working the bugs out.

I’m still working the bugs out of a couple of little things.

First up is the comment system. Test postings showed that it’s working exactly as it’s supposed to but there’s the little detail that the link you click on to get to the comment form is not the whole “Blogkom” ents: business. It’s just the number in () that indicate how many comments have been posted about a particular post. I’m going to spend some more time tomorrow looking over the Blogkomm code to see if I can change that into either a comment button or at least a larger link who’s purpose is a little more obvious.

The Second item is the .htaccess file. I’m trying to work out the correct syntax for a redirect line (ideally using wildcards) that will redirect all requests for *.html files to thier *.php equivalents with a HTTP 301 “permanent redirect” so that any bookmarks made for a .html file will still work. This isn’t exactly important, since this site is new and readers and the SE’s have only begun to notice it, but I’d still like to learn a bit about what the .htaccess file can be used for and how to do it right.

In other news, I’ve bought a new motherboard finally, an AsRock K7VM3. God willing it’ll get here quickly, be a nice easy install, and the 900Mhz AMD Duron chip I have in my desk drawer will prove to still work (I expect it will, I’ve been told that AMD chips are pretty tough). It’s been roughly two years of running a 266Mhz Pentium with 64mb Ram and I can hardly wait to have something that will actually be able to run Wheel of Time again. Not to mention booting up in less than 10 minutes, having a web browser or any other program start up without draggin everything else to a standstill.

Blog comments system installed

I’ve successfully managed to get the Blogkomm comments system installed, making reader comments possible. Along the way I had to change all of the .html files to .php, so if you’ve got anything bookmarked you’ll want to update.

Because I had something of a hard time finding installation help that was friendly to those like myself that are new to Thingamablog, I think I’ll be writing up a quick-n-dirty how to do it after I’ve had a few days to be sure that it really is working right.

Microsoft rolls out new search engine, I roll out a review.

Yesterday (2/8/06) Microsoft launched a new search engine and  The first thing I did was crank up a fresh instance of Opera 8.5, enable plugins, java and javascript temporarily, bypass proxomitron and then I’m off to the first thing I thought was that this site looked pretty lean to say the least.

All the page had on it was the logo, a text entry box, a button graphic, a blue background box with white text centered just under the text entry box with the text “Find anything using the new Windows Live Search!”, and a ‘loading’ graphic in page center. I looked at the page source and sure enough, there was code for a LOT more than what I was seeing.

I tried again after enableing ‘open javascript console on error’ and I was immediatly greeted with:

name: TypeError
message: Statement on line 2: Could not convert undefined or null to object

I found that I can enter queries but no results ever appear. At no time did the page have any other visible content.

Next up, I tried it in firefox 1.5. After setting the Noscript extension to permit the site to use scripts, The fully fleshed out site began to slowly appear. My first observation is that ‘live’ is one of the slowest loading pages I’ve seen since I changed from 56k dialup to 768/256 adsl.  The thing took nearly five minutes to load completely.

From my earlier look at the page source code, I saw that it was very heavily loaded with javascript components. This slowed it’s performance considerably. The Search results were equally slow in loading, and that little window that the results appear in in it absolutely blows chunks.  It only allows you to see three results at a time and instead of being a text box or IFrame with real scrollbars, it used some kind of javascript pseudo-scrollbars that are sluggish and unresponsive to say the least.

I took the time to do a few searches, and it does seem to do a reasonable job in strict terms of the search results, but its such a P.I.T.A. to use that not many are going to want to take the extra time and put out the additional effort required.

In my test searches, I found that my own ranked #5 for “windows mixminion” and #3 for “windows mixminion program”, which is great but what’s the point If I have all this trouble getting those results. As a search engine user I’m totally un-impressed. They need to lose the client side scripting and concentrate on something that works a heck of a lot faster and is interoperable with *ALL* browsers.

Microsoft’s claims that this ‘thing’ is going to be ANY kind of threat to google is rediculous in the extreme. As it is right now, “bob’s hariy armpit search” would be more user friendly and faster.  Google, Yahoo and DogPile are lightyears beyond ‘live’. When it comes down to bare bones search engine results and overall user friendlyness, they’re in place. Their sites work in nearly every browser, are reasonably lightweight and fast loading.

Before anyone comes along and says that I should load it up in IE6 where it would probably work great. Yes, you could well be right. The problem is that Internet Explorer has been repeatedly shown to be a VERY insecure browser. It’s rendering engine has been broken by the inclusion of all those Microsoft specific, non-standard widgets. Active-X, which IE and pages optimized for IE tend to use a lot of, has been shown to be a bigger security hole than leaving Java enabled for all sites.  As a result the only use of IE6 that I make is for Windows Update and once in a while to test a web page’s appearance before I upload it.

Speaking of their html… I admit I’m not the best coder in the world.  In fact, I’ve actually written some of the worlds crappiest code, but I honestly believe that I’ve NEVER written anything nearly so screwed up as this is. Just for the heck of it, I ran it through w3c’ validator and got this result:

Doctype: XHTML 1.0 Strict
Result: Failed validation, 265 errors

Then I decided to have the validator try with some differnt doctypes to see if the code would pass under other, more relaxed standards. Nothing did… in fact, I think it’s a wonder this thing works in any broswer at all.

Doctype: XHTML Basic 1.0
Result: Failed validation, 271 errors

Doctype: XHTML 1.1
Result: Failed validation, 268 errors

Doctype: HTML 4.01 Strict
Result: Failed validation, 248 errors

Doctype: HTML 4.01 Transitional
Result: Failed validation, 238 errors

Doctype: HTML 3.2
Result: Failed validation, 246 errors

Doctype: ISO/IEC 15445:2000 (“ISO HTML”)
Result: Failed validation, 291 errors

If Microsoft would simply insist that the html on their pages was valid according to standards, then not only would the whole site be easier to use, but it would work in any web browser.  Speaking for myself, I really hate it when a site insists that I use the browser they dictate instead of the one that I happen to like.  Whatever happened to “The Customer is Always Right?”

Enough is too much

There’s a few things to talk about this time. First up, The NSA Spying beast is still around. Four senators have proposed a bill that’s supposed to provide oversight for the President’s domestic spying program.

One of the things I’ve got against this is the fact that it’s bypassing the need to get a warrant. I realize that in todays world where stuff happens so fast, warrants are a genuine PITA for a lot of situations. I realize that potential and actual terrorists need a certain amount of investigation. But doing so in a way that bypasses or evades the constitutional requirement for a warrant is a bad precedent. It starts us on the way down the slippery slope that so many peoples have ridden to their own destruction.

When in doubt, if that’s even possible in such a clear constitutional issue, err on the side of staying within constitutional boundaries. Let wiretaps not be permitted without a warrant. Those boudaries are there for very good reasons.

GOP senators propose NSA spying bill

Measure would codify, oversee no-warrant surveillance program
Wednesday, March 8, 2006; Posted: 3:34 a.m. EST (08:34 GMT)

WASHINGTON (CNN) — Four Senate Republicans have proposed a bill to provide what one called “very rigorous oversight” of President Bush’s controversial no-warrant domestic surveillance program while also giving it the force of law.

Sens. Mike DeWine of Ohio, Olympia Snowe of Maine, Chuck Hagel of Nebraska and Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, all members of the Intelligence Committee, introduced the bill late Tuesday afternoon in an effort to address criticism of the program and reach a compromise.

In a recent Lastdays Watch article, “Down The Rabbit Hole” I mentioned the case of Amal Graafstra, who had RFID chips implanted for convienience, operating locks, controlling access to his home, car, computer, bank accounts Etc. I noticed in this article that he says “It can’t be used to track my movements or to keep tabs on me. It only has a range of a couple feet.

I would like to point out that while the reader devices that he is using may only have a range of a couple of feet, but the chip will reflect ANY signal that it can detect on the right frequency. All that would be needed is for “Readers” to use stronger signals and then that traitorous chip would dutifully respond, enabling anyone with one implanted to be easily tracked.

As always, My recommendation is NEVER allow anyone to implant such a device in you. See Revelation 13 and beyond for the reason why.

Couple Implants Microchips Into Hands Chip Allows Access to Car, Doors and Computer

March 8, 2006 – Amal Graafstra waves his hand in front of a locked door, and it opens. His girlfriend, Jennifer Tomblin, places her hand inches from her computer, and she is instantly signed on.

There are no supernatural forces at work in the couple’s home in Vancouver, British Columbia, just the latest technology. Graafstra and Tomblin are among about 30 people in the world who have voluntarily implanted microchips into their hands.

“I did it because I don’t want to carry anything around,” Graafstra said. “I really did this for convenience.”

At Graafstra’s request, a surgeon friend implanted a chip in each of his hands in March 2005.

Tomblin, a 23-year-old marketing student, thought the chip was odd at first, but over time she became sold on its usefulness. Her chips were implanted in December.

“Because the procedure didn’t hurt, it was really no big deal,” Tomblin said. “It’s not interacting with my body in any way, and the chip can only be used for what I want to use it for. It can’t be used to track my movements or to keep tabs on me. It only has a range of a couple feet.”

Iran sure seems to have a high opinion of itself these days. They’re also showing a clearly underdeveloped level of self preservation. Their threats against the U.S. are sending them down a road that’s already been traveled by Saddam Hussein and Bin Ladin and others. They would do well to learn the lessons of history and cool their jets real fast.

Simply put, The United States doesn’t react very well to threats. We tend toward rendering any threat harmless.

Iran Threatens U.S. Over Nuclear Program
Iran Threatens U.S.  With ‘Pain’ if Tough U.N. Measures Are Imposed Against It for Its Nuclear Program

The Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria – Iran threatened the United States with “harm and pain” Wednesday if the U.S. tries to use the U.N. Security Council which has the power to impose sanctions as a lever to punish Tehran for its suspect nuclear program.

Washington warned that Tehran has enough nuclear material for up to 10 atomic bombs.

Hours after the Iranian and U.S. exchange, the some members of the Security Council took up the issue for the first time, with the five permanent nations holding consultations in New York.

I recently saw this little gem in a .sig on UseNet and just had to pass it on.

“The more corrupt the State, the more numerous are it’s laws”
-Tacitus (an ancient Roman historian)

House panel votes to block ports deal

House panel votes to block ports deal
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A U.S. House of Representatives committee on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly to block an Arab-owned company from managing American ports, defying President George W. Bush who has vigorously supported the deal.

Excellent so far. Now this has to be made to stick and that means that it’s got to be in a bill that actually gets signed. I’ve read that it’s been attached to a “must pass” spending bill for Hurricane relief and for ongoing military operations in Iraq. Which means that there’s a reasonable chance it’ll pass both houses and land intact on the president’s desk. Good thing he doesn’t have that line item veto, with it he’d be able to nuke the part that blocks the port deal without having to veto the entire bill.

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