I am working on a new page and needed to install the XML_RSS PEAR script yesterday on my Dreamhost Account. I tried the customer support and went to their twiki. Dreamhost supplies a basic set of PEAR functions and you have to create a new folder and upload any extras that you’d like to use. Normally, I’d quit at this point and try something else. I hate the command line. It gives me heeby jeebies. If I can’t do something with a mouse, I’m quitting.
But, in the spirit of learning new things, I persevered. I installed PuTTY (putty.zip) on my desktop and began the effort of logging in and updating the server. (PuTTY is a simple program that allows you to establish SSH connections with a server) Alas, it was a no-go. I couldn’t establish a connection. At this point, I do what is normal for a front-end engineer. I fired up the Yahoo! messenger and sent plaintive cries to the back-end engineers that seemed to be online for help. Unfortunately, they had just left their computers running and were nowhere to be seen.
So, back to the Dreamhost twiki. Luckily, their SSH documentation links to a really great blogpost by Phile Planet. This tutorial on How to setup SSH on Windows XP walks you through the process step-by-step. It even predicted that one step may not work for me and offered the workaround.
I was able to login at this point by going to the command prompt, typing
plink mydomain.com and entering my username and password (Dreamhost people: it’s the FTP username/password). I don’t know why the original tutorial went further to do something else but if it doesn’t work for you, try doing the extra step
- Go back to the command prompt and type
pageant. Double-click on the computer wearing a hat when it pops up in your system tray
- Click Add Key and go to where you stored that private key. Double-click it and enter your password for the key if you made one earlier
- Now go to the command prompt and type
- Enter your username and it should just login from there
That’s about it. Here are a few links with stuff you can do in the Shell
Take a look at this tutorial if you are using Dreamhost, or any host for that matter, and Windows XP. It will take you about 15 minutes to set up PuTTY on your machine and hook it into the Dreamhost servers. You’ll never know when you need something like this and it’s nice to know that you’ve already got it setup ahead of time.
I had an art teacher, Walt Cotten, that would remind us to not get comfortable with our medium. As soon as that happened, our images would become stale and our creativity would plummet. He’d encourage us to throw our existing styles to the wind and try something completely different.
I’ve gotten comfortable with CSS. It’s like walking and chewing gum. I don’t check CSS Zen Garden every day for the latest design. I don’t seem to have the time to experiment with new CSS3 techniques. I’m getting stale.
So, what do I do? I’ve been working heavily in CSS, XML, and XSL for the past two years. It’s time to do something new. I’ve dabbled in adapting other people’s php code. I’ve dabbled in handheld style sheets. I’ve dabbled with RSS feeds and a million other things. My goals this year are to break into some new paths. I’m going to start building php pages from scratch, play around with Flash lite and other mobile applications, and delve into Internationalisation.
I’m starting from scratch with PHP. As soon as I finish my first project, I’ll document it on this site for the other CSS people out there looking for the base level tutorials. I know the frustration of asking for advice and having a PHP coder say “It’s easy, setup a parser, blah, blah blah……. and that’s it!”
In December, I made a number of predictions for the 2007. I confidently predicted that Gez Lemon would discover a solution to AJAX accessibility issues. Gez had earlier defined the virtual buffer’s role in JAWS.
Understanding the virtual buffer is essential for empowering screen reader users, particularly considering the number of Web 2.0 applications that depend on Ajax. Screen readers typically take a snapshot of a web page, and place the content in a virtual buffer to allow the user to interact with the content.
Gez Lemon and Steve Faulkner – http://juicystudio.com/article/improving-ajax-applications-for-jaws-users.php
The scripts are fairly simple. When the page loads, insert a hidden form input. When your AJAX application completes its duties, change the value of that hidden input with the setAttribute function. This setAttribute activity will refresh the buffer and the screen reader will announce the content that has been changed via an AJAX call.
The updateBuffer function presented here extends the limited improvements in JAWS 7.1 and later, by providing a mechanism to update the virtual buffer for other interface elements, that works regardless of input device. This means that users of JAWS 7.1 and later do not need to explicitly update the virtual buffer in order to interact with Ajax applications.
Gez Lemon and Steve Faulkner
As I also predicted, I believe the YUI Connection Manager will incorporate this type of functionality. This will give enhanced accessibility to thousands of web sites instantaneously.