Barq’s has bite; Firefox wimpers

2 06 2009

First off, I was a fan of the Opera web browser.  Then Google’s Chrome came out, and I converted to it.  Firefox?

I never really liked it.

Tunderbird, tabbed browsing, extensions, yap yap, moo, moo, quack.  Whatever.  Firefox’s tabbed browsing paled in comparison to that of Opera.  It’s just peachy now, but they really missed the target a few times until Firefox 3 came out.  It was like no matter how many options I put a check on to make it never open new windows for things, it would inevitably do it anyway, at some point during a casual browsing session.  And in terms of extensions, I think Chrome got the better idea: why make a browser that lacks features?  Why not just program the damn functionality into the damn browser in the first place?  At least Opera figured that one out.  Firefox still needs to restart after changing just about everything I try to do when setting it up for first use, and can’t figure out how to stop molesting me about extension updates that never actually matter.  (Seriously, either the ‘glasser’ extension works, or it doesn’t– stop halting the browser startup in order to flag me down about an extension that already does its job.) Even the Beta 4 for Firefox is 40% larger than it’s rival Opera release.  And why can’t they just stick to valid CSS directives?  Why must they make up crap that only works on Firefox?  Some say it’s in the name of theming the browser itself (since the browser UI is built on Javascript and CSS), but I think it’s also because the folks piloting FF aren’t any better than those at IE at following standards than those of their choice.

.. *ahem*..

But now Chrome came along and took everybody’s best ideas and flat out did them better.  Classic Google move, to jump-start an open source project to kick Microsoft between the legs (again (and again (and again, for kicks))).  Opera’s “Speed Dial”.  Opera’s ease of reopening closed tabs (and their history).  Firefox’s extension “Firebug” and whatever else the guy named the sub-extensions to debug Javascript.  IE’s (supposed) simplicity of interface (which isn’t simple at all, anymore).  Opera’s refusal to support website-dictated toolbars, that you never wanted in the first place.  Firefox’s open-source foundational idea, and Firefox’s integrated spellchecker (whose sucks really bad at guessing the correct word sometimes).  Opera’s ability to simply duplicate the current tab.

But today I’m trying to tap into my personal Microsoft TechNet account, and for some reason IE can’t figure out how to launch a download with their “FTM” (File Transfer Manager) successfully.  I finally found some knowledge-base article that mentions in passing that 64-bit IE won’t work with the ActiveX controls required to launch manager.

Well, Chrome is IE’s younger bastard step brother that does everything better, except when sabvotaged by MS directly, so Chrome doesn’t work with TechNet’s initiated downloads, either.

So I concede to go get Firefox (grumble grumble, at least Beta 4 is better than vanilla version 3.0.x), and am appauled at the download speed I’m getting.  I started off with a whopping 4k per second, and it only went downhill from there.  After pleaing for a speedup for a good minute or two, I decided to speedtest against an Opera download:

Are you serious?

Are you serious?

Of course, this has absolutely no reflection on the quality of the browser itself, but… why.. must it be so crappy?  It’s unreal.  Nobody’s web server should be dishing out a download speed more suitable for measurement in bits.  I sell my wireless connection to 3 other apartments of 2 people each, and so these speeds aren’t top-noch anyway.  And even if I’m going through a slow mirror on that download for FF, … why on earth is it allowed to be on the list of mirrors (of which I didn’t get to choose) with speeds like that?

This is crap loaded onto the top of the existing pile, in my mind, so take it as you will.

I just needed to let the world know that Firefox is not the answer to *everybody*’s prayer for a better world.  I’ve been happier with broken hardware, and reading about Windows shell extention programming (which are sometimes very closely related…)

PS – Some really good short videos about Chrome.  No other browser can compare, because Chrome doesn’t concern itself with just being mediocre at everything.  If you don’t like it, you probably haven’t really used it long enough or hard enough, or something goofy happened to you (like on my 64-bit desktop, Chrome doesn’t seem to cooperate, while on my 64-bit laptop, it works wonders).

http://www.youtube.com/googlechrome





What “The Land Before Time” taught me

17 05 2009

Inspired by the great folks at despair.com

Sometimes there is no Great Valley




Time travel with Java

17 05 2009
perfect. I think it'll work.

perfect. I think it'll work.





New Dell “Della” laptops for girls

15 05 2009

A new (but not “new”) lineup of Dell laptops are marching towards us… “Della” is the name of the game.

I heard about this earlier today, and so like anyone loyal to the internets, I began looking it up to find out more about the whole thing.  I’m not really all that into having a computer for the sake of “fashion”, but that’s what I quickly realized this is all about.

I was surprised though to find that everybody writing about the new Dellas were techy-informed females whining about sexism.

I would like to take this time to express my incredible disappointment in these writers, who think that a single sales campaign with a fashion emphasis insults the entire female gender.  Dell’s attempt to appeal to a most certainly otherwise neglected niche market is simply just that; the simple fact of the matter is that more men are involved with technological edges of the frontier than women.  Inversely, women simply aren’t.  We need more women in the tech world, as I see it.  But that won’t change the fact that some people–men and women alike–will not embrace geeky ideals.  It follows, thus, that plenty of people out there are at the opposite end of this spectrum, who care more about social interactions with others, appearances, impressions and fashionable presentations.

Is there something inherently wrong with trying to show these people that a netbook can be handy?

The Della campaign isn’t about educating women on RAM, processors, dynamic GPU abilities, power-saving features, etc, etc.  It’s all about giving the common “who cares about computers” women a chance to see what technology can do to help them do what they like doing anyway.

And that’s all I have to say on the matter.  Again, this isn’t about being sexist.  Those who claim that it is frankly appear to be picking a fight over nothing.  Aren’t stereotypes stereotypes for a reason?  Just swallow it, and live your life without trying to make this world worse off with petty arguments.





Windows 7 beta: mount ISO files

17 04 2009

If you’ve got the same rotten luck as me, you might find that the Windows 7 beta doesn’t work very nicely with virutal ISO mounting programs yet.  I’m not the type to pay for software, and so most free options seem to only make Win7 hang if you try to open My Computer, or do a commandline “cd” into the virtual drive.

But I just tried MS’s UNofficial tool for windows xp to mount iso files, and it works great.   It’s not quite as “nice” to you as other programs out there, but if it’s the only thing that works, then why not use it? :) 

http://www.tech-recipes.com/rx/620/xp_small_free_way_to_use_and_mount_images_iso_files_without_burning_them/





McDonald’s “Lent Special”

14 03 2009

 

Orem, UT 2009.03.14

Orem, UT 2009.03.14

… huh?  What does that mean?  It’s the only sign on the pole, so this most unmistakably belongs to the McDonald’s location.

Possible taglines could be:

  • Come in and get your last processed meat before Lent!
  • Giving up clogged arteries for Lent?  Ask about our last-minute special!
  • Why give up nutrition for Lent?

I’ll never know.. I’m tempted to just walk in and ask them what that means, straight from the mouth of a cashier.  If I do, I’ll be sure to post the reply here😛





Best oldschool RPG ever: Exile III

4 03 2009

Exile III was one of the most amazing, nostalgic games which I still play. It’s based on old D&D character creation, but with some unique differences in skills, etc. The point is that you level up your party while you are exploring the surface world. You’ve been banished to the underground “pit” civilization called “Exile”.

You are an adventurer party which explores the surface, reporting back to your Exile coordinator about the things you find up there.

Things get complicated as the story progresses, but it’s very heavily open-ended in the game play style. You literally go where your little heart leads you, finding out more and more about the surface in a very non-linear way. There are tons of “side” plots that you can discover.  As time progresses, cities and towns literally become overrun and sometimes destroyed by the forces at work in the world, keeping you interested in the world you’ve become a part of.

The game came as a trial, which impedes you from travelling further north than an predefined invisible line. I won’t promote pirating a serial key or an EXE patcher, but let it be known that I have seen one of the latter once upon a time, and the game was remade as Avernum (which I didn’t like nearly as much, for several reasons) and so Exile III has been cast aside.

The game comes with a save-game editor, which is pretty sweet. Most of the good stuff is enabled only after registering, but you still get several freebies like “heal hp/mp”, or “make towns forget you” (for those times where you decided to lead an assault on those innocent citizens of the town, thereby invoking the never-dying wrath of the town’s guards). Of course, no game is fun if you cheat your way through it, but at the same time, no game is fun if it is mercilessly hard with no hope for success if you’re ever in a weird jam.

Some notes about the playing the game:

  1. The installer you download from the Spidersoft page is actually more like a self-extracting exe. So, when you run it, it will expand the *real* installer into the same directory, so make a temp folder first and place the “exile3v10.exe” file into it before running it. After extracting run the “INSTALL.EXE” program to begin.
  2. The installer is a bit archaic, and defaults to the C drive, no matter what your main drive is.
  3. The installer can’t install to a directory with spaces or hyphens in its name. It’s no problem though, if you install it someplace easy first, and then just move the installed folder to the spot where you want it (including paths with spaces).
  4. All of the graphics are just bitmaps in the local game directory, so you can edit them to be whatever you want!😀 This makes for some fun edits, like making one of the characters a giant Yoshi, or something. My personal idea for a character set will be posted soon for anybody to download😉
  5. Vista and Windows 7 sort of molest the game, so I just set it to run in compatibility mode for Win95, and everything got better.

I guess that’s all for now🙂








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