Categories: "computer/tech"

Gmail improvements

If you use Gmail, be sure to click on the 'Newer version' link in the upper right corner. They've added message prefetching and it's now amazingly fast.

(via Digg)

SCO files for bankruptcy

Good riddance.

SCO is best known these days for its baseless intellectual property claims against Linux companies and Linux users, but as it became increasingly clear that the legal cases against IBM, Novell, Red Hat, and others were without merit, the stock price dropped as investors stopped betting on the cash boon they were gambling on winning. The company's stock lost 43% of its value today, last trading at 37 cents, down from around $20 a share in 2003, shortly after the company filed its first lawsuit.

Thirty-seven cents! This should serve as a lesson to any other companies that are trying to make baseless lawsuits their main source of income [cough, RIAA, cough].


Web host search

I'm in the market for a new web host. I think we've outgrown shared hosting. Dreamhost has a good set of features and it's very affordable, but the slowness and downtime are getting unbearable. So, I'm looking to jump up to a VPS host. I would love to hear any recommendations and tips that anyone has. I'm considering

iMovie 08

I just finished my first project in iMovie '08. I'm really trying to like it, but it's hard. Here's a quick run-down of the pros and cons as well as my idea for how to fix it.

Scrubbing - Move your mouse over clips and you scrub through the clip.
Selecting - Scrub to where you want to start the selection, click and drag, scrubbing to where you want to stop. Then drag the selection to your project. This is an improvement over iMovie 06.
Events - I like this feature in iPhoto and I like it in iMovie, too.
YouTube export - This is great. I've spent hours trying to export to YouTube and the quality was never as good as this. Easy and good quality.
Other exports - The export interface for just making a quicktime movie for iTunes or iPod or iAnythingElse is very simple and nice.
Importing from camera - There's a new automatic mode that rewinds the tape and imports all of it. Cool.

No timeline - I like seeing a visual representation of how much time each clip takes up. The iMovie 08 project area isn't impossible to get used to, but it's not ideal.
Audio controls - The audio rubber band is gone. It allowed you to edit the volume in a clip.
Can't mute all the original clip audio easily - If you drag a bunch of clips to your project and add some music, you may want to mute the original clips and just have the song. You have to edit each clip and move the volume to 0%. In the old iMovie you could uncheck the audio track and mute it all at once.
Can't delete multiple clips from project - Add a bunch of clips or photos to your project, then change your mind? You have to delete them all one by one. WTF?
Less control over transitions - Add a transition and want to make it a little longer? Sorry, you can't.
No slow-mo or time-lapse - You used to be able to speed up or slow down a clip. No longer.
Less control in general - Maybe that's nice for novices, but I got used to some of the things you could do in iMovie.

My solution:
Most of the problems are in the timeline area. One solution would be to scrap the new timeline and go back to the old way. Here's what that would look like:

Digg it

How old is the Earth?

I don't know how many of my readers think the Earth has only been around for 6,000 years. I would assume it's a small percentage, but I might be surprised. I've got a poll running now about that, so feel free to cast your vote. I'd also like to hear from you in the comments. If you think the Earth is young, please explain why. I've looked at young Earth creationist ideas like those on the Answers in Genesis website and the Creation Museum. They seem to go to great lengths to avoid generally accepted science.

I know there are some very intelligent believers that read this page. Maybe some of you can explain the relationship between your faith and your views of science.

Cheney was right


Dick Cheney was talking a little bit of sense when he was considering a run for the White House in 1994. Too bad this guy wasn't our Vice President in 2003.

Q: Do you think the U.S., or U.N. forces, should have moved into Baghdad?

A: No.

Q: Why not?

A: Because if we'd gone to Baghdad we would have been all alone. There wouldn't have been anybody else with us. There would have been a U.S. occupation of Iraq. None of the Arab forces that were willing to fight with us in Kuwait were willing to invade Iraq.

Once you got to Iraq and took it over, took down Saddam Hussein's government, then what are you going to put in its place? That's a very volatile part of the world, and if you take down the central government of Iraq, you could very easily end up seeing pieces of Iraq fly off: part of it, the Syrians would like to have to the west, part of it -- eastern Iraq -- the Iranians would like to claim, they fought over it for eight years. In the north you've got the Kurds, and if the Kurds spin loose and join with the Kurds in Turkey, then you threaten the territorial integrity of Turkey.

It's a quagmire if you go that far and try to take over Iraq.

The other thing was casualties. Everyone was impressed with the fact we were able to do our job with as few casualties as we had. But for the 146 Americans killed in action, and for their families -- it wasn't a cheap war. And the question for the president, in terms of whether or not we went on to Baghdad, took additional casualties in an effort to get Saddam Hussein, was how many additional dead Americans is Saddam worth?

Our judgment was, not very many, and I think we got it right.

TWIT + Audible = irony

Am I the only one who finds it strange that TWIT rails against DRM in many of their episodes (as they should), but then they do ads for Audible, which has a terrible DRM? My parents tried using Audible to get audiobooks for their commutes, but the restrictions caused a lot of problems. I wouldn't want to pay for a book that I couldn't easily take with me when I get a new computer. Cory Doctorow's speech is still one of the best explanations for why DRM is bad. If you haven't yet, read it!

Reflect jQuery

I made my first jQuery plugin. It's called Reflect jQuery and it's based on reflection.js, but it takes advantage of jQuery rather than building in the class selector from Prototype. Check out the demo or get the plugin if you're into it. At some point this may make it's way into b2evolution.

Francois visits

Francios and DannyThis week we had a house guest from France. I became acquainted with Francois through the b2evolution project. He created the project and continues to serve as the maintainer and principal developer. We did a bit of work on a forthcoming plugin. On the way to dropping him off at the train station we ate Gates BBQ and stopped at the Apple Store to help my sister pick out a new iMac for college. I decided to get one, too. The old PPC iMac I was using had begun to show its age.

Scratch online

I mentioned Scratch a few months back. It's a really fun way for kids (and adults) to learn about programming and make little graphical apps just by dragging and dropping. They now have a program sharing website online, so when you're done with a program, you can just click the "Share" button in Scratch and it goes onto the website. You can even play the programs in your web browser I've uploaded a few here. People are doing some neat things, like this Duck Hunt remake. Emma and I downloaded it to see how it works, and we recorded our own versions of the sound effects. Emma does a good taunting laugh.

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