Things Bots Shouldn’t Learn

This afternoon, I’ve taught Iggy, the robot who looks after the RockMonkey ChatRoom:

  • How to play The Game. Damn – I’m out. He’s not very good at it, and, by proxy, neither am I.
  • Comprehension of facts expressed as “concept ARE fact”, rather than “concept IS fact”, and about knowing “who” people are (ask “Iggy, who is Ava_Work”, for example, or teach him who other people are…).

The by-product of this is that I’ve been learning to program in Tcl. And as a result, discovering why nobody writes in Tcl. Here’s a quote from, which I found in the bMotion source code:

<Procyan> is there like 1 person on earth that knows tcl/tk and is writing all of the apps?
<unSlider> procyan: no, there are a bunch of people who dont know tcl/tk but are writing apps for it anyway

Opera 8’s Solution To IDN Exploit

I’m sure you’ve all seen the recent Internationalized Domain Name exploit, which affects most web browsers (except for Internet Explorer – shocker! – because it doesn’t yet have the power to support internationalized domain names): if you haven’t, why not visit – looks just like the real thing; doesn’t it: the browser bar says you’re at PayPal’s real site, but you’re not. That first ‘a’ in the name is an international character (actually the letter ‘a’ from the Cyrillic character set, which is just slightly different from a Western ‘a’, if you look closely. Of course, this leads to potentially thousands of dangerous phishing exploits, tricking users into exposing their bank account details to random Nigerians.

Opera, makers of a stunning web browser that I’m not quite sure I should be abandoning yet, have announced their solution to this problem (which isn’t actually a web browser problem at all, but a specification problem): IDN domain names from outside of places which are expected to need then (e.g. dot-jp, etc.) will be displayed longhand, and secure sites (https) will display their certificate holder’s name – longhand – alongside the domain name in the address bar.

Of course, unless you’re using Opera 8 beta, the only way to be sure you’re safe from this exploit is to manually type in every link you follow.