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Rants

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Issues and things that mad Scott rants about:

I wish NetManage would either resume support for ZMail (orginially written by Z-Code Software) or simply release the licenses and source for it to the public domain so that the Open Source community could improve the few problems ZMail has today. No other email reader had the flexibility, power, and features of ZMail. I still use it, years after support has dried up. I have a few tips for ZMail users on Irix.

Web sites that insist on the use of Java, JavaScript, VisualBasic, or some other junkware that reduces my security. Java and JavaScript, when used with a web browser, reduce your computer's security. Find out more about hostile applets at: http://www.hf.caltech.edu/HF/java_bad.html, http://www.cigital.com/hostile-applets/index.html or http://metro.to/mladue/hostile-applets/index.html.
Websites that require JavaScript for use. My rant is not against Java as a language (though I still have yet to see anything implemented in Java that is not more easily implemented in another language), but against the use of both Java and JavaScript enabled web content as the only method for publishing a site's content. Embedded in a browser, both JavaScript and Java weaken both the security of the computer the browser is running on and can weaken security on other computers on the same network. See Jochen Topf's home page for a white paper on how HTML Forms Protocol can be used by malicious websites to circumvent some firewalls. This is a quote from Mr Topf's white paper:

    "Basically the only thing a user can do to prevent this attack is to disable Javascript in the browser. The attack is still possible, but instead of being fully automatic, the attacker has to get the user to click on the submit button."

Other JavaScript hacks have been shown that delete files on the browser's computer, mail those files to internet email addresses, or modify files on the browsing computer without consent of the unwitting web surfer.
The Nimda virus (PC only) attacked Windows (tm) computers in several different methods, one of which was via the enabled JavaScript language embedded in most web browsers when a user used said browser to visit an infected website running MicroSoft IIS (Internet Information Server).
Always turn both Java and JavaScript off when browsing the web!
Complain to webadmins and web content producers if they design web sites that cannot be view without Java or JavaScript enabled.

Spam. Not the meat substitute, that is relatively inoffensive now that we have unsolicited bulk email or junk mail. Luckily there is some pretty good advice on fighting SPAM/JunkMail/UCE at JunkBusters.Com. Spam is only a little less annoying than cold calls.

The insanity of the Republican Party wasting so many millions of tax dollars to find out that they had nothing to indict Bill Clinton on.

Trailers that are better than the movies they advertise.

Soft drinks with sugar substitutes such as corn syrup, which tastes nothing like real cane sugar. Cane sugar should be cheaper than corn syrup, except for the hypocritical corn lobby and the tariffs imposed on sugar. Thank goodness for Nantucket Nectars, a soft drink company with the ability to choose wisely, offering drinks with real cane sugar.

People who let the majority make decisions for them (eg: buying Microsoft products, assuming that because 80% of the market does it it must be right).

People with closed minds. Trust me, we all matter relatively little in the grand scheme of things. What does it matter who we are when planets collide?

Web sites that insist on the use of only one browser. The point of the world wide web is to provide information to the largest number of people without caring what software they use to get the information. See the Any Browser Campaign for more details.

People who are unable to grasp the two basic truths:

    Everybody dies eventually.

    Everything changes eventually.

Author: Scott Nolan, Email address: snolan at scottnolan.org (How to send me email)
Last updated: July 20th, 2009