Outside of accidentally opening Internet Explorer the biggest annoyance on the web is mailto links. These are usually masqueraded as a ‘Contact Us’ link which you’d expect to forward to a web form. What ends up happening is either your operating system attempts to open a mail program (who still uses those, seriously?) or it forwards you to gmail (less annoying but still annoying as hell).
Well, it’s been just over a month since I made the switch to Linux from Windows. My distribution of choice for desktop PCs has always been the fantastic Mandriva Linux. Available for free with plenty of included software (Open Office suite, the Firefox web browser, Kopete messenger, Amarok media player, and much more), it’s always done the trick and looks wonderful doing so.
I have two physical hard drives in my PC. The first one is mounted ‘/’ for all my system files and programs. The second drive is my ‘/home’ directory, where all of my documents are kept. All of the system files are kept entirely separate from your documents.This sort of division is done even with one single hard drive automatically by Mandriva so that if you ever need to format or upgrade the operating system you don’t lose any of your pictures, movies, or music, ever.
Life without Windows is certainly possible. I’m living proof. And the stuff I use my computer for is likely more intense than your average Joe since I’m a web developer. All of the required software that I use on a daily basis is available and runs great in Linux.
All of my games worked out-of-the-box using the Windows games and software emulator* (Read more about the Wine project). I’ve included a screenshot of me playing Morrowind. It runs great. My girlfriend and I played through Max Payne on this PC, as well, and we’re a quarter of the way through the Quest for Glory 2 remake (which is a lot of fun, by the way) on my other Mandriva Linux PC (our media center).
If you’re considering running Linux or if you’ve heard about it and are curious, give Mandriva Linux One a try. It’s pretty simple: You download it and burn it onto a blank CDR. Reboot with the disc in the drive and you can use it right off the disc without actually installing it. If you like it, go ahead and install it. Otherwise, just take the disc out and reboot — nothing has been changed on your computer.
For more information about Linux, try reading some of these sites:
* I realize Wine is technically not an emulator, but when explaining what it does it helps to use that term.
If you’re on top of technology news, you’ve no doubt heard of Google Chrome. Recently released by Google to the happiness of geeks and internet surfers everywhere, this browser has the attributes of a real winner. Chrome is fast, intuitive, efficient, and unintrusive. I love it.
That being said, there are a number of things that could be done to improve the product and user experience, especially for Web Developers. These are in no particular order.
#1. “Open image in new tab” is not as good as the “View Image” function in Firefox.
About 5 to 10 times a day I right-click on an image and select “View Image” in Firefox. It’s a handy feature that seems to have been superseded by the “Open image in new tab” function in Chrome. If this functionality is to become the mainstay then I request that when you open an image in a new tab that the focus shifts to that new tab automatically. That way I can just close it when I’m done.
#2. (and for some this is a deal-breaker) The EULA.
Update: As of 09-04-2008 this has been remedied.
Who in their right mind wrote this thing? Because I used Google Chrome to write this very blog post does that now mean that this post can be used by Google or any of its corporate friends anywhere they want? Rubbish!
From the End User License Agreement:
“11.1 You retain copyright and any other rights you already hold in Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. By submitting, posting or displaying the content you give Google a perpetual, irrevocable, worldwide, royalty-free, and non-exclusive license to reproduce, adapt, modify, translate, publish, publicly perform, publicly display and distribute any Content which you submit, post or display on or through, the Services. This license is for the sole purpose of enabling Google to display, distribute and promote the Services and may be revoked for certain Services as defined in the Additional Terms of those Services.
11.2 You agree that this license includes a right for Google to make such Content available to other companies, organizations or individuals with whom Google has relationships for the provision of syndicated services, and to use such Content in connection with the provision of those services.
11.3 You understand that Google, in performing the required technical steps to provide the Services to our users, may (a) transmit or distribute your Content over various public networks and in various media; and (b) make such changes to your Content as are necessary to conform and adapt that Content to the technical requirements of connecting networks, devices, services or media. You agree that this license shall permit Google to take these actions.”
How do you all feel about that?
For those that are interested, the full EULA is available here: http://www.google.com/chrome/eula.html
#3. What’s my Pagerank?
After installing SearchStatus in Firefox I’ve become addicted to knowing what my Pagerank is for each page on my site. It’s really, really handy. Since this product is directly from Google, I figured it would include an option to show you the PageRank of every site you visit. But it doesn’t.
#4. Inspect Element on Hover
If you right-click anywhere on a webpage you are able to inspect the element located under your cursor. This is handy and works well, but after using Firebug and the Web Developer Extension for Firefox, I’ve become accustomed to this information being available dynamically on whatever element I hover my mouse over. As you hover your mouse over any element on a page with these extensions enabled, the information updates in real-time. It’d be nice to see that as well in this browser.
These are just first impressions, I’m interested in hearing how the rest of you feel about this shiny new browser from Google. Are there any features that you wish were included?
I downloaded Firefox 3 today. Just like a gazillion other people. It’s launch day and Mozilla wants to enter the record-books for number of downloads for a software product in one day. Supposedly there is no previous record so basically once the first download finished they were the winners :) Anyway, it was good to drum up some interest in alternative browsers!
The first thing I noticed was how responsive everything was. I’m a web developer — I get used to how long it takes for menus to load and things to happen after I click. I started using Firefox 3 and I have to say they have really raised the bar for browser speed. It used to be that only Opera was this fast. Great work!
Secondly, the “Awesome Bar“: I love it. Looks great, works great. It’s similar to Google Desktop’s search field in that you just type a few keywords of what you’re looking for and it’ll show you any sites that you’ve been to that match those keywords. Handy. We are definitely moving away from people actually knowing the domain your business is at. We know we’ve reached the turning point when browsers stop including an address bar entirely or when businesses owners don’t even know their own domain names :)
Finally, a new feature has been added on my Bookmark Toolbar that contains the top 10 most visited websites. This could be good or bad depending on your browsing habits ;). For me it’s really handy. Gmail is in there, Dzone, Digg, Synnema. Awesome.
I have to say I’m really impressed. The difference between Firefox 1 and 2 really didn’t hit me much but the difference between 2 and 3 is monumental. You really have to use it yourself to feel the difference in speed.
If you’re reading this post on June 17th, 2008, then head over to Firefox.com and help raise the number of downloads today by 1!
You might be a web developer. You might need to know what HTML element is under your cursor at any given time. You might need to know the hexadecimal value of a pixel is under your cursor at any time. You might have a mile-long CSS file inherited from multiple projects and wonder: “Which styles still apply and which are no longer used?”
Fear not my fellow web developers, web designers, programmers, whateverrers! These 5 Firefox Extensions will help you chop the time spent on any web development task so you can get back to reading blogs during the day. Or work. You choose.
Without further ado, here they are:
- A ruler you can use to measure the size of tables, divs, or anything else on your page.
- Disable stylesheets to see what your site looks like without any styles whatsoever.
- Display alt tags, image file sizes, image paths, and more.
- “Outline Block Elements” will automatically outline divs, paragraphs, spans, and other elements on your site. Very handy.
- “Outline Current Element” will display the element id and name for any element underneath your cursor. Unbelievably handy.
#2 – ColorZilla
I’m sure we’ve all seen a cool color on a page, whether it’s an image or cell background, and said “Oh man I love that color. I could eat it. I wonder what the hex value is so I can use it on my site. Or in case I get hungry.” Well, you could always take a screenshot, load up The Gimp, use the Color Picker tool to determine the hex color value, but who needs to do that when you’ve got ColorZilla installed?
ColorZilla will display the hex color and RGB value of any color under your cursor. Very, very handy.
#4 – Dust-Me Selectors
This handy little Firefox Extension will tell you which CSS styles are not found on your pages. It works per domain, so surf all of the pages of your site and a comprehensive collection of unused styles will be shown which you can then promptly delete from your stylesheet, thereby increasing the performance of your site.
Very very, cool.
#5 – Firebug
No Web Developer’s tool-belt would be complete without the illustrious Firebug. The list of features here is incredibly long, but so is the list of Web Developers who have saved hours of work using it. Their own website explains it better than I would but you’ve got to ask yourself one question: What kind of web developer are you if you aren’t already using this??
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list and found some of the links useful. If you’ve got something to say about these tools or even have a list of handy tools you use that might think others would find useful, please post a comment with a few links. Thanks!