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

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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.





All-powerful Java code snippet

26 02 2009

As a joke (but not really), I was terribly annoyed at Java today, and wrote this Java code in a few minutes.  It’s (not surprisingly) capable of accomplishing *anything*.  Give it a shot.

ProjectAttempt project = new Project();
try {
    attempt = project.codeWith(Java);
    if(   attempt.results == tooRigid
            ||
          attempt.developmentTime > acceptableThreshold) {
        // since the above condition is usually true,
        // we should expect this next line to happen frequently

        throw ExceptionallyNotGoodEnoughException;
    }
} catch (ExceptionallyNotGoodEnoughException e) {
    System.out.println(" ERROR: Java is too rigid!");
    System.out.println("Rigid:");
    System.out.println("1 a: deficient in or devoid of " +
        "flexibility <rigid price controls> <a rigid bar of metal> ");
    System.out.println(" b: appearing stiff and unyielding <his face rigid with pain>");
    // Don't bother with another try/catch block,
    // since it's impossible for the next line to fail.

    attempt = project.codeWith(Python);
    // Should always read "Impressive"
    System.out.println("Development time: " + attempt.developmentTime);
}

Smart-alec replies are welcome, but you won’t change my opinion on the matter 🙂





ThePirateBay speaks by political cartoon

25 02 2009

Whether you support or condem thepiratebay.org , I don’t think you can refute the message being presented here…

cartoonish





Microsoft lawsuit in EU over packaging IE (again)

25 02 2009

http://www.wired.com/techbiz/media/news/2009/02/reuters_us_google_microsoft

Can someone tell me why we feel the need to harass Microsoft for bundling IE on their own flipping OS?

Without IE, I wouldnt’ be able to get online very easily, to go download Chrome or FF or Opera or whatever.

If MS is forced to remove IE, they should also have to remove every MS-made operating system driver.  By the gods, they are taking away my ability to choose which driver powers my DVD burner!!  To hell with MS and their packaged drivers!

Get real, you idiots.  Let them package their browser.  Apple does.  Ubuntu packages someone ELSE’s browser in their operating system!  If that isn’t deplorable (by the lawsuit’s standards) then I don’t know what is!





Dear Loyal Java Fan,

20 02 2009

Why is it that, to you, “Object Oriented” is a synonymous colloquial abbreviation for Absolutely everything must be inside of an Object, even if it kills me, so help me God” ?

Callbacks.  Yes, I’m perfectly aware that Java can implement callback routines (via an implementation of a prototype Interface, or Observer, or whathaveyou), but are *YOU* perfectly aware that a simple callback function/method sometimes doesn’t need all the verbose scaffolding that Java makes you jump through?

In fact, the very reason why a “callback function” was designed as it was, had to do with the fact that it was a single “function” (or “method”, if you prefer).  It was not a “callback object”.  There’s a good reason for that.

You’ll probably argue that I’m just accustomed to the C-style callbacks, and that Java’s are just as well.  And yes, this is me insulting Java.  Java is not perfect.  Accept that fact.  Java’s style is cumbersome.

Because Java’s OO framework only really support pointers to objects, you’re actually incapable of passing a function/method reference as a callback function, for the host method to execute arbitrarily.

The task is simple: call a routine, pass a function which defines behaviors.  Frankly, there’s no reason for there to be a whole object enveloping this function.  After all, it’s just a function.  Its only purpose is to define some routine.

It feels like Java is rather OO “trigger happy”.  And because of this, setting up a quick callback method (to pass into another method to execute) becomes a friggin beast of a task.  This guy describes a 3-step process for accomplishing the task.  One part is an interface, another implements that interface and solidly defines some methods, and then there’s the executing class, which takes in an ‘implemented’ interface and can run a particular method from the object created in step 2.

That’s all well can good, but… all I want to do is pass an arbitrary callback to be invoked later on.  I don’t want to create an interface, implement it, and then write an invoker class (which, by the way, only invokes some hard-coded method from the object it is given).  The only way to simplify it is to try to abbreviate with an anonymous inner class on your implemented interface.  Sure, it’s more “inline”, but it’s still way more time consuming than a simple function reference.

Consider this thread, where the thread starter fears the very reality that I am also annoyed with: “don’t know how in Java (other than possibly wrapping up the function in an object ? – good grief please say it isn’t so !

And then the typical Java junkie reply comes in the very next comment: “If you fear objects, you shouldn’t program in Java.” and then later “What, you’re averse to using objects in an object-oriented language?”  Quit being so dense, you idiots.  He doesn’t fear the objects themselves.  Instead, he (and I) fear the fact that every aspect of Java annoyingly forces you to make an object out of something that should be far simpler.

(And then props to the guy who said “you post some example code of how ‘you’ would implement the Observer Pattern in C++.” … psst.. who’s he quoting when he put the single quotes around ‘you’?  You don’t place emphasis with quotes, man.)

The point at hand is that a language can be object oriented without being disgustingly anal about wrapping everything up into class definitions.  It is for this very reason that coding in Java slows you down.  Dear God, just pass a function reference and be done with it.  And it’s more flexible, too.

Don’t complain that passing function references makes the code harder to debug.  I personally find well-documented code to be *far* more valuable than needlessly stupid class objects littering my project.





uTorrent’s ipfilter

19 01 2009

So, I couldn’t remember where uTorrent keeps it’s “ipfilter.dat” file in Windows Vista, so I google’d it.  (What else would you do, right?)  Well, the first search result I get is some “official” sounding blog post about how to download your own ipfilter.dat file for uTorrent:

So if you like knowing that fewer people are able to spy on you while you are downloading the latest version of Linux Mint or those songs from Nine Inch Nails off of The Pirate Bay, you should add this ipfilter.dat file to uTorrent for some relief. Viola, now your neighbor without the computer is more likely to get that letter from the RIAA

..huh?  That’s way wrong, Mr. Brandon Boyce, because you’re making it sound like ipfilter.dat is something that’ll spoof your IP.  The ipfilter has nothing to do with spoofing.  Besides, he can’t spell “voila.”  It’s purpose, as quoted by the uTorrent site itself:

This is a simple text file that specifies IP ranges to block.

It’s primary use, in my opinion, is to block those trash Seeds that poison the swarm.  What Brandon is suggesting is that ipfilter.dat could be used as if it were an IP “whitelist”, where you only allow certain IP addresses to connect to you.  That’s an awful solution for torrents, since you never know where you’re Seeds will come from.  Sure, you don’t want government faux-Seeds to be spying on you, but it would be stupid to try to use ipfilter.dat as a whitelist by blacklisting every IP known to man.  If you were to try to block every IP out there, you’d wind up with 42,949,67,296 IP addresses.  On top of that, IP addresses shift around constantly.  In 6 months, any IP you block *could* be a different person than initially.

The ipfilter.dat file is found in this folder, where USERNAME is your user’s name:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\uTorrent\

Alternatively, for you dirty low-level techy people (of which group I am one), you could use this:

%AppData%\uTorrent\

The latter would work for XP, too.

If it’s not there, then create it.  For information about how to format your ipfilter.dat, see the uTorrent documentation on the subject.

Just wanted to settle that, since Brandon disabled comments for his blog post.