Thursday, April 28, 2005

Opera Review, part 2

Second Day

Woah, cutting and pasting a URL dug up a cute little gem: Paste and Go. There's even a keyboard shortcut for that. I can feel myself being more productive already.

Sadly, for some crazy installed on lab computers reason, I lost the fact that this copy was registered and it looks like I'll have to reregister it every time. Hmm, must look into this further.

I like the fact that each tab has its own close button.

Trying to make this whole thing into a blog entry is a mess.. the page for posting loads all wrong and the buttons don't work. The little BlogThis popup seems to work okay though. I did a Report this site thing, so maybe it'll get fixed, considering is used by a lot of people.

Third Day

I discovered that you can open a new link in a new page (Opera's term for a tab), and you can also open it and have it load in the background, which is the behavior that I always want. I usually browse a page, and open interesting links for looking at after I'm finished with the current page.

Fourth Day

Searching a page for text was kind of disappointing. One of my favorite features of Firefox is that the page search was integrated into the bottom of the window, which reduced clutter and meant that nothing was covered up by the search window.

I've also decided that I like the fact that the navigation bar (with the reload, stop, address bar and google search) is below the tabs names. Visually, it links the navigation bar with each tab individually, which is more appropriate than other browser's behavior which has the tabs as the lowest bar before the page.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Opera Review, Part One


I work at Penn State University, as a Computer Lab Consultant. Next year, PSU is making an agreement to make Opera available in the labs, plus a free license to every PSU faculty, staff, and student; so some PR from Opera came and gave a presentation to those interested. I went, got an overview of the Opera browser, a free mouse pad, a free t-shirt, and a complimentary registration card.

I figured, I might as well learn Opera, since users next year will no doubtedly have questions, and it has some interesting features. Since I have a sad, sad blog that sees no action, I'm going to do a write up about it.

The browsers I normally use are Firefox on Windows and Linux, and Safari on OS X.

First Impressions from the Presentation

The folks at Opera had a fancy poster up claiming "The fastest browser on earth." We asked about this, thinking maybe they had some insanely fast rendering engine or something, but the presenters admitted that they had just been wondering about that themselves. They decided that its not necessarily faster rendering than other browsers, but it definitely made the user more productive. If that is true, then Opera is definitely worth my time.

Sessions seem really cool. (I know that you can get those in Firefox, but I'm not one to go searching out cool plugins and install them, I have enough to do)

The fast forward and backward buttons are intriguing. If the fast forward actually does a decent job of slideshowing stuff (I look at a lot of galleries), then that would be awesome. If the fast backward skipped you to the first page you saw on a particular site (determined by domain name), that would be sweet, but they gave me the impression it took you to the first page viewed in that particular tab.

Built in RSS feed support might be very useful, since I look at a lot of blogs when I have free time.

I was impressed by the application size being small, and the interface looked pretty clean.

The trashcan seems like an excellent idea, as do the Notes.

They claim to work closely with w3c, I asked about what their goals were for rendering pages: according to how w3c says they should be rendered, or according to how designers meant the pages to be rendered, using any of their hackish css and html tricks. They said they strive to do it right, you can also report a website as being rendered incorrectly.

Bookmark nicknames, and a easy to use bookmark search looks useful.

Day One

Downloading took a minute, because I had to find a server that wasn't already too busy. Installation was clean, quick, and easy.

Registering took me a while, since I had to search the opera site up and down to figure out that I should put "---" for the organization, otherwise the serial number on the card they gave me wouldn't work.

Importing Bookmarks from Firefox. Under File: Import, they have options to import from IE, Netscape, Konqueror, and a couple others, but no Mozilla or Firefox. What the heck? Since Netscape looks like a repackaged Firefox, I choose Netscape, and it seemed to import my Firefox bookmarks fine. Now to recreate my bookmarks toolbar and get rid of Opera's default bookmarks. The trash thing is pretty handy, but where are the bookmarks that are just in the Bookmarks menu, and not organized into folders? It took me a while to accidentally click on the grey area underneath the trashcan, which shows the top level.

Bookmarks incident aside, my first impression of the GUI is that its kinda bloated, which is something that I hate. I'm very picky about my screen real estate, especially because I need to keep an eye on a chat client for work. I messed with the toolbar settings and got rid of the Main bar. Also the Start bar, which is really annoying when it pops up underneath the address box. I think I'm the only person in the world that actually uses the Status menu regularly, so I enabled that, but its almost twice as thick as it needs to be. Curious if I could find a skin that minimizes the size on these buttons, I downloaded Freestyle, which does help a lot.

Cruising right along, browsing some of my normal pages, checking the mail, I stumble across something else.. Ctrl-T, which I'm used to opening a new tab in other browsers, prompts me to save a bookmark. What’s the keyboard command for opening a new tab? Search of the Opera help tells me Ctrl-N. Makes sense, but this reminds me of OS X changing some of finder's keyboard shortcuts around.. its going to take a bit of getting used to, particularly if I continue to use Safari at home.

I tried signing up for an RSS feed,, which went relatively well, although the fact that Feeds seem to use the same app as Mail, but there are two different menus for them is odd. In fact, I'd rather that Feeds have their own simplified app that doesn't feel like the mail app, or at least doesn't have a quick reply and mail icon.

I also checked out some mouse gestures, which are cool.

All and all, the interface is going to take a bit of getting used to. I like some of the features I see, but its odd to me (especially when Firefox made such an effort to be easy to switch to) that I have to re-teach myself how to do some things. Maybe the effort will pay off with increased flexibility.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Burningbird - A Speck of Dirt

Burningbird - A Speck of Dirt is an amazing little story. Definitely go read it.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Sayin"hey" from the edge of the world (AKA Brooklyn)

Checking in from my long absence, so long in fact, I totally forgot my login. Oy.
So now I have a job, at the link above. I photoshop their images together on a background I whipped up, tweak ebay titles, do html, data entry... ebay research... you know, just all the Stuff Rachel does.

Ahh, yes. A job.

Oh wait, now I'm free-time-less.

So I have been heard from sparingly indeed.
Some madness has happened in the interim, like Linden going to Pycon : ), and I'm starting to eat only raw food.
Yes, this sounds totally insane to me too. But it makes me feel amazingly better after only one day of doing it. I forgot to take my Oh-crap-I'm-itching-all-over-again pill, and nothing happened! o_o
More info on my latest health/diet madness:

I bought a bunch of their stuff, and it's all a bit odd but definitely tasty and filling so far. I bought this absolutely bizarre-looking green bar they have, made of "spirula" algae (!!), and I have yet to work up the bravery to try it.
I found out about this crazy phenomena of raw food because of Mike's contant O'Reilly watching. Carol Alt was on there (was a VS model, supermodel, etc - I had no idea who she was, but Mike & Tony knew plenty *sigh*). She wrote a book called Eating in the Raw, and was on promoting it a while ago, & eventually I picked it up on
Now, there are definitely a few things she says that are out-and-out wacky (ie, it's a short drive from NYC to PENNSYLVANIA to buy raw dairy from the Amish!!), but the science sounds, well, sound, because she co-wrote it with a couple of doctors. And so far, I feel amazingly great!

In Other News,
I came up with a TOTALLY INSANE tetris related idea. I don't want to go into details here because I have this odd feeling it'll get jinxed, and I want to keep my invention in the family, as it were, at this juncture. (I have no idea if ANYONE else would care anyway, but I want to sit around secretively thinking to myself "Eeeexcellent" *steepled fingers* for a bit longer. Yet more evidence that I am simply cracked... )