Chrome > MSIE

Google Chrome brings the loveIf you’re still using MS Internet explorer, why? Do yourself a favour and start using Google Chrome. Why? Let me tell you:

Google Chrome is an almost complete ground up web browser design, making much better usage of memory management:

With the current versions of Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer, individual Web page tabs are hosted in a single process – a model that is efficient (in terms of memory and resource consumption) but also prone to catastrophic failures: A single crashed tab can easily take down the entire browser application. Chrome seeks to eliminate this problem by isolating each tab within its own application process, then leveraging the built-in memory protection capabilities of modern, preemptively multitasking operating systems to keep code and data in a failing tab from stomping on other processes. So now, when that buggy Flash applet on your favorite humor site goes belly up, it won’t necessarily take down the entire browser – the processes running in other tabs will keep chugging along.

Google Chrome is very fast:

On each one of these tests, Chrome clearly trounced the competition. I hope benchmarking experts and developers will weigh in with comments about how well these tests represent true JavaScript performance on the Web–either for ordinary sites or for rich Web apps.

Google Chrome is very secure:

Google’s Chrome was the only browser left standing—and in fact, was completely untested. None of the researchers at the competition even tried to attack Chrome… Google’s sandboxing shouldn’t be impenetrable, but it is sufficient to make the standard harmless exploit payload—starting up Windows calculator—harder to do.

MSIE just doesn’t have what it takes to run Google Wave:

Google Wave depends on strong JS and DOM rendering performance to provide a desktop-like experience in the browser. HTML5′s offline storage and web workers will enable us to add great features without having to compromise on performance. Unfortunately, Internet Explorer, still used by the majority of the Web’s users, has not kept up with such fairly recent developments in Web technology.

But if you are stuck with uncompromising IT staff or your own ignorance, then you can install the Google Chrome Frame into MSIE for a Wave experience by logging into Wave.

2010 Teamcoach Fremantle Platinum Prize cards

There’s only 66 sets of these made every year, given as prizes in the Teamcoach website competition. In previous years the structure of the competition has been a little different, with 44 or 22 sets made per year.  They don’t come up on ebay very often, so they’re quite rare and generally expensive. If you come first, second or third in the weekly Teamcoach competition, you can win a complete set of Teamcoach Prize Cards. Occasionally (like once or twice a year) you’ll see a complete set on sale on ebay, but more often than not the seller will break them up into team sets. I’ve seen Carlton and Collingwood sets sell for more than $250. Yes, that’s a six, nine or twelve card set depending on the year. The latest full 2010 Prize Set on ebay sold for $600. A 2010 Richmond set sold for $103. I got this Fremantle set for $16 plus change so I’m pretty stoked. I should probably start playing this game.

2010 Teamcoach Fremantle Prize Set

Being a Fremantle fan sometimes has advantages.

Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, 4 8 15 16 23 42

DriveshaftSo Lost is finally over. What the hell did I just see last night, anyhow? The whole series has reminded me of a mashup between X-Files and Gilligan’s Island.

What was real? What was imagined? What was dreamed? What was alternate universe? What was purgatory? What was heaven?

What is the island? Who was Charles Widmore and why did he care so much about the island? WTF was the DHARMA Initiative? So what’s going on with the island now that everyone is dead? Where happened to the black guy Michael, and his son Waaaaaalt? Basically, all this ending tells me is that all the backstory was absolutely meaningless; the entire six years of random weirdness was just stretched out to say “LOL, everyone dies and the good people get to go to heaven.”

Maybe I shouldn’t think about it too much. It’s like the Force in Star Wars, something cool which certain people could wield but when Lucas tried to explain it with midichlorians it just sucked.

Benjamin Linus has to be one of my favourite TV characters ever. He was just bad-ass.

Join the Others

Urgh, this is hurting my brain. I have to think about this more. I can’t believe I invested 6 seasons in watching this show. More often than not I’d come away thinking, “What just happened?”

My experience being interviewed by a six year old kid

My young apprenticeA friend of mine named Trish and her husband Glen, both of whom I used to work with during the Dark Times at iiNet, got in touch with my wife the other day. They’ve got young kids who are just fascinated with Star Wars, and they’re driving their parents mad with questions. Not being Star Wars fans themselves, they don’t know the answers but they told their kids they know someone who may have the answers they seek by the name of Mr Hoover. They’ve been bugging Trish if they can go and see this mysterious Mr Hoover and ask him questions. So Trish asked Suzanne if I’d be up for a Skype call so the kids could meet Mr Hoover face to face.

So last Saturday Trish and her two kids Skyped Suzanne and asked me to join. The kids were very well behaved, very courteous and had very good questions. I told them “dispense with the pleasantries”, and instead of Mr Hoover they could simply call me Brian. It turns out they haven’t actually seen all the movies yet, just the first half of Episode 4. Trish’s reasoning is that Empire Strikes Back is a bit “darker” and more violent, too much for six and four year olds. That’s her call, and fair enough. But what they have seen has pretty much captured and focussed their little minds to the point where they, and perhaps their parents, would respond to counselling if what Trish tells me is true. I’ve seen a couple facebook updates from her and wondered what they were about.

We had a couple quick fire questions about who their favourite characters are. They haven’t made that judgement yet, because they haven’t seen all the characters. I found this to be a very mature position to take for a six year old. They asked me who my favourite was. I explained that Star Wars is the story of Darth Vader, and that every other character exists only to tell his story. They thought this was pretty cool. They’d heard rumours that I had mountains of toys, and asked to see some. I told them that we are in the middle of moving and they are in storage, but they could see some of them at my web site, DarthVaderFigures.com. They got Trish to bring it up in a browser, and I could see them marveling at what they saw.  I said that I’d been collecting Star Wars toys since I was about their age, so I had quite a few. They liked this idea and I could see their minds ticking over.

The kids told me that they were too young to see the rest of the movies, and that they’d have to wait another 3-4 years before they could see Empire and Jedi and the others. I conceded that their mum probably knows what is best for them and said that they would have great fun in finding more characters and seeing the story unfold when they did get to see the movies. They already knew enough to watch them in the right order, 4-5-6 and then 1-2-3.  I could see them coveting my toys, so they know what to ask for this Christmas. I told them that it was also a good day to talk because Empire Strikes Back was released 30 years ago almost to the day that we were speaking. Wow!

One parting shot I took was to explain that we used to call Trish “Darth Vader” at work because we’d all scurry away in fear when we heard her stomping down the corridors, the same way the Stormtroopers and Imperial Officers would quake with fear when they heard Vader coming towards them. Trish said that she already told them about the name, but I’m sure she didn’t fully explain the reasons haha.

It was a pretty entertaining interview, in all, and reminded me about why I like Star Wars and collecting. It “lets the kid out”. It’s fun, imaginative and also enriching to discover the stories behind the characters.

30th Anniversaries this week

Pacman 30th AnniversaryWow, I haven’t been paying attention and these kinda snuck up on me. Pacman turns 30 today! Pacman was developed by Namco and released in Japan on 22-May-1980. Wow, has it been that long? I don’t want to consider how may 20s I dropped into coin-ops in the early 80s playing it, avoiding Pinky, Inky, Blinky and Clyde. Pacman came at a time when the most popular arcade games were shooters like Space Invaders and Asteroids, so it came as a welcome non-violent alternative and grew in popularity. Everything about the game was cool: the high-contrast colours, the wocka-wocka sounds, the intro music… it really was the perfect game for it’s time. To celebrate, Google even changed their header logo into a playable version of Pacman for the day. You’ve got to be in Classic Google mode, not iGoogle. I remember saving all my pocket money to buy this on the Atari, but was so disappointed to find that it really sucked.

This is the best Empire Strikes Back posterAnother 30th anniversary this week was the release of The Empire Strikes Back. After being blown away by Star Wars three years earlier, it came as a surprise to me that there was another movie released. Remember, these are the days before the Internet and discussions forums, preview web sites and such. I didn’t know about it until it actually came out  in Australia, which was a few months after the US release and even then I don’t think I saw it until a few weeks after than. Empire is still the best of the movies. I might see if I can fit it in sometime this weekend, perhaps on VHS for the low-fi experience, the way George Lucas intended.

Meanwhile, here’s a Periodic Table of The Empire Strikes Back.

Empire Strikes Back Periodic Table

Click for larger version

Inconvenient convenience?

Oscar GambleI’ve always thought that Japan, on the whole, make the best cars. Yeah, yeah… Italian and German supercars notwithstanding, but who can afford those? My first car was a Datsun, my second a Mazda. Our current family car is a Toyota.

Since moving to our current address we’ve found the need to buy a second car, because Suzanne and the kids are simply too selfish and lazy to get out of bed before 6am and take me to the train station in the mornings. Because I’m not in the demographic of buying European supercars I could not afford much. All I wanted was a little shitbox to get me from home the the train station in the morning and back again in the afternoon.

Coincidentally, a friend was looking to offload a car of his for cheap so I offered to buy it. It’s a Hyundai, which is a Korean make. The friend assured me it was very well looked after and maintained, and ran well. It does, and knock on wood I hope it keeps going. But there’s one little difference between our Toyota and my Hyundai which bugs me.

See, our Toyota doesn’t require you to turn the headlights off when you turn the car off. As soon as you turn the key to “off”, the headlights go out and the parking lights remain on. It’s not until you open the door that the parking lights turn off. This is pretty convenient for me because it’s just one more little thing I don’t need to remember to do. If I happen to turn the car on the next day in daylight hours and the headlights are on, no problem.

But, this behaviour gets me into trouble in my Hyundai, especially now that we’re in winter. When I leave home, it’s mostly dark. Well, dark enough that driving without headlights would be a bad idea. But when I get to the train station, it’s light enough that you can drive quite safely and legally without headlights. After I’ve parked my Hyundai and turned the key off, my instinct from years of Toyota driving leads me to grab my stuff and go, paying no attention to my headlights which are still on. I can’t tell that they’re on because the sun has already risen and I can’t see the lights reflecting off anything, and the instrumentation lights aren’t bright enough to see in daylight either. And, probably most critically, there is no friendly audible alarm found in other cars, which conveniently tells you that the boolean condition of lighted headlights and an open driver door has been met.

I’ve caught myself a couple times when I look back at my car to see that it’s parked straight, and I see an almost imperceptible red glow from the rear parking lights. D-oh! But on other occasions when I don’t second guess my parking abilities and simply lock-n-leave my car it’s not until I’m actually on the train that the doubts come: “Did I actually turn my headlights off or not?” Usually I can think back and identify that I actually did flip the switch, but one time last week I had to get Suzanne to swing by the train station car park and verify it.

So, who can I blame if I leave my lights on? Certainly not myself! But I can’t decide if I should lay blame at the feet of Toyota (and Mazda and Datsun) for making me the way I am, or blame Hyundai for not adding a feature which any other decent car manufacturer includes in any 20th century car?

Facebook is dangerous

Just for the hell of it, I’m making this blog entry entirely in Google Wave. It’s my little effort to get more of my friends and associates to start Waving. The contents of this wave include discussions and tips on Facebook, and links to sites and useful tools to keep your Facebook data private. Use your Google ID to sign up for Wave, or ask me and I’ll send you an invitation.

[wave id="googlewave.com!w+7bblpNgqA"]