fix another elementary problem in Internet Explorer. Again, this isn't anything new, but if anyone is coming across this blog looking for an answer to this problem, here's the solution.

(And by the way, yeah, this is really elementary. I should be focusing on real problems.)

Someone in a local technology mailing list asked for help on how one highlights a table row in Javascript. He tried the following function, but it did not work for him.

function OutlineTableRow(RowID,BColor,BWidth,BStyle)
{
 var TableRow = document.getElementById(RowID);
 if(TableRow)
 {
  TableRow.style.borderColor = BColor;
  TableRow.style.borderStyle = BStyle;
  TableRow.style.borderWidth = BWidth;
 }
}

So how to you border-highlight a row in HTML? Internet Explorer doesn't support CSS on the TR like it should. You have to do it on the cells themselves. You also have to be careful not to divide the cells with borders; the leftmost and rightmost cells should be the only cells to get left or right borders, respectively. Finally, you must also set the border-collapse CSS property on the table to "collapse", otherwise the border itself will have seperation points on the inner edges of each cell.

Here's my workaround in Javascript, feel free to copy:

<html>
    <body>
        <table>
            <tr>
                <td>1</td>
                <td>2</td>
                <td>3</td>
            </tr>
            <tr id="aa">
                <td>1</td>
                <td>2</td>
                <td>3</td>
            </tr>
            <tr>
                <td>1</td>
                <td>2</td>
                <td>3</td>
           </tr>
        </table>
        <script type="text/javascript" language="javascript" >
            function outlineTableRow(rowId, borderColor, borderWidth, borderStyle){
                var tableRow = document.getElementById(rowId);
                if (tableRow) {
                    var table = tableRow.parentNode;
                    while (table.tagName.toLowerCase() != "table") {
                        table = table.parentNode;
                    }
                    table.style.borderCollapse = "collapse";
                    var tableCells = tableRow.getElementsByTagName('td');
                    if (tableCells.length > 0) {
                   
                        for (i = 0; i < tableCells.length; i++) {
                            if (i == 0) {
                                tableCells[i].style.borderLeftColor = borderColor;
                                tableCells[i].style.borderLeftStyle = borderStyle;
                                tableCells[i].style.borderLeftWidth = borderWidth;
                            }
                            else
                                if (i == tableCells.length - 1) {
                                    tableCells[i].style.borderRightColor = borderColor;
                                    tableCells[i].style.borderRightStyle = borderStyle;
                                    tableCells[i].style.borderRightWidth = borderWidth;
                                }
                            tableCells[i].style.borderTopColor = borderColor;
                            tableCells[i].style.borderTopStyle = borderStyle;
                            tableCells[i].style.borderTopWidth = borderWidth;
                            tableCells[i].style.borderBottomColor = borderColor;
                            tableCells[i].style.borderBottomStyle = borderStyle;
                            tableCells[i].style.borderBottomWidth = borderWidth;
                           
                        }
                    }
                }
            }
           
            window.onload = function(){
                outlineTableRow('aa', '#f00', '2px', 'outset');
            }
        </script>
    </body>
</html>

Result:
1 2 3
1 2 3
1 2 3

But one should use CSS for this. Rather than explicitly setting [element].style.[cssproperty], instead one should set the className property, then define the details in CSS. If you really want to pass arbitrary styles to a function, jQuery would also be essential for doing this. Come to think of it, jQuery would be essential, regardless.

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"Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! ... Fix it! Fix it!" - Fry on Futurama

by Jon Davis 29. March 2008 15:11

[Audio clip: futurama-fixit.wav]

I have a deep-rooted, unending desire to see elementary failures of the tools we use fixed.

I do this no matter what I'm dealing with. I don't like to stoop to the inadequacies of those I'm depending on caused by their apathy.

While I realize that workarounds make apathetic people more apathetic, I still end up doing this because:

  • It shows I care. It's one thing to sit around and complain. It's another thing to actually take time out to fix what those you're depending on have done themselves.
  • It reflects shame on those who should have cared. I had to write that workaround. I had to pay for that license, or that hard drive. I refused to settle for a $15 coffeepot and pick coffee grinds out from between my teeth.
  • It should cause these people to realize that the problems are resolveable. It's a lot harder for me to create and share workarounds than for the people responsible for these things to provide what was needed in the first place. Yet, here we are, sharing the solutions or workarounds.

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JSON and XML View Engines in ASP.NET MVC

by Jon Davis 28. March 2008 18:28

I posted earlier that we're working on a client-side MVC framwork that compliments the ASP.NET MVC framework. It's actually not formally MVC on the client, but it comes close. The view side is entirely controller-driven, even the event model. The "model" side of it is the ASP.NET server itself. So the server spits out both templated markup for the client-side controls, as well as the AJAX'd data models. These data models are models to the client but they are views to the server, or at least that's the way we're designing it.

So my co-worker posted his solution to XML and JSON callbacks, since ASMX is not MVC-friendly. It's a JSON view engine for MVC.

"I recently saw Scott Guthrie at a local .NET User Group event, and he mentioned that the ASP.NET MVC Framework was completely "pluggable", and you could easily replace the built-in View Engine.  So, I immediately searched for examples, found one ... tossed it out and whipped together a really quick and simple 'JsonViewEngine' class. Here's the code ..."

http://www.fragmentedcode.com/2008/03/27/jsonviewengine-for-aspnet-mvc-framework/

kick it on DotNetKicks.com

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Software Development | Web Development

XHTMLJS Moved To CodePlex

by Jon Davis 28. March 2008 00:24

XHTMLJS has a new home on CodePlex!

http://www.codeplex.com/xhtmljs

Would be nice to get some community support (i.e. feedback, bug reports, code editors) going.

jQuery Flexigrid

by Jon Davis 27. March 2008 12:17

Ooohh.. I was digging the grid at http://www.extjs.com/ but we're already using jQuery, and wow this is really nice. http://webplicity.net/flexigrid/

I love the excellent pagination implementation at the bottom. And I love how little code it takes to make it "go". I love jQuery!

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Web Development

Mocking Framework: Pick One And Start Mocking Yourself

by Jon Davis 25. March 2008 10:40

At the office we're designing a client-side MVC framework to compliment ASP.NET MVC framework. Fun stuff, but between both server and client side MVC, we're trying to figure out how we're going to build our tests.

On the server side, there are already some mocking frameworks out there. Some people swear by Rhino Mocks. Personally, I haven't even started doing the mocking thing, to my shame. But lately everyone seems to be pointing to 'Moq', http://code.google.com/p/moq/. This includes Phil Haack, who is a leader in the ASP.NET MVC development team.

What sells me on Moq already is that it's specifically targeting people like me -- people who know they need to mock their stuff to build tests, but haven't really gotten used to TDD, or who are overwhelmed by the whole process.

On the client side, I kinda pooh-poohed JsUnit already (but might still come back to it), but I just stumbled across WebAii, http://www.artoftest.com/webaiifxproduct.aspx  .. this ought to be interesting. :) It's all client-side stuff but it's built around ASP.NET development (rather than Java, or Ruby, or specifically the Firefox browser), which sounds good.

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ASP.NET MVC Framework Source Code Released

by Jon Davis 25. March 2008 10:22

Microsoft released their beta source code for ASP.NET MVC.

http://www.codeplex.com/aspnet

What took me by surprise as I noticed the .zip file was just called "aspnet-###.zip" (where ### was a version), which made me wonder, what, is Microsoft going in the direction of moving ASP.NET itself to the open source community? I suppose to some extent that is already the case, although I wonder if WebForms' code will ever see the light of day.

Not that we want it or anything. (j/k.)

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Open Source | Web Development


 

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About the author

Jon Davis (aka "stimpy77") has been a programmer, developer, and consultant for web and Windows software solutions professionally since 1997, with experience ranging from OS and hardware support to DHTML programming to IIS/ASP web apps to Java network programming to Visual Basic applications to C# desktop apps.
 
Software in all forms is also his sole hobby, whether playing PC games or tinkering with programming them. "I was playing Defender on the Commodore 64," he reminisces, "when I decided at the age of 12 or so that I want to be a computer programmer when I grow up."

Jon was previously employed as a senior .NET developer at a very well-known Internet services company whom you're more likely than not to have directly done business with. However, this blog and all of jondavis.net have no affiliation with, and are not representative of, his former employer in any way.

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