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Thu, Mar 30, 2006

Oleander Preparing for Spring

My Oleander, which grew from a few centimeters to over two meters despite being placed in a now too small container, is preparing for springtime. Not only does it bud (it does so every year if I fertilize it). But this time it bears fruit - two capsules, to be exact - and they split open a few days ago. Here's the unusual picture of new buds next to old seeds:

Posted by Thomas Much at 23:56
Categories: Flowers & Plants

Wed, Mar 29, 2006

Cloudy Eclipse

Today's solar eclipse, which was only a partial one in Karlsruhe (Germany), was a little bit disappointing as the cloud cover would not open. However, there were a few moments when the sun glanced through the clouds, and that's when I took the following photograph (12:55 CEST, shortly after the maximum phase):

I've published a slightly larger image in my album.

So, this eclipse was in no way comparable to 1999's total eclipse of the sun, where we had blue skies here (but I just stared in wonder and did not take a photograph myself then).

Posted by Thomas Much at 14:50
Categories: Astronomy

Tue, Mar 28, 2006

iCab 3.0.2 Beta 400

On March 24th registered users were notified of a new iCab beta version. Of interest, synchronous XMLHttpRequest calls are supported now, and copy&paste of text into the URL field will filter out line breaks. Otherwise, the release contains lots of bug fixes and small enhancements, according to Alexander's release history:

  • If javascript code tried to access the first child element of a LI element iCab returned the marker element of the list (usually the list bullet) instead of the real child element.
  • Enlarging text selections using Shift-Click will now respect the number of clicks of the initial selection.
  • If the outdated HTTP header <LINK> defines multiple stylesheets, iCab did only load the first one.
  • The CSS rule "quotes: none" didn't work.
  • Redeclaring an element into a "table-row" element (via CSS) didn't work if no table or table-cell was available.
  • The CITE attribute didn't work for the elements INS and DEL if these contained some block elements.
  • Hidden INPUT elements (<input type="hidden">) could be made "visible" with the CSS rule "input { display: block}), which shouldn't happen.
  • Fixed some problems when the CSS property "display" of BODY, HEAD and HTML elements are redefined.
  • If CSS code makes LINK tags visible, iCab will treat these as link if they include a HREF attribute with a references to an external document.
  • If JavaScript code asks for HTTP headers of a XMLHttpRequest call iCab could crash if these headers were extremly long.
  • Modified a workaround for a MacOS bug to fix a layout problem.
  • Opening "data" URLs from within the file manager could freeze iCab.
  • If the FavIcon was loaded "too" fast it could happen that the icon was not shown in the Tabs until the next "Refresh" event for the Tabs.
  • If the FavIcon of a web page was also used as normal image in the same web page, this images was not always scaled to the correct dimensions.
  • When drawing tables which are defined usng the "collapsed border" model, the borders were not shown if no border colors was defined.
  • Switching off the Scrollbars via CSS (for example: "HTML,BODY { overflow:hidden;}") didn't work until now to make sure that the user is always able to access the whole document. Now the option "Always show scrollbars" from the "Page Display" preferences will decide if the page is able to switch off scrollbars this way as well. Until now this option was only used for scrollbars which are switched off through frameset definitions.
  • Normal Downloads can now use long file names under MacOSX
  • Missing OPTION elements in SELECT are no longer added internally to correct the HTML code.
  • Sometimes the FavIcon was only shown a short time.
  • FavIcons smaller than 16x16 pixels won't be scaled to 16x16 anymore.
  • Bugfix for min-width (CSS): if the min-width is larger than the window widths, the element was centered so that the left side of the element was shifted out of the window to the left.
  • When JavaScript code opens a new page within the onmousedown handler in an <A> element whose HREF attributs contains an empty "dummy" JavaScript call, the linked web page won't be opened because the empty javascript call would have overwritten the page request of the onmousedown handler. This is correct behaviour in general, but not what is expected by some web pages here. So empty javascript calls will be now ignored.
  • When opening image in an external applicatio (via contextual menu) and the file name of the image didn't have a file extension, the finder was unable to find an application which is able to open the image. Now iCab tries to find a matching external application itself.
  • When enabling/disabling browser toolbars while an image was displayed, the scrollbars did vanish.
  • If CSS code redeclared a TABLE as "block" which it should still be treated as table, iCab has forgotten to create the now missing table element as anonymous element.
  • German Umlaut characters will now also work when used as "accesskey" in HTML code.
  • Printing framesets didn't work anymore.
  • With Shift-Delete or Shift-BS in the URL location field the currently selected URL from the autocomplete feature can be deleted (it will be deleted in the global history as well).
  • If a badly configured web server delivers an empty Content-Type header, iCab will treat this as "text/html" now, instead of "text/plain".
  • The image zoom feature requires Javascript internally. When JavaScript was switched off, this feature didn't work. Now it will work when JavaScript is disabled as well.
  • The image zoom feature will now alow to enlarge small images.
  • FavIcon images which are not stored in "Icon" format havn't got an alpha channel
  • When loading images and aborting the image loading immediately could cause a crash.
  • 0 bytes in text files with 8 bit text encodings will be now filtered out.
  • Newly visited files will be now added to the global history before they are completely loaded.
  • Now, the RSS-Reader supports some iTunes extensions for podcast feeds.
Posted by Thomas Much at 23:59
Categories: iCab & InScript

Fri, Mar 17, 2006

Network Access is a Security Risk

After I applied Apples' latest Security Update 2006-002 everything went smooth - until this morning. My iMac crashed with a kernel panic before the login screen appeared, so I rebooted my machine and was able to login again. But now the date/time display in the upper right corner of the screen had disappeared, as had all the System's icons in the menu bar (AirPort etc.). Only the application icons (like my RSS reader) were still there. And - worst of all - I had no network access any more.

So I went to the System Preferences to enable the System's menu icons and to set up network access again. But the settings were either disabled (greyed out) or checking the boxes had no effect - they were unchecked again each time you opened the preference pane. Others have the same problem with this security update.

Fixing this was easy, at least for me: After I repaired permissions (once again...) all the icons suddenly reappeared, and the System Preferences were usable again. But, Apple, why did this happen at all? A user-friendly Unix-based operating system in its fifth generation should not have problems with file permissions any more.

[Update] Apple has released version 1.1 of the Security Update 2006-002, so maybe these problems are fixed by now. Any volunteers?

Posted by Thomas Much at 10:21
Categories: Apple & Mac OS X