The Battle of the Browsers

Posted in Programming and Internet with tags , on March 5, 2009 by chaosincarnate

As soon as Chrome came out, I switched to it, and used it for quite awhile. I still really like it. But I’ve switched back to Firefox recently. Part of it has to do with my primary computer being my laptop. My girlfriend used it most of the time before, so it didn’t have Chrome. Now that it’s got Kubuntu, I don’t have the option. (It also helps that my only internet was tethering my G1 for awhile, and that needs FoxyProxy.) But now that I don’t have it, I find that I really don’t miss it.

One of the things I loved about chrome is that it was lightning fast. Quick to load, quick to load pages, and the default tab was all kinds of awesome. The architecture of it was also awesome. (Each tab has it’s own process, so if something goes down, it doesn’t crash the browser.)

But, I find that I missed the extensions. Quite a bit, actually. Like, I’m writing this from ScribeFire. I’ve also got a weather monitor, and RSS reader, and a twitter client.

Outside of Twitter, this is all stuff I’ve got on my desktop via SuperKaramba. (Think Yahoo Widgets for Linux. Pretty shiny, actually.) But, I find there’s a lot of stuff I just really like having in my browser.

Like Twitter. It’s really nice to have that always-on in my browser. Same deal with the weather. Feedly (RSS Reader) is all kinds of awesome. It’s got a magazine look-and-feel, with all of the instant awesome of the internet.

And I really like having a standalone blog writer. Especially considering I can just open it in a new window, and edit it whenever, even if I’m not online.

This, however, isn’t to say there’s a lot of really neat stuff I’d like to see in Firefox from Chrome.

The main one, and probably one that won’t happen, is the architecture. Have every tab and most extensions run in their own process, so that when I crash a tab with a bad Java applet, I won’t tear down the browser.

The second is the speed. Which I have heard is a major improvement in 3.5, but I still want to see it. Truth be told, I think this is related to the first one.

Third, is I really love the new tab page from Chrome. My 9 favorite web sites, recently closed tabs, and history. Much better than a homepage for me. (Any, well, chrome I’d have on it, I have in my browser normally.)

Fourth is the “one bar” system. It’s easily my favorite feature in chrome, and I still accidentally try to use it in Firefox.

Of course, the big thing with this, is Firefox has full extension support, and chrome does not. Reading above, I’d likely switch back in a heartbeat if Chrome had good extensions for everything I use.

Of course, assuming that Firefox didn’t come out with something else awesome. Which, considering it’s history, is a really bad bet.

It’s going to take quite a bit for Chrome to win me back. It’s likely possible, but it’ll take some doing.

Why Python rocks.

Posted in Programming and Internet on January 13, 2009 by chaosincarnate

It’s probably pretty clear Python is my language of choice.  What I haven’t made clear is why. There are lots of reasons, including no compile step,  clean, readable, but powerful syntax… the choice between OOP and procedural programming. (While OOP is generically better, to quick-test a bit of code or concept, a much faster procedural test is awesome.).

Also awesome, is the fact that it’s been ported to two managed languages. Java (Jython), and .NET(IronPython). Now, you may be wondering why you’d port one programming language to another. The short form, is A: As a scripting language, and B: To access the libraries written in Java and .NET through Python. Basically, IronPython makes Python a .NET language (I.E, on level with C# or VB.NET), and Jython means python can access Java libraries and functions. mod_python is awesome if you’ve got a fresh Apache set up, but if you’ve already got a whole bunch of Java servlets… well, fitting in a few Python servlets to either prototype with, or make use of python’s exceptional agility, starts to look really appealing. 

Which brings me to the last point of Python’s Awesomeness. A live console. I’d reccomend installing python anyway, but if you want to get the idea first, go here. You’ll have to approve a security warning, as it’s an appalet running a full Python console via Jython. It’s on GNUCitizen, but if you’re the paranoid type, source is available here.

And probably the best way to get used to a new language is to play around with it a little. So here’s a quick primer.

First, the basics. (Just type this into the interactive console, hit enter to go to a new line, no real worries.

A simple math test.

print 2 + 2

This is building a list.

list = [1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,0]

Printing the list.

print list

Look, an iterator!  (Just hit enter after the colon, then hit enter twice after the n.)

for n in list:
	print n

Basics out of the way, lets look at something a little more substantial (This only works in Jython, as it refrences Java code.) A more-or-less linear translation of Sun’s Swing hello world. (Put into procedural form to make it easier to type out into the console.)

from javax.swing import *
frame = JFrame("Hello, Jython!")
label = JLabel("Hey, a label!")
frame.getContentPane().add(label)
frame.pack()
frame.setVisible(1)

At this point, a Java window should pop up. Now, if you would, window your web browser with the console in it, and arrange it so you can see both the new Java window, and the python console, and type this line.

label.setText("Look, Dynamic!")

When you hit enter, notice anything? Like, how the label changed instantly, without any need to recompile, relaunch, or otherwise fiddle with it? You can do the same thing with WinForms in IronPython, and Tkinter in stock (CPython). (Though, the procedure in Tkinter is different). Overall, it provides a really agile and quick way to develop. Plus, the syntax is dead simple.

Personal/Buisness

Posted in Rants and Perspectives on January 2, 2009 by chaosincarnate

Someone asked me what I would say if my employer (or a potential employer) ran across this blog. I just kinda shrugged, and apparently, I should have been concerned. I was warned about how I should care about what I post on the internet, and how I should care about my “Personal Brand”. Right about there is where my brain clicked into rant-mode.

First off, the idea that I should be in “buisness-mode” and looking out for how I can ease my fit into someone else’s expectations 24/7 just pisses me off. But it does a lot more than that. It makes me really believe that something is deeply and truly wrong. But there’s more to it than just that. The fact that someone can pass judgement on my life, even though they’re no part of it…

Let me clarify. In my private life, I listen to metal, wear lots of spiky clothing, play violent video games, and wear t-shirts with interesting remarks on them. I do such, because I like said clothes, I like said music, and said games are fun. That said, I bet a lot of people would think I’m an evil, horrible person, ill suited to do more than flip hamburgers. I won’t dispute the evil bit, but the rest of it is a bit inane. Also consider, that whenever I’m not playing a game, I’m hacking on Python, running web, email, and FTP servers for fun, running a network rig worthy of a small buisness, and usually watching the Discovery or Science channel. Now, if you took the spiky clothing, sarcasam, and metal out of that, what would you have? The local geeky kid that everyone thinks is going to grow up to be the next Bill Gates? (Though, I think we could use another Linus Torvalds more.)

It’s the old truisim that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover. But there’s more to it than that. Frequently, what someone does in their off -time (Another rantworthy concept) has precisely zero connection to what they do at work. Lets be honest about expectations here. I expect to get paid for providing a service, and you expect to recieve said service in exchange for paying me. Pretty straightforward. So, I have to ask, what part of this involves you googling for my blog, reading it, and deciding if I’ll be a “good fit” for the company? Now, if you want to see what I have to say, that’s fine. But basing an employment decision off of if the hiring manager likes what I write personally is troubling. 

Besides, who in their right mind bases their opinion of the company, by the people that work there? Besides the customer-service aspect, customers generically have little-to-no connection with your employees.  Quality-of-product is a lot more important than your employees being your kind of people.

Outside of that, most people are capable of compartmentalizing their life. I don’t insult your stupid customers, but I do fix their computers. You pay me, and you don’t worry about what I do once I go away. It seems like a good deal to me. This brings up a good point. Why should you care if someone drinks, or smokes, or gets high off the clock? In fact, most of the employers don’t care if people drink off-the-clock, or over weekends.

Why should an employer care if someone smokes pot on the weekend? Because that shows a habit? What about the people that go and get smashed every weekend? Last I checked, alcohol was more habit-forming than marijuana. Because it’s illegal? So’s driving home drunk, or drinking underage, or speeding, or running red lights. Yet, nobody freaks out about that as much. But most places do drug tests. It’s not like they’re even impairment tests. It just tells them if you’ve taken any illegal drugs in the last random timeframe. Not terribly useful to see if you’re high/drunk/wasted on the job. So, it’s basically just another lifesytle test.

In short, just another way for employers to keep track of the personal lives of their employees. Somewhere I don’t believe the employer has any place.

Rich Web Apps, in Python.

Posted in Programming and Internet on January 2, 2009 by chaosincarnate

Web apps have always been something I’ve had a lot of difficulty with. I really don’t like Java, largely for subjective and unjustifyable reasons. Also, I work at about 1/8th of the speed in Java. So, looking around online (I think for a much simpler alternative to Django), I run across Jython. Now, considering my poor google-fu, it’s not surprising I didn’t know of this before. But, considering that I frequently have need to write stuff using Java, this is one of the coolest things I’ve found. Especially once I came to the realization that, hey, I can write servlets using this! So, a simple tomcat setup later, I’ve got Python servlets, in a normal Java environment.

But, that alone wasn’t enough to get what I was going for. I had found the Google Web Toolkit before, but that would require me to write tons of code in Java. Which is theoretically possible, but really annoying, and really, really slow for me. This is where Pyjamas comes in. It’s a Python-to-Javascript compiler, with widgets. All in all, fantastically cool. It’s not as far along as the GWT, but still very useful. I’m still learning and working my way around with it, but it looks really promising.

My New Year’s Resolution:

Posted in Uncategorized on January 2, 2009 by chaosincarnate

Try to post more. That, and add more content besides just ranting. I’ve had a few interesting things happen in the last 6 months (Which is largely why this blog has not been posted to, truth be told.) Like, I live in Boise now. Oddly enough, the Boise metro is a lot bigger than where I used to live. (Lincoln, Nebraska).  But, there should be lots more shiny stuff coming this year.

Stray bullets and idiots.

Posted in Rants and Perspectives on May 28, 2008 by chaosincarnate

Over the last few days in the news here, a large neighboring city (Omaha.) has had several accidental shootings. One was a kid playing soccer, another was a kid sleeping and got shot through the leg.

Now, considering that I’m not a “thug”, I may be missing something. Perhaps it’s hard to shoot while intoxicated. Perhaps I’m just a preturnaturally good shot. But considering that A: I don’t touch firearms very often, and B: I am far from the best shot I know. (I know several people that can knock the nuts off a gnat at range.), I have to come to the conclusion that these people just suck with guns.

One would assume, before whatever half-baked, halfass “gang” said woeful marksmen belong to would have _SOME_ form of accuracy test before they send them out to happily… well, whatever the idiot-speak is for shooting people.

Hell, you don’t have mob hitmen missing the mark entirely and shooting some poor girl through the leg. I mean, isn’t the whole _point_ of a hit to be undetected, leave no evidence, and all that? I’m pretty sure they can match the slug that went through the kids to whatever gun nutless wonder has.

Besides, all wanton inaccuracy does is paint a bigass target on your back. Gangs that don’t, you know, kill innocent people tend to be a lower priority for the police than the gangs that fire randomly and shoot people by accident. Too much of that and you’ll get the citizenry up in arms with shotguns and pitchforks. And then you’ll want to have your sorry ass hauled to jail.

It’s not like it’s that hard to exercise a little control of the firearm, either. If a relatively skinny white boy like me can control the recoil from a handgun, you’d think that some bigass tough gangbanger could. I mean, for fuck’s sake, there are little old ladies that can handle the recoil from freaking shotguns. Don’t tell me some “thug” is too much of a pansy-ass to handle a freaking handgun.

Fuck, with as badly as wanna-be thugs shoot, it’s a wonder the police bother to even put the vests on. Just bring a kid doll with, all the asshats will shoot wildly at that while the police are kicking their asses.

Remember, speed is fine, but accuracy is final. Asshats.

When evil and emo collide.

Posted in Rants and Perspectives on May 27, 2008 by chaosincarnate

As much as I try to respect people’s choices, and as much as I tell myself that the stupidity of others doesn’t effect me at all, there are days that the self-pitying, whiny complaining of others just gets to me. Today is one of those days.

Now, I suppose a little background is in order. I’m not typically what sane people call an asshole, but I do have my moments. Hearing someone whine and moan about their life being over because their boyfriend de’jour dumping them, or falsely believing that anyone besides them care about how their little bitch friends are gossiping about them. Well, in my humble opinion, I think that would make some monks forsake their vow of nonviolence and beat the ever-loving snot out of them.

This particular whiny bitch, should have known better than to expect sympathy from me, as we’d been over this before, not a week prior. (Note: I’m using the male form of “whiny-ass bitch” in this case.) When, surprise surprise, his girlfriend-of-the-week before dumped him. Ironically, he was whining about her thinking he whined too much.

Now, ordinarily, I’d have just insulted him a bit, and told him to stop whining before someone found him and broke his fingers, but being in a particularly bad mood, I let him have it with all of the verbal firepower I could muster. Now, it would have been a lot more satisfying to be able to deliver said rant while I was beating the crap out of whiny emo, but, alas, no such luck.

Up until now, nothing out of the ordinary. Certainly noting worth getting a blog over. (Or, had I had one prior, not likely to be posted.) What really burned my ass though, was what came up immediately after.

I’m sure that you’ve heard about the girl who hung herself over the fake boyfriend, and the filing of charges against the (bitch, no bullshit there.) that did that. Now, before I start, I gotta say, that was an incredibly low and evil thing to do. That’s the kind of evil even I think is a bit much.

However, the filing of charges in something like that is absolutely ludicrous. For one, I have a problem with most forms of law that would make “emotional abuse” a crime, for the simple sake of it being completely subjective. For example, what I mean as my general form of sarcastic black humor, others take as completely evil and mean-spirited.

It being online just adds another layer of batshit insane. Think carefully about this: On myspace, if someone is being an asshole, there is a miracle little button known as an “Ignore” (Or block, I never check mine, so I couldn’t tell you which.) button. This, by the magic of the internet, allows comments from someone you deem to be worthy of ignoring, to be magically absent from your inbox.

Or, failing that, you could, you know, ignore them with your brain and just delete the crap before you read it. But that takes effort and stuff, so we’ll go with the former.

Now, the presence of a magical STFU button aside, you _ALWAYS_ have the option of just leaving your computer. Or starting a new email address. Or starting a new myspace account. Or bailing on the cesspool of drama entirely. (Note: Obviously, I don’t like myspace.)

Furthermore, letting someone have that much control over you, where you let yourself be wounded that deeply by someone, is, well, rather weak. Now, I’m not saying you can completely ignore everything, but there is a point where a person should have the strength of self to say: “This person is an asshat.” And just tune them out.

Also, I’m aware there is something mentioned about her being an “outcast” and “vulnerable”. Both of which are utter bullshit. Consider this: I’m an agnostic, tolerant, evil guy, in the land of corn, cows, and Christians. I tend to dress in a manner that freaks people out here. I listen to music that doesn’t go over well with a lot of people here. (Megadeth, older Atreyu, Darkest Hour, In Flames… odds are there’s one there most people will recognize.) And even I can find people here with similar interests. Not many, given. But they exist. I consider myself an outcast. But vulnerable? That’s just a justification of a family’s anger.

This last bit, is probably going to upset some of the more… sentimental and soft-hearted, so, if you fit either, it wouldn’t hurt to stop reading here, as this is basically a rant stemming from my life.

From everything I’ve heard, she was a suburban girl. Now, this is just my deep cynicisim from everyone I’ve known like that… but she probably got most everything she wanted, she had a loving family, she had a whole bunch of stuff that a lot of people I know don’t. And I don’t see them hanging themselves over an asshole. Seriously, at worst, this was a bad breakup. Or a bad prank. Fuck killing yourself. Get even, then move on. Fuck.

This is not a tragedy. Darfur, is a tragedy. Myanmar, is a tragedy. The earthquake in china, tragedy. Some weak-willed, whiny suburban bitch hanging herself? Were the response not so absolutely infuriating, I’d roll my eyes, and move on. Stupid, whiny, bitch + self-termination? Hell, I’d just be sad there wasn’t a real life equivalent of Suicide For Hire, at least that way it’d be ironically painful, and a whole lot funnier.

She’s not a “victim” She was a weak-willed, whiny girl who offed herself over something stupid. If it wasn’t this, it’d be something else.