More of the same?


The American date format must die. Horribly. With pitchforks and fire.

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous — Tags: , , — _ds_ @ 23:50

Actually, so must our own. Today, for example, is 27/12/2014. Next Saturday is 3/1/2015, unless you’re American (or, evidently, Taiwanese or Chinese, if computer BIOSes are anything to go by), in which case it’s 1/3/2015 – which looks like 3 March to me.

Such formats are fine if they’re used where they won’t be misread.

WordPress uses this format inappropriately. This article was, according to them, “published on 12/27/2014 23:50”. Okay, that one happens to be unambiguous, but I’d be happier if that date were shown as “27/12/2014” (which is correct for where I am) or, better, “2014-12-27”.

Let’s all use ISO 8601 and avoid this mess!



FAIL: servers with IPv6 addresses, but only accessible over IPv4

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous — Tags: , , , , , , — _ds_ @ 04:02

Okay. Fun situation. A possibly-interesting web site has a hostname, let’s say That hostname has two IP addresses, as follows:

$ host has address has IPv6 address 2001:db8:dead:beef::3

(Yes, I’m using unroutable examples. I did consider using actual hostnames and addresses.)

It’s listening on IPv4 only, probably because admin don’t know about IPv6 or it’s blocked as not being TCPv4, UDPv4 or ICMPv4 or something silly like that.

Now, add in a lack of browser (or proxy) fallback to IPv4 – don’t assume that this isn’t intentional! – and watch what happens…

Connection to 2001:db8:dead:beef::3 failed. The system returned (110) Connection timed out

Confirming that it’s not listening on IPv6:

$ telnet -4 80
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.

telnet> Connection closed.
$ telnet -6 80 & sleep 60; kill %1
[1] 6942
Trying 2001:db8:dead:beef::3...

Whoops. Basically, fail.

Needless to say, traceroute6 works at least part of the way.

I see this (potentially) becoming a common problem as IPv6 spreads but admin (for example) simply don’t consider IPv6… they really need to make sure that their sites or services work properly regardless of whether the client uses IPv4 or IPv6 since, sooner or later, IPv4 is going to become Fun™ to use (consider carrier-grade NAT) and will eventually be of historical interest only.

I tried emailing the perpetrators of two such sites. One ignored me and the other doesn’t have a working webmaster@ address – which is another fail in its own right.


What’s wrong with Google+ on Android…?

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous, Mobile, Software — _ds_ @ 02:45

What I don’t like about the ‘new’ +Google+ UI, having just upgraded downgraded from the last version for Android which supported Incoming (due to them finally having switched it off):

  • Circles menu is… inconvenient.
    • Being able to select which circles are shown there is useful, particularly if you have many. Alternatively, being able to mark some as ‘important’ (regarding placement in that menu) would work – and I include the pseudo-circles in this.
  • Pictures and videos are initially confusing, being above the name and posting text.
    • In portrait mode, they look like they’re associated with the content immediately above.
    • In landscape mode, the avatar and name appear misplaced.
    • The avatar shouldn’t overlap them – as is, it looks bad. I’d put it, name, date etc. above.
  • The avatar looks bad.
    • It should match desktop browser G+, i.e. not clipped to a circle.
  • In landscape mode:
    • Posting arrangement is strange. Should be vertical.
    • Notifications are badly placed. I didn’t find them until I saw the side menu in portrait mode.
    • Viewing a single thread makes bad use of the available space.
      • Here, it’s restricted in width to the height of the display (more or less). It needs to use the full width of the display (which, here, is 800×480).
    • Adding a comment doesn’t work well.
      • This is due to the above thread view limitation.
      • Portrait mode is better for display reasons, but this makes soft keyboard rather more awkward (narrow buttons).
      • Strangely, given this, making a new posting works as well as it previously did in landscape mode.
  • Nothing to indicate that there’s more text in a posting (in the stream view).
  • Still no indication of struck-through text.
  • No scroll bar in the stream view? Weird.
  • ‘Swipe to switch circles’ is missing.
  • ‘What’s Not’ is present.
  • Incoming is missing (but I expected that).
    • I don’t expect to go through each and every ‘not yet in circles’ profile to see what’s there – that’s what Incoming’s for.

The UI in the last version for Android to support Incoming works. It’s nice and clean. This one’s… less clean.

I’ve reported most of this little lot via the G+ feedback page (in smaller chunks due to the paltry 500-character limit). Hopefully we’ll see some improvements, including the return of Incoming. But somehow I think that that’s not going to happen…

Finally, according to the ‘city-level’ location, I’m in Northern Europe. While technically true, it often makes attaching my location rather less than useful.


Google+ – Incoming not merely hidden, but completely removed?

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous, Mobile, Software — _ds_ @ 22:58
Android G+ screenshots showing nothing found

Screenshots from the last Android Google+ app to support Incoming, showing “no posts found” (but there should be content). Taken on 2012-08-31.

Seems that Google+ have decided to cut off all but Nearby for those of us who still have the last version (on Android) to support Incoming.

This is Bad and Wrong.

Now I can’t easily and conveniently dip in and see what people who’ve circled me (but I’ve not circled back) are posting. There was a suggestion of looking at each individual profile to see what’s posted, but that’s repetitive, time-consuming and error-prone.

I might have decided to see what’s being shared for a while after being circled (i.e. not just what’s public) before deciding what to do. Incoming allowed this in a convenient way.

Well done, Google+, for removing useful stuff

I am now forced to downgrade to a newer version of the Android G+ app if I want something which works.

(Also, scrapbook pictures. Yes, I use them. No, I will not choose to use cover images instead. Yes, I want to use them on one of my pages, but somehow that got downgraded to cover image and I can’t revert that – THAT IS JUST PLAIN BROKEN.)

(You may pretend that the above text is liberally padded with expletives. That would be a lot closer to what I’m thinking.)


Demonic mail breakage

Filed under: FAIL, Miscellaneous — Tags: , , , , , , , , — _ds_ @ 20:05

From the Demon Internet blog:

We recently told you that we’ll be migrating customers with Demon email services to a brand new, Microsoft Exchange based email platform. That time is almost here!

It is important that you regularly check the Demon Blog, the Demon Forum and the Demon Knowledgebase as we will use these to post the latest information about how the migration is going and how it may affect you.

Shortly we will be sending you important information that will enable you to migrate your email service. To ensure that you receive this information it’s essential that you can accept email to your Demon Postmaster email address (, as this is the address we will use to communicate important information such as your login details and migration date.

For the record, Demon’s current mail system has a rather unique extension in that you can collect all mail for your domain (domain) via POP3 but with envelope information intact. You can also collect for a specific local part (user+domain), again via POP3. In the absence of SMTP delivery (which I’d prefer), this is Quite Useful.

Problem is that they’re planning to break this useful working setup with an off-the-shelf Exchange system. Which requires that local parts are registered, else it ends up in ‘administrator’ and, it seems, without envelope information so that it can not be properly delivered.

There’s been a lot of debate in the demon.announce newsgroup about this.

I’ve responded to it as follows. I’m reproducing the text here, initially in case it was moderated away; and it has been.


I sometimes use finger to see what mail’s waiting.

I use arbitrary local parts in my email addresses. If I add a new one, then adding it to /etc/aliases should be sufficient – and, indeed, currently is. This is good. It’s simple, it works, why break it by requiring registration of local parts for which you want envelope information to be kept? For a start, it requires information to be kept in at least two places, and in different formats. (And if the registration page doesn’t work in a text-only browser and requires access via my Demon account, then it isn’t always going to be POSSIBLE to register a new local part when I create it.)

The corollary of this is that envelope information for ‘unregistered’ email addresses will be thrown away. This is just plain broken.

The current email setup is fine. It works. It does what I want. It’s part of the service FOR WHICH I’M PAYING.

The new one, from what I’ve read, doesn’t.

… with a followup, because another point was made in demon.service:

Also, what’s up with posting to demon.announce and/or demon.service? There are a good few of us who read these newsgroups.

And I wasn’t really aware of this ‘blog until I caught up with reading demon.service, and I’m unlikely to check what I’m unaware of (or, for that matter, go out of my way to read something in some place when there’s been a good method of communicating with us there for YEARS).

(Incidentally, the text box in which I’m typing this is too wide: part of it is obscured by the right-hand column of this page.)

They’re now advertising it as an improvement. I’m thinking about migrating to some other ISP – preferably one which still has some clue.

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