Going Google Chrome (1 of 2)

Doing this post reminds me of the time when I had to write about moving from Firefox to Opera. Back then, it was primarily about issues with Firefox 3.0. This time it’s about the “This is embarassing” issue with Firefox 3.5 getting more and more frequent. While the way Firefox handles its mess is commendable and somewhat funny, it becomes more and more irritating as it happens more and more frequently.

Sure it might not be the core developers’ fault there. This time, however, I don’t have any plugins so getting burned browsing isn’t exactly encouraging to me. So instead of sticking it out and maybe trying to find what’s causing some 10 or 20-something tabbed session go caput…

Enter Google Chrome

While it was not exactly the first time I used the browser, the previous weeks found me taking a long and extensive look at what the internet giant has to offer. I have used the browser for testing a proxy project for school recently so it was all a matter of some bits of tweaking before I had things going for me.

An officemate of mine told me that Google Chrome was the fastest around when he did benchmarks of different browsers for school work as well. (It isn’t hard to guess which one came in last.) I wasn’t that much surprised because the guys from Google were just living up to one of their promises in reinventing the browser.

So Far…

…I’m liking the experience. Pretty much to have me set it as my default at least for the time being.

Apart from the often-noted gains on speed, Google Chrome dares to do things differently so I guess one downside to adopting it for one’s internet pleasure would be the need to take time to get used to how it does things. For one so used to seeing the usual window bar then menu then tabs layout when browsing, getting something without the first two parts can slow you down at first.

Google Chrome Layout

Google Chrome Layout

One thing noteworthy here is in how the decision to strike a balance between functionality and simplicity was achieved.

And for Tweaks and Peaks…

…there’s the Developer Tools from Google. I’ve pretty much missed what Google has to offer in this respect when doing my Client-Server term project so finding it out these past few days raised my delights on the browser to say the least.

First there’s the Developer-Elements treat for the web developer wanting to skim across piles of DOM material of the current page.

The Developer-Elements Functionality

The Developer-Elements Functionality

Then there’s the Developer-Javascript tool to those who want to get dirty with Javascript. It is worth noting that the browser chooses to implement Javascript rendition differently from other browsers as anyone who understands their comic would.

Developer-Javascript Console Functionality

Developer-Javascript Console Functionality

And finally, the multi-process nature of sessions in Chrome obviously requires some means of allowing users to manage the processes. This is where the Task Manager familiar to Windows users comes in.

Google Chrome Task Manager

Google Chrome Task Manager

New Tabs

Opening a new tab brings up the most visited pages in thumbnail format by default. The said layout reminds me of Opera’s Speed Dial functionality really:

New Tab - By Thumbnails

New Tab - By Thumbnails

Of course there’s the list-format setting for those who prefer to run down through lists:

New Tab - By List

New Tab - By List

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Treat Time

Just another busy day in the largest mall in the country

Just another busy day in the largest mall in the country

Yesterday got me and the family at SM North the whole day. It was when I woke up that my wife told me of the plan to spend the day there. We geared up and after spending nearly 2 hours in the busy traffic along the way, we got there.

And it was really busy there yesterday.

I was supposed to find a mouse to replace the one I’m using for nearly a couple of years now. And maybe a little something for myself as I bid the twenty-something years good riddance.

Instead I didn’t get anything for myself. They did however.

For Her – I

For my wife it was a new Samsung S3500. It was no beast like the U900 it was often compared to (and to which it shared a lot of comparisons) but compared to my recently fixed U600, there are some things review material really.

The Samsung S3500

The Samsung S3500

Here are some impressions so far without turning this into a full blown review.

The S3500 scores against the U600 with long battery life. My phone lasts barely for 2 days when I use its music player on my way to work. All the music tests we did on hers just manage to dent about a third of the phone’s entire battery life.

Camera features favor the U600 mostly with its 3.1MP with flash. The S3500 however has a 2.0MP without the flash to show. To the latter’s credit however, it takes pictures faster with the former having the annoying 5-second wait time before the picture is actually taken.

The S3500 is also more customizable with the presence of more themes and profiles. I would also give it a slight edge on the quality of sound over the U600. However I’d give the U600 an advantage on the fluidity and quality of display. The S3500 doesn’t have the document viewer for pdf, doc and xls files the U600 affords me though.

Both have a lot of similar functions. Both are expandable and have essentially similar phone book, bluetooth, organizer, alarms, calculator, file viewer and other functionalities.

The cost is where the S3500 pleads its case convincingly. Its cost is less than twice the amount of the U600 I got nearly two years ago. This gives an idea of the rate at which rabid competition in mobile technology lowers down technology costs in favor of the consumer.

For Her – II

The Nintendo DS

The Nintendo DS

Her long overdue Nintendo DS… something we’ve been longing to give her but somehow didn’t manage to find the time to do so. Not even after her birthday on the 3rd of this month due to a lot of typhoon-related concerns still around then.

It was nice to see her appreciate her new article. She’s been going at it while having dinner last night.

She’s still going as I write this beside her. I guess it’s going to be a while before the next lengthy father-and-daughter conversation takes place.

For Me

Just a splendid time, a much welcome reprieve from what has happened since Typhoon Ondoy struck really.

I got nothing for myself. I guess it’s really part of getting old (and wiser) to appreciate those times becoming rarer and rarer over those stuff you get for your day which often end up room clutter after a while.

Still Going

Just when I thought my Samsung U600 was already a goner, it turned out that the phone still had a few miles to go.

As I’m so accustomed to do, I did a few web searches and found out similar problems encountered by other users. It turned out it was quite frequent after all. Some happened well over a year after the owners acquiring them. This was worse than my experience which was almost 2 years after my purchase.

Turns out that the culprit is the ribbbon flex which frequently gets the hit in terms of wear and tear in the slider phone.

SP_A0037

It's the imp's fault

And since the wear’s not visible there, here’s a clearer shot at the culprit.

The Worn-Down Flex Ribbon

The Worn-Down Flex Ribbon

Good thing the Samsung repair guys had my old pal going. The last thing I want this time of the year is an unplanned cost for a mobile phone when I have one which has pretty much a lot of the things I need in my phone.

With that I’m taking unplanned 1,500 bucks that goes with it.

No Dunking…

So months after MJ was inducted into the hall of fame, here are a couple of videos that might have been drowned out of the best moments avalanche of Jordan staples that time.

The first is this classic McDonald’s advertisement with Larry Bird in the 90’s:

One of those one on ones MJ does for fun this time. Here’s WSJ CEO John Rogers:

Nothing greatest moments material really. Just some of those which characterized the guy as the endorser and personality during his time.

Stemming the Tide

With all the accounts of Phishing horrors and IT security advisories warning against it, FBI’s breakthrough against a US-Egypt Phishing scam is definitely a welcome in the war against identity theft.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation said 33 people were arrested across the United States early Wednesday while authorities in Egypt charged 47 more people linked to the scam.

A total of 53 suspects were named in connection with the scam in a federal grand jury indictment, the FBI said.

Authorities said the sophisticated identity theft network had gathered information from thousands of victims which was used to defraud American banks.

While there are a lot that remains to be done, the headway provides at least some sense of justice to those paranoid about their privacy and financial information in a world becoming more and more interconnected everyday.

The Long Walk Home (3 of 3)

Indeed the immediate area near our place was pitch black with occasional candles lit. What was surprising was the activeness of a lot of people past that time of the night. Something definitely wasn’t right. And I’m not yet talking of the knee-length water on the streets yet.

Why did things have to be hard for the past 24 hours?

Warm Coffee, Please

My wrist watch read some minutes before 2 AM when I reached home and found my wife scooping out water using a dustpan. Water in the streets were starting to rise. They said that with the dams releasing water to ease out the pressure within its walls, it was only a matter of time before water would enter the houses.

In the midst of the frustration, all I wanted was just a nice hot cup of coffee. I was cold and wet from the experience starting from the morning that I just needed to warm a bit.

Lo and behold, there was no cooking gas! Thankfully a well-meaning neighbor offered a cup of hot water or I would have blown to bits then. A few sips of coffee was all I needed to break off from the mounting chaos.

Who Needed Weights Anyway?

Then it was on to lifting stuff. My wife understandably could only do so much in carrying up stuff to the second floor of the place. Important documents, food, medicine and other such lighter articles. All while checking on the kids and the water level outside from time to time.

Thankfully I reached home with just the right amount of time to allow me to move the heavier ones to higher ground. So while she was scooping water and all, I was moving appliances– TV, washing machine, dryer, ref, microwave– to the second floor. The situation didn’t afford me to take my time doing so because water was rising fast outside. I had to help my wife then.

A few minutes later, I relieved her from the chore as she made a last swoop of things to move upstairs in preparation for water coming in. It was only a few inches before the waters outside breached the level of the apartment entrance outside. It was routinary in the first minutes then tiring the next minutes that followed. Neighbors from nearby households were doing the same just to keep the water from filling their places.

It looked like fighting a losing battle when the rise of water outside went on. It was one thing to keep seeping water from accumulating; it was another to have water gushing inwards.

Here it comes

A few minutes before 3 AM when water broke through. We left the scooping chore when it happened. It covered the floors at first before rising slowly. It turned from a question of whether water would get in to how much we’ll get inundated.

I gave up and had to lie down somewhere upstairs. Water was rising anyway and there’s nothing much we can do for now. My wife took watch downstairs as I rested while waiting for the water level outside to recede. Then there will be clean up.

As I was lying, I recalled how lucky I was to be there. It definitely wasn’t a joke but it wasn’t that hard to figure out in some sort of a mishap in that day’s worth of hardships either.

My sister-in-law arrived with her daughters by the time I was getting sleepy. It was waist-deep in their house when they left from what I heard. She and my wife was talking about stuff when I actually fell asleep.

The next thing I knew it was already morning. It was a gloomy but definitely a welcome for one who had to spent that night awake. My wife told me that it went up to knee-level inside the house before the waters stopped rising outside.

The Aftermath

It was clean-up that morning. Scooping out water, washing and disinfecting stuff and scrubbing, disinfecting floors and placing back moved appliances were in fashion among households then. We had the place clean by afternoon.

We were not without damages. Luckily ours were relatively minor ones. Apart from our water pump, we saw a TV rack, a corner cabinet and some minor articles thrown away.

We had to wait until Monday afternoon for electricity though. Prior to it being restored, I had to actually content myself with reading (and actually finishing) Freakonomics and cigarettes.

It was so much a welcome to have electricity back as my daughter needed to be nebulized regularly because of asthmatic attacks starting from that Sunday. And there was definitely so much the lack of electricity hampers. It was only then that I got to inform people elsewhere that we were alright here. It was the signal to have us organize the smaller stuff around the house. It was also only then that we got to see TV news coverages of the extent of damage the typhoon brought.

Despite what I had to go through, it would be modest to say I’m still lucky. It was all over for us in a matter of hours but not so for other people even after some days. We were affected, yes, but a lot of other people were even more devastated. Among others, we had water inside the house but a lot of other people had to deal with mud. We didn’t have to deal with more than knee-length flooding inside the house. We didn’t have to wait for more than around 2 days to get electricity back.

I’m quite sure my story doesn’t even register a blink among the rough snapshots others had that fateful day.

The whole ordeal had me missing work for 2 working days in the week that followed. That was all the time I needed to get myself back in condition.

The Long Walk Home (2 of 3)

If memory serves me right, it was before 7 in the evening when I made my push to Monumento. Yes it was quite early but the terrible weather made it look discouraging to take the option. I was getting more and more worried. The stillness of traffic along with the gusts of the wind and bursts of the rain made it all the more difficult for me to stay put. My daughter, wife and her niece were the only ones at home and should the weather get worse, it was certain they would be needing the extra hand to keep the situation at bay.

So I joined the flock who were making their way along EDSA by foot. My umbrella sported a broken rib by then but it had to do against the rain. It wasn’t as exhausting as I thought anyway. With a great number of stranded souls doing the same, I had nothing to lose with the decision anyway. I passed through Project 7 then Munoz within minutes. Remaining flood waters along the way were the least of my worries as the one thing I had my mind focused on was to get home.

Same with the sight of those who decided to climb the abandoned scaffolds of the MRT under construction to buy themselves some leverage over the floods along the way. It was somewhat scary and had me thinking how fragile we all were right there.

But came the Ford building past Monumento.

I wondered what’s with the hesitation of those who went for the trek right there. It then became apparent that past the landmark was still a flood basin still somewhere around waist-level when I got there. It was hard for me to recognize what lay waiting farther because it was dark already. So I had to stop and eat a cracker.

And wait.

It was there that I overheard a woman who came from Monumento tell her tale to her friend. She told her horrible ordeal to get past the Balintawak area just before the fork to the North Diversion Road. It was waist-deep she said and she had to hold on to a rope somewhere along the stretch as the flood waters carried beneath them strong currents from the then-overflowing creeks. And she tried her best to discourage people like me from pushing on.

At least not yet.

Moving On

It was past 8 when I decided to push onwards. A lot of those people who chose to wait, after all, were starting to push forward again. Bigger vehicles deciding to move might have provided just enough encouragement then.

It was still knee-deep as I got to realize later. The water rose to at least a few inches at times but it was generally within knee-level. One thing going the way of those who braved the waters like me was that we had the freedom to easily switch to the southbound stretch of EDSA. Unfortunately that meant our feet were vulnerable to the fallen MMDA fences and construction debris submerged in the waters.

The next flood basin after that was even deeper. Waist-deep if I remember it right.

There was no turning back at that point though. Amidst women screaming because they nearly slipped, hapless parents carrying children and scores of others treading the floods, I had to move on.

Thank God it was a pretty straightforward walk after those two flooded areas of the highway.

The Lesser Evil

I was at Monumento around 9. It’s funny how worrying how to actually get there took more time than actually getting there. Yup, I was a mess to understate things but I was there at last. That’s all that mattered. It was a strategic starting point for me homebound if I were to actually get home that night.

Ironically I had to wait again for another couple of hours. I recall having barkers tell me how impossible it is for transportation to pass through then chest-deep roads leading to our place. Hence the utter absence of jeepneys.

I had a choice of two poisons really. One is the usual jeepney I take but will only get me as far as Francis. Or the then rarer Letre jeepneys which gets me somewhere guaranteed to be flooded even during just weak typhoons or substantially lengthy rains.

I don’t know what made me choose the latter. It was not the easier jeep to take for sure but something told me to take that one. Looking back, I know I made the right choice as I overheard people who chose the first recount how a lot of them got stuck there. The contrarian insight did pay off I guess.

But it wasn’t really exactly easy at Letre too.

Stuck in an Island

I got to Letre past 11 after I got to take a jeepney there. The place was a mirror image of the Ford stake-out. Only this time, things looked bleaker.

I saw a lot of people try to make way through the higher floods there. Something told me to wait again however. Maybe it was the fact that I can’t see farther into the bridge over the river that got me hesitant. That and the fact that even busses and fuel trucks found it hard to pass through that stretch.

People around me were just as tired and restless. I can overhear parents this time talk to someone else about how they and their children still haven’t had dinner because of all the trouble Ondoy brought. I can hear teens and workers grumble about their own difficulties. I can hear a mother tell her son to wear the slippers because they were going to brave the floods to get home.

So again I waited. My feet were tired so I had sit in the middle of the island far from the flood’s reaches. I ate another cracker just as I was holding my umbrella which, this time, had two ribs give up already.

Then the wait again.

My watch told me it was already midnight there before I unconsciously napped while holding up my umbrella. I guess I can’t hold back the exhaustion of the entire day anymore.

Homebound

It was 1 AM when municipal rescue workers came up with a truck to take stranded commuters to the municipality. At last. Somewhere nearer.

I heaved a sigh of relief when the behemoth went on its way.

Even with the truck’s height–each of us had to be hoisted up to be able to board its back–it’s muffler wasn’t spared by the waters. It was indeed chest-deep from what I saw from those who waded through it. Something tells me the river had something to do with the water level but it was too dark for me to see if the water beneath the bridge was overflowing towards Letre’s direction then.

When I reached the municipality of Malabon, there were tricycles waiting for stranded commuters.

On my last leg on my way home, I thought of having a nice cup of coffee to get myself to calm down. And maybe to have my drenched feet in hot water to ease them from the past hours’ worth of torture. Even sitting it out for a while before having a nice sleep seemed inviting then.

As I neared our place though, something about the absence of lights guaranteed that things won’t become easier any sooner.