I'm your typical only-slightly-left-of-center liberal, in that while I believe we need govt regulation and consumer-protection laws, I also believe market forces will auto-correct a lot of lame consumer offerings. Except when I personally feel jerked around - then it's martial law time. Case in point: hotel wifi. What kind of internet access do you… Continue reading Hotel wifi – there oughta be a law!
What makes for a good bug (report)? The usual responses might refer to the need for supporting information like software version, operating system, error messages, backtraces, etc. While I agree, my question is more basic: what's a good problem to file as a bug? I think it makes sense to work backward from the possible… Continue reading Proper uses of bugzilla
So there's a tradeoff here, between the speed with which a search engine incorporates new documents, and the speed with which it responds to queries. Confusion about this makes me grumpy when people talk about blog search and pings (the implication being that if old-school websearch engines listened more to pings, then they would be… Continue reading Search engines – speed and freshness
I've modified this weblog software to make comment submitters solve captchas (in this case, distorted images of 6-letter words) to prove that they are human. I also log both the attempted answer and whether the submission attempt succeeded. I looked at the logs for the last week, and all the answers that _were_ 6-letters words… Continue reading Some incorrect captcha answers
Several months ago I threatened to make the captcha generation I use on this site available as a web service. I have finally done that, at captchaservice.org. I was able to do this in part because CommerceNet was kind enough to donate and host the server that captchaservice.org runs on. Thanks CommerceNet! In addition to… Continue reading Announcing captchaservice.org
Here's a cool use of Shockwave (and also the fugue I'm wrestling with learning to play). Don't miss the animations in the diagram. The whole set is here.
Here's a demo of the captcha generation I have so far --- the script talks to a mini web service to get the data. I'll add more options to the web service and then make it available. [Update: the 'demo' is now just the way I screen comments on this blog.] Interestingly, although I have… Continue reading Captchas and accessibility
I've been playing around with generating "captcha" images from PHP. Captchas are those Turing-test images used to screen out bots --- the image contains text that a human is asked to type to demonstrate his/her humanity. I generated these images using PHP5 and the gd image library which comes bundled with PHP. Two questions: 1)… Continue reading Captchas in PHP
Here's Question #19 from the Google Labs Marketing Test: "'Tis known in refined company, that choosing K things out of N can be done in ways as many as choosing N minus K from N: I pick K, you the remaining. Find though a cooler bijection, where you show a knack uncanny, of making your… Continue reading Google labs aptitude test #19
o Mozilla Firefox Browser-of-choice, immediately. o Dive Into Python By some accident of history, I've never touched Python, though I'd had this feeling that a language with a lambda and a read-eval-print loop couldn't be all bad. So I picked up this book (partly because everyone told me it rocked), and it's a perfect intro.… Continue reading Things that rock that everyone told me would rock