Rebreaking The Web

It’s happening again. Once upon a time, browser vendors started adding their own features without consulting with each other and agreeing upon standards. What they created was a giant mess of inconsistencies across browsers and platforms that is still in effect today. Ask any web developer and they can tell you of the pains that they have suffered trying to make seemingly trivial things work everywhere consistently. It’s no easy task. Before IE 7, even an ajax required something along the lines of:

var httpRequest;
if (window.XMLHttpRequest) { // Mozilla, Safari, …
    httpRequest = new XMLHttpRequest();
} else if (window.ActiveXObject) { // IE
    httpRequest = new ActiveXObject("Microsoft.XMLHTTP");

That’s right, IE 6 didn’t support the native xmlHttpRequest object (more here). This is just one of many examples in JavaScript and CSS. document.all anyone?

The end result of this problem became to be known as the “Web Standards” movement. Simply put it’s an idea that code should follow a standard that results in consistent output across all browsers on various platforms. Write once, run anywhere. While it’s taken years for this to manifest, it’s slowly become a reality. Firefox, Safari, Opera have fairly consistent rendering (at least in comparison to the mess of just a few years ago on the browser scene. IE 6 was fairly poor in terms of modern web development, but IE 7 made progress, and IE 8 is Microsoft’s greatest effort to date to bring their browser up to speed.

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From Urban Dictionary via Fake Steve:

Vistaster n. a giant cluster-fuck; a colossal mistake; a turning point, inflection point, or event that, in retrospect, turns out to have led to the doom and demise of a once-powerful company, person or organization.

vistastrous. adj.
visastrously. adv.
“Have you seen Speed Racer? It’s a total vistaster.”

I think it’s about time to start using this term, so that hopefully it goes mainstream and becomes a new word.

On a related note, Festivus still isn’t in Websters Dictionary. It’s not in Thunderbird’s spell check either. That’s another word I’m lobbying for.

Download Day 2008 For A World Record

For those who haven’t heard, when Firefox 3 is released, the first 24 hours will be known as “Download Day 2008“. The goal is to set a world record for downloads over a 24 hour period in Guinness World Records. There’s no current record, so that means the one set needs to be high enough to entice Apple to use Software Updater and try to beat Firefox (joking).

More details can also be found on The Mozilla Blog post.

Now is great time to pledge, and encourage others to do so. 24 hours is a pretty small window, so being ready to go is a big advantage in setting a high download count. Spread the word now so this goes smoothly with as many participants as possible. Don’t wait until download day.

Cable Modem Power Level Graphing

As I hinted last week, I graph a fair amount of data, since I find it pretty handy at times, not to mention just interesting to see in a pretty graph form. I’ve been doing this for years and it’s served me well.

One thing I really wanted to get going was monitoring the cable modem’s power levels. This is now implemented:

Cable Modem Power Levels

How pretty is that? I also moved my ping/latency graphs away from MRTG to RRDTool based graphs. Next up is interface traffic (when I get around to figuring out why it didn’t work when I just tried it).

A Shipload Of iPhones who compiles the trade data from U.S. Customs records and provides access to continuously updated database of records on every shipment entering the United States. Did a little digging and found some interesting shipments with Apple’s name on it that came in on the NYK Delphinus:

Apple Inc’s most recent shipment of the new products, Bill of Lading # HLCUSHA0803FTFR8, arrived at the port of New York on the Vessel NYK Delphinus on May 17th. That shipment contained 504 cartons, weighing 7140 kg, of the vaguely described “electric computer.?

Where Quanta sent all previous shipments to Apple—including 828 ocean containers of “desktop computers? since March—through a subsidiary, the new products were exported in Quanta’s own name. The change may reflect heightened secrecy surrounding the new products.

Sounds like the iPhone is already in the country, likely under armed guards until it’s release on June 9th at 10:00 AM PST (already on my calendar).