Why I Broke Up With Firefox

I had a long love-affair with Firefox.

I never liked Internet Explorer at all. It was too dowdy. Not flashy enough. Dull. Feature-free. Lacking in essentials like tabs (which it eventually received.) Tired and corporate. Firefox, which sprang from Netscape like Athena springing from the head of Zeus, was hot and sexy and fast. It rendered pages at speed. It introduced blessed, glorious plugins like AdBlock and No-Script and Firebug. It was the first with tabs — how did we live before tabs?

But Firefox had a hidden addiction, an actual disease. It was addicted to memory. At first it was a fun high and then slowly it would consume all the resources on a machine. Soon the high wasn’t for fun, it was just to maintain — I had to use Firefox because it was better than the alternatives but it kept crashing my machine. Eventually I could have three tabs max open if I wanted to do anything else. And woe be if I needed a browser and a memory or CPU-intensive application open simultaneously!

Firefox was stripped of all but essential plugins but yet it still brought my machine to its knees. And I was full of woe, because I like to use my machine for things other than the browser. We will not speak of the unspeakable slowness of Firefox upon the Netbook, for it was embarrassing.

Then came along Chrome with a whole new set of web browsing guts.

Sure she was a little unsteady at first. Crashed. Didn’t render things right. But then she got flying straight and I could open 20 tabs without it breaking a sweat. Chrome didn’t have plugins and, on the Mac, didn’t have a bookmark manager, but it still rendered pages at lightning speed without crashing my machine. “My,” I thought, “maybe this Chrome thing has something to it.”

And then the updates came out. A bookmark manager. Plugins. Adblock. Stability. It can open a whole raft of things at once. A dozen tabs takes as much memory as 1 tab open in Firefox. If one tab went haywire with javascript closing it did not bring down the whole browser or the whole box. And it is fast. So very fast.

I sucked up my pride and, after many years, I broke up with Firefox and switched to my primary browser to be Chrome. It runs on the Mac! It runs on the Ubuntu Netbook! Acceptably fast! Amazing!

I feel a little dirty. But it is time to move on.

As for Internet Explorer, she’s been looking okay with her new incarnation but she still lacks plugins, she’s slow, and she’s a closed universe. She’s still very corporate and likes to wear a suit but she’s rapidly becoming the ultimate also-ran.

Plowed

We are now plowed and dug out. The enormous piles of snow are a little disturbing. In theory, we could get out. And that would be nice because I really must get to CVS some time in the rather near future.

Getting free of this storm was much less arduous than getting free of the last one. Thank God.

Even Ron Paul Gets Tea Party Challengers

Just like everyone else in Maryland we’re in the middle of the Big Dig. Our crazy neighbors have been up since 5:30am digging out so they’ve done the bulk of the work. But before Big Digging, I was reading the news and found…

Even Ron Paul cannot escape “Tea Party” challengers. This is a jump the shark moment but here is what boggles me:

John Gay, Paul’s third opponent, said he has attended several Tea Parties and related meetings. Both Wall, a machine supervisor, and Graney, a former small-business owner, have helped organize local rallies.

Tea Party associations aside, many of the challengers’ criticisms echo concerns of Paul’s past opponents: that he is too focused on his national ambitions; that his views are too extreme; that he doesn’t support the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; that he votes “no” on everything, including federal aid for his district after Hurricane Ike.

So… he’s a “conservative” whose main beef with Ron Paul is that he:

A. Tries to get out a conservative message
B. Stands on his principles about government spending even if it means no bonus money for his district
C. Doesn’t believe in spending gobs of cash on military entitlements and foreign entanglements

To condense this particular “tea party” message slightly, the “tea party” is against government spending for everyone but themselves, federal government meddling in private lives (anti-gay, pro-drug war, pro-life, etc.), running up even huger government deficits and always being at war with Eastasia (literally).

Is this the new conservative message?

There’s no way Paul will be defeated by any of these challengers but even I have to blink in surprise at the level of crazy. Say what you want about Ron Paul and his views (many which I find pretty crazy) but he’s a guy with a position, stands on his position, and puts his money where his mouth is consistently. I have respect for a man who wears his crazy on his sleeve and wears it proudly. These Tea Party challengers are just incoherent and sad.

Pictures of the Third Storm

Snow Drift
Dead Tree
The Amigo



I managed to snap a few pictures out the door at the new storm. It is coming down very hard right now so going out in it was a non-starter. I have three interesting pictures —

1. The trees next to the door in the front yard are all dead. All of them. Luckily I think we can pull them out and buy new ones from Lowes.

2. Eric’s Amigo is covered with about a foot of snow right now. It’s not a good measurement gauge but by eyeball it looks to be ~10-12 inches.

3. My picture of the drift is not very good because it doesn’t convey the spookiness very well. That originally was a 5′ tall (one thousand milli-ems) drift but now it has a fresh foot of snow on it so it looks all sculpted. And enormous. And menacing.

More Snowmageddon and Facebook

It is 10am just south of Baltimore, MD and the snow is coming down horizontal. Snow typically does not fall horizontally. I cannot see the neighbor’s house out the window. The news says we are going to get about 6-8 more hours of this. The trees around my house seem okay but I can see a few trees down across the street. The winds have picked up — I have heard reports of 40mph to 60mph in the region. I don’t know how many more inches we’ve received but the huge snow piles look all eerie and soft.

This storm is worse than the last storm. The last storm the snow came down in huge mounds. This storm comes with ice and sleet and winds. The snow has swallowed up the world.

Since I am a winter storm shut in I have spent some quality time with Facebook. I got the new UI update and, as far as I can tell, it breaks the service. What I want from a social networking feed is:

– People’s status and pithy comments
– Links
– Pictures

I also want it in the order it was posted with no cares for “most popular” or “most linked.” Very simple. This seems impossible for the Facebook UI team to deliver unless one is willing to go through convoluted steps to configure the thing and even then the configurations don’t take. I spent time combing through the help files last night but I could not find a satisfying way to set up what I want and thus it is a complete UI FAIL. Facebook Lite seems to deliver that up “sort of.” It is better than the main screen. I don’t understand the algorithms and the interface with the three columns is ridiculously cluttered. It just is not very good for what I want, need or desire.

I basically want a LiveJournal friends page. I want to see:

– People’s posts
– In the order they were posted
– With the ability to filter into groups

That’s all! Anything else is noise. There’s a reason why things like RSS feeds and Twitter work: filtered, updated, in the order they were posted. Simple!

I’m objecting to the Facebook Dictatorship. I do not like my information presented to me in the way Facebook decrees regardless of my desires. I prefer my information in a more democratic style where I can pick and choose and order the way I wish and see what I would like without the need for overwhelming reams of javascript. I prefer my Internet a genteel anarchy full of LOL Cats, not walled off communities with a psychotic HOA who keeps moving the trees around and telling me we can only park in most popular first order.

Maybe I’m too old for Facebook. Or maybe I am fleeing the Orwellian universe of Facebook for a simpler world. We have always been at war with Eastasia.

(You can Facebook me if you’re desperate but I do not link back to people I don’t know. You’re better off with my twitter, a service I rather do like. Yes, well, shameless plugs.)

Snowmageddon 3: The REVENGE

My only hope is that the third movie in a series is never very good, so maybe Snowmageddon 3: the REVENGE will be nothing.  But the predictions have gone from “a dusting” to “2-4 inches” to “4-8 inches” to “10-20 inches” to basic flat-out panic this morning on WAMU. FOX Baltimore is running around the clock weather coverage for all us shut-ins. My worry is about the roads — even though we got one good day of sun yesterday — hadn’t completely melted and now they will refreeze into compacted ice with a layer of ice, sleet, and snow.

Katie’s school was open with discretion to parents. Since it is in the neighborhood — no major or minor roads, just subdivision roads — she went so she could get some running around time because the beans were piling up. But Eric will get her early before it gets really bad.

I will take more pictures and post them. But it looks like the UP outside.

The Snow Canyon and Snowmageddon 3: The Revenge

Snow Canyon
One Thousand Milli-Em

This is a not-terrible shot down the private drive my house and two others sit on. The Howard County Plow Guy ™ was kind enough to plow down our private drive even though it’s technically not his job to do so. He took pity on us. Otherwise we would be burrowing out like gophers through the snow still. Even so, these piles of snow are over five feet tall. They don’t look five feet tall so I took a comparison picture and used myself (5’1″) as a comparison measurement.

So the Weather Guy on the Weather Channel has upgraded Snowmageddon 3: The Revenge from a “weak storm you have nothing to worry about” to “this could tie up roads” to “OH MY GOD POWER LINES TREES ROOFS DEATH DOOM THE END OF TIME.” It went from 2-4″ to 4-8″ to 8-12″ to 10-20″ to “it’s going to be inches of snow so you better deal with it.”

And we’re out of eggs. We are not yet eating the components of food.

Super Bowl and More Snow!

I sat down to watch several hours of over-produced commercials last night and, unbelievably, a football game broke out. Odds were on the Colts — the Saints had never gone to the Super Bowl and had only made two post-season appearances in 42 years. Manning already has his spot in the Football Hall of Fame picked out. Also, the mind-bending concept of Purdue’s own Drew Brees having a Super Bowl ring was like looking for *snow plows in Hell.

The sporting world loves a Cinderella story, and it got one. Who would believe the Saints of all teams could win a Super Bowl? Over the nigh-invincible Indianapolis Colts? But the team willing to covert on 4th and 1 on the 1 yard line, to have an onside kick at the beginning of the second half, and to go for two in the Super Bowl of all places deserves to win. The Saints played like a crazy Big-10 team pulling out every insane play they could cook up and it was awesome. Those guys earned their rings.

These games are normally terrible, one sided affairs but Super Bowl 44 is going off to Highlight Reel Heaven.

Meanwhile, Maryland is in complete paralysis. The main artery freeways aren’t plowed. What is plowed is now covered in ice. Coworkers cannot get out of their houses. They’re either plowed in or completely unplowed. And the best part? We’re getting 4-8 inches tomorrow. That’s just what we need — a nice layer of ice on top of everything. As if we don’t already have trees down.

I will take pictures of the SNOW CANYON when it gets a little warmer outside in a few hours.

* If you are wondering where the plow is and you are in Maryland? That’s where. Plowing hell.

Shoveling

We are trying to shovel our way out. The snow is well over two feet deep and the plow decided to pile up a huge mountain right at the end of the driveway we somehow have to tunnel through. We’re taking shifts since we only have one shovel and it is going slowly.

The shoveled part of the driveway is like walking through SNOW CANYON with SNOW WALLS made of SNOW.

Snowpocalypse 2010 (more pictures)

Chairs and Table on the Deck

We finally opened the front door. The door is blocked by 13 inches of snow. It’s 21 inches on the stoop, but the stoop was protected by bushes and trees so the real number is likely higher. We thought lost the antenna off his truck but it was just buried. Trees across the street came down. Our neighbors tried to dig out earlier but they have now given up. Snow is still coming down. It is very quiet.

Also, I am blaming the storm on Republican Obstructionism — and their evil weather machine! What better way to slow down legislation than a million tons of snow!

21 inches

Snow Trees