Archive for January, 2007

Escape closes popup window in Novell Groupwise 7 Webmail

Posted on the January 29th, 2007 under Uncategorized by

To achieve usability, you sometimes need to think on behalf of the user. And its amazing how sometimes its the smallest items that makes a difference

I was using my Groupwise account at UWC web based interface, and when I was finished with the email, I pressed [Escape] without much thought. But presto, the window automatically closed, which I thought was not a standard web browser behaviour, but probably standard user behaviour.?

It’s probably a cool feature to add, using JavaScript in pop windows. But as usual, here are some of my considerations:

  • It should only be for pop up windows
  • It should not be for main windows (window.opener’s)
  • It should not be used when the user is busy entering a form or something.

Nice one Novell!

function_exists in javascript

Posted on the January 26th, 2007 under Uncategorized by

Is possible:

Example: Determining whether a function exists

You can determine whether a function exists by using the typeof operator. In the following example, a test is peformed to determine if the window object has a property called noFunc that is a function. If so, it is used; otherwise some other action is taken.

 if ('function' == typeof window.noFunc) {
// use noFunc()
} else {
// do something else

Note that in the if test, a reference to noFunc is used—there are no brackets “()” after the function name so the actual function is not called.

"Breaking News" on IOL and M&G

Posted on the January 22nd, 2007 under Uncategorized by

I recall an incident in the mid 1990’s where Dr. Yaqub Zaki was visiting South Africa and remarked that he couldn’t wait to get back to Scotland? because he was so out of touch with the latest news (having spend a few weeks in South Africa).

Fair enough, the internet wasn’t yet a major hit that time, online things were still in their infancy. But I thought, what on earth is so wrong with the South African press.

Well, whether there is bias or not is speculative. But one thing for sure – they are deeeeelaayeeddd!

Take for example a story making headlines on IOL as well as the Mail and Guardian website.

I mentioned this on this blog 12 days ago, and even my post wasn’t timely. M&G calls their story ‘breaking news’. On the topic, I need to say that Yahoo! News is always a good source for latest news or topics that don’t make the news.

My other confidential sources are the Information Clearing House and Common Dreams.

When your enemies start praising you, be scared!

Posted on the January 11th, 2007 under Uncategorized by

Gaza chief brands Hamas murderers

Muhammad Dahlan

Muhammad Dahlan claimed Fatah had won back the streets of Gaza

Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan has branded the ruling Palestinian Hamas movement “murderers and thieves”, in a rising war of words between factions.

Mr Dahlan, an MP and former security chief and minister, organised Gaza’s biggest pro-Fatah rally on Sunday.

Or we can go to websites like the Palestine Information Center (

And by the way, the BBC story is a couple of days old in any case

Egyptian official charges Dahlan with inciting civil war

Cairo – An official Egyptian source has charged Palestinian MP Mohammed Dahlan with inciting civil war in his speech on Sunday in a rally organized in Gaza to celebrate his Fatah faction’s 42nd establishment anniversary.
Jan 9, 2007, 10:02

Abbas appoints Dahlan general commander of PA security apparatuses

Gaza – PA chief Mahmoud Abbas has appointed Fatah MP Mohammed Dahlan, the former chief of the notorious preventive security apparatus, as general commander of the PA security apparatuses at the request of the USA and Israel, according to local media.
Jan 6, 2007, 16:42

Abbas rejects calls, within Fatah, to dismiss Dahlan

Ramallah – The PA President, Mahmoud Abbas, has rejected calls by some members of Fatah central committee to dismiss Muhammad Dahlan as he stands accused of incitement within the Palestinian arena, according to Fatah well informed sources.
Jan 3, 2007, 14:15

Absolute-middle in CSS (Images)

Posted on the January 10th, 2007 under HTML, CSS by

Just posting this as a quick reference. To achieve an absolute-middle position for images, just add the following style:

style=”vertical-align: middle;”

Being smarter, you could also

<img src=”..” class=”absmiddle”

And then add to your stylesheet

img.absmiddle {
vertical-align: middle;

Lastly, here’s a signature based on CSS that I found funny.

Positioning corrupts. Absolute positioning corrupts absolutely.

Time Magazines’s Person of the Year: You

Posted on the January 10th, 2007 under Uncategorized by,9171,1569514,00.html

Time Magazine’s recognition of the contribution of ordinary users through channels such as blogs, wikis and photo/video sharing is a great achievement for all of us. It has shown various things, which I’ll note:

  • We can create extraordinary software. In fact we have move software paradigms. Wikis would probably be considered a crazy idea a few years ago
  • Given access to this extraordinary software, users have found extraordinary ways to use them – whether for education, business or social purposes.
  • Users have also made extraordinary use of the resources available to them, notably mobile phones.
  • Contributors have been given greater accord, partly because they have:
    1. Opened up their work – without any possible economic incentives
    2. Presented their work as is – no ulterior motives, and also without fear
    3. They are presenting what they experience first hand
    4. Other users have been able to corroborate or relate to contributors
  • Media have been exposed as shortcoming or self-imposed restrictions

The Saddam Hussain Execution Videos (Part 1 and Part 2) is another testimony to this. Contrast to the ‘official video’, it proved that the affair is not as solemn as depicted.

Another story that captured my eye “Egypt orders probe into new torture video“. Nothing new, though it is despicable the way the official line has to go. This video is probably available on YouTube or Google Video. But here’s the scary part:

  1. Do a search on these two sites for ‘Police Brutality‘ or ‘Torture’. The results are by no means little.
  2. How many of these cases are ever taken up? Or can be taken up?

Creating Your Own License Agreement

Posted on the January 5th, 2007 under Uncategorized by

Seems like it is possible to create your own License Agreement when buying software from Wimpy MP3 (

Technically, I’d say users should be allowed to ‘get away’ with this for various reasons:

  1. The license is in a textarea which you can edit. If you don’t like the agreement, feel free to change it.
  2. The license textarea is part of the form you are submitting, so they do get a copy. Whether they choose to save it is their problem. (I wonder if they record that you clicked on “I accept…”)
  3. And most importantly: Because there is a way to overcome that problem using CSS!

Heres what I used:

<div style=”border: 1px solid black; padding: 5px; height: 100px; overflow:scroll;”>


Now will they give me a free copy. If yes, probably with a License Agreement I can’t edit 😉


This Agreement, hereafter referred to as the "Agreement," is made by and between Mike Gieson, Plaino, Inc., hereafter referred to as the "Owner," and you on your own behalf or on behalf of any corporate or private entity which employs you or which you represent, hereafter referred to as the "Licensee."

-- SNIP --


Wimpy license version 1.4

But It’s Thomas Jefferson’s "Koran"!

Posted on the January 5th, 2007 under Uncategorized by

Some controversy but possibly for the wrong reason?:

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, found himself under attack last month when he announced he’d take his oath of office on the Koran — especially from Virginia Rep. Virgil Goode, who called it a threat to American values.

Yet the holy book at tomorrow’s ceremony has an unassailably all-American provenance. We’ve learned that the new congressman — in a savvy bit of political symbolism — will hold the personal copy once owned by Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson’s copy is an English translation by George Sale published in the 1750s;

Even though Mr. Ellison is trying to add a Muslim/Islamic touch to his inauguration, it seems contradictory in a sense because:

The motives of George Sale, who pioneered an English translation of the Holy Quran, were suspect. He makes no secret of his antagonism to the holy book of Islam. In his preface to his translation in 1734 he made it known that it was his avowed intention to expose the man Mohammad and his forgery. He records: “who can apprehend any danger from so manifest a forgery?… The protestants alone are able to attack the koran with success; and for them, I trust, providence has reserved the glory of its overthrow.” George Sale, And he set to work with his prejudiced translation.

From Ahmed Deedat’s AL-QUR`AN, The Miracle of Miracles
Online at:

Let’s hope the contradictions end here.