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Archive for the ‘web site’ Category

Preventing multiple instances of Flash Movies

Currently, Flash does not natively support prevention of multiple instances, so a workaround is needed. Why would anyone want to prevent multiple instances anyway? Well, I use Flash as a Chat client, so allowing a user to run multiple instances would mean that they could join the chat multiple times, which is not really a wanted feature. So how do I prevent users from joining the chat multiple times?
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Adobe Flash’s ExternalInterface and Microsoft Internet Explorer

As my new community project is using a lot of Javascript and Flash Communication, I rely on Flash’s ExternalInterface. ExternalInterface allows me to create simple functions in Flash, which are callable from Javascript. I developed everything using Firefox, where everything worked just fine, but when using Internet Explorer, I encountered the problem that no ExternalInterface functions would register, breaking the Flash/Javascript Communication completely.

After endless hours of testing, I found out that for ExternalInterface to work in IE, 2 conditions have to be met.

  1. The Flash needs to visible. Loading a flash into a hidden div does not work.
  2. It has to be loaded before the document onload event. All Flash files loaded after the onload event can’t register any functions with ExternalInterface.

There seems to be an issue with transparent PNGs (with alpha channel) in IE 7, too. I had some ugly black background in the pictures even though other PNGs worked just fine. The reason was that it the div was hidden first. I guess IE 7 has some serious issues with invisible divs.

Strict HTML/XHTML and target=”_blank”

To keep this short: THERE IS NO target=”_blank”! It’s not valid “Strict HTML” or “Strict XHTML”. There is a huge discussion on the web about this, and frankly I don’t care. I see reasons for opening new windows, so I want new windows and “Strict XHTML”. But how to do that? Easy, I coded a short Javascript which will find all external links and links to PDFs and Ads and makes them open up in new windows.

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Urania.de goes online!

I’ve been working on the new Urania website together with Jonas for quite some time now. Today it launched! Check it out: www.urania.de! We wrote the site completely in Django, a really cool Python framework for making websites quick and easy. Well it wasn’t really easy, we did encounter a lot of Problems. But now, they are all fixed and the site is running like a charm.

Working on the Urania website plus making my cool new WordPress Plugin qTranslate pretty much took up all my time lately, so I haven’t been able to post anything. Sorry!

Moving again

After staying with Keyweb VRS Premium for 3 month, I learned that virtual servers aren’t a real solution for hosting. I ended up way too many times in the black zone, killing my website. So it’s time to move again.

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hosting toy – Keyweb VRS Start

I used to share a root server with some friends of mine. This allowed us to use a high performance server at a relatively low cost. I use to pay a share of € 40 a month, which is quite a lot. So we decided to move to several small virtualized servers. With VDSL 50, it was possible to host stuff at home, so I wanted move some stuff to my home server and save some money.

Because I don’t want to be limited by some provider’s stupid limitations, I searched for a virtualized server. To avoid any unnecessary costs, I wanted a traffic flat rate too. My personal limit was € 20, if the server was performing nicely according to my expectations. I stumbled upon Keyweb, a hosting company with a really outdated, but still serious enough looking design. They offer two kinds of virtual servers, one kind is called “VRS” and the other “rootDS”. So what’s the difference between these two? Well, a rootDS has a guaranteed CPU speed whereas the VRS don’t. Because the rootDS prices start at € 25, I decided to get a VRS, so I ordered “VRS Start” for € 13 a month. Included in this price is a 10 Domain Plesk license, 256 MB guaranteed RAM and 2 IPs. Perfect, I thought, everything I wanted.

I ordered it one week ago and got it this Friday, that’s 3 days more than their promised delivery time. On top of that, I needed to call them several times. Just to clear things up, after my first call, the server was delivered within 2 days, but my order wasn’t processed at all before. Anyway, after getting the server, I found it running with Plesk 8.01, the worst possible version of Plesk. So I tried to update it, but it somehow crashed and Plesk wouldn’t start anymore. I didn’t know why, so I used the “Reinstall VRS” feature of Virtuozzo. It was a bad idea as it turned out to be messing things up even more. First it didn’t delete everything and then the fresh installation wasn’t working at all. Opening an Emergency Support Ticket solved my problem within 2 hours on Saturday 1:00 am.

So after I got the server running, I started migrating my websites with Plesk, but it always failed because Plesk went out of memory while decompressing the files. How can that be? I only got Apache running and that’s not taking 256 MB RAM away. A closer look with “top” showed me that the system has 2 GB of RAM, but Virtuozzo shuts the system down whenever the RAM usage goes above 384 MB, which is pretty stupid. The system and other processes takes out way too much RAM because it thinks there is still enough available. A lot on the QoS Alerts in Virtuozzo shows the idle system between yellow and green zone. Doing anything small causes the system to jump into the red zone. Uncompressing files will take you straight to the black zone, making Virtuozzo cancel any new memory request from the any process. This again causes processes to crash or freeze, where freezing will leave your system in the black zone, killing your own server just like a DoS-attack.

So in the end, the “VRS Start” virtual server can’t really be used at all, but Keyweb offers bigger virtual server for € 20 a month, called “VRS Premium”. I have immediately upgraded because I don’t want my server dying from a few web site requests. Upgrade was done 10 minutes after I ordered it. All in all the VRS seems to be pretty fast and stable from Keyweb and I hope I won’t have any more problems with it.

Moving to WordPress

I have used my own CMS for about a year now, but last week, when I installed WordPress for my girlfriends homepage, I was kind of fascinated by its features. Although WordPress has no multilangual support out-of-the-box, but there was a plugin which made it possible. It’s called Polygot and allows the usage of multiple languages. Because WordPress is W3C conform by default, I decided to do the same with my design.

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new domains for me

I managed to get some new domains for me. After seeing almost all domains being taken away, I was still able to get two with my name:

qin.at and qian.at

.at-domains are from Austria and still pretty expensive, that is why they were still unregistered. But due to an upgrade of services of our hoster, I got them for free. The normal price for an .at-domain is around € 49.00 each year plus setup fees. Well, you might find some new stuff there about me soon. Or shall I say http://qian.at/creating.a/new.website?

war against spam

Now, after I am using Spambayes as my learning Spam filter for Emails, I thought Spam would be something from the past. But I was wrong, I am now getting comment spam. Basically, the spammers post in my comment fields with links to their pages. This way, the can not only reach new people with their posts, but can also raise their Google PageRank. So how to stop all of this effectively? Well, there are some ways, let me list them to you:

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going multilingual

As you can see, my website just went multilingual. There will be German and English at first. I want to add Chinese later on. I won’t translate my old entries, but the new ones will be in all languages. I’ll try to translate everything as similar as possible, but there will be some little differences for sure. Have fun reading!