Trendspotting: mobile SPAM :(

It's already making me sick... and it's only the beginning :(

Mobile SPAM is coming in all flavours! First there is SMS spam. Your phone beeps in the middle of a meeting as if you just received an alert, you check what's going wrong... but no, it's just an ad from your carrier!

Then there is voicemail spam. This is even worse. You are driving and suddenly your phone beeps as if you just missed a call and got a message. You actually try and find a place to pull aside and listen to the message... but that was a worthless effort: you just got another f*ing ad from you carrier!

Right now, carriers can afford this because it's virtually free for them. But sooner or later, more companies will be willing to pay for that kind of mass messaging! And this is far worse than e-mail spam: it really interrupts you in whatever you are doing! (Something like instant messaging spam!)

I have called my carrier (Bouygues Telecom, France) numerous times demanding they stop it. Nah! Everytime, after a month or so, spam comes back! I am wondering what kind of bozo there just makes that stupid decision to reset the opt-out flags! So eventually I cancelled my contract! (With the added benefit of being able to get a new (smart)phone cheaper when I sign up for my new contract... but I would not have gone this way if those guys had been a "little" more customer respectful!)

Anyway, I guess we'll be able to install SMS/MMS spam filters on future "programmable" (smart)phones... but I wonder how we'll be able to handle the voicemail issue... :-/

PHP oddities :(

Actually I had not really looked into PHP since early version 3 betas... I knew it had gotten better, but sometimes I wonder if I didn't overestimate this... :-/

Looks like PHP 4.3 still requires that you name a collection of checkboxes or a select multiple with a name ending with "[]" such as <input type="checkbox" name="collect[]" value="3" />. That [] makes it impossible to DOM-handle the objects with javascript... but if you don't include the [], you just won't get all the checked values, neither as a table nor as a list... only the last one! :!:

What year is this? 1995? :'(

As far as I remember, ColdFusion and ASP have been handling this elegantly since version 1.0!

Google & BlogNoise: a semantic approach

As Russel points out (original article gone), the quality of searches is dwindling at Google as the result of BlogNoise.

It seems to me that Google could easily cut out a lot of blogcrap of their search results if they performed their searches on a post by post basis (all words would have to be found in the same post) instead of a page by page basis (a weblog page contains an average of 15 very loosely related posts).

How would their indexer find out about the boundaries of each post on a page? Well... just let it take advantage of the RSS linked to any decent weblog!

Oh wait... Blogger blogs don't have RSS! They have a huge market share (i-e a huge blogcrap share) and if they still haven't implemented such a straightforward feature yet, they're not very likely to do so soon... That's a problem...

Semantic Web, where are thou?

Tableless Design: Not ready for prime time!

Here we used to have an article about how hard it was to deisgn an HTML page wihtou tables back in 2003.

Since the web browsers have evolved a lot since then I have removed the examples becaus ethey required custom CSS to be injected in the CMS running this site.

Here are still a few paragraphs from the original article that still make sense:

I will restrict my rendering tests to Internet Explorer 6.0.2800.1106, Netscape Navigator 7.02 and Opera 7.10 (build 2840) on Windows. I think everyone would agree that if something won't work with the latest versions of these three most used browsers, it is definitely not ready for prime time!

With tableless design - i-e with the use of CSS styles instead - you should theorically be able to not only preserve semantic intelligence and accessibility of your document, but you should also be able to improve the "liquid flow" of your design, that is to say, the second picture should go under the first one when the browser width is insuficient.

Well, at least, if it doesn't improve the liquid flow, you should be able to get the same layout. At least!

And you actually can get the same layout... sometimes!

Most browsers will not render CSS the same way depending on the doctype of your document. You need to watch that carefully to make sure you activate standards compliant mode in all browsers.

Then you can play... spend hours trying to get that damn thing to look like the intended design...