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Calculator news

So, I am think­ing about cal­cu­la­tors more. When­ev­er it is­n't sun­ny and I don't have an urge to hang around with Rosar­i­o, I may put what I think in­to code, too ;-)

But any­way con­grats to Ariya and mpyne since their cal­cu­la­tors are al­ready pret­ty good (haven't tried Za­ck­'s yet, I have no ruby).

But I still have some tricks up my sleeve!

On Usecalc

OK, so sev­er­al have fig­ured out that Use­Calc is in large part a spoof on us­abil­i­ty re­search.

Too bad it did­n't cause the re­sponse I wished for, which was some rea­soned us­abil­i­ty ex­pla­na­tion for why cal­cu­la­tors are done that way.

On the oth­er hand, it turns out sev­er­al peo­ple like Use­calc and have pro­ceed­ed to reim­ple­ment it in oth­er lan­guages, and with dif­fer­ent in­ter­faces.

Which is quite good, too, even if it sur­prised me a lit­tle. Now I have to think about it, too. I mean, maybe there is re­al po­ten­tial for the thing.

A Modest Usability Improvement

You know, some things are us­able. Some things aren't. Read on, to see one that is­n't and one that (I think) is.

A semi-­tongue-in-cheek us­abil­i­ty ar­ti­cle.

A good web-based password changer?

Does such a thing ex­ist? There are dozen­s, but none seems very good.

By good I mean:

  • Has been main­­tained more re­­cen­t­­ly than 4 years ago.

  • Works via PAM (and just plain work­s)

  • Is not aw­­ful to in­­stall

  • Does­n't make you do weird stuff like run­n­ing a SUID httpd (yes, I ac­­tu­al­­ly saw that on­ce)

  • se­cure (au­dit­ed?)

  • read­­able sources

  • runs as a non-priv­i­leged us­er.

Usu­al­ly this would be a SUID root cgi-bin, which is some­what scary, and it would seem to me un­nec­es­sary.

Since the us­er will pro­vide the cur­rent pass­word, it should be pos­si­ble for a non-priv­i­leged process to first switch to the de­sired us­er and then change the pass­word, right?

Maybe some­one can tell me. Or do I have to write it? I mean, it's go­ing to be a python CGI if I do, and noone's gonna like it ;-)


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