Category Archives: Software

This web site now supports HTTP/2 – SPDY

http2I am happy to report that this web site now supports the new HTTP/2 protocol. HTTP/2 was standardised in RFC 7540. For the most tech savvy, they can turn to the Wikipedia entry that describes the protocol with more detail. Suffice to say that it aims at making web sites load faster.

However, there is one requirement that is still difficult to honour for individual, non-commercial sites like this one. HTTP/2 requires the connection between the web server and the browser to be encrypted. For this, one needs a SSL/TLS certificate, which can cost quite some money. Starting 16 November 2015, the Let’s Encrypt project will issue free SSL/TLS certificates, trusted by all browsers. This will be a serious boost for HTTP/2. This web site is part of the Let’s Encrypt Limited Beta, meaning it can already support HTTP/2.

http/2 screenshot

Advice to address book and web form developers

Form exampleI spent the last 30 years of my life in the IT world, and remain puzzled by the assumptions many software developers make about the “correct” format of the names and addresses of people. Not only the small development shops but also the big names like Apple and Google.

Here is a small list of false assumptions:
  • All names and addresses are using US-ASCII: Forget 7 bit-ASCII. We are now using UTF-8 and Unicode, and so is your database if it is less than 20 years old. Even in latin script, accents do matter. They can change the meaning of a word. Replacing non-ASCII characters with question marks is even more insulting.
  • Everyone has a middle name: Not true. This is highly cultural. Do not just assume that a word between first and last names is automatically the middle name.
  • First and last names are one word: Not true. In many cultures, both first and last names can be several words, sometimes linked by a hyphen, but not always. Some can even be very long. Provision your database column width accordingly. And please spare us the mid-sentence capitalisation, like “laFayette” or “LaFayette”. This is irrespectuous if this is not how the person’s name is written.
  • Word case does not matter: Yes, it does. Whether your name is “Lafayette” or “la Fayette” has a different meaning in French, for example. Also: we do not use dot matrix printers anymore. It does not make sense to print names in ALL CAPS, as if you were shouting.
  • First name is always before last name: Not true again. In fact, British English uses the more adequate concept of given name and surname. In some countries, it is customary to have the surname before the given name.
  • Everyone has a salutation/title: Yes, everyone has a salutation. However, some people have multiple titles. “Herr Professor Doktor” or “Hr. Pr. Dr.” is perfectly valid, and should fit into your form.
  • Everyone has a suffix to his/her name: Well, not everyone. However, do not make assumptions on what it can be. There is more than just “Esq”, “PhD” or “MD”.
  • Every country has regions/states/provinces/departments/Länders: They usually do, only that they do not always need to be mentioned on correspondence.
  • Postal codes always follow the city or state name: No. They often precede the city name.

Surely, there are other assumptions I missed. Please contribute in the comments.

Mac OS X Lion first impressions

I have been using Mac OS X Lion for two days now. This is fresh enough to remember the issues I encountered when installing. Read more »

Google Analytics for WordPress – IPv6 version

Ahead of the World IPv6 dayAPNIC has launched an useful initiative to collect statistics regarding IPv6 connectivity. If you are interested in testing your clients’ IPv6 capabilities, you can use the APNIC Labs Google Analytics Tracking Code. This allows you to test your customers’ experiences connecting to your website via IPv4, IPv6, and dual-stack. Read more »

GLD-NG, a greylisting daemon for Postfix

GLD-NG is a new project I started on Sourceforge.  My goal was to aggregate the features I found most interesting in other greylisting software. Greylisting is a very effective technique to fight spam, especially the one originating from zombie PCs controlled by spambots.

What is gld-ng ?

gld-ng stands for GreyList Daemon, new generation. gld-ng is a standalone policy delegation server for Postfix that implements greylisting. It is based on the GLD project, originated by Salim Gasmi.
Read more »