One fine day, my friends and I were on our way to a football game, when one of them asked "how to find out the version of the user's browser?"
Before I write what I answered, I must say that this reminded me of another question I was asked several years ago: "Do you like orange juice?". I managed to turn a yes/no question into a discussion about relativity and complexity... without actually answering the question.
Now, just try to imagine all the possibilities, all the freedom and the space offered to me by the question about the browser! :-)
First, I asked whether we are on the server's end, or on the client's end, so that I could understand which information was available. I didn't get an explicit answer to that one, so I assumed we were dealing with either of the ends of the connection.
I said, when a browser requests something from a web-server, the sent string contains a "User-agent" field, which contains the name of the browser and its version. Of course, some browsers can spoof that, but that's OK for a start.
How to get that string? Well, if you're the server, it is delivered to you on a plate. If you're the client - obviously you know which browser you use, so let's assume you're a third party that wants to know. The obvious solution is to use a network sniffer. I mentioned Ethereal, how its name changed to Wireshark, how Cain can be used for ARP-spoofing...
It turns out that the right answer to the question was "Click Help\About... and see the name and the version there".
Hmmm... Maybe people are right when they say I over-analyze things? Or tend to complicate everything? The most recent case is "the case of the nice flowcharts". I've seen them in someone's paper, and I immediately started thinking about ways to draw such charts, and which software to use for that purpose. I kid you not, I pictured I could draw some template shapes in Inkscape (so that everything is in vector graphics), and then I had to come up with an efficient way to connect the shapes in Inkscape as easily as I can do that in Visio.
It turned out those nice charts are a standard thing in PowerPoint 2007 :-)
P.S. There are different flavours of orange juice, so saying "yes, I like orange juice" is not correct; neither is saying "no, I don't like orange juice". Rarely we deal with something that is either black, or white; most of the stuff in the universe is a shade of gray.
Comment from: Dan [Visitor]
Eu as fi dat acelasi raspuns, numai ca nu m-am gandit la chestia cu snifferele. :)
Comment from: gr8dude [Member]
Fiind student la UTM.CIM, sunt sigur că trebuie să experimentezi numaidecît cu snifferele de reţea. Cândva vei avea disciplina “Tehnici şi Protocoale de Comunicaţii” (dacă ai noroc, profesorul va fi Ciorbă Dumitru). La lucrări de laborator sarcinile ţi se vor părea mai simple dacă mai întîi vei vedea cum un oarecare protocol a fost implementat într-o altă aplicaţie. Numaidecât să te familiarizezi cu Wireshark şi cu oSpy (despre care am scris mai înainte pe acest site).
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