Archive for May, 2008

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Firefox zen

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Download DayAs I’ve mentioned here and there on Twitter I’m super impressed with the latest Firefox 3 Release Candidate – it’s a fantastic browser. The memory utilization is far more reasonable than with Firefox 2, and the new address bar and bookmarking system has changed the way I interact with browsers for the better.

See something I like and think I might someday want to return? Click the star to bookmark it, and forget about it. If it’s something I’m likely to use frequently then another click of the star lets me add a few appropriate tags to speed up the search.

No longer do I have an organized collection of bookmarks, and a bookmarks bar crammed with common links and folders of bookmarks. With the ability to search my history and bookmarks from the address bar an entirely keyboard and search based browsing habit has evolved. A few Quicksilvr like keystrokes reveal an impressively accurate and intuitive list of what I want, culled from the URLs, tags, and titles of the visited pages.

The Firefox user interface has become minimal, The address and search bar, a list of my open tabs, and nothing else. Pure efficiency and elegance in internet consumption. I have achieved Firefox zen:

Interestingly enough it would seem that my visitors have as well. A quick look at the last few months of visitors shows that over half of my visitors have selected Firefox as their browser of choice with Internet Explorer coming in 2nd and Safari trailing in 3rd.

With the Mozilla Foundation putting so much effort into setting download records at the release of Firefox 3 I wonder how that percentage will grow in coming months both on Futurist Now as well as the internet as a whole.

Side note: yes, I see the irony in cheering for Firefox given where I work. I don’t actually see a problem with that – I think Firefox has given Internet Explorer a lot and the more recent versions of Internet Explorer have been better for the competition that Firefox and Opera have provided. I strongly believe that competition is the key to any successful market and am always happy to see multiple contenders reaching for the stars – the biggest winners in this kind of technology arms race are almost always the consumers.

The EeePC 900 vs. the Macbook Pro

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

After mentioning my new EeePC 900 in my memorial day catchup post a few people emailed me to ask how big (or small) it really was. To hopefully answer the question about my delightful little netbook I present the following pictorial evidence of the diminutive EeePC stacked atop it’s big powerhouse of a brother, my 15″ Macbook Pro.

EeePC and Macbook Pro

The Something Store delivers

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

A week or so ago I heard about the latest web-meme: the Something Store. It’s a surprise store asking for $10 and in exchange they will send you something. The gimmick: you won’t know what that something is until it arrives at your door. I caved to my impulsive ways and today two somethings arrived at my door, ready and waiting for de-packaging and personal contents enlightenment.

A something has arrived

As you can see the box that arrived is not terribly big. Even my wee EeePC is larger, and both are dwarfed by the 15″ Macbook Pro they alight upon. I immediately rip the box open with the only sharp implement handy.

Obviously I need a better package opening solution

Obviously I need a better sharp implement for my desk, or at any rate one less dangerous. Note to self: pick up giant serrated blade that will look good on a glass desk.

Two somethings taken from the box of multi-something

To help elongate my personal mysterious something experience both something’s came individually wrapped. Within seconds I had ripped into my smaller something, eager to divulge it’s contents.

A small black box

A box! A tiny black box! Heart contain thyself. The box is constructed from pleather-clad cardboard and proclaims ‘Di Capri’ in embossed silver letters. What could be inside?

Cufflinks!

Cufflinks! Reasonably well put together and styled cufflinks at that. Luckily blue is my favorite color, and rectilinear forms are my favorite shapes. Worth the $10? For something #1 an enthusiastic yes. But what could the other (and ominously larger) something be?

A blue disturbing something

This is either something fantastic, or something horrific.

Yup - it's panties New work uniform?!

It would seem the latter: something horrific yet delightfully soft. Either this is my new lounge wear, or the best white elephant gift for the upcoming holiday season. Worth the $10? For something #2 the verdict is a not so definite perhaps. It should be worth noting that the Something FAQ even specifically calls out the scenario of a feminine something going to a (somewhat) masculine guy so I can’t say I wasn’t warned.

End verdict: the Something Store gets a thumbs up in my book. Don’t bet the farm on them with their specifically random product delivery but for a fun way to blow $10 that’s likely less damaging to your liver than an evening out on the town check them out.

For a few more pictures of the Something Store unboxing extravaganza check out my Flickr set on the topic.

Catchup post: Memorial Day edition

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

I’ve been busy the last week and haven’t been doing much long form writing and Futurist Now has suffered for it. What’s been keeping me busy?

My new EeePC
I picked up one of Asus’s delightfully tiny new netbooks, the EeePC. A netbook is a new category of sub-notebook device with low end specs designed primarily for browsing the web. The EeePC clocks in at a measly 900Mz, but at 9″ and under 3 lbs it’s easy to forgive it’s specs in lieu of it’s ultimate portability. So far I’m finding it an ideal email machine for use at meetings at work, and as a great bedroom/couch machine for keeping an eye on the tubes while relaxing or watching movies.

Being entirely solid state (the EeePC 900 series comes with 12GB of flash memory rather than a hard drive with spinning platters) it’s shock resistant, and gets surprisingly good performance for it’s diminutive specs. Due to the random access nature of flash memory the EeePC boots quickly and gets great battery life (3 hours of real use). While solid state drive (SSD) technology is still not competitive in price or storage capacity to typical hard drive (HDD) technology I can see the potential and am starting to get excited about the predictions that in 2011 or so SSD will all but completely replace HDD technology in notebooks and desktops.

While the EeePC 900 I picked up came pre-loaded with Windows XP I’ve done some experimentation with putting Ubuntu on it. As with my typical annual cycle I attempt to put some variant of Linux on my computers to see how the OS X/Windows competition is doing. This time however I was surprised – the latest Hardy Heron (8.04) release of Ubuntu is slick, polished, and works ‘out of the box’ on all the hardware I had laying around. While Ubuntu might be getting attention as a decent desktop alternative where I think it really shines is on a low end PC like the EeePC – it’s limited feature set and lean architecture work perfectly on a device with CPU and memory constraints.

Movies
Being a 3 day weekend I took the opportunity to see a couple of movies with Brien and Brian. We saw both Indiana Jones 4: The Crystal Skull, and Iron Man. Both movies were excellent (if not over the top) and fun movies to see while on holiday. I was never the hardcore fan of the Indy series that Brien was, and much to his horror I actually liked the newest one best from the series. It captured the fun essence of the earlier flicks while maintaining a fresh and modern feel even while being set in not so modern times.

Iron man also kept a modern feel, although it did so with a very modern setting. Having never read the comic book I assume I missed out on a lot of the back story, but still found the story presented in the movie touching and engaging. Having grown up idolizing gadget superhero (Hello, Inspector Gadget) it’s nice to see a modern take on a technological super-hero. Final note on the movie: I need a flying metal suit, that looks fun!

Lensbabied sneaker opus
Last but not least, a quick shot I took with my Lensbaby 2G while out on a photo walk on Saturday. I’ve been using my 18mm and 50mm primes a lot and decided to take the Lensbaby out and go for a stroll. I’m certainly glad I did as one of the resulting shots is a clear winner in my odd little abstract world.

Footwear abstract

Berlin confirmed

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Squeeeeee! It’s all confirmed: from June 8th through the 12th I’ll be in Berlin Germany covering an HP product launch. That’s right, me in Germany! It had been tentatively confirmed up until now, but I just got travel confirmation in my inbox and that’s as good as gold when it comes to confirmation as far as I’m concerned.

Update: Oh yeah – as Andru pointed out, I’m going to cover the HP event for Gear Live. Fun tech coverage for all!

Fine, it’s gone (or: An evening of shaving)

Monday, May 19th, 2008

Before After
before and after

After much heckling from my sister and Andru plus even a few people at work I’ve trimmed the beard. Are you all happy?

Update: Apparently the answer to my closing question was no. After further heckling by Andru I the next unfortunate step:

After, AFTER!
after, AFTER!

I now look 17 and homosexual. I hope you are happy Andru.

A little housekeeping

Monday, May 19th, 2008

As per my usual 6-12 month cycle I have tired of the old presentation of Futurist Now and have thus abandoned the old look and feel for something fresh. Thanks to the high degree of flexibility afforded by WordPress the whole affair took less than an hour and aside from a few things moving around a bit there should be no impact to Futurist Now readers. Let me know if you see anything broken.

Well, carry on then.

And I still don’t like Zoos

Monday, May 19th, 2008

As my parents could attest I never was much of one for zoos as a child. I had set one of my 101 goals to go shooting at the zoo to see if this was still true, and it is. Out of an overly-hot afternoon at the zoo my favorite shot was one that clearly didn’t need a trip to the zoo to take (assuming I could find Bamboo anywhere else in Seattle):

Bamboo green

I guess not everyone has to be into zoos. Personally I don’t much find animals interesting. Sure I love Skype and having him around is a blast, but I enjoy his companionship rather than a fascination with his non-humanness. From a photographic perspective zoos don’t really do it for me because of the cages and glass – I far prefer getting up close and personal with my subjects, really interacting with them to get the perfect shot.

Oh well, I had fun, learned something about myself as an adult, and avoided heatstroke for another day. All in all a positive way to spend a Saturday afternoon even if I won’t repeat the experience.

Bacon!

Thursday, May 15th, 2008

Something bacon this way comes

Inspired by this man and his bacon-filled Whopper I decided to try a burger with wonderfully excessive bacon myself. Having seen that even a man of such awesomeness that he could think of such a thing not be able to finish it I decided to back off on the bacon for a first time experience and go for what was described to the puzzled cashier as "as much bacon as beef please".

Clearly, I got what I asked for.

More bacon than beef

Unlike my bacon hero I was able to completely conquer my tasty bacon sandwich. This is a feat that was a complete dismay for my arteries and assault on my tract. In the best interests of my long life I regretfully doubt it is an experience I will allow myself to repeat.

Check out the bacon set on flickr for additional bacon goodness!

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