Tuesday, March 20, 1990

Some Notes on Opera 9.0beta

I've been using the Opera 9.0 beta for a few weeks now. I installed it when I read that it fixed a bug with Bloglines' site that prevented you from using some of the drop-down lists on the 'add a feed' page.

Something most people won't care about but is probably important in the grand scheme of things is that it nicely passes the Acid2 web standards test. This does a couple of things: it serves as a rebuke ot the gargantuan Gecko engine development model, showing that a small team can get results faster than a large, spread-out development effort, and it shows that at least someone is paying attention to web standards. (Though without Microsoft this will continue to be irrelevant.)

On practical matters, it's still much faster than Firefox, both at loading pages and especially in the user interface, which is much snappier and doesn't have the cumbersome feeling that Firefox has (and didn't escape from when the project split from the main Mozilla Seamonkey browser suite.) This snappier feel is what caused me to start using Opera more and more often over Firefox in the first place, so I'm glad it's still here.

Opera still isn't up to snuff when it comes to advvanced Javascript stuff. I'm writing this post in Opera and see a grand total of two blogger UI buttons, to spell-check and insert an image (neither of which work properly.) The practically WYSISYG nature of the post editor in Firefox and IE puts this experience to shame. The MySpace blog post maker also doesn't work properly, but it still looks likei t should, it just doesn't let you actually make a post using the fancy-looking interface. This is why I still keep a copy of FireFox around.

I haven't used most of the non-browser features of opera, like the RSS reader, the e-mail client or the address book, and I'm wishing there was an easy way to disable the internal handling of bittorrent downloads, which is probably nice for Joe user who doesn't know what Azureus is but could still greatly benefit from the functionality, but which doesn't seem to work at full-speed for me the few times I've tried a download. I've been stuck at 5k/s or so with no way of telling how many seeds there were in a swarm. WhenI stopped this and resumed the same torrent in Azureus I suddenly started getting 40k/s. So something is definitely not working there.

I am, however, very much enjoying the IRC client that comes with it. I just had to fill in my nickname and other basic info once after clicking on an irc:// url and subsequently this information is stored and I can go from surfing to chatting in under 3 seconds, and the chat window is just another tab in your browser.

Speaking of tabs, Opera now lets you open separate windows by hitting Ctrl-N, and new tabs within one window with Ctrl-T, just like FireFox, instead of forcing you into one or the other. Opening a new window or tab is much faster than with Firefox, and you don't get the impression that your CPU is suddenly jumping up to 100% usage when you do it.

Another neat thing I just discovered about the tabs is that if you hover your mouse over a tab a little tooltip will show up with a tiny preview thumbnail of the page. Not terrribly useful since you have to wait half a second to see it, which would have let you click on it, see the page, and click back, but it's a cool little bit of eye-candy.

I never got used to mouse gestures, but I love the fact that the z and x keys work as back and forward buttons. Little touches like that are probably things that get halted in committee when someone on the Firefox development juggernaut suggests them, being told to make it a plug-in, but as little touches in a program really make a difference to user experience. Also it's widely reported by others that Opera's mouse gestures work better anyway.

So in conclusion, I'm more or less happy with the direction Opera seems to be moving in. I would still welcome a few improvements in Javascript which probably aren't forthcoming, but it's not enough to make me go back to FireFox. If you're using Opera 8.x now moving up to the Beta is certianly doable, I haven't noticed any stability problems at all.

By al - 11:32 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Thursday, March 08, 1990

World Baseball Classic: Canada beats the U.S.!

I'm watching the World Baseball Classic on Rogers Sportsnet right now. They just cut from an extra innings Cuba victory over Panama, and now they're showing Canada vs. the U.S. with Canada winning 8-0 in the 5th. This is a tournament that includes many many major league players, so this is as good a U.S. team as you can ask for. And the Canadian pitcher who started the game had never worked above Single-A according to Peter, they started him because they figured they had no chance so they would save their better pitchers for other games.

And now Canada just scored an inside-the-park home run to make it 8-0. The U.S. crowd has turned on the American team and is booing them now, and gave the Canadian pitcher a big round of applause as he exited the game on the way to a shutout.

Peter's saying that they're talking about invoking the "marcy rule" . It's one thing for Canada to just beat the U.S. at baseball but beating them by the mercy rule would be absolutely unbelievable.

Update: Ken Griffey Jr. just came in to score, I've never seen him run so desperately to beat a throw. Now it's 8-2..

... and Jason Veritek just hit a grand slam. Well, that was fun while it lasted.

And now the Rogers Sportsnet announcer just called it the "miracle on dirt" after the US scored 6 runs in one inning. This will jinkx it for sure.

... OK, there's been a couple of scoreless innings now. The US's lineup is intimidating as hell, A-Rod didn't even start for cryin' out loud.

.. Ninth inning, Canada still up 8-6. If only Canada had Eric Gagne as a closer, but he's not in the tournament, sadly. Canada is making some great catches and plays.

I'm really enjoying the faster pace and fewer inturruptions / pauses of these games compared with major leage games.

... bottom of the 9th, Canada still up 8-6.

Peter says:
hopefuly a-rod thinks this a big time game so he'll choke

... 1 STRIKE AWAY! CHOKE A-ROD YOU FUCKER CHOKE

... Damnit, Adam Stern , Canada's amazing outfielder, just made an amazing diving catch but the ball popped out of his glove when he landed, now A-Rod is on 2nd base. One out left.

... WHOOOOO!!!!! GO CANADA!!

"Miracle on dirt"? Oh yes.

By al - 6:00 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

Wednesday, March 07, 1990

Memos: HOLLLLD UP!!!!

  • I may have unleashed a new force in the blogging world, after showing lil'k of The Fem Tube how to use BlogThis I expect a new wave of funny commentary on bizarre news stories and celebrity sillines. This is the sound of StereoGum hiding under their desks from the competition.

  • So did you watch the ECMAs? Do you remember the adorable little kid from that rap group Sko-Shun Tiez? Apparently he's starting a beef with Taylor and is kind of a racist. Link. But at least was telegenic, so maybe CBC won't be too embarrassed.

  • I've discovered that YouTube has a decent selection of full episodes of TV shows. I've been on a sweet little nostalgia trip watching Fraggle Rock episodes. I don't feel guilty about linking to them, either, since they're totally dropping the ball about releasing the series on DVD.

  • Next time someone sends you an email with a link to "14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism", which originated from Jeff Rense's website, point them to rensewatch.blogspot.com/. In other articles he states support for Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel and refers to Monica Lewinsky as an Israeli Agent. Then, if you want to give them a better source for outlining the very real and very scary tendencies of the current U.S. administration and media, send them to Dave Neiwert's excellent essay "Rush, Newspeak and Fascism: An exegesis".

  • There's a news story going around about Jesus appearing in a cloth in a church in Tignish. I'm having a hard time finding him in this picture, though.

    Where's Jesus?

By al - 12:21 PM | (0) comments | Post a Comment

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