The Bleeding Edge

Well, after a couple of hours fighting Gallery, I managed to get it back online yesterday. I upgraded Gallery several weeks ago, but I didn’t bother checking how it looked like on Internet Explorer. The menu border was missing and the fonts were out of whack. How can Gallery looks so good in Firefox and be horrible in IE? Are the two browsers really that far apart? Something’s wrong. I checked the CSS file to see if it needed tweaking. No luck there. It dawned on me. It was the Gallery upgrade several weeks ago.

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Linux Browsers

I just searched Google and was amazed by the number of browsers available for Linux. There are at least a couple of dozen browsers actively in development. The most popular browsers are Mozilla’s Firefox, Konqueror, Galeon and Opera. Firefox and Opera have Windows versions available for download. They are free. Gratis!

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Sudo

I’ve learned something new today, Sudo. Sudo is a Unix command that allows system administrators to give certain users the ability to run some or all commands as root. Why? Well, I have this program called Bluefish which I use as a HTML editor. I have to run Bluefish as root to modify my webroot directory. I could have ran Bluefish as a regular user, but I didn’t want to use my home directory to shuttle back and forth the modified web pages.

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CSS Gallery

I have been playing around with a picture gallery powered entirely by CSS. I got the idea from a website called CSS Play. CSS never ceases to amaze me. If you really want to see what CSS can accomplish, go to Zen Garden and be awed by the CSS designs. There are currently 734 designs and counting all using the same HTML source, but each design using different CSS files. Simply amazing!

Smoothwall Firewall

It’s official. I am now using Smoothwall firewall at home. I made the switch yesterday afternoon. Now, I feel fairly secure about my home network. I have several systems at home running different flavors of Linux plus a laptop on a wireless network. Prior to the switch, I had a Netgear wireless router that acted as a router, firewall and a wireless access point.

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The Great Raid

I saw the movie The Great Raid last night. In my opinion, it’s one of the most accurate movie depictions of the war in the Pacific. The movie was set in the Philippines in January 1945. It’s about a daring rescue of 500 American POWs in the Cabanatuan camp 30 miles deep in Japanese territory by the 6th Army Ranger Battalion. To this day, it’s still the most successful rescue in US military history.

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Hybrid Cars

An experimental hybrid car gets 250 miles per gallon. Compare it to a conventional car that gets 20-25mpg. I normally gas up every every two weeks. With this hybrid car, I can potentially fill up every 20 weeks or just three times a year. Why doesn’t Congress throw more money into making this technology viable?

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Gasoline Prices

The national average for gas prices in the United States right now is $2.37 per gallon. If you live in California, the average price is $2.60 per gallon. In San Francisco, the average price is $2.79 according to this website. The highest price in the Bay Area is $3.15. By the way, we are talking about regular gasoline only. Expect to pay more for premium gas.

Taxes, Taxes, Taxes

Like the saying goes, there are two things in life that are certain, death and taxes. I wonder if people really know how much they’re taxed. It’s probably higher than most realize. Majority of Americans fall within the 25% to 28% tax bracket with their Federal Tax returns. That’s a range between $7,150 to $146,750. For state tax, California has a maximum of 9.3%. Then, there’s sales tax. It’s 8.75% in Alameda County where I live. Everytime you pump gas at the station, you pay 22% in taxes. When you fly domestically, you pay 10% in taxes.

Don’t forget, you also pay toll for highways and bridges. Tolls are essentially a form of tax. How about retirement? A percentage of your social security benefit is taxed. The earnings on your 401K plan is taxed. Thanks to Roth IRA, earnings are tax free. I’m hoping our government don’t change their mind on this one. Eventually when we die, there’s an estate tax. For wealthy Americans with estates over $1.5 million, the effective rate tax is 44% in 2005. Most of us don’t have to worry about that, but if you live in the Bay Area, that figure is much closer than we think because of real estate values. I shouldn’t complain, because it’s a lot worse in other countries.