October 8th, 2007

Tall ships (porthole)

(no subject)

Today's annoyances on the internet:

Sites which need to send over 100kB of data back to the server. On every new page. Hence on a slow connection it takes quite a while just to send the request for the page. Now, one would think that sending this much data would make the system effectively stateless, but the site apparently also uses server-side sessions which expire after 20 minutes.

Sites that send "Cache: no-cache" on everything, including static images. Lots of static images. Because, of course, no-one uses a browser actually capable of If-Modified-Since. And, of course, no-one uses a connection with a ping of over a second and a bandwidth of 50kbps (though I did see a burst of around 128kbps the other day). All those 1-second round-trips add up when you're talking over 60 images, even if most of them are under 1.5kB.

Sites that use a dark blue for their text. It looks good on screen, but black would be a lot better for printing. And if they go to the bother of a media:print CSS sheet they could at least pick better printing colours for that.

Browsers where Print Preview lies. This page I printed would be a lot more useful if it actually included that map I wanted.

Browsers where you can't right-click on images (you can right-click all right, but you don't get such useful menu items as Copy Image). I'll mention that if this is an attempt at copy prevention then whoever came up with it forgot about the Print Screen key.

Honourable mention for programs that refuse hibernation if they've got a file open across the network. Never mind that the file was open read-only. Never mind that the computer the file was actually on had itself been hibernated. This, incidentally, is one of the reasons why starting with Vista programs no longer have any say in hibernation.

This is why all my route-planning takes ages - I spend most of the time taking brain-dead web pages that print to two sides per plan, only show one map at a time and cut half the text off when printed, and reformat them to fit 5 plans on a side of paper. Two if it's a particularly complicated route, or I want more than one map.


Opera only puts plain text on the clipboard, which means that whatever you paste this into doesn't then go and grab its own copy of the page (triggering the firewall in the process). This makes tables interesting, but it does preserve the layout using tabs, and Word has a text-to-table engine that Just Works. Unfortuantly, this relies on the original table being in a logical tabluar structure and not a pretty layout.

ADSL is now enabled on my phone line. I just have to wait for the postman to stop striking and actually do his job. Yes, 2.5% pay rise is a bit sucky. Yes, job losses are sucky. However, this strike will if nothing else drive business away from Royal Mail, at a time when they need business to come back. And if they lose business, then they'll have to make cutbacks, like reduced pay rises and job losses. The words "foot", "shoot" and "oneself" come to mind.

I never thought I'd say this, but I like Operas tab system. On a 1024x768 screen it actually works, and once you learn the keyboard shortcuts (not all of which are obvious, or even easy to discover) then it works very sweetly. I still maintain that on larger screens tabs don't work, as far too many sites even now are fixed-width and assume that your screen is no bigger than 800x600, but on a screen around that sort of size they do work. I may even switch to Opera, though there's a couple of cosmetic issues still (no multiple processes, too easy to nuke all your tabs with a mis-click) and there's the broken HTTP auth (passwords should not be utf8 encoded).

Still don't like Firefox though.