The Long Tale of the Caliper: Part 1

You’ve seen them before—and probably even have one in your toolkit. Those inexpensive digital calipers of questionable design lineage that make measuring things fun, instead of a pain in the Vernier. Mine is a General […]

Where did all the IrDA ports go?

Setting off to the East Bay for the family Easter gathering, I want to program the address into my GPS. But using the on-screen UI of this particular Garmin is painful—shouldn’t I be able to […]

Proving Your Identity—Smart Cards and the Sad State of the Art

I am in the process of updating my vCard to the new 4.0 standard, and decided it was time to once again obtain a digital certificate that I could use to sign and/or encrypt e-mail messages with. And since I have a laptop with a Smart Card reader, I figure it would be great to leverage it for more secure logins, file encryption, and a few other things. The only digital certificate that can do all those things is the ITU’s x.509 public key infrastructure (PKI) standard, which dates from 1988.

There are many reasons why the average person, not just this geek’s geek, would want to do this:

A Sound Proposal for Electric Vehicles

An article on CNNMoney.com published today, reports that automakers and advocates for the blind have agreed on a plan to add sounds to electric and hybrid vehicles when operating at low speeds, to help alert […]

Will the Real Fire Alarm Stand Up?

A few days ago, while on my morning run, I passed a condo development just as all its fire alarms went off. (With several civilians outside wearing orange safety vests, it was apparently a planned […]

ATMs Have the Wrong Number

I have long been aware that there were different telephone keypad layouts that put letters on different number buttons, but it was only this past week that I really started researching this topic in detail. […]

Serving Internet Explorer XHTML, Part Ⅱ

After composing the excedingly long post below, I reset Opera to its default configuration of identifying itself as Internet Explorer. I discovered, to my horror, that not only did it have the magical MSIE string, […]

A Better Way to Serve XHTML Pages to IE

A while back, I thought I had come up with a clever method for serving this XHTML 1.1 site with the HTML MIME type just to broken browsers, and with the XHTML MIME type for […]

Fed Up & Starting Over

I’ve finally had it with browsers that don’t follow Web specifications—especially important ones that date from 1996 and whose broken implementation prevents what should be the most important aspect of the web. Device and browser […]

DC Connector Standards

Skimming this 1998 article on in-seat power standards for airplanes will give you some understanding for why marketing types should never be allowed to make engineering decisions. The article points out the absurdity of specifying […]