Signal's new(ish) URI Scheme

A padlock engraved into a circuit board.

A few years ago, I idly wondered "Whatever happened to URI Schemes?". Older communications protocols didn't rely on http. You can use to send email, sms:+447700900123 to send a text message, and skype:terence.eden to use Skype. There are dozens of these sorts of protocols. But modern apps seem to prefer making everything an https: […]

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Page numbers aren't the answer

The PDF file icon with a big red line through it.

There's a new pre-print paper called Pinpointing the problem: Providing page numbers for citations as a crucial part of open science by Leon Y. Xiao and Nick Ballou. It's a short, easily understandable paper, and well worth a read. I think I disagree with nearly all of its conclusions! The main point, I agree with. […]

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Never use a URL shortening service - even if you own it

Screenshot showing a 404 error on the Guardian's website.

The Guardian launched its online adventures back in 1999. At some point, they started using the name "Guardian Unlimited". Hey, the dot com boom made us all do crazy things! As part of that branding, they proudly used the domain Over time, the branding faded and became a URL shortening service. Tiny URls […]

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Konami Code Domain Name

Glowing computer text showing dot com dot info etc.

More on my experiments with silly Punycode domain names. http://↑↑↓↓←→←→ Yup, copy and paste that into your browser and it will resolve.

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Facebook Mangles Unicode URLs

Facebook rewrite URLs with Unicode in the path - this is not best practice and could be dangerous. It is possible to create a URL like😀 - the Unicode characters are valid in the path. The URL Encoded representation is : Facebook mangles these URLs in such a way that it might be […]

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The Perils of URL Shortners

I'm not a big fan of URL shortners -,,,, etc - I understand the need for them, but they seem to offer a fairly poor service in terms of privacy and usefulness. Take this recent example from Vodafone. Aside from the obvious downsides (user doesn't know where the link will take […]

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Expanding URLs in Dabr / Twitter

I hate shortened URLs with a passion.  It makes it hard to see what a link is and whether I've visited it before.  If they fail - like threatened to do - you lose your links with no way to see where they once went. So, hurrah for LongURLPlease - a service which takes […]

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