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From "Leif W" <warp-...@usa.net>
Subject Re: [users@httpd] Hide url into browser - Getting OT
Date Thu, 03 Feb 2005 18:04:49 GMT
> "Boyle Owen" <Owen.Boyle@swx.com>; Thu 2005-02-03@09:52 GMT-5
>
>> From: PMilanese@nypl.org [mailto:PMilanese@nypl.org]
>>
>> Ewww... Flash is bad... Bad bad bad...
>
> That was precisely my point.

[cut]

> BTW - I hate Flash with a vengeance.

I don't know Flash too well as a programmer, but as a user it can be an 
interesting tool when used properly.  I wouldn't say that I hate it 
outright because of what it is, because it does do its job reasonably 
well.  Obviously, I hate with a vengeance the webmasters who use it 
improperly.  I too know of another musician's website that is all Flash, 
even the "HTML only" page.  :p  To make matters worse, there is no 
"traditional" navigation.  The letters comprising the artist's name are 
huge and plastered across the page and start to move & make noise on 
mouse over.  There is a 50/50 chance that the "hotspot mouseover effect" 
will be accompanied by some graphic text describing where this 
particular link goes.  If you want to go beyond worse, it's all graphic 
text in a foreign language which I don't understand.  So much for 
automated translating.  And if all this wasn't bad enough, about 66% of 
the links simply do not do anything.  I don't know if the Flash file is 
incompatible with the current plugin, requires an older version of Flash 
plugin, or if the webmaster simply wrote it wrong in the first place. 
The "intro" page must be loaded before you can skip it, and is over 800 
kb, which itself seems to take about 3-5 minutes on my slow modem. 
There are some full-length songs offered, which are about 4-5 links deep 
from the initial page, or 2-3 from the main page (after the splash and 
intro pages).  With no idea what the URL is, I can't retrieve the song 
if the download gets interrupted or hangs, unless I use Live HTTP 
headers and store the URL directly to the file, for future reference, 
assuming that doesn't change.  Then there's the previously mentioned 
issue of bookmarks and efficient retrieval of info for quick status 
checking, as in concert dates.  Yet I do not hate Flash, but I do fully 
understand the frustration.  I do not hate what it lets people do.  I do 
not blame the people who created Flash.  But I do place the blame fully 
on the people who blatantly misuse or abuse it.  If you're going to make 
a website like this, please do the entire internet a favor and do not 
even register the domain name, do not upload it to any server, or if you 
do, prevent anyone in the world from seeing such a horrible attrocity. 
Such people have obviously missed the whole point of the internet, not 
the least of which might be interpreted as open communications, 
convenience and empowerment.

BTW - I assume the original poster already tried to conceal the URLs in 
the browser using JavaScript (document.status, window.open), and then 
realized that most modern browsers allow the user to prevent JavaScript 
from doing this.  Therefore he thought he could go higher up the 
"authority" chain to the server, and use the server to hide the 
information.  You want to post a web site but you don't want to post ANY 
URL's to the content?  Here is an amazingly simple way!  Do not even 
post the site on the internet in the first place!  Any visitor to a 
public site can pop in a simple HTTP Header viewer, record the session, 
hack the text offline, write programs, and automate the entire dialogue 
for their own (valid or nefarious) purposes.  That is the nature of the 
beast.  If the site is a Flash file, well they can download the Flash 
file and they have all the info they desire, combined with their HTTP 
Headers (i.e. if external files or other Flash files are linked 
against).  You can't make a public web site and at the same time prevent 
all access to the web site.  The two concepts are mutually exclusive. 
At that point you would need to make a highly obfuscated and 
multiply-encrypted binary program which contains all data, has 
absolutely no external links (excepthaps to OS libraries).  This is not 
even close to inter-anything, not inter-net, not inter-operable.  All 
the data would be static.  Any update to the data would require another 
binary download.  Ok, it's completely absurd.

Leif



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