Relative vs. Absolute Paths: Which Way To Go?

A quick search for relative links and image references in my most volumous blog yields about 3000 hits. Switching them to absolute ones is one click away, but it’s no different the other way round: a simple search and replace for about 1700 hits of absolute paths. So which way should I go?

I don’t see myself moving domains in the foreseeable future, but for me relative paths do have the advantage of being shorter to write when making links and such by hand — that’s the reason for the (almost) 2:1 ratio of relative vs. absolute figures I mentioned. Therefore it’s likely I’ll keep using them even if I now switch the ones I’ve produced hitherto into absolute ones. So I’d have to do this change again at intervals, for all the new links.

But it’s the same if I went the other way: despite choosing to use relative paths I’d still occasionally pick up links local to my domain using copy and paste, resulting in absolute paths. Anyhow, I don’t think the occasional cleanup chore would be too troublesome either way to warrant not going through with unifying my policy at this point.

I probably would have gone relative already, if it didn’t hinder direct duplication of hypertext from one site to another. If you bring up the source code for what you see on a web page in order to copy it onto another as such, with links and all, you’ll find out it doesn’t work once the server changes. The relative paths have to be changed into absolute ones before it will.

I wouldn’t want my site to have that hindrance, because I find it highly annoying myself when duplicating material from places such as Wikipedia. From what I understand, they probably do this because it saves capacity on such a high-profile site. Yet others, worried for their material being exploited, do it for the precise purpose of obstructing the free flow of information.

I have neither of those concerns, so going absolute doesn’t pose problems — apart from being cumbersome to use, when crafting markup manually, as I usually like to do. So both ways have very strong arguments going for and against them.

I’d like to have a policy I could stick to, because having to stop and wonder about the practice used in each link I write irks me. From a practical point of view however, the mixed solution I’ve used in the past seems like the most natural and sensible one: to let the circumstances pick the practice in each case. Nevermind the ideal of adhering to a strict policy.

YouTube updates

After YouTube’s/Google’s latest update I was offered the possibility to link my Google account to my YouTube account. There was banner with a link at the top of YouTube’s front page for this.

The update broke downloading of YouTube videos. This also means I can no longer get shows from YouTube into Miro.


Tietokoneella rennosti istuva, snorkkelipäinen heppu

Olet 80-luvun kasvatti!

Olet kasvanut eri tietokonesukupolvien myötä. Hallitset koneen ja verkon peruskäytön. Osaat myös kaivaa esille tarvitsemasi tiedon sekä varata netistä lomamatkasi. Haluat pysyä ajan hermolla, mutta viimeisimmät verkkotrendit sujahtavat ohi ymmärryksesi tai kuulet niistä vasta sanomalehtien kertomana. Olet todennäköisesti Facebookin kanta-asiakas.

46 % testin tehneistä on 80-luvun kasvatteja. […] Pisteidesi perusteella muita sinua lähellä olevia Verkkominä-profiileja ovat meseteini ja supernörtti.

Verkkominä-testi via Matkalla

Facebook? Yäääh…

Enkä todellakaan lukenut mudkipistä mistään sanomalehdestä.

Anticipating Google Chrome

On paper, Google’s Chrome seems to have some nice features going for it. Design ideas I like about it, featured either in the comic or the blog post:

  • It’s open source.
  • The importance of stability. Although I’ve had no serious problems with Firefox either (after I ditched Adobe’s flash), making stability one of the selling points instead of just something implied, is definitely something I welcome.
  • Speed. This was one of the biggest reasons I initially switched from IE to Firefox, but since then Firefox has taken on so much extra baggage that it has become unbearable for me, and caused me to switch to Epiphany.
  • The sweet spot between too many features and too few sounds golden. Like I said, I’ve switched to Epiphany, and I made the choice mainly because the design philosophy behind it reflects this marriage of simplicity with the most important features.
  • Linux and Mac versions underway in addition to the Windows version. Definitely a plus, although we’ve perhaps even come to expect this from Google.

Things I’m on the fence about:

  • It’s said to be designed from the perspective of modern web applications. Whether this is good or not depends on how it’s engineered. If it has resulted in less bloat than traditional browsers’ evolutional codebase, even with the advertised increased performance, I’m all for it. Then again, maybe they’ve just re-invented the wheel. Which, of course, isn’t necessarily bad for the user, just a waste of time.
  • Security. Apart perhaps from IE, I think modern browsers are pretty secure, and the overwhelmingly worst threat lies not with them, but between the keyboard and the chair. Of course, not all users are equal, and perhaps a paranoidly secure browser is helpful for users too innocent for their own good on the web, but I like to be in control myself and am easily angered by software attempting to out-smart people using it. Which is what a browser with a wrong idea about the user’s abilities inevitably does.
  • The multi-process design. It seems like a radical solution, which may be revolutionary, or just a dead end. Either way, I’m very happy to see them experiment this way.
  • The privacy mode. In itself, it’s a good thing, but if it has resulted in lack of privacy for the normal mode, it’s a mistake. But privacy-wise I think the bar has been set so low by the current generation of browsers that they should be easily beat at this.

Things I dislike about it:

  • It’s from Google. They’re not necessarily evil, but I dislike any player who’s gotten too big, and when it comes to the web, Google definitely qualify. However, the power of open source is strong enough to counter this point: because they’re not locking users in with Chrome, it doesn’t matter what I think about them. What matters is the product and how good or bad is it in other respects, so I could scratch this point entirely.
  • Only a Windows version available so far. I’ll have to use virtualization to get my hands on it!
  • The Omnibox. I cannot put into words how much I despise Firefox’s AwesomeBar; it was the tipping point for me, finally causing the switch to Epiphany. They’re saying this is nothing like it, but I’ll have to see it to believe it. Until then I’m marking it as a minus.

How do I learned new language?

I’m surprised that Wikimedia Foundation hasn’t yet expanded into providing language learning material, apart from Wiktionary, of course. I reckon that basic, “101”-type course material for self-teaching always follows an easily applicable template, no matter what the language, and that there would be plenty of multilingual Wikipedians eager to contribute to such courses.

There doesn’t seem to be too much open source software for such self-teaching either, for that matter. I see a couple of drilling utilities in the repositories, but not much beyond that. What I’d love to see is a generic ‘lang-teacher’ package with a bunch of optional ‘lang-teacher-en-101’, ‘lang-teacher-ja-101’ and so on, packages to choose from.

I can hear it already: Sounds like a nice idea. So what are you waiting for, why don’t you start coding? But it’s so much easier just to toss these ideas around than to actually do anything about them…

Many seem to think that the best route to learning a new language is to just get the basics straight and then dive in with people who speak it, but for someone like me that would be impossible. I lead a life which you couldn’t even begin to describe using the word ‘introvert’. Apart from not being able to learn by speaking, this means that I’m not that interested in spoken language; my purpose for learning any new language at this point would be primarily to gain access to the vast amount of written knowledge available (online and in books) in languages other than my own and in English.

Even if I didn’t lead such a secluded life, there really just aren’t enough, say, Japanese people around where I live, to strike a conversation with. And even if there were, there’s still that ‘basics’ part which I’d somehow have to get a grip on, and for that I’d love to have some free (as in freedom) tools, either online or on my desktop.

WordPress-blogi ja HTTPS

Periaatteessa WordPressin hallinnan voi sujauttaa SSL:n alle suhteellisen yksinkertaisesti. Ongelmalliseksi se muodostuu siinä tapauksessa, että maailmalle näkyvään osoitteeseen ei liity varmennetta. Esimerkiksi mummila.netillä ei ole omaa varmennetta, koska sellaisen hankkiminen on melko kallista.

Www-hotellina käyttämäni Kapsin palvelimella on varmenne, ja niinpä https-yhteydet (jonka http-sisältöä tosiasiassa vain heijastelee) ovat mahdollisia. Valitettavasti WordPressin hallinta ei kuitenkaan taivu kovin sujuvasti SSL:n alle siten, että blogi näkyisi ulkomaailmalle yhden palvelimen (omassa tapauksessani alla, ja hallintayhteyksiin taas käytettäisiin toista palvelinta (

Kaikkein ongelmallisin kohta on kommentointi. Tuollainen kaksisuuntainen viritelmäkin olisi vielä kohtalaisen helppo toteuttaa, jos kommentointia ei olisi: kaiken hallintoliikenteen voi .htaccessin ja WordPressin URL-asetuksen avulla pakottaa https:n alle, ja kaikki muu näkyy maailmalle edelleen oman domainin eli blogin URL:n alla tavallisessa http-yhteydessä. Mutta jos tuon WordPressin URL:n asettaa osoittamaan https-yhteyden sallivalle palvelimelle, joka on eri kuin millä blogin sisältö näytetään, kommenttien yhteydessä käytetyt evästeet eivät tietenkään toimi, koska niitä ei pysty asettamaan palvelinten kesken ristiin.

Kun evästeiden asettaminen ei toimi, kommentoijalle normaalisti näkyviä ilmoituksia kommentin päätymisestä moderointiin ei näytetä. Niinpä kommentoijasta vaikuttaa siltä kuin onnistuneesti jätetyt kommentit katoaisivat mustaan aukkoon, vaikka tosiasiassa ne ovatkin vain moderoinnissa. Lisäksi sisäänkirjautuneena oleminen ei näy kommenttilomakkeessa, vaan se kysyy myös ylläpitäjältä osoitetietoja. Jälkimmäisen ongelman takia minun täytyy pitää turvatonkin kirjautumismahdollisuus käytössä, koska muutoin en pystyisi kommentoimaan omaa blogiani virallisella blogi-isännän identiteetilläni.

Käytännössä siis salattua yhteyttä voi sujuvasti käyttää vain täällä blogin konehuoneen puolella touhutessaan, esimerkiksi uusien merkintöjen luomisessa ja julkaisussa. Onhan sekin nyt tietysti tyhjää parempi, koska julkaiseminen on se kaikkein useimmin sisäänkirjautuneena harrastettu toiminta. Eivätkä ruotsalaiset tietenkään salasanojani saa, kun Kapsin palvelimet ovat kotimaassa. Kotimaisia nuuskijoita tällä lähinnä torjutaan.

Googlen favicon

Juuri kun aloin tottua Googlen uuteen ikoniin, törmäsin Greasemonkey-skriptiin, joka palauttaa sen vanhan faviconin. Vielä viikko sitten olisin ollut innoissani ja ottanut tuon heti käyttöön, mutta nyt hämääntyisin siitä vanhasta luultavasti vain uudestaan samalla lailla kuin tuosta uudesta sen ilmestyttyä.

Not your usual 'random links' post!

I just can’t get enough of the web, but I can easily get enough of the various indices through which I usually access it. Often I find myself longing for something random (and even here, the usual indices of random are all too easily exhausted), but sadly, most of the random link portals aren’t truly random. Instead, they cover only a defined area of all of the web’s contents — namely, the SFW, non-offensive and thus completely uninteresting portion of it.

Just prior to blogging this, I discovered Mangle where, it seems, it’s possible to opt out of the annoying nannying forced upon you with most of the other services. Now off I go, to explore the deep trenches of random!