Apparently the FTC …

Apparently the FTC wants to now do something about spam. I wonder if they will be successful. Spam will always be around until ISPs are proactive about it and start instantly blocking offending mailservers. Spam-reporting techniques are almost to the point of being real-time, so once a mail server has been identified as a culprit of spam it can be blocked until it’s proven to be secure again. ISPs can also put in global filters that automatically block any email that meets the requirements of being spam. They might want to start with blocking any HTML-based email. OK, yeah that’s kind of a joke but there is some truth to it. Easily 90% of the spam my filters catch is sent as HTML-based email, whereas only about 10% of my legitimate email is HTML-based.

Somebody keeps clicking reload on CamWorld about every 10-20 minutes (it’s random, not a spider). I did an nslookup on the IP number and I was not surprised to see what internal network the requests are coming from. Can you guess who it is? I guess some people have nothing better to do with their time…

A reader from Denver writes:

MSFT is holding an event for the .NET rollout here in Denver, and attendees must register with a Passport account. I figure the best place to get an email address (required for Passport) is a free account at

Etrade’s Embarassing Oversight: A long-time reader writes:

I found it interesting that will introduce their upgraded web site soon and has a preview posted on their site. Being exclusively a Mac and Netscape user, I tried to look at the new site. I couldn’t get it to load. I called Etrade tech support and was told that it will ONLY work with Internet Explorer on the Mac.

I noticed this too since I regularly use Etrade with Netscape 4.x on my Mac. I haven’t had time to bother talking with Etrade’s people but I find this incredibly disappointing. The company I am currently contracting with services the banking and financial markets and sells web-based data and news services to a very wide variety of clients. Our rule of thumb is to design for IE first but to not “break” anything in NN4 making it not usable. This means no IE-only client-side Javascript, no non-cross-platform DHTML whizzies, and no layout tables nested more than three deep. But we don’t simply say “Sorry, you must use IE to use this site/technology” unless our clients specifically request it. It makes no sense for Etrade to specifically lock out the small percentage of their users that are still using Netscape 4.x. I guess it’s time for me to find a new brokerage and bank. Not happy about this at all. Send me your recommendations.

If Etrade were smart they’d leave their old site (which works with NN4) up so that people who prefer it can continue to use it. Besides, the new site design for Etrade totally sucks. Large graphical beveled buttons for navigation went out of style in 1996. Do I need to remind people that when you’re designing a site that deals with information, that the information needs to comes first in priority, not the design (the design should compliment the information it contains). This means that if you’re do things with client-side Javascript (and DHTML) that could potentially get in the way of the delivery and retrieval of that information then you have failed. This is especially true for sites that deal with live, real-time financial data. If your users click reload often, the last thing you should be doing is increasing the page sizes with extraneous graphics, complex table layouts and non-essential Javascript.

Another reader points out that Etrade’s production staff completely forgot ALT tags on their images and if you disable Javascript the site is rendered useless.

Register: The many faces of open source.

Advogato: Risks in Running Open Source Projects

Salon: One Film to Rule Them All

It’s perfectly alright to have a religious President but it is written in the Constitution that Church (religion) and State (government) must remain separate. Our current administration needs to remember this

Posted by Cameron Barrett at February 12, 2002 06:58 PM

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