Thursday, September 25, 2008

Why I could never be president?

 

The current price of wheat for export would cost $97.00 per barrel and would be shipped in 60 gallon barrels.

 

That cost  of the above item would be double for countries who screw us on oil.

 

Banks who make bad loans would be closed, like every other business and executives would be fined for screwing over the American public knowingly.

 

If you can’t read out loud the immigration paperwork, in our native language, then you can’t stay. Get back on the boat, raft, dinghy, or floating tire you came here on.

 

Any government entity (read as president) who promised a 1.5 billion dollar war that ends up costing 12.5 billion per month would be shot for treason and publicly hanged in front of the Supreme Court. If you can’t do basic math, you cant’ be in the White House.

 

Any senator/congressman/postal worker, or whomever who is no longer a high-paid government employee can pay taxes and social security like the rest of us. He wouldn’t get rewarded for money-grubbing and ass-kissing by a tax-free retirement for the rest of his life. If we vote you out, you obviously suck and therefore we shouldn’t have to pay for you.

 

Afghanistan would be a place where Afghans are made. It’s very convenient and wouldn’t even require changing the names on maps. It would provide them with a great national product and they would be able to export it to all the countries who need blankets.


The WHO and other American funded aid agencies would be mandated to purchase their blankets from Afghanistan. I’m all about helping other countries prosper.

 

North Korea would be the world’s largest Wal-Mart, not a country.

 

PETA wouldn’t exist.

 

Horses would be perfectly acceptable to use as a meat product as long as countries wanted to buy it by the pound!

 

Anyone who suggest human milk for ice cream would be summarily shot.

 

Convicts sentenced to death would live exactly as long as it took for a trained shooter to reload his 45 handgun and would cost the US tax payer approximately .50 cents each.

 

Nuclear disarmament would be simple: You throw away yours or we throw ours at you until you supply. We have way more than you do, so don’t be stupid. We will happily throw away ours as soon as every other country on the planet empties their pockets for UN Inspectors.

 

Failure to allow a UN inspector into a premises would be immediate grounds for global warfare, with you as the red blinking dot..

 

The term “inhumane” would no longer be applied to animals. They exist to feed us. They aren’t HUMAN, so we don’t have to be HUMANe.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Air Sharing for iPhone 3G: Great Feature

Air Sharing's IP Screen For those of you who are looking for great file sharing apps for the iPhone, I would greatly suggest Air Sharing. It’s currently the top app in the iPhone store and is Free until this end of this week. Next week it goes on-sale for 6.99 at regular price.

 

What it Does:

Basically, you setup a network connection on your Windows XP or Windows Vista PC to your iphone using your wireless network. It’s a complete breeze to use. Simply turn on the app and it will give you it’s IP address on the wireless network. Mine set itself to 192.168.1.112:8080. Alternatively, you  can also use Bonjour to access it at iphone.local:8080 if you prefer.

 

Why I would use it:

Customer's:

I downloaded the programming manuals for our telephone systems, customer pricing guides, payroll forms, and other files to it. When I am on site at a customers, as long as they have wi-fi, I can connect to my iphone with no software needed on their end and transfer the files to their PCs on their network, or just have quick access to my files.

 

Office:

I do my own payroll, so having files like the IRS payroll calculations on hand is great for pulling up the info when I’m ready to do payroll. The screen is ultra-sharp and the program has built-in readers for most every common document type; pdf, docx, xlsx, jpg, html, etc.

 

PC Repair:Current files I can access on Air Sharing.

I get a call to a new customer’s home who is having spyware or virus problems on their PC. Now I can leave my flash drive at home. I simply type in the IP address of my iPhone  on their network, turn on the app on my iPhone, and download the repair tools wirelessly to the customer’s PC.

 

All in all it’s a great app!

Any comments or questions about the app are welcome.

 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Boeing Strike:

Am I the only one who thinks the whole Boeing vs Hardworking American is a sham? Lemme see if I understand this right; I'm going to boil it down to the barest essentials that I can. Boeing: Since we have been able to hire contractors, we have had record profits and great success, because we're not restricted to what the union demands. Union: Now I don't have any job security! You can replace me with non-union contract employees instead and I have to get off my ass and actually compete to keep my job, rather than depend on working here for the next 8 years and retiring like I'd planned. Did I get it basically right? As both a past contractor and a current business owner, it would only make sense to me. One of the complaints from union employees is "we don't get a percentage of your profits." No, you don't. You're an employee! If you want a percentage of profits, you can A) Invest a few million into our company as a shareholder like everyone else does or B) go invent your own multinational aircraft company! Why the hell would Boeing give anyone a share of their profits? No. Guess what folks, it's called effective administration! There ARE people who are getting a share of the profits. Are the engineers? No, probably not. They're the executives who oversee, hire, educate, and spend their lives making sure the company DOES continue to profit. Why would I pay the ball-bearing-greaser-dude a percentage of profits? If his ideas are so great and he's contributed so much to the company overall then he should have had enough sense to go sell his wondermous idea to lockheed-martin or some other fill_in_the_blank company! As a contractor myself throughout times in my life, I love the idea that smart creative people could come in from the outside and work for a company like Boeing. Do I expect to be awarded health benefits? No. Do I expect to be able to work towards retirement? No. I'm a contractor. I'm only going to be hired by this company as long as my performance remains profitable for me to be here. I think that's what America is all about, but that's just me. A guy like me coming into a company like Boeing for somethign like Project Management would only last as long as his drive and determination to be better than the other guy subsisted. When you get lazy, dependent on someone else to "secure your job" for the rest of your life, you deserve to be canned. If Boeing can do it cheaper AND just as good or better, then hell yeah, go for it. Having said all that, I DO think the union should have the right to compete for the same jobs... well, I guess I so. If that means that Joe Union Guy gets his "job security" then no I don't. This country wasn't ever founded on Job Security. There IS no such thing as Job Security. I am only secure in my job as a small business owner as long as I deliver BETTER service for the same or LESS money than the next guy. Wait a minute, that's like being a contractor... Ok... back to my real day job...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fox 8 Fox 14 Sucks: (Suddenlink Cable, Greenville, NC: Comments Welcome)

The Constitution of Abused Viewers:

We the people who watch your network, in order to form a more perfect viewing experience, write this request to establish better programming, insure glitch-free TV shows, provide for high-quality viewing, promote the death of frozen frames, and secure the blessings of better television for ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish that YOU SUCK AND NEED TO FIX YOUR PROGRAMMING!

 

History has proven that “fill_in_your_name_here sucks” posts actually work pretty well. I’ve received TONS of responses from my Vonage Sucks post and the Powweb Sucks post generated a HUGE mess at the corporate offices of powweb.com. In an effort to garnish attention to an issue that is driving me absolutely bonkers, I’m writing this post about the Fox8 Fox 14 affiliate that covers Greenville, NC Fox broadcasting.

 

In simple terms, Fox in Greenville, NC SUCKS! ! I’ve searched the web and found I’m not the only one with complaints about the company, but no one seems to have an answer as to why they suck. Suddenlink Cable blames the local affiliate. I asked them why we can’t change affiliates and was informed that we are stuck with Fox8 Fox 14. Not being an individual who likes to be told that I have to settle for poor service, I’m setting out on a mission to either correct the issue, or to have the ability to watch an affiliate that DOES have good programming. I pay almost one hundred dollars a month for the ability to watch what my family wants to watch and I’m tired of hearing my girlfriend yell “No… no… not again.. damnit” at the HDTV because Fox has frozen up yet again. If Fox can afford to host the Superbowl, and to gather up all the good shows on its network, why can’t they afford the technology or staffing necessary to ensure we get to SEE the shows they’re paying big money for?

 

I started with sending an email tonight to the local fox affiliate. I’ll keep you posted on what I hear, here on the blog. In the meantime, in the event that someone at fox DOES read this, I encourage you who have personal complaints with the programming to leave comments. I would also encourage all of you to email them yourselves and let them KNOW you have a complaint.

 

 

My Email to Fox8Fox14:

To business@fox8fox14.com and program@fox8fox14.com

“I’ve been a Fox viewer for years and have finally had to resort to communicating my dissatisfaction with Fox personally. I’ve already called Suddenlink to ask why we are not allowed to receive Fox out of Raleigh as they appear (from what I read everywhere online) not to have the broadcast problems your network does. I actually asked my service representative if there were a list I could get on to complain about the broadcast quality of Fox and he informed me that YES, they actually have a list of customers who have requested to have their names added to the list of people who want better programming, however they state that we have no choice in our fox affiliate and are stuck with Fox8 Fox 14.

I’ve recently upgraded to HD service in an effort to achieve better signal quality on your programs, assuming that at least the HD channels would be error-free. That has however proved to be incorrect.

In the last ten days, Fox8 Fox 14 has had three season premieres that my family has been waiting to watch for months now. Prison Break, Fringe, and Bones have all aired in this time frame.

  • Prison Break was glitched in the first five minutes, completely going out more than once.
  • Fringe aired last night. The signal froze so many times that my DVR had to record the show in 5 segments, meaning the DVR completely lost signal from your station and had to reacquire the session when broadcasting resumed.
  • Bones has aired twice now, and this last episode had three different segments of blank screen for approximately 60 seconds twice, and 30 seconds the final time.

As a fan of these great shows, I’m really sick and tired of the poor programming coming out of your office. I would sincerely appreciate a response from someone as to what the problem is, what is being done to address it, and when we can expect to receive adequate programming quality. This has been going on for two seasons now that I can personally recollect, but many more if the reports on the web are to be believed. We pay for this service and you owe it to your customer base to either correct your programming issues, or allow cable customers the choice in fox affiliates who can better provide a decent viewing experience.

Best Regards,

Tommy Jordan

tjordan@carolinaregion.com

Update from Fox News

After almost a week with no response, I was starting to assume no one was going to reply. Then, I got a brief email from Don Fisher, the vice president of Bonten Media, the company who owns the local fox affiliate. His email said he was out of the office that week but he promised to respond in detail later when he was back at his office.

 

A few more days went by and he did as promised. I’m including his response to my email here, minus his contact information.

 

Mr. Jordan,

Thank you for your recent communication regarding FOX Eastern Carolina.  I appreciate the fact that you took time to express your concerns with our television station.  As you may be aware, Greenville viewers have suffered a long history of technical issues with FOX dating back to the original owner’s purchase of channel 14 in the mid 90’s.  The core issue with the signal has always been the difficulty in sending the FOX signal from the studio in Morehead to the transmitter site in Ayden.  The distance between those two facilities made for unreliable signals in both the analog and digital transmission.

In January of this year, the FOX station was purchased by a new owner and is being operated by Bonten Media which also owns WCTI Newschannel 12, the ABC affiliate in our market.  Bonten has invested heavily in improving the FOX Eastern Carolina signal and made a significant improvement to the overall signal after moving the Morehead FOX studio to a new facility in New Bern in July.  This move reduces the distance the FOX signal has to travel and therefore eliminates most of the technical issues that have long plagued the FOX station. 

In addition to the move, Bonten has purchased new digital spot delivery and automation systems which were installed over the summer.  These systems have improved the quality of the FOX product as well, but like with any new software, they have also created some issues that we are learning to overcome.  The specific problems with the HD signal you mention could be related to our new system or the equipment that Suddenlink uses to pick up and deliver our signal to their customers. 

Regardless of where the technical problems originate, it is our goal at the new FOX Eastern Carolina to work toward completely eliminating all of the problems. We have several more planned technical upgrades that will continue to improve our product.   I am confident that you will see major improvements in our signal quality going forward through the digital transition.  As the new operators of FOX Eastern Carolina, we are working hard to earn the trust of our Greenville area viewers by being the best FOX affiliate we can be.

Please feel free to contact me directly with any additional questions or concerns.  I do appreciate your consideration and support.

Best Regards,

Don Fisher

Vice President, General Manager

Bonten Media

Basically, it says Fox has moved to New Bern from Morehead to try to remedy some of the problems they were having, such as the Superbowl nightmare from earlier this year. (They use microwave transmission which involves one huge antenna casting the signal to another huge antenna 50 miles away through the air) It also says they’ve invested a lot of money in the company and that they DO acknowledge there are still problems remaining they are working on. It’s not what I wanted to hear, but at least they do admit to problems with the network and didn’t blame it on Suddenlink. I’m guessing the root of the current problem (and this is pure conjecture on my part) is that they still cant’ get a good microwave technician who understands their system. Back in February they were scrambling to hire an engineer who could actually work on their Microwave transmitter without wreaking further havoc.

 

So, for now I’ll accept that my message has gotten to the highest rungs it can within Fox and they did at least take five minutes to address my issue in person, which is more than some companies do. For now I’m content to sit and grumble and see if transmission quality improves. But…. I’m watchin’ you, Fox! I got my eye on you! Clean it up man!

 

 

Monday, September 08, 2008

Deciding Who I’ll Vote For

I’m still not sure HOW they each plan to put their policies in place, but I’m spending a lot of time going over their official policy statements to help me make an informed decision. Here are some of the stances I find important to me in my voting decision. You may or may not share the ideals, but I thought it was good information.

 

Iraq (in favor of Obama)

Obama wants to bring them home in 16 months. McCain wants to keep there until “our interests are served.” I favor bringing them home. We have enough problems of our own that could use our military presence here… border patrol?

 

 

Illegal Immigration (leaning towards Obama)

Still not completely sure on this one. They both have a plan, but I’m not sure either is workable in a four year term. Personally, I’d just shoot all the ones who enter illegally as they come across the border. Don’t you think that would deter them? After they have to cross a pile of bodies, they’d start to get the picture…

Caveat:  I DO agree with Obama’s plan to honor immigrant troops. Personally I there should be a recruiting station for all five branches of the Armed Services at the border. ANYONE who is willing to fight for our country deserves to be part of it.

 

Pork Barrel Spending (Tied)

This is another area where they both “have a plan” but no one wants to be clear enough to endanger their campaign. I want one of them to simply say “we’re shutting down professional lobbying” and ALL donations are public information, including who made it, how much, and what it was spent on.

 

2nd Amendment/ Right to Bear Arms (McCain I guess..?)

I’m not sure why, but McCain actually talks about it but Obama doesn’t. I’m not sure if that’s because he thinks (as I do) that it’s a given that we have the 2nd amendment for a reason, or if he’s dodging the issue. Personally I think it’s the former, but I’ll give McCain credit on this one until I see more from the Obama camp. According to the Washington Post, I’m not the only one trying to get an answer from Obama on this issue.

Contrary to the belief of those who know me, I DO believe Americans should have the unalterable right to bear arms, just not ANY arms. What possible good reason is there for making assault rifles legal? What’s next? Hand Grenades? We are defined by our ability to defend ourselves throughout our history, but I would accept certain limitations on the laws that proffer good sense regulations.

 

Oil (undecided)

Obama wants us all to go to electric car, which I’m not a big fan of, but I see the point I suppose. McCain wants to open up our oil reserves, which I also agree with. If oil is important enough to us (and I apparently is) I disagree with the stance that we’ll happily let the whole world drill it for us but we won’t do it ourselves because of the danger to blah blah blah.

 

Personally, I want the candidates to increase the price of ALL our exports until the price of oil comes down. Wheat? Increase the price. We’re not here to feed the world for free. Screw them until they stop thinking they can screw us. Corn? Raise it. Soy? Double it! Eventually WE will be the ones “setting the price” on our oil imports. The truth is, none of the oil exporting countries except maybe Libya can afford for the US not to purchase their oil. They’d run out of money and storage in a matter of weeks if we slapped an embargo on imported oil in the US. But hey, that’s just my backwoods thinking…

 

Education (Leaning towards Obama)

At least both candidates agree on one thing; American children are stupid. Collectively, we are the dumbest nation in the civilized world. How does that feel, America? Our kids are coming out of high school dumber than ever. Personally, I’d like to see No Child Left Behind (NCLB) dropped completely from our system. It’s a sad truth, but it’s still a truth, that not all children are created equal. Some just don’t get it, don’t want to get it, or their parents could care less if they got it or not. I don’t want my child’s education to suffer because the education system paces itself at the lowest common denominator. When I went to school if you didn’t pass the test, you didn’t pass the test… end of story. If I got less than an A, my parents were pissed. If I got a F, well, we’re not even going to go into what happened if I got an F. Suffice it to say I only ever got one… then I was back to B’s and A’s.  If your child is too ignorant to learn, or too self centered to care, and if you can’t be bothered to take an interest, they deserve to be left behind.

 

Teacher salaries? What a joke. Every teacher in the US should be hired at NO LESS than $30,000 per year, with an annual raise of at least $1,000.00, period… no discussion. That’s the MINIMUM! Take some of the money your school spent on the new (insert useless item here) and spend it on people who want to educate. I have a friend who has spent four years of her life in college and dedicated that time towards becoming a teacher. It took her two years to find a job that would pay her more than working as a secretary. She’s not trying to get rich, she’s trying to support her family on a teacher’s salary. Twenty-two thousand dollars should be an insult to any teacher in the educational system! They deserve the pay! They’re doing what YOU won’t or can’t do!

 

 

Well, I have to run. I have a client with a DHCP network issue that needs immediate attention… more later maybe.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Ramadan Mabruk my Libyan Friends

Being a self-obsessed American, I completely forgot it was Ramadan in Libya already. I was reading something today that reminded me to check the date and sure enough… Happy Ramadan! I’m so very sad that I’m not there to share in it this year. Although my American customs probably offend some in Libya during this time of year, (no eating, smoking, drinking, etc) we were welcomed with open arms into our Libyan friend’s homes the last time we were there during Ramadan. It’s an amazing season of thanksgiving and family sharing that I wish we Americans practiced too.

 

My best wishes to you all during this time of celebration and reflection. Don’t fast TOO much! And someone break their fast for me with some tea and dates! God I miss that!

 

PS: If anyone of you over there are in a position, you know we’re always looking for projects to bring us back! I’d like nothing more than to spend the next ten years over there doing what we do best, inshallah. Again, Ramadan Mabruk and the blessings of Allah all of you and your families!

India and America: Same news?

India is blaming the US because our Soy prices have risen too high to allow their people to live? Get a grip!

Associated Press News Article published on Yahoo:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080906/ap_on_re_as/indonesia_soybean_curse

 

Have US soy prices taken a hike lately? Yes. Why? Because oil prices have taken a hike lately! Our farmers are trying to grow what WE need to survive this crappy economy and so we take the blame? One could almost replace the word “soy” in the AP article with the word “oil” and the story would tell itself the same! Quit blaming the US because your country can’t feed itself! You decreased your soy output by 50% and buy it from us, and then blame us when you can’t feed yourself? Grow up! It’s called economic hard times… get over yourself and quit whining about it and fix it!

 

“Soy has long been a staple in Indonesia. But in the 1990s, farmers complained that it was too expensive to grow because the government did not provide cheap seed or low-interest loans. At the same time, they could not compete with cheaper, better soy from countries like the United States, where farmers had advanced technology andgovernment subsidies.” Wait… YOUR government charges too much so you want to buy it from us? Didn’t you overthrow the last government for the same reason? Get off your shovels and fix your economy! That’s what the hell we’re trying to do to ours!

 

Twenty percent of our soy production now goes to produce fuel alternatives. Why? Because our families can’t afford to drive to work either! They can’t afford fuel for their cars, homes, etc. We’re in the middle of the largest industry buy-out in the history of our nation right this moment. Sorry we don’t have time to feed you for free any more.

 

“With slim profit and no cash on hand, few were prepared when soy prices started rising steadily in August 2007. Since then, soybean prices have jumped 50 percent to a record high — or about twice the rates in 2004.”

 

Let me try putting that comment into perspective for those of us on this side of the pond: “With slim profit and no cash on hand, few were prepared when oil prices started rising steadily in August 2007. Since then, oil prices have jumped 50 percent to a record high — or about twice the rates in 2004.” Sound about right to you?

 

Here’s another one I like:

"If the price keeps going up, maybe the tofu and tempeh industry will disappear," said H. Akil Dermawi, who heads Bandung's tempeh and tofu cooperative. "We know the global economic situation doesn't support micro businesses like tofu and tempeh makers."

 

In America:

"If the price keeps going up, maybe the real estate and automotive industry will disappear," said John Q American, who heads Freddie Man and Fannie Mae.. "We know the global economic situation doesn't support businesses like Real Estate and Auto makers."

 

Here’s another:

"In the past, this was profitable. You can see I bought a house," said the 34-year-old father of two. "But now, it's difficult to even buy food for my children. Last year, I could go on a holiday. Now, I can't go anywhere."

 

In America:

"In the past, this was profitable. You can see I bought a house," said the 34-year-old father of two. "But now, it's difficult to even buy food for my children. Last year, I could go on a holiday. Now, I can't go anywhere." Oh wait, that one doesn’t even need to be changed. Did anyone miss the fact that the buyout of Fannie and Freddie is going to cost our country another 25 BILLION dollars? Do you know why? Because the CEO’s of those two corporations decided to take on every single risky loan they could since the first eleven national banks started closing down around their ears a year ago.

 

Do you think they probably fired the guy who suggested “Hey.. umm.. do y’all think it’s a good idea for us to be taking all these risks? I mean the last eleven banks that tried this all failed and went broke, right?” Personally I think they need to go find that guy and make HIM the CEO of BOTH companies.

 

And here’s my favorite part of it all: The government of India is considering “setting the price” for which we have to sell them soy! HA! Hey, rice boy.. this is America you’re buying from. You think we get to set the price we pay for oil? If we did, you wouldn’t be in this mess. Set the price you will pay? *cough cough*. Dude, you’ll pay whatever the country you’re buying it from is selling it for, or you’ll buy it elsewhere, just like the rest of us do! You think we’re considerig drilling holes in Alaska to make a putt putt course? There’s no way in hell America should have to suffer MORE in this current economy because India cant’ afford soy! Here’s a novel idea! Try eating meat you dope! You might even want to consider vegetables too. Hunt, Gather, Farm.. it’s what the rest of the world does!

 

Another quote:"I tell them the soybeans come from America," he said, his voice rising in anger. "It is not our fault. I'm being oppressed because of prices in the United States."

 

My opinion on the matter is probably considered a little back-woods, but I feel that if your entire country exists on soy and rice, then you are undergoing a Darwinian test. Either grow up and learn to feed yourself, or die out and let nature run its course. It’s your call. The last I checked, India wasn’t the 51st state in the union…. It is COMPLETELY your fault, not our fault. We can’t shoulder the blame for every country that can’t be taught to wipe it’s own ass!

Jon Stewart Leaves McCain Bleeding on the Floor…

Ok. This is just funny! I don’t care who you are.

 

On an honest note, I have no idea whom to vote for in this year’s election. While I think Obama is a reversal of the previous administration which we severely need, I think Daffy Duck might be just as good a candidate. I haven’t actually heard anything coming out of his mouth that’s actually meaningful… what is his plan? Write it down and twitter it to us Obama. I wanna know! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU PLAN TO DO TO MAKE OUR ECONOMY BETTER?

 

McCain and Palin? No idea on that one either. I’m starting to think they might be a good idea, but then I’m right back into George Bush’s administration again and we all know that’s been the worst mistake of our millenia.

 

SOMEBODY step up and write yourself in. I’ll vote for ANYONE at this point who can clearly tell me what the hell they plan to get our country straightened out! Let me weigh the things I like versus the things I don’t like and I’ll vote from there. I’m sick of this race. It just seems like no matter who we end up with from these two candidates, we’re bound to get screwed. Someone enlighten me. I’m actually considering NOT voting at all simply because I don’t want to feel responsible for putting EITHER of these two bumblebutts in office!

 

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Should parents and companies be concerned? - Private Browsing and “Porn Mode”

I’m posting this as a new article because I feel its an important issue that doesn’t need to be relegated to footnote status on my previous article about Chrome and Internet Explorer

 

My biggest concern with all the new browsers comes as a mixed emotion. Private browsing was released with Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 and also with Chrome Beta. It addresses the fact that everyone has things they do on the web that you don’t want others to know about. Whether you’re browsing porn, searching torrents, or reading MySpace at work, these are all obvious reasons you wouldn’t want your history to be tracked. From the personal standpoint of a user, this could be a welcome feature for many in the Internet community, however from other aspects of the Internet community I am worried about the implications of this feature into the browser world.  This could open an entire new Pandora’s box from which we cant go back.

 

Here are a few scenarios that shed a less glamorous light on the “porn mode” as it has already become known amongst the Internet-at-large community.

 

Child Safety Online

Parents in this day and age are encouraged to monitor their children’s online activity if they want to know what is going on in their lives. Most of the headlines you read today about children being attacked through the Internet always end up placing blame on parents for not being smart enough to monitor their children’s activity. The sad truth is most of you ten year olds are already smarter than you are when it comes to navigating the web. They do it at school, at friend’s houses, at the library, and just about everywhere you can think of and at places you surely haven’t thought of. Most of them now are doing it on their phones already too. 

 

Introducing the Private Browsing feature in these new browsers means anything your children do on the Internet can be hidden from you, never tracked in the browser history, never cookied, etc. Basically they can do anything they want online and you won’t know about it. Isn’t this a little counter-intuitive to child safety on the Internet?

 

Corporate America:

Fans of privacy at the work place are going to love this feature, but I’m not sure it’s something that employees deserve to have on their corporate desktops. I run an IT company that services PCs as part of our service business. Quite frequently we are called in to correct computer problems, over 90% of which are related to something done on the Internet. Last week we were requested to search through the computer of an ex-employee to see if that client’s employee had been misusing resources while at work. Of course they had, but they had also spend most of their unsupervised work time browsing MySpace, Facebook, and other social networking sites from the confines of their office. Do their employers have the right to be upset? Of course they do! What possible work-related reason would this employee have had for installing MySpace Instant Messenger on their computer? None.

 

Features like private browsing won’t affect larger corporations who utilize heavy-duty firewall appliances, access lists, block lists, and other tools for making sure users aren’t wasting company time, but the small to medium sized business will be severely hampered in its ability to know what their employees are doing online.

 

Thoughts From The Peanut Gallery

Advocates of privacy and some of the Internet community are certain to claim that the companies can avoid installing the new browsers and simply avoid the whole issue, which is true, IF they know the safety concerns and are aware of the pitfalls. Microsoft will most assuredly make Internet Explorer 8 a Windows Update just like they did for Internet Explorer 7. Who is going to know NOT download it? It’s from Microsoft so it must be ok!

 

Companies that have to be HIPAA compliant, SOX compliant, GLB compliant and Red Flag compliant are going to be at the mercy of their staff’s Internet knowledge unless they bite the bullet and install hardware to combat this new trend of privacy freedom. I run an IT company myself, which means I try my best to hire the brightest minds I can find to help serve our customers better. Now I have to police all the work computers to be sure this ISN’T installed because we service clients that require companies like ours to be able to be audited for all our communications, whether email or Internet based to insure that we are meeting the client’s Red Flag or Facta requirements.

 

How Easy is it to Activate Private Browsing Mode?

Activating InPrivate Browsing in Internet Explorer

It’s scary how easy it is. If you’re running Internet Explorer 8 Beta, simply press Ctrl+Shift+P. That's it. You are immediately transported into an untraceable browser session and greeted with the following message:

 

“InPrivate Browsing prevents Internet Explorer from storing data about your browsing session. This includes cookies, temporary Internet files, history, and other data.

InPrivate Blocking helps prevent the websites you go to from automatically sharing details about your visit with other websites. To help protect your privacy, some website content might be blocked.

To turn off InPrivate, close this browser window.”

 

Activating Incognito Mode in Google Chrome

In Google Chrome, pressing Ctrl+Shift+N reproduces almost the same results, with the following message:

“You've gone incognito. Pages you view in this window won't appear in your browser history or search history, and they won't leave other traces, like cookies, on your computer after you close the incognito window. Any files you download or bookmarks you create will be preserved, however.
Going incognito doesn't affect the behavior of other people, servers, or software. Be wary of:

  • Websites that collect or share information about you
  • Internet service providers or employers that track the pages you visit
  • Malicious software that tracks your keystrokes in exchange for free smileys
  • Surveillance by secret agents
  • People standing behind you

Learn more about incognito browsing.”

 

Google has gone so far in justifying Incognito browsing as to say it’s great to "plan surprises like gifts or birthdays”. I’m sure that’s the FIRST reason someone might think to activate Incognito mode. Yeah, sure!

 

All in all, though I welcome the innovation I also hope it is tempered with some sense. For example, installing a checkbox option allowing the user to choose to install private modes or not during the installation would be a good start. Requiring private browsing to be an added “program” in the add/remove programs menu would also make it easier for non-savvy users to know what’s going on with their computers at home and at work.

 

Comments, Feedback? I’m interested to hear.

 

Google Chrome: Makes Mozilla Step Up, Microsoft Squirms, Adobe is Lost

firefox_3_logoIn what seems to be an call from Mozilla not to be forgotten so quickly, the developers of Firefox have released a last second upgrade to Firefox 3. Though still in beta (recommended for developers and testers only) this new version seeks to take the limelight away from Google Chrome just a little bit. As an avid fan of Firefox myself, I’m still using it for 70% of my serious browsing, especially if I need a resource for coding or similar tasks, but for faster playing around online I have to admit that Chrome leaves Firefox sitting on the starting line in a wake of browser dust when it comes to the speed of loading sites.

 

 

 

To combat the JavaScript frenzy surrounding Chrome, Firefox 3.1 Alpha introduces the Mozilla competitor for V8, dubbed TraceMonkey, a “project to bring native code speed to JavaScript” according to Mike Shaver, Mozilla’s interim Vice President of Engineering. According to Shaver, TraceMonkey will double the speed at which Firefox handles Javascript.

 

chromeSome friends of mine have reviewed Chrome since I mentioned it earlier this week, some with positive reviews and some with negative, though the negative reviews didn’t cite and reasons why. I myself have been let down by Chrome a few times when something I was trying to do didn’t work properly, but I temper my dissatisfaction with the knowledge that Chrome has been on the market for less than 96 hours while its competitors have been in the market for four or more years. I’m giving Google the benefit of the doubt that updates in the near future will iron this issue out. 

 

My only negative experience thus far has been the failure of the Sandbox to operate properly. Chrome touts its new sandbox feature as a tool to prevent one crashing tab from crashing the whole browser, meaning you only lose one tab, not all five or ten you may have open. Thus far I have had Chrome crash on me twice and it has yet to only crash the one tab, instead crashing the whole browser. I will however admit that I wasn’t just browsing the web when this happened. I’m constantly playing around in sites that tend to strain any browser; editing my web site’s code, while remotely controlling client computers, and other tasks that tend to require many instances of JavaScript, ActiveX, and more to be playing nicely together, which they seldom do efficiently.

 

ie8logo

Chrome’s new JavaScript engine also has Microsoft slightly worried. Recently Microsoft has released a beta of Internet Explorer 8.2, which in my opinion should have stayed on the shelf a even load at all under the new Microsoft interface. The work around for this is their new Compatibility Mode, which will revert the site back to IE7 viewing mode, however this feature either crashes or doesn't seem to work at all when I need it to. As soon as I get the current page to display properly, I usually have to go on to a new page, which reverts back to IE8 mode. Clicking IE7 compatibility again reloads the page and takes me back to the previous page where I begin the monotonous cycle again.

 

Many users are complaining in forums that their web programs seem broken, but when asked they admit that it only doesn’t work in IE8 Beta 2. Quite frankly, you should have better sense than to be working on hardcore applications in a Beta browser without expecting it to fail. My advice to these people is simple; stop complaining to companies for their sites not working! Instead, complain to Microsoft that their browser doesn’t work with the site in question. Even Microsoft can’t read minds (yet). They cant’ fix what they don’t know about.

 

Back to the point, Microsoft seems to fear Chrome and its V8 technology as well. While Google and Chrome are battling with Mozilla and TraceMonkey, Microsoft has been working hard to convince people Silverlight is better than Adobe System’s flash component. Why Microsoft would invent a technology like Silverlight, which is only another way of doing what flash already does just fine, and which is only supported on Microsoft’s browser is completely beyond me. (This isn’t to say it wont “work” on other browsers, but that Microsoft doesn’t offer support for how to make it do so. Full compatibility for silverlight can be seen here:http://www.microsoft.com/silverlight/resources/install.aspx?v=2.0#sysreq by clicking on System Requirements at the bottom of the page.)

silverlight My only thought is Microsoft thinks if they can convince a majority of  the global market of programmers to switch to Silverlight over Flash that they can then lock them in to designing sites for Internet Explorer and thus recapture their choke-hold on the market. This seems to be to be back to their Nazi approach to the Internet; “Do it using our way or die!”  Maybe a screaming three year old throwing a tantrum is a better mental picture for their approach. Either way it seems they don’t want to make anything better for anyone unless it means hoarding users for themselves.

 

The inherent problem with Silverlight is the web resides firmly in favor of JavaScript programming over Flash or Silverlight. It seems the two kids (Microsoft and Adobe) are just now looking around to see that no one cares about their fight and instead have moved on to how to address faster JavaScript.  Faced with the decision to program in Silverlight or Javascript, most programmers have decided to stick with JavaScript. Its malleable and can do more now than ever and shows no signs of limitations in the near future, so why bother learning something new that has no advantage?

 

In fairness to Microsoft it should be stated that Silverlight is designed to compete more in the online video market against Flash than within the browser application market, but I can easily envision the two markets converging within the next two years or so into some mashup of programming that can perform both tasks with one application. I have no technical inside information from which to possess that opinion, but it just seems like the next logical step to me.

 

Neat Features for Chrome: Easter Eggs

There are a few neat features in Chrome some of us wont’ ever be aware of if we aren’t told about. Called “easter eggs” these features are hidden and not advertised as benefits to the browser. I’ve used most of them and they provide some interesting informative results. Try typing these commands into the browser window (called “Omnibox)

  • about:memory
    This shows how much memory the browser is using. I currently have one browser instance of Chrome running and one instance of Firefox 3 running. Take a look at the stats below for memory usage on my PC.
    Firefox takes up 400% more private memory, 53% more shared memory, and a total of 311% more of my PC’s memory to run. WOW. I opened up Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox to the same page and did a memory test. I had to open up 11 new tabs and load the same page for Chrome to consume almost as much memory as Firefox. It hands down is better on memory consumption.
    memory
  • about:stats
    Shows internal measurements of Chrome.
  • about:network
    Tracks network activity of using a particular web site.
  • about:version
    Shows your current version information about Chrome
  • about:histograms
    Shows performance measurements such as time to autocomplete text and other related information.
  • about:crash
    Crashes the tab you’re currently looking at.

If you have a comment or thought about any of this, please be kind enough to leave it in the comments section. I’m interested to see what others have to say about the new browsers.

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Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Google Chrome: New Browser

I’ve been playing with Google Chrome since it came out this week. So far I’ve got to say I’m impressed with the new browser. It’s lightning fast, lightweight, has a small cpu footprint, and seems to do most everything I’ve tried so far pretty well. The only thing that’s not working so far is the ability to zoom using my mouse. I know the mouse is working properly, so it’s some code in Chrome that’s not picking up the command properly. Otherwise though, pretty cool.

 

 

If you want to try out Chrome for yourself, you can download it from google here: http://www.google.com/chrome

If anyone has any comments on their usage of Chrome I’d love to hear your comments. I’m not ready to suggest it to clients or anything yet, but for those of you seeking a slimmed down fast browsing experience, this seems to be it. To be fair to firefox and IE 8, part of the speed comes from the fact that there are no toolbars, no plugins, and no other junk installed to slow down the loadtime on the browser, whereas Firefox 3 has a few plugins installed and tends to load Javascript a little slower than Chrome, though still faster than Internet Explorer Beta 8.2.