stuck in the middle with you

May 5, 2006
Quote of the Moment
"Measuring in powers of ten, we human beings are almost exactly midway between the largest material object in the universe, the galaxies, and the smallest that we have explored in our particle accelerators, the electrons and quarks. We stand in the middle. From our thin sliver of existence, we want to know everything."
Alan Lightman, epilogue to "The Discoveries".
Just finished that book, a collection of the most important scientific papers of the 20th century, in raw or somewhat abbreviated form, collected and augmented (in terms of background biographical and explanatory essays) by Alan "Einstein's Dreams" Lightman. Dr. Lightman was supposed to be at the meeting of UU "Science and Spirituality" reading and discussion group, but couldn't make it when his travel plans changed at the last minute. Still a great book, it really gives you the sense of the personalities of the various people who made these discoveries, as well as the palpable sense excitement and discovery these must have felt.

Web Design Geekery and Windows Insanity of the Moment
Anyone who does web-develop'y stuff on Windows has probably run into that issue where you get an annoying

even if your local page has just a drop of javascript. This is a typical Windows half-assed "security" hack, and at my current job it was annoying us, because we wanted to use some locally loaded javascript in IE during our installation.

Luckily, there's a work around that doesn't require the user to change security zone settings.... just put this line near the top of your page (there are some other variants of this that work as well):
<!-- saved from url=(0003)x:y -->
That's it! I got that formulation from this Usenet article, which had a link to this excellent in-depth discussion and rant, including several different ways of working around the issue, and explaining just who clue-light Microsoft is with this stuff.

The workaround is so easy I don't know if it makes me laugh or cry... it raises the question, if this is a "security" issue, why is there such a simple workaround? And if not, why hassle people at all? Especially for something as trivial (and I think, well-sandboxed) as Javascript...

Web Use Hint of the Moment
Which reminds me... I've just started installing Google toolbar for its super-nifty spellcheck implementation, it scans for textfields on your currently open webpage and has a very handy way of selecting correcting spellings. You don't even need to show the whole toolbar, you can add the Google pieces-part you want to some of the other bars. (At least in Firefox, I think IE as well) If only there was a way to personalize the dictionary, or at least having common HTML elements in it, it would be darn near perfect.