The Boston Diaries

The ongoing saga of a programmer who doesn't live in Boston, nor does he even like Boston, but yet named his weblog/journal “The Boston Diaries.”

Go figure.

Saturday, August 24, 2002

Look who came for breakfast

Ten years ago today I was huddled in the master walk-in closet of Condo Conner with my Mom and her Mom, watching Hurricane Andrew on TV as it blew past us outside.

It was a very surreal experience.

Two weeks earlier I had moved out and into an apartment with two friends, Bill “Giant Hogweek” Lefler and Sean “Semigod” Williams (and there's a long story about those nicknames but that's for another time) and suddenly, here we were, faced with the biggest hurricane South Florida had seen in years (and the first one since Mom and I had moved down here to South Florida—Hurricane David (late August '79) had turned north at the last minute).

I had moved all my computer equipment to my second floor windowless office at FAU (once of the nicer things about a second floor windowless office—the building was four floors high so the likelyhood of my office being flooded by Hurricane Andrew were pretty nil and if it did get flooded, we'd have more pressing things to worry about than just computers), and went down to Condo Conner to help Mom prepare for the worst.

A Class Five Hurricane coming to town and the insipid Condo Association forbids hurricane shutters, or anything else that can possibly protect the units' windows from being installed.

Because, you know, hurricate shutters will detract property values …

Sorry, I digress.

So we move everything we can inside, move as much as I can away from the windows and get everyone inside one of two areas in Condo Conner that doesn't have a window—the master walk-in closet (the other being the master bathroom).

I then spend the rest of the time watching Brian Norcross cover Hurricane Andrew.

We were lucky. Very little damage in the area (mostly downed trees). Others not so lucky; Mark (who lived in Miami at the time) ended up with a traffic signal sitting on his bed. And he was lucky compared to those living in Homestead

More Mozilla neatness

I'm currently playing around with Pie Menus for Mozilla (which I found via an article at Slashdot). Pie menus are an intriguing idea that have been floating around for several years now and this may be the first major application to get support for them (yet another reason to love Mozilla).

As a user interface, pie menus tend to be easier to use as they don't require precise navigation to select items—just move in the appropriate direction far enough (most pie menus are limited to eight possible options at any level) and there you go.

So, using the points of the compass with N (north) being up, to open a page in a new tab (which is another feature I love about Mozilla), it's RightButton-East (hit the right mouse button, move right). To switch to a previous tab (or one to the left): RightButton-NE-W (right mouse button, move NE until the second menu pops up, then move left). Next tab (or one to the right): RightButton-NE-E. Bookmark? RightButton-SE-E. The menu will always pop up so it's not like you have to memorize all these but after awhile you just remember it (or at least I do).

It would be nice if you could use the keyboard to bring up the menus. Say, hitting the 0 key on the numeric keypad would bring up the menu, and then the keys 19 to select the menu item you want. So RightButton-NE-W could also be 096.

Although not all the options from the old menu are available on the Mozilla Pie Menus; the biggest one I miss is the one to copy the link, which I use quite a bit (especially when writing entries). But other than that, I definitely like the pie menus.

Just gotta love MSIE …

I have a question about HTTP for you. Okay. If you compile Seminole 2.14 and go to a URL that is a directory with an index.html in it, you will find that (unlike Apache), I instead just send out a temporary redirect to the /index.html URL instead of serving up the index.html as the directory URL.

Now, it seems that this works fine with all browsers except one: Microsoft Internet Explorer. Apparently a 302 Redirect causes MSIE to just display the redirect page.

Question from Mark via email

The solution Mark found was to not send out the HTTP header Content-Type: and then MSIE would work properly. When I investigated though:

Very curious. Using MSIE 5.0 (original and SP2) if I went to:

I got redirected. But if I go to

I get the MSIE redirect page (and not the one from the web server!).

My reply to Mark's email

Mark then asked if it was a violation of RFC-2616 to not send out the Content-Type: header. Nope.

7.2.1 Type

   When an entity-body is included with a message, the data type of that
   body is determined via the header fields Content-Type and Content-
   Encoding. These define a two-layer, ordered encoding model:

       entity-body := Content-Encoding( Content-Type( data ) )

   Content-Type specifies the media type of the underlying data.
   Content-Encoding may be used to indicate any additional content
   codings applied to the data, usually for the purpose of data
   compression, that are a property of the requested resource. There is
   no default encoding.

   Any HTTP/1.1 message containing an entity-body SHOULD include a
   Content-Type header field defining the media type of that body. If
   and only if the media type is not given by a Content-Type field, the
   recipient MAY attempt to guess the media type via inspection of its
   content and/or the name extension(s) of the URI used to identify the
   resource. If the media type remains unknown, the recipient SHOULD
   treat it as type "application/octet-stream".

§ 7.2.1 of RFC-2616

The SHOULD gets Mark off the hook for not sending out the Content-Type: header.

But then Mark also found:

Internet Explorer does not properly handle an HTTP/1.1 302 redirect returned from a proxy server or Internet server when the HTTP/1.1 302 redirect is sent to Internet Explorer in two separate TCP frames (one with the HTTP/1.1 302 redirect, and the other with a HTML body containing a page for the new location).

Internet Explorer Returns Error Message When Being Redirected

Incredible. Not only is this for MSIE version FOUR but it still doesn't work properly for MSIE version FIVE.

Just gotta love MSIE …

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