Category Archives: Computers and Internet

Posts on computer science and the web, rants about OS:es, Window Managers, Platforms for almost publishing content on the web, and the like.

BasKet Note Pads – note-taking application

BasKet is a very nice application I just stumbled across. It is a kind of OneNote for Linux.  In Ubuntu (probably Debian and others as well) it can be managed as a regular package.

I’m using it mostly when writing and ordering ideas and the like, but I can see myself doing much more with it…. once I’ve made sure it’s stable enough. Let me get back on that with a more proper review later.

How to add a body on load function with Javascript

This is an article on how to add a javascript function that will be run when a web page has loaded. We begin by defining a function for running after a page (or actually window) has been loaded:

function bodyOnLoad() {
  ..
  ..
}

And then we’ll do:

window.onload = bodyOnLoad;

However, we also want to make sure our setting of the load event doesn’t remove some other setting. This is done by also keeping any older events.

We store the previous on load event by doing;

var prevOnLoad = window.onload;

And we redefine our bodyOnLoad function:

function bodyOnLoad() {
  prevOnLoad();
  ..
  ..
}

However, we can make the creation of the function and the setting of the event a little bit more effective by doing:

window.onload = function() {
  prevOnLoad();

  ..
  ..
}

You still need to get prevOnLoad before you do that

This becomes even more obvious once we create a function for adding new load events:

function addLoadEvent(func) {
  var prevOnLoad = window.onload;
  window.onload = function() {
    prevOnLoad();
    func();
  }
}

In this way, we can concentrate on creating the new load event outside of the function for adding it to the window.onload.

function myEvent(){
  ..
  ..
}
addLoadEvent(myEvent);

We might even do:

addLoadEvent(
  function (){
    ..
    ..
  }
);

Notice the difference between curly braces “{}” and parenthesis “()”

Finally, we have to make sure there is a load event set for the window before calling it from the new event, so we need to check for this:

function addLoadEvent(func) {
  var prevOnLoad = window.onload;
  if (typeof prevOnLoad != 'function') {
    window.onload = func;
  }
  else {
    window.onload = function() {
      prevOnLoad();
      func();
    }
  }
}

Programming humor

In case you wondered. Sure, programming can be humorous, but this is more about looking at programming with humor. Or, well, I’ve found a few funny things I’d like to share… XML is like violence: if it doesn’t solve your problem, you’re not using enough of it.

People who make buttumptions about their censoring settings, will be embarbutted when they repeat this clbuttic mistake.

Programming booleans

When looking at other programmer’s code I’m sometimes surprised with things like this:

exportDocumentView(java.lang.String absPath, java.io.OutputStream out,
boolean skipBinary, boolean noRecurse)

And in such prominent frameworks as Java Content Repository as well.

What’s my problem then? Double negations. In order to do exportDocumentView and get binary data and recursive export you’ll need to do:

exportDocumentView(“/path/to/my/Node/”, System.out, false, false)

Sure I can handle it… but… false to opt something in? I find it rather fishy. Call me an idiot but my brain just don’t deal with that kind of stuff easily…

What I would have wanted instead was:

exportDocumentView(java.lang.String absPath, java.io.OutputStream out,
boolean includeBinary, boolean recursive)

Which would have been called like:

exportDocumentView(“/path/to/my/Node/”, System.out, true, true)

For when we want binary data and recursive export, and like this for the case when we don’t want either or both:

exportDocumentView(“/path/to/my/Node/”, System.out, false, true)
exportDocumentView(“/path/to/my/Node/”, System.out, true, false)
exportDocumentView(“/path/to/my/Node/”, System.out, false, false)

I’m just saying. In my world false means “no” and “no” means don’t give me something or don’t do something:

“Don’t return binary data.”
“Don’t recurse the tree of nodes.”

To be compared with:

“Don’t skip binary data.”
“Don’t do no recursing.”

(But you’re free to curse? :o)

DVDs catching up?

Once upon a time a CD was large. Huge. You used it to save lots and lots of data.

Then came MP3s, movies, digital cameras with millions of pixels and suddenly the CD was small. And the DVD came, and for a while it was large… I don’t think it ever was huge.

Today I would have to use more than 300 4.4 GB DVDs to save all my data, and that only includes the data on hard drives. Making back-ups becomes a question of selecting what to back-up and what to leave for chance. A real pain.

But there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

Researches at the Technical University of Berlin claims they’ve managed to put up to 500 GB of data on a CD/DVD-sized disc

This is (layman’s interpretation) done by using holograms. The disc is transparent (wonder how that will work with labeling?) and uses ten layers of data (to compare with blu-rays that use two, and ordinary DVDs that use one). Anyway, sometime around 2010 they might be able to fit as much as 1 Terabyte to a CD-sized disc.

That’s probably the same time as hard drives comes in 10-20 Terabyte sizes, and soon after the 1TB DVD will once more be insufficient.

Wheehoo…

Using UUIDs to Prevent Broken Links

I don’t know if someone has proposed this before, but how about using UUIDs to prevent broken links?

A UUID, Universally Unique Identifier, is a hexadecimal number divided into five sections. A UUID has the special quality that it is universally unique. This means two people on each side of the world could create a UUID each at the exact same time, and still be sure their UUIDs are not identical. In fact they can create a large number of UUIDs and still be sure they are not identical. (The same goes for two people on the same server.)

This quality makes UUIDs a perfect tool for assigning unique IDs to web pages or other Internet resources (in fact any resource of any kind, your dog, the cuttlery in your drawers, you name it.)

This could be done like this:

Step 1: Place the UUID on the page

First a UUID has to be put on the webpage, perhaps with a meta-tag, or with plain text on the page.

With a meta tag it could be done like:

<meta name=”UUID” content=”8523813a-7c47-4cd9-ad78-09c14dfb505f”/>

Or on the page, like:

UUID: 8523813a-7c47-4cd9-ad78-09c14dfb505f

Step 2: Find the UUID

The second step would be to make sure every time a program stores a URL to the page it also stores the UUID. (When creating bookmarks, or linking from one site to another etc).

So, once the page get lost, either because the link has changed, the page has been moved or something similar, the browser (or site) can use the UUID to find the page again.

The second step obviously demands a search engine (or some other central registry) that utilizes UUIDs in it’s index since the system does require some kind of central processing for keeping track of a UUID-to-page-link.

A UUID is not a particularly good URI since even UUIDs generated at the same host just a few seconds apart are still totally different from each others (this actually depends on implementation, but one should not assume UUIDs from the same host shares any similarities).

This however is also one of the strengths of UUIDs since it means an Internet resource should be possible to locate regardless of its physical location (in a contrary to ordinary http-URLs that are tightly bound to their location — they start with the server name).

Since a UUID (per definition) is universally unique, it is fairly simple to generate one wherever you are, and use it in a page, be sure there are no duplicates and locate the exact page of the UUID again.

A Google experiment

I’ve placed the text “UUID: 8523813a-7c47-4cd9-ad78-09c14dfb505f” on this page. (Several times now). As far as I’ve been able to discern, Google indexes even such arbitrary information as UUID data (the exact string “8523813a-7c47-4cd9-ad78-09c14dfb505f” to be precise, check out this page with a discussion on how to use UUIDs to make pages unique… It has nothing to do with this discussion but is an interesting example on how UUIDs could be used with Google).

By searching for “8523813a-7c47-4cd9-ad78-09c14dfb505f” it should be possible to locate this page… (see if it works? — Give Google time to index the page though… Update: the above link seems to not work, but this one [searching for the UUID with “-” replaced to space — or “+”], however, does…)

Finally

The page localization should work regardless of the page’s position, site, or anything. In fact, as long as the UUID is still there, it should even be possible to place this text in a document of type Word/OpenDocument/PDF or any other format a search engine can index, and the text would still be possible to find with nothing but the UUID.

Obviously the end result of this technology would be that there is no “search-engine-in-between” but instead whenever the link is lost, the caller goes to the central repository/search engine (or some other place) and locate the page, then links to it automatically. It should even be smart enough to retry until it finds a link that works if a UUID has several possible links.