Browser Stupidity

November 1, 2007 | technology
Yesterday, I went to a website that used MathML to display a few formulae. Because Firefox supports MathML, I figured everything would display just fine. Unfortunately, Firefox notified me that I had to download some free fonts to display the equations. Here’s the dialog it displayed: I don’t mind having to install fonts, but this dialog is so poorly constructed that I ended up laughing: The link they provide isn’t clickable. I’m in a frakking web browser, and they’re not going to let me click...

Chicken Chicken Chicken

October 7, 2007 | personal, technology
Chicken chicken chicken chicken, chicken chicken chicken chicken. (Chicken chicken chicken—chicken chicken chicken—chicken chicken.) Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken! Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken.

rm -rf /var/www/* ... wait, which server am I logged into?

September 30, 2007 | programming, technology
Unix needs an undo command. This morning, my roommate and I hauled out some of our “big iron” (a languishing Pentium 4 box) to use as a photo server. Because we had initially planned to use that box to host and its sister sites—a plan since scrapped—it had a full clone of all the data on my Linode hub. Before my roommate got going, then, I thought I’d quickly clean the box and return it to a neutral state. First stop, hose the duplicates of the websites I host. Fire up SSH, sidle...

Blast Your Friends

September 26, 2007 | personal, technology
One of my friends adamantly refuses to carry a cell phone on him. Although I don’t have a lot of sympathy for that these days, I’ll be changing my opinion very quickly if blasting your friends starts to become common.

Half-Baked Features

September 19, 2007 | technology
One of the Big New Features in WordPress 2.2 was a dynamic sidebar. The idea was that developers would write reusable Widgets that users could add to their sidebar through drag-and-drop—a huge improvement over the old method of modifying a bunch of PHP by hand. The good news is that building a sidebar from widgets works great. Unfortunately, the bundled widgets don’t. The archive widget has an invalid capitalization of its onchange event that keeps this site from validating, while the links...

Lotus Symphony Now Free

September 18, 2007 | technology
Lotus Symphony is IBM’s rebranded version of OpenOffice, and ships with Lotus Notes. As of today, Symphony is free. Even if you have OpenOffice, Symphony may be worth checking out, as it sports what in my opinion is a superior interface.

A REPL for...C?

September 18, 2007 | programming
I’ve talked before about the value of a good REPL (scroll down to “The REPL in .NET”). Unfortunately, the programming language I write the most code in, C, lacks one. Or at least, it used to. The aptly named C REPL provides a REPL for C. Their trick: compile a DLL for each line of code, then load it into a new process. Presto: instant, portable interactive C.

Over-Securing WordPress

September 18, 2007 | programming, technology
I’m generally quite paranoid when it comes to server security—doubly so because I’m no guru at it—so I tend to take a shotgun approach. The virtual server running bit qua bit has a restrictive firewall setup, has root disabled, only allows secure IMAP/POP/SMTP, disallows password login through SSH, and mails me daily security audits, among other things. I also monitor Debian’s security-announce list like a hawk. (If you’re the sysadmin for a Debian server and you’re not on that list, sign up....

Debugging IE Layouts

September 17, 2007 | programming
As approximately 30% of my readers undoubtedly noticed, Internet Explorer had serious issues displaying the redesigned bit qua bit properly. Unfortunately, since IE lacks developer tools like the excellent Firebug and Web Developer toolbar, trying to figure out exactly what IE was choking on threatened to become a game of guess-and-test—the main reason that I’ve been so slow to get it fixed. Today, by happenstance, I came across a bookmarklet called Xray. You simply throw Xray into your toolbar,...

LiveJournal is Bizarre

September 15, 2007 | technology
After reading about Michael’s attempt to turn his homepage into an aggregator for all his computer activities, I got inspired to try LiveJournal again. I last used LiveJournal when it was cool because it was running on Linux, and Linux was really cool because it had the singular ability to wipe out huge chunks of nominally backed-up data if you didn’t understand how UMSDOS worked. Since (as you “old-timers” have already figured out) I was thirteen at the time, I had of course forgotten my...