Way back in 1998 and 1999, I switched to the Gecko-flavoured Phoenix web browser, which eventually was renamed into the browser you now know as Firefox. When Chrome came out, what, 2 years or so ago, I switched mainly because Firefox was becoming a hog. Looking at the current installed browsers on my main machine (Chrome 8, Opera 11 and Firefox 4 Beta), all of them seem to have taken over Chrome’s UI choices. That is, main menus have gone and tabs are now part of (in Windows lingo) the main “Window Caption”.
Anyway: Since Google recently announced that they were going to stop supporting the H264 video codec (Mashable editorial, Google’s response to the announcement), I thought it was time to look back and try the current dev/beta of Firefox (Firefox 4 Beta). I could start with a snark about the best new feature of “Four” (the Feedback button), but honestly, it looks like the dev-team has actually made progress. Most importantly, Firefox finally seems to startup faster than the other browsers. And at least, at this stage,
So, is it time to return to the roots? Sort of: I’m not 100% convinced yet, but at least running Firefox would take care of that evil ‘Googletalk’ plugin that pesters my system. On the other hand: Firefox does eat up a lot of memory right from the start.
I had troubles with a patched up version of the Flashplayer 10 plugin (Ubuntu-non-free) this weekend and I wasn’t surprised to see a new patch being applied just a couple of hours ago. Additionally, it looks like a Firefox patch made it through too. OK: this still means that the WordPress media uploader is broken. It uses Flash, you see, and it appears to have put in place new security measures, which haven’t been taken care by the WordPress developers. So, if you see that silly error when trying to upload files (the browse files thing seems to disappear everytime you open the upload box), you may want to check out a plugin to force WordPress to ignore the internal Flash uploader. Or you can wait out for WordPress 2.6. I may consider moving to another ‘platform’ before that hits the streets.
So, yeah: talking about software, I saw this application demoed the other day and it purports to be a Universe Sandbox (that’s also the name of the software). I think it allows you to smash galaxies and that: if you’re in a destructive god-like mood, you may like it (Windows only, though, so not really a help for me here).
There’s a great interview with a NASA developer about the software for their missions and landers. This quote stuck out (on the premise that software produced by the government should be released to the public domain):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean even though these are not military spacecraft, the technology used in them is space technology. And so the State Department does not allow us to release anything that we’ve done in terms of technical details to foreign scrutiny. Now, in fact as I said, we have a team of Canadians. The Canadians delivered our meteorology instruments, and we had to be very careful about our relationship with them and how much we could disclose to them.
And the very last item: I noticed the Pencil project, a sketching and prototyping plug-in for Firefox. Yeah: it really works too, so if you’re in dire need of making application mock-ups, it might actually be useful (without a doubt, it will also probably run via ‘xul-runner’).
It seems like ‘Are you using FF3?’ has become the most important Internet question today. The general response falls in between ‘IE7 rocks/FF SUXORS’ and ‘I’ve been using Firefox since beta 0.0.0.1′. If you know what I mean. Yes, I’m using one of the betas too, but now, lets return to the regular schedule for today.
I finally discovered what this programmer does nowadays, that is, after he left AOL. Why, he’s been working on REAPER, which is a DAW that literally kicks Sony’s Acid Pro out of the water. The evaluation version is fully working: a non-commercial license is 50 USD.
People who do photography know that the software that helps you develop those raw digital images into more pleasurable photos is quite expensive. On the Windows platform, I’ve resorted to UFRaw and The GIMP. UFRaw does an excellent job if you’re looking for an open-source photo development work-flow program: it comes with the usual glitches like options that are there but you can’t find at the first glance (like rotation and cropping). Obviously, since UFRaw is (both) a GIMP plugin and a stand-alone application, you can send images directly to GIMP.
Some off the record remarks:
- There’s an obvious correlation between the price of gas, the amounts of snow and distance from sea. There’s a special place in hell (or heaven, depending on your particular religous beliefs) for people who discover that correlation too, I believe.
- I have heard the remarks about the upcoming WordPress 2.5 release, and I’m proud to announce that AHCommentCentral is compatible. But then, that’s what you may have already figured out too.
- Via Kottke, I found this absolutely hilarious ‘International Association of Time Travelers: Members’ Forum Subforum: Europe â€“ Twentieth Century â€“ Second World War’, written by Desmond Warzel. I’m going to make a bold prediction here: in the next 10 years, writing IRC-style is going to be extremely fashionable. I can’t wait for the first Martin Amis book in this style.
- Talking about early and upcoming releases, Reuters reports that Firefox 3’s release is imminent. Uh:
“Mozilla is in a battle with Microsoft, which unveiled an experimental version of its Internet Explorer 8 in Las Vegas earlier this month and is looking to expand its presence on the Web through its bid to acquire Yahoo Inc.”
Oh. OK. I see, that’s all the Tech news condensed in one paragraph.
- And yes, a boomerang returns all the time, even in space.
I ran into a couple of surprises this week: First, I noticed that Mozilla now has their own video outlet/pod cast, Air Mozilla (Requires Flash 9). The video cast is spearheaded by Asa Dotzler. Older footage can be found at YouTube, at the Air Mozilla channel (warning, it appears that the YouTube channel is not really up-to-date, but it does have footage of interviews with the Chief Mozilla Wrangler, Mitchell Baker).
Also, much to my surprise, I found out that MTV apparently has a multiplayer blog, which brings you everything from ‘Halo 3 to Desktop Tower Defense’. I generally don’t read these kind of gaming blogs (for obvious reasons).
This reminds me that I ended up at that MTV blog via this Joystiq posting (‘Do you want a Portal 2?’): However, the posting there doesn’t really link to MTV’s blog. I guess it’s either hard to create hyperlinks to 3rd party sites or that hyperlinking isn’t usual anymore.