Archive for September, 2005


September 29th, 2005 1 comment

Following on from Richard’s recent Rant about XML being too complicated (a sentiment that I whole heartedly agree with), a colleague of mine discovered “OpenLaszlo“.

A quick look at the “The OpenLaslo Platform” section on the home page says it all:OpenLaszlo applications are written in XML and JavaScript — just like DHTMLNo, no no no no! It’s just wrong! XML is not designed to be used for writing applications! It is a data description language, not an event driven architecture!

To all you system designers out there: XML is a file format. Nothing else. It can be used for lots, agreed, may be even too much, but it is nothing more than that. Stop using it for every bloody application you can put your mind too – find a more appropriate tool. It is like using a screwdriver handle to bang in a nail – it will get the job done, but you’ll knacker the screwdriver, it will take bloody ages, and you’ll end up putting the screwdriver tip through your hand!

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Damn CSS and HTML!

September 28th, 2005 2 comments

This is down right annoying!

I need to do something very specific, (and I am sure that I am not the only person who has ever wanted to do this) using XHTML and CSS (this also applies to HTML), it is also a very simple concept, but it appears absolutely impossible to achieve. Here’s the deal:

I have a table on a page – there is only a class name attribute on the table, it is formatted using <thead> <th> and <tbody> elements, and it has 2 columns. The table, using CSS, is set to consume 100% of the available width, and each column has a class name that is applied to all the cells in that column. I want first column to be a fixed width (but with a difference), and I would like the second column to pick up the slack space. The first column should be a fixed width column based on the width of the widest piece of data in that column – as the table resizes (e.g. with a change in Window size, or a different screen resolutions) this should not change size.

I am fully aware that I could specify this with a fixed pixel width but this does not solve a problem:

  • Each browser renders differently (even now!).
  • Each machine may substitute fonts for those that it has installed.
  • I have different pieces of text in this column type depending on the web page viewed (and even the status of data on that screen), so I could never know the correct number of pixels.

I am also aware that I could specify a percentage, but again this does not solve the problem:

  • At very thin resolutions, the cell size would be too small
  • At very wide resolutions there could be acres of screen space used by absolutely nothing (which could be better served by not wrapping the possibly large contents in the adjacent cell).

I cannot see a way to do what I want to do, either using standards compliant technique (i.e. CSS and XHTML strict), or even by going off-piste and using techniques that would work in only the most popular browsers.

It seems to me now, that although in-roads have been made in recent years towards getting browsers to display content in a relatively similar manner (we are still a long way from that yet), it is the layout specification that is at fault. This is not the first run-in I have had with this sort of problem – back in May, I experienced something else that I could not do from CSS.

If anyone has any clues as to how to achieve this, then please share by posting it here!

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Sir Tim Berners-Lee

September 26th, 2005 No comments

BBC Four have just broadcast a very nice interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee (I think it might have had something to do with this new “World Wide Web” thingy that people keep harking on about!)

It was quite revealling, having not had much interest before in his morals or his “drive”. It seemed to focus more on what he thinks of the way that the web had involved, and whether “he had any sleepness nights over the perverted images available”.

Sir Tim never seemed to defend the other side of the web though. He mentioned in several instances about “the ‘Greater Good'” and mentioned receiving email from people who the Web had literally saved their lives, but he never defended his position (and his brain child)using such examples as (for example) the Open Source Software movement (I accept that that name is a gross generalisation, but it will pass for now!), or the vast, well-research, information projects such as Wiki-Pedia.

He touched briefly on the Sematic Web, but his example only seemed to promote it as a commercial aggregation tool (the example he gave was for hotel prices, but that kind of site is already available using existing Web technologies), and did not promote it as a vast information source.

More interestingly though, when questioned over any regrets he had about making the Web a commercial entity before releasing it, he gave a very strange and slightly contradictory answer. His reply stated that he did not have sleepness nights thinking that he could have made an incredibly large amount of wealth through the technology, but he did state that after initially developing the technologies, he realised that for the system to go “to a point of critical mass” – “It would have to be royalty free”. It is fair to conclude then, that monetary benefit was conjectured, but obviously rejected – for me, that would occasionally make me consider (especially with the scope of what he has achieved) how different my life could have been.

His views for the future were quite interesting, where he envisions the World Wide Web becoming “an assumption” as much as the light bulb or paper, and he expects the Semantic Web to grow further. He would not be drawn into an exact position though, merely stating that “Computer Science is only limited by people’s imagination”.

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I’ve Converted!

September 24th, 2005 1 comment

Well, I have now officially joined the land of “the convertees”, as I am now the proud owner of a Mac Mini (and a Mighty Mouse)! Woohoo!

I’ve only just set it up, so I’m still getting used to it and I’m playing around with it alot, but I like it!

Now, can anyone suggest what I should install on it first? I’m already anxious to start some development work….

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Linux Security Issue

September 20th, 2005 No comments

This is something to think about! If I log in to Linux at the Terminal (i.e. not using SSH or Telnet or …, but literally being sat at the computer) as an ordinary user, do a bit of work, and then log out again; most of the time the screen is not cleared for the new Login prompt. Therefore, if anyone were to be able to look at the screen, they would be able to see what I had been doing.

Now to me, that seems like one hell of a security issue. Has any one else noticed this, or is it just me? Is there any reason for it, and it is me just not realising?

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September 19th, 2005 No comments

… the Microsoft SQL Server Resolution Service Stack Overflow Attack was the most common attack, accounting for 33 per cent of all attacks monitored by Symantec. Arrrgghh! Too many “ack”s!

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Hair Cut!

September 5th, 2005 No comments

OK, so at the moment, I’m in desperate need to get my hair cut. I usually like to get it done every 3 weeks, but it’s been at least six since it was last trimmed.

In a couple of weeks, I’ve got my brother’s wedding, and I’m also getting fed up with the style at the moment. Now, seeing as my hair is fairly short, and it’s 3 weeks longer than it should be, I’ve now got not better chance to change the styling.

I’m a bit lost as to what to choose, so I decided to do a little experimenting on Google Image search. First I tried some meaningless search, but it did come up with this scarey little thing – Reminds me of the “Suck-And-Cut” from Wayne’s World.

Anyway, I decided that I would search for people with the same name as me, just to see what my name sakes had come up with. I first found this ugly git, who plays Australian rules football – I won’t be copying his hair, or gormless look!

But then came across this interesting guy – I don’t like his hair cut, but I like his style!

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“The Protest Rocket”

September 3rd, 2005 No comments

Erm, there’s something problematic with the principal of this”Protest Rocket“. The idea is to cycle around somewhere, e.g. the houses of parliament, or your local GM crop, pop something into the rocket (e.g. propaganda leaflets, or GM Weeds to take on the crops), and then fire the rocket.

My only issue with this is the sheer stupidity of doing this in London right now. You know what I mean, the capital city where it’s dangerous to run for the tube with a rucsac on! (Via)

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This is bloody brilliant!

September 3rd, 2005 1 comment

This page (about UK rappers using US “Slanguage”) is one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen. Just check out the comments from people, especially the first “JACKSPAID”, it’s bloody hilarious! It make no sensense at all!

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A Brilliant Pun!

September 1st, 2005 No comments

Hehe! I’ve just thought of a brilliant pun: “chmod-dy moddy”.

Geek humour rocks!

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