I was looking at Steve Souder’s blog this morning on high performance web sites, he has an entry talking about how in IE6 when its behind a proxy, reverts to HTTP 1.0, and drops the Accept-Encoding header that tells a server that the browser will be able to handle compressed content. The article includes a link to a site that will test and see what your browser is sending, and sure enough, when I tried Firefox 3.5, it got it right, IE6, as noted, did not. According to the article, this can add enough overhead to slow down even the mighty Google by 25%, that’s right, the leanest, sparsest pages out there take an average of 2 seconds in IE6 through a proxy, vs 1.6 seconds in any other browser. So basically, anything WE might do, probably doesn’t stand a chance. But, being ADD ascendant today, I started noticing other tests on the site. Ah, an Acid3 test. This should be good. Well, FF3.5 gets a 93%, IE6 gets 12%, hm, IE8 should do pretty good….no, wait, 20%, wow, that’s disappointing! And it apparently is giving the same results as IE6 going through the proxy for compression, meaning that it looks to your average server like it doesn’t support it. How much longer are we going to be forced to support these tools that make us right code and UIs that are not standards compliant, and much harder to make work in a way that is accessible, as in Section 508 accessibility? As in, we might get SUED if we don’t support it!! Man, hate to admit it, but there are days when I miss green/amber screens. Just don’t tell me I have to write COBOL again! <shudder>
I’ve been trying to get a start with doing Sharepoint development, and not having such a good time with it. I work through the tutorials and hit “Deploy” in VS2008, and get an error something like “No Sharepoint site found at deployment location”, not the exact error but close. A little googling and I find someone with a blog entry describing my problem exactly, the reason…VS doesn’t “like” the URL I’ve defined my site at. Hm, the VS plugin that I depend on to work with Sharepoint, doesn’t LIKE the URL that works just fine in a browser. Ok, deep breath, they have a solution, define an alias URL. Ok, that’s done. I hit Deploy again AND…now I get a new error. This error is even MORE fun. “The HTTP request was rejected, the header was set to ‘Negotiate’ and ‘NTLM’ was expected”. So, since our national policy is to negotiate with anyone but terrorists, I wonder, does that make Sharepoint the terrorist, or VS2008?
When the 2nd generation Prius first came out, I read an article on Digg that claimed that the Hummer was the more ecologically sound vehicle. A bit mystified by the assertion I went and checked their assumptions. Basically it was that the Hummer was going to be driven for 300000 miles before it was junked, and that every piece of the Hummer would then be recycled. For the Prius, the wheels were going to fall off at 100000 miles, and nothing was going to be recycled. Well, sometime on the 24th my 2004 Prius clicked over 100000 miles. I wonder how much longer I have until the bottom drops out?? That’s also 100000 miles which I averaged about 50 miles per gallon on, with no real maintenance other than oil changes and a couple sets of tires. Any Hummer owners want to compare?
The Utah attorney general “accidentally” announced to a couple of thousand people over twitter that he was going to run for the Senate. If he’s too stupid to know whether he’s writing a normal email, or a tweet, shouldn’t that kinda automatically disqualify him for any office?
I listen to the radio on the way to and from work each day, and today, I heard an ad that I found to be just totally sick and wrong. It was basically a bunch of different people reciting testimonial type statements. “When you come into my shop, and spend money with me, you make sure that I can send my kids to college.” The summation?? “Its up to us to end this financial downturn…get out there and spend!!”. Isn’t that that kind of thinking that got us into this mess to begin with? Just totally mind blowing.
Ethics are very much in the news lately, whether it be corporate or government. For instance I heard a news report that the amount of paperwork that the poor lobbyists were going to have to fill out was about to increase six fold! This is due to a new law going into effect that lowers the amount that can be spent by a lobbyist on a meal for a legislator to 25 dollars. This being downtown cheapsville I can’t imagine which restaurants they would be going to, most legislators here would rather be caught dead than drinking alcohol, so that would cut bill by quite a bit! Sometimes the mind boggles. So, after hearing this on the radio, this afternoon my wife calls me just before she leaves work, telling me she’s leaving and that dinner is covered. Apparently a vendor came and gave a presentation, she works for a group of surgeons, and there was a TON of food left! Roast chicken, baked potatoes, salad, and chocolate brownie cheesecake for dessert! It was GOOD too!! I have to wonder though, while it was good, was it right? I happen to work for the same overall company as my wife, different divisions, and I know that I had to take several online classes telling me that this sort of behavior is strictly forbidden. When I asked her about this she replied that they had been told the same thing at the beginning of the year, but it had been rescinded for at least their division within the same month. So selective scruples are ok? Its ok to accept large meals if they’re only talking about drugs or medical devices?? Do I just have an overactive conscience? As far as government and lobbyists go, I think that if a lobbyiest spends a single penny in order to get time with a legislator, it should be documented and disclosed, but THAT’s never going to happen.
Any other opinions?
We live in amazing times, and with having programmed everything from main/mini frames, embedded systems, stand-alone DOS and Windows apps, Client/Server, N-Tier Desktop apps with D-COM and CORBA, straight Web Apps, which I’ve always maintained are VT-3270 apps for dummies and now RIA. All things old are new again. Flash/Flex, JavaFX, Silverlight, GWT, the Ajax flavor of your choice, take your pick. The particular poison I’m currently imbibing is a Flex front end talking to Java on the server. Its pretty impressive how tools like BlazeDS allow you to communicate automagically between Java and Actionscript, Actionscript just flows in from the front end, becomes Java when it hits the server, swirls around the JVM for a while then flows sweetly back to Actionscript again. It all works PERFECTLY…..until of course, that it doesn’t. I mean, there are some fairly complex things going on here, a lot of it we don’t necessarily have a handle on, then we’ve got our client marshaling a huge number of objects, our JEE server in a cluster monitoring what everyone is doing and keeping us up to date via a few aspects in that tier, and reporting back via JMS, and finally talking to our back end database! Whew, anyone else tired just thinking about all the things that could go wrong there?? I guess the part where the greatest danger for us as developers exists is that about 80+ percent of the time it really does act like a stand-alone desktop app, really! Its that fast!! But then there’s that 20%, the DB blows an index, a few packets zig when they should have zagged, SOMETHING! The system comes to a screeching halt. Now never mind that I happened to be running a query against the same DB at the exact same time, and for some reason my direct JDBC connection also decided to take a powder for right around a full 60 seconds, on a query I had run 10 minutes before and that had taken 125 milliseconds. Nope! Doesn’t matter, the users and testers are up in arms, we the developers have obviously been remiss and need to optimize everything to the N’th degree, and of course we won’t be adjusting the project due date in order to accomplish that little task. Oh, and they’ve already talked to the DBA’s and Network folks, who deny any culpability. Add to this little scenario that they’ve decided that we didn’t need little luxuries like…oh…profilers and such and I’m sure we’re going to be having a lovely time the next few weeks!
Again…great and amazing times we live in, after all we’ve finally got flying cars!
What could be wrong?
I came across the story of Doug Bowman yesterday. Here is the lead designer for Google, leaving because they constantly asked for empirical evidence for what could be considered “Artistic” decisions. Now there is NO doubt that I’m a propeller head, first last and always. But I am trying to educate myself more about the principals of graphic design as I feel that is just as important, and while I concede that you probably won’t find poetry in a calculus primer, I definitely think both are important and one can be used to improve the other. My personal artistic hero would have to be Leonardo DaVinci. I saw a documentary on PBS about him once that talked about him cloistering himself in a room that had no light other than a single candle where he had something to draw. He’d position the candle in a particular spot and draw the object, then move the candle slightly in order to see how the little bit of difference in angles of light would change the shadows and shapes of the scene. He’d spend hours drawing the scene over and over again, just moving that candle an inch at a time, unlocking beauty and genius like had never been seen before. In light of that sort of dedication to detail, testing between 41 shades of blue, or asking for evidence that a 3, 4, or 5 pixel border is best, or perhaps actually taking the time to FIND that evidence…I don’t know, it doesn’t sound so bad to me.
Here it looked like I was actually going to have to give Microsoft kudos on the release of IE8, I downloaded and installed it last night on my desktop with no errors. So for the next step I thought I’d put it on my laptop. So I go through the same steps I did last night with Firefox, and it crashes before it even starts downloading. Ok, by default I have a lot of tabs open, maybe there is some interference going on. So I open Firefox with only one tab and try again, same result. Huh, maybe they’ve hit their allowable limit of downloads with Firefox, ok, I dust off the link to start IE7 and go through the same procedure, with the exact same result??!!??? What could be….OH waitaminnut!! I have Silverlight2 on my laptop, but not on my desktop. For comfirmation, there’s the crash report, stating an error while Silverlight was trying to access the internet, and a pop-up from ZoneAlarm asking if I wanted to let Silverlight 2 access the internet zone.
So, Microsoft download site planners at least—-bad programmers, no twinkie!