Archive for August, 2004

Standards - WTF?

Tuesday, August 31st, 2004

Daniel Glazman reports on an IRC discussion where someone complained about the work he did in the HTML Overlays proposal. Now there’s lots wrong with the proposal, which I’ll come onto later, but the complaint seemed to be that this trivial bit of script somehow undermined the W3C like the WHAT-WG and the XFN folk. As people know I really don’t think the WHAT-WG are doing useful work, (see my other posts) but they’re right to be working on HTML 4, they should, and I believe could be doing it within the W3C if it wasn’t for the way they’re going about things, but that’s a seperate matter.

The XFN and this proposal though, I’ve seen no-one complain about on undermining the W3C simply because they’re not! They both work in areas the W3C don’t go near in HTML, XFN because representing human relationships in HTML isn’t something that needs standardising, and HTML Overlays - because it’s a joke technology that cannot degrade.

The HTML Overlay proposal has many problems, it doesn’t degrade, this isn’t just a problem with the implementation (which is poor: little error protection, syntax errors in all non ES3 browsers, sync http requests in javascript, universal browser read popup boxes) but it’s actually impossible to do useful degradable replaced content, since it removes almost all the benefits, you have to end up putting the fallback to the replaced content into the main page - so you might as well have put it all in there.

Daniel says there are 2 sorts of non-JS users - those with genuine accessibility or similar needs, and those who disable javascript because they believe it’s the worst invention of all time (He was quoting Bert Bos well out of context here). Which is ridiculous, there are other very important categories - the non-PC device (and there are no non-PC devices that have the xml httprequest object) and the corporate security policy. The second of these especially is a market you cannot ignore - lots of people spend more time accessing the net at work, than at home, if the corporate security policy blocks activexcontrols - and they generally do - I’ve yet to work on a corporate targetted site that specced activex control access from script as a required feature, it simply wouldn’t be allowed.

The problem with the HTML Overlays proposal is not that it’s not from the W3C, it’s just that it’s really not very good, or even original - but then most of the stuff we see isn’t actually original, it’s just a rehash of another idea, so we shouldn’t criticise people for that.

Voice over IP in the UK

Saturday, August 28th, 2004

I’ve recently been looking into a Voice Over IP solution for cheap communication to some guys around the world, aswell as providing a real phone number that can be published but routed easily, and cheaply anywhere in the world.

Voice Over IP seemed the obvious solution, so after a quick chat with some people, and a good read of VOIP.org.uk, I started testing voiptalk.org. It costs nothing to get set up for just an IP phone, and you just buy some talk-time if you want to call real phone lines. I picked up a soft SIP phone from x-ten and tried it out, here on my ADSL line everything worked great, calling out sounded good, there a few tweaks whilst I got the microphone balance right, but you always had to do that with mic’s.

I then spent 3 quid to get myself an incoming number - an 0870 number, so not cheap for people to call me, but still at least they can, I could also get voicemail etc. delivered by email, and outgoing calls are cheap all over the world. Getting a geographic number would be good, but that seems to cost 90 quid a year, so not really only useful if you wanted a presence in a particular UK region. Still it might be a good idea to get a London number, I’m looking for a job at the moment, and people always seem put off about my west-country address - even though it’s really just because that’s the only place I’ve got for a postal address.

Voice over IP in the UK

Saturday, August 28th, 2004

I’ve recently been looking into a Voice Over IP solution for cheap communication to some guys around the world, aswell as providing a real phone number that can be published but routed easily, and cheaply anywhere in the world.

Voice Over IP seemed the obvious solution, so after a quick chat with some people, and a good read of VOIP.org.uk, I started testing voiptalk.org. It costs nothing to get set up for just an IP phone, and you just buy some talk-time if you want to call real phone lines. I picked up a soft SIP phone from x-ten and tried it out, here on my ADSL line everything worked great, calling out sounded good, there a few tweaks whilst I got the microphone balance right, but you always had to do that with mic’s.

I then spent 3 quid to get myself an incoming number - an 0870 number, so not cheap for people to call me, but still at least they can, I could also get voicemail etc. delivered by email, and outgoing calls are cheap all over the world. Getting a geographic number would be good, but that seems to cost 90 quid a year, so not really only useful if you wanted a presence in a particular UK region. Still it might be a good idea to get a London number, I’m looking for a job at the moment, and people always seem put off about my west-country address - even though it’s really just because that’s the only place I’ve got for a postal address.

Widcomm really are annoying

Thursday, August 26th, 2004

So, I’m trying to get my Bluetooth headset connected up to my back-up laptop here (the main one is off visiting IBM for a dodgy screen), and the widcomm drivers for the BT-120 dongle, simply don’t work. The problem seems to be with the licence authentication - this strikes me as pretty odd, what possible reason is there to have to have an authentication code on a device driver - they’re only useful if you’ve got the device.

It wouldn’t matter of course, if it actually worked, but it doesn’t, I’ve found comments on the web how to remove the security, but nothing on how to fix the actual problem, lots of people discussing it and decrying widcomm and D-Link’s woeful support. Why do so many companies push us into the arms of breaking their protection simply to use their hardware.