I wrote a PHP script that accepts e-mail from web site visitors using a feedback form. The script works with different sites, routing mail to the right inbox with a hidden field on the form: The who field doesn't specify an e-mail address, because that would be easy pickings for spammers. They crawl the web looking for e-mail scripts that can be configured to send e-mail to any recipient they specify. Instead, my script was written to send mail only to accounts on my server: $recipient = $_REQUEST['who']; if ... read more

I recently finished writing Sams Teach Yourself Programming with Java in 24 Hours, the fourth edition of an introductory book for Java programmers, which comes out in around two weeks. I've been given wide editorial license with the book, so it contains unusual projects like Lottorobics, a lottery simulation applet that demonstrates why "Win the Lotto" is a terrible retirement plan. The new edition adds chapters on XML and XML-RPC that use XOM and Apache XML-RPC, two great open source class libraries for Java. ... read more

Henri Bergius has incorporated code from my Weblog Pinger Library for PHP into the Midgard Content Management System. This represents a Sally Field moment for me, the first time that any code I've written has made its way into another project thanks to an open source license. I'm going to celebrate my increased geek cred by buying something like this. ... read more

Because so many copyright holders offer files legally over BitTorrent, some experts believe the file-sharing technology will survive the inevitable scrutiny of the courts. As Ed Felton notes, creator Bram Cohen has frequently promoted the legal non-infringing use of his creation. Stories about Cohen frequently cite his good intentions: Cohen denies that he wrote BitTorrent with the intent to assist piracy and says he is the last guy you would ever find stealing digital content. A recently discovered mission ... read more

Microsoft has abandoned six million developers with its decision to end mainstream support for Visual Basic 6, Karl E. Peterson writes in the current Visual Studio: There are millions of existing VB6 and VBA applications; this alone constitutes a compelling reason to ensure support for these applications on existing platforms. Otherwise, the authors of these applications have no means to use new platform features and no reason to encourage their customers to adopt the new Microsoft platforms. Robert Scoble and Dan ... read more

As a Java devotee, I grimace whenever language inventor James Gosling expounds to the press on the subject of open source. In a story noting the 10th birthday of Java, Gosling said, "We did do it as close to open source as you could and still be a corporation." Last month, Gosling responded to an Apache proposal to create an open source version of Java with puzzlement: It's often difficult to get a good picture from the open source community of what they actually object to in what we're doing. In what way could we ... read more

A reader laments the difficulty of writing programs in a plain-vanilla text editor: I have a question that I can't seem to frame correctly. It relates to my inability to format nested punctuation (in any language, on any day). I would dearly love to see a quasi-visual editor which replaces the {{ ... }} with nested shading, and bold type used to identify classes, italics for variables, etc. etc. It clearly calls for a different approach to the text-bound, linear approach to coding. What would such a beast be ... read more