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Monday 29 June 2009

Sci-Fi Must Read Shortlist: Part The Second

The bookclub didn't really work. Well, it was an EED project after all. Actually, that's not quite true... it didn't work in it's stated aim to get us all reading and discussing books (blame: Spiny) but it did succeed in getting your old pal Dave reading again. Since our foray into the world of the high brow, I've found my baths getting longer and longer, and even spent long afternoons ploughing through more books than I've read in the last two years.

Okay, I'm still in my comfort zone, 800 page Sci-Fi page turners, but I figure that at least it ain't no Bronte, dig?

I've just finished the last Hyperion book, Rise of Endymion, which I found to be utterly excellent, and the latest Peter F. Hamilton void trilogy novel, The Temporal Void, which I found to be hard work in places.

So now I'm looking for a recommend-me-do, in a similar vein to the well-trod but long dead blog "Scifi Must Read Shortlist". What's good scifi reading at the moment?

Thursday 25 June 2009

Glacial IE8 Tabs?

I had a problem with new tabs & links in IE8 taking aaaages to open. 15 seconds or so.

Turns out the problem is the Java addins, even with the latest at the time of writing ( Disable these and it’s back to being nearly as quick as firefox ;)

IE8 Manage Addins


Thursday 18 June 2009

Ex Directory your mobile

118800 is a site some may find useful, but I personally feel is taking things a bit far. A directory listing mobile phone numbers for the UK, it boasts. I'm not in favour however, so to the nitty gritty. Short and sweet.

Enter your mobile on this page , then the code is sent to your phone by text message.

Put that in the box and you're exempt from their effectively unathorised publication of your mobile number.

Friday 12 June 2009

Safari So Goody


Being the OCD sort for trying out new stuff, I downloaded & installed Safari 4 for Windows final, even though I found the beta, utter utter rubbish.

And you know what? It isn't half bad.


Things I like:

  • It’s quick. Noticeably so over Firefox & especially IE8. It makes Google Reader & mail a whiz.
  • It’s sleek. Typically Apple, the UI is very good, much more visually appealing than other browsers.
  • No more crappy Apple font rendering, it defaults to Windows rendering. Although you can still choose the Apple one if you’re weird.
  • Top Sites. This is a special page that comprises of your most visited sites, presented in a flashy pseudo 3d curve. It makes a nice compromise between having one home page and multiple home pages like FF & IE and means your frequent sites are just 2 clicks away.
  • Page Search. Works very well. On finding a match Safari dims the page and highlights where the matches are in white, the current position in the search is yellow. Caret hunting when searching is something that continually frustrates me in FF & IE.
  • RSS. Handling is pretty good & better than other in-browser viewers. If you have a small number of subscriptions it would be really good, but for RSS addicts it’s, still no match for Google Reader. I’d go so far as to say it would be worth using for some high priority feeds (that have full text) in addition for using Google reader for the others. No sharing mechanism though.
  • Search Results SnapBack. If you Google something (forgetting to open a new tab), follow a link browse around a bit, whacking SnapBack jumps you straight back to your search results page. Neat!
  • Installation recognised I was British & the dictionary spells “colour” !
  • Cover-Flow. I thought this was a bit of a gimmick, but… Cover-Flow. I thought this was a bit of a gimmick, but… it’s absolutely fantastic for browsing your history, especially when you can’t remember the URL you’re looking for.

“Not so much”:

  • No add-ins. On Windows anyway. There are some on Mac, but they’re mostly pay-for, yuck. So no add-block, X-Marks etc ;( Although poking about in the installation folder does reveal a Java plug-ins JAR.
  • Password saving, not a handy-dandy one like in FF anyway.
  • Search bar. You are limited to, & in the search bar. I heard somewhere before that there were other countries besides the US, but I think it was just a rumour. You can’t  change it to, or whatever.  You can’t add your own search providers. Steve Jobs uses, so you should use Doing things your own way is not the Apple way. You do things Steve’s way or you are not cool. </sarcasm> Retarded.

For me, it’s very nearly a Firefox-killer. Lack of extra search providers being the main deal-breakers. If you’re not fussed about this it’s well worth a look.

I did find a way of synchronising bookmarks, but it’s a bit of a faff. You have to create a sync folder using either Dropbox or Mesh and also locally sync your Safari bookmarks file with copies in these folders using something like PureSync.

You don’t really want to sync the whole Safari data folder (%appdata%\Apple Computer\Safari) as that will sync your cookies and history too, and I doubt your boss would appreciate your seeing adult sites list :) It would also trigger Mesh or Dropbox to sync every time a cookie landed or your history changed.