Catch up on stories from the past week (and beyond) at the Slashdot story archive


Forgot your password?

Comment Re:How exactly do you measure this? (Score 2) 585

User Agent strings aren't the only way of identifying browsers. Generally these days, you do UA strings and object detection. Basically the latter is running JavaScript with a whole bunch of if statements to see if certain objects are defined. document.all is an IE only thing, and window.performance only exists in IE9 for instance. window.opera only exists in Opera (duh).

With WebKit browsers (Chrome, Safari), you can detect to see if they have Canvas and WebGL support. With IE, you can even use conditional comments.

If you have a UA string claiming to be Firefox 2 but it responds to document.getElementsByClassName, you know something is lying to you. ;-)

To see how this sort of thing works, take a peek at

Comment Re:Why? (Score 1) 585

One thing I like a lot: you are reading something on a page and you want to search for it in another tab. You pop open a new tab, start typing the search or URL and then need to go back to the first tab to check something. You come back to the new tab and the partially-entered URL or search remains. This is good!

Comment Re:Patents are unnecesary (Score 1) 50

They have one major advantage to tap water: they are often available in places where you can't get tap water. If I'm rushing for a train, I can hop into a shop, grab a bottle of water and get on the train. Sadly, my local friendly city authorities have decided that publicly usable taps == evil socialist communism.

Comment Re:Why is this a problem? (Score 3, Informative) 376

Gender IS in preferences. You can choose between male, female and unspecified. This is to customise UI on the site so it has the appropriate pronouns. You can do this all over the place, like this:

{{gender:Jimbo Wales|man|woman|person}}

(replacing Jimbo Wales with your WP username (or a template that substitutes the current user's name) and the words man, woman and person with wikitext that you want returned)

This is used quite a bit for Userboxes so that they can make it text in the userbox switch dynamically between "This user lives in London and [they like/he likes/she likes] travelling on the Underground" or whatever.

The problem with the preferences route is unspecified may be because you haven't set it or it may be because you don't want to set it (or you don't fall into male/female because you are transgendered or whatever).

There have been polls and studies done though. You can read about them on or

Comment Re:Silly idea! (Score 1) 257

But the point is that it is reducing Google's costs. They fund development of MySQL and PostgreSQL because they use it. The Xbox comparison isn't a good one: Microsoft has started making a profit on Xbox, but Google are never going to make a profit in the same way from Linux or MySQL/Postgres, but making those products better reduces a cost center for Google. That's a pretty good primary reason that should pass muster with the regulators.

That it means little guys like me working for a tiny European company can run Linux and Postgres and Apache on our servers rather than paying Microsoft for a Windows/MS SQL/IIS/.NET solution is a nice secondary effect. It sure would be nice to think that Google are putting all this investment into FOSS to keep me from having to be a Microsoft customer. To argue that, I'd have to see some evidence that Google are funding FOSS development for stuff they have no direct business use for.

Comment Re:Thank God.... (Score 2) 265

I went to a machine the other day and found the user's password on a post-it note.

That's common enough, right?

Except he was in /etc/sudoers. Not any more.

I'm instituting a new security policy: if you leave your password on a post-it note, you lose sudo. If I find your password on a post-it note again, I get to hit you on the head with a hammer. Eventually it will stop.

Slashdot Top Deals

In computing, the mean time to failure keeps getting shorter.