Welcome to MekTrix 4.0

Aka Shish’s Place of Stuff

Tech support at UKC

Blogging of my first days at uni has been delayed by problems connecting to the network… And the resulting conversation with tech support:

From: shish
To: tech support

Your SBS signup form for linux users [1] has typos[2] that make it
impossible to submit; the resulting page is a back trace of a
nullpointerexception[3]. I guessed the URL of the windows version of the
form and filled that one in instead, and it works fine (it even sent me
the correct download, CSA.sh). The fix is to go through the form and
give the elements their proper names (eg, change "username0" to

[1] http://reg-kent.org:8080/registration/register-linux.html

[2] It looks like someone copy & pasted the form in a WYSIWYG editor --
all the relevant elements had zeroes after them, which is a standard
way of keeping unique element IDs after copy & pasting...

[3] I would guess somebody did something like form["username"].value,
without first making sure that the "username" element was POSTed :-/

A rather simple problem, and I even took the time to work out why things were broken, and explain how to fix them in easy to understand terms. The result?

From: Tech support
To: Shish

Thanks for your e-mail.

You need to have Java turned on in order to see the page correctly and submit it.

Gah, a boilerplate response, and an incorrect one at that, on a variety of levels — there is no java on the page, so enabling it won’t make any difference. I would assume he meant javascript (something totally different, the name is coincidence), but that is inappropriate too, since the problem is nothing to do with the script (which works fine in my already javascript enabled browser).

So I reply again, in even simpler terms, and explain why the previous response was wrong:

No I don't; there is no java on that page. There is javascript (which
is a different thing altogether), and I do have that enabled. I know my
browser works fine since I can use the version of the page designed for
windows users.

To repeat: The problem is that the linux version of the page has errors
in its code that cause the values entered to be given the wrong names.
For example, the linux username box is called "username0", and doesn't
work, whereas the windows and mac pages have called the box "username"
and they work fine. If I download the registration page and change the
name of the box myself, that works too.

It's a very simple problem with a very simple solution; you could
probably fix it in less time than it would take to send another
useless boilerplate message :P

A response?

Thanks for your e-mail.

You need to have Java turned on in order to see the page correctly and submit it.


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