It was in the dark ages of the Reagan era when I logged my first encounter with the File Transfer Protocol. I was involved in some nefarious video game-trading ring of the innocently naive variety, and a friend of mine had that hot new copy of Vladivostok Putting Challenge that I wanted oh so badly. The only problem was that he lived all the way on the other side of Orange County. Being too young to drive, neither of us had access to a car, and snail mail was just too darned slow. I wanted to lay down sloping fifteen-footers and rub it in the face of the Reds today, not in a week. “No problem,” my friend assured me. “Just log in to my server and grab it with FTP.”
“FTP? What is that?” I asked. My friend let out an Oscar-worthy sigh and gave me the quick run down of the Internet protocol that would forever transform my life.
Last I heard, my friend is collecting Galaxie 500s in Michigan, so calling him up with your FTP questions isn’t really an option anymore. Lucky for you, I’m here to give you a holier-than-thou sigh of my own and send you down the dharma path. For those of you who are entirely new to this whole game, we’ll start with a basic primer on the most comely of acronyms.
Continue Reading “FTP for Beginners” »
So far, we’ve learned how to shrink page layout code and how to effectively compress images. Still, there are a few more techniques you can apply to optimize your pages, and most of them spring from smart design sense (Here are the On Page Search engine optimization guidelines). Follow these helpful design tips and your page load time will be about as miniscule as humanly possible – short of running your code through a Frinkian Debigulator.
Continue Reading “Site Optimization Tutorial – Lesson 3″ »
Creating examples of Web art that shine with unburdened creativity is easy with Flash 5. In fact, you can create more than just simple Web-based animations with Flash — audio, site navigation, and full interactivity are at your disposal as well. So put on those monkey goggles and pull up a chair.
In the latest Flash 5 tutorial, Mike teaches you how to animate in a jiffy by running down what tools you need and then showing you how to use them. He stops along the way to cover file optimization, pulldown menus, importing sounds, and the amazing tellTarget action. If you’re a beginner, there’s plenty here for you to absorb. If you’re a seasoned pro, then let Mike take you back to school you for a few tricks to help make your final Flash projects cleaner and meaner.
With a script debugger, you can pop the hood and study exactly how things work — the catch being that the only really robust debuggers exist only for Internet Explorer and the Mozilla family of browsers. But that’s OK. You don’t really care about browser compatibility yet; you just want the darn thing to work.
On the resume that convinced Wired to hire me, I said that I knew enough about Unix that it didn’t scare me anymore. This wasn’t exactly true. Unix was still a chilling concept for me when I arrived at the San Francisco office armed with a copy of Unix for Dummies. The managing editor steered me to my desk and instead of the Macintosh I was hoping for, there sat a purple SGI machine.
I realized then that I needed to learn a lot about Unix fast. Initially I tried using SGI’s graphical user interface, which mimicked the Macintosh desktop fairly well, but soon realized that it was just too damn slow. So I stole some better Unix books from the engineering staff and found a nice Unix expert to help me. Soon I was cp-ing, mv-ing, and chmod-ing like lightning. Unix still gives me the occasional nightmare, but basically I love it. It’s fast, it makes sense (most of the time), and anyone can figure it out with a little work. Plus, it looks great on a résumé. If you can convince a prospective employer that you have a working knowledge of Unix, you’re one step ahead of everyone else who is too scared even to try figuring it out.
I’ve put together a very basic explanation of Unix to get you started. But first, a warning. Unix is very powerful. The wrong collection of keystrokes can blow away files that you’ll probably never be able to recover, so practice on sample files before you move on to anything important.
Continue Reading “Learn Enough Unix for Your Resume” »