Google Static Maps in a feed: Referer problem

June 7th, 2008

I've successfully embedded Google Static Maps in an RSS feed that I'm working on, and it displays great in standalone feed readers. Unfortunately, if someone tries to subscribe to my feed using a web-based reader/aggregator (such as Google Reader), my images don't show up. Presumably, the referer of the aggregator website is sent to, which rejects the request as not matching my API key.

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No-hassle IE movie embedding

October 5th, 2007

Due to a lawsuit by Eolas against Microsoft, Internet Explorer (both 6 and 7) is not allowed to auto-load movies, flash, and other plugins. The effect is that users must click an empty area with a gray outline to load the content or start interacting with it. The standard approach to route around this usability fiasco is to dynamically load the <object> and <embed> tags with javascript. Here I present an easier, more readable, and unobtrusive technique for embedding content in IE6 and IE7.

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Login screen crashes after Edgy Eft upgrade (solution)

October 28th, 2006

After upgrading Ubuntu Linux from Dapper Drake to Edgy Eft, I found that the login screen would malfunction with the message "The greeter application appears to be crashing. Attempting to use a different one." A different login screen would appear (which worked just fine), but it was still irritating.

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Keep those fullstops out of filepaths

June 24th, 2005

I discovered an interesting bug in Firefox today. While working up a layout for a new design, I created a directory with the design version number in it, "1.5". Upon viewing the page in Firefox, I discovered that the relatively linked stylesheet was not being applied. Amazingly it worked as expected in IE. (Well, except for the box model, and the margin:auto, etc.) I half-heartedly searched google and for similar issues. I reinstalled firefox and disabled some extensions. I did a virus scan (some other programs had been acting up). No dice.

And then I did what I should have done in the first place: I blamed myself, not the program -- and replaced the period with an underscore. Everything works fine now. Except IE, needless to say.