Thursday, September 24, 2009

Dreaded winmail.dat

There's long been a problem with Outlook, which rather than using standard attachment syntax, uses something called winmail.dat. It's another example of Microsoft intentionally not playing well with others. In the past, if a student has sent me a winmail.dat attachment, I've simply told the student to try again with something not Microsoft-proprietary.

I got a winmail.dat this morning from a co-worker, and rather than just say "try again," I decided to spend a few minutes on the problem (or pointy-haired opportunity). There's a site that seems to do a good job of extracting files from winmail.dat files:

There are privacy issues here. Should one send personal, or work-related, or student-generated content to a third-party web site?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Shawano News and Liquor

As near as I can tell, Shawano News and Liquor no longer exists. 4 or so decades ago, it was the only bookstore in Shawano, WI. They sold other stuff, too. I remember browsing the shelves as a kid and the woman who managed the store (who I think was a Moede, and related to my great grandmother) told me that part of the store was for adults. I told her I could read pretty well, but she still shooed me out of there. Now I think she wasn't concerned about the reading level per se.

Blocking Referer Page

By default, browsers tell servers what page they're coming from, i.e., the page on which the link to the page was clicked. The justification for this is hazy--I can't imagine why I would want to give this information to any server.

I used to use RefControl to block referring information (note the HTTP spelling is referer[sic]). Unfortunately, the current version of RefControl doesn't work with Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/2009090216 Ubuntu/8.04 (hardy) Firefox/3.0.14, so I went in search of something that would work. I tried No-Referer and Refspoof, neither of which appear to work at all.

A little Googling led to the Web Developer Toolbar, which does successfully block the referring page. It's a bit heavier weight than I wanted, but it works, and it does have other features I may use over time.

Check to see if your referer information is shared.