What is Askari?

Askari is a custom version of the Mozilla Rhino Javascript Engine optimized for use in standalone applications and servlets. It is easily extensible either with Java libraries (SWT is bundled) or by adding to the included JavaScript library framework.

I have just released the very first public release version of the Askari system (0.1.2). It is very usable due to the maturity of the components used to assemble the system but far more still needs to be done.

Visit the Sourceforge Project site for more details.

Rob Enderle is an Idiot

I've known that Rob Enderle has had a bad reputation for some time. In most technology circles, people see him as being (a) a Microsoft shill; and (b) hopelessly inaccurate.

But his "review" of IE7 takes the cake. In the space of just 1200 words, Rob trots out the following doozies:

  • "[E]xploits were written against the Mozilla based browsers. Viruses and phishing style attacks worked equally well..."
    Um ... what? Most flaws were theoretical and very rarely, if ever, exploited in practice. The Mozilla coding community has without exception responded quickly to address any flaws discovered. And let's not forget, without ActiveX support Mozilla instantly removes a large chunk of their exposure to security flaws.

Perl 6 downloads

A useful place to check for the Win users among us who want to get their hands dirty with Parrot/Perl 6 without compiling:


Are computers easier to switch between than cars?

Tim Bray writes:

... [C]omputers are, by and large, an easier switch than the cars. Yes, the pedals and steering wheel and shifter are consistent, but getting the windshield wipers to do what you want is a research project on every car, as is setting the interior lighting and adjusting the audio for bass, treble, and so on, and a bunch of other minor functions that you need to do all the time. But cutting and pasting and moving files and editing text and browsing the web and reading mail and improving photos and so on, these days that’s all much of a muchness, whatever computer you’re sitting in front of.

Other People's Code

This is a list of the best frameworks, libraries and toolkits I know about for the web in 2006. Obviously, this is entirely a personal opinion but these codebases have annoyed me the least while giving me the best outcomes:

Drupal (PHP) - A flexible content management framework with robust security, modularity and taxonomy features. More effort to get a working solution but often easier than taking an "out-of-the-box" product that really isn't designed to be tinkered with ... and tinkering with it.

Think of Drupal as "website lego" whereas a package like Joomla is more of a remote control car in a boxed set.

Quick and dirty Drupal 4.6 on Windows

Often when people hear about Drupal, they want to get things up and running as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, Drupal is not the most friendly package to getting running "out of the box".

While a lot of the installation wrinkles have been smoothed out with the recently released Drupal 5.0, here is my quick guide to getting Drupal 4.6.x installed. I still have a soft spot for this release, since it was a nice mix of features and simplicity. Some may find it useful, if only as a historical reference:

Why net neutrality is long gone ... and why that's nothing to worry about

While it's clear that net neutrality is a Good Thing(TM) in the context of the Internet, it's not at all clear that legislation will help, or that the legislation can even be effective.

For a start, most telecommunications providers prioritize Internet traffic over their pipes already. As one example, if you pay Telstra for a Virtual Private Network (VPN) which allows two branch offices of your company to securely connect to each other -- that traffic is likely to receive higher priority than "regular" Internet traffic. This is simply because Telstra will have an agreed Service Level with your business and delays or dropouts in service will cost it money. Is that a loss of "Net Neutrality"?

How Search Works

This is definitely not new, but Tim Bray's excellent series of articles on Search is still relevant today and deserves recognition:


If fifteen articles is too much, at least take the effort to read on the underlying principles:


The problem with lockdowns

In response to Mr. Grimes' zero-tolerance policy on installing software:

My problem with desktop lockdowns is that these are often accompanied with an "IT knows best" mentality. You know, the motto that "we'd have a great IT system if it wasn't for all these pesky users".

Yes, users install lots of crap on their workstations, but there are valid business needs there as well.

If IT forgets that it is there to serve users, then it is a hindrance, not a help. Desktop lockdowns can serve a valid purpose, but if users can't create their own solutions, you better make damn sure that IT is prepared to help find solutions for them.


Thanks for coolmohitz for this idea. Copying this into your /usr/bin directory enables easy proxy authentication for yum without storing your Windows username and password anywhere in .bashrc:


    if [ "$PROXY" == "" ]
    echo "PROXY environment variable not set. Set it now?"
    read -e -p "proxy address and port: http://" PROXY

    read -e -p "proxy username: " username
    read -es -p "proxy password: " password
    export http_proxy="http://$username:$password@$PROXY"
    export ftp_proxy="http://$username:$password@$PROXY"

    echo ""
    while [ "$yumcmd" != "exit" ]
    echo "Type yum commands now ('exit' to terminate):"
    read -e -p "(yum) " yumcmd
    if [ "$yumcmd" != "exit" ]
    yum $yumcmd
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