Displaying document revisions, part 2

Following on from last timelast time.

Next comes the javascript. This script is "borrowed" from Paul Sowden‘s excellent article on A List Apart, Alternative Style: Working With Alternate Style Sheets. Here’s the script:

function setActiveStyleSheet(title) {
var i, a, main;
for(i=0; (a = document.getElementsByTagName("link")[i]); i++) {
if(a.getAttribute("rel").indexOf("style") != -1
&& a.getAttribute("title")) {
a.disabled = true;
if(a.getAttribute("title") == title) a.disabled = false;

You’ll need to include this on any page you want this to work on, either in script tags in the page, or in an externally linked javascript file.

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Displaying document revisions, part 1

Following on from the last post on adding inserted and deleted tags to Movable Type (or at least adding automation for them), I was having a bit more of a think about how to display that information on a site. While searching for info about online readability, I came across this thread on the WebAIM Forums from last year:

At present, there is no markup that you could use to indicate changes in any reliable way, except for mere insertions such as new material added. (And even for that only if it is not necessary to indicate it as inserted, since <ins> is not consistently supported, and even then probably with a style sheet rule that tries to make the rendering better. Internet Explorer uses underlining for <ins>, and this tends to create confusion with links. It’s probably best to use CSS to remove the underlining and to add a coloured dashed bottom border, or something.)

There’s a serious argument against <del>, <strike>, and text-decoration: line-through especially in situations where the “work”: the line through feature very often has the effect of making the text almost impossible or very difficult to read. Besides, although the line through probably conveys the idea of deletion to most people, many of us will be puzzled by the question what this really means. Is the user expected to read, or to be able to read, what has been deleted? If it has been deleted, why is it there at all?

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Insert & Delete tags for Movable Type

Updated for MT 3.1

If a blog, or any online publication for that matter, is going to have any sort of decent reputation, the author(s) must have the integrity to publicly correct any incorrect information that they’ve published. We all make mistakes, whether they be typos or actual factual errors, and it is often necessary to re-edit or change the content on our sites. In fact, this is one of the great advantages of the web over traditional print media. There is no need to publish an errata list, you can simply modify the original.

However, it is also important to acknowledge the mistake and not just silently update the text and act as if the change had always been there. If the change is simply correcting a misspelling, this may be alright, but for correcting factual errors, it must be stated that a change has occurred, as people may quote you before the change, and you will be making them out to be liars. Also, it’s simply a matter of integrity to publicly state "I made a mistake, I have now corrected it"

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PuTTY Security Fix

PuTTY, a great little freeware SSH client, has had a security update. Anyone who uses PuTTY should upgrade to version 0.56.

PuTTY 0.56, released today, fixes a serious security hole which can allow a server to execute code of its choice on a PuTTY client connecting to it. In SSH2, the attack can be performed before host key verification, meaning that even if you trust the server you think you are connecting to, a different machine could be impersonating it and could launch the attack before you could tell the difference. We recommend everybody upgrade to 0.56 as soon as possible.

That’s two really bad holes in three months. I’d like to apologise to all our users for the inconvenience.

Considering Simon Tatham & his team do all this work for free, I don’t think he should be too upset. The fact that they patched the flaws almost immediately speaks volumes for their commitment & integrity. Kudos to you!

Alarmed but not alert

Whirlpool Forums user Wireless has a microwave access point on their back fence in a weatherproof box. This is aparently a scary thing.

Got home in the arvo today with four cops outside my unit.

Apparently it was due to a black box which I’ve placed on the fence. Some neighbours got so alert (but of course, not alarmed) that they called 1800123400, thinking it was a bomb.

I’ve cut the wire to the weatherproof box (hosting an access point) and opened it up and showed it to them – it’s a very deadly 2.4Ghz microwave radiation weapon.

I can see itthe headlines now Al Qaeda sleeper operative buys house in the suburbs, lives there for years then blows his house up for no apparent reason. Apparently the police were really rude too. That’s not too bright, I mean if he was a terrorist, wouldn’t he be a bit touchy.

Bible Gateway Beta site

Bible Gateway has released a beta for its new site. There are a few new features, including a simplified search interface. But the best new feature is that they have finally jumped on the RSS bandwagon (GNP did it first), and are offering a Verse of the Day feed (it defaults to the NIV, but if you change your default version on the preferences page, it also changes the RSS feed. The version seems to be selected by a numeric query string variable on the feed url. The NIV is 31, so the URL for it is http://beta.biblegateway.com/usage/votd/rss/votd.rdf?31.

However at the moment, no matter what preference you select, the RSS feed always returns the NIV version even though it changes the text on the homepage of the beta site. I imagine this will change in the coming days/weeks. (I have left a comment about this on their feedback form just in case it wasn’t a known bug)For those interested, I’ve got some further information about this.

Also they have released a SOAP web service, along with a tutorial & full documentation.

All in all, very good stuff.

Mind games

Cyberkinetics has begun testing a nural implant that allows people to control electronic devices with their thoughts.

The goal of the BrainGatetm Neural Interface System development program is to create a product that can potentially allow quadriplegic patients to recover a host of abilities that normally rely on the hands. The system could be used in the individual’s home environment or even be mobile with the patient.

Such a system could someday potentially restore the ability to interface with a computer and other devices at a level of speed, accuracy and precision that is comparable to the use of hands by a non-disabled person.

If this works it will radically change the way we do things, and not just for disabled people I think. Could you imagine playing computer games with this? Or how about the ability to write documents in a word processor by thinking it. I know that’s a fair way off compared to what they’re doing now, but it brings it all one step closer.

[via Forever Geek]

Western Bulldogs RSS feed

Being an AFL mad Victorian (is there any other kind?) stuck up in Sydney, I get precious little news about ALF unless it’s the swannies playing. And seeing as my poor doggies aren’t exactly top of the ladder at the moment, I can’t remember the last time they were mentioned in the news. So all my news has to come from the ALF site (and a few sporting blogs).

Long story short, I’ve scraped the Bulldogs news site to generate an RSS feed*of all the news items. If you have Feed Demon, or some other aggregator that understands the feed:// protocol just click on this link: feed://feeds.slaven.net.au/westernbulldogs.rss, otherwise copy this link into your aggregator: http://feeds.slaven.net.au/westernbulldogs.rss.

If you don’t have an aggregator I highly recommend Nick Bradbury‘s Feed Demon. And if you get it from here, you help me out too!

And for those poor un-enlightened souls who don’t support the Bulldogs, if you ask me nicely I might be persuaded to give your team a feed too. Bribery works too.

* If you don’t know what RSS is, I’ve got a brief intro to the topic.

Family First's internet Policy

Family First have been called many names in the Australian media in the last few months, ranging from Political newcomer and right-wing conservative to a conspiratorial setup and the lunatic Right. To these colourful titles we can now add Simon Hayes and Jennifer Foreshew’s bogeyman for the IT industry.

CONSERVATIVE Christian party Family First has emerged as a new bogeyman for the IT industry, which is worried a reinvigorated Howard Government will trade the full sale of Telstra for a package of measures including mandatory internet filtering.

Internet Industry Association chief executive Peter Coroneos is promising to speak to Family First on the "realities of internet governance" in an effort to stymie the filter plans.

"We are highly concerned about statements that this party has made regarding the internet and we think it is particularly unhelpful and uninformed," he said.

Being a conservative Christian myself, I thought I’d have a bit of a look at this policy (pdf, 211KB), and see if it wasn’t just a bit more media beatup. The answer is: no, it’s not.

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Superman reported dead

DRUDGE REPORT is reporting that Christopher Reeve is dead.

12:30:02 ET: Veteran Hollywood reporter Nikki Finke has learned that actor Christopher Reeve is dead, according to sources close to the actor. He died suddenly Sunday. News of his death has not been reported publicly yet. His family will make an announcement Monday at the earliest.

Reeve was just mentioned Friday in the second live presidential debate by John Kerry. Noting he was a friend of the paralysed Reeve, Kerry said he was in favor of further stem cell research because Reeve could walk again one day thanks to such science.

No confirmation anywhere else yet. XFM in London announced it, but their source was Drudge. Dead or Alive is also reporting, but no source or info listed there, so one would guess that it’s just from Drudge too.

UPDATE: Major news sources now reporting the story.

CNN reports:

Reeve fell into a coma Saturday after going into cardiac arrest while at his New York home, his publicist, Wesley Combs, told The Associated Press by phone from Washington, D.C., on Sunday night.

Reeve was being treated at Northern Westchester Hospital for a pressure wound that he developed, a common complication for people living with paralysis. In the past week, the wound had become severely infected, resulting in a serious systemic infection.

Story also being reported by the Daily Telegraph & SMH.

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