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WPAD Server Fiddler Extension Update v1.0.1

2011 Jun 12, 3:34
As it turns out the WPAD Server Fiddler Extension I made a while back actually has a non-malicious purpose. Apparently its useful for debugging HTTP on the WP7 phone (or so I'm told). Anyway I took some requests and I've fixed a few minor bugs (start button not updating correctly), changed the dialog to be a Fiddler tab so you can use it non-modally, and the WPAD server is now always off when Fiddler starts.
PermalinkCommentsextension fiddler technical update wpad

shatterstripes: What is LJ doing to my links?

2010 Mar 5, 2:54LiveJournal replaces affiliate links with their own... Between this and not being able to stick in videos, script, etc maybe its time to switch blogging sites...PermalinkCommentsblog livejournal technical

Leaving the IE Team for Windows

2010 Feb 26, 8:40

I'm making a switch from the IE team to the Windows team where I'll be working on the next version of Windows. As a going away surprise Jen and Nick added me to my gallery of Bill Gates (discussed previously). Here's a close up of the photoshopped cover.

Before:
Diveristy in Numbers
After:
Diversity Inc Photoshopped Covers

PermalinkCommentsmicrosoft bill gates photoshop windows

Grocery Shopper Data Use

2009 Oct 13, 11:15

Photo of Hostess Pride chicken display from the Library of VirginaQFC, the grocery store closest to me, has those irritating shoppers cards. They try to motivate me to use it with discounts, but that just makes me want to use a card, I don't care whose card and I don't care if the data is accurate. They should let me have my data or make it useful to me so that I actually care.

I can imagine several useful tools based on this: automatic grocery lists, recipes using the food you purchased, cheaper alternatives to your purchases, other things you might like based on what you purchased, or integration with dieting websites or software. At any rate, right now all I care about is getting the discount from using a card, but if they made the data available to me then the grocery store could align our interests and I'd want to ensure the data's accuracy.

PermalinkCommentsidea boring data grocery store

Time/Date Conversion Tool

2009 Aug 28, 3:39

I built timestamp.exe, a Windows command line tool to convert between computer and human readable date/time formats mostly for working on the first run wizard for IE8. We commonly write out our dates in binary form to the registry and in order to test and debug my work it became useful to be able to determine to what date the binary value of a FILETIME or SYSTEMTIME corresponded or to produce my own binary value of a FILETIME and insert it into the registry.

For instance, to convert to a binary value:

[PS C:\] timestamp -inString 2009/08/28:10:18 -outHexValue -convert filetime
2009/08/28:10:18 as FILETIME: 00 7c c8 d1 c8 27 ca 01

Converting in the other direction, if you don't know what format the bytes are in, just feed them in and timestamp will try all conversions and list only the valid ones:

[PS C:\] timestamp -inHexValue  "40 52 1c 3b"
40 52 1c 3b as FILETIME: 1601-01-01:00:01:39.171
40 52 1c 3b as Unix Time: 2001-06-05:03:30:08.000
40 52 1c 3b as DOS Time: 2009-08-28:10:18:00.000
(it also supports OLE Dates, and SYSTEMTIME which aren't listed there because the hex value isn't valid for those types). Or use the guess option to get timestamp's best guess:
[PS C:\] timestamp -inHexValue  "40 52 1c 3b" -convert guess
40 52 1c 3b as DOS Time: 2009-08-28:10:18:00.000

When I first wrote this I had a bug in my function that parses the date-time value string in which I could parse 2009-07-02:10:18 just fine, but I wouldn't be able to parse 2009-09-02:10:18 correctly. This was my code:

success = swscanf_s(timeString, L"%hi%*[\\/- ,]%hi%*[\\/- ,]%hi%*[\\/- ,Tt:.]%hi%*[:.]%hi%*[:.]%hi%*[:.]%hi", 
&systemTime->wYear,
&systemTime->wMonth,
&systemTime->wDay,
&systemTime->wHour,
&systemTime->wMinute,
&systemTime->wSecond,
&systemTime->wMilliseconds) > 1;

See the problem?

To convert between these various forms yourself read The Old New Thing date conversion article or Josh Poley's date time article. I previously wrote about date formats I like and dislike.

PermalinkCommentsdate date-time technical time windows tool

Creating Accelerators for Other People's Web Services

2009 Aug 18, 4:19

Before we shipped IE8 there were no Accelerators, so we had some fun making our own for our favorite web services. I've got a small set of tips for creating Accelerators for other people's web services. I was planning on writing this up as an IE blog post, but Jon wrote a post covering a similar area so rather than write a full and coherent blog post I'll just list a few points:

PermalinkCommentstechnical accelerator ie8 ie

IE8 Search Providers, Accelerators, and Local Applications Hack

2009 Jul 25, 3:23

There's no easy way to use local applications on a PC as the result of an accelerator or a search provider in IE8 but there is a hack-y/obvious way, that I'll describe here. Both accelerators and search providers in IE8 fill in URL templates and navigate to the resulting URL when an accelerator or search provider is executed by the user. These URLs are limited in scheme to http and https but those pages may do anything any other webpage may do. If your local application has an ActiveX control you could use that, or (as I will provide examples for) if the local application has registered for an application protocol you can redirect to that URL. In any case, unfortunately this means that you must put a webpage on the Internet in order to get an accelerator or search provider to use a local application.

For examples of the app protocol case, I've created a callto accelerator that uses whatever application is registered for the callto scheme on your system, and a Windows Search search provider that opens Explorer's search with your search query. The callto accelerator navigates to my redirection page with 'callto:' followed by the selected text in the fragment and the redirection page redirects to that callto URL. In the Windows Search search provider case the same thing happens except the fragment contains 'search-ms:query=' followed by the selected text, which starts Windows Search on your system with the selected text as the query. I've looked into app protocols previously.

PermalinkCommentstechnical callto hack accelerator search ie8

Dave's Blog Entries Last Year

2009 Jul 19, 4:00

Inspired by one of Penn's (of Penn & Teller) articles in which he mentions he has his computer tell him what he wrote in his journal that day the previous year, I've wanted to implement a similar thing with my blog. Now that, as I mentioned previously, I've updated my blog such that its much easier to implement search and such, I've added date range filtering to my site's search. So now I can easily see what on Delicious and my blog I was doing last year.

I've also otherwise updated search on this site. You can now quote terms to match an entire string, stick 'tag:' in front of a term to only match that term against tags as opposed to the title and body of the entry as well, and you can stick '-' in front of a term to indicate that it must not be found in the entry.

Telescope photo from Flickr Commons
PermalinkCommentsblog search homepage

Baseball Game Friday, House Things Previously

2009 Jul 11, 2:47

Mariners vs Rangers, Safeco Field, SeattleOn Friday Sarah and I went to the Mariners vs Rangers game at Safeco Field with Eric and Jane. The Mariners lost but then before the game the announcement made outside the stadium guaranteed the best service and a good time, not a winning game -- and they were right about the good time.

The night before, we saw The Hangover which was very funny and included Zach Galifianakis who was great. Incidentally, take a look at some of Zach's Between Two Ferns.

Last weekend Sarah and I mounted the TV to the wall which was exciting and we saw a mouse in the house!

PermalinkCommentstv baseball personal mouse house

Eat Pants - Interactive Fiction Sessions from my Server Logs

2009 Jun 29, 4:19

I've looked at my web server logs previously to see if anyone had used my Web Frotz Interpreter and until recently didn't realize that awstats (the web server log report generator) was truncating the query from my URL, so I couldn't tell that anyone was actually using it. But after grepping the logs manually I've pulled out the URLs of visitor's text adventure sessions. If you'll recall, my Web Frotz Interpreter stores the game state in the URL so its easy to see user's game states in the web server logs.

I've put some of the links up on the Web Frotz Interpreter page. Some of the interesting ones:

PermalinkCommentsserver-logs technical zork frotz pants interactive-fiction uri if

Linking to or Embedding a Portion of a Video

2009 Jun 19, 10:12

I'm excited by HTML5's video tag as are plenty of other people. Once that comes about and once media fragments are adopted, linking to or embedding a portion of a video will be as easy as using the correct fragment on your URL thanks to the Media Fragments WG who has been hard at work since the last time I looked at fragments.

However, until that work is embraced by browsers, embedding portions of videos will continue to require work specific to the site from which you are embedding the video. On the YouTube blog they wrote about how to "link to the best parts in your videos", using a fragment syntax like '#t=1m15s' to start playback of the associated video at 1 minute and 15 seconds. Of course if you want to embed part of a Hulu video it will be different. Although I haven't found an authoritative source describing the URL syntax to use, you can follow Hulu's video guide on linking to part of a video and note how the URL changes as you adjust the slider on the time-line. It looks like their syntax for linking to a Hulu page is to add '?c=[start time in seconds](:[end time in seconds])' with the colon and end time optional in order to link to a portion of a video. And the syntax for embedding appears to be "http://www.hulu.com/embed/.../[start time in seconds](/[end time in seconds])" again with the end time optional.

For more sites, check out the Media Fragments WG's list of existing applications' proprietary fragmenting schemes.

PermalinkCommentshulu technical media fragment wg url youtube video html5 uri fragment

Mostly Moved Into New House

2009 Jun 19, 8:07

New House ExteriorThe weekend before the previous, Sarah and I moved our belongings into the new house and spent a lot of time packing and unpacking, and now we're officially living there (interested Facebook friends can find my new address or just ask me). The Saturday of the previous weekend Sarah's family came over for a half house warming and half Sarah's birthday celebration which was fun and served to force us to do more unpacking and forced me to take trips to Home Depot, Bed Bath and Beyond, etc. On Sunday, Sarah and I went out to her favorite restaurant and she opened her gifts that I had to hide to keep her from opening before her birthday. Happy Birthday Sarah!

While at Home Depot I had trouble finding what I was actually looking for, but I did find everything I needed to terminate the Cat5e cables that are wired in the house. Each room has a wall plate with two RJ45 sockets, both sockets wired to Cat5e cable. One of the cables per plate was already hooked up to a standard phone service punchdown board and the other cables per plate were all hanging unterminated next to the punchdown board. So now I've terminated them all with RJ45 connectors and hooked them up to my hub, wireless router, cable modem, etc. I had the same sort of fun setting all that up as I did playing with model train sets as a child. Hopefully no therapy will be required to figure out why that is.

PermalinkCommentspersonal2 train address sarah house new-house birthday

Netflix CSRF - Stolen Thoughts

2009 May 3, 10:36

Looking at the HTTP traffic of Netflix under Fiddler I could see the HTTP request that added a movie to my queue and didn't see anything obvious that would prevent a CSRF. Sure enough its pretty easy to create a page that, if the user has set Netflix to auto-login, will add movies to the user's queue without their knowledge. I thought this was pretty neat, because I could finally get people to watch Primer. However, when I searched for Netflix CSRF I found that this issue has been known and reported to Netflix since 2006. Again my thoughts stolen from me and the theif doesn't even have the common decency to let me have the thought first!

With this issue known for nearly three years its hard to continue calling it an issue. Really they should just document it in their API docs and be done with it. Who knows what Netflix based web sites and services they'll break if they try to change this behavior? For instance, follow this link to add my Netflix recommended movies to your queue.

PermalinkCommentstechnical stolen-thoughts csrf netflix security

Netflix Watch Instantly Recommendations

2009 May 3, 9:17
WeedsAvatar The Last AirbenderPaprikaGrindhouse Planet TerrorOutsourcedThe King of KongPrimer

Netflix lets you watch a subset of their movies online via their website and a subset of those movies are available to watch on the Xbox 360's Netflix app. so its not always easy to find movies to watch on Xbox 360. Yet, I regularly see my Xbox friends using the Netflix app and its a shame they didn't make an easy way to share movie recommendations with your friends. Instead we must share movie recommendations the old fashioned way. Here's the movies I've found and enjoyed on my 360.

Weeds
You don't have to be a stoner to enjoy this humorous and dramatic satire featuring a widow trying to raise her children and deal pot in suburbia.
Avatar The Last Airbender
An American animated series that's an amalgamation of various Asian art, history, religion, etc. that maintains a great story line.
Paprika
If you enjoyed Paranoia Agent you'll enjoy this movie in the same animation style and by the same director and writer, Satoshi Kon. Its like a feature length version of a Paranoia Agent episode in which a dream machine lets outsiders view one's dreams but eventually leads to blurring the dreams and reality.
Grindhouse Planet Terror
I didn't see either of the Grindhouse movies when they first came out, but of the two, Planet Terror is the more humorous and exciting gore filled parody.
Outsourced
A refreshing romantic comedy that still has a few of the over played tropes but is easy to enjoy despite that.
The King of Kong
A hilarious documentary on the struggle between the reigning champ hot-sauce salesman and the underdog Washington state high school science teacher to obtain the Donkey Kong world record high score. After watching, checkout this interview with the creators of the movie and the villain.
Primer
I've mentioned Primer before, but I put it on here again because its really good and you still haven't seen it, have you?
PermalinkCommentsmovie personal netflix

Flickr Visual Search in IE8

2009 Apr 10, 9:48

A while ago I promised to say how an xsltproc Meddler script would be useful and the general answer is its useful for hooking up a client application that wants data from the web in a particular XML format and the data is available on the web but in another XML format. The specific case for this post is a Flickr Search service that includes IE8 Visual Search Suggestions. IE8 wants the Visual Search Suggestions XML format and Flickr gives out search data in their Flickr web API XML format.

So I wrote an XSLT to convert from Flickr Search XML to Visual Suggestions XML and used my xsltproc Meddler script to actually apply this xslt.

After getting this all working I've placed the result in two places: (1) I've updated the xsltproc Meddler script to include this XSLT and an XML file to install it as a search provider - although you'll need to edit the XML to include your own Flickr API key. (2) I've created a service for this so you can just install the Flickr search provider if you're interested in having the functionality and don't care about the implementation. Additionally, to the search provider I've added accelerator preview support to show the Flickr slideshow which I think looks snazzy.

Doing a quick search for this it looks like there's at least one other such implementation, but mine has the distinction of being done through XSLT which I provide, updated XML namespaces to work with the released version of IE8, and I made it so you know its good.

PermalinkCommentsmeddler xml ie8 xslt flickr technical boring search suggestions

Platonic Ideals in Anathem and The Atrocity Archives

2009 Apr 7, 11:58
The Atrocity ArchivesThe Jennifer MorgueAnathem

This past week I finished Anathem and despite the intimidating physical size of the book (difficult to take and read on the bus) I became very engrossed and was able to finish it in several orders of magnitude less time than what I spent on the Baroque Cycle. Whereas reading the Baroque Cycle you can imagine Neal Stephenson sifting through giant economic tomes (or at least that's where my mind went whenever the characters began to explain macro-economics to one another), in Anathem you can see Neal Stephenson staying up late pouring over philosophy of mathematics. When not exploring philosophy, Anathem has an appropriate amount of humor, love interests, nuclear bombs, etc. as you might hope from reading Snow Crash or Diamond Age. I thoroughly enjoyed Anathem.

On the topic of made up words: I get made up words for made up things, but there's already a name for cell-phone in English: its "cell-phone". The narrator notes that the book has been translated into English so I guess I'll blame the fictional translator. Anyway, I wasn't bothered by the made up words nearly as much as some folk. Its a good thing I'm long out of college because I can easily imagine confusing the names of actual concepts and people with those from the book, like Hemn space for Hamming distance. Towards the beginning, the description of slines and the post-post-apocalyptic setting reminded me briefly of Idiocracy.

Recently, I've been reading everything of Charles Stross that I can, including about a month ago, The Jennifer Morgue from the surprisingly awesome amalgamation genre of spy thriller and Lovecraft horror. Its the second in a series set in a universe in which magic exists as a form of mathematics and follows Bob Howard programmer/hacker, cube dweller, and begrudging spy who works for a government agency tasked to suppress this knowledge and protect the world from its use. For a taste, try a short story from the series that's freely available on Tor's website, Down on the Farm.

Coincidentally, both Anathem and the Bob Howard series take an interest in the world of Platonic ideals. In the case of Anathem (without spoiling anything) the universe of Platonic ideals, under a different name of course, is debated by the characters to be either just a concept or an actual separate universe and later becomes the underpinning of major events in the book. In the Bob Howard series, magic is applied mathematics that through particular proofs or computations awakens/disturbs/provokes unnamed horrors in the universe of Platonic ideals to produce some desired effect in Bob's universe.

PermalinkCommentsatrocity archives neal stephenson jennifer morgue plato bob howard anathem

Internet Explorer 8 Released

2009 Mar 20, 6:18

Our Fearless Leader reveals IE8 at MIX09. Photo by DBegley.IE8, the software I've been working on for some time now, has finally been released at MIX09.

As I mentioned previously, I worked on accelerators (previously named Activities) in IE8. Looking at the kinds of things I blog about on the IE Blog, you might also correctly guess that I work on the networking stack. Ask me about what else I worked on during IE8 development. The past few months were very busy for me and I'm happy this is finally out.PermalinkCommentstechnical internet explorer ie8

FormToAccelerator Internet Explorer Extension

2009 Mar 12, 2:17

I've made an extension for Internet Explorer 8, FormToAccelerator which turns HTML forms on a web page into either an accelerator or a search provider. In the design of the accelerators format we intentionally had HTML forms in mind so that it would be easy to create accelerators for existing web services. Consequently, creating an accelerator from an HTML form is a natural concept and an extension I've been meaning to finish for many months now.

This is similar in concept to the Opera feature that lets you add a form as a search provider. The user experience is very rough and requires some knowledge of accelerator variables. If I can come up with a better interaction model I may update this in the future, but at the moment all the designs I can come up with require way too much effort. Install IE8 RC1 and then try out FormToAccelerator.

PermalinkCommentsactivity html accelerator ie8 internet-explorer activities formtoaccelerator extension

Text/Plain Fragment Bookmarklet

2008 Nov 19, 12:58

The text/plain fragment documented in RFC 5147 and described on Erik Wilde's blog struck my interest and, like the XML fragment, I wanted to see if I could implement this in IE. In this case there's no XSLT for me to edit so, like my plain/text word wrap bookmarklet I've implemented it as a bookmarklet. This is only a partial implementation as it doesn't implement the integrity checks.

Check out my text/plain fragment bookmarklet.

PermalinkCommentstext url boring bookmarklet uri plain-text javascript fragment

Xbox Achievements for Everyday Life

2008 Sep 16, 7:54

I just upgraded to the Zune 3.0 software which includes games and purchasing music on the Zune via WiFi and once again I'm thrilled that the new firmware is available for old Zunes like mine. Rooting around looking at the new features I noticed Zune Badges for the first time. They're like Xbox Achievements, for example I have a Pixies Silver Artist Power Listener award for listening to the Pixies over 1000 times. I know its ridiculous but I like it, and now I want achievements for everything.

Achievements everywhere would require more developments in self-tracking. Self-trackers, folks who keep statistics on exactly when and what they eat, when and how much they exercise, anything one may track about one's self, were the topic of a Kevin Kelly Quantified Self blog post (also check out Cory Doctorow's SF short story The Things that Make Me Weak and Strange Get Engineered Away featuring a colony of self-trackers). For someone like me with a medium length attention span the data collection needs to be completely automatic or I will lose interest and stop collecting within a week. For instance, Nike iPod shoes that keep track of how many steps the wearer takes. I'll also need software to analyze, display, and share this data on a website like Mycrocosm. I don't want to have to spend extreme amounts of time to create something as wonderful as the Feltron Report (check out his statistic on how many daily measurements he takes for the report). Once we have the data we can give out achievements for everything!

Achievements for Everyday Life
Carnivore
Eat at least ten different kinds of animals.
Make Friends
Meet at least 10% of the residents in your home town.
Globetrotter
Visit a city in every country.
You're Old
Survive at least 80 years of life.

Of course none of the above is practical yet, but how about Delicious achievements based on the public Delicious feeds? That should be doable...

PermalinkCommentsself-tracking data achievements
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