Puzzle for the day, why one particular Glyphicon Halflings icon is acting weird


Today’s conundrum, why does one particular Glyphicon Halflings icon display differently between browsers? I have several other icons and they are all correctly displaying black and white. Yet this one icon – calendar – on the same page, same code, displays differently across my browsers.

On FireFox and Safari it displays in colour:

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.03.15 AM

On IE it displays in black and white:

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.04.37 AM

On Chrome it doesn’t display at all:

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.04.12 AM

The markup is straightforward:

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 9.11.55 AM

Finally tracked down this answer on Stackoverflow:

There is most likely an issue with inclusion of Glyphicons on BootstrapCDN 3.0.0 version. When 3.0 was released the glyphicons were in a separate repo, and then combined into the Bootstrap baseline again later around 3.0.1.

I updated the CSS CDN include from:

<link href="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.0.0/css/bootstrap.min.css" rel="stylesheet">


<link href="//netdna.bootstrapcdn.com/bootstrap/3.0.3/css/bootstrap.min.css" rel="stylesheet">

and my calendar icon is now correctly displaying as black and white across all browsers.

Now Internet Explorer won’t even confess to being Internet Explorer


The bizarre world of Internet Explorer never ceases to amaze me. Today’s revelation – Internet Explorer 11 doesn’t even like to admit that it’s Internet Explorer.

When a web browser visits a web site, it identifies itself to the web site with a string of information that contains various elements that say to the web site “hey, I’m here, this is the type of web browser I am, my version, operating system”. It’s known as the user-agent string.

In the past the user-agent string for Internet Explorer would look something like this:

Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; MSIE 9.0; Windows NT 6.1; Trident/5.0)

The ‘MSIE’ stands for Microsoft Internet Explorer, so pretty easy to work out which browser is visiting your web site.

Today I was wondering why I could not teach some web site code to recognise it was being visited by IE, did a little research and came up with this page of explanation from Microsoft.

Mozilla/5.0 (Windows NT 6.1; Trident/7.0; rv:11.0) like Gecko

What’s missing? The ‘MSIE’ of course!

If I was using Firefox, the string would say FIREFOX, like this:


Safari would say ‘SAFARI’, and Chrome would, well now there’s the rub, because Chrome can say CHROME as well as SAFARI:


Remind me again why I got into this web development malarky?

Rare bouquet for Telstra, selling unlocked iPhone 5


It’s rare I pay a compliment to Telstra, they’ve been the source of so much pain over the years, and their domination of the telecommunications market in Australia is akin to Godzilla in a childcare centre, but for once I must give them kudos.

I upgraded my trusty iPhone4 to the new (and very very good) iPhone5s the other day. A key issue for me was unlocking the phone – removing the lock that carriers put on handsets to make sure you can only use the phone on their network. I need my phone to be unlocked so I can swap to my USA SIM card when I’m in America.

In the past unlocking a phone has even incurred a charge – from memory a jaw-aching $100 or $150. But nowadays it’s free – just go to the Unlock page on the Telstra web site. And here’s the massively good and useful news “All iPhone 5 models are already unlocked. “. Nothing for me to do!

It’s one in the eye for telcos in the USA, where they persist selling phones locked to the carrier, with complicated rules about when you can unlock – for example, usually you need to own the handset outright – eg not be paying it off as part of a phone plan contract.

Hackers with a sense of humour, or at least a love of Chinese food

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 3.51.46 PM

A client asked me to check into a page on their web site that captures name and address registrations from users. The page is available to the public, and does not included a CAPTCHA. The form entries are saved into a database table, there were many entries clearly submitted by a bot over a period of time. Many of them had the address “3137 Laguna Street, San Francisco”, which presumably was just a piece of junk, the main prize was them adding a bunch of links off to dodgy web sites in a description field.

Out of idle curiosity I Googled the address. It’s a Chinese restaurant!

I bet the Syrian Electronic Army never leaves restaurant recommendations on the sites they attack 🙂

Smothered in the comforting embrace of our home wifi network


The screams from the furthest reaches of the house are muted at first, then build to a crescendo, and finally various household members’ heads pop around my study door – “Daaaaadd, the internet’s not working!”. Yup, you can tell the wifi is down in our house. Without wanting to create a shopping list for our neighbourhood burglars, at any given time there are upwards of twenty or more devices connected to our wifi networking including computers, phones, iPads, Apple TVs and televisions. There isn’t a single thing connected via ethernet wires anymore, just lots of gadgets floating on the Boyd-Eedle internet cloud. And boy does the world come to an end when that cloud evaporates in a puff of vapour.

Let’s take a quick inventory: me glued to my machine working; my loving partner plugging away on her book; our eldest simultaneously communing with her six best friends on social media whilst researching a homework task; our middle child wreaking havoc with his closest mate on Grand Theft Auto, every move planned while chatting over Facetime on his iPad; and finally the youngest trawling through an apparently endless chain of Hi-5 videos on YouTube – she’s a big fan of the Spanish-dubbed ones. Personally I find it hilarious watching Charlie and Nathan mouth ‘Hello’ on screen but say ‘Hola’.

Earlier this month we took to the road and stayed a week and a half in a holiday rental up in the high country, near one of the ski resorts. There was a complete absence of mobile phone reception inside the house, although if you wandered up the back garden, stood on one foot, and held your phone at a 22.45 degree angle to the event horizon one bar of coverage was possible, just enough to send a text, barely enough to pull down email headers, and definitely nowhere near sufficient to enable a wifi hotspot.

When we first arrived the kids gave me the impression we had just detoured into the depths of Mount Doom. I took pleasure from previous visitors’ entries in the guest book bemoaning the absence of internet access, my favourite was annotated with the scrawled riposte from the house’s owner “get over it”. My sentiments exactly, although my inability to read and deal with email led to reserving a day on our return to connected civilisation to chew through and handle the 150 emails that had accumulated in my inbox.

On the bright side, I read six books in ten days; played board games with my children; sat down to a home cooked meal every night with more people than just myself for company at the dinner table; and our son who brought a couple of teen friends, embarked on a backyard cricket competition worthy of Wide World of Sports coverage. Consequently  nobody had a chance to exceed their mobile data cap, a frequent and unwelcome occurrence in chez Boyd-Eedle – damn expensive too, the phone companies have finally given up taking us to the cleaners on wired internet data and focussed their rheumy eyes on the next price gouging frontier – mobile.

Between our ADSL and cable internet connections we have I think around 700Gb of data a month available, and despite Netflix being the television channel of choice, we never exceed the limit, even with my Orange is the New Black marathons. Now the telco parasites have latched onto wireless data like those annoying little ball of fur terriers incessantly humping your trouser leg, impossible to shake them loose. So an $80 a month mobile plan mystically morphs into $200 because Telstra charges $15 for a 1Gb data pack which, if they charged the same rate for our ADSL and cable internet, would lead to a bill of $10,500 a month by my calculations.

Arriving home from our holiday my children delivered their best impression of a dehydrated man crawling through sand towards a desert oasis, or maybe more suitably in my childrens’ lexicon, Kim Kardashian scrabbling towards the last TV camera in the world, as their various gadgets booted up and they were once again smothered in the comforting embrace of our home wifi network.

Oh and did I mention the kicker – no television signal either in our Faraday cage holiday hideaway. Just videos and DVDs. Note to self: I never ever want to see Disney’s Cinderella ever again.