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Author: Will Chatham

Will Chatham is the Security Assessment Engineer for Arbor Networks. Since Netscape 2.0, he has worked in a wide array of environments including non-profit, corporate, small business, and government. He started as a web developer, moved into Linux system administration, and ultimately found his place as a security professional. Having most recently conquered the OSCP certification, Will continues to hack his way into various things in an effort to make them more secure.

An Internet Anomoly

This is why I love the internet.

Something I have had in the back of my head for a long time, but always forgot to do, was to look up the origin of [sic]. That is, the editorial comment you see used in writing when the author is quoting someone who has mispelled a word or not used proper grammar.

For example, if I was quoting George W. Bush on this web site, I would say:

“This has been tough weeks in that country[sic].”

-George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., April 13, 2004

The [sic] implies that it was the person quoted that made the grammatical mistake, not me. Consider it a grammatical passing of the buck.

Today I finally remembered to look up [sic] and see if I could find out what its origins were. I searched Google for “what does sic mean?”, and the first result I found was quite a suprise. The page I was lead to told me that SIC stands for “Standard Industrial Classification”, and relates to barcode technology.

However, if you go on to read the comments from other people that follow, you find a rare gem of internet culture, where people have all found each other under the wrong pretenses (searching for the meaning of [sic], not SIC), and have established a dialogue that spans a couple of years. There are some rude comments, but it’s pretty interesting to follow along and see what happens.

It is also impressive that the owners of the site have realized what they have inadvertently created, and have decided to let this go on for so long.

Changing Directions (again)

First off, 5 unknown people and 1 I sorta know grabbed up the Gmail invitations. Congrats!

Second off (is that even a term?), I can now announce that this is my last week as the webmaster at Ingles. After 6 short and enjoyable months, I have been offered a position with a government contractor, working for the Air Force. I’m not sure how much more I should say yet, but it was too good to pass up. I will be developing a really cool web application with a co-worker whom I already know. I will provide more info when I can.

Flash Free

By sheer coincidence, I recently had to reinstall the operating systems on both my home PC and my work PC within a couple of days of each other.

I loaded all my usual software, set Firefox as my default browser, then started doing my usual 10 to 12 hours a day of work online. A few days later I realized that I never loaded the Macromedia Flash plugin in Firefox on either PC. The only thing that led me to realize this was some sort of Flash banner ad on a site I visited. As a little test, I decided to not install the Flash plugin and see how much of my ordinary internet life would go on without being interrupted.

3 weeks later, I can say that I have not been negatively effected by not having the Flash plugin on either my home PC or my work PC. There was only one site, the Weekly Standards, that had a Flash menu for voting which I was unable to see or use. Still, everything else on the site was usable.

It would seem that either creating sites in Flash is becoming more widely known as a hinderance to accessibility, usability, and search engine optimization, or the sites I visit happen to use Flash only on banner ads.

It’s a mixture of both of these things I suppose, but overall, I think this is a good sign. Web designers seem to be moving away from Flash-based design as Web Standards and Accessibility gain ground. They are realizing that Flash has a place on the web and can be useful for certain interactions, but dominating a site’s navigation and design with such a restrictive media definitely smells like poo-poo-poo.

If Flash goes the way of animated gifs and scrolling marquees, we will see it used more and more for advertisements, and less and less for practical design. The ‘kewl’ factor is fading.

What’s wrong with you people?

It has been almost 48 hours, and only 1 person has asked for one of the 6 GMail invitations I offered. There are still 5 left! If you want one, say something nice in the comments, and tell me about your fingernails.

C’mon people, these things sell for $100 on eBay!


Well, I tried.

Hi Will,
I don’t plan to sell the domain.

I wonder if that means he would give it to me? 😉