Hardware Software

Hard Drive Fun

I got my new 100 GB Seagate 5200RPM drive Wednesday. Spent from about 6:00 PM – 2:00 AM trying to get it to work. IBM’s (normally) wonderful Product Recovery system left me with a 9 GB partition for Windows, immediately after the service partition, and a ton of wasted disk. Multiple attempts failed to work. Thanks in part to SystemRescueCd I got it working now (spent most of today working on it, and got it working 2:00 AM Friday morning).

IBM is sending me some new disks, which hopefully are a newer version and work better.

Needless to say I’m a bit ticked off, but relieved that it’s finally working. Recovery CD’s were a massive headache. I wish they would just give a Windows OEM CD, and a 2nd CD with their modifications and installer. Would make everyone’s life easier.

I’ll be spending most of Friday, and perhaps part of Saturday reinstalling everything (and taking a break to workout for the first time in 2 weeks). So I’ll be pretty quiet.

Off to bed now.

Funny Space

Milky Way Bar

According to scientists there is a bar in the center of the Milky Way Galaxy. Here’s a rendering of it:
Milky Way Galaxy
AP Photo

Here’s what was already known about the topic:
Milky Way Bar
Mars Company

All I can say is “yummy”.

In The News Software

Windows 2000 collectively crashes

From CNN 6:11 PM EST:

— A worm shut down computers running Windows 2000 software across the United States.

A preliminary article is here. Read this for starters:

A computer worm shut down computer systems running the Windows 2000 operating system across the United States on Tuesday, hitting computers at CNN, ABC and The New York Times.

Around 5 p.m. computers began crashing at CNN facilities in New York and Atlanta. ABC said its problems began in New York about 1:30 p.m.

The Caterpillar Co. in Peoria, Illinois also was reportedly affected.

The Windows world is going to feel a world of hurt. And guess what? Soon Microsoft won’t even be releasing patches! This could get pretty ugly. Just shows how vulnerable so many systems are.

Update: CNet on the case


Firefox Marketshare

I enjoy this topic a bit. Please don’t take this as science, or fact. This is purely speculation and discussion about market share. The topic itself is rather complex. You can view it from the mathematical/statistical point of view, or from the business/marketing point of view. Both have a very different (yet similar) angle on the topic and view things a bit differently. Because of my interest in the business angle, I’ll lean slightly more towards that.

First the facts (from Infoworld discussing the NetApplications data):

Firefox’s share shrunk to 8.07 percent from 8.71 percent in June, while IE grew its market slice to 87.20 percent in July from 86.56 percent last month.

…He pointed out that Apple Computer’s Safari browser grew most, increasing its market share 2.13 percent from 1.93 percent. America Online’s Netscape, which once ruled this market, slid a bit to 1.50 percent from 1.55 percent. Opera Software ASA’s Opera came in fifth with a 0.49 percent market share.

OK, well using that data, and filling in the blanks (we’ll assume Opera stayed the same, and “Other” being the remaining users) we can come up with a nice table of data:

Browser June July Diff
Firefox 8.71% 8.07% -0.64%
IE 86.56% 87.2% 0.64%
Opera 0.49% 0.49% 0%
Safari 1.93% 2.13% 0.2%
Other 2.31% 2.11% -0.2%
Total (fact) 97.2% 97.89%  
Total (stat) 100% 100%  

Some Graphs

The point of the below graphs is to illustrate how much this really means in the grand scheme of things (from what we can tell based on the available data). As you’ll see, there’s almost no difference. Simply because were talking about a little more than a half of a percent. With IE still holding over 85%, a fraction of a percent is pretty meaningless to them. It’s not like they had a big gain.

Graph 1
Graph 2
Graph 3

Also in the article:

I’m really anxious to see what happens in the month of August – Dan Shapero,’s Chief Operating Officer

I’m not. I’d be more interested in September and October. August won’t really say much about anything. If it goes back up, it’s not very reflective. If it goes down further, it’s still not reflective. There are several reasons for this:

  • August is a vacation month – Simply put, lots of people are on vacation, and away from their computers. This is especially true for students, and younger adults. This is important as this demographic is key to Firefox 1.0 success. If you look around, some of the best marketing for Firefox took place via grassroots efforts like Blogs and such. It’s obvious the net slows down a bit in August. Everything from websites to online forums seem to slow down a bit as people take some time off (this blog is a perfect example if you look at posts per month).
  • Factor of 1.5 – that’s right. Firefox 1.5 isn’t to far off, and you know what that means? Yup, the lull before upgrade season. Growth will slow thanks to people saying “I heard it’s coming soon, I’ll just wait”. Then of course you have corporate deployments who don’t want to bother with a version that will be outdated soon. If I were them I wouldn’t really push 1.0 at this point either. I’d hold until 1.5 is released, then deploy that.
  • Marketing Slowdown – yea, that’s the big one. Why? Because of the above two reasons. SpreadFirefox is in a bit of a transition right now.

So why the drop?

It’s hard to say for certain, but I’d guess at least part of it is simply the fence leaning. What does that mean? Well with anything, there are people who jump on board (if your reading this blog using Firefox, you likely fit in this category), and people who stay on their side of the fence (you IE people). Then there is the small percentage who don’t quite know where to go. They try things out, and go back to the side they came from (IE). This is a normal part of software transitioning. Remember back when Mac OS X 10.0 came out? We all had classic running in the background about 95% of the time? A few even stuck with classic (while having OS X installed). Then as we got more adjusted, Classic was running less and less. Until it became a rare situation (I only use it for SimCity 2000 these days), and occasionally Microsoft Office, since I haven’t convinced my student budget to purchase Office for Mac OS X (I use AppleWorks when on the Mac most of the time).

So if September and/or October looks sour, it’s over?

No. Not really. Take a look at Netcraft’s excellent survey of web server’s and you’ll see various places where you could have assumed that Apache would be turning sour, when in fact, it goes right on back.

Abandon ship?

Ha! Never.

Predict the next jump?

Oh how tempting that is. I will say this. I expect shortly after 1.5, there will be jump in users, a larger trend will take place among corporate users thanks to some enhancements, and just “not being 1.0” (many companies have policies against anything that’s “.0” simply because they view it as new and buggy). So I expect more corporate adoption. The problem with corporate adoption is that it can be a slow process (QA can take months). So that jump may start 3 weeks out from 1.5’s release, but may not be fully realized for a few months after.

Bottom Line

Hype. That’s really it. There was a lot of hype about Firefox taking over the web. That was good (in a way), but this is the downside of that. Now browser stats are all the rage. A year ago almost nobody cared about them. Now it seems everyone does. Firefox isn’t about a monopoly or fighting one. It’s about providing choice and innovation. That’s what it does. Firefox grows when it innovates and the rest of the industry doesn’t. Perhaps that’s really what browser stats gauge? Market share is a measure of browser innovation and users acceptance (or disappointment). Yep, there’s that word again (“user”). It’s about the “user”, not the browser. Remember that. Blake has said this before. So yes, the statistical drop between June and July is pretty meaningless regardless of how you look at it.


XULrunner vs. Dashboard

Daniel Glazman says:

Forget Konfabulator, forget Dashboard, forget Tcl/Tk. XULrunner will kill them all. As usual, it’s not planned to kill them. It’ll be just a side effect of the existence of XULrunner.

I agree, but with an exception. Konfabulator, and Dashboard have much better management of widgets than XULrunner appears to have (I’ve yet to see any documentation planning something better). XULrunner manages widgets more like Java. It simply doesn’t. It relies on the OS to do so. It’s purely a runtime.

If XULrunner could be run in a Dashboard type mode (run multiple widgets, background, be rather graceful and beautiful), and good installation methods to add widgets and manage them. It would be a killer app. Especially since it’s so portable and powerful.

But as a runtime (which is essentially what XULrunner is at this time), it’s not quite a killer. It’s apple’s and oranges.

I’d personally love to see the ability to run XULrunner in a “Dashboard mode” so that it managed XUL based widgets similar to how one of those other products manage widgets. That really would be an impressive feat. Perhaps that would be a great XULrunner app for someone to write. A portable, fast, lean XUL based Dashboard app?

Around The Web Funny

Flying Spaghetti Monster

How the universe was created.


  • Flimsy moral standards.
  • Every Friday is a religious holiday. If your work/school objects to that, demand your religious beliefs are respected and threaten to call the ACLU.
  • Our heaven is WAY better. We’ve got a Stripper Factory AND a Beer Volcano.

Well, how can I not support that? It’s a rock solid website.

[Hat tip: Phil Plait’s Excellent Bad Astronomy Blog]

Apple Google

Google + Apple = iGoogle

Apprantly Apple and Google are talking. I’ve got an idea what it may be like, so here’s a little peak.

Speculating about the two mythical companies is always fun right :-D.

Funny In The News

FedEx Furniture

FedEx Furniture is pretty cool. Strong furniture made out of those really strong FedEx boxes (great packages BTW as they ensure your package arrives in 1 piece. Leave it to them to get really upset about this free advertising.

Typically, if your company gets good free advertising about how great your product/service is, and fans doing eccentric stuff to show how great your stuff is: It’s a big win.

But to FedEx management, this isn’t the case. Positive press for solid packaging is a big problem. So the executives got together and got FedEx legal to harass the guy to ensure that FedEx gets some bad press (in hopes that things balance out).

Amazing how dumb some executives can be. They are handed some good free advertising, and intentionally create bad press in hopes of preventing good press. Yea, try that logic out.

Yup, that’s really going to help you out.

Brand Recognition folks. It’s insanely hard to get. Building it costs tons of cash, and rarely works out. FedEx has it, and has fans who encourage the brand and spread it for them. And FedEx is surprisingly against brand recognition. Amazing. There are thousands of companies across the US who would pay for that type of free press.


Mozilla Store

The store finally reopened. The Firefox Polo and Hat look rather tempting.

Now where is the Firefox underwear?

But seriously, some cool stuff. The T-Shirt I have is rather nice (I think that was still the old company). Asa claims it’s a million times better. The Firefox logo is rather good looking. Perhaps Beach Towels, Those window decals (no glue, so they don’t ruin the window), and a good old poster would be good additions. Also a “Firekini” (Bikini with Firefox logos) would be rather classy. That’s an area which gets lots of attention.

Enough drooling, for me. Time for bed.


Copyright Office Compatibility

According to the Copyright Office:

At this point in the process of developing the Copyright Office’s system for online preregistration, it is not entirely clear whether the system will be compatible with web browsers other than Microsoft Internet Explorer versions 5.1 and higher. Filers of preregistration applications will be able to employ these Internet Explorer browsers successfully. Support for Netscape 7.2, Firefox 1.0.3, and Mozilla 1.7.7 is planned but will not be available when preregistration goes into effect. Present users of these browsers may experience problems when filing claims.

According to the website, the comment and 5 copies should be sent to:

Copyright GC/ I&R
P.O. Box 70400
Southwest Station, Washington, DC 20024-0400

I won’t go as far as a “call to action”, since support “is planned”, though this is very concerning to Mac and Linux users in addition to all Firefox users. Let them know that everyone should be able to access the system, regardless of your computer or browser.

I’ll try and follow this, and post an update when more information is available.

[Hat tip: CNet News]