Firefox 0.9.1 released!

Well, with the 0.9.1 point release, I decided it was finally time to upgrade to the latest version of Firefox. Unfortunately the Debian testing environment hasn’t updated to 0.9 at all yet, so I needed to download and install 0.9.1 into my home directory.
I’m pleased! I went from 0.8 to 0.9.1, and it imported all my bookmarks, though all the extensions did NOT load. The new extension manager and theme managers are nice.
For the record, here’s the extensions I run:

  • Web Developer
    This is GREAT if you’re doing coding. Highlighting table elements with a mouse click is screamingly handy.

  • FLST – Focus Last Selected Tab
    If you open a new tab from a window that’s in the middle of a bunch of other tabs, the tab opens on the end of the toolbar. By default, when you close that tab, it goes to the next to last oen (which may not have been the one you were looking at before). This fixed that behaviour.

  • Sage
    This is an RSS / Atom aggregator. I’m JUST now testing it out, I’ll give more information when I’ve given it a real runthrough.

  • Statusbar Clock
    I just think this is cute (and they have a great image on the home page :). It shows a clock in the status bar. That’s it. For some reason it just works well for me.

  • Mozex
    I’ve alread talked about this. A great little tool for invoking an external editor on a textarea.

Last but not least, the Pinball theme is very nice, thanks to Nathan for pointing this one out to me.

Stop using IE. Really. It’s not just me.

Folks in the biz have been telling users for years that Internet Explorer is a garbage browser. The waves of incompatabilities and just plain boneheaded design decisions weren’t enough to sway most people.
Now though, the security issues in IE have gotten to the point where it would be foolish to even use IE as your primary browser.
The Motley Fool site has an article on the recent viral attack on Internet Explorer. They point out:

At the beginning of this development, the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, or CERT, and Internet Storm Center reportedly suggested that Windows users not use the most widespread Web browser out there -- Internet Explorer. (It seems that machines running Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Linux operating systems were safe from the threat, including those using Internet Explorer for Mac.)
.
This is not just the geeks saying this, folks. This is CERT, one of the most widely respected organizations regarding security on the net. And this isn’t a “You idiot, you clicked on an attachment in Outlook? Don’t do that!” sort of situation. Your machine can and may already have been hijacked without you even knowing it, and you’ve done nothing wrong other than gone to check out the news on CNN.com.
Go to Mozilla’s Firefox page, download Firefox, and enjoy safe browsing without popups, withour virii, and the bonus of a stable, well designed, FAST browser.
I swear, it’s almost time to put up those annoying pages that say “You’re too foolish to run a real web browser. We don’t support Internet Explorer.

Things I learned this weekend.

  • I CAN go 2 days without checking email. It’s tough, but possible.
  • When spam filters stop working, I get a lot of spam. And they’ve only failed part way (about 20% of the spam is getting through), but since I get upwards of 350 spams a day, getting only 20% of that in my inbox is a lot.
  • Sarah, the Poi spinning goddess she is, taught me how to spin poi, thanks to Cat’s skillfull preparation of some string, handles, and a pair of tennis balls. It’s loosely related to juggling, so I understood a lot of the basics, and caught on pretty fast. It’s _FUN!_. Nice having an exercise that does something with the upper arms. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • Camper trailers rock.
  • Coffee prepared in a camper trailer on a propane stove in the morning rocks.
  • My family and I can in fact coexist in a close environment for several days while camping and not be at each others throats. Yay!
  • Organized drumming can be wonderful, particularly with a good leader. 4-5 drummers who are in sync, paying attention, and can hold a beat can blow away a roomful of noisemakers. Couple that with a lovely fire, great dancers, and a beautiful evening, and you have some mighty nice space.

This has been a PSA.

boy…

… nothing like coming home from a great weekend camping with the family to a couple dozen Blog Spam entries in the blog here. I’ve blacklisted the dorks site now, so he/she/it won’t be able to make any more referrals to his sex-with-horses site (i’m not kidding) but I would have preferred to have something else to come home to.

Dad’s day.

Well, huh, today was father’s day.
I had actually completely forgotten about it until Zach came charging in with the perennial fathers day gift (a mug with his picture on it, we have one from every year so far). That was sweet.
Had a lovely brunch with Cat’s mom, Ben, and Zach, then Zach and I headed outside to do some machine-stuff.
Had to get the mower running, so ran down to the store to pick up fuel, explaining to Zach why it wasn’t okay for him to play with the gasoline. I came up witha mighty long list of reasons not to. Anyway, while I was mowing, I was watchign Zach play on the new bicycle that his uncle Brian gave him. This bike is a ‘serious’ bike. 6 gears with derailler, hand brakes, even has a computer on it. Brian found it for $80 on craigs list, so can’t complain too much.
Anyway, he’s zipping all over the place, and making trails around the house and up over the hill across the driveway. It’s great fun to watch.
After mowing, he and I decided to go ride the ARRT bike trail. The weather today was magnificent. Low 70s and breezy and dry. Mmmm. We rode the paved section end to end and then some, probably a total of 5-6 miles, then just noodled around in the cul-de-sac at the end of the feeder road. This was great fun, just riding around in circles just like kids do on their bikes. Me chasing him, him chasing me – what a flashback.
Anyway, after that off to the Mosaic meeting, which unfortunately had a couple bad moments in it (Zach didn’t get enough to eat really, and totally lost it at one point in the meeting), we got past that okay, but it left cat and I pretty worn, and now we’re home again home again. ๐Ÿ™‚
I can’t say enough about how impressed I am at the whole ARRT rail trail. The next section is building right before our eyes, which should result in 6 miles or so end to end riding, which makes a nice day-ride for me and zach (12 miles can at least be loosely called exercise). The next sections won’t be done for a long time, alas, but this’ll be great. Should be done by September.

Brain… hurts!

Last night Rosa and I sat down to finally watch Memento. Now I had not seen this particular gem yet, but Rosa had, so she kept quiet on the details.
To me this came out in the same series of ‘movies with a secret’ mystery / thriller films, like “Sixth Sense” and “Fight Club” the like. I knew the basic premise (fellow has lost the ability to make new memories), but not much else.
For those who -have- seen this movie, you know the feeling it gives you.
“WHOAH!”
This movie seriously messes with your mind. And not in a ‘lets show lots of abstract imagery and disassociated bizarreness like Blue Velvet or what haveyou, but this was told with finesse and skill, and still leaves you at the end going, as I said, “BRAIN! HURTS!”
If you haven’t seen it, go see it. Its not scary or jumpy or anything, it’s just a beautifully done movie. If you have seen it, I now know why you walk around with a lost look on your face going “wait… but if he… but wasn’t she… ”

Review : Kobo Deluxe

It’s rare that I get totally addicted to a game under Linux. I mean, the
environment isn’t really conducive to totally immersive gaming. Back in my
Windows days I’d have a serious game every week or two I’d play pretty
constantly until I either beat it or got tired of it. Since I’ve gone totally
Linux, that just hasn’t happened. Now, many would consider this a -good- thing,
since games can in fact be total time sucking life suckers, but gosh darn it,
sometimes ya just have to take a break from the full time job and just blow things up
for a while.

I’m not a cutting edge sort of gamer. If I like something, I’ll play it for
a while. And I mean a while. I’m still playing Quake 3 Arena just because
durnit, it’s a fun game, and lets me, well, you guessed it, BLOW THINGS UP!
When I shifted over to Linux, Q3A wasn’t really an option anymore (yes, I know
it’s possible, but I just wasn’t up for the hassle.

Continue reading “Review : Kobo Deluxe”

How can people use IE?

This is a rant.
How can Microsoft possibly market a browser as ABYSMAL as Internet Explorer? Aside from stomping on standards left and right, and putting out plain old BROKEN implementations, ths browser is a menace to every system.
I have to run it on the Win2k box to test things I’m running for a client. On that w2k box, I normally just use my Firefox installation. Anyway, running up IE, and I -immediately- get a pop-under advertisement.
I have run IE perhaps 5 times since I set this machine up.
Microsoft, you’ve built a product that is unuseable without third party tools (such as Spybot and Ad-Aware) that fix the faults in your product. Sheesh.

Communications device, Phase 2

I think I’ve settled on the Handspring Treo 600 as my phone of choice. It has a tremendous amount of goodies in it, and with an SD slot, I can punch in a half a gig of storage space for MP3’s. Bonus!
Now for the next step. The Treo 600 apparently works with AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Sprint, and T-Mobile. My current phone is workin with AT&T Wireless, which as far as I can tell has the -worst- phone support on the planet, but the service and coverage has been outstanding.
My requirements are unlimited data access (even as a ‘wireless modem’), and decent phone coverage in the Metro Boston area.
Here’s an outline of the services offered. Unfortunately it looks like AT&T doesn’t offer an unlimited plan at all, so that leaves Cingular or Sprint for this area (no T-Mobile?)
I’m leery of Sprint because they have a ‘custom’ network – their PCS stuff. That’ll lock that phone to the Sprint network only, right? But Cat has a GSM Cingular cell phone, and the coverage is cheezy as all git out. She has a terrible time holding a signal.
I’m leaning toward Sprint. Thoughts / commentary?

Mmm, first real bike ride

Today after I dropped Zach off at school, I hied over to Bedford to hop on the Minuteman Bikeway This is one of the longer bike trails in the Boston area, and stretches 11 miles from Bedford into Alewife. From there, there’s an extension that wiggles its way across Somerville, ending up in Davis Square.
In Davis I locked up the bike and settled in for a couple hours of work at the Diesel Cafe, a lovely wireless-enabled space on a busy street. I’m sitting in the open front doorway (it opens like a garage door), watching traffic go by, people walking by, and listening to Dave Matthews, and typing up a quote for services for a client.
This afternoon I’ll be riding back to Bedford, so if anyone is around and wants to come along, drop me some mail or just come by the Diesel.

Hanging out up in Maine.

Having a nice relaxing weekend up in Maine, which is always good for the soul. Course, would’nt be escape time unless I had some toys to play with. This weekend it’s games on the laptop.
Course, I’m running Linux, so that really cuts daown what’s available. One of the things I’ve been noodling with for a while is getting all the components together to build a MAME cabinet. (MAME is Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator – a way of playing virtually every video game every made on a single machine – what games do _YOU_ miss playing? :.) Course trying to do this on a non-existent budget has meant it’s taking a while. But I’m to the point of having the monitor, a motherboard, the games, and some real motivation, so things are starting to come together. Next step is the trickiest, and that’s designing / building a controller panel that has all the controls necessary for all the games I play.
Course, while working / thinking about this, I really get into playing games. I’ve been playing Robotron 2084 on the laptop a LOT, which is tricky with just keyboard controls, but it’s really making me jones for the cabinet.
Along these lines, Ben the fiend that he is, has turned me on to Kobo Deluxe, a thoroughly addicting space blast-em-up for Linux. The bum.

My Wishful Want for Connectivity

So I’m going to ask the Body Geek Politic here, because frankly I’m out of
the loop on this technology.

I’m doing enough mobile work on my IBM Thinkpad T23 that I
think it’s time to consider wireless service options. I’ve signed up for an
account with T-Mobile for wireless access
in the various Starbucks so liberally
strewn about the area, but that only gets me WiFi access within the cafe(s).

Continue reading “My Wishful Want for Connectivity”

Rant about Popcap Games

Remember Popcap Games? They wrote these
really wicky cool games like Bejeweled and Rocket Mania and Alchemy and all
those other nifty things.

One bit I liked was that all their games were in web-enabled form, so I could
try things online before buying or downloading. The downloadable versions were
just Java VM apps, which could run anywhere, so I could play it on my Linux
machines anytime.

Popcap has TOTALLY sold out. Not only are they selling out, they’re
completely misleading their userbase.

G’head. Try one of their ‘online games’. You can play from the Web! Click
through and check them out.

Oh, btw. Make sure you’re running windows. Because their so called ‘web
games’ won’t work on anything but a windows browser environment. Why? Because
they’re all ActiveX games.

NOWHERE do they mention this. Their slick marketing-speak pages go on and on
about wonderful web-games and ‘play now!’ and everything, but at no point do
they mention that they only support Microsoft. Ashamed? Perhaps. Why don’t
they mention that? You know, maybe it’d be bad for business if they proclaimed
that their webgames only work on one monopolies’ platform.

This is part of a disturbing trend. Had a look at Shockwave.com lately? Lots of interesting
games and toys over there. Oh, very few of them are actually Shockwave / Flash
games. They’re mostly downloadable executables for… wait… I’ll let you
guess.

Something’s shifting back into the Microsoft camp, and it’s really beginning
to make me twitch.

Review : Mozex plugin for Mozilla / Firefox

I’ve been having hassles doing some of the major editing on
the blog, due to the
fact that it’s difficult to do serious editing in HTML Textarea
windows. There’s a couple ways around it, such as having an an intelligent client
to edit in
. I’m still searching for a good client, but it’s sort
of weird when we already -have- one, that being a web browser. Gotta be
a better way!

Continue reading “Review : Mozex plugin for Mozilla / Firefox”