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brianiac (4158)

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Journal of brianiac (4158)

Tuesday March 14, 2006
02:37 PM

Tables require a TBODY

Special note to the VisualStudio Team, the IE team, and all web coders: Check the spec, the table tag *does not* contain tr tags, and hasn't since 1999! Tables must contain tbody tags (and optionally thead and tfoot tags), and that's where the tr tags go.

Wednesday December 14, 2005
09:56 AM


[user starts Outlook, then minimizes it and starts working on something else during the protracted loading period]

[Outlook jumps to front]

[user minimizes Outlook, resumes working]

[Outlook jumps to front]

[user curses, minimizes Outlook]

[Outlook jumps to front]

[user gives up working to wait for Outlook to continue loading and stealing focus]

stage direction from This is where you will go today!, the musical

Thursday July 07, 2005
12:24 AM

Entify Your HTML!

Updated Reposted from my other journal :

To the embarassingly uninformed third party vendors of web-based applications, I present a quick look at HTML entities. This is Chapter One stuff in even the most basic HTML book, but I still get puzzled, dismissive, and even indignant replies when I request fixes for simple HTML bugs.

Three important characters: < > &

These characters are special to HTML for processing. In the text or attribute values of a page, you must use entities that stand for them: &lt; &gt; &amp;(respectively). In attributes, " should also be replaced with &quot; (you can also use &quot; in text, but it isn't a requirement).

The Web Is A Big Place

If you forget to entify your special characters, some browsers will sometimes let you get away with it. If you intend to produce code for the widest possible audience (which is the whole point of the Internet, after all), it is best not to assume your indiscretions will always go unnoticed; better to do it right to start with, and you won't have to double check every support call ($$$) to see if unentified HTML is part of the problem.

Unentified HTML Is Insecure HTML

All Cross-Site Scripting (XSS) attacks are caused by unentified HTML, and can be prevented using entities. The liability of such an attack, though potentially considerable, is nothing compared to the loss of client trust.

It's Easy

Every web development language has a single function you can call to entify the contents of string or text variables (numeric and date/time variables do not typically require escaping), e.g. Server.HTMLEncode() in Active Server Pages or htmlentities() in PHP. In cases where the language does not provide such a function, writing one is trivial: four search-and-replace calls (do the ampersand first).

It just kills me how often I see unencoded HTML (of the severity that actually breaks things), and how defensive companies get when it's pointed out. As if it were a lengthy or difficult fix.

Friday April 08, 2005
02:19 PM

Where are the SSI EEB 3.5 cases?

OK, I've got the brand-new Tyan Thunder K8WE, but it requires an SSI EEB 3.5 case.

Apparently, these server cases are either $400-$500 or beige boxes (yawn).

Wednesday January 05, 2005
05:19 PM

RIP: Hostess Suzy Q's

Fare thee well, my cream filling delivery device of choice.

Suzy Q, baby I love you.

Suzy Q

Wednesday November 03, 2004
11:54 AM

oh no

Democrats could not have been any more motivated. They just lost. The Republicans found a good wedge issue ("god hates fags", in a palatable euphamism sauce), and more effectively used the media to (mis)characterize their opponent.

I see a couple of options for the Dems: "If You Can't Beat 'Em Join 'Em", in which the party is dissolved and declare themselves all Republicans, kind of like the end of the (first) Matrix; or "Diaspora", in which a liberal homeland is created either through state secession, colonization, or displacment of another group (sorry, the Palenstinians have already been done).

I personally favor a Diaspora solution, since I have seen the Utopia Republicans create when unchallenged (Idaho), and would be amused to observe this on a larger scale, from a distance.

Monday August 09, 2004
02:14 PM

Is fop dead?

Fop has shown no activity since July 2003. Has it been abandoned? Are there any free alternatives?
Friday June 18, 2004
11:18 AM

Article: License Dirt, While You're At It

Tuesday June 01, 2004
12:42 PM


I notice that when I install XML::DTDParser 1.7 from ppm, I actually get version 1.5.
Friday May 28, 2004
11:14 AM

Fedora Core 2

So this is my first foray into the Linux world. I've been installing a huge amount of software.

  • Synaptic is great, but doesn't include enough.
  • Downloading RPMs is OK, but too often leads to dependancy hell (particularly since FC2 is so new).
  • Sun's installer (for JRE, JDK, JAI, ...) is just odd.
  • Firefox does not seem to have an RPM, but the shell script worked well.
  • jEdit had a nifty installer, but I'm not able to set it as my default text editor for some reason.
  • I like Evolution (though Thunderbird may continue to be my primary emailer, since it has better junk email filtering).
  • I put Ant and XXE, in /usr/share then modified my /etc/profile for Ant path and home info (as I did for Java).
  • gFTP seems to hang too easily when downloading from an IIS FTP server.
  • I'd be more excited about WineX if the first two games I looked for had been supported (Simpsons H&R and Neverwinter).

What has really irritated me is the inability to add items to the applications menu. Apparently, rather than right-clicking the menu, you must right-click an item in the menu, then use the "entire menu" submenu. In FC1, which I had installed for a couple of days (no built-in ALSA support for my digital speakers), the "Add new item to this menu" option always failed with "Unsupported operation". In the new version, the menu item is completely greyed out (even when I am logged in as root).