Category Archives: misc

misc

How the semantic web should come back, and is.

The web has come a big way. Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s invention that changd the world has undergone a large metamorphosis in the way how it provides millions – and now billions – of human beings information, communication and entertainment.

Sites in the 90sEarly websites had a fair amount of content, but it was surrounded by flashing marquee’s, background MIDI sounds and non stop, animating gifs. That all paired with flashy color schemes and a Times New Roman fontface.

Fast forward a few years, and the world allowed a small company called Macromedia (later acquired by Adobe) to install a small plugin called “Flash” onto our computers which opened up a whole new dimension into web interactions. Many websites incorporated large amounts of “Flash” into their pages, or became a flash only website.

With the arrival of the iPhone and iPad, Flash has been pushed into a corner. The late Steve Jobs expressed that Flash was an inefficient way to make content look beautiful on battery powered devices, and the demise of flash has slowly begun.

Fast forward another few years, and we’re at the level of “content driven” websites. Websites are simpler than ever and the overall theme is becoming minimalistic. Since the majority of website have similar layouts, HTML5 included a few extra tags (<header>, <aside>, …) to ensure consistency throughout pages.

“Modern” CSS frameworks such as Twitter Bootstrap, Foundation or Base, go a few steps further; by streamlining naming conventions in CSS classes, we have similar “classes” that make links look like buttons, and navigation bars to stay on top of the screen when we scroll down and the like.

webskeletonBut is there a way to bring this to HTML5.1? Seeing that the majority (yes, there are always exceptions) have a navigation bar on top, fixed or not, a menu on the left or right and content on the other side, we should have a few extra tags there.

This could easily be fixed with a:

  <html>
  <head>...</head>
  <body>
    <header>
      <navbar fixed="true">
        <logo src="logo.gif" />
        <navitem href="/about">About Us</navitem>
        <navitem href="/services">Services</navitem>
        <navitem href="/content">Contact</navitem>
      </navbar>
    </header>
    <content>
      .. content goes here ..
    </content>
    <aside>
      <menu>
        <menuitem href="/profile">Your Profile</menuitem>
        <menuitem href="/favorites">Favorites</menuitem>
        <menuitem href="/cart">Cart</menuitem>
      </menu>
    </aside>
  </body>
</html>

In order to bring this in a correct way, let these HTML tags dictate what they are, yet let a user decide whether he or she has any preferences:

  • Do you want the top bar to be sticky?
  • Do you want the menu no top, left or right?
  • Do you like big butt(-and cannot lie?)-ons or a more “professional” look?

I’m not saying we should totally discard CSS and its visual capabilities, but I think we spend too much time coding and consuming styles that don’t really make a difference. Users of the Links browser, the few that remain, probably have the last laugh; although I’m sure they’re missing their frame sets.

misc

Browa10: Brute force script for OWA 2010 servers

To quickly test the strength of passwords used by users on a domain, through an OWA (Outlook Web Access) 2010 interface.
Here’s the ruby code, and its README.

Please use this script responsibly and only against servers you’re authorized to audit.

misc

Why this kolaveri 3? Living up to the hype.

A few days ago, I read a post where the founder of the video and photo sharing application Color gives feedback on the much talked about 1 Billion dollar Instagram buyout.

Color came little over a year ago, creating great promises towards sharing pictures with your fellow nearby smartphone users; rather than facebook’s lame and weird single perspective on life.

Fast forward a year, and unlike color, Instagram became a hot entrepreneurial topic; how can a iOS-only photo sharing application be acquired for 10 digits. It seems the latter remained humble and focused on the product, refrained from passing to many negative comments and so on, and it created a nice product, rather than creating a hype.

Another hype phenomenon can be seen in the indian tamilian movie 3, the movie of the internet meme “Kolaveri D”. Although the tamil song created a large hype, the movie seemed to be less successful. Much different to color, there was no arrogance or anything; the movie simply didn’t live up to the hype.

The iPhone 4S was a bit of a let down, not because it is a bad device, yet the world was expecting an iPhone 5. It (the world) created a hype.

Although I’m not really in any position to say how to run your business, but ease down on the hype. Create a kick-ass product, the hype will just be substituted by word of mouth. And that’s what you want.

fun misc

The Android Ipad

A fake, android powered iPad in Dragon Mart.

misc

7days meta refresh hack

The 7 days newspaper was subject to a “meta refresh” hack earlier today, yet it seems to be fixed already. When going to any link, it would point to the following page:

It seems to be hacked by a particular W0LF Gh4m3d, a person who does several defacements without any political agenda. One of his/her hcks was “www.wijnabonnement.nl “, which actually translates into wine subscription, not a good thing putting a Saudi Arabian flag on there, is it?

misc

Bye Blackberry, hello Android

After three years of series of using BlackBerries (work and personal), I went to the dark side and got myself an Android phone.

It was a bit getting used to (and necesarry nagging from my end), but here are some of the reasons why I love it, and some reasons why I miss my Blackberry:
read more »

misc

Old random scribbles

Copied from the old code.ae archives.. 🙂

Differences between 1987 and 2007:

Ctrl-Z:

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code misc rails

FacebookError: OAuthException – Invalid OAuth access token

On places.ae, we got notified of some issues with Facebook signups and logins. All of the sudden, when the Facebook OAuth service pushed us back to our redirect-page, the HyperGraph Gem threw the following error:

FacebookError: OAuthException – Invalid OAuth access token

This is often thrown because the Access Token could contain a | (pipe) character, which gets encoded to %7C, and this makes HyperGraph choke a bit. So a simple gsub(‘%7C’,’|’) will solve it, such as the code below:

at = HyperGraph.get_access_token(FB_ID, FB_SECRET, FB_RET, code)
at = at.gsub(‘%7C’,’|’)
g = HyperGraph.new(at)
me = g.get(‘me’)

Thanks,
Michael

misc sysadmin

Error mongoDB under Ubuntu – can’t find libmozjs.so

When installing MongoDB under Ubuntu, one could stumble upon the following problem:

mongo: error while loading shared libraries:
libmozjs.so: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

This is caused because MongoDB uses XulRunner for it’s operations. (This is also why you see a bunch of X11 programs that are to be installed when using apt-get). XulRunner, however, contains this file, but is not loaded.

Solving the problem:
Make sure you have xulrunner installed (sudo apt-get install xulrunner-1.9.2) and add its path to ldconfig’s configuration files, which are in/etc/ld.so.conf.d. You could create a file, say, /etc/ld.so.conf.d/xulrunner.conf, containing the following line:

/usr/lib/xulrunner-1.9.2.10/

After this, you chould run ldconfig (as root) and that should do the trick. Let me know if you have any problems with this.

misc

Who’s there to trust? Etisalat’s CA Certificate to be revoked?


Recently, the UAE appeared in the news with some security/privacy related issue; the fact that using encrypted services on the Internet could be a danger to the nation’s security. “The UAE threatened to discontinue some BlackBerry services because of RIM’s refusal to offer a surveillance back door to its customers’ encrypted communications.” [1]

Now, 2 days ago, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the group defending
your rights in the digital world, requested Verizon in an open letter to revoke the CA (certificate authority) certificate from Etisalat, the nation’s CA. How does all of this work?
read more »