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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

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

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.

Twitter is down again

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Is it just me or is Twitter down almost as much as it’s up these days? I realize they have a very difficult technical challenge presented to provide a service like Twitter, but I mean ultimately if IRC has been able to do basically the same thing for the last 20 years why can’t they?

Metaspark

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Or: Further experimentation with personal aggregation services

After my initial experimentations with personal aggregation basically failed I’ve decided to take another stab at it, but this time with a DIY bent. I registered metaspark.net and am working a complicated series of WordPress plugins to attempt to create the functionality I want.

Unfortunately it’s not entirely baked yet, but keep your eye on that domain – once I get a few RSS aggregation, twitter update, and posting date issues sorted out it should be ready to go fully live, and with style no less.

Stay tuned!

And it was good

Tuesday, April 15th, 2008

Today marked my first day on the new product management job and man was it excellent. I’ve never done a transition like this where I already knew my co-workers and I have to say it makes a big difference. I hit the ground running, like the people I work with, and in general feel like I’m ready to start kicking some serious butt already.

High entropy living

Thursday, April 10th, 2008

The last two weeks have been interesting and full of change. First off today is my last day working for MSCOM. I’m leaving after two years with the team as a Project Manager to go join the business organization which owns the Volume Licensing Service Center to pursue a career in Product Management. Moving from the implementation to the requirements side of the house is a good move for me and really has me excited about the opportunity to effect change and really challenge the space I’m in to continue to innovate.

Next off I met David, one of the sweetest men on the planet. I’ve spent practically the entire last week and a half with him and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s one of those intense whirlwind relationships that seems to go at a million miles an hour – fun stuff while it lasts and heres hoping that it will last a very long time!

Finally Skype got to meet David’s roommates 12 week old pit bull puppy Porter. The two of them have been beating up on each other every other day or so and having a blast at it. David is a really active guy and thanks to his influence Skype’s activity level has roughly doubled. He seems happier for it and I hope to keep him active like this as long as he can keep up.

Approaching the first bridge

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

Wired just wrote up a great profile on my favorite futurist Ray Kurzweil. It’s an interesting read – particularly if you follow his work or have read any of his books. While some of his longevity techniques might be a bit off the deep end (hello 210 vitamins) he’s right on the money as far as I’m concerned when it comes to bridging human biology with technology.

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