Gowalla’s Misleading “Follow Friends” Page

Recent­ly I got a Nexus One, which had me curi­ous to dis­cov­er the val­ue (if any) of loca­tion-shar­ing appli­ca­tions like Foursquare and Gowal­la. I had dor­mant accounts for both, and decid­ed to see who among my con­tacts were actu­al­ly using these things. I imag­ined not many.

Foursquare’s friend find­er was straight­for­ward and I was able to add three or four peo­ple. Gowal­la’s, on the oth­er hand, mis­led me into send­ing an invite to all 947 peo­ple in my Google con­tacts. This includes peo­ple I bought stuff from on Craigslist; old boss­es; old girl­friends; co-work­ers; prob­a­bly even prospec­tive employ­ers.

The trick was in mim­ic­k­ing a fair­ly stan­dard “Step 2” for­mat for these types of func­tions. It appears that I’m being pre­sent­ed two choic­es here: the first, to begin fol­low­ing only those con­tacts who are already on Gowal­la; the sec­ond, to send invite emails to all checked names in the list.

Instead, both but­tons do exact­ly the same thing. So when I clicked the but­ton at the top, an email was sent to every per­son on that list. There was no pop-up win­dow telling me, “You are about to send an email to 947 peo­ple. Con­tin­ue?”

For­tu­nate­ly I had­n’t used my full name on my pro­file; the email peo­ple received came from no-reply@gowalla.com or some­thing sim­i­lar; and I delet­ed my pro­file as soon as I real­ized what had hap­pened. So hope­ful­ly I was­n’t as incrim­i­nat­ed as I may have oth­er­wise been. I know I roll my eyes when­ev­er a friend has fall­en for an obvi­ous trap like that. And I like to think I’m pret­ty good at spot­ting these tricks. But this lay­out is out­right decep­tive.

Opera Border Radius in 2010?

Opera has been maybe the most stan­dards-con­scious brows­er over its life­time. This has result­ed in frus­tra­tion among users, who believe it to be “bro­ken” because it does­n’t ren­der lazy code cor­rect­ly — code that takes advan­tage of the for­give­ness of oth­er browsers, allow­ing you to write slop­pi­ly and get away with it.

But it has also result­ed in frus­tra­tion among web devel­op­ers, who are impa­tient at Oper­a’s reluc­tance to adopt any stan­dards that haven’t been laser-etched into plat­inum tablets down in the W3C’s base­ment foundry. Among them is the bor­der-radius prop­er­ty, an effect that will prob­a­bly be out of vogue any­way by the time Oper­a’s Presto engine imple­ments it. Of course, since CSS3 has been kicked around the W3C offices since 1999, and bor­der-radius itself since 2001, most oth­er engines (Gecko, WebKit, KHTML) stopped wait­ing and began invent­ing their own prop­er­ties for this effect. Presto has not.

In the course of remind­ing myself of this lam­en­ta­ble fact by search­ing for workarounds today, I noticed that some Opera devel­op­ers are casu­al­ly drop­ping hints that the full-blown, unqual­i­fied, W3C-craft­ed bor­der-radius itself has made an appear­ance in Presto 2.3, and that the next ver­sion of Opera will be pow­ered by 2.4.

It’s all true, I saw it on Twit­ter.

Google using inline CSS?

With only one font-fam­i­ly? And it’s Ari­al? The nerve!

<td class=bubble rowspan=2 style="font-family:arial;text-align:left;font-weight:bold;padding:5 0"><b>Celebrating 5 years of Gmail</b></td>

I don’t have Ari­al installed, so this shows up as my default serif, because they don’t even both­er to include the gener­ic ‘sans-serif’ font-fam­i­ly.

Ta-Da

I’d been mean­ing to teach myself enough css, php, and sql to final­ly use Word­Press, a pow­er­ful, flex­i­ble blog­ging util­i­ty, cer­tain­ly more­so than Blog­ger. The process was faster than I had expect­ed, and I’m real­ly pleased with the results and look­ing for­ward to Word­Press’ poten­tial. Com­pare to my hind­sight­ed­ly hideous Blog­ger site. Yuck.

The migra­tion was easy enough, but the cus­tomiza­tion could­n’t have been pos­si­ble with­out these sites:

…and of course all the Word­Press doc­u­men­ta­tion and codex.

Like I said, there’s still much XHTML inva­lid­i­ty, due entire­ly to Blog­ger, but I’ll be fix­ing this slow­ly (stan­dards, stan­dards, stan­dards). Some for­mat­ting quirks I’ll be iron­ing out as well, so there may be vary­ing degrees of gar­bling in the near future. I could say more, but I won’t, but I will say, “If you’ve thought about switch­ing to Word­Press, do it, if for no oth­er rea­son than that you’ll learn so much about css and php in the process.”