Pros and Cons of Flash-based Sites

Flash-based sites have been a craze since the past few years, and as Macromedia compiles more and more great features into Flash, we can only predict there will be more and more flash sites around the Internet. However, Flash based sites have been disputed to be bloated and unnecessary. Where exactly do we draw the line? Here’s a simple breakdown.

The good:

Interactivity

Flash’s Actionscript opens up a vast field of possibilities. Programmers and designers have used Flash to create interactve features ranging from very lively feedback forms to attractive Flash-based games. This whole new level of interactivity will always leave visitors coming back for more.

A standardized site

With Flash, you do not have to worry about cross-browser compatibility. No more woes over how a certain css code displays differently in Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera. When you position your site elements in Flash, they will always appear as they are as long as the user has Flash Player installed.

Better expression through animation

In Flash, one can make use of its animating features to convey a message in a much more efficient and effective way. Flash is a lightweight option for animation because it is vector based (and hence smaller file sizes) as opposed to real “movie files” that are raster based and hence much larger in size.

The bad and the ugly:

The Flash player

People have to download the Flash player in advance before they can view Flash movies, so by using Flash your visitor range will decrease considerably because not everyone will be willing to download the Flash player just to view your site. You’ll also have to put in additional work in redirecting the user to the Flash download page if he or she doesn’t have the player installed.

Site optimization

If your content was presented in Flash, most search engines wouldn’t be able to index your content. Hence, you will not be able to rank well in search engines and there will be less traffic heading to your site.

Loading time

Users have to wait longer than usual to load Flash content compared to regular text and images, and some visitors might just lose their patience and click the Back button. The longer your Flash takes to load, the more you risk losing visitors.

The best way to go is to use Flash only when you absolutely need the interactivity and motion that comes with it. Otherwise, use a mixture of Flash and HTML or use pure text if your site is purely to present simple textual and graphical information.

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Installing Windows XP on a SATA harddrive from USB

One of our machines recently lost its bearings and decided to die a peaceful death. We decided to re-format the hard drive and put Windows XP on it (I know, it’s being discontinued in 2014 but until then, it’s an easy installation with low memory usage, perfect for running greedy applications).

So, I went on and put a bootable XP CD and went on with the steps. I had minor errors from the CD when copying the files on the computer and once all of them were copied, XP would not install due to a Cyclic redundancy check error on the CD. I went on and put another DVD drive in the machine, thinking it would solve it. No, same error.

I used a brand new WinXP SP3 cd in the new drive – still, same error. Disgruntled, I took out the DVD/CD drive out completely and looked for alternative methods for installing Windows. Doing a server side installation would have been an overkill so I decided to explore a little and use the USB drive to install XP on the machine. The frontal USB drives were visible in BIOS so I changed the install order to use those first.

Now – you would think that just copying and pasting the XP data on an USB will do the trick! You are gravely mistaken.  The USB needs to be bootable.

You will need:

  • another PC running XP, Vista or Windows7
  • a 2GB USB drive (or above) 2.o
  • an original CD with Windows XP
  • the following three archives: bootsect.zip , PeToUSB_3.0.0.7.zip  șiusb_prep8.zip . Click them to download them.
  1. Create a local folder on your hard drive where you copy the three archives (close to the root, something like C:XP)
  2. Extract the archives USB_prep8.zip and PeToUSB.zip;
  3. Copy PeToUSB.exe in the folder usb_prep8;
  4. Execute usb_prep8.cmd from the folder usb_prep8
  5. A commander window will open and press any key to start the processImagine pas 5
  6. Imagine pas 6
  7. Press Start. The application will format your USB drive. Do not close this application
  8. Extract the archive bootsect.zip.
  9. Open up a command window (Start>Run> type cmd>enter)
  10. Go to the bootsect folder on your hard drive by using “cd ..” to go up a folder and then typing the folder name to go into it.
  11. Type “bootsect.exe /nt52 I:”,  where “I” is your USB drive letter.Imagine pas 11
  12. The result will be the boot number refresh for the FAT system found on the USB drive. this is the step that makes the CD bootable. Close all windows except the one with a menu on it.
  13. In the menu window, press 1 to select the source CD with Windows XP
  14. Press 2 if you already have drive T to select an unused drive letter.
  15. Press 3 and select your USB drive letter (I: or F: or G:)
  16. Press 4 and then press Yes. You will keep on confirming anything that pops up and stay next to the computer as it is a bit long. It will take you between 15 and 20 minutes to complete this step.
    Imagine pas 13
  17. Confirm the deactivation of the temporary drive and close all windows. Your USB drive is ready so pop it into the destination machine and boot up the system.
  18. Press F12 to bring up the boot menu and select TXT Mode Setup Windows XP… which will start the installation process.

Now, I have done it well so far and it would have been ok, if not for the dreaded BSOD with error code 7B saying that the device could not be initialized. Meaning the Hard drive of the machine was unreachable. Meaning that I could not install XP on a machine with no hard drive.

So I went on a quest similar to the one in the Leagues of Legend, trying to find out why a Dell machine with a SATA hard drive was so much special than a normal machine.

I found out first that

Hopefully this will help other people out there who are facing issues similar to this one.