Monthly Archives: March 2009

Safari 4

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The Safari 4 Beta has been out for about a month or so, but I’ve been too lazy to write about it until now. I’ve been using it for the past week or so, and it has won its way to being my main browser. With the addition of Glims (a plugin for Safari to give it some Firefox-esque features), Safari’s become better than Firefox.

Pages load much faster, and even though it’s a beta, Safari 4 never lags or freezes, even after opening ~100 tabs. The develop menu, when enabled, is amazingly useful for web development. I can easily disable images,¬†javascript, and styles with just one click. Safari also has the ability to change its User Agent, so that websites see it as a different browser. For example, I could masquerade as IE 6 for those annoying websites that require IE. The web inspector is almost exactly the same as Firebug, but it looks a lot nicer. See the two screenshots below for comparison:

Firebug (Firefox)

Firebug (Firefox)

Web Inspector (Safari)

Web Inspector (Safari)

The new tab placement is very much like Chrome’s, with the tabs at the top of the window. After using Firefox for so many years, it feels a bit awkward to have the tabs at the very top, but after using it for a day, I got accustomed to it. My only gripe with the tabs is that I can’t drag the tabs around unless I use the little drag area on the right of each tab.

Safari Tabs

Safari Tabs

Now Glims adds some nifty features of its own, such as the ability to reopen a recently closed tab with cmd + z. Having closed many tabs by accident, I cannot even begin to stress how useful this features is. Another useful feature is the ability to switch between tabs using only “,” and “.” By far the most useful modification is the expansion of the search bar. I can now choose from dozens of search engines as well as Wikipedia. When I start typing, a whole auto-suggest overlay pops up, which looks cool as well as being quite useful.

Search Suggest

Search Suggest

As with all good things, Safari has some annoyances, the main one being its annoying form-handling. Whenever a form element is focused, an ugly glow appears around the element. Unless explicitly defined in the CSS, Safari will always display the glow. It would be nice if Apple gave us the option of turning off the annoying glows.

Safari 4 also has the “Top Pages” view enabled on new tabs and windows by default. It shows the top 9 sites in a rather gimmicky, faux-3D kind of way. Cover flow is also enabled in the¬†history, which is actually quite useful, as it allows me to see previously visited sites rather than just looking at URLs.

By typing any letter (when not in a form, of course), Safari activates the page search and dims the website, highlighting the found terms. Esc closes the search. Very useful and efficient, as I don’t need to use the mouse.

Page Search

Page Search

So far I’m really pleased with how Safari 4 is turning out. I’m hoping the final version will be even better.

Apathy

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I’ve begun working on a new theme, which will be called Apathy. The whole theme uses only one image, and a minimum of Javascript, to ease those loading times. I’ll be making the theme available in 9 different colors, selectable through the theme options in WordPress. I’ve also decided to include one of those “About me” blurb that everybody seems to be having these days. Of course, you can turn the blurb off completely if you don’t need one. The design itself is very simple and neutral, hence the name “Apathy.” Anyway, enough blathering on about it, here are what you all really want to see- some pictures.

apathy_preview
Those are all the color variations, and below is a full-size image of the theme (click to see full-res version).

theme_preview1

I expect the theme to be done soon, but I have no specific release date just yet. Keep checking in for updates on my Twitter.

Short Update

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It’s been a while since I last posted, and I could probably think of at least 20 excuses for why I haven’t posted anything, the main one being a lack of time. I have a week off from work, so that should give me some more time to write some interesting stuff.

The Productivity Killer

I just may have found the biggest time-waster game ever made. It’s Tetris, but on a much bigger scale. If you like Tetris then go on over and lose the rest of your day.

GTA: Chinatown Wars

Not too long ago, this splendid little game was released. The first GTA game for the Gameboy Advance was a flop, but this looks much better. The graphics are quite good for a DS game, and the touchscreen is utilized cleverly, such as using the stylus to hotwire a car. I might actually buy it and dig out my ancient DS, for the first time in years.

More DRM Crap

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EDIT: This was just a rumor. You can still use any headphones you want. The whole authentication chip is for Apple-certified headphones, which supposedly allow extra features or something like that. Guess I shouldn’t be so quick to criticize companies based on unfounded rumors.

According to Neowin, the new iPod Shuffle (which already sucks) will have a built in DRM-feature that only allows Apple and official third-party headphones to be used with the new iPod Shuffle. Just when I thought the new iPod Shuffle couldn’t get any worse.

“You will either have to use Apple earphones, or a third-party product which incorporates an ‘Apple authentification chip’, if you want to use the new device.”

Source: Neowin

If non-licensed headphones are used, the device will still function, but there will be no volume adjustment or track control. Apple is really digging itself a grave with these moronic decisions. I would expect these from Microsoft, but never from Apple. Better stock up on those previous-generation Shuffles before they run out!

iPhone OS 3.0

The new iPhone OS 3.0 has been confirmed to have copy-and-paste, and not much else. There’s still no video recording or multitasking.

The Newer Facebook

Not too long ago after releasing a major redesign, Facebook is already making some layout changes, especially on the home page. They claim that the changes are to better organize content, but some of the changes are not really necessary. For example, some buttons are now rounded, as well as all the avatars. Facebook has always had the boxy look, why are they abandoning it? It worked for them very well, in my opinion. I swear, Facebook is only making their UI rounder to appeal to those brain-dead MySpace users. What’s next, the ability to customize layouts? I hope not.

The SAT is Evil

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I took the SAT today, and it was rather easy. I still hate it, as well as standardized testing in general. The only trouble I had was with the essay, I had only finished half of the first body paragraph, and the teacher yelled out “5 minutes left!” I couldn’t feel my hand after writing another 2 paragraphs in 4 minutes. The essay topic was about whether it is possible to be ethical and still be successful. I only wrote that last sentence just because they said I couldn’t. I’m dead tired from the SAT (I got up at like 6:00 am) and work from 4-10pm, so that’s all for today. I leave you all with a slightly photoshopped image:

What the logo should really be

What the logo should really be

I also fixed the .htaccess file, which was somehow missing, and caused all links on the blog to go to 404: Not Found pages. Now you all can comment once again.

Report Card Woes

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As the title says, I received my report card. Not today, but yesterday- I just forgot about it until today. It doesn’t look that bad, with mostly C’s and B’s, and even a few A’s. My average is around 88%, which is decent. Of course my parents don’t see it that way, and they started yelling at me that I’m a failure and that I’m going to Brooklyn College (which is a running joke in my family- that going to Brooklyn College is the lowest of the low). They also took away my computer, so I’ll be doing most of my coding by night until they cool off. I know my grades could be higher, but I’m just too lazy to put anything more than a minimal effort into schoolwork. Anyway, enough whining about my failure in life. Time to discuss the more important things.

Facebook’s New Layout

Facebook redid their user control panel, aka the home-page. The new layout is nice and clean, with rounded edges and Ajax all over. Knowing Facebook users, there’ll probably be like 40 Anti-New Layout groups within a week.

iPhone OS 3.0

Apple is preparing the 3rd version of the iPhone interface, with rumored features such as copy-and-paste, video recording, and multitasking. I hope Apple doesn’t charge another update fee for the iPod Touch.

IE 8

Will be released rather soon, through downloads and Windows Update. I’m hoping this quickly kills IE 6. That would be a truly awesome time, when coders and designers will be able to code everything normally and have it work for 99% of the people in the world.

Simplebits Realign

Dan Cederholm has given Simplebits a slight design update. The only downside is that the fancy fading effects on the nav only work on Safari, and not on Firefox or Opera. There’s a clever use of CSS3 throughout the site, but it still looks nice in older, CSS3-unsupported browsers.

Money!

Last Saturday I went to the local Chase bank with my dad and we opened up a new savings account for me. And while I’m still too young to have a credit card, I can now have a debit card, which is almost as good. Mine will be coming in the mail in a few days or so. I’ll finally be able to buy domains and software without having to pester my parents for their credit cards.

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