Thursday, September 4, 2008

Chrome :: Aw, Snap!

Chrome's message reads:

"Aw, Snap! Something went wrong while displaying this webpage. To continue, press Reload or go to another page"

Apparently, some caught errors in rendering will display this playful message.

Google Chrome :: Easter Egg, Crash, and more

Easter Egg:
  • Type
     into the location / address bar for blast from the past...

Useful bits:

 Type any of the following to tinker, prod, or poke at the underbelly of Chrome:
  • about:memory
  • about:stats
  • about:network
  • about:histograms
  • about:dns
  • about:cache
  • about:plugins
  • about:version
  • about:objects
  • about:chrome-nativeui
  • view-cache:[URL]
  • view-source:[URL]

The Bomb:

Any of the following is likely to crash the current version of Chrome:
  • Percent Crash. Clicking a link like this: 
    Evil link
    or, for that matter, any other target of the form "something:%"
  • Typing evil:% or something:% into the address / search bar


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Internet Explorer - A Showdown

At work we're always staying abreast of tech developments, especially disruptive technologies. Google's release of Chrome might prove disruptive, as its rapid initial wave of browser market share consumption suggests.

In advising our clients and planning for future development, we consider:

Chrome, a Newcomer: Pacman™  style
  • Quick to Launch
  • Quick to Load Sites
  • Sends URL information to Google
  • No Private Browsing Mode
  • Open Source....Eventually, but not yet
  • Glitchily new
  • More resilient to crashes
  • Child of Google: deep reach, deep pockets
  • Not supported by many operating Systems
Mozilla Firefox: Rebel with a cause
  • Launched the first significant blow to IE's browser dominance since that dominance was established
  • Many diehard fans of the browser and Mozilla
  • Many more "flexible" and "early adopter" users, may be more susceptible to Google Chrome's "wares" and more likely to give Chrome a try soon.
  • No Private Browsing Mode
  • Widely supported across many operating systems
Microsoft Internet Explorer: "Everything that has a beginning...."
  • Default Browser for Microsoft Windows Operating Systems
  • Most popular browser, apparently
  • Tends to mimmick other browsers' successes, rather than innovate
  • Many users hesitant to try other browsers or give up what's familiar
  • Previously had biggest reach by default through the Microsoft Connection. Now with Chrome through Google...well, we'll see.
  • No Private Browsing Mode
  • Supported on roughly ..2.. Operating Systems
  • Opera was an early innovator with tabbed browsing and a lighter-weight, more flexible browser -- but lacked exposure/reach to take off. That, and for a time they tried to charge for their browser. Ooops!
  • Safari supports a private browsing mode that its more popular counterparts have been slow to take on. However, Safari also lacks reach and uniqueness to make a dent in the browser market.

For now, even though entire communities long-ago left Internet Explorer for Firefox, IE is still king and queen of web browsing. However, as each generation becomes more engaged in tech, long-lived dynasties on browsers that innovate as an afterthought...won't be feasible. 

Business-wise, it makes sense to be IE compatible OR ELSE;
Community-wise,  we'd do well to encourage adoption of Firefox and maybe even Chrome. In the Web these days, usage (and even simply viewing) == voting.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Dao of Online Security

After a recent series of meetings regarding security, I decided to create and regularly update this post about online security and how to stay safe online:

  • Use an Encrypted Proxy when using unencrypted Wi-Fi.
    Each time you connect your PDA or laptop to a wireless network that doesn't support encryption (such as AES, WPA, or the obsolete WEP), you expose your passwords, logins, chats, and web browsing to any eavesdropper within radio range.
  • Use encryption when accessing e-mail.
    Some providers support encryption for SMTP, IMAP, and POP3 connections (sometimes and variously called SMTPS, IMAPS, POP3S, SIMAP, and more), which is mostly relevant when using an e-mail client such as Mozilla Thunderbird, Microsoft Outlook, Agendus, or Eudora. When accessing webmail, choose the SSL or TLS option (https:// rather than http://). Taking these methods helps to avoid eavesdropping by others on your network, others using your ISP, others within Wi-Fi range, and even others on networks between your computer and your e-mail provider's systems.
  • Use encryption when logging into websites.
    Whenever the option is available, choose "secure login" or "SSL Login" to enter your username and password through an https:// web address rather than an http:// web address.
  • Turn off bluetooth when not in use. Some systems can be compromised through Bluetooth, often through a buggy implementation.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

RSS and Atom Syndication Galore

This week we've developed standards for RSS and Atom Syndication across all internal sites and projects.

It will take several weeks yet to implement the standards, and it was interesting learning along the way:

Regarding the choice and difference between Atom and RSS:

We opted to use Atom universally, since Atom is much more versatile, and both formats are widely supported. Some features we plan to use in the near future aren't supported by RSS, even though much of the web uses "RSS" non-technically to refer to both standards, effectively.

For developers looking to implement an RSS or Atom feed, these resources were useful in our search:

  • Feedcreator: ( ) - a no-nonsense PHP feed creator that supports several formats spanning RSS and Atom
  • Autodiscovery: ( - our man "Friday"! during a quick search, this blogger's entry made a quick distinction between rss autodiscovery (rss+xml) and atom autodiscovery (atom+xml)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Asterisk 1.6 and NVFaxDetect

One of the great things going for VOIP is the freely available Asterisk PBX. Using Asterisk, you can turn your Desktop, Laptop... or PDA... into a featured telephone system with support for voice menus, voicemail, faxing, and many more interesting things.

Asterisk recently released an update to the 1.6 line, which already includes support for encrypted SIP and TCP connections. However, one third-party module that provides fax detection over SIP and IAX (basically, Voice Over IP/VOIP traffic), no longer works smoothly with the most recent versions.

At work:

At work we help our clients to do a lot of creative things using Asterisk and other systems we custom design. One slowdown to adopting the new versions of Asterisk, is that Newman Telecom's NVFaxDetect hasn't yet been ported for use with new versions of Asterisk. If a port has been created, it isn't easily found through public channels at present.

We're now porting our own open-source faxing implementation based on the app_rxfax and app_txfax libraries with spandsp. Here's hoping this development will be preempted by a digium or other community release!