Technologies related to the web.

Vladimir Cole is an Idiot

This is one of those things that needs more introduction. Essentially Vladimir Cole posted a blog entry on Joystiq saying that rational gamers should prefer subsidized consoles. There’s a problem with his logic, though.

Essentially, his argument starts with “let’s assume 1 = 2.” It may make for an interesting argument, but it’s - well, not true. He attempts a simple misdirection by using the term ceteris paribus. “All other things being equal” would have worked just as well, except it makes it obvious the argument is stupid. By using Latin he attempts to lend authority to his argument. After all, quidquid latine dictum sit, altum sonatur.

Why Thank You, Spammer

More and more of the comment spam is starting with complements. It'd be nice if I thought there was anyone actually writing them.

I'll get stuff like "Great site! Love the hard work!" followed by a collection of spam links.

Yeah. I'm going to fall for that. Pull a random complement out of a database to win over website operators from around the world.

The smartest ones are those that have just the complement and hide the spam link in their username. Sorry. "Like your site!" linked to "buy-my-viagacra-now.info" is really going to sneak past.

There's a reason why all comments have to be admin approved. I've lost count of the number of comment spams I've deleted.


On Monday's Colbert Report, Colbert coined the term "wikiality" (which, unlike truthiness, he gets to keep as his own invention). He used the term to describe how, when enough people believe something, it may as well be true, regardless of reality.

Specifically, the concept was that, because Wikipedia can be edited, if enough people edit it a certain way, the view expressed there will become the "truth" regardless of reality. He then "edited" two pages, The Colbert Report recurring elements and George Washington.


Configuring the Date Format in Apache SSI

Apache's SSI documentation helpfully doesn't explain how to use their <!--#config timefmt=""--> directive to modify the date format. Instead they refer you to the documentation from the C runtime they use to format the date. Really helpful to people who just want to muck with HTML, there.

So, here's the basics. The string you specify can contain "special" sequences that start with the percent character (%) that indicate the start of a time field. Each instance of these sequences gets replaced as follows:

A three-letter abbreviation for the day of the week.

Password Generator

Generates a random password based on a user-defined set of parameters. This currently uses your browsers built-in random number generator, meaning that it's only as theoretically secure as the random number generator in your browser. At some point I may try and write something that tries to be "more secure" but it's good enough for simple passwords.

It works by allowing you to specify different "character sets" with different minimum required characters. If you require more characters than the password length, it'll clip starting with the last character set.


Using Drupal with PostgreSQL

I found a couple of "gotchas" with installing Drupal using a PostgreSQL backend. Otherwise it's fairly straight forward.

The first problem you're likely to encounter is that your new database won't have the "plpgsql" language defined, so the creation script will fail. You simply need to "CREATE LANGUAGE 'plpgsql';" or create the language through your admin tool before running the database.pgsql script. You must create the language using a superuser account, which brings us to Likely Problem 2.

Most people will create a "normal" Drupal user account to access their Drupal database. This user can't CREATE LANGUAGE like superusers can. So you might be tempted to run the creation script via a superuser account (like postgres).


Why the Wikipedia is Better Than Traditional Encyclopedias...

Does Brittanica have a three page article on Truthiness? I doubt it. How about a slightly longer article on The Colbert Report itself? And I'll bet the Encyclopaedia Brittanica is missing a list of recurring elements on the Colbert Report as well.


"white-space" CSS Property Test

The following are examples of various white-space settings. It tests the "normal", "pre", "nowrap", "pre-wrap", and "pre-line" settings. "pre-wrap" should look like "pre" but wrap like "normal", and "pre-line" should look like "normal" but include the newlines demonstrated in "pre".

All examples also have "overflow: auto;" set to prevent unnecessary scrolling, so this page also tests how your browser supports that.


Firefox Supports "normal", "pre", and "nowrap" - does not support "pre-wrap" and "pre-line"; "overflow: auto" is incorrectly treated as "overflow: clip" on "nowrap" under Windows XP (but not Linux?!).

Internet Explorer 6 SP2; 7 Beta 2: Supports "normal", "pre", and "nowrap" - does not support "pre-wrap" and "pre-line"; "overflow: auto" is also unsupported.

Konqueror 3.5.1: Complete support! However, it appears to collapse multiple newlines on "pre-line" to a single newline. I disagree that this is what the CSS spec intended.

Opera 8.52: Supports "normal", "pre", "nowrap", and "pre-wrap" - does not support "pre-line".


The World's Most Annoying IM Sound Pack

In a fit of boredom, I decide to create the world's most annoying IM sound pack. It contains sounds for people signing on and off, initial conversation, message sent and received, and one which may be GAIM-specific to alert you when your name is mentioned in chat.

If you don't want to download the sound pack to find out what they are, they're essentially me screaming the event name for each sound. See how long you can endure it!


Comcast: We Suck and We Know It!

I'm beginning to think that someone in Comcast's advertising department doesn't like Comcast that much.

First, there was the "Comcast Highspeed Internet: Humiliate yourself faster!" ad. It showed how with Comcast Highspeed Internet, you could make a fool of yourself through your webcam at higher resolution and faster download speeds than normal dialup.

Then, we have the "monkey with a sledgehammer" ad, which tells you that their anti-spyware and scam protection software is like a monkey with a sledgehammer, complete with video of a monkey running around with a (rubber) sledgehammer.



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