Sunday, December 20, 2009

Friday, December 11, 2009

A Google rant ... but not the one you expect

I like Google just fine, thank you very much. I gave up expectations of privacy before Scott McNealy told us all to “get over it” back in the long, long ago. I've had a sneaking suspicion that Google had been keeping an eye on things for quite a while now, what with the targeted ads and so forth. That's their freakin' business model, innit?

No, I'm not complaining about a lack of privacy, but rather about a lack of respect. I'm just a poor boy (nobody loves me), so I tend to use Google's “free” tools when I need to do something webbish, all the while knowing that TINSTAAFL. I understand that there are going to be some limitations on what I'm allowed to do; I expect that the Google brand will have to remain intact, and that the ads that provide their revenue ought to be visible to surfers. That is, after all, why the lunch is free. Strings attached. I get it. I also understand that there are some nasty people in this world who like to engage in XSS, credential-grabbing and all kinds of mean, ugly, nasty things. (Mother rapers. Father stabbers. Father rapers! Alice's Restaurant Massacree - Arlo Guthrie) Well, I've done my share of littering, so I guess I deserve to be on the Group W bench playing with the pencils, but...

If you're going to offer me something called a “Page” and provide an HTML editor for that page, AND allow me to preview the page and see its wondrous beauty, why, oh why must you strip out all of the HTML on save?

Okay, they do leave the p and br tags alone. Well, except for the attributes, if you've used any of them. And I can understand why they'd want to strip out script tags, and URIs that start with “javascript:” or “data:”, but when a man steals another man's identity (id attributes are stripped) and cramps his <style>, that's just wrong. (Cries of “shame” and banging of desks issue from the Opposition benches.)

I'm really rather more apoplectic than this posting suggests. Google Groups meets my needs—it's the fair-haired bastard child of the discussion forum and the Usenet newsgroup, except for this one little hitch. Well, the needs aren't so much mine; I'm just the guy setting up the support system for people who will be saving one another's lives. I'm just disappointed that I have to use so many different tools to do what needs doing, with the potential for privacy problems spread far and wide across the net. And all it would take to fix it, to consolidate everything in one place, is for Google to treat group owners like adults.

That is all.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

This stylesheet is maxed out now.

Yes, folks, there are limits to what I will do. Adding three more images to the stylesheet has made it as large as I can let it be and still sleep at night. I hope none of you are on dial-up, 'cuz this page has just transitioned into “sometime next month” ETA territory for the fourteen-four crowd.

Obviously, I need to find a place to put the images where they can load (as binaries) in a reasonable amount of time. I've tried Picassa Web Albums and Flickr, and they're both way too slow for me—my browser won't load them nine times out of ten. Oh, they'd load just fine as <img> elements (eventually), but they're just decorations, not content, and I've gotten pretty hard-line about semantic purity ever since accessibility has become an issue. So for now the images will remain Base64-encoded on the stylesheet. Sorry about the page size.