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November 8, 2013

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.

 



November 7, 2013

Veblen Index

Tags: Everyday Life — 1:48 pm Comments (0)

Placeholder.

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.



October 9, 2013

better with use

Tags: Everyday Life — 11:11 am Comments (0)

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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



September 26, 2013

quick backstory on #hashtags

Tags: Everyday Life — 7:30 am Comments (0)

I’d much prefer to make this drunk history of hashtags but I’m not funny and it’s not that interesting. So quick it is. To get the real story you have to ask Chris Messina but I kinda know Chris and kinda saw how this evolved.

Three things about hashtags you need to know are IRC, Foocamp, and Chris (and possibly Stowe Boyd who coined the term).

IRC or Internt Relay Chat is a messaging/chat protocol. You get yourself a chat client, you /attach yourself to a network say irc.mozilla.org and then you join a topic by doing /join #sometopic. And that’s where hashtags came from, it’s how you create a chat room on a specific topic. IRC is popular with software development, it’s just how you get things done. And it’s old school, like really, really old.

Where does Foocamp come in? Well, Foocamp was an adhoc meetup/conference of exclusive tech luminaries (e.g. Google founders and friends) created by Tim O’Reilly who does most of the books and conferences for the Tech industry. It’s exclusive and not open so thus came Barcamp (e.g. foobar or fubar) which was open to everybody. (I wanted to attend the first one in 2005 but I had something going on the following weekend. I also thought it was funny because the founders of Barcamp weren’t invited to Foocamp).

At these conferences, white boards and wikis and chat clients and all sorts of tools are used, and IRC chat is often used as a “back channel” to communicate in the background. You might have the one conference topic channel say #Barcamp and then tons more based on whatever people want. It’s a good way to communicate and a good way to get introverts to talk too.

Anyway, the rest of the story I don’t really know. I guess Chris asked the Twitter guys (and we’re all in the same area, it’s a small circle) to use # for #barcamp which makes total sense. At this time Barcamp had Matt involved, founder of WordPress around, and so all sorts of communication tools we’re being used and tested out. Note that Twitter was founded by the Blogger guys (which sold to Google and now they’ve founded Medium!, yikes), so like I said, these guys all knew each other.

So that’s pretty much it. Hashtags weren’t meant to be abused #so #that #every #word was hashtagged. It does make sense when you want to follow a topic, but allowing just anyone to create a hashtag (not the person who wants to start the topic), certainly makes it less valuable. But it’s still early, early days (Twitter hasn’t even IPOd yet) so I’m sure the whole hashtag phenomenon/protocols will work itself out.

Hashtags though have filled a void left by AOL Keyword (remember that) since urls are sometimes taken via squatting and it’s just easier #hashtag something especially in a commercial or print ad even.



September 25, 2013

Winter 2014 preview

Tags: Everyday Life — 11:16 am Comments (0)

tumblr_inline_mtjb4ayRqQ1r41n17 tumblr_inline_mtjd314qFf1r41n17

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.



September 20, 2013

the theory of conspicuous likes

Tags: Everyday Life — 12:22 pm Comments (2)

(JPEG Image, 323 × 156 pixels)

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.



June 2, 2013

conspicuous likes

Tags: Everyday Life — 11:16 am Comments (0)

Stuff2

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.



November 5, 2012

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



June 12, 2012

what’s after .mp3?

Tags: Everyday Life — 2:23 pm Comments (0)

vinyl to mp3 image

We’ve quickly evolved from vinyl records, 8-track, cassette tapes, CDs to .mp3s  and streaming radio. What’s next? The question is always what’s next? So what’s after .mp3 is nothing, no files except a receipt and an access rights file to a song that’s available on a server through the devices you choose. Let me elaborate.

Let’s say you want to buy Rhianna’s “Rude Boy”. Instead of buying and downloading the .mp3 file, what you’ll get instead is a receipt and the access rights to the song. From there you’ll be able to add it to some playlist and then you can play “Rude Boy” on your computer, your wife’s computer, your phone, your wife’s phone, your Xbox, PlayStation, home DVR, the iPod in your car, your other car’s navigation device, kitchen radio, nightstand radio, etc.

What you don’t have to do is download a file and synchronize it across multiple devices, share, nor back up that file. You could also have the right to download the actual .mp3 file but why would you want to? Why take the time to have to manage that file and have it take up space on your computer and other devices? Why should millions of people have to store that same file on their computer and take up space?

There are some issues. The limitation is that not every device is network enabled for instance the iPod that’s in my glove compartment, my navigation system in my car, or the music device I want to take jogging with me. There’s also the desire to have something physical, I purchased something so I want that thing not just the rights to it and it’s getting less and less physical (right?) if we’re going from vinyl to .mp3 and now I’m saying you’re not even going to get the .mp3. And finally the issue of companies having to work together which is always fun when we’re talking music, or accounts/subscriptions, or cloud, or services, or digital rights management. In other words, this will never happen.

We’d be in a better place though if we could remove having to download music files, synchronizing and backing up those files and just press play and put whatever song we’ve bought on a set of master play lists that’s accessible from any device we choose.

 

 



May 9, 2012

ramen

Ramen shops:

 

 



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