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Butterflies of the Digital Forest

on File Formats and Extensions

A wee contribution to all those taking part in the great computer and Internet experiments...

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Often dreadfully behind in web updates and revisions. Time, time, time...

Last Revised 05/12/2008

Apologies to all people who recently sent email, asking about extensions not yet in my little list. Over the weekend of Oct. 23-25, I did a foolish thing... Not so foolish was installing a new version of Eudora (my preferred email program). After using the shareware version Eudora Light for only 3-4 years, I did the right thing and bought the program. Eudora Pro 4.2, another fine offering from the good folks at Qualcomm... After installing the new version, I found two entries for Eudora in Windows' Control Panel > Add/Remove Programs section. And so I uninstalled the older version...had to do a bit of fussing around and then installed the new version again. Great! only one version of Eudora listed in Add/Remove Programs.

However...during this installing and uninstalling, all the messages in Eudora's Inbox were corrupted/overwritten ...We are embarrassed :-( I lost several messages that I hadn't had time to get around to answering. So, please, anyone who sent me email - from the beginning of October until the 24th - but hasn't received an answer yet, please email me again. I hadn't answered due to a time shortage. And then I foolishly let my Inbox be destroyed.

All Eudora's email messages and folders are of course simply files fluttering about on disk. Before starting all my installation and uninstallation fussings I should have copied these files to another location. Then, if something "went wrong" during the installation, all my messages would be safe... I fell into a sense of false security because I had upgraded Eudora before without mishap. Lesson: always assume something untoward will happen...

TECHNICAL DETAILS: For all good Eudora users, any mailbox of email messages is just a file ending in .mbx. Thus the Inbox is simply the file in.mbx. It is this file that was overwritten on my system. All first-level mailboxes in Eudora are .mbx files...If a mailbox "folder" is created in Eudora, these appear in Windows Explorer as standard Windows folders. The individual .mbx files and mailbox folders can, and indeed should, be copied to a safe place. Anyway, no terrible harm done. But another reminder about the value and virtue of backups. I have of course a tape backup of important files dated the end of September. And so have 12-13 years of important files... alas! a few email messages are lost from early to mid-October of this year....

Which file is which? Where's the list? of those !#$* endings? What the devil are those critters fluttering all over my computer - and yours? Early in my computer fussings, I became actively curious about file extensions (endings) and formats. Tapping, clicking, reading and listening since 1986, here's what I've netted so far. This work was first uploaded September 26/97. And we were happy. It had been looming as an obligation, lying heavy on the plate for too long. So without too much more ado - step right up, ladies and gentlemen, and take a peek into my collecting jar...

Better effects with textures in web design

You cannot get the most out of a web design if you do not use textures and seamless backgrounds. Texture became an integral part of the design, it can highlight certain features or hide others. It is a powerful tool that used to be considered only a trend, but which in current days enhances the effectiveness of websites and makes the text more appealing for the visitor.

About textures and patterns

A website gains depth considerably due to its texture. Yet over a decade ago, when textures were overused and left a bad taste in the mouth of the designers, many of them forgot that textures – if used correctly – can bring numerous benefits to the website. For a very long time texture was somehow associated with grungy and dirty designs, but now we know how to use it in combination with patterns and other elements that bring the website together.

Texture refers to surface and it can be visual or tactile. Yet some specialists are mistaking textures for patterns and vice versa. But while patterns are small, tileable elements that are multiplied on the design, textures are larger images that do not repeat on the design of a website. Some textures can be patterns, but patterns certainly aren’t textures. Texture on the web is very appreciated in these days, especially since designers know how to use it properly. With the right texture you can highlight elements such as buttons, icons, titles and headings. In the meantime, we cannot ignore the fact that it looks good and catches the eye. It is like seeing some escorts on http://www.eros.com with and without makeup. It is not even questionable what category would you prefer.

When texture is established, the designer will always consider the pros and cons of it. Design decisions are not taken only on its appearance, but also on its effect. The design of a website has a purpose, it is meant to relax, entice, inform or call to action. Textures will help emphasize this message, they will attract the eye of the visitor on the key elements and the content will be somehow separated from the rest of the website. A successful way to attract the attention is by placing a textured logo against a clean background. This method can never fail and it is the simplest way to use texture. Some designers prefer to use a clean brand against a textured background and statistics show that this method is appreciated, too. However, all of them use texture to guide the eye and influence the visitor to do or react somehow.

We cannot neglect the psychology of colors. The shades used to buttons, backgrounds and textures have a great impact on the subconscious of those who are browsing on the website. Without colorful textures the design looks somehow bland and without personality. However, nuances will manage to deliver another message, one that is perceived by the brain and which determines the web visitor to react. Let the professionals use textures on your website and they will know how to add the wow factor on it!

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