I Was Wondering About That

Diego Garcia seems to have escaped unscathed. Tsunami’s are something we talked about on the island whenever the earth shook. We always joked that a 9.0 earthquake had just occurred off the coast of Sumatra and laughed nervously – awaiting a huge wave that thankfully never came. Diego Garcia has an average elevation of four feet. The thousands of U.S. military and Philippine workers who live there are very lucky.

Happy Birthday Barbara!

Twenty nine looks good on ya!

babs 007.jpg babs 009.jpg babs 011.jpg

On a side note, I’d like to point out that these shots were taken wth our trusty Canon G3 – still the best digital camera for most people. There is a catch though – you must always shoot using aperture priority. To get these shots, I chose 1/6 second with the lens wide open. The Canon’s fast f 2.0 lens, perfectly exposed fill-flash and easy hand-holding make these shots possible. Shots like these are impossible to make with my Nikon D70 – or any other DSLR, for that matter.

Firefox Good, Opera Better

With all of the hoopla about Firefox out there, I thought I’d weigh in with my 2 cents worth.

First of all, if you are STILL using Internet Explorer, please, please download a copy of Firefox and give it a test drive for at least a week. I’d recommend you install a few extensions as well. I consider the mouse-gestures and Sage add-ins a must. You will find Firefox to be a fast, lean, great-looking, secure web browser with numerous feature sorely lacking in Internet Explorer. Tabbed browsing, pop-up blocking, support for RSS, mouse-gestures – the list is long. I LOVE a few features – one of my favorite is the “Begin finding when you begin typing” feature. With this option enabled, (inexplicably, not the default setting) finding a word or phrase in a document could not be easier – simply type the word. Very slick. My bet is that you’ll like it.

That said, I’d agree that Firefox is cool, but it’s no where near as nice as Opera. Here are a dozen resons why Opera RULES!

  1. Opera saves much more state when it exits. Even if the computer crashes, Opera will re-open exactly where it left off – all tabs open, and all of the history saved along with each tab. Firefox does not save history.
  2. Tabs in Opera can be relocated – or even torn off the page altogether.
  3. Clicking on the CURRENT tab takes you back to the tab you were viewing PREVIOUSLY. Brilliant!! This feature alone convinced a coworker to try Opera, and he has since become a HUGE advocate for Opera.
  4. Opera’s mouse-gestures work flawlessly. I found pages in Firefox that somehow prevented mouse-gestures from working.
  5. Opera includes an amazing e-mail client. For the majority of users, it’s great. My only complaint is that Opera lacks support for LDAP. (For this reason and because Opera’s spell-checker is clunky, I use Thunderbird as my e-mail client.)
  6. Opera’s zoom and full page views are the best in the browser biz.
  7. Opera’s fast-forward option is brilliant. Coupled with mouse-gestures and the full-screen view, fast-forward is one of my favorite Opera features. You just have to try it to understand what a cool feature this is. (If you’re viewing my site with Opera now, click the fast-forward button. You can also press ALT-Right Arrow, or learn the mouse-gesture for fast-forward. Press F11 and try this in full page mode. Awesome!)
  8. It is possible (and fun!) to work in Opera entirely without a mouse.
  9. Pressing ALT-SPACE to go to the home page is easier (but less intuitive?) than Firefox’s ALT-HOME key combination.
  10. I can tell Opera to use my proxy server (or not) with a single key-stroke (F12) and a single mouse-click. Firefox requires a minimum of six clicks. Internet Explorer needs seven! Hey – this stuff adds up!
  11. Opera’s “wand” is the best password management system I have ever seen.
  12. Opera’s support for RSS works better. Firefox (with Sage installed) generates really nice looking article indexes, but the feed from one of my favorite blogs causes Firefox to crash.

To me, Opera still gets the nod, but I’d recommend that you check out both of these excellent browsers. They both render my site better and faster than I.E. does – and that makes me very happy.

Tough Week for a Geek

Man, what a week! In the course of two days, my main server’s hard drive crashed, and a machine I maintain in Santa Rosa also exhibited symptoms of a disk crash. It turns out that thte disk in the server in Santa Rosa had not crashed, and I had backups and redundancy in a few critical places on my home network, so I was able to restore everything in about a day. No data loss – not even a single e-mail. Most users never even knew of the problem. (thedude pats himself on back.)

Maybe now I can get back to blogging!