Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Random web stuff

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Mark Pilgrim crashes Internet Explorer (Windows only?). I feel compelled to try this one out on the next person sending me 'HTML e-mail'. It's just too sweet. As it also seems to affect Microsoft's e-mail programs, you can quite easily kill people's e-mail capabilites this way. Keep in mind that MS programs tend to automatically open and display things. My flatmate once couldn't delete a message because displaying it crashed her e-mail program, she had to select it for deletion and selecting automatically displayed it. Fun.

Also by Mark Why we won't help you with 'we' being HTML connoisseurs and 'you' the Clueless. Important thing to keep in mind: Valid markup is hard to debug already.

Safari itches: Firstly, when having a bookmark folder in the bookmarks bar, it is not very well suited for classical Mac menu behaviour: If you press and hold the mouse button and then want to go into the menu, you frequently find yourself dragging the folder out of the bookmarks bar. The traditional menu behaviour has to be supported. It's much more efficient than the click-and-release-style. Plus, you don't really want to re-arrange your bookmarks bar that frequently, so a larger delay wouldn't make a big difference. Also, after you have opened one bookmarks folder in the bar using the click-and-release method, you cannot immediate click onto another folder while that other folder's menu is open. In fact, I hope you're able to switch between those folder as if they were in a menu bar – without any additional clicks – in the final version.

Secondly, tabs in Safari have variable width. That's bad. Open a lot of them and then try to close a couple in quick succession. Normally you'd start clicking the left-most of those you want to close, knowing that the next one will assume the position of the tab you just close and you can close it without having to re-aim. Instead everything changes its width and moves around. Not very useful.

Thirdly, moronic Deutsche Telekom managed to break the inner pages of their online phone bill pages again. Downloads of my itemised phone bill worked neither in Safari nor in Camino today. Had to refute to IE. Good news is, they didn't break their file format, Rechnungs Checker still seems to work.

Writing: Am trying the new beta of the 'heavy' NetNewsWire version today. Some issues seem to have improved since the last time I checked but others haven't. I still think it's too expensive but perhaps a few more months and improvements may make me swallow that.

Using NNW's geeky 'Statistics' window, I got the impression that Blosxom, Live Journal and Textism powered blogs don't seem to do support caching and '304' results, thus causing a lot of extra traffic.

Spam Is this comment spam? and this? Given the address it links to certainly looks like it. Perhaps I should edit the comments and remove the links to not be part of some scam. Idea: Perhaps it could make sense to automatically close comments on posts older than a month or so.

Amazon started selling appliances in Germany now. Reading the texts on those pages is quite different from the books and CD sections. They really sound like the typical ads, comparing features, speed, wattage, whatever – quite a different language from the review-type style used in the more traditional sections.

Or is it?" Web is not print. For example, you should never put important stuff on the right-hand-side of a web page and require a minimum window width. People with narrow browser windows simply won't see it – as hardly anything on a web page can be important enough to justify the hassle of horizontal scrolling. This page should scale fairly well to narrow windows. The links there aren't too important anyway. I could probably do without them and just have 'About', 'Archives' and 'Contact' links there.

However, even in a 600 pixel wide browser window there'd be still a lot of white space left. I wouldn't want wide lines. As they're at least as hard to read on screen as they are on paper. So I can't have the main text column too wide. I guess it's still too wide for people who use full-screen windows. How far am I supposed to protect people from mistakes like using too large windows when designing a web page? Is it worth playing with those max-width directive?

Matthew still thinks that running your blog off a database is good for data preservation. I still don't see the difference in functionality of abusing files as the database really. If in doubt, it will always be easier to recover your data from a bunch of text files than from a database.

Matthew goes on about complex information etc. Is blog information that complex? I'm not sure. Also, I don't yet see how having a database keeps me to put (almost) random HTML tags into my entries today – be it for images or quotations. They won't automatically adapt to YAFML 7 in a couple of years. Or will they?

May 5, 2003, 21:37


Comment by d.w.: User icon

I’ve been seeing a dramatic increase in “alternative” types of spam lately — comments spam, refer(r)er spam, and shoutbox spam, seeming to correlate with every new feedback option I’ve added to my weblog. I fear we’re “in 1994” as far as these alternative forms of spam are concerned — they’re only going to get worse as antispam efforts in the world of email (legislation, adaptive filters, the replacement for SMTP that I predict we’ll see within the next 3-5 years, etc.) gain traction.

May 5, 2003, 22:44

Comment by d.w.: User icon

Here’s a trackback for your comments page. :) http://www.freeke.org/ffg/2003/05/05#blogging-and-formats

May 5, 2003, 23:43

Comment by d.w.: User icon

There’s a “lastmodified” plugin for Blosxom that can supply the 304 headers. I don’t use it because I hate getting stale content [and my bandwidth is unmetered ;) ]

May 6, 2003, 18:44

Comment by ssp: User icon

Re: Spam.
Supposing this was, spam, I can’t help having to appreciate the way it tries blend in - find a post with a related topic, don’t make it obvious it’s an ad etc. Presumably the aim is to have people carry links to their site.

This once more highlights the problem of having (a) automatically generated links and (b) allowing anonymous strangers to write on your site.

I like the idea of being able to comment anywhere at a whim, without need for an account etc. I am always pissed off if people don’t let me do this on their sites. On the other hand, what happens if somebody posts (links to) illegal content in my comments? Will I be responsible for that to a certain extent?

Re: 304s The news aggregator is only supposed to not re-load the information when it’s unchanged. I don’t really see the problem there.

And even with unmetered lines for you, the people loading from your site may not have unmetred access (or even be on a modem line) and generally I suppose it’s a good idea to minimise data transfers wherever possible.

I wonder whether you’d be able to ‘feel’ the difference in speed if the servers of Doubleclick and Hotmail went down for a day. Two extremely unnecessary wastes of bandwidth.

May 6, 2003, 20:24

Comment by d.w.: User icon

re:spam Right now, the problem is trivial enough so that I can police it manually. I have a script that displays all new comments on my blog, and I check the links for anything fishy. Obviously, if comments spam becomes an automated monster like email spam, I’ll have to do something else.

re:304s My comment was probably a bit too flippant. The Blosxom plugin I have, sadly, is not perfect. It delivers stale content sometimes, even when the underlying page has changed, which makes it particularly troublesome when I’m debugging. I’d be more inclined to use it if I could tweak it so it would only work for the RSS feed.

May 7, 2003, 1:22

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