Thursday, April 1, 2010


More and more I'm starting to use different browsers for different purposes. Opera is nice because it allows fine control over scripting on a per site basis. For example, at, I can shut off most of the advertising but still use most of the site's features. I especially like this for Blackboard, however.

Blackboard is a commercial course management system. Essentially, it's bloatware loaded with features that I can't imagine many people use, but they persist because, apparently, someone uses each. One of the unfortunate features of Blackboard is that when entering data in a text area, it starts a Java application. Yes, an application, not an applet. For some inexplicable reason, Blackboard wants to run an application with full user privileges on my PC. This is even harder to understand, since disallowing execution seems to have no effect on Blackboard functionality. It's probably innocuous, but as a matter of policy, why subject all the data on my PC to Blackboard's whims and bugs? Plus, what, if anything, are the software folks at Blackboard thinking?

Firefox generates a warning, but doesn't remember negative decisions. It allows one to always trust a site, but not to always distrust a site. Strange.

Opera, though, now knows to never run Java at So far, this is causing no problems, and so Opera is now my browser of choice for Blackboard.

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