Instability in FireFox – solved.

Over the last couple weeks I’ve found myself not using FireFox as much as I had been. This is usually an indication that there are problems with the app that are making me not like it, or just ‘get in the way’. I found myself running Konqueror more, which has its own quirks.
Today I settled into trying to figure out what was annoying me. FireFox had been doing silly things like if a page refreshes automatically (like, say, my My Yahoo news page, it would raise the window to the front, and NOT give it focus. This was annoying as all git out, because every 10 minutes my FireFox window would spontaneously POP to the front of the screen. Not good!
I had seen a few other crashes and other oddities, so I ambled over to #firefox on (note that link may not work for everyone), and posited my problems.
Apparently a while ago I had installed the Tabbrowser Extensions otherwise known as TBE from the FireFox extensions library. This extension gives you amazing control over the tabs in FireFox (tabbed browsing is the cat’s meow – if you’re not using it, by using, say, an inferior browser, you should seriously consider upgrading).
Unfortunately, the TBE is known to have SERIOUS stability problems, and apparently is the first line of defense when someone say “I’m having problems with FireFox”. Sure enough, after I disabled the extension, things got MUCh smoother – the auto-raise behaviour stopped, and FireFox seems more stable.
The one behaviour I absolutely needed was the ability to re-order tabs. If I had tabs “a”, “b” and “c”, and I was viewing “b”, and hit the middle mouse button to open a new tab on a link, after I closed that window (usually with ^W), FireFox would show me tab “c”, and there was no way to fix that (it should have bopped me back to the ‘previously viewed’ tab, that being “b”.
Going through the above link, I found MiniT which looked about right. I installed it, and voila! I can simply drag one tab to another position on the tab bar, and since FireFox closes tabs from right to left, it’s easy to put them in the order I need.
Thanks to the folks on #firefox for pointing out the flaws in TBE.

I feel so… unclean.

This is the first time I had to fire up a Weendoze box to do something I couldn’t do on jboat. I needed to get some pictures off a CF Flash card via the Viking multi-reader (USB) I have. Linux just wasn’t mounting the filesystem right, so I bailed, and *sniff* fired up the windows machine and copied the files off.
I’ll fix it’s little red wagon though. I’ll get it WORKING next time! Hahhahah!

iCal migration, phase 2

We’re making progress, really! Catya and I have published our iCal calendars onto a common website now, and have a piece of software that lets us browse them via a web browser, but still no updating online.
There may be a ray of hope though. The Mozilla Project has a nifty tool that plugs right into their platform simply called Mozilla Calendar. It uses iCal format calendar files, and allows publishing and subscription via webDAV. Spiffy!
One of the tidbits I liked the best was it can ‘think’ in ‘my calendar doesn’t live here on my machine, it lives on the webDAV server’ mode. This means if I want to edit a calendar, I run up Mozilla Calendar, select the entry from the subscribed lists, make the change, and Calendar says “Re-post this to the server?” – and voila, it gets updated.
This still doesn’t do record locking, meeting invites, or busy planning, but it’s getting there. 🙂
I’m still using Evolution as my mail and calendaring program. I’m thinking of also setting up my contact lists, but I worry about the ‘local storage’ problem again, since there doesn’t seem to be a server manager implementation for contact management like there is for Calendaring, unless maybe it’s LDAP? Dunno. More to explore!

Shared calendaring, so it begins

Why is it that the tech world has never really grasped the concept of communal calendaring? Whenever you ask someone about shared calendars, they immediately mention the only one that seems to be in use, that being Microsoft Exchange. The evils of this system are well known, and need not be ranted about here. Beside the fact that the environment I’d like to deploy in is primarily NOT Microsoft.
I’ll be posting more about this as I move through it, but here’s my initial foray.

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Cool Blog NNTP Crossover tool

Those of us from the Dark Ages remember Usenet with feelings of fondness tinged with sadness. Fondness because (certainly for me), in the earlier days of the net it was the ultimate discussion forum. A global discussion medium that was well structured, easy to browse, and wide-ranging. At it’s height, Usenet contained tends of thousands of newsgroups, a large majority of them global, organized into the standard hierarchies. Sadness, because the Usenet that once was is mostly gone.

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Linux. KDE. Laptop. Mmmmm.

A month or so ago I embarked on setting up my working environment on a laptop running Linux. The iniitial platform was an IBM Thinkpad T20 running Redhat Linux release 9. I was reasonably happy with it, but RH9 is being end of lifed, so perhaps learning all there was to know about that platform wasn’t the best approach.

At a recent event, said T20 Thinkpad was stolen. But, out of adversity comes opportunity. I saw this as a reason to not only upgrade to a more powerful laptop, but also try a differenr Linux distributions. I’m super happy with what I ended up with, and knowing there are others either using this combination of hardware and OS, or are just curious how to go from scratch to full environment, this is a rundown of what my system is like, how I built it, and my thoughts on the state of the art in Linux desktops.

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Fun Flash games.

Folks on IRC pointed me at ‘Grow’ today, and I spent probably more time than I should ahve playing it. I’m still fiddling, I’m up to 9000pts, with 8 maxed. I’ll amend this if I get better.
‘Grow’ is available here.

Fascinating article on skr1pt k1dd13s.

This is an interview between RobLimo (who interviewed me a while back) and a fellow who got fairly into the hacker community. (for the uninitiated, in the security community, folks refer to younger kids who don’t really understand the systems they’re hacking as ‘script kiddies’. They just download a tool and run it, and it hacks the systems for them)
Anyway, this fellow really lays out how the community operates, and how they network together.
Check out the article on newsforge.


Remember that cool device on the back of the deLorean labelled “Mister Fusion” in Back to the Future? The concept that a fusion reactor producing virtually unlimited power could be brought down to the level of a coffeegrinder was whimsical, but gave that ‘gosh the future’s gonna be cool’ feel.
Well, we might be one step closer. Far from the Cold Fusion whoop-tee-do from the 80’s, these folks seem to actually be on to something.
As Reported in the Purdue News:
Evidence bubbles over to support tabletop nuclear fusion device
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Researchers are reporting new evidence supporting their earlier discovery of an inexpensive “tabletop” device that uses sound waves to produce nuclear fusion reactions.
Whoah. 🙂

Fun with virtual host aliases

With some help from the folks on the #apache channel on, I’ve set up a bunch of aliases for the blog. So you can now URL to the blog as ‘’ or any other variations, such as ‘dbs’ ‘dave’ ‘geek’ ‘shayde’, etc, and they’ll all go to the same place.
The trick is to have multiple ServerAlias lines, or a single one with a bunch of names after seperated with spaces. That combined with a named wildcard entry for, and voila!
Neat, huh?

New laptop recommendations?

So with the loss of my laptop I’d like to get a handle on the current state of affairs for laptops. Since ‘jboat‘ was my primary work platform I’d need to replace it with something that could cut the mustard.
Read on for specs. I’d love to hear recommendations, what do you think would fit the bill? Otherbloggers, feel free to trackback to this, I’d like to hear from other folks as well.

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