* Posts by Frank Sattler

15 publicly visible posts • joined 10 Sep 2008

Dev goes 'Wild' with H.264 Firefox

Frank Sattler

This is...

...utterly stupid. If this takes off in any even halfways meaningful way, we're back in the middle of the browser wars, just when we thought it was safe to go back into the water.

The supreme irony is that it's not "evil" Microsoft, but a Firefox developer who wants to push a certain technology to further their (personal ?) agenda, or simply feed their ego by trying to get their 15 minutes.

Of course, it's a lot worse than the old "IE vs Firefox" issue, because this time 'round half of Firefox will play a video and the other half won't.

One can only hope that this project dies a sudden and horrible death, because it doesn't bear contemplating what would happen if it succeded.

'Completely useless' Windows 3.1 hits Google's Android

Frank Sattler

The title is required, and must contain letters and/or digits.

Does that mean we can expect a floppy adapter for mobiles next?

Fring cops to unchangeable passwords

Frank Sattler

Who's Fring?

Never heard of them. And it sounds like there's a reason for it.

Firefox plans fix for decade-old browsing history leak

Frank Sattler

Not a bug, but a feature.

Pretty much every site I am aware of, and almost every commercial site I've worked on over the last 14 years uses the :visited selectors for specifying colours, background-images, underlines, etc. as part of the site design and to improve usability. As a developer, I wouldn't consider using something that does not conform to the standards. Web developers have used this for years because it's part of the CSS spec and thus considered safe.

And now Mozilla are seriously considering breaking widely used functionality and moving away from the standard, because they want to pander to a few paranoid beardies in sandals who wouldn't know usability and design if it bit them in the arse. Why, thank you very much.

I consider myself to be reasonably security conscious, but I find it hard to see what exactly the security issue is.

From what I understand, the only way this "bug" (and I use the term in the loosest possible sense) can be exploited is when the "attacking site" has a link to *exactly* the URL in its HTML / JS that the visitor has been to before. This means that the "attacking" site can't ask the browser to give up the history, but it has to ask whether it has been to URL xyz.

I would suggest that anybody worried about this has more pressing issues than keeping their browser history private.

BTW, @grumpy: "Site developers have done stuff according to the CSS specification, and now Mozilla is thinking about ignoring web standards so that everybody has to fix their style sheets in order to placate a handful of paranoids." There, fixed that for you.

Loch Ness Stig blurred into oblivion

Frank Sattler
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Title goes here

He's not being blurred, he's teleporting... I knew he'd had advanced technology available to hiim, I just didn't realise quite how advanced!

Fujitsu: 'iPad? That's ours'

Frank Sattler
Jobs Horns

How about...

...Stevie boy takes his own advice (that he gave to an iPhone app developer not too long ago):

"Change your products' name. Not that big of a deal."

That is all.

Airport scanner staff object to vetting

Frank Sattler

Edwina Currie...

Aaah, my eyes! Ze goggles, zey do nothing!

Oz man coughs to DD-jub job advert outrage

Frank Sattler
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To Jeff Quinn, Border Express's IT manager

Thank you, Sir. You just restored my faith in humanity.

Trade body loses laptop full of driving conviction data

Frank Sattler


"I welcome the steps being taken by Repair Management Services Ltd and urge all organisations to implement the appropriate safeguards and training to prevent personal information falling into the wrong hands," said Poole.

"Repair Management Services of Blackburn has promised the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) that it will improve its data security[...]"

ORLY?! How nice of them.

The quotes above illustrate perfectly why cluefree numbnuts like Repair Management Services and God knows how many civil servants (and private sector employees) in the past will continue to lose our data in pub car parks, leave it on trains or have it stolen from cars: because there are no consequences, and this sort of thing is treated like a non-issue. Let's face it: the ICO's response doesn't even amount to a slap on the wrist.

Unless the ICO comes down on these idiots like a ton of bricks, nothing will ever change in respect to data security. If it can't do this, they will need to be replaced with a less toothless organisation.

I'm thoroughly sick of this. And I haven't had a coffee yet.

Laptop Hunters snare Microsoft on Linux

Frank Sattler


So this guy compares an 18.4" laptop with a P8600 Core 2 Duo CPU, 4GB RAM, DVD rewriter/BR drive and a 500GB HDD with a netbook and blames the difference in price on Microsoft's licensing policy? Right.

If I wasn't so busy laughing my arse off I'd explain the principle of "total cost of ownership" to him, and that the average Microsoft customer is in no way interested spending days on end tweaking the operating system until WiFi finally works, or rebuilding his system every six months in order to update to a slightly humourously named "latest" version of the o/s that promises to finally manage to do the things that Windows has been able to do for the last 5 years.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not a Linux hater. In fact, I'm running three servers on CentOS and Debian and deal with it professionally on a daily basis. It suits me well on machines that I can lock in a cupboard and forget about. But for the average user it will only become of interest if the last trace of cryptic command lines are purged. And people like Jim Zemlin shut up, because their comments make them out to be just the kind of rabid Linux zealots Joe Bloggs doesn't want to be associated with.

The user of limited technical ability (and, let's face it, they are the vast majority) is not interested what o/s they run, as long as it stays invisible and allows them to do the things they want, namely running applications without hassle. And at the moment, that's really only Windows.

Samsung NC10 netbook

Frank Sattler


I've got myself one of those shortly after they became available in the UK and I've been dead chuffed. Battery life nothing short of amazing, screen is brilliant, keyboard is fantastic, and it's got enough oomph to play back full screen video.

I'd be happy to do web dev work on this machine for extended periods. In short, it's nothing short of amazing, especially for the price.

As for the trackpad (it's a Synaptic one) - yes it's small, but that's not a problem: switch it to "Trackball mode", and out of the sudden size doesn't matter anymore. Besides, why didn't the review mention that it supports multitouch gestures - I would have thought that it's an important feature... You can, for example, zoom web pages in Firefox and IE7 using the familiar "Mac-style" pinch gestures, and scroll using a circular gesture. I wish my full-blown laptop supported these...

Electronic votes mysteriously vanish in Ohio election

Frank Sattler

What I don't get is this.

How hard is it to add things up? Voter enters boot, clicks button/touch screen, clicks again to confirm, total of votes for selected party/candidate is incremented by one. Behind the scenes, some logging takes place.

From where I'm sitting, this is almost secondary school computer science. It's got to be considerably harder to balls this stuff up than to get it right, and whatever goes wrong in development sure as hell should be caught in QA. It's not as if there are a huge number of test scenarios to run through.

Where's the question mark icon?!

Sony Vaio TT slim'n'light laptop

Frank Sattler

Nice piece of kit, but...

...for this price, being a Sony, it really should come with a fire extinguisher.

Mine's the dayglo one that says "Fire Warden" on the back.

OMFG, what have you done?

Frank Sattler
Thumb Up

New look

Congratulations on the new look! From what I've seen so far, it's great (and gets rid of most of my personal niggles). The reduction in headline font size is a very good idea, and makes the whole site a lot more usable. The whole layout looks considerably more professional and a lot slicker. Well done!

PS. Not so sure about the icons though...

United 'bankruptcy' points to new stock scam techniques

Frank Sattler
Paris Hilton

I would imagine...

that this happens more frequently than one would imagine, although usually with less dramatic results...

In fact, it happened to me once as well. I used to use the "most read" and "most emailed" links on the Beeb's News site to get a quick overview of breaking news. On day I clicked on a link in the "most read" box and only when I was halfway through the article did I notice a reference to an event that I knew was a few years back. Only then did I look at the (easily overlooked) date stamp, which stated that the article I was reading was almost 5 years old.

It sticks in my mind, because since then I religiously check the date of news articles.

Since it's quite fashionable to have these "most read" links on news sites these days, I can see how this could easily be exploited using a smallish botnet, or even a number of very bored people clicking repeatedly on a link. And once the ball starts rolling, it's difficult to stop: once an article is prominently displayed in the "top five stories" list of a news site, more people will click on it, meaning it'll get propagated upwards, making it even more prominent, which will result in spiders picking it up and promoting it elsewhere.

Paris, because she's got things prominently on display.