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HTMLfixIT Archive for November, 2005

Monday, November 21st, 2005 by Don

There has been a reported glitch in Google’s new site map statistics program. Apparently, some were able to exploit a header in a 404 page to gain verification and thus view site statistics for competitors’ and strangers’ sites. This was reported here by David Naylor and he attaches a screen shot to demonstrate his success.

For those who missed the announcement, Google recently made the sitemap statistics a free service available to the masses. It appears that a small glitch allowed external users to actually view your statistics. I might add that the glitch results apparently from your server being misconfigured to return a 200 OK header for 404 pages that should show not found in the header. This is a known condition to Google according to a post dated September 7th, 2005. Did Google update that post and not redate it, or has there been no desire up until now to take out that problem?

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Thursday, November 17th, 2005 by Don

This is kind of fun (this was originally a link to but appears it has gone out of business) … for a minute anyway. Toss in some words and see what comes out the other end. The email blender allows you to send the output to your friends and see if they can unscramble it. I doubt they can.

Comments Off on Waste Some Time Blending Words

Tuesday, November 15th, 2005 by Don

Well this is something new and fresh in Internet news. is the brainchild of several former ESPN/Disney web people including Mike of, one of my favorite technology reads.

A couple of things make this somewhat unique:
1. it works off of a bookmarklet on your browser
2. readers rate stories to act as a super editors board
3. you will be able to comment on and chat about news stories as they go
4. you can author pages if you want and then keep any advertising revenue generated from those pages
5. it will generate pages about subjects on the fly …

It sounds intriguing. Will it work? Probably. But what will it become? Garbage in equal garbage out is the oldest saying in the book. Will they over time give higher preference to raters and authors of established credibility? If so, the quality will rise. If not, I predict the noise to content ratio will go off the charts. Time will tell.

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Thursday, November 10th, 2005 by Don

I was playing with google print beta today. It started last week and is expected to bring to the public three major university libraries in word searchable format. I found it tough to figure out what books were or were not available.

They did have a nice feature to permit you to report a bad page. For example I found a crooked page that was only partially visible.

Comments Off on Google Print – a start but has a ways to go

Monday, November 7th, 2005 by Don

What could be a helpful feature to those who know how to use it is often a pitfall for many. Most Microsoft Office documents contain meta-data that tells things like the author/editor(s) of the document, records dates of creation and modification and so forth. Sometimes this information is best left out of a circulated document. This article in the NY Times discusses some of the downfalls of meta-data.


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Thursday, November 3rd, 2005 by Don

I was over at the Domestic Diversions blog the other day looking at some posts that picqued my interest. One link out was to a Forbes article I guess. I am not sure I wound up where the blog author thought I would, but I found something kind of interesting there: a form that when filled out will deliver an email you send to your self at a future date you pick — or as they called it, an email time capsule.

This is an interesting concept, send yourself something for future delivery. We kind of do it with many things these days, countdown timers on phones come to mind. TIVO type recording devices can be set well into the future, and so forth. For many years I have asked my staff to tell me when the day arrives that it is obvious that I should retire. Maybe I should set email reminders for each five years into the future to ask myself the question, is it time?

There are many practical problems with the concept, not the least of which is who will maintain everything to be sure it is functional both now and into the future. Second, what is the average life span of an email address? Will they be whitelisted under current technology in place at that time? Leaving aside all of the practical issues* it is an intriguing issue.

*I tend to be pessimistic regarding many things. For example, an interesting thing happened last night just as I was going to bed (much later than I should have, due to working on some projects that had been around a while). A friend called — now you know you are on someones “friends they can count on list” when they call you in the middle of the night because they really need help, or is it that you are too stupid to say no when you should? — about 1:30 a.m. or so. A building he was having remodelled had a plywood enclosure covering the storefront. What ever anchored it was insufficient to hold it in high winds overnight, so it took a bit of a sail. Because the front of the building was open (no doors in it) the police who observed the situation asked him to go supervise the building to avoid vandalism and to be sure that nobody got hurt walking in, around or under the structure. He focused on the practical side of things when we arrived, what were the minimal steps necessary to secure the building and get out of there. I focused on the pessimistic side of things: what should we do so that someone would not get hurt under the worst case scenarios. The wind was still strong, and we wound up dismantling a significant portion of the stucture because I was concerned that it would again go sailing. We then boarded up one door, and built a barrier to tie the well anchored half of the temporary structure to the building so that to enter someone would have to do so with malice. My point? That I look at worst case scenarios often in life, and in the above article I try to overcome my pessimism to say … that is an interesting concept.

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