Archive for the ‘software’ Category

I can haz themez?

Gmail Themes
As of now gmail offers themes.
Go to your settings, choose the themes tab and enjoy.

PS: w00t!!! inbox empty!

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teh googel
Chrome is the best browser out there.

Yes, I do seriously mean it! No, it’s technically not the best, nor in form and looks, nor in functionality.

After test driving it I can call a list of great stuff:

  • blazing fast, especially in javascript rich pages [and spawns processes like there is no tomorrow]
  • it feels lightweight [on a core duo with 2gig of RAM, have no slower machine to test it on]
  • runs without much hastle being a one day old (ok, now 3day old) beta [I know, they took Webkit, and even an old version with the flood bug in it and added V8 and some Mozilla/Firefox code]
  • awesome Omnibar [yup I know, code comes straight from Firefox’s Awesomebar]
  • new tab pages rocks [unless you just like to visit a number of pr0n pages a lot and forgot to use the “incognito” setting]
  • incognito setting [aka pr0n mode, same as IE8 just boasted about – even the gossip newspapers mentioned new IE8 would come with “pr0n-button”]
  • finally the tabs behave like tabs should behave [but then that is my personal opinion, others may like their tabs different]

There is also a list ranging from “no, not good” up to “Oww crap!” bad things:

  • java still dead, even after installing new 6.10 beta that is supposed to support Webkit [probably my mistake for downloading the wrong nightly build or so, but what the heck, also on the flip side: better no java applets, they always seemed equally bad to my system performance and security as ActiveX]
  • no themes, no plugins, NO-ADBLOCK [will probably come soon, but then there’s the question if this will not put a big burden on performance, a clean Firefox install also is rather clean and fast]
  • some pages will not render correctly in it [probably a web page issue but then same page in Safari seems to work fine]
  • not for OSX/Linux [will also come soon, but hey, what’s the issue? Styling? Don’t tell me the version for win is so nice with it’s Teletubby themed blue bar Windows XP look. with so many *nix affeccionados drooling over the opportunity to port it to their platform we should have seen functioning builds from day 2 onwards]
  • privacy!!! [ok, they changed the ToS/license already and you can turn off the use of Omnibar, but still, for a company under such scrutiny over privacy lately they could have done a better job]
  • yet another browser [on the other hand, in between IE, Firefox, Safari, Opera, Shiira, Camino, Konqueror, … one more should go quite unnoticed]
  • security holes from the past [on the other hand it is a beta thing based on an old Webkit version, probably the next release will contain the update]

But that’s all irrelevant compared to this:

this one is not released by the usual suspects!

Yes you read this well. Apple unveiling Safari for Windows caused quite a ripple in the IT world. It would take over any browsers share, either to the benefit of dethroning IE as the main browser or to the detriment of smaller browsers who’s market share was about to be eaten by Apple and their fancy shiny webthingy. It would draw the masses towards OSX, show the windows world where to go in terms of look and feel, …

It didn’t. It was simply another, nice to the eye, browser with a rather mediocre performance on Windows compared to the rest of the pack, plus it tried to lure you into installing every other app Apple has for Windows. And although I am a big fan of Apple, their software on Windows has a crappy performance all according to it’s reputation, which is a pitty as it functions very well.

But nobody expected Google to come with a browser. So now every one is on the tips of their toes, waiting full of tension what the impact will be. And you can already see it and measure it. Every other newspaper in Europe and the US mentioned it and I guess in the rest of the world also (but I am pretty bad at reading Hindi or Chinese). Also television news and radio newscasts mentioned this news. Some even followed up on the flooding security issue. The current market share according to some sites reaches over 1%, that means that in one or two days, more than 10 million people used this browser.

And all that was reached by leaking a comic book! Ok, they followed up at launch with a webcast and a statement on their site, but in terms of promo and PR effort that is zero.

With a big impact on everyone else:

Google reshaped the landscape with their browser. Not due to it’s technical superiority, nor through it’s looks, but just due to the fact that it was Google who released it. It sent a clear message to all those out there that “the Google” is not happy with the current state of affairs and if no-one else is going to improve it, they take out the whip and start themselves. A consequence is that there is impact for all players now:

  • other browser builders like Firefox and Opera: everyone is now looking their way to improve on whatever one perceives as the better part of Chrome vs that browser. In effect, even if technically no wonder child, Chrome upped the ante for any other browser in the market
  • OS makers like Microsoft and Apple: we are fed up waiting for you to come to us so now we come to you. This could be interpreted as a thread, but also as a friendly poke in the side.
  • all website builders: having your site run in sandboxed separate process that can be monitored with the browsers built in process manager really puts pressure on them to build lean sites. Now it is no longer the perception that your browser is slow, but more that your site is slow
  • the users: Firefox is for geeks and nerds, Apply is for gay designers so up till now IE was the only other valid option for Joe Sixpack. But now there is also “the Google” that also makes “an internets”. I guess that if Google would have named their browser simply ” internet” or “the internet” it would be a matter of days after their real, non-beta, release before every second Windows desktop would feature an icon called “the internet” which for the user would be simply “teh Internets”

Time for some change …

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Chrome Error Symantec
Chrome it is!
I just downloaded it and tried to run it with this disappointing message:

The application failed to initialize properly (0xc0000005). Click on OK to terminate the application.

Some googling around brought me to this blog that had all links neatly ordered.

Seems the problem exists for users of Symantec Endpoint Protection (aptly abbreviated SEP).

Even without this activated, there is an underlying default rule that prevents Chrome from spawning process threads for it’s sandboxing (*). Just google around for Sysplant.sys and you will notice that Chrome isn’t the only one to suffer from this problem.

There are 2 solutions to this issue:
1) disable the sandboxing, but this basically defeats some of the strongest points of the browser. How to do it : Right click on the desktop icon (or menu icon) that launched Chrome and choose properties. Then add at the end of the target string (after the quotation marks) a blank and then –no-sandbox.
This turns off the sandbox behaviour of Chrome.

2) Disable Symantec’s behaviour as described here on the Symantec forums (you need admin access to your PC for this and this will also not work where the policies for Symantec Endpoint Protection are set centrally by your sysadmin.

1) Back up the registry on an affected system.
2) Open the registry on the Agent system by entering regedit from a run prompt.
3) Navigate to HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Services\SysPlant.
4) Open the Start DWORD.
5) Change the value to 4 to disable the drivers.
6) Reboot the system to commit the changes.

I personally prefer solution 3: Remove Symantec entirely and install a decent anti-virus/system protection system, but if you are stuck with the vile piece of crap that Symantec is, then option 2 is the preferred one untill Google launches an official solution (not workaround) for this issue.

(*) Chrome makes a separate operating environment for each process (group) it starts. Basically every tab ends up in its own micro environment thus preventing crashing tabs from taking your entire browser with them. More on this in Google’s explanation I mentioned in the post before.

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Google Chrome
Seems another competitor is about to enter the arena …

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foo-fu goes firefox 3
In support of the attempt to get a download record, I downloaded the newest version of Firefox after a few hours waiting to reach the servers.
I wonder what the impact of Mozilla’s downtime will be on the record attempt.

Right now I am one of the 17000+ downloads in Belgium alone and the counter is on 1,7 million, just a few hours after kick off.

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On googleblogoscoped today:
a perfect explanation of why the good interfaces rarely make it and about the design by commitee that ruins it all.

Read on!

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Classic Monopolygame
Yesterday judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly extended with two more years to oversight of Microsoft due to its non-compliance to the 2002 settlement on anti-trust charges.

While the filing states originally asked for oversight untill 2012, the judge leaves open the option to extend it beyond 2009.

(via The Register)

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