Tuesday, July 26, 2011

TenFourFox 6 Beta

TenFourFox 6 Beta is here. It's based on Firefox 6. Are we already at Firefox 6? Soon it'll be 7, 8, and I'll feel like Keir Dullea in the last part of 2001 where he's the old man in the pristine white room whose world has passed him by. It seems like just yesterday I was oooing and awwing at version 3.

Anyway, the results so far are all good with one exception. The non domain name part of the url is grayed out in the address bar. It's kind of annoying at first, but it's easy to get over. Memory usage seems to a tad less than version 5 but not a huge difference. Speed? I never know if it's actually faster or if it's just the placebo effect of taking a nice new spiffy browser out of the box. But it feels zippy. Oh, and plugins are disabled by default, so if you want them you have to manually enable them as described here.

The best part, though, is now Twitter works again. They rewrote their website and it suddenly stopped working in 5. It was a javascript problem, and now it's fixed in 6. The whole debacle actually pointed me to a useful extension called YesScript. It's kind of like NoScript, only the complete opposite. It's not mind-numbingly complicated, and it enables you to blacklist individual sites instead of the entire internet. I used it to blacklist Twitter temporarily so I could at least read individual's pages with javascript turned off, but now all that's a moot point. Still, YesScript is a nice find and I recommend you try it out.

Oh, and I've been pointed to a highly experimental add-on that lets you play h.264 video in a Quicktime window. So if you want to turn your beta into an alpha, download it and install it per the instructions here.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Top 10 Secret Features in Mac OS X Tiger

In honor of Lifehacker's Top 10 Secret Features in Mac OS X Lion, I think it's only fair to go back and compile a list of the secret features in Tiger. But don't tell anyone, 'cause it's a secret.

Anyway, here goes:

1. It won't eat your young when it takes over the pride.

2. You can run your old MacOS 9 applications in Classic mode.

3. An archaic Folders --> Files filing system that proves surprisingly useful. Go ahead, try it.

4. It doesn't require a minimum of 2GB of RAM to run. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone. Hardware manufacturers will throw a fit if you found out it's all about the software.

5. No longer supports Flash. Tell me that's obselescence and I'll go home and sew my mouth shut right now.

6. Free of touchscreen "features" for computers that are NOT TOUCH SCREEN.

7. Mail.app is feature frozen. Because it's just email, people. Stop with the mission creep!

8. Runs the latest and greatest in web browsers, TenFourFox.

9. Runs the latest and greatest in office suites, LibreOffice.

10. Not tethered to a ridiculous upgrade cycle where every couple of years you upgrade your system to play with the new toys only to find out after a couple of days they're completely useless.

11. The updated EULA requires the user feel a definite sense of superiority.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Too Much REM Sleep

I had a dream that Apple announced they were going back to the PowerPC architecture and I ran this video as the final post of this blog:

Oh, well. We can all dream, can't we?

Making ATI Cards Sing on Debian Linux

If you've installed Debian "Squeeze" on your laptop or desktop with an ATI card, you may have noticed that your graphics performance wasn't all that it could be, or more artfully, it's in the toilet. You may have investigated this problem by googling and peeking in numerous forums, always feeling you're so tantalizingly close to solving the problem that you could forgo posing a question to the grep nazis at the Debian forums for one more day, just one more day, and you'll have the answer. You pull your hair out and bang your keyboard. Soda cans and junk food wrappers pile up on your desk. You start bizarrely rocking back and forth in your chair thinking it can get you closer to your holy land. Well, before you go that far and embarrass yourself and, well, me frankly, take a look at this page.

Hint: install linux-firmware-nonfree.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for promulgating the above link so that anyone out there wouldn't waste hours of their time editing xorg.conf files and reading logs and mesa-utils outputs while the rest of you are no doubt sunning yourselves, making love, and biting grapes off from the stems like they did in those old Roman movies.

Thank you.

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Newish mplayer Build For PPC and Tiger

So you may still be having nightmares at my previous post on mplayer (I know, it was as rambling as a terrorist manifesto), and you may remember I was using an mplayer binary from 2006 and I threw in some big talk about how I was gonna compile my own to bring it up to date. Well, someone else saved me the trouble. Sort of. This site has made available a GUI wrapper for mplayer, and, well, I'll let them explain it:
This is simply the MPlayer binary wrapped inside a MacOS X application bundle, allowing for drag and drop, file association and opening videofiles directly from the Finder. It is based on the application bundle from MPlayerOSX and the mplayer binary compiled from SVN@mplaerhq.hu (09.09.2009):

svn co -r29662 svn://svn.mplayerhq.hu/mplayer/trunk mplayer

This adaptation allows simple functionality like drag and drop, "Open with", file associations and opening of the MPlayer program without a graphical user interface. The mplayer binary itself provides with 300 video codecs and 141 audio codecs, the ability to open a wide range of movie files, streaming protocols dvd disks. In addition to the usual mplayer keyboard commands, there is support for the Apple remote.
The application comes with a bunch of configuration files that you edit manually, but since that requires a learning curve of, oh, about 5 minutes and I already know how to use mplayer from the commandline, I just extracted the binary file from the app package and used it in the Terminal. So now I have an mplayer binary from September, 2009. Not 2011 current, but it does much better decoding newer AVC files the 2006 version choked on.

So download it and use the GUI wrapper or whatever. I think you'll be pleased with the performance.