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March 27, 2007

Casino Royale on DVD and Blu-Ray

Filed under: Death,Film — see @ 7:53 pm

More or less the day after it came out I got the DVD of Casino Royale, the lastest Bond movie. I was pleasently surprised when it came out last year in the cinema, saw it only once though, guess due to lack of time. So I was quite eager to get the DVD, also because I assumed the extras are as good as the ones on the older Bonds which are about the best DVD extras you can get (Lord of the Rings is fine too, but almost too much…).

Watching the film on DVD is still good but the quality of the DVD picture is not what a good film like this deserves. I noticed during the opening titles that the whole picture is not as sharp as it could be (compaired to other DVDs). The sound is ok, but the picture is really not good.

I have thought before a company which produces Blu-Ray discs (and a BD player/gamestation ;) would not be too eager to produce DVDs as good as technically possible and this seems exactly what happens. The review of both the DVD and Blu-Ray version on german DVD magazine AreaDVD (see google…) sadly affirmed this thought.
The review says that both versions have a strange coloring (so no winner here, but still not a good reference to the DVD producer) but the DVD is really NOT sharp, the BD is…

I know BD being HD should have a sharper picture but a DVD can be better. I guess it makes more sense for a BD and DVD producer to hype BDs, still not good style…

The whole HD thing is quite annoying already. Having copy protection which is only a hassle for me as I do not copy DVDs or CDs at all but like to have the best quality which for example with a copy protected CD is certainly not what I get, maybe even another region code madness (which AFAIK is in the pipeline at least for BD), 2 different HD formats (HD-DVD and BD), expensive players and discs and now it seems DVD gets worse quality just to be able to promote HD better…

BTW, the DVD extras are just lame, nothing compared to the really interesting features on the older Bond films. Maybe I should have bought the single disc version (but of course I got the 2 Disc Special Edition). Maybe next time I should wait for a review first…

March 8, 2007

cookies and other types of client side storage

Filed under: Web — see @ 7:30 pm

Being a kind of webdeveloper myself makes me not really afraid of cookies. On the other hand knowing what is possible with cookies and maybe more with user tracking and the like makes one aware of at least possible dangers.

c’t magazine has an interesting article about all kinds of client side storage, namely simple cookies (not dangerous, although possible to track people), Flash cookies, Firefox SuperCookies (strange and unnessecary, not expected from Mozilla developers, the whole WhatWG Spec seems weird) and IEs userData. For demos see this page which is in german though.

Just to be a little more safe I disabled Flash storage which is not easy as you need to use the Adobe/Macromedia Flash Player Settings Manager. I also disabled Firefox’ SuperCookies by setting to false in about:config. I also disabled HTTP referers by setting network.http.sendRefererHeader to 0. IE is not a real threat as I do only use it to develop sites I work on or Windows Update…
Another hassle is that you need to do all these customizations for all users on your PC. As I use about 3 different users most of the time this means setting the stuff 3 times :(

Well, at least I hope I am able to make life a bit more difficult for trackers, thinking to surf safe is a bit naive though I guess…

March 3, 2007

Ajax history

Filed under: Javascript,Programming,XML,XSLT — see @ 12:10 pm

I added Ajax functionality to parts of my showcase website namely to most of the galleries (like the photo or portrait gallery) a while ago. The galleries are build using a simple homegrown gallery XML format which is rendered with XSLT. Adding the Ajax functionality was not very difficult, I use the fine JQuery library for that. (I still have to migrate my own scripts of the past years to use JQuery which should make most of them obsolete but also easier to use and also much shorter ;) .

Adding a working browser history to it was not as easy as expected though. I simply did not understand how to bring the available JQuery history plugins to work. The whole matter is not easy but not too difficult and to better understand what is going on I decided to build my own history (but still using JQuery of course).

First try was to use the URL hash method which does work perfectly on Firefox, but not on IE (for reasons query Google for “ajax history”, several interesting sites describe the problems much better than I can). The “hack” using dynamic built iframes does work xbrowser (at least Firefox and IE, Safari is a different beast [as far as I understand no working possibility yet at all], I did not test Opera yet) so I changed the implementation to use iframes instead.

It does work now, only missing bit is bookmarking which would be possible if I added the URL hash in addition to the iframe hacking. I may add it in the future, it is not a very important issue for the use case on the galleries though as they are too simple to actually need bookmarking on single works in one gallery (there is always an overview). More applicationary sites would need that though.

BTW, during testing I found a bug (at least I think it is one) in JQuery which was very hard to track down. Most people probably won’t be affected by it but for people using REST it might be quite relevant.

Basically IE below version 7 seems to use POST for all Ajax requests if initialized with the wrong ActiveX control. The servlet I wrote for my galleries implements GET only so it resulted in a “Method not implemented” HTTP error which I never saw before (as most servlets use the same implementation for GET and POST, which is even recommended by most books but maybe it is not too intelligent anymore) and did not know where it may came from. Tracking it down was not easy as I normally use all the fine Firefox plugins like Firebug or LiveHTTPheaders which simple are of no use debugging IE ;)
But I came accross Fiddler some time ago which actually tracks all HTTP traffic on a PC. So after checking that I saw that IE used POST for its Ajax requests which of course failed on a servlet implementing GET only…

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