Browser based operating

April 6, 2007

I was reading Ra’s blog post: Firefox OS and had been meaning to comment on it. I voiced my opinion on the subject which has been the inspiration for this post.

I’ve written about the concept before: and believe it has merit. It’s not what feel is the best way forward, however.

To quote my comment (saves writing the same thing twice!):

Browser based operating systems are an interesting concept, something that I had been following last year. I know its self promotion but have a look at my post:

My view now is that thin clients are great, browser based operating is not!

I really don’t understand the push towards browser based applications? I’d much rather have a desktop app which implements a client server architecture through web apps than be forced to use an application within a browser. Not to mention the reliance on a third party for your data. I’m not being paranoid but why give Google all your information when it’s just as easy to keep it local? USB drives are perfect for on the run, browser based operating would be useful for travel but I think thats about it.

I’d like to see a push towards GNU/Linux based thin clients with application suites. Combine this with a media center type application and you have a very viable home entertainment computer.

I can see that happening.

I’ve head comments such as wasn’t the old client-server model so much easier” and “Catering for different browsers and maintaing usability is such a hassel”. The former also suggested (something that I’ve always had in the back of my mind) including a ‘shell application’ which was a browser wrapper but only contained what was required to render the page (no back button etc.). This would be a good solution as the browser is agreed on (no compatibility issues) and catering for events such as using the ‘back’ button at an inappropriate time are non issues.

What I’d like to see is the push towards desktop ‘Applets’; small applications that do one job and do it well.

Combine this with a portable device and you can have an on the go system or thin clien. This is what I believe is where desktop development should be heading.


Getting Sorted

April 4, 2007

I’ve recently been thinking about how I can best manage my time after work to actually get things done – the result; I’ve set the following short term goals:

  • Design a new blog and get hosted off site (thinking of dreamhost because of their excellent service or because of their flexability)
  • Create a Java RSS feed reader (I have a design in mind that I think will be quite useful)
  • Learn some basic Python
  • Improve my GNU/Linux knowledge
  • Continue with my SQL learning – I’ve had a lot of experience in this recently and would like to continue learning towards a DBA type position. This would fit in well with my interest in GNU/Linux.

Should be enough to keep me busy – Will update on progress, I’d like to see how efficiently I can get these done.


March 28, 2007

When writing my last post I forgot completely about my graduation, which was yesterday.

Graduation was great, I won the award for best industry project which is something I always wanted to acheive.

This came as a suprise as the majority of the projects were very high standard with alot of time and effort being put in. Along with the award I was presented a check for $1000 NZ from Toyota New Zealand, also a huge suprise!

I really enjoyed catching up with everyone and seeing what everyone is doing. It was good to share some work stories and discuss some future collabrations. Me and a friend have been meaning to start developing a fun web based competition which will be unvailed soon I hope!

I spent last night celebrating with family and came back home thismorning (could have slept in forever).

I ordered a Lain Li case today, not the newest of their offerings but I feel its the original of the designer cases and have always wanted this shape.

I also picked up a copy of Red Hat Fedora Core 6 Unleashed today, had to choose between this or FreeBSD Unleashed, a hard decsion but they are very similar (concepts) and I can always borrow Ra’s copy (Which in true geek fashion I started reading while having some drinks at his place).

Sorting a place to park my new domain and then all will be told, I can confirm I now have a new domain name ready for some future projects.

An eventful couple of days! Still have to get started on the file rename script.

Goodbye Flickr and hello new domain

March 25, 2007

Well it looks like the time has finally come, Flickr has been getting more and more bloated and I’ve been using it less and less; the time has come to say goodbye.

The initial plan was to create a photo called flickr dump in my home folder and put all the images in there, then delete my account. The new plan is to combine the new domain I’m getting (hopefully be finalised in the next few days) with a hosting package, an open source image management application and then do the migration. Should be alot of fun!

I’ve been going through a bunch of images on my computer lately and sorting them to try and get some order. I was making good progress until I wanted to put files with the same name in the same directory. The solution to this is to write a script that will add a date time prefix to each photo and then retain the filename afterwards. This should also make searching easier if required at a later date.

I’m going to have a go at this tomorow night as it’s getting late, may be a good time to have a go at phyton!

News on new domain and image re naming script tomorow.

I should also add that doing the migration is a very low priority at the moment so will be keeping my Flickr account fot the time being. I don’t want to loose any of the linked images as they are there to be shared.

Another up comming project is to get a media center going in our lounge, this is something I’m really looking forward to and I’m leaning towards a Linux box with a media center app (havn’t had a good look at whats out) or an XBOX 360. Beauty of the Linux box is I can set up a DNS server as well, then again XBOX 360 is a rather nice console 😀

Also going to have a good sort through my categories tomorow, I’ve decided to use more generic ones to ease usability.

On the (sort of) subject on usability I’m working with a usability expert at work in the next couple of weeks. I’m looking forward to seeing what methodologies and techniques are used as I think It’ll be qutie useful. Regular readers of my blog will know I have a keen interest in GUI design and techniques. See my GUI category for previous posts.

‘echo $?’

February 28, 2007

No, this blog hasn’t crash and burnt , and yes, I’m still alive!

The last few months I haven’t been blogging at all due to lack of an Internet connection. Long story short I needed some new network gear that would have been redundant when I moved a month later, this down time ended up being longer than expected (never again!).

Well… during this downtime I have moved to a new flat, graduated from my degree, been employed as as a software engineer in a great company, brought a new car and sorted an Internet connection. I have been flat out!

Expect some new posts very shortly!

Sun Opens Java

November 14, 2006

The day has finally come :), Today Sun has released Java under the GPL open source license. Combined with the new JDK 6 I expect we will be seeing some great things coming out of the Java shops, very exciting!

This is one of the best steps Sun has done since changing their licensing to allow Linux distributions to ship with a JDK.

Sun Opens Java

Adobe contributes Flash Player Scripting Engine

November 8, 2006

Tamarin , the latest Mozilla project addition, is the result of Adobe contributing their Flash Player Scripting engine to the Mozilla team, A move Brendan Eich, chief technology officer of Mozilla Corporation, and creator of JavaScript said to be “the largest contribution to the Mozilla Foundation since its inception,”.
Personally I don’t feel this is all too suprising. As I have said in my post GUI toolkits for web apps? (proberly in need of an update) the Adobe Flex IDE looked to be (at the time of writing) a high candidate for the creation of interactive web applications. If the Flash support on Linux based operating systems (or anything else FireFox has been ported to) gains momentum Adobe will be in a very desirable place.

A very appreciated gesture, thaks Adobe! – Please bring us Photoshop!

Java Community News – Adobe Contributes Flash VM Code to Mozilla

Mozilla – Adobe and Mozilla Foundation to Open Source Flash Player Scripting Engine

Firefox2 and the Yahoo extension

November 4, 2006

I installed firefox 2 tonight and I (of course) like it. Nice, subtle but noticeable interface upgrades and of course the welcomed addition of a spell checker!

I also had a look at the Yahoo firefox extension. I’m not sure how long this has been around, the URL based link in my toolbar had done the job fine so far but I thought I’d have a look.

I use often and have always thought it’d be cool to integrate directly to the Bookmarks menu. In fact a friend of mine is writing a simple browser using the Mozilla active x control I have previously mentioned and this is something I said he should do. Well, the Yahoo extension does exactly this, making bookmark management that much easier and the roll back (exporting from to your bookmarks menu on uninstall) works perfectly.

Firefox also provides easy RSS integration to add a feed to your favourite reader. I configured mine to subscribe feeds to my blog lines account, again, much welcomed!

I havn’t had much of a change to look at any other new firefox features yet.

Gmail chat offline messages

November 2, 2006

I noticed yesterday when chatting to a friend that I could send messages to him when he went offline, previously it would tell you the recipient is offline and will not receive your message. This only works If they go offline during a chat session, otherwie the quick contact list takes you to the compose mail screen.

I got an email reply from my friend this morning containing the few messages I sent him, complete with timestamps and horizontal rule separating messages.

Very cool new feature, espcially for those chat sessions that tend to get lost when somone closes the browser window by mistake!

Torture Bill as C Code

November 1, 2006

Edit – I’ve only just realised that wordpress did not submit the entire original post, this has now been fixed. Will teach me for posting in such a rush! – 3:42 p.m. 8/11/2006 (NZ Time)
Old news I know, But I thought it was worthy of sharing as many still will not have seen it.

I finally got a change to read Bruce Schneier’s latest newsletter about a week ago which featured this small C snippet that Kevin the author felt summed up the new terrorist bill:

if (person = terrorist) {
} else {

My initial take on it was that it was a simple joke illustrating that the with the new bill anyone ‘run through’ is automatically considered a terrorist. There are no checks in place and they are punished severely. This was when I first saw the snippet over at When I saw Bruce’s latest newsletter I read his entry on the code, in particular his blog comments where people pointed out a couple of other errors:

Punish_severely() is a black hole, it takes no arguments and has no return value. Who is being punished and how is the process being gauged?

Interesting piece of political code! All in fun of course 🙂

Edit – Another policical piece, Rumsfeld resignation summarized in Mac OSX screenshot. – 11:17 a.m. 9/11/2006 (NZ Time)