Archive for July, 2006

Quick site design review - Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Monday, July 31st, 2006

Clicking around on the Web, I came across the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Online site.

The good:
-The colors are bright and cheerful.
-Left menu colors and layout are nice.
-The top nav bar with links to Jobs, Cars, Homes, etc., which isn’t distracting and works with the site.
-Front page is not inundated with visually distracting ads. What a refreshing change.

The not so good:
-Size of the main content table. It’s way too narrow and doesn’t allow for much whitespace at all. The designer has at least 80 more pixels on each side which he or she could use to expand this area.
-Annoying hover image hover behavior. If you mouse over the Top Story photo, the photo moves.
-Display bug in mozilla/camino based browser which causes the right side of the content table to stretch about 30 px to the right.

Neither here nor there:
-I am not sure if a bright red font color and bright red underline are really needed for the active link hover effect.

Overall, It’s a pretty good site.

[tags] Web, Web design, site review, [/tags]

Internet-ted Music Radio

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

So, I’ve started to see this strange referrer in my site logs and it’s pulling my podcast feed.


Http Code: 200 Date: Jul 30 20:10:54 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 26266
Referer: -
Agent: WinHTTP ActiveXperts

The IP address looks a little strange and I do a traceroute of the IP address which gives us seems to be some sort of site that allows one to configure or tune some sort of Internet music appliance with some service called vTuner, an Internet Music player or player software. This page seems to be related to vTuner, but it refers to a Netgear Internet music appliance.

According to Network Solutions,, and are all owned by the same guy.

A quick Google of gives us this Google cached page which gives mac address ranges that you can test off of.

Apparently there’s a station account page available via, you guessed it, Google that allows us to look at the stations that this service has aggregated. What’s even better is that the URL in Google is, but if you click on it from Google, it seems that is redirecting to which is redirecting to the final URL which apparently is part of the vTuner premium service page.

It looks like someone’s robots.txt file needs to be configured at the very least.

[tags] Internet Music service, Internet Music appliance, robots.txt [/tags]

5 Minute Sony Micro PC Review

Sunday, July 30th, 2006

Because I lead such an exciting party filled life I was hanging out at the champagne bars in Philly or perhaps made a hot Saturday night trip to Micro Center. Believe me, it’s easy to get those two activities confused.

Besides ogling the various multimeters on the shelf and getting disenchanted with their book section which was a mess, I did happen to come across a Sony Vaio Micro PC and played with that for a while. I’m definitely in the market for a tiny mobile blogging device, thus my interest in the product.

As for my impression of it. To me it felt like I was using a game controller as a computer. It was a little strange. While you could place your hands on the side to hold the device comfortably, the screen (also a touch screen with a stylus) and keyboard were comparatively tiny - and this is coming from someone with petite hands. The slidable screen, however small, was phenomenally bright and sharp. As for OS, the device I saw had your typical Windows PC software configuration - with Windows XP and a version of Microsoft Office installed.

Honestly, the device and it’s price point didn’t immediately grab me - I would have seriously considered the thing if it cost $800 or so. Also, the MicroCenter special was running at $1,699 - which was only a $100 less than the smallest notebooks and Tablets from Fujitsu.

[tags]Sony, Sony Micro PC, Fujitsu, Hardware, Hardware review, Mobile computing [/tags]

Is there a Newton in this Apple?

Saturday, July 29th, 2006

Agent: Mozilla/6.0 (Macintosh; U; StrongARM Mac OS X; en) AppleWebKitEmbedded/45 (KHTML-Lite, like Gecko) Safari/497

I know who this is, but if they’re *really* using an Apple Newton rather than spoofing the user agent, color me impressed.

[tags]Apple, Apple Newton, Old School Apple Hardware [/tags]

LG-VX9800 as seen on the Web

Friday, July 28th, 2006

The Web browser user agent for the LG-VX9800 phone. Yes, this is the phone I have.

Agent: LGE-VX9800/1.0 UP.Browser/ (GUI) MMP/2.0

[tags] LG, LG-VX9800, Mobile browsing, Mobile Browsers, This cellphone can do the Web [/tags]

Holy death by bullets, Batman

Thursday, July 27th, 2006

So I make it habit to read The Wall Street Journal Online every day because I like the reporting and I find how they present information (i.e. design and layout) interesting. Some I know, disagree with me on their color scheme, but that’s a discussion for another time.

I was reading the Journal this morning and I was trying to figure out why the front page looked so busy. And then it hit me. They added bullets to every headline on the page. Even for headlines in boxes. Now while some bullets are OK, especially when there’s a large amount of text, what the WSJ has going on now is overkill. The WSJ front page looks cluttered and very distracting.

[tags] The Wall Street Journal, WSJ, Web design [/tags]

Internet Explorer 7 on Vista

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

I dunno about you guys, but this certainly looks like the IE 7 on Vista user agent…. anyone know what that MSDigitalLocker is?

Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 6.0; MSDigitalLocker Vista 1.3; SLCC1; .NET CLR 2.0.50727; Media Center PC 5.0; WinFX RunTime 3.0.50727; InfoPath.2; MSOffice 12)

[tags]Microsoft, Vista, Internet Explorer IE 7[/tags]

cleverhack auf Deutsch

Tuesday, July 25th, 2006

My German is a little rusty but I think the thread here said nice things about this blog.

[tags]cleverhack, a clever hack, cleverest hack, clever hack[/tags]

RSS converters, RSS readers and more

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

Some RSS converters and readers… is a handy site which hosts an RSS to Javascript converter. So basically what you can do is configure an RSS feed to be converted and then take the resulting Javascript and include it on your site. Here’s a link to setting up a cleverhack feed on your site. All this site really does is make the Javascript configuration dead simple for the non-Javascript savvy.

Judging from my site logs, apparently EarthLink the ISP offers their own RSS reader. Here’s the user agent:
Agent: myEarthlinkReader/1.0 (; 1 subscribers)

Another user agent I’ve seen in my logs is BASS/2.2. From what I could gather from the homepage, BASS/2.2
BASS is an audio library for use in Windows and Mac OSX software. If it’s merely an audio library, I don’t know why it appeared as a separate user agent though - although the visitor was listening to a podcast mp3 on cleverhack.

[tags]RSS,, RSS Readers, EarthLink, audio library [/tags]

seventh cleverhack podcast

Sunday, July 23rd, 2006

We’re back and back to normal after a power outage earlier this week. The seventh cleverhack podcast covers such topics as Ironman Lake Placid, the Wall Street Journal using Technorati tools, trends in accessibility for the blind on the Web including Google Accessible Web Search and the importance of describing Web site elements correctly via “alt tags”, a discussion of RSS in Web Marketing spurred by Robert Scoble, new music from Cut Chemist, a new Death Cab tour date and some sound effects.

Download Podcast


Saturday, July 22nd, 2006

It being Saturday night, and me, having not much else better to do on Saturday night, decided to comment on Owen’s blog. I hadn’t noticed this before, but Owen has the WordPress favatars plugin installed. This plugin shows a favicon for a blog commenter if the commenter leaves a Web site URL.

This is what you’ll see in your logs when the favicon is being requested as a result of the plugin.

/favicon.ico (favicon file)

Http Code: 200 Date: Jul 22 20:43:05 Http Version: HTTP/1.1 Size in Bytes: 1406

Referer: (blog post with comment)

Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Windows; U; Windows NT 5.1; en-US; rv: Gecko/20060508 Firefox/

[tags]WordPress, WordPress plugins, favatars[/tags]

Hot New Apple Products

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Oh, just think of the poor Apple marketer who was earnestly trying to create buzz for “hot Mac Laptops” via a Google Adsense ad. Unfortunately, when I saw the ad, it made me think of hot Mac Laptops.

a hot mac ad

[tags]Apple, Mac, Web Marketing, Search Engine Marketing [/tags]