At the moment, we’re using the widgEditor WYSIWYG script. It’s
pretty nice and standards compliant, but there are several problems.

  • Not particularly easy to extend; too spartan – missing some pretty essential features.
  • Doesn’t work in Firefox 1.5
  • Breaks the back button in Gecko browsers

I am therefore working on integrating the TinyMCE editor.
TinyMCE certainly isn’t simple nor small like widgeditor but it’s
relatively standard-compliant and powerful. I’m hoping that it’ll be
possible to work some magic and make it more standards compliant.

works in Firefox 1.5, doesn’t break the back button (this is a big
annoyance with widgEditor) and contains many of the features that a
proper blog/forum/community will likely to require. Also seems to have
been tested and developed more than widgEditor.

There are quite a
few people who still don’t like the concept of WYSIWYG editors on the
web. I was never a big fan of them either but I’m convinced that having
a WYSIWYG editor greatly improves usability especially for those who
are less experienced with bulletin boards and markup languages. It’d be
nice if some day browsers could just have a built in and easy to use
HTML editing component – ideally through use of a simple HTML tag. Hint, hint….

Top 10 Web Fads

Via Google Blogoscoped, an article
which looks at the top 10 web fads of yesteryear. Among the fads are
portals, splash pages, communities, hit counters, guestbooks, e-cards
and awards.

I remember this quite well. There used to be services such as Moreover
which would allow you to add the latest news to your own website. Stuff
like weather, search and that was also there with the aim of
encouraging “repeat visitors”. You could also offer free e-mail through
some other random services. Of course, when everyone realised that the
portal information which was supposed to keep users coming back just
turned them away because there were a thousand other websites with that
portal information. I never really understood the thinking behind this
– the way to get people to come back would surely to offer them
something new and different rather than the same.

I’m not really sure if I agree with this one. Building a community is
great. Back in the days of Ikonboard and stuff, people used to market
bulletin boards by saying things such as bulletin boards will bring
visitors back to your site. It doesn’t work that way – visitors come
back for regularly updated content. Every single forum I visit on a
regular basis, I go straight to the forums. By looking at the feature
set of most bulletin boards it is quite obvious that they were not
designed as website promotion tools – no website integration and 99% of
the time not even a link back to the main website.

Many people
mistakenly create communities in the hope that people will flock to it
and talk about things. The forum is not a quick easy way to get tons of
content written by members for free. Even with a good website, it takes
a lot of time and effort to establish a good community. I do believe
with wikis and websites with some community features built in, it is
possible to add value to existing websites but the forum in it’s
present state doesn’t.

Office User Interface Blog

The Office User Interface Blog is quite an interesting read. Among the “must reads”:

It’s also well worth a look through the archive.

Samy is my hero

This story has been getting quite a bit of press over the last few days especially in web development/PHP/security communities. Basically some guy managed to write a “worm” in Javascript for the MySpace website. Using weaknesses in the handling of Javascript by some browsers such as Internet Explorer and technologies such as XmlHttpRequest, the worm made anyone who viewed his profile automatically add him to their friends list. Additionally, the script or “worm” would also add itself to that user’s profile page and replicate itself. 

The worm replicated exponentially and it took about 5 hours to get 1,000,000 friends. There is a technical explanation of the worm on the website and an interview with the worm author at Google Blogoscoped. Quite an interesting and quite funny account of the events. It’s quite a useful read if you develop web applications too. The SafeHTML library which I use to validate all my HTML input seems to be immune 🙂 If anything, this worm shows that XSS is something that needs to be taken seriously.

WordPress selling PageRank?

Philipp Lenssen on Google Blogoscoped writes, “Putting your sponsored link on the WordPress.org homepage will cost you $20,000 per day“.
According to AdBrite, WordPress only recieves 11,000 unique users a
day. For a 7 day text link costing $100,000 you’ll get an average of
2,338 total clicks. That works out at $42.77 per click or £24.49 a click in sterling.
According to Google Blogoscoped, WordPress has a pagerank of 9. I would
guess that if anyone was to buy an advert on the WordPress homepage
it’d be for the Pagerank rather than the clicks 🙂

Bundleware sucks

For various reasons, I downloaded Quicktime 7 today. I absolutely
hate the Quicktime player and it was my first experience of Apple
during the Windows 95 days and certainly explains why I haven’t
purchased an Apple product ever and probably never will. Hey, guess
what – it’s bundled with Itunes 6 (Not worthy of stupid

the only reason I downloaded Quicktime
was because I need it to play some multimedia content I have. Of
course, they have to attempt to bundle it with yet another media player
(Itunes), get my e-mail address, send me Quicktime spam every 2 weeks,
music spam every week and tons of spam about Apple. It also decided to
close down Firefox whilst I was in the middle of something and wanted
use up my system resources by loading Quicktime automatically on
startup (I love you Microsoft AntiSpyware). Where’s the option not to
load at startup?

Not being enough, it
also needs to take over my desktop with desktop shortcuts, quick launch
and system tray icons. Luckily I was wary enough to download the
standalone edition of Quicktime and didn’t give away my e-mail address
or download Itunes or I’d have to spend even more time getting rid of
the useless junk Apple have put onto my computer and set up a spam
filter and a dozen new spam rules.

Apple isn’t alone – RealPlayer
is pretty bad (at least they used to but I’m staying away from
installing RealPlayer again even if it means I’m susceptible to
security flaws). All I wanted was a media player to play content on the
BBC and you get a spyware/adware download manager and junk all over
your player. Flash Player (which almost everyone has and needs these
days on the web) bundles Yahoo! Toolbar last time I checked. WinZip and
Sun’s Java bundle Google Toolbar.

People complain all the time
about free download programs installing IE toolbars and other random
junk all the time (“spyware”). I really don’t see how these programs
with the oh-so-helpful bundles are any different.

P.S. Yahoo has an anti-spyware program. Guess what? It hijacks your homepage and sets it to Yahoo when you install it.

Yahoo Messenger and MSN Messenger to Interop

Via InsideMicrosoft, Internet Week reports:

Microsoft Corp. and Yahoo Inc. are expected to announce Wednesday
interoperability between each other’s instant messaging service, a move
that could dramatically change a market that’s been dominated by
America Online Inc., a newspaper reported.

Microsoft and Yahoo are expected to allow subscribers to chat across
each other’s services and to make computer-to-computer voice calls, the
Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.

At the moment, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger (and don’t
complain I didn’t use the acronym tag)) has 41.6 million users. MSN
Messenger and Yahoo! Messenger have 14.1 million and 19.1 million
respectively. I don’t think anyone really knows how many users Jabber
has but they claim to be larger than ICQ. ICQ is linked to AOL Instant
Messenger so can be considered part of it considering almost nobody
uses it.

Google Talk hasn’t really taken off. It probably had quite a few
downloads for several days and many people I know downloaded it but
it’s now barely used. It’s based on the Jabber protocol but so what,
you can’t even talk to other Jabber networks let alone other IM
networks. Sure, Google probably wanted to build an open IM network but
at the moment it’s just as closed as the others. Jabber just saved them
from having to invent a new protocol.

If Yahoo! Messenger and MSN Messenger merge, that’ll be great news.
For a start when Microsoft’s Messenger servers go down, the Yahoo ones
will still be up. Secondly, Yahoo! Messenger is a really nice IM client
(built in Launchcast is great). To be able to migrate to Yahoo! and
still to be able to talk to all my contacts would be fantastic. Clients
such as Trillian and Gaim don’t really cut it because what I want is
Launchcast – not the protocol.

There was also discussion several weeks ago on MSN and AOL perhaps
merging. If this went ahead, it is likely the MSN Messenger network
would also interop with AIM and ICQ. With AIM, MSN, ICQ and Yahoo all
working in harmony, we have a single global IM network. Jabber
currently interops with the four networks to a certain extent too,
using transports.

Perfect way of killing Skype and Google Talk. Or perhaps the Google
guys never really wanted to build a whole instant messaging service,
they just wanted to get the other guys to work together a bit more and
do some common good 🙂

IE, Vista, Kids, Kahuna, Messenger

Since I’ve written way too much about Google lately, I thought I’d make a post on Microsoft for once 🙂

IE Security Update

The latest security update for Internet Explorer has been released. This fixes a highly critical memory corruption vulnerability. There are various other updates for Windows – as InsideMicrosoft puts it, “gotta catch ’em all”.

20 versions of Vista

According to a poster at Bink.nu, there are going to be 20 versions of Vista:

Windows Vista Starter
Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows Vista Pro Standard/SB
Longhorn Enterprise Server (ADS)
Longhorn Enterprise Server – IA64
Longhorn Standard Server
Longhorn Datacenter Server

Windows Vista Pro Std/SB/Ent – VL Binding Service
Windows Vista Pro Std/SB/Ent – VLGeneric
Windows Vista Pro Std/SB/Ent – DMAK

Windows Vista Starter Digital Boost – OEM
Windows Vista Home Basic – OEM
Windows Vista Home Premium – OEM
Windows Vista Ultimate – OEM
Windows Vista Pro Standard/SB – OEM
Longhorn Enterprise Server – OEM
Windows Vista Home Basic N
Windows Vista Pro Standard N

Kids Programming

Forever Geek reports that Microsoft is teaching kids to program and
speculates the world will soon be plagued by SpongeBob SquarePants
viruses. Apparently they’re encouraging kids to program with .NET
Framework and XML. I wonder if there’s an article about UTF-8,
windows-1252 and other strange character encoding things there 🙂


Paul Thurrott has screenshots of the new Hotmail.

More than 300 friends on Messenger?

Messenger Blog
reports you can now have up to 600 friends on Messenger. This used to
be 150 for a long long time and was changed to 300 a while ago. It’s
now been doubled again. I was stuck on 150 for a long long time but I’m
currently around 160. I don’t think I’ll ever reach 600 at this rate 😛

Yahoo! launches blog search

Yahoo! Search Blog writes: “Today we’ve begun the integration of blogs in Yahoo! News Search.
Now when you search on Yahoo! News you will see blog results as well as
content from thousands of trusted news sites. The experiences and
opinions published on blogs make a great addition to the mainstream
news people read everyday.”

Try it out by searching Yahoo! News for “yahoo blog search“.
Looks good although I’m a bit disappointed that blog results weren’t
integrated into the main index but were left in a sidebar. The
definition of a news website and a blog can get very blurred these days
– I’ve seen Slashdot described as both a news site and a blog. Same
with Neowin and Newsforge.

The index contains content from a
subset of blogs at the moment, but it will ultimately contain all blogs
which ping blo.gs. It’s nice Yahoo! are containing community content
and journalism. It would be interesting to see whether services such as
Google News, MSN Newsbot and Yahoo! News Search contain any blogs in
their main news index at the moment or Wikinews.

New Theme


I just updated the theme for my blog to a experimental unfinished
layout I’m calling “Salmon”. I wrote it for two reasons – I wanted my
blog to look a bit different from the default theme of Geneone and to
test out the theming system. I’ve found several problems/annoyances
with it which I’ll be looking to resolve.

theme is still work in progress – there are still some edges to be
ironed out and some remenants of the old design (e.g. the greens and
grays). The design should be based around blue and purple. As semi-interesting and semi-relevant information, the picture from the left is a picture from Niagara Falls and the random photo above was taken in Switzerland. I selected the colours for the design from a nice picture of a beach at sunset. The idea is that this gives more natural looking colours.

Any thoughts on the design/layout would be greatfully appreciated.