E-Scribe : a programmer’s blog

About Me

PBX I'm Paul Bissex. I build web applications using open source software, especially Django. Started my career doing graphic design for newspapers and magazines in the '90s. Then wrote tech commentary and reviews for Wired, Salon, Chicago Tribune, and others you never heard of. Then I built operations software at a photography school. Then I helped big media serve 40 million pages a day. Then I worked on a translation services API doing millions of dollars of business. Now I'm building the core platform of a global startup accelerator. Feel free to email me.

Book

I co-wrote "Python Web Development with Django". It was the first book to cover the long-awaited Django 1.0. Published by Addison-Wesley and still in print!

Colophon

Built using Django, served with gunicorn and nginx. The database is SQLite. Hosted on a FreeBSD VPS at Johncompanies.com. Comment-spam protection by Akismet.

Pile o'Tags

Stuff I Use

bitbucket, Django, Emacs, FreeBSD, Git, jQuery, LaunchBar, Markdown, Mercurial, OS X, Python, Review Board, S3, SQLite, Sublime Text, Ubuntu Linux

Spam Report

At least 236507 pieces of comment spam killed since 2008, mostly via Akismet.

Dear Section508.gov webmaster

Dear Webmaster:

When I click on an offsite link from section508.gov, I get a Javascript alert warning me that I'm "leaving" the site and that "We welcome your comments on how we can make this site more useful."

Here's my comment: Ditch the Javascript alerts. It would make the site more useful for me. Really -- if I explore half a dozen offsite links (opened in tabs in the background for later browsing) I have to dismiss half a dozen JS alerts. I can't imagine the situation is any better, or more useful, for somebody using a screenreader.

Anyway, I sent this email on the presumption that the actual webmaster (you) thinks those alerts are stupid but is forced to put them in there because of some PHB who got the implementation idea from his nephew (nephews love Javascript alerts). You can tell your boss that you've been getting a lot of e-mail from influential web professionals who think the alerts reduce the credibility of the section508.gov site.

Man, I sure hope they weren't your idea!

Sincerely,

Paul Bissex

Monday, November 14th, 2005
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2 comments

Comment from Michael Clark , 4 days later

I think there is a law/guideline that says .gov web sites have to notify users that they are leaving the original site. I'll try to find out for sure on Monday. There are many .gov web sites that do this. I'm not saying it's effective, but unfortunately it is fairly common. Mike

Comment from Ray , 4 days later

You are fighting a losing battle here.

Some bureaucrat, or worse committee of bureaucrats, has established this behaviour as a standard for US government websites. Apparently they think that the American people are too stupid to be able to tell one web site from another and don't want to be blamed for any errors on some site that they link to.

The scary thing to me is that they may be right.

By the way, you have a very nicely designed site.

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