Test your connection speed

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I came across this website that measures your internet connection speed so I thought it should give it a shot.

Interestingly enough when I first ran this test the server that it pinged was provided by Dreamhost! Same people who host my website – it’s nice to see them out there doing digital good :)

I tried it out with two different providers and here are the results:

SAVVIS communtiations: Download 33Mbs Upload 28Mbs
Road Runner: Download 12Mbs Upload .86Mbs

http://www.speedtest.net/

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Mount IE6, IE7, and IE8 on one computer

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I’ve been trying to get this to work for a while, and I’ve finally succeeded in mounting a virtual image of IE8 on mac for testing.  I ended up using the first half of:

http://bavotasan.com/tutorials/creating-an-internet-explorer-testing-environment-on-a-mac/

and the second half of:

http://zytzagoo.net/blog/2009/03/20/howto-running-ie6-ie7-and-ie8-on-ubuntu-intrepid-810-using-virtualbox/

to get the job done.

The whole process went like this, I just renamed the IE8 file to IE6 from the article to keep things simple.

1. Download these programs, and install the first three:

2. Change the extensions on IE8-XPSP3.exe from .exe to .zip.

3. Create a sub-folder in your Applications directory called “IE”.

4. Launch Zipeg and drag the IE8-XPSP3.zip file into it for extraction.
Extract the .vhd files into the IE sub-folder you created.

5. Open up your IE sub-folder and you will see a folder called “IE6-XPSP3″.
Open that folder and you should have a file called “XP SP3 with IE6 2009-Apr.vhd. Rename it to ie6-xpsp3.vhd.

5. Now launch Terminal (Applications => Utilities => Terminal) and type:
/Applications/Q.app/Contents/MacOS/qemu-img convert -O raw -f vpc /Applications/IE/IE6-XPSP3/ie6-xpsp3.vhd /Applications/IE/IE6-XPSP3/ie6-xpsp3.raw

6. Next, type:
VBoxManage convertdd /Applications/IE/IE6-XPSP3/ie6-xpsp3.raw /Applications/IE/IE6-XPSP3/ie6-xpsp3.vdi

7. Open VitrualBox and choose Windows XP as the OS

8. When you get to Virtual Hard Disk page add ie6-xpsp3.vdi as the disk

9. Click Start to boot up the drive

10. Cancel all the pop-ups and on the bar at the top of your computer click on Devices> Install Guest Additions
Just say yes to anything it asks in Windows

11. Restart

12. Go to start>run and type
D:\VBoxWindowsAdditions-x86.exe /extract /D=C:\Drivers

13. Now go to Start > Administrative Tools > Computer Management and select the Device Manager there.
Navigate to Network Adapters, Ethernet Controller. Right click it and choose “Update Driver…”. Select “Yes, now and every…” and click Next. Select “Install from a list or specific location”, click Next. In the Location box paste in “C:\Drivers\x86\Network\AMD” or navigate to it manually. Click Finish.

Then we’re all good! 😀

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Browser screenshots

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When creating a website being able to insure that it will look right for everyone can be a real hassle!  The next best thing to having every version of every browser and OS available for testing is being able to get snapshots of what the site looks like in those browsers.

A few caveats are that the snapshots don’t tell you if your interactive elements are working, they’re just images so you can’t test out any features for them.  Your website also needs to be hosted online in order to get screen shots.

I only know of three websites that offer this service for free (albeit abode is only free for a limited time).  In no particular order they are:

http://browsershots.org/
http://ipinfo.info/netrenderer/index.php
https://browserlab.adobe.com/en-us/index.html

Browsershots has the best selection of browsers out of the three, but it’s free service can take hours to render a screen shot, and parts of the screen shot can be blocked by error messages.  It does offer premium services, but at $30 a month I don’t think I would use it enough.

Netrenderer is great for IE, but it only does IE.  And if there’s to much traffic you are not getting your screen shot. period.

Adobe Browser Lab is really fast, and unlike the others it offers much longer screenshots.  It doesn’t have as a wide a variety of browsers as browsershots, but does offer other features like onion skins and side by side comparisons.  For now they’re offing this service for free for one year, and after that it’s $20 a month.

For the cheaper price and extra features I would choose the Browser lab over premium Browsershots.  I would like to see a few more browsers here, but it does cover the majority of the market.  That $20 does include a few other services – but nothing I would actually use.  Although, they may add more later so it could become quite worthwhile in the future.

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