Friday, July 20, 2007


Most people are familiar with google documents and the variety of offerings there. If you aren't get a google account and have a play.

The common idea of what an OS is such as Winblows, OSX and *nix systems is widely understood. So what is a WebOS?

First of all a web OS is not an OS as such, the name is misleading. However it does (through a web interface) provide features that you associate with an OS, such as a window manager and applications. Any words i type here will only confuse you. But in 30 seconds you will see what it is if you read about it on the official eyeOS site. Or even better you test drive it on Just click where it says "new user" set a username and password then use them to log into the system.

What you have is a virtual desktop with (all be it limited applications at the moment) which you can access from anywhere in the world.

What's it useful for?

Well, For a starter it will run on any operating system that can run firefox, IE, safari or an up to date web browser with Java support etc... So hardware requirements are low.

It is a gateway to/alternative method of thin client computing with a twist. You can access your thin client system without any specialist software or hardware. and you can access it from anywhere in the world.

It is easy to install your own eyeOS server. If you go to the downloads page and get the latest copy, unzip it to a directory on a web server and follow the instructions. On my old test system it was up and running in under 2 mins including me filling in the password and configuration fields and changing directory permissions.

At the moment it is an interesting idea with bags of potential. Who knows in years to come company offices will be running WebOS servers which can be accessed from internal and external networks holding the day to day company centrally but accessible from anywhere in the world with an internet connection. The environment will be saved by the lifespan of computers being extended and... and... the possibilities are exciting.

While I doubt that such systems will replace desktop OS's and software as we know them complexity due to many tasks requiring specific hardware, propriatry software etc... Not to mention power users who will want to break out of the "simple, safe environment" this is an interesting vision of the future of computing in at least some areas of office and business use.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Shut down windows XP after a period of inactivity

Tell a computer to turn off if it hasn't been used for a while... Lets see, you can have a screen saver come on after say 10 mins. After 20 mins the screen turns off (the environment loves us here)... But there is no option to turn the whole thing off!!! Fortunately I have constructed a script to set-up things for this task using the following commands: This took me ages to find the exact things i was looking for... bloody GUI tools hiding the things you actually want to do. And for you lucky people here is my script:
@echo off

rem installs a script to shut down the computer after 10 mins: MYshutdown.bat
rem installs a script to cancel the shutdown: MYshutdownSTOP.bat
rem sets a schedule to run the shutdown script after 30 mins of inactivity

if not exist C:\MY mkdir C:\MY
if not exist C:\MY\scripts mkdir C:\MY\scripts
echo rem script by David Halliday to shut down computer > C:\MY\scripts\MYshutdown.bat
echo @echo off >> C:\MY\scripts\MYshutdown.bat
echo shutdown -s -f -t 600 -c "This workstation is shutting down to conserve power. Save all work now." >> C:\MY\scripts\MYshutdown.bat

echo shutdown -a > C:\MY\scripts\MYshutdownSTOP.bat

schtasks /create /TN MYshutdown /RU administrator /SC ONIDLE /I 30 /TR C:\MY\scripts\MYshutdown.bat


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

XHTML open links in a new window

Now I'm a big fan of standards compliance... However one thing that I don't like about XHTML is the removal of the target="_blank" feature. I'm aware that in the run of things this isn't considered "good practise" and that the user should have the choice of how links are opened (as I do) however... Most users don't understand or apreciate this in which case if you are working on a company website and want to link to external material or sites you often don't want your users to go elsewhere, you want to keep them (even if you are providing links to other information).

I did a little research and found tis article: XHTML target="_blank" Alternative

The easiest way to apply this to my works site is to run a replace on all files replacing: target="_blank"

with: onclick=",'_blank');return false;"

Jobs a good'n