podcast doesn’t support my browser, and here’s why…

You probably don’t remember a web browser called Mosaic. It looked something like this:

This browser identifies itself as NSCA_Mosaic

Mosaic was one of the first graphical browsers for a non-Unix environment. The original browser, WorldWideWeb later renamed Nexus, and the ViolaWWW browsers were already around, but didn’t run on Windows and Mac OS.

Back in 1994, Jim Clark and Mark Andreessen started Mosaic Communications Corporation, hired many of the developers of Mosaic, and later that year released Mosaic Netscape 0.9, before renaming their company to Netscape Communications Corporation and their product to Netscape.

You may remember Netscape, it looked something like this:

Codename for Netscape: Mozilla, which stuck and has been in user agent strings ever since.

Eventually, Microsoft caught onto the web, released Internet Explorer 1.0 for Windows, which looked a bit like this:

Also identifies as Mozilla, but isn’t

There was a thing called the browser wars, which split the web into two chunks: web pages designed for Internet Explorer and those that weren’t. The ones which weren’t often kinda worked in IE anyway, but the ones designed just for IE didn’t work at all well in Netscape and other browsers.

This seemed bad at the time, especially because Microsoft didn’t make a browser for anything but Windows (and later the Mac) and because Internet Explorer was proprietary, the web felt kinda weird for people using free software operating systems.

So Netscape released the source code to their browser as free software. A new project was born: Mozilla.

Mozilla went through a long period of development, but with regular releases. I ran “Mozilla” (officially Mozilla Suite and later SeaMonkey) from mid-2000 right through until Firefox 1.0 came out in 2004.

The great thing about Firefox was that finally, we had a free software browser and it also happened to be one of the best browsers out there. People celebrated by donating money to the newly formed Mozilla Foundation to put a two page ad in the New York Times:

On a recent trip to San Francisco I got to see some of these names on the sign outside the Mozilla offices. I even spotted a few people I know.

For a few years, things were pretty great. And then in 2006, a whole bunch of stuff happened which basically came down to Mozilla and Debian arguing over a trademark, and Debian rebranding the browser and email client as Iceweasel and Icedove respectively.

Which is why Medium doesn’t support my browser.

Medium hearkens back to the “good old days” of the web, when you have to have the right browser installed to view a website.

My browser identifies as:

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:35.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/35.0 Iceweasel/35.0

Yep. It identifies AS Firefox as well as Iceweasel.

And this is what I see if I use the User Agent Switcher to claim to be Mozilla Firefox™ (akaMozilla/5.0 (X11; Linux x86_64; rv:35.0) Gecko/20100101 Firefox/35.0)

Yes you do. I just wrote my entire post in it, and I have to say, your editing interface is pretty nice. Now just stop using 1990s-techniques to figure out if I have the right browser or not and just show me the page I requested without trying to second guess me.


Filthy Rich and Catflap

So, this was the week that Rik Mayall died, and I’ve been watching a lot of old episodes of The Young Ones and Bottom.

Another show he was in, is the frequently overlooked Filthy Rich and Catflap, in which Rik Mayall plays Richie Rich, a failed generic TV showbiz type. The opening sequence has a ton of scenes from all over London, many of which are quite hard to see without the ability to skip frame by frame through the video. Which is what I did.

Some interesting items in there, including the Raymond Revuebar, which was home to The Comic Strip. All in all, it does a good job of putting the show in a gritty, dirtier version of London than we see in either The Young Ones (actually filmed in Bristol) or Bottom (presumably filmed at the BBC in West London) — this version of London is rarely seen in the show itself, which is often contained in Richie’s modern 80s apartment with brightly colored furniture and dead milkmen in the closets.


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Also, the end credits are a lot of fun, with these various still images of the cast being played out in over the credits. Many of the actors are given single pages of the credits to themselves too, which is nice.

Note that “Additional material: Rik Mayall” feels somewhat buried, also for reasons that are likely lost to time now.





Inspired by the Alamo 100

Alamo 100 is a list of 100 great movies by Alamo Drafthouse employees.

Here’s a list of 10 movies I’ve seen or would like to see.

  1. Short Circuit 2
  2. Filofax
  3. Mannequin 2
  4. Hackers
  5. The Garbage Pail Kids Movie
  6. Orang U: An Ape Goes To College
  7. UHF
  8. Manimal (not a movie)
  9. Cool Runnings
  10. Mac and Me 2



Silent Night, Deadly Night Part 2

If this had come out a couple of weeks ago, I could have started this by saying, “A new article, it’s a Christmas miracle!” Instead, I just sort of reappear awkwardly. Ah well, why break tradition, I suppose. Well, the holidays are over, to the delight of many a parent, shopper, employee, or pretty much anyone. Maybe if the Christmas decorations in my mall didn’t go up mid-October, the season wouldn’t seem to last so damned long. Instead, we get to experience a nearly three month test of monetary endurance and emotional integrity. The holiday season claims many a victim.

Read the classic review


Proposed Dwarf Army list

1800pt Dwarfs Roster (Standard)

Dwarfs (Standard) Selections:

Solid Units (1225pts)

  • Berserker Brock-Riders Regiment (245pts)Vicious

    Brew of Haste (15pts) (Brew of Haste)

  • Bulwarkers Horde (250pts)Phalanx

    Fire Oil (5pts) (Fire Oil)

  • Ironguard Regiment (130pts)
  • Ironwatch Regiment (140pts)crossbows (Piercing (1)), Piercing Arrow (10pts) (Piercing Arrow)
  • Rangers Horde (350pts)Crushing Strength (1), Vanguard

    Blasting Arrow (20pts) (Blasting Arrow), Light crossbows (treat as bows)

  • Shieldbreakers Regiment (110pts)Crushing Strength (1)

War Engines (165pts)

  • Ironbelcher Cannon (85pts)Blast (2d6+1), Elite (if within 6″ of a Warsmith), Grapeshot, Piercing (4)
  • Ironbelcher Organ Gun (80pts)Elite (if within 6″ of a Warsmith), Piercing (2), Range 24″

Heroes/ Monsters (410pts)

  • Battle Driller (50pts)Crushing Strength (1), Individual
  • Dwarf King (160pts)Crushing Strength (1), Individual, Inspiring

    Da Boomstick (30pts) (Zap (3))

  • Steel Behemoth (200pts)Breath Attack (10), Crushing Strength (3)

Profile Summary:

  • Name Unit Size Sp Me Ra De At Ne
    Berserker Brock-Riders Troop 10 8 4+ 4+ 30 20/22
  • Name Unit Size Sp Me Ra De At Ne
    Driller 1 4 4+ 5+ 2d6 10/12
    King 1 4 3+ 6+ 5 14/16
  • Name Unit Size Sp Me Ra De At Ne
    Bulwarkers Horde 40 4 4+ 5+ 20 21/23
    Ironguard Regiment 20 4 3+ 5+ 10 6
    Ironwatch Regiment 20 4 4+ 5+ 4+ 10 14/16
    Rangers Horde 40 4 4+ 4+ 4+ 20 21/23
    Shieldbreakers Regiment 20 4 4+ 4+ 10 14/16
  • Name Unit Size Sp Me Ra De At Ne
    Steel Behemoth 1 3 6+ 6+ 20 16/18
  • Name Unit Size Sp Me Ra De At Ne
    Ironbelcher Cannon 1 4 5+ 5+ 1 10/12
    Ironbelcher Organ Gun 1 4 5+ 5+ 15 10/12

Roster Rule Summary:

  • Army Special Rule: Headstrong: Whenever a unit begins a turn Wavering, it rolls a die. On a 4+ it shrugs off the effects of Wavering and can act normally that turn.

Selection Rule Summary:

  • Blasting Arrow: Roll one of the unit’s ranged attacks separately. This one attack only counts as Blast (d6). Can only be used by normal ranged attacks.
  • Breath Attack (10): Ranged attack, roll 10 dice instead of the At value. Range 12″, hits on 4+ unmodified.
  • Brew of Haste: +1 Speed.
  • Crushing Strength (1): Melee hits have a +1 modifier when rolling to damage.
  • Crushing Strength (3): Melee hits have a +3 modifier when rolling to damage.
  • Elite (if within 6″ of a Warsmith): Whenever the unit rolls to hit or to damage, it can re-roll one of the dice that failed to hit/damage.
  • Fire Oil: Successful ranged or melee damage from this unit against a unit with Regeneration causes the target unit to lose Regeneration for the rest of the game
  • Individual: The unit does not have any flank or rear facings.
    When shooting against this unit, enemies suffer an additional -1 penalty on their rolls to hit. The unit also has the Nimble special rule.
  • Inspiring: If the unit or any friendly units within 6″ of it are Routed, the opponent must re-roll that Nerve test.
  • Piercing (1): All ranged hits inflicted by the unit have a +1 modifier when rolling to damage.
  • Piercing (2): All ranged hits inflicted by the unit have a +2 modifier when rolling to damage.
  • Piercing (4): All ranged hits inflicted by the unit have a +4 modifier when rolling to damage.
  • Piercing Arrow: Roll one of the unit’s ranged attacks separately. This one attack only counts as Piercing (4). Can only be used by normal ranged attacks.
  • Zap (3): The unit has a ranged attack. You roll (n) dice for this ranged attack rather than using the Attacks value of the unit. This attack has a range of 24”³, always hits on 4+ (regardless of modifiers) and is Piercing (1).
Free Software

Custom laptops are now a reality…

This has been the case for some time, it seems. I was blissfully unaware of it.

The last three laptops I’ve used for any sustained period of time have been:

  • Apple PowerBook G4 (2005-2007)
  • ThinkPad X60s (2007-present)
  • ThinkPad X201 (2011-present)

My ThinkPad X60s, photographed in 2007 — yes, I am a super hacker..

Of those two, the most annoying was by far the most recent ThinkPad. For years considered the best machine for desktop GNU/Linux, ThinkPads are actually getting pretty bad. Its now hard to find a ThinkPad with an Atheros wireless card and Intel graphics, its even harder if you want a machine you can change the battery on.

I found a few companies who sell machines preloaded with GNU/Linux, and sadly many of those machines don’t have this problem fixed either. I was delighted to discover that you can actually configure and build your own laptop online — there are a few companies that offer this, I went with AVA Direct because they offered the most choice of configurations, offered to install Debian on the laptop.

I’m very interested to see what my new laptop is like.

The juicy specs are: 3.1Ghz Intel Core i5, Intel HD video, 16GB RAM, 240GB SSD and a floppy drive.

  1. COMPAL QAL50 (QAL5010011) Core™ i5 Notebook Barebone, Socket G2, Intel® HM76, 15.6″ HD LED Glossy, Intel® GMA HD Graphics
  2. INTEL Core™ i5-3210M Dual-Core 2.5 – 3.1GHz TB, HD Graphics 4000, 3MB L3 Cache, 22nm, 35W, EM64T EIST HT VT-d VT-x XD, OEM
  3. CRUCIAL 16GB (2 x 8GB) PC3-12800 DDR3 1600MHz SDRAM SODIMM, CL11, 1.35V, Non-ECC
  4. INTEL 240GB 520 Series SSD, MLC SandForce SF-2281, 550/520 MB/s, 2.5-Inch w/ 3.5-Inch Bracket, SATA 6 Gb/s, Retail
  5. COMPAL Super-Multi Dual-Layer DVD±RW Optical Drive for Compal QAL50 / QAL51 Series Notebooks
  6. BYTECC External Black 1.44MB 3.5″ Floppy Drive, USB
  7. NOTEBOOK ACCESSORY Built-in 3-in-1 MMC/SD/MS Media Card Reader (Included)
  8. VISIONTEK Killer™ Wireless-N 1202 Wireless Card, IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, 11/54/300 Mbps, Internal PCIe Half Mini Card
  9. ASUS USB-BT211 Bluetooth 2.1 Adapter, 3.0Mbps, USB 2.0
  10. NOTEBOOK ACCESSORY Extra 120W AC Adapter for all VBI / CBB Notebooks
  11. NONE No Operating System (Choose OS or subject to Limited Support)
  12. WARRANTY Assembled and Tested (1 Year Limited Parts, Lifetime Labor Warranty)

Here’s hoping I get something totally cool…

What I hope my new laptop will look like


New GNU/Linux distro for the blind

Twenty years ago today, my friend Jonathan Nadeau was in a car accident and lost his sight, permanently. Jonathan is now a free software activist, who through his non-profit organization, the Accessible Computing Foundation, has released the first version of Sonar GNU/Linux, a custom version of Ubuntu with blind users in mind.



Memorials to Fallen K-9s

I’ve not seen this before, but its rather sweet. A page dedicated to various police dogs.

via memorial2001.


New stuff

I’ve been busy with a contracting gig — a new role for me, doing a mixture of sysadmin and development work. Mostly sysadmin work right now, as I attempt to tune a large authenticated Drupal instance and eventually migrate it to a new Drupal release.

I’m doing a lot of work with RT, Nginx, Varnish, ikiwiki and Xen, many of which I’ve used before in various places.

It’s a lot of fun.


Still coming

This week has been hectic, with various job related things going on.