Click to activate and use this control

30 Apr 2006

, ,

‘Microsoft has recently lost a patent dispute with Eolas Technologies, relating to “automated interactive experience” and the use of plug-ins in web browsers.

As a result Internet Explorer has been modified so users cannot directly interact with ActiveX controls which are loaded by via the APPLET, EMBED, or OBJECT elements. Instead the browser prompts users to “click to activate” before they can access the extra functionality.

This will affect any site which relies on a web-browser’s ability to automatically launch and display content via a plugin such as Flash. At the moment only Internet Explorer has been modified, but other browsers are going to have to follow its path.

Work Arounds
The updated browser only prompts users to activate object, embed and applet tags that are inline in an HTML file. So the webpages use tags which have been generated by external script files (like javascript), will continue to work normally with no change. So any page which is already using javascript to detect the flash plugin (most of mine) should be fine. Not sure how long this state of affairs will continue.

See Also

More fun and games with

23 Mar 2006


Starting to find my way around Asp.Net

I’m setting up a form for “forgotten password”. This is standard enough – give us your email address and we email you your password for the site.

This form has a single-line text input field (enter your email address here) and one button (Send Password). I want the button’s onsubmit event to be fired when if the user types in their email address and then (reasonably enough) presses the Enter key instead of groping for the mouse and clicking the big Send button. Works fine in Firefox, but not in IE. The form posts back, but I don’t get the OnSubmit event

Fix (and an excellent explanation) from the invaluable 4 Guys Obviously enough, I need to add another textbox – and since I don’t want another textbox I’ll make it invisible.

<asp:TextBox runat="server" style="visibility:hidden;display:none;" />

page_load doesn’t fire

22 Mar 2006


The Page_Load event in one of my pages was not firing – I eventually tracked this down to the InitializeComponent function (inside the “Web Form Designer generated code” block) The following line, which should have been automatically generated, was missing :

this.Load += new System.EventHandler(this.Page_Load);

The trouble is that I tend to stay away from the design view and work almost exclusively in the HTML view. And in making a new page, based on an existing one, this vital line was omitted. Much frustration.

It should be a simple query

3 Mar 2006

Get a list of users and the most recent training course they have attended. This should be a very simple query with a sub-select, but I’m using MySQL 3.23 and sub-selects are not available, so queries have to be rewritten using joins. (Sub-selects are available from MySQL 3.24 onwards). Took me a while:

   usertraining as t1
   left join usertraining as t2
   on t1.user_id = t2.user_id and t1.training_date<t2.training_date
   t2.training_date is null

This matches up the training courses. When the date is at its maximum (ie. the most recent) there are no matching dates in the joined table which are greater than that – so the t2 entries for that row are Null – and we use the where clause to pick out exactly those rows.
Another way to do it:

   usertraining as t1
   left join usertraining as t2
   on t1.user_id = t2.user_id
group by
   t1.training_date having t1.training_date = MAX(t2.training_date)
   t2.training_date is null

And of course, to get the user details is then very simple:

    users.*, usertraining.*
   users left join
   usertraining as t1 ON users.user_id = t1.user_id
   left join usertraining as t2
   on t1.user_id = t2.user_id and t1.training_date
   t2.training_date is null

How to waste time when you’re setting up your own business

21 Feb 2006


Trying to decide on a business name is a an incredible distraction, especially when you’re looking for the accompanying domain name. There seem to be three general approaches:

  1. The acronym or the abbreviation. I could become or (although I would have to invent a name to fit that last acronym).
  2. Names which can be pronounced but doesn’t mean anything (yet). I could become, or
  3. Names made by stringing several words together and hoping for the best. These can be vaguely business-like (e.g., or have dubious techie ambitions (e.g., or just be plain silly., and are all available.

For the moment I’ve knocked this on the head, I’m starting up as BronwenReid. Six months down the line I can revisit this, perhaps if I spend too much time spelling out my name to people on the phone.

Don’t try this at home

17 Feb 2006


At the moment I’m looking at every resource I can find on on freelancing. And Anil Dash has some wonderful advice for freelancers who are wondering how much they should charge for their time.

  1. Slap the client in face.
  2. Tell the client your hourly rate.

If the client was more shocked, horrified, offended, hurt, saddened, or wounded by the slap in the face than by the hourly rate, then you are still pricing yourself too low.

Playing nicely with WordPress

9 Feb 2006

I’m not very keen on the wordpress auto-formatting which replaces newlines with html linebreaks; I’ve been using HTML for so long now that I automatically type in the markup I want and (Damnit-Janet) I don’t want to see
unless I put it there myself.

The auto-formatting really should have a disable/enable option, and I’ve been looking at the code to try and understand how the text flows and where it gets formatted.

To turn if off, I have to edit wp-includes\\default-filters.php and comment out the wpautop filter.

// add_filter('the_content', 'wpautop');
// add_filter('the_excerpt', 'wpautop');

But then I have to look at the excerpts and user comments – no quick fixes here.

javascript tree

8 Feb 2006

‘I’ve been using the dtree DHTML script as part of a menu-building tool for clients.
Destroydrop Javascripts Tree Easy to generate the script from a database, which isn’t true of a lot of similar tools.


7 Feb 2006

Playing with wordpress themes. Most of those I’ve found make me think that a graphic designer somewhere is getting a little bit over-excited, and needs to have some quiet time. I had to remove every single image except the header bar out of this theme before I was happy with it. More exploring and experimenting in order.