Archive for June, 2002


Callisto CMS and Xopus

Callisto CMS is an XML / XSL Web-based content management system built using Perl and AxKit. Includes WYSIWYG editor. This looks very promising. Matt Sergeant mentioned it a few months ago and I meant to discuss it in a follow-up to my XML & CMS essay, which I still plan to write someday. Callisto may help solve some of the problems I raise there.

I also want to keep an eye on Xopus, a browser-based WYSIWYG XML editor. At least one Good Thing has already come out of that project, and an open source release is scheduled for mid-summer.


Plugging the USA Cup

I’ve never been much of a sports fan. There are only a couple I’ll pay attention to: tennis and soccer. I’d follow fencing if it were shown on television, but it’s not.

Since I was nine years old, I’ve watched Wimbledon every year, and that is still the only tennis tournament I follow. Not so religiously as I once did, but I still watch it.

I saw my first World Cup when I was in high school — until then it wasn’t broadcast in the US, although it might have been available on cable. The announcers were atrocious: the network apparently couldn’t be bothered to hire people who actually knew anything about soccer, so they got regular ol’ American football announcers who no only knew nothing about the game but also had the audacity to insult the players’ athleticism. Yeah. Guys who sprint non-stop for an hour and a half. Wimps. Whatever.

Things since then have got better, and I’m sure that the performance of the US team at the World Cup this year can only help. I’m rather impressed by the announcers this year, truth be told, especially whoever did the final. It was good enough for radio: I could close my eyes and still follow the game.

Now that the World Cup’s over, I can turn to Wimbledon; when that’s over, I can go watch the USA Cup, a youth soccer tournament that takes place just a little bit north of where I live. In years past it seems to me that they had a lot more international participation, but this year it seems to be almost entirely teams from the US Midwest. Nonetheless, there are teams from Costa Rica, Ecuador, England…

I wonder if the weather’s had anything to do with it. The last few years, the tournament’s been held during what felt like the hottest week of the year. Temperatures in the 90s and maybe even over 100F.

The fields are built on what used to be a peat bog, I think, so they’re really springy. I can remember the first time I went, being surprised by these huge English kids thundering past a few feet away, causing the ground beneath my feet to swell and rise just a bit. This effect hasn’t been so pronounced recently, but with all the rain we’ve been getting this year, you never know.

If you live in the area, I encourage you to go. It’s good fun. And Schwan’s sponsors it, so there’s decent ice cream, too. :)

And when it’s over, I can go back to ignoring sports.


Pledge of Allegiance.

I don’t think I need to say more about the Pledge of Allegiance uproar than what Leonard Lin has to say. I mean, c’mon, just remove “under God” from the Pledge, fer chrissakes. It bothered me even as a child when I was forced to say it every day.


damn spammers

I’ve been receiving a bunch of bounced messages that indicate that someone is writing spam that looks like it’s coming from fake email addresses at Either that or it’s spam ingeniously forged to make it look like it’s a bunch of bounced messages. Bastards. Gotta dig into this.


damn spammers

I’ve been receiving a bunch of bounced messages that indicate that someone is writing spam that looks like it’s coming from fake email addresses at Either that or it’s spam ingeniously forged to make it look like it’s a bunch of bounced messages. Bastards. Gotta dig into this.


browser comments

One: Rob Flickenger’s comments about installing IE 5.2 for Mac OS X have convinced me not to bother with the upgrade. I’ll stick with Mozilla, Chimera, and maybe give OmniWeb another shot. In the occasional instance where I need to use a site that refuses access to Mozilla, I’ll use IE 5.1. Then fire off an email to the webmaster of the offending site.

Two: Digest authentication in Mozilla has been giving me a headache. It seems to work just fine for GET requests, but Mozilla asks me to re-enter my credentials for every POST. That gets to be damn annoying. Maybe I’m missing something in the preferences somewhere, but as a user I expect the browser to act like it does with Basic Authentication: remember my username and password throughout the session. Not sure what’s going on here, have to do some digging through Bugzilla and maybe set up some tests so I can observe the transaction. Perhaps it’s a server setup thing.


Paul Sowden returns

Exams are over and Mr. Paul Sowden has reared his head again, although I suppose he was never too far gone. Then again, one can become lost in exams. Anyway. I look forward to seeing what he will do with his site this time ’round. He’s already doing something rather interesting, serving up both HTML and XHTML versions. Take a peek under the hood.

And yes! he has started using GPG. Another convert to the wonders of strong encryption.


Secure web applications

The OWASP Guide to Building Secure Web Applications and Web Services has been released. Version 1.0 is downloadable from the OWASP home page. At this point it is a rather large PDF.


Bashing rant

A coworker sent me a link to John Dvorak’s recent Apple-bashing. No, scratch that, this has gone beyond Apple-bashing to attacking the people in Apple’s “switch” campaign. For their appearance. Give me a frelling break. Thing is, the coworker who sent this did so because he agrees with Dvorak’s sentiment.

This is the same guy who regularly quips, “Simple computers for simple minds,” as if making a computer easy to use is a bad thing.


Whatever. I’ve been wondering how to respond appropriately, because I don’t really want to rise to the bait, but this “article” is such a worthless piece of tripe that I can’t let it pass. Fortunately, Crazy Apple Rumors has the perfect response: Dvorak Implodes From Unintentional Irony.

Anyway, here’s the thing. I am sick to death of mindless bashing of fill-in-the-blank. Not criticism, but attacks without substance. In the circles I run in, usually Microsoft is the one being attacked. I’ll gladly be among the first to criticize them for the failings in their technology or business practices, but I will not run screaming from All Things Microsoft because they’re from the devil. Sheesh, people, get a grip. Face it, they write some good software. Sure, it could often be improved (what can’t?) and made more secure (what can’t?). So take them to task for that. Not because they are Evil Incarnate.

Similarly, if you have problems with Apple because you don’t like the Mac, come up with some decent reasons. And in my book, “I don’t like how it looks” is a valid reason. As is “I don’t think that computers should be easy to use.” Good for you. Fine. Whatever. I do have some problems with “I haven’t used Macs in years and have certainly never used OS X, but I didn’t much care for the user interface or instability of the MacOS back then so I’m gonna complain as if Apple were still mired in those dark days.” That’s no more valid than my complaining about Windows 2000 Professional because Windows 95 was buggy, unstable, insecure, and a pain in the ass (although a huge improvement over 3.1). Go try OS X on a new Mac and then come talk to me. We’ll probably share some complaints.

And if you’re, say, a tech columnist or contributing editor of a leading computer magazine, you should be able to come up with something better than bashing geeky-looking users.

Some of those people, by the way, have put together a little weblog tracking their switch. I have learned much, including that it’s possible to get Ximian Evolution working on OS X.




“The goal of VerisignOff is to help people understand that there are alternatives to Verisign/Network Solutions and that by patronizing these registrars, we help send an important message; consumers expect the companies that they patronize to treat them ethically and respectfully.”

Next »