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Make A File Dropbox For Quick Downloads

Category: Web Development

I frequently need to setup a quick and temporary link for file download either for myself or others, but I hate having to create a new page with links to files that are only going to exist for a few hours. Apache and other web servers often provide this functionality with directory browsing, but I usually want directory browsing disabled or the server that I'm using (that isn't mine) has directory browsing disabled and I can't turn it on.

I wrote (and by "wrote", I mean "wrote some, borrowed some from all over the web--yes, I know I'm not the first to write a script like this) this script to parse a directory and display links for all the files in that folder.

Take the script below and either create a folder called 'files' in the same directory as this file or you can modify the $filesDir variable to point to the location that you'd like to place your temporary downloads. For example, on my server, I have a folder under the root called downloads (http://myserver.com/downloads/) and I place this script in the folder and name it index.php. Within downloads/, I have another folder called files where I place the files for download.

If you want the files in the same folder as the script (that is, you want them all at the same level), I've included a check before the links are displayed to make sure that it's not displaying index.phpIf you don't call this script index.php, you'll need to modify that piece of the code.

Let me know if you have any questions or comments. As with the usual disclaimer, I'm sure there are enhancements that can be made to this for both performance and security and the code comes as-is and without warranty. :)

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Finding A Modern Country Guitar Sound

Category: Guitars

For some reason, there are not a lot of resources (or at least not that many that I've found) that describe a general approach to getting a good modern country guitar sound. Of course, now that I've said that I'm sure I'll get a dozen people pointing me sites that I somehow missed. But anyway, I'd like to go over what I've learned from various readings, speaking to other guitarists, and from my own experimentation.

The first thing that you notice when you listen to guitarists like Brad Paisley, Vince Gill, Jimmy Olander of Diamond Rio, and others is how twangy and compressed their sound is. Now, if you aren't familiar with what a compressor does and what it sounds like, then saying that a guitar sounds "compressed" doesn't mean anything to you. A compressor limits the peaks and boosts the valleys of a guitar's signal. That is, it makes the quiet sounds louder and the louder sounds quieter, which evens out the attack. It also has the effect of making the sound very poppy and punchy, if that makes sense. I'll get back to achieving this sound a little later.

For the twang part of the sound sound, that typically means "more treble" in your sound. Make sure that your tone knob is maxed and use your bridge pickup on whatever guitar you're using. You can boost this treble sound by tweaking the equalization on your amp to favor the treble side. That is, start with your Bass, Middle, and Treble knobs "flat" or right in the middle. If your knobs go from 1 to 10, put them at 5 or 6. Now, to further boost the treble you can raise the Treble knob and set it at 8 or so. Also, if your amp has a Bright switch, flip that on. If your amp has a Presence knob, which is like the next step above Treble, you can turn that up a bit to your taste.

So far we have the very basics of a great country tone. Let's take it to the next level and discuss the various pieces of gear and how you can use them to shape your sound.

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Turn Blogger Into Your Own Blog

Category: Web Development

Recently I was working with a client who wanted a blog for their site but they didn't have the money (and I didn't have the time) for a completely one-off solution. The initially proposed solution was to simply make the "Blog" link point to a Blogger (which was purchased by Google a while back, if you missed it) site for the client. I didn't feel very comfortable with this idea because I didn't think it would look very professional to link to a free blogging site, so I started out by using the template editor that Blogger provides to mimic the client's site. While this was a better solution, it still didn't seem professional enough. The site was still a Blogger site; the URL was Blogger's and I couldn't exactly match the look-and-feel of the client's site.

This is when I remembered that Blogger (as many with many other sites) provides an XML-based RSS feed of each individual blog. Why not consume the RSS feed and redisplay the content on the client's site?! This technique allowed me to utilize the blog publishing and management tools from Blogger while full integrating the blog into the client's site. Now, instead of linking to an external site for the blog, I would just create a page that scraped the RSS feed, parsed the XML, iterated over the entries, and displayed the content.

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