13 Dec 2005

switching from safari to firefox

recently, firefox 1.5 has become my default browser. safari has been my default browser since, but two things have finally broken the camel's back and made me switch:

1. javascript performance is abysmal. my stats page takes 18 seconds to load on safari, and firefox takes 5 seconds to load. that is because it just does some XmlHttpRequest'ing and adding DOM manipulation. i found out after some more testing that it was the performance of the DOM that was lacking, rather than the overall javascript performance.

2. the wealth of cool extensions for firefox finally swayed me. i've now got all sorts of cool extensions like webdev, adblock, showip and customisable search box.

things i still miss from safari though, which means i might go back eventually:

1. nice interface. as much as i like firefox, safari does have the cleaner interface
2. the inquisitor plugin from david watanabe, the creator of newsfire and acquisition.
3. the excellent safaristand sidebar that displays thumbnails of the tabs in a style better than omniweb.

also, i am using the reportedly G4 optimized version of firefox rather than the stock standard one.

one final note, i had to manually go into the Firefox bundle to change a jar file so that i could use emacs keybindings in the textareas and dialog boxes. why don't they make it default because it just goes against the grain of all the other mac apps that respect emacs key bindings.

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13 Dec 2005

bush denies he's in a bubble.

this news article that reports on an interview with george bush is about as informative as "extra extra: priest denies he is a satanist."

it does redeem itself in the end by having this quote:

Asked whether he read weekly news magazines, Bush replied: "I really don't."

"I'm interested in the news, I'm not all that interested in the opinions," said the president.

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12 Dec 2005

calm down sydney and the quality of bbc comments.

there have been race riots in sydney for the last two days and there's heaps of coverage over at sydney morning herald. bloody hell sydney, get a grip. this isn't so much about race, but a bunch of drunken bastards trying to find an excuse to beat someone up with their empty beer bottle. just so happens that those drunken bastards outnumbered the police.

 Ffximage 2005 12 12 Mob Gallery  470X278,0

anyway, reading some of the comments in bbc news just sickens me on how uninformed some of the people are. take a look at these choice quotes:
"It appears that when white people riot they are condemned as racist, but when non-whites riot they are considered oppressed."
boo hoo for white people. look, if you are the majority race in the country, then yeah, if you tell people to get out of your country, then yes, you're being racist. how is that not racist? are the white australians oppressed by the immigrants and forced into the outer suburbs?
"Maybe multi-culturalism is being forced onto Australians, as it is in many other western nations, to the extent that the will and the rights of native Australians are being ignored?"
ok, let me take a deep breath. so someone forced australians into multiculturalism. i suppose now you'd want to force everyone out again? and then to the jewel of this comment, what is the native Australian? the convicts and gold diggers that arrived in the 1800s, the european immigrants in the 1900s? or did he/she mean the REAL NATIVE australians -- like the aboriginies?
"The frustration shown by the indigenous population (of many countries) comes not from racism necessarily, but having to watch and accept that their culture, freedom of expression and religion are supressed and on the back burner, in order to accomodate OTHER cultures."
hahaha .. has this person even been in sydney? and i suppose that she thinks muslims are taking over the sydney opera house and turning it into a mosque? how is australian culture being repressed? only recently was there the same furor in australia about schools banning head scarfs. who's repressing who?

anyway, i think that is why bbc has taken their comments off the main article page an on to a separate section because most of the comments are just so uninformed and ridiculous. reading those comments just makes me sick, and so does the irresponsible talk back radio guy alan jones.

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11 Dec 2005

graphing in javascript

for the last two weeks i've been working on using the canvas tag to draw graphs in firefox and safari using javascript. i'm finally ready to let people take a peek and try it out. i've creatively named it CanvasGraph.js as i haven't thought of another name that's cool like graphr or canv.as.gra.ph.ulat.or.

i've already been using it for my statistics page which doesn't actually have much statistics, only the ones i care about. but for the full scoop, i've also put up the canvasgraph page that explains the API and demos a couple of things you can do with it. here's an example from the page:

 Static Canvasgraph Example-Bar

this is actually a png, but on the demo page, you'll see it rendered in full CANVAStastic glory.

without x and y axis labels, it is a little meaningless so i'll have to explain it. the vertical axis is the number of blog posts per month, and the horizontal axis is date starting from when i first started to keep track of blog posts. liquidx.net was been around for 5 years, and i only started keep track of blog posts (we didn't used to call it blogging then) when i first began with drupal.

so you see there's a definite odd cycle of blogging going on. notice that december every year is always a low volume month, get around 10 blog posts. other interesting trends is the massive spike between 6/2004 and 9/2004, this is when i went to the princeton for a summer internship and ended up blogging about every hummer and limo i saw in the states!

also have a dip in blogging activity between 6/2003 and 7/2003, which i don't quite know why. i don't think i was on holiday then, but maybe i was occupied with something else. otherwise, i'm around a average 30 posts a month person, that is nearly 1 per day.

for the technical details there, this is just generated from a json file that in turn was generated from a text file that had the number of posts per day. the source that generated is here and also on the demo page, and as you can see, its pretty simple. you now too can plot simple pieces of data without resorting to opening excel, openoffice, gnuplot or matlab. hurray!

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10 Dec 2005

world cup 2006 draw

quick update: australia has been drawn in the same group as brazil (ronaldo and ronaldiniho), japan (ono, nakata and inamoto) and croatia (emm .. sorry, hardly see them play). this means that australia will definitely not get through the group stage. but more importantly, because their games are in the same groups as japan and brazil, my chance of getting group stage tickets will be next to zero.

tickets will be on sale starting december 12th.

funny that england is scared of australia, yet japan doesn't give a damn about us.

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10 Dec 2005

yahoo will buy anything that does tagging

news: del.icio.us bought by yahoo, the same guys who bought flickr. just a couple of points before i bore everyone to death.

1. yahoo is more than capable of replicating del.icio.us. however, they are buying del.icio.us because of their user base and the kudos/buzz it can generate buy looking like it "gets" the web2.0 thing. (yeah, they even call their bloody bookmarking/searching hybrid myweb2.0)

2. nearly every app that is created will have tagging as a component. soon tagging will just be as common as bookmarking a page, but instead you'll be able to tag everything from music, to books, to your wardrobe. soon we'll run into the same problems that people have now with searching, too many tags, can't remember what i've tagged as what, what my schema is. and then the thing will come full circle, we'll need to search our own tags. then web3.0 will be kick started by tagoogle.

3. how many companies have yahoo bought? just a quick search (ironically on google) will tell you these include:

flickr - great photo sharing tagging site
konfabulator - xml/javascript widgets for the desktop (rich man's apple dashboard)
kelkoo - shopping rating site
upcoming.org - social events organiser tagger
del.icio.us - bookmarks
dialpad - voip?
farechase - travel website
viaweb - dunno? some ecommerce thing
oddpost - feeble attempt at competing with gmail's interface, in some ways, they were there before gmail!
overture - search driven ads - another google competitor
inktomi - another search engine

.. and more .. god this is boring. someone else did something similar to this list but in more detail. check out tom o'keefe's pdf on yahoo's expansion policy. it's like colonisation of the web!

finally, let's start a pool on what yahoo is going to buy next. my money is on some mobile phone social tagging advert email ajax company.

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09 Dec 2005

slight cleanup in theme and fixed comments

i've done a quick (actually took me quite a bit of time) cleanup of the site to make it look slightly less dodgy. should work in safari, firefox and ie6.

also fixed a major bug with comments not working on the non-blog pages. i didn't even know they were busted since i was getting a steady stream of comments. but i've also used this opportunity to fix the layout of the comments to look nicer (aka. web 2.0-ified.)

btw, javascript performance on safari is around three times slower than firefox 1.5. my stats page loads in 5.5 seconds on firefox 1.5 and around 18 seconds on safari. more on that later when i have time to do a more detailed post.

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07 Dec 2005

(was) free vodafone prepaid sim cards in uk (updated)

both orange and vodafone are doing internet specials where they are giving away pre-paid sim cards. orange is charging £1 for the prepaid (pay as you go) sim card and vodafone is actually giving it away for free. the catch is there is a limit of 2 per address. not a bad deal considering carphonewarehouse and any brick and mortar store would sell these for £5 or £10.

 Images Sim Only Paytsimpacks201005

[UPDATE: vodafone has finished their free offer now and replaced it with £2 for a £3 credit prepaid sim. i guess they were getting quite a bit of people ordering these free sim cards.]

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04 Dec 2005

senses for sale?


Sensesforsale

this sign appeared somewhere close to my home.

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01 Dec 2005

tales of being dirty, bike-challenged and leeching from recruiters

been a bit slow on the update side because i've just been pretty busy. that itself isn't a bad thing because it means i know what i'm doing and i'm just needing to spend time doing it.

things that have happened in real life that is worth taking note:

1. the shower hose in my house broke ...

... so i haven't had a proper shower for a couple of days. normally this wouldn't be much of a problem except our landlord has some fancy (and maybe foreign) shower system that has an odd sized outlet. all the shower hoses in uk seem to be a 1/2" outlet, but this one is a 3/4" outlet. i've been to all sorts of hardware stores and plumbing shops and still haven't found the right one. but i'm going to try ridgeons in cambridge tomorrow on the advice of a carpenter (hahaha) and a really tall guy in the lab. (btw, damn those brits are all tall -- so why the hell did they invent the mini?)

anyway, i've resorted to taking showers in the lab, which is great because i like wasting other people's hot water -- and i actually found you become more awake after you take a shower, increasing productivity greatly!

2. my bike has started to die ...

..on me since the sub zero temperatures started hitting cambridge. so right now i'm just using patricia's bike until i give in and get it fixed, or buy my house mate's bike. things that are wrong with it? my front brakes have given up and fallen off (literally), my gear thingy is stuck to the back wheel so it will not disengage when it stop pedaling and the back wheel is still moving.

3. there was a recruitment fair in the computer lab today.

i managed to snag a few goodies. heaps of ibanks there on display (no, they are not mac related banks, thank you very much), and the only place i would work for if i really was desperate to work at an ibank is morgan stanley. why? because they had the best swag in their tree-hating paper laden recruitment brochure: 5 free uk itunes music store songs. yeah baby! these guys get it. no need for any bloody mugs or pens which seemed to be the staple freebies, but proper things that poor students would die to get.

i went around asking basically three questions to each of the recruiters, 1. how well do you pay?, 2. do you have special programs for phd graduates and 3. is there a chance to transfer to other countries in your multi-national firm? most of them except for goldman sachs and morgan stanley seem to say no to 3. not many except for tech companies had anything that would satisfy 2 and no one would answer question 1 properly.

just to reassure everyone, i'm not going to work for an ibank unless they start giving away powerbooks at these fairs. altera did quite well with having some sort of raffle for an ipod mini nano. broadcom was there today claiming that they made the chip that does video decoding for the ipod video, but they wouldn't even let me touch the ipod video. sony apparently has three development labs for playstation games in uk, one of them is actually in cambridge.

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