Sunday, February 14, 2010

How I get by almost perfectly with Chrome

You may have read that I <3 Mozilla Lab's Ubiquity. But in all honesty, My browsing experience has been simple and quite fast, since I switched to Chrome more than a week ago. Let's review what I need to add to it to be usable:


From left to right, I added these extensions:

  • chrome currency converter: replaces all currency on the displayed page with the converted value in the currency of your choice. Click the coin to toggle that effect. It works perfectly!
  • autopagerize: works on some pages, like google search, and basically it keeps fething results when I reach the bottom of the page, instead of waiting for me to click the next button (who does that more than once a week, anyway??)
  • xmarks bookmark sync (they also have some search-related extensions, but i don't use them). I know chrome syncs with google bookmarks, but xmarks does it to firefox. and safari, too, making it possible to sync bookmarks on the iphone/ipod. (great!) now @google, when can i expect tags on my bookmarks? that is one feature that makes me launch firefox just to find out where i saw something whose name I can't remember but had to do with <tagname>..
  • proxy switchy! - i have to use my university proxy to access some bibliography-related resources. it works. 'nuff said.
  • AdBlock+. (others may prefer AdBlock - i still haven't made up my mind)This *had* to be there. I mean, we can make a style/userscript to remove certain things, but it's a lot more handier to just point and click on a div/table/image and *bamf*, gone forever. Who needs rotating/flashing/NSFWP banners? not me.
  • 1Password. this was another think I couldn't live without. I'd still be using Firefox if it weren't for this invaluable piece of software. Now be warned, its Chrome extensions isn't nearly as complete as the Firefox one. But it fills my passwords, at least. And that is all I care for now. (But I'll be looking forward for auto-filling, auto-submitting and the amazing Command+slash...)
  • shareaholic. there may be several (grouped or individual) extensions to perform these stuff. but shareaholic is complete, fast, sleek and very useful. even if i just click on it once a month, it'll make my task a bit faster and painless. so it's worth it.
  • facebook for google chrome. does it need a description? notifications, wall, etc. and allows to make posts and comments/likes. it does its job, well enough.
  • diigo. I keep some notes on scattered web places, and diigo has been handy. the extensions is better (and smaller, space-wise) than the bookmarklet. yay.
  • chromed bird. remember what i told you about facebook for chrome? read it again, replace facebook with twitter. there you have it. it works. perfect for the casual twitter, or for a quick post (remember, i used ubiquity. if someone has a working twitter quicksilver plugin, i'd be all ears...)
  • chromy. gets your bookmarks in a vertical menu, with a toolbar with scripts to add to evernote, lookup somewhere, translate, etc. it's still on probation on my setup, beacuse I haven't used it after getting it installed and configured. looked great as a concept, though... :)
  • feedly. welcome back to my life. i missed you. you're prettier, fancier, more usable and more usefull than google reader - or any other rss reader i've used so far. I'd stopped using you when you clashed with some firefox nightly builds features, but with chrome you seem to be working great. so thank you for that!

And that's about it. i have some more usercripts and bookmarklets to simple stuff (multiple columns on google, images lightbox, an overlay with selection translation to english, a design set of tools, with grids, rulers, etc). And everything works. Wait, did I mention that experience works on Chrome, but not on Firefox? Yeah, that means no more Flash on YouTube. That also turned my head.

So, my dear Firefox, this is a (at least temporary) goodbye. We'll see each other again on compatibility checks on my web design experiences, or after you decide to put more effort on Ubiquity's support. Ta ta.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

a few years later, i've come to try the emacsen way to blog. not that i'm unhappy with the ecto/mac way of doing it. but let's face it, i'm trying to keep my geek factor alive, here :d pros - weblogger.el seems to work. to use a blogger backend, just load the file (i fetched it from emace lisp package archive) and fire 'M-x weblogger-setup-weblog'. Then replace the default endpoint with and you're good to go. Editing a post is very mail like - the emacs/gnus way, which is impeccable. cons - usability is somehow lacking, specially because you don't have a post-list view to select from. after the setup (or after fetching all entries) you're presented with the last post you wrote and you can move to the next or previous ones. and you can start one from scratch. But there's a post management gap here. someone with spare time and willing to learn emacs may take a jump at this, i can provide for tips and drinks along the way! :d back to real work, now. cheers.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Offline Buyer for iPhone teaser

Ok, some of you may know I have been toying around with an iPhone app idea. Mostly for my own usage, but I know it could be used for some others. So here's the deal I propose: I'll show the current alpha version screenshots, collect feedback, make some (pertinent, viable and not too complicated!) bug fixes last minute changes adaptations. Then I'll launch a beta version to some lucky/brave volunteers. After a reasonable amount of time and good experiences (will depend on the comments flow) I'll deploy the application to the App Store. This is going to be a great tool for Buxfer users, and since it's my first application, I'll put a symbolic price tag of 1$ (0.79€). This will hopefully help me cover the iPhone developer program. If that goal is reached, following application extensions and future applications may be free of charge. But let's face it, 1$ per user is a lot easier to fit than 99$ on myself... At least for me!

Without further ado, here it is a flicker screenshot set. Feel free to ignore or offer constructive criticisms about the visual. Yes, the weird little square on the top right of the transaction addition screen is also the application icon. Hey, I do this in my spare time, ok? :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

W595, meet your new brand: (void).

W595, gray and blue

A2-DB3150 Flashing / Debranding. This is the fancy name for which you must look up in the web, if you need to remove the annoying, unpractical and often limiting (and annoying, have I mentioned it's annoying??) branding that certain network operators carve into the great Sony Ericsson W595 (dubbed Walkman). A2 it's the chipset family, and DB3150 is the motherboard type, I'm told. On the other hand, the vast majority of forums tell you that you can edit a little file in the phone to inform the Sony Ericsson Update Service (SEUS) that it needs a new (generic) firmware. Well, that didn't happen to me. Why? my Fw was already up to date. So the other option was to flash the desired generic fw into the phone. I found out that I had to pick one with the appropriate language settings (e.g., Western Europe would have, among others, English and Portuguese). And I also found out that some tools to do it, with the appropriate guidelines. So, without further ado, for your referencing pleasure, here's the first set of instructions to achieve debranding:

1. Download a2uploader.rar from here A2UPLOADER-download(also contain Gordon's Gate Setup) and unpack
2. Run Gordon's Gate Setup and install flash drivers (if you already didn't install)
3. Download MAIN, FS and custom files for your phone (all needed files you will
find here in download section - firmware(MAIN and FS) or custom files (CUSTPACK)

[From A2-DB3150 Flashing - Top Sony Forums]

Read the article for the rest. And enjoy, for instance, 3G networks blocking, and the consequent longer battery life! :)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Ubuntu on alcohol doing Office 2007

Up until recently I've found myself drawn to explain people who wanted to do something good with their computers to step into the Ubuntu way (or equivalent free linux distr.). But the caveat would be the same — people would have to let go of the Oh-so-good-and-pleasant-without-whom-I'd-do-nothing-out-of-my-life Office 2007. But last week I took another shot at it. Installed an ubuntu on an 2 year old Asus F3JC laptop, saved the rescue disc to keep the windows XP license, and created a Virtual Machine (tried QEMU, VMWare, and was about to try the Sun approach too). Yes, it runs. Yes, it loads office's apps. But hey, I'm trying to talk someone into leaving XP because Ubuntu 64 would be a better experience... Come on, booting an OS and then booting another OS and go through the hassle of sharing folders between them in order to use the guest OS's apps? That's... devilish unpractical, to say the least!

To work around that, a good friend reminded me of Wine, a (the?) WINdows Emulator for Linux. I remember having read that office 2007 didn't run there, but boy, I was clearly wrong about that! Yes, it's not a click-install-run procedure yet, but It's doable, if you're willing to follow some precise guidelines. The trouble is, there are lots of machine/architecture/emulator version/office version combinations out there, and I found out most guides only work for a specific one. Thus yes, some forum scavenging is required. First, let's give a warm thank you to the Wine team. It has grown so much, now it can run .NET frameworks, DirectX and other recent MS works flawlessly. Then, note that I tried and successfully install, run and use Word, Excell and Powerpoint (Publisher crashes, as well as Access, and I didn't try any other Office app). This was done using Ubuntu 8.10, the 64 bits version. To make your life easier, I'll state that I had troubles following most guidelines with the updated wine version (1.1.12), so I reverted to 1.1.11 (use the archive here). After doing that and starting from a clean (sober!) wine state (do a 'rm -rf ~/.wine' on the console shell), I followed the instructions on two sources (I've found many others, but the procedures are essentially the same, gotta set the required libraries and runtimes right before installing everything), and got everything up and running. Sweet! I can now ditch the 6-10 GB image for a virtual system, and have people run office as fast (faster? or is it just me?) as open office. If that won't make up people's mind, what will? Oh, right. Yes, you can wooble a word window just like any other, and it looks as sleek as you think it would! Eh. (Btw, see here for a handy replacement for your office disks. Claimed to be working, I haven't tested any.)

Share and enjoy. And in a Windows 7 15-minute's of spotlight era (do you really believe it will stay much longer than that?), let's keep our machines light, pretty and productive with the free alternatives.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ecto, meet Blogger. Now go make some beautiful newlines.

I've been using Blogger to all my post publishing needs for some years now. And since I moved my "home" into a Mac OSX system I've started using ecto to publish to them. But I've stumbled in this issue in more than one blog, so this post serves as both advice for the frustrated and to remind me in future installations (never googled your blog to see what your past thoughts were? you are missing out, then!)

Problem. I write a text, such as this one, with some paragraphs. and if I publish them as is, blogger spaces them out, inserting linefeeds (<br/> HTML tags) between them. So I desperately try to fix them in ecto. I refresh the posts list, and see the extra spaces. If I fix everything, I get the same result. If my mind wonders and I forget to fix something, and still publish it, I see not one but two extra line breaks. Wow! :)

Solution. Taken from an ecto's support forum entry the idea is to make Blogger *not* insert linefeeds in every return on the posted text. ecto does that job already, so we simply stop Blogger for doing extra work. Who knows, someday ecto will detect that automatically and won't hurt our posting confidence in the process :)

Details. Go to your Blogger dashboard, see the Settings tab, and the Formatting subtab. Set "Convert Line breaks" to "No". Save. Publish. Rejoice!

Serve your music with class. Use Bowtie!*

I recently stumbled upon TUAW's article on Bowtie. logo.png

Context: music info and control in a Mac OSX (Leopard) environment. I have until now been envying Coversutra's users, for its beautiful and useful cover art, shortcut-controls of iTunes and song submission. Well, seems like I've made my setup even better. Want to know how? Let's start by grabbing the latest version of Bowtie. Yes, it's still in beta (next beta is being worked on as I write this, according to the author it will be due in a couple of weeks). Run it. Run iTunes, and play. And that's it!

Wait... but I see an space-eater icon in my dock. Coversutra has the option to go to the menu... But Bowtie has no need for such a menu. what for? So grab your application icon, right click, show package contents, and find the Info.plist inside it. Now add a new String parameter called NSUIElement, and give it a value of 1. Presto, relaunch the app, and you have no icon at all on your dock - and the UI is still on your desktop! But wait, how do I go to the preferences? That's right, no menu is there. So just click on the UI, and press the default Preferences shortcut, "Command+", to bring up all the juicy options!

Waaait a bit more... but I don't like how this looks like! Well, two options: either make your own skin, see the downloaded package for details, of look trough some foruns for Bowtie related skins. I promise, you will be much surprised with the quality of each theme!

Hey, I'm not there yet - I used a Coversutra demo and I liked the search features... and the much much more comprehensive shortcuts to customize from! Ok, ok. I'll bet if you want to have this trouble to use freeware to suit your picky needs, you already have a launcher such as say... Quicksilver! Am I right? So you're all set. Just install the iTunes module, and skim through its settings, and triggers. Shortcuts aplenty for all of you keyboard lovers, and a bonus one - "Search iTunes". give it a handy shortcut, and it will be all you need. But if you want to look for artists, albums, or tracks, just type iTunes in Quicksilver, press right arrow and browse whatever you want, and then play it. All very very similar to what you already do with Quicksilver, which is a big plus!

Still now happy? integration is not enough? Still need that menu icon, despite useless? Still find out the window is not on the desktop when pressing F11, like Coversutra's? Found any other nasty bug? Do everyone a favor and tell the developer. Beta versions are there for you to find bugs and for developers to fix them!

*or How to kill the need for Coversutra and its paid support once and for all...