A pedant that hangs out in the dark corner-cases of the web.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What happens when people don't know what they're doing: DoNotReply.com and RFC 2606

People without a basic understanding of RFC 2606 have been using a From or Reply-To address of donotreply@donotreply.com, and surprise!, that domain exists.

This implies not just job incompetence, but a manner so cavalier and naïve that the person responsible didn't even consider typing donotreply.com into a browser.

This is a level of technical malpractice worthy of termination, IMO.

Remember, the people that designed the Internet were generally pretty clever folks. If you need a phony domain name (akin to a 555 phone number), for example, there's a pretty good chance someone has set aside a few of those.

  • .test
  • .example
  • .invalid
  • .localhost
  • example.com
  • example.net
  • example.org

Note: IANA has even set aside an example MIME supertype and subtypes for all of the other supertypes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Re: The Internet Explorer 8 User-Agent String

Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 8.0; Windows NT 6.0)

Microsoft, why are you still lying about being Mozilla?

Seriously, it's just wasted network traffic and drive space and extra parsing for log analyzers.

I see many commentors, in the recent IEBlog post about the IE8 user agent string, requesting an end to the "Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; " nonsense:

I see only two people defending the 1990s style user agent string:

This seems to indicate a pretty clear preference from the developer community.

There will be a few sites that incorrectly slam the door on their guests simply due to an unknown UA string, but they clearly need a wake-up call anyway. Whitelisting user agent strings is stupid, and needs to be stopped now.

P.S.: Thanks for making standards mode the default in IE8, Microsoft! I'm not kidding or being sarcastic. You've really improved the lives of developers in the long run, whether or not everyone understands it now.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Vista at MIX08

At nearly every session, Windows Vista froze briefly and flickered several times in a way that interrupted the session presentations significantly. It was obvious that the presenters were afraid the machine had just crashed, though the desktop eventually returned. Usually, this was at a time when the input to the projector was changed, and I'm guessing that changed the video subsystem enough to cause Vista Content Protection to restart the video subsystem.

This seems to confirm: Peter Gutmann was right.

Friday, March 07, 2008

More from MIX08

More about IE8 from MIX08:

  • The new Developer Tools is part of the standard IE8 install.
  • The Dev Tools have an extremely cool Trace Styles feature that allows you to look at the effective styles of an object, and determine which rule is responsible for a given style.
  • The Dev Tools contain a full-featured JScript debugger.
  • JScript may now select DOM elements using CSS selectors.
  • Using the window.location.hash property to store and retrieve state info, the back button now more intuitively supports AJAX apps.
  • JScript in IE8 can tell whether the browser has lost its internet connection (window.navigator.online) and use offline storage to persist the page state.
  • The offline data store does not use a database backend (yet), and limits the storage to 10MB/domain/tab.
  • A new object, XDomainRequest, allows XmlHttpRequest-style interactions across domains.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

MIX08 News

  • IE8 will finally support data: URLs!
  • SSDS provides REST, SOAP, or APP access to a SQL data store.
  • There have been many changes to ASP.NET Dynamic Data controls since they were introduced at the last MIX: everything seems more template-based, uses attribute decorating in addition to SQL schema info to automatically build GridView and DetailsView/FormView controls.
  • Microsoft is REALLY into REST.
  • Silverlight can be worked into any conversation.
  • IIS7 is pretty exciting, particularly for developers with hosted applications (or corporations in a similar situation), since nearly every IIS setting is now in the web.config file.
  • Hosts in IIS7 can delegate features with impressive granularity, or lock them down.
  • The IIS7 admin console can connect through port 80.
  • IE8 is pushing something called WebSlices.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

MIX08: Day One

This year, Microsoft handed out purses to all attendees, made out of the finest white tarpaulin. To complete the look, white (or green or black) berets were available, for anyone that wanted to rock the Jamie Hyneman look. No matching shoes yet, though.

No expense has been spared, as Microsoft has made a full 11Mb/s 802.11b Internet connection available to anyone directly within the conference rooms. Internet access from within the hotel rooms can be had for only $10/day.

Last night, we attended a Microsoft screening of The King of Kong (2007), and tonight the subject of the movie will try to break the current Donkey Kong high score.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Warning: Do not buy Microsoft input devices

My Microsoft Sidewinder Strategic Commander doesn't work under Vista (64-bit). It's pretty clear that Microsoft considers even a USB input device to have an expiration date, since they appear to have no plans to add this support.

I bought Bioshock recently, and it also seems obvious that Microsoft paid the developer to make using any game controller other than the XBOX 360 controller virtually impossible to set up.

So, I guess in a few years, when the next version of Windows is released and doesn't support even that controller, I'll be stuck with keyboard and mouse.

Though this approach works really well for Microsoft, and stands as the familiar degenerate case of Capitalism, I'm tired of spending money unnecessarily. Is this what a stand-alone hardware company or OS vendor would do? This isn't anticompetitive?