Around The Web Audio/Video

Building the Stonehenge

Wally Wallington can build the Stonehenge, despite tons of stone to move. And he makes it look easy! Very cool. Now that’s some awesome use of brains.

In The News Mozilla

Mission Accomplished?

BusinessWeek has a short post on Firefox, a good (but short) read, my favorite is:

…Firefox has anywhere from a 10% to 18% worldwide market share among browser users, depending who is counting, and almost every Web site that matters makes it possible for Firefox users to fully access their pages. The turning point came earlier this year when banks and financial services outfits including American Express and Fidelity switched over…

I don’t really like the title “Firefox: Mission Accomplished”, as foolish gloating has a history of coming back to haunt you. Thankfully that appears to be BW’s choice of words. Firefox is far from done. More can be done to improve the users web experience, more site compatibility needs to be fixed, and more people need to be invited to take back the web.

Google Mozilla

When Will Google Calendar Become Usable?

Google Calendar is an awesome web application. And despite my best efforts, Google doesn’t want me to use it. It came out back in April, and still lacks WebDAV support. As a result it’s read-only for client side applications. If they supported WebDAV so we could have full access to calendars, it would be infinitely more usable. I just don’t understand how it launched without. Who knows, perhaps one day it will catch up.

Ideally it would come out with Sync conduits for popular platforms: WebDAV (covers iCal and Sunbird), HotSync (Palm) and Blackberry.

Until then I still can’t figure out how I’d use it on a daily basis. It’s a shame, it’s an awesome app, but unfortunately it’s shortcomings are fatal.

In The News Yankees

Another Yankee Plane Crash?

Yikes! Considering what happened, it’s amazing how few were harmed. What’s even more striking are the parallels.

The media is nonstop with the parallels to 9/11, and for good reason (burning skyline, plane, Oct 11), but there are other strange examples of reliving history that come to my mind:

Empire State Building was at one point struck by a B-25. Also a brick building, which happened to survive rather well (larger airplane, larger building).

Thurman Munson had a somewhat similar fate, lack of experience and an airplane. Not sure if you need to be a Yankee fan for this to be the first thing you think of when you hear of a baseball player killed in a plane crash. I’d guess most would think of Roberto Clemente. But I’ve heard the story enough that it came to mind quickly.

It’s said Yankee contracts since Munson’s death require any Yankee piloting an aircraft to have a licensed instructor with them. Who knows what George Steinbrenner will do now. Perhaps ground the Yankees?

The other thing that went through my mind was that Seinfeld episode (The Boyfriend) with Keith Hernandez (of Mets Fame) where George (who goes on to work for the Yankees about 2 seasons later) asks:

You know Keith, what I’ve always wondered, with all these ball clubs flying around all season don’t you think there would be a plane crash? …

But if you think about it…26 teams, 162 games a season, you’d think eventually an entire team would get wiped out.

Just some random thoughts after watching the news coverage.

Blog Spam Web Development

Hardened Defenses

This weekend my Contact page got spammed. It’s now rewritten and using a few blacklists (including Akismet) among other techniques to eliminate spam. Should be much better now. I also think the handling of attachments should be better.

The spam appeared to be from a botnet, based on the fact that no 2 seemed to have the same IP address. So just blocking IP’s wasn’t an option.

Now things should be even better.


USB Keychain Madness

USB Flash drives stink. They are either really poorly designed (causing them to break quickly) or to expensive to be practical in to carry on you.

I want the following:

  • USB 2.0 with actual fast transfer (not all are fast)
  • Between 2GB – 4GB capacity
  • Rugged – this means a cap that doesn’t fall off and get lost quick, the ability to attach to your keys (or thin enough to fit in your wallet), and solid construction that you could step on without any fear at all of cracking.
  • Small Footprint – some are a little wide which can make them hard to use in some situations where USB ports are close together.
  • < $100 Price tag

For a 3 years now I’ve had a “JumpDrive Secure” 512MB. It’s served me well, but I need more speed, and more capacity than this one offers. So I need to move up. It’s rugged, but the cap isn’t that great (the only reason I didn’t lose it is because it was in my backpack for most of the 3 years). It’s also rather wide. It’s about time to retire it and look for something more appropriate. I avoid mine lately because it’s either too slow or small, or it just doesn’t fit.

So far the contenders are:
Lexar JumpDrive Sport – this drive has a nice rubber cap that surrounds the entire thing, and attaches to a keychain. That’s pretty secure looking. It’s also available in 2GB.

JumpDrive Lightning – this drive is stainless steel! And fast! The downside is it’s price tag. It’s a bit on the expensive side, and the cap must not be that secure, because you can buy a kit of 3 replacements for a few dollars. Loose caps aren’t cool.

Corsair Voyager – 2GB and 4GB are actually really cheap, and it’s rubberized! But on the downside, the loop for the keychain is only rubber (no metal reinforcement according to Ars Technica’s review). And it’s a bit bulky. Again, loose cap.

Apacer Steno – reasonable price, and a pretty innovative design to help you never loose the cap! On the downside performance isn’t that great, and it’s just plastic.

SanDisk Cruzer Titanium – a little on the expensive side, but strong (rated up to 2000lbs.) and no cap to use (it just slides out). On the downside it’s a little on the expensive side.

OCZ Ultra Slim Mini-Kart – insanely small! Fits in your wallet and surprisingly affordable. But how durable can this be? Especially in your wallet.

Right now I’m leaning towards the SanDisk Cruzer Titanium because of it’s size, performance, and strength. Not to mention the cap free design.

Internet Mozilla

Report Broken Websites!

Since we started we have thousands of reports filed (many on the same sites, some invalid reports, and some just using the tool thinking it’s for tech support requests) reporting issues encountered on the web. This is awesome feedback (and a big thank you to everyone who filed a report). I’ve noticed several sites have since resolved their issue(s). I want to do more. But to do so help is needed (that’s where you come in).

Want to help? It’s simple, you don’t need to write a line of code. Just tell everyone who says something along the lines of “Firefox doesn’t work with” to “Report It!”. Just go to the Help menu and select “Report Broken Website”. Fill out the form as much as you can (it takes < 10 seconds in most cases) and submit. That’s all you have to do to help us!!!

The data can be used two ways:

  • Find websites that should be contacted about their incompatibility. It’s not always laziness, it’s sometimes the sites operators just don’t know because they use IE themselves (workstations have IE installed on them). Having data to show them makes it a much stronger point, and tells them explicitly what’s wrong.
  • Find regressions and problems in Firefox. Using the data, and examining the pages it’s possible to find errors due to Firefox bugs. This is something I hope to improve upon in the future.

I’ve been working on a new version of the webtool to analyze the data which so far looks like it will be making it much easier to do. In Firefox 3.0 I’m hoping to land support for sending us screenshots (opt in only of course) so you can show us your problem if you want. I already drafted a patch for that.

I’m also brainstorming on how to help webmasters who want to improve their Firefox compatibility. More on that some other time. I’ve got more ideas than MacGyver.

So remember, next time you encounter a problem to report it. And tell your friends.

Around The Web Funny

Male Restroom Etiquette

Male Restroom Etiquette

It’s all so very true. This instructional video should be shown in schools to ensure it’s followed. I especially love the choice of words used.

Around The Web Mozilla

FishCam 2.0

This is likely old, but I just ran across this… The old Netscape FishCam is now the AOL MV FishCam. It also has a blog. I remember reading about that easter egg (Ctrl-Alt-F) way back when.