Firefox or Chrome, what’s the difference?

9 years ago

Lifehacker has an article Which is Better: Chrome or Firefox?  It’s funny because my kid  asked a similar question two days ago.

What’s the difference between Firefox and Chrome? And this is more or less what I told him:

The way the Web and browsers work is you can choose any web browser you want. With the Web, you choose what application you want to make web pages with and choose whatever you want to view it, that’s just how it works or supposed to work. Great right?

Browsers consist of the backend, frontend, and services. Firefox is based on Gecko, Chrome is based on Webkit, same with Safari, and other browsers have different browser engines. The different browser engines have different components to parse through the HTML, images, JavaScript, etc and they build the Web page. Some browser engines render pages faster than others, some do it more “correctly” to the Web standards, and others have experimental features. That’s why I like using the Nightly builds of Firefox, and I’ve been using Nightlies since 2001 so neither Firefox nor Chrome for me.

Next part is the front end and that’s all the features and look and feel that help you browse the web. Some of these features are like tabbed browsing, or bookmarks, a download manager, or add-ons. So if you think the browser backends are more or less equal, you can choose from how the browser looks and what features you might like better.

Finally, these browsers integrate different services. Chrome integrates a lot of Google services and some people like that so they choose Google (if it’s actually a choice and not shoved down their throats some other way). Firefox doesn’t have as many services tied into the browser as Google which can be either good or bad depending on what you like. Firefox is more feel good and more about the Web where Google is more of a Google-centric view of the Web.

For what it’s worth, I worked on Firefox (and shipped 9 years ago tomorrow) but feel free to choose what you want.

 

Veblen Index

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Thinking about a Veblen Index, companies that maximize the theory of the leisure class such as Google, Facebook, Twitter, eBay etc. In essence, these companies are middlemen, they don’t really make anything (physical goods), they don’t have any inventory, but they facilitate transactions like nobody else.

Companies that maximize middleman transactions.

The alternative is a Veblen Index that looks at companies that make “Veblen goods” or luxury goods.

better with use

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“Better with use” should be a bigger theme and a greater emphasis/focus within the tech industry. The components of “better with use” are there with the concepts of personalization, history, recommendation engines, identity/single sign-on, “sticky” features like bookmarks but the feeling of better with use hasn’t crystallized. Part of the issue is the need for the industry to innovate and to show newness (to sell more stuff and to IPO/flip and IPO again) and it’s hard to show age and wear with software when you’re continually redesigning and introducing new features at a rapid rate. It’s also just hard to show age/wear with software in general.

Products that are Better with Use

There are lots of products that become better with use such as: cast iron skillets/cookware, woks, leather saddles (other leather products like bags, baseball mitts), denim jeans, suits and other clothes, shoes, linen sheets, musical instruments, and cars.

Some products need to be “broken in”, some build a patina that can help protect the product and give it some character, other products when used look better than new. And sometimes new products are created to look used and worn because the worn/used look is valued more like designer jeans.

Software that’s Better with Use

Installing the Concept

evaluating solar panels

As much as we want a solar panel system for our house, they’re still not currently priced where it makes economic sense for us — solar panel systems are still too expensive for the amount of energy that we use. I’m hung up on solar because they’re really cool and it just feels like the right thing to do (invest in). But it’s really hard to justify given their current expense.

We received a quote a couple years ago for 16 175 Watt, BP solar panels which would generate 3,529 kWh a year or 294 kWh a month average. We fluctuate between 170 to 360 kWh but we usually stay under 300 kWh a month and average in the 240-250 kWh range for the year. Homes of our size are in the 400 to 600 kWh range so an average of 500 kWh.

On the finances side, we’re looking at $36 a month electricity bill or $440 for the year. The cost estimate for a 16 panel solar system was $20,000 which would go down to $14,000 after the state rebate and Federal tax credit.

I like 7 – 10 year break evens which would mean the cost of the solar panel system would have to be in the $3,000-$4,000 range which is in the range of installing an HVAC system or tankless hot water system so not far fetched that one day it’ll be this cheap to install. The $14,000 is about $10,000 more than we could financially justify. From a “save the earth” perspective, our efforts to continue to conserve energy (LED lights, insulation, programmable thermostat, efficient windows, efficient appliances) is still the better way to go.

It’s possible that we’ll increase our electricity usage and of course we’re at risk for electrical rate increases, but at this time solar panels still need to go down in price unless we make it a DIY project and buy and install solar panels ourselves. For $3,000, DIY would make sense. Given the interest in solar companies though, solar panel systems will get cheaper as more panels are available and made cheaper and more companies are available to install them.

Some links:

Winter 2014 preview

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Here’s Kirkwood’s Tumblr account.  It’s already snowed and supposed to snow today too. A few good things happened in Kirkwood this Summer:

  • new siding and windows for the Sun Meadows complex,
  • new recreation building for the Kirkwood Community Association getting ready for a January ’14 opening,
  • electrical lines laid down so Kirkwood will finally get it’s electrical on the grid versus burning diesel for its electricity,
  • new ski patrol building at the top of Chair 10, The Wall, to improve grooming
  • picked up some nice, good looking snowshoes for cheap on eBay for us and for guests who don’t ski or snowboard

Should be a good year up there.

the theory of conspicuous likes

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On the web, the act of liking something serves as currency and is a good enough substitute for actually knowing a person, knowing a subject, purchasing a good or service, or participating in an event, allowing a person to maneuver upwards within his or her social class.

“Like” tools or companies like Facebook, Pinterest, Google, Apple, Pandora encourage their customers to like posts, events, people, products, thoughts, all sorts of different things. The goal for them is to generate money for these “likes” through advertising and also getting the transactions or “conversion” for actual goods. For companies that advertise, the goal isn’t necessarily to get the transaction, it can be more the branding play which may encourage a future transaction. An example is encouraging people to like Aston Martin even though only a small subset of people can actually buy that car. For the person who buys the Aston Martin, it’s made even more valuable because people or even friends that person knows values the brand highly.

What’s not obvious is that the act of liking something is enough. I only need to like the Aston Martin and not purchase it. I only need to like President Obama, I don’t need to have met him or know him. I only need to like marathons, I don’t need to run the actual event. Just liking something gives me similar cachet versus an actual transaction.

The measure of where you sit within a social class can be defined by traditional achievements, level and breadth of knowledge, level of wealth, health, level of influence, amount of friends. The ability to articulate preference and taste via “likes” maybe another measure that trumps some of these traditional achievements.

Do you now then “like” more things? Sure, participate. There will be a point where your level and collection of “likes” is saturated and there’s no additional gain in your social status. To be clear, “liking” something however is not always a flippant or subconscious act by most people. People are aware that “likes” make a statement, they’re conspicuous and they’re attempts at increasing one’s social status. Not only does liking something serve as a cheap substitute for acquiring and owning something, it’s a cheaper way to gain more Facebook likes and status.

conspicuous likes

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Conspicuous consumption is the spending of money on and the acquiring of luxury goods and services to publicly display economic power — either the buyer’s income or the buyer’s accumulated wealth. Sociologically, to the conspicuous consumer, such a public display of discretionary economic power is a means either of attaining or of maintaining a given social status.

I’ve been reading up on The Theory of The Leisure Class and the concepts of conspicuous or invidious consumption by Thorstein Veblen. Just as the Internet has amplified other systems, flows, and experiences, conspicuous consumption is heightened with apps like Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. If not items or goods that are bragged about, it’s vacations and trips to the gym/golf course and other leisure activities — perhaps building and flying a plane.

Two thoughts.

1) It might be that “conspicuous likes” is enough — the act of liking something on Facebook or the act of pinning an object. Can you really afford that Aston Martin Vanquish? But it’s certainly easy to like and that might be enough. These days you might not actually need to purchase or consume anything if you want to impress your friends or gain status. You just need to like it. It’s your taste that matters and will move you up and down on the so-called social ladder, wherever you seem to have placed it.

2) It also seems that the ultimate “conspicuous consumption” is your health status and athletic endeavors. In the Theory of the Leisure Class, Veblen writes “success as an athlete presumes not only a waste of time, but also a waste of money as well as the possession of certain highly unindustrial archaic traits of character and temperament.” Well, that’s Ironman training, ultramarathons, triathlons, and other ultra endurance events in a nutshell. With the motto “2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, 26.2 mile marathon, brag for the rest of your life”, that’s about inconspicuous as you can get. This is also what you eat, how skinny you are (really how healthy/strong you are), workouts for the day, if you’re disease free or overcame an illness, and how mentally strong you are.

Of course people shouldn’t be made to feel guilty about being healthy and striving for lofty fitness goals. But they should be aware that pursuit of these physical feats puts them at the very top of the leisure class society. Or, you could just “like” events like a marathon, Ironman race, cross fit challenge, etc instead of actually trying to do them. Might just be enough if all you want to do is impress your friends.

device pricing

Current pricing for the benchmark products versus what I think the price should be in the table below. I’m curious what the actual revenue per device would be if the the price were lowered because there’s additional revenue outside of the purchase, e.g. ad and search revenue, subscriptions (iCloud, etc), games, music and movie downloads. With lower initial device pricing, there’d be more devices out there, more downstream revenue, and a faster upgrade cycle. I’m sure they’ve run the numbers though. Obviously this is just wishful thinking. At some point we’ll reach the razor-razor blade model where the razor will be cheap or near free. Right now folks are still making good margins on the razors.

iPhone – $649 -> $299
iPad mini – $329 -> $249
iPad – $499 -> $399
Nexus 4 – $299 -> $199
Nexus 7 – $199 -> $149

ramen part 2

Ramen shop

Ramen Shop in Oakland – Chez Panisse vets opened up a Ramen Shop near Zachary’s Pizza on College Ave.; pretty good, a bit on the expensive side for a bowl of ramen but the execution is nice…could be giving some of the best ramen shops in Japantown in LA a run for it’s money once they find their groove…

and Ramen Tomo will be opening up on Telegraph near Koryo soon…

If I knew and was really passionate about ramen (I’m not), I’d open up a ramen shop called Fukuoka Ramen or FU Ramen for short. Fukuoka is supposed to have the best ramen anywhere, famed for their tonkatsu ramen, and Fukuoka is also Oakland’s sister city.

There’s a name idea for you for whoever wants to open up a ramen shop in Oakland.

 

 

clean diet and core training

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Working on the “clean” diet and “core” training routine to get into snowboarding shape for this Winter and hopefully launch me back into Ironman triathlon training.

Clean diet – “clean” foods, clean meals, simple ingredients

Core training – shoulders to thighs training with emphasis on developing ab and back strength