Posts By: Michael JasonSmith

Press Releases

I have an idea: a browser plug in that measures the similarity between a page on a news site and a known press release. I doubt that it would have to be very sophisticated: my ol’ favourite TF-IDF algorithm could generate the keywords and compare them to a database of known press releases. Give the… Read more »

GroupServer and HTML Email

title=”Google updates Postini spam engine to stop new JavaScript attacks”>A recent article in Network World made me very glad that GroupServer (and OnlineGroups.Net, by extension) only displays plain-text email messages.1 The problem is this:


I am not sure if Malcolm McLaren is right about failure and creativity in this interview with Andrew Denton― but he provides food for thought. I was taught that to create anything you had to believe in failure, simply because you had to be prepared to go through an idea without any fear. Failure… was… Read more »

The First Review

My earlier post on the Apple iPad discussed how the new device was not a new device: all of the stuff we are excited about is the same paradigm we have had since the 1970s. However, a review in the New York Times gives me hope that the iPad may be more than a new… Read more »

OpenID, Facebook Connect, and the Neglected CardSpace

As a developer of GroupServer, which shares many features with social networking systems, the release of Facebook Connect caught my eye when it caused a buzz on the tech wires. This follows on from the noise whenever a major player — such as Google, Yahoo! or MySpace — announces an OpenID implementation. Unfortunately, I have… Read more »

Thanks from Users

One of the nice things about working in usability is that I do get thanked, in a way: people use what I create. Below is a screen-shot of the front-page topics listing on a GroupServer site — which I have edited to protect the users’ privacy. I was blown away by the sheer volume of… Read more »

Web Accessibility for Individuals with Cognitive Defects

As I am responsible for the user-interface of GroupServer, I am also responsible for its accessibility. I try and follow the accessibility guidelines, but supporting those with cognitive disabilities is something that I avoided looking at in detail: it seems too hard. However, I decided that the time had come to have a look at… Read more »

Mobile Data Speed

The following strikes me as a good exam question for a honours-level networking course. Contrast and compare the new mobile networks being introduced in the Western Pacific: New Zealand, at 14.4Mbps, and Japan, at 250Mbps.

Dumpster Diving

Dan found a Lexmark X215 multifunction printer-copier-scanner-fax in a dumpster. After recovering it, dusting it off, and giving it a try, we found that it was always jamming. Despite my protests that I am not a hardware geek, I ended up taking the machine apart; I found that its Mylar comb, used to guide the… Read more »