DB/TextWorks on a Mac ?

by Jonathan Jacobsen Wednesday, February 23, 2011 11:25 AM

MacBook-Air-11Santa brought me a MacBook Airfor Christmas. It’s the most beautiful computer I’ve ever owned – shiny, thin, lightweight and fast. It’s what a portable computer should be – totally unobtrusive, but fully functional.

But… it’s a Mac. It runs Mac OS X. The Inmagic software I use every day runs on Windows. Oh! How to use the shiny new Mac in my day-to-day work?

As it happens, this has grown easier with every passing year. There are so many options now that there’s no need to choose Windows over OS X just to run some app. Now we can choose an operating system (OS) because we like it, or in my case, because it came with the lightest, thinnest, most portable but still perfectly usable computer I could find.

The option I chose was to install Windows inside a virtual machine. A virtual machine (VM) is a computer and its operating system running as a program on another computer, on another OS or the same OS (see further details below). In my case, I selected VirtualBoxas the VM application, made a new VM, and installed Windows 7 on it. In the lingo of VMs, this copy of Windows is the guest OS and the Mac is the host. The only cost was for the Mac, of course, and a license for Windows. VirtualBox is open-source software available at no charge.

With Windows 7 installed and running in the VM, I then installed a copy of Inmagic DB/TextWorks. It runs just the same as it does on a regular instance of Windows. My MacBook Air doesn’t have the latest, speediest processor nor the most memory, but it’s more than enough for running DB/TextWorks in the VM, plus many other Mac apps at the same time. With the extremely fast solid state drive on the Mac (rather than a spinning hard drive), the VM resumes from sleep mode in seconds. I can stop the VM to free up resources for other apps, but restart it again quickly when I need it.

The screenshot below shows the Andornot Starter Kit open in DB/TextWorks, running on Windows in the virtual machine, on the Mac OS.

DBTextWorks-in-Windows-VM

VirtualBox also includes a "seamless" mode, in which the programs running inside the VM run as windows in the host OS, just like other apps. This means that DB/TextWorks appears to be running as a program on the Mac.

Why do I love this? It’s the best of both worlds. I get to use the Mac OS, which is pretty slick, but run any Windows program I need to.

Please get in touch if you need help running any Inmagic software on a Mac, or anything similar.

What’s a virtual machine?

VirtualBox is an open source app backed by Oracle. It runs on Windows, Linux, Macintosh and OpenSolaris hosts and supports a large number of guest operating systems including but not limited to Windows (NT 4.0, 2000, XP, Server 2003, Vista, Windows 7), DOS/Windows 3.x, Linux (2.4 and 2.6), Solaris and OpenSolaris, and OpenBSD.

VMs are widely used by IT departments to run multiple separate servers for separate applications without having to purchase multiple separate physical machines. If you are using Inmagic DB/TextWorks, WebPublisher PRO or Genie, it might already be installed on a VM. You’d never notice, though – it appears as just another server on the network.

Quick and easy publicizing of your new content with RSS feeds

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, February 21, 2011 1:36 PM

RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is a great way to keep up to date with news, events and other oft-changing information. While it’s not the latest technology, it remains an effective and easy-to-implement way of keeping people up to date with relevant information. This blog post reviews the technology and suggests ideas for using it in your library, archive, museum or other organization. We present two options which can be implemented together or separately. Your power users will appreciate being able to subscribe to the feeds themselves, while the rest will love the convenience of being able to see regular updates on your website without having to understand anything about RSS.

In this post:

 

What is RSS?

Example-RSS-feed-in-MS-OutlookRSS is a technology used to publish frequently changing information, such as news headlines and stories. An RSS feed typically includes a headline or title, a publication date, and a link to follow for more details. Users subscribe to a feed using a variety of tools – a dedicated feed reader such as NewsGator, a web service such as iGoogle or Google Reader, or an email client, including Microsoft Outlook. As new items are published in the feed, they appear in the user's reader, allowing the user to stay current with the latest news and information from many sources.

The screenshot above shows a sample RSS feed in MS Outlook (click to enlarge).

rss-iconOn a website, if an RSS feed is available, it’s usually indicated with an icon like the one shown to the right. The icon is usually a link to the feed, so clicking it will open the feed either in your web browser, in a dedicated feed reader program if one is installed, or in your email client, such as Outlook.

For users, quickly scanning headlines from many sources then clicking to read more is an efficient way of staying current with topics in their field of interest, whether it’s the latest legal judgments from the Supreme Court, or simply the latest sports scores.

How can you use RSS?

Two ideas for using RSS are to publish your own content in a feed, or to make the content of others available to your users (or both).

Publish a feed of your own content

If you have an Inmagic database and WebPublisher PRO, or the Inmagic Genie integrated library system, you can use the Andornot RSS Control for WebPublisher Pro to create a feed that publishes records directly from your database. For example, you might create a feed of:

  • the latest books in a library catalogue;
  • the latest journals received;
  • the latest additions to a legal memos database; or
  • the latest additions to your archives.

LSS-RSSThe feed can be created from any search strategy so can be really precise or very general. Once your feed is available, you can list the URL to it on your web page, as hyperlinked text or using the RSS icon. Just like your databases, the feed can be made available only to people within your organization, or to the wider world.

Andornot recently worked with the Law Society of Saskatchewan Library to develop a page of RSS feeds. The page lists feeds for different legal practice areas. LSS members may click the practice area to view recent additions to the library catalogue specific to that area, or subscribe to an RSS feed to automatically stay up-to-date with future additions.

 

Republish other content

Andornot-RSS-Feed-SampleAs you come across RSS feeds from other content providers, you can copy the URL to the feed and list it on a library web page for your users to subscribe to. You can also go one step further and publish that feed as text on your web page. This is a great way of keeping content fresh on a home page, for example. Once set up, the new entries will appear automatically

The screenshot to the right shows a sample page that publishes recent headlines from several health-related feeds. Users can read the latest headlines on the page, as well as subscribe directly to feeds they are interested in by clicking the RSS icon next to each feed’s title. The page is easily customized with feeds of interest to your users.

If your web site runs inside a Content Management System, including Microsoft SharePoint, it can be very easy to publish RSS feeds on a web page. It’s usually just a matter of adding an RSS feed web part or "widget" to the page, entering the URL to the feed, and sometimes specifying how many items to publish at a time (4-6 is a good number).

If you don’t have a content management system, you can still create a web page that publishes an RSS feed as text seamlessly embedded in your web page using the Andornot RSS Viewer. You can see this in action here:

  • on the Andornot.com home page, under Andornot blog in the right column – these are RSS headlines representing the latest posts to our blog;
  • on the ThreeSource.ca home page, under Latest Additions in the left column – these are RSS headlines, each of which takes a user directly into a record in the database.

A further example

Andornot-home-page-with-RSS-headlinesWe always try to practice what we preach, and our use of RSS feeds is no exception. The Andornot Blog is available as:

  1. a series of web pages;
  2. an RSS feed, available from (http://feeds.feedburner.com/andornotblog) and linked via the RSS icon on our home page; and
  3. an RSS feed republished as text on our home page, showing the most recent 8 blog entries, configured within our Umbraco Content Management System.

All of us at Andornot use RSS feeds ourselves to scan the latest news and articles from technical blogs. We may only end up reading 20% of the actual articles, but glancing at a page of headlines is a quick and easy way of keeping current and getting a sense of the latest topics and issues.

How can Andornot help?

Andornot can help you do more with RSS by:

  • Working with you to establish what content might be suitable to create a feed
  • Providing you with our RSS Control for WebPublisher PRO, so you can generate RSS feeds directly from your database.
  • Helping you configure your web site to publish RSS feed content, a great way to automatically add current information to your site.
  • Explaining other options such as the use of FeedBurner, or tools to merge and combine multiple feeds.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you use RSS technology to provide a current awareness service to keep your users up to date with information relevant to them. Or, if you would like to start by setting up some feeds for just your own use, we can help with this too.

Tags: RSS

How to quickly enter accented characters

by Jonathan Jacobsen Monday, February 21, 2011 1:03 PM

From time to time we all need to type an accented character or two, such as the é in Montréal. If you have a French-Canadian keyboard and Windows is set up to use it, you'll have the most common accented characters right on front of you and can type them easily.

However, if you have an English-only keyboard and only need to enter the occasional accented character, a quick way to do so is to hold down the Alt key on your keyboard and type one of the following 3-digit codes on the numeric keypad (this trick only works with the numeric keypad).

Alt +

 

128

Ç

129

ü

130

é

131

â

132

ä

133

à

134

å

135

ç

136

ê

137

ë

138

è

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ï

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î

141

ì

142

Ä

143

Å

144

É

145

æ

146

Æ

147

ô

148

ö

149

ò

150

û

151

ù

152

ÿ

153

Ö

154

Ü

155

ø

156

£

157

Ø

158

×

159

ƒ

160

á

161

í

162

ó

163

ú

164

ñ

165

Ñ

This method works with Inmagic databases and usually with any Windows application.

Tags: tips | accents

Inmagic DB/TextWorks & WebPublisher PRO v13 released

by Kathy Bryce Wednesday, February 16, 2011 5:52 PM

Inmagic has announced the release of DB/TextWorks and WebPublisher PRO version 13.

New and enhanced features in DB/TextWorks include:

  • Query logging. The ability to log queries processed by a textbase, similar to the equivalent feature in WebPublisher PRO, is now possible with DB/TextWorks. Look for "query logging" in the help index.
  • Export secondary textbase fields. Fields from linked textbases can be exported.
  • E-mail authentication. Specify a login name and password to pass to a mail server.
  • Run-time version. DB/SearchWorks Run-time has been updated to v13.
  • New help format. DB/TextWorks online help is now using a WebHelp format. This format is compatible with the newer Microsoft operating systems, and can be accessed from the server hosting DB/TextWorks in a multi-user environment.
  • Larger recent-textbase list. The list of most recently opened textbases on the File menu can now contain up to 15 textbases. Use Tools > Options to change your settings.
  • Taller field list when designing a textbase. More fields appear on the screen where fields and their properties are designed.
  • PowerPack Lite installation. PowerPack Lite now has its own Setup.EXE, instead of being bundled with the DB/TextWorks installation.
  • Windows 2000. DB/TextWorks no longer supports the MS Windows 2000 operating system.

Note: Upgrades must run Setup Workstation: Upgrades are now required to run Setup Workstation after installing v13. This version was built with newer Microsoft tools, with the result that newer Microsoft DLLs are needed to support DB/TextWorks. These must reside on the workstations, and workstation setup will ensure their presence.

Please read the install instructions carefully before starting the upgrade. For multi-user licenses you may need to re-enter your network upgrade password after the install.  Andornot usually has a record of these or you can contact Inmagic directly to have it re-sent.

New and enhanced features in WebPublisher PRO include:

  • It is now possible to edit records in non-IE browsers over the Web. Please see the Support Matrix for details.
  • InmagicBrowse includes a new find-as-you-type feature.
  • InmagicBrowse hides controls that offer no opportunity to take action.

For system requirements, including supported server operating systems and IIS versions, please see the WebPublisher PRO v13 Support Matrix, available on the Inmagic Extranet. Note that you should not install WebPublisher PRO on a server hosting SharePoint.

All clients with a current Inmagic maintenance subscription for DB/TextWorks should have received an email from Inmagic with the download information for the new version. (No date has yet been announced for the release of DB/TextWorks for SQL v13.)  If you have a current subscription but have not received a notification email in the next week or so, please email advantage@inmagic.com with your serial number and email address so it can be resent.  Please also remember to let us know if your contact information has changed so we can update our records and pass this on to Inmagic. 

Please contact us if you would like assistance implementing these new features or would like a quote on renewing an expired maintenance subscription.

Amahi Home Server

by Peter Tyrrell Friday, February 11, 2011 11:56 AM

 

I recently converted. I didn’t intend to switch allegiance but Fate, full of twists and turns, is by nature never predictable. It all started with Windows Home Server Version 2, codenamed “Vail”. Or, as most are calling it now, “Vail Fail”.

Windows Home Server “Vail Fail”

Windows Home Server v1 had gained quite a devoted following, encompassing as it did backup, file, and media server features in an affordable and extensible package. Many felt that the key technology for home users was its Drive Extender, a software storage technology that allowed one to plug in a hard drive of any type and size and add it effortlessly to a combined storage pool, a homogenous and seamless whole made up of heterogenous parts. This sum-of-its-parts feature was not a technology that could withstand the rigors of mission-critical enterprise data-storage demands, but was perfectly matched to the home market which has neither the cash nor the expertise to maintain RAID arrays of identically matched disks.

There was a comfy, DIY hobbyist feeling to WHS v1 which attracted tinkering technophile weekend warriors, but delivered enough utility to satisfy wives and girlfriends: “See honey? Now we can stream Glee to the bedroom and back up your iTunes bellydance playlists, on the same device!” (Tip: significant others, always on the alert against clutter, tend to fall hard for the “fewer devices are better” argument.)

When Microsoft announced it was working on WHS v2, the community happily fluttered and twittered (literally), plucking up with gusto every bit of news that came out on Vail’s progress, following that breadcrumb trail deep into the wood after the tantalizing promise of delicious server cake, when one day something happened, and we all came to in a dark forest, lost and hungry. With no cake. A distinct absence of cake, in fact, both now and in the future, for that day, November 23 2010, Microsoft proclaimed that Windows Home Server Version 2 “Vail” would abandon Drive Extender.

The news went over like a lead balloon. My own first reaction was incredulity: “What’s the point of WHS without Drive Extender?” This sentiment was echoed a thousandfold across the land. If you were in space you might have seen the myriad question marks popping up over the heads of puzzled WHS enthusiasts everywhere like mushrooms after a rain. And indeed, the answer to that question, following stages of denial, rage, bargaining, and sorrow, is the answer which brings bittersweet acceptance at last: there is no point. Days later, HP announced it was dumping its WHS line of products. Nothing to do with Vail Fail. They said. Yeaaahhhh.

Disillusioned WHS refugees began clogging the highways and biways in an internet diaspora, knowing not whither they might go, only sure they didn’t want to stay. I myself was among them, despondent, plodding aimlessly with all my digital possessions piled high on a hand-cart, when there appeared suddenly a beacon in the dark, a giant candle blazing forth atop a cake of prodigious size and flavour. Impossibly, forks were free. That cake was called “Amahi”.

Amahi Home Server
http://www.amahi.org/



 

Amahi is an open-source home server built on Fedora Linux. Storage pooling technology is handled by Greyhole. Media streaming, file sharing, VPN, PC backups, a variety of one-click apps - it does everything I did with WHS, and more.

I installed Fedora and then Amahi on an older but robust PC. It took me most of a weekend to migrate data from WHS, and a couple of weeks following to tweak shares, get backups going, set up the apps I wanted and test them, get familiar with Linux, and most importantly, start trusting Amahi not to blow up. I turned off WHS after three weeks. After a month, when Crashplan had caught up with offsite backup (yes, Amahi has a one-click app for Crashplan), I dismantled the WHS server, one of the most satisfying hours I’ve ever spent with a screwdriver.

I won’t pretend I didn’t get stuck a few times while getting Amahi to do my bidding, or that the command line terminal isn’t a stark and lonely plateau to traverse alone. Fedora has a nice GUI, but once a problem crops up, you are sent scurrying to the command line where anything of any consequence must be done. That’s Linux for you: the level of control it gives you over your system is awe-inspiring and a little bit frightening. The Amahi forums helped. I learned a lot about Linux because I had to.

It is still possible to run Windows-dependent software if you need to. Amahi is just a layer on Fedora, so you can take full advantage of the operating system. WINE is a Windows emulator that runs within Linux, or you can install a virtualization product like (the open-source) VirtualBox which can host a Windows OS.

All in all, I highly recommend Amahi as a home server if you like to tinker and like a learning experience. There are quite a few of us huddled masses yearning to be free, late of Windows Home Server, swelling the ranks over there.


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