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30 Days to Becoming an Opera7 Lover

While I'm a happy user of the Opera Browser, when I come across this web series 30 Days to Becoming an Opera7 Lover I am still a little bit skeptic. Does Opera really has so many unique features to write about for 30 days? Doesn't IE suppose to have everything we need for the Internet already? I imagine this must be some passionate fan's touting about his favour browser. But it turns out these are really excellent, full length articles about the browser and it actually run for 30 straight days. Some described great features I have taken for granted but are unique innovation of Opera. Others demonstrated overlooked features and usage tips that helps even experienced users. A lot of seemingly simple features, like extracting notes from web pages, start to make sense after he explains the motivation and show its intended use.

Who say there are no more innovation in web browser? Don't get stuck with the stagnant IE. The great Opera is just getting better and better.

2004.09.25 [] - comments

 

The New Browser War

The launch of the Firefox preview release has drawn enthusiastic receptions. It has reached its goal of 1 million downloads in only 4 days. For the first time since Netscape's downfall, there seems to be a real challenge to Microsoft. Would this be the start of a new browser war? Let me help beat the drum here.

After a series of high-profile security issues that have plagued IE, there are finally some numbers showing alternative browsers are taking a small but noticeable market share from IE as reported in eWEEK and CNET. Last year we were worried when AOL unloaded the browser development to create the non-profit Mozilla Foundation. Nevertheless developers have not disappointed us by rolling out successive releases of this sleek and fast browser. In retrospect, the establishment of the Mozilla Foundation is more of a blessing. Rather than AOL, now it can find better corporate sponsors like IBM, Sun and Red Hat.

Perhaps it could not get a more high profile sponsor than Google. Rumors has floated that Google is going to release a browser based on Mozilla. The New York Post has made such speculation base on a number of new hires. Blogger Jason Kottke has made some strong arguments for a Google Browser. He has also discovered Google has already registered the gbrowser.com domain. This could be tipping point for Mozilla to gain wide spread acceptance.

It is often accepted that the vast majority of consumers are not likely to switch from IE given is already the browser installed by default. Users are seen as dummies that downloading and installing another program is just beyond their ability. But look at how applications such as KaZaA and BitTorrent gained such popularity without corporate blessing. As is the case for ICQ, which has gained a hugh following as an independent company. People do know how to install software. Give them something compelling and we will find people switching in droves.

2004.09.23 [] - comments

 

A Journey Through Every Country In The World

I have posted my review for Lonely Planet's latest picture book "The Travel Book, A Journey Through Every Country In The World" on Amazon. I become the first reviewer!
 


Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, ... and continues on to the last country Zimbabwe, Lonely Planet has put together an extraordinary travel book that brings us to every country in the world. Listed alphabetically from A-Z, each country occupies 2 pages with vivid pictures and some impression of the lands. Even tiny Pacific islands get the same amount of space as everybody else, regardless of their size and popularity in tourism. Using a more liberal concept of 'country', it brings the total number to 230.

In just one volume, it makes no attempt to be a comprehensive reference book. Instead there are many fun ways to use it. Flipping it to a random page to get some inspiration for your next travel destination (you will likely end up in some distant place rather hard to get to.) Cover the title and try to name the country by the pictures alone (a challenging game given the pictures are more focused on people and landscape than instantly recognizable landmarks.) Or just read it cover to cover as I have prepared to do.

This book evokes the same kind of exhilaration from travelling. I was joyous like a kid while walking away from the bookstore with this 3kg book.

2004.09.20 [, ] - comments

 

David Ascher's paper on Dynamic Languages

For the past year I have been engaged with the Python language and have very much impressed by it. So it is excited to find a recent white paper from David Ascher to speak for dynamic languages, a term he coined for the class of languages such as Perl, Python, PHP, etc, which are often referred to as scripting languages. He observed that these languages are widely used beyond the scripting area and their dynamic nature is really what set them apart from the system language such as C++ and Java.

The most interesting part in his paper is he look more than the technical competence but also the social aspect as a defining characteristics. These languages all have primary implementation in open source model and have active grassroots participation. Being open source also make them fertile ground for experimentation in academic language research. Despite having nearly no formal budget, they are able to evolve and succeed against other corporate made development tools.

I believe dynamic language is going to play an important role in the future of computing. And I see this paper to serve as the "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" in the programming language domain.

2004.09.09 [, ] - comments

 

Rasputin's Elevator Operator

If you have been to San Francisco downtown's Rasputin Music store you have probably taken the elevator, a closet-size box christened the Transporter Room, to go between floors. You would probably have pity on the operator, who spends hours sitting in that claustrophobic box. SFGate.com took an interest on them and run an interesting story today. In the elevator you might find painters, poets and other intellectuals as well as a trained librarian, and someone with a Ph.D., as well as aspiring musicians running it.

Believe it or not, among the store's steady stream of job applicants, there are always some people who want to apply just for that gig.

2004.09.01 [] - comments

 

past articles »

 

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SF Gate

 

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