I voted today to expand the RSS Advisory Board to 15 members and choose them privately. After serving on the board when it was private and not exceptionally well-regarded by the RSS community, I think it's extremely important to operate in the open. However, the requirement to publicly evaluate and vote on new members chases off anyone who isn't completely flame-retardant. One prospective member with years of experience in RSS development withdrew his name from consideration when he realized the vote would be ... read more

Michael Arrington, the publisher of TechCrunch and the human router at the center of Web 2.0, questions the work I did for Dave Winer on Weblogs.Com: I was part of the weblogs.com transaction and was also very dissapointed with Rogers Cadenhead's performance. I have no information on the second part of the dispute. Arrington was Winer's attorney on that project. I have no idea what he's referring to here, and he hasn't returned an e-mail on the subject. The entirety of our relationship was a few cordial e-mails ... read more

I've added a new tool to the RSS Advisory Board site that makes it easier to test different Really Simple Syndication element and attribute values in the Feed Validator. RSS Playground uses a sample RSS document as a starting point, letting you change the values and create a new document that will remain online for 72 hours. I used the tool this afternoon to see what the Feed Validator does when it encounters a feed containing RFC 2822 date-time values. Because this tool's being used to support ongoing development ... read more

Earlier this week, Mozilla Firefox developer Darin Fisher announced that test builds of the browser include support for click pings, an experimental new HTML feature that makes it easier for web sites to track clicks on outgoing links: I'm sure this may raise some eye-brows among privacy conscious folks, but please know that this change is being considered with the utmost regard for user privacy. The point of this feature is to enable link tracking mechanisms commonly employed on the web to get out of the critical ... read more

Shelley Powers believes that well-known female technologists are less likely to find themselves in Wikipedia than their male counterparts: Why are there significantly fewer women? I think one reason is that we women are taught not to put ourselves forward. Men are complimented for tooting their own horn; making known their wishes; noting their own accomplishments. Women, however, are expected to be sweet, demure, and most of all, stay ever so slightly in the shadow. My take on her observation is that men are more ... read more

A few weeks ago, I mistakenly believed that I had closed a PHP mail form vulnerability that let spammers use my web server to send mail. Another batch of penis enlargement and phentermine pitches were sent through my server last night, which I discovered when "rejected bulk e-mail" bounces found their way to me. A spammer exploited a mail script I had written that coded the recipient address like this: $recipient = "info@ekzemplo.com"; I thought the script was secure because users couldn't change the recipient. As ... read more

I just launched the web site for Sams Teach Yourself Programming with Java in 24 Hours, my 21st computer book since I began writing them in 1996. I'm not sure how this happened. I went to college to learn interpretive dance. This is the fourth edition of the book, updated to cover Java 2 version 5. I wrote the first in a 17-day haze in 1997, covering Java 1.1 and its class library, which is less than one-tenth the size of the Java 2 class library today. Over the years, the book has grown to 558 pages and been ... read more