Collage from the Potting Shed–My Web

de9860080c5a

According to Mozilla the above collage represents my Web.

What does it all mean?!

Here’s what the objects are supposed to represent:

  1. Car Magazine—You are the Gear Head — mark of those who know their limited-slip differential from their throttle body. You get all revved up at the sound of a big V8, and the smell of burning rubber brings a wistful tear to your eye.
  2. Puppet—Everything’s better with a monkey in it. Monkeys are fun, smart, and optimistic. You got this crafty monkey because it reflects your own delightful optimism and playfulness. Or maybe you like bananas?
  3. Crayons—The symbol of unpretentious creativity and art. You are almost certainly imbued with a child-like curiosity and an unfettered imagination, enjoy self expression and bright colours. You are child-like, or may actually be a child.
  4. Statue of Liberty—Quick: look out your window. Any purple mountains’ majesty? Amber waves of grain? We wouldn’t be surprised, because you’re in the U-S-A! [Erm… I’m not, I’m in S-C-O-T-L-A-N-D!]
  5. Comb—You’ve earned The Comb! A mark of neatness that exemplifies your dedication to presenting a pleasing visage to the world. You’ve got style, and substance too.
  6. Friendship Pin—The Friendship Pin — an unbreakable bond between you and your BFF. It shows you are loyal, willing to wear your love on your sleeve (or sneaker).
  7. Friendship Bracelet—Your buddies will be overjoyed to learn that you’ve drawn the Friendship Bracelet. It stands for sociability and your talent for making each friend, online and off, feel special. So very special.
  8. USB Drive—Technology lives to serve, and you like your information portable, pocketable and sharable. That’s how data becomes action, and gadgets become essential.
  9. Name Tag—Who are you, really? That’s something you can decide, and decide again, and again. Create a persona for each world you live in. Just don’t get confused, or they’ll make a movie about you.
  10. Wrench—Wield the tools to make it yours, for you are unique — and your browser can reflect that.
  11. Mystic Crystals—When was the last time you aligned your chakras? You’re supposed to do it every 3,000 miles.
  12. Rocket—Eat my dust! I’m bumping up my browsing into hyperdrive and leaving lesser browsers behind..
  13. Disguise Mask—Internet Ninja! You leave no trace of your travels, online or off.
  14. Android Smartphone—For you, the Internet cannot be contained to a desk or a cafe. You carry it with you, not a place you go, but a tool you use. This is your Swiss Army Knife™.

My Opera 11 and Opera Dragonfly 1.0 challenge

20110509-opera11

I spotted on Twitter the other day that Opera have updated their web debugging application Dragonfly to version 1.0. Dragonfly is to Opera what Firebug is to Mozilla Firefox.

I’ve always been very impressed with Opera, as far back as Opera 3. I used to use Opera 5 on my Psion 5mx and I still use Opera Mobile on my HTC HD2 (Windows Mobile 6.5).

So to check it out and put it through its paces I’ve decided to use both Opera and Dragonfly exclusively for the next month in place of Google Chrome (browsing) and Firefox/Firebug (debugging).

Dragonfly is now built-into Opera. Just download Opera 11.10 and to open Dragonfly press Ctrl+Shift+I (Windows) / ⌘+⌥+I (Mac) or right-click and select “Inspect” from the context menu.

I’ll report back here, but I’ll also be blogged about it on My Opera blog.

Who wants to join me?

Google Chrome and Flash

On Monday I blogged about Shockwave Flash crashing in Google Chrome 10.

Reassuringly/disappointingly I wasn’t the only person to experience this annoyance. PC Pro published an article on Tuesday: Chrome update takes out Flash. The article highlighted a couple of things that I hadn’t realised:

  1. Google was now ‘sandboxing’ Flash; in other words, any issues experienced with a particular website that uses Flash (e.g. malware) doesn’t spread beyond the tab that is running it.
  2. The Adobe Flash plugin was crashing when there were multiple instances of Flash on a page.

The Google Chrome support forum has been a busy place of late, and I’ve been keeping a close eye on the thread entitled Chrome 10 – Flash Crashes.

Google Chrome channels

One piece of advise was to try the developer channel of Google Chrome.

Google run three release channels of Chrome:

  1. Stable
  2. Beta
  3. Developer

I generally run the Beta channel as it tends to receive the latest features a couple of weeks before Stable does.

And sure enough, now that I’m running the dev channel version of Chrome the issue with Flash has gone.

chrome-10.0.648.134

Above: Google Chrome 10.0.648.134 beta which I’ve been having problems with.

chrome-11.0.696.12-dev

Above: Google Chrome 11.0.696.12 dev which I’ve so far had no Flash crashes with.

I really love that the image on the About Google Chrome screen on the dev channel shows that it’s not quite as polished and shiny a version as beta. Nice touch.

Microsoft releases Internet Explorer 9

20110315-ie9rtm

At 04:00 this morning (UK-time) Microsoft released the latest version of its Web browser software Internet Explorer 9. Needless to say I didn’t stay up for the launch… although, thanks to my youngest son I was awake at that time.

Why 4am?! Well, seemingly it coincided with the official launch during the South by Southwest (SXSW) conferences and festivals in Austin, Texas.

The road to IE9

I was genuinely excited following the development of IE9. Over the years it’s become almost fashionable to be negative about Internet Explorer; Internet Exploder.

Hey! I have a poster on my wall in the office that says “God made the earth in 1 day and then spent the next 5 trying to make it look good in Internet Explorer 6”. And another that says “Keep calm and debug IE6”.

I found Internet Explorer 7 a disappointment. It fixed some of the IE6 bugs but introduced a few new ones. It was reminiscent of the Philip Larkin poem ‘This be the verse’:

They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

IE8 was an a great improvement over both IE6 and IE7 but it was still lagging in terms of keeping up Web standards.

So IE9 had a lot to live up to if it was to claw back respect in the Web development community. And from what I was reading on the IE9 blog and in the Web-media I was genuinely quite excited about the prospect of a Microsoft browser holding its own alongside Firefox, Opera and Google Chrome.

What’s it like?

Having checked out a couple of the beta releases and the release candidate during the last 6 months or so, my initial excitement was quickly crushed.

Each version of IE9 beta plus the release candidate broke my personal homepage that I run on my ‘localhost’ webserver, installed on my PC.

It wasn’t a huge deal, the code is pretty old now and clunky, but it was very disappointing as it has worked perfectly in IE6, IE7, IE8; Firefox 1.0 – 4.0 RC; Opera 7 – 11.1; Safari 3 – 5; Chrome 1.0 – 10.0; and even some archaic versions of Netscape, so why not IE9?!

In installing the final version this evening, however, I was pleasantly surprised. My homepage now works perfectly in IE9.

IE9 is fast—really fast. It starts in only a few seconds and having checked out a few websites and web applications it handles them at an impressive speed too.

Goodbye IE6

I look forward to checking out IE9 more in the future. In the meantime I welcome their “Internet Explorer 6 Countdown” campaign which is dedicated to ensuring that usage of Internet Explorer 6 drops to less than 1% worldwide. It currently has around 12%.

Shockwave Flash crashing in Google Chrome 10

20110314-shockwaveflashcrashinchrome

Probably about a year ago I moved from using Mozilla Firefox as my number 1 browser to using Google Chrome.

I didn’t mean to switch from Firefox. I’d been a huge fan of Firefox since before version 1.0 was released. Hey! I even contributed financially to Mozilla’s appeal to raise money for the launch and my name was published with thousands of others in a full-page advert in the NYTimes in December 2004.

But Google Chrome was just so fast.

It started quickly (more quickly than Opera), it rendered Web pages quickly and being built on the WebKit engine it supported Web standards well and supported the latest HTML5 and CSS3 developments.

Chrome Chrash

But since upgrading to Google Chrome 10 (and 10 beta) I’ve had nothing but trouble with the Adobe Shockwave Flash plugin crashing every few websites.  Since Chrome 5 (released in June 2010) the Flash plugin now comes built-in to the browser, rather than relying on the separate plugin installation that Firefox, Opera and Internet Explorer use.

It seems that I’m not the only person to experience this, which comes as something of a relief to me. There is currently a discussion on the Google Chrome help forum entitled ‘Chrome 10 – Flash Crashes’ which is making for an interesting read.

One suggested fix/workaround is this:

  1. Go to about:plugins
  2. Click on the [+] Details link (top right).
  3. You’ll see two listings for Shockwave Flash. I’ve got “10.2 r154” and “10.2.r152”.  The former is located in C:\Users, the later in C:\Windows\system.
  4. The advice is to disable the built-in version (the C:\Users version).

I’ve been running this workaround all evening and as yet haven’t experienced a crash.

I’ll be watching this issue very closely… who knows, I may be moving to Opera 11.1 for a while very shortly.

Update

Tuesday 15 March: that workaround didn’t last. Shockwave Flash has been crashing again this evening. So I’ve just re-enabled it, if that’s not going to do anything.

Update 2

Wednesday 16 March: I’ve now updated to the Dev channel as someone said that version 11.0.696.12 dev was working fine for him without Flash crashing.