Avoiding 503s when loading images from Google Contacts API

There’s a variety of mildly annoying things about V3 of Google’s Contacts API (lack of control over which fields are returned, basically non-existent sorting ability, use of oauth bearer tokens; also they seem to be confused about their supposed mitigation of the confused deputy problem: validation does not actually seem to be required, nor does this in any way prevent an attacker from stealing the token and doing whatever they like with it).

One of the most annoying “features” is the undocumented rate limit when requesting images for a user’s contacts, each request of which must be authenticated. The rate limit appears to be around 10/s.

I wrote a lightweight jQuery plugin that will help you avoid the 503 errors that Google’s API returns when you begin exceeding this limit.

jQuery batched image loader

The github page has basic implementation details.

Scrolling while paused in Chrome debugger

If you’ve spent much time with Chrome’s debugger, you’ve probably encountered a few annoying scenarios, in which the locked-up view of the web page you’re working on prevents you from inspecting elements or scrolling.

An easy workaround for the scrolling lock-up is to just jump to the console, and:

window.scrollTo(0, 800)

Cisco IPsec VPN on OSX Snow Leopard

For anyone else having issues setting up a VPN connection on Snow Leopard: if you are getting an “incorrect shared secret” error, quit wasting your time, and download Shimo, a VPN client for OSX. Haven’t paid for it yet, but will likely end up doing so, since it’s the only one of a half-dozen or so that I tried that not only worked, but wasn’t horribly designed.

I suspect my issue may have been related to a the VPN shared secret being too long, though that is mostly speculation. There was mention in a forum somewhere that OSX Lion silently truncates shared secret keys longer than 63 characters. Yay.

To LibraryThing widget users:

Librarything.com went down, leading to issues for users of my LibraryThing widget.

LibraryThing.com is currently down. This may be causing your pages with the LibraryThing Recently Reviewed widget to hang. If so, just disable the plugin from the admin interface. I’ll be introducing a caching system in the future that should prevent this sort of disturbance.

Update: LibraryThing is back online.

Improve your pagination’s usability

In short: pad your a elements liberally

A quick tip to improve the usability of your pagination: give your a elements a decent amount of padding.

We know clickability is an issue for seniors, but when it comes to the set of barely-separated-small-fonted numbers that so often comprise a website’s pagination, the increased click target area improves usability for everyone.

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IE6 CSS hacks with WordPress.com

A trick for tweaking the CSS of your Wordpress.com blog for IE6.

I’ve been working on a WordPress.com blog for someone for which the “edit the CSS” upgrade has been purchased, and all has gone swell so far with tweaking the Kubrick theme. A couple !important declarations needed, but no big deal. That is, of course, until “make it work in IE6” time came along.

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