Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Switch To Chrome

Well I'm finally biting the bullet and switching to Chrome. I have been a loyal Flock user for a very long time now, but I just can't handle it anymore.  The constant crashing, the corrupted profiles, the sticky add-ons, and the general incompatability with everything but the most basic web tools.  I know it's a firm shake-off, but I've been with it for a long time and it's generally been a very stressful existance.  

I stayed with it through all the bugginess primarily because the extra features were really compelling.  Long before Firefox had the "Awesomebar," Flock was mixing your history and your favorites and guessing your destination.  Of course this was more in the search bar and less in the main address bar.  Also, the RSS reader was ahead of its time and that is one of the things I have not had luck in finding a replacement.  That being said, the RSS reader hasn't been upgraded for quite a long time and in terms of features and interface is miles behind Google Reader, which I am currently using for my many feeds.  Thank God for OPML exporting!

My switch to Chrome (with Firefox as a backup for incompatabilities) went smoother than I expected.  I'm keeping Flock around to make sure I don't lose anything I thought I had already, but I'm pretty sure all my exporting and importing is done.  The browser experience on Chrome is superb (as I indicated earlier) but I am missing a few things.  For one, the download manager is aesthetically pleasing (and similar to Download Statusbar) but does not offer as many options in where and how to download.  Also, videos viewed on the web play by default in the browser using some plug-in instead of allowing me to move it to an external player.  Note that I mean file-based videos, not YouTube vids, which obviously play fine.

The performance difference between Flock and Chrome is unbelievable.  I feel like I'm using a completely different computer.  I probably have 24 tabs open right now, which is fairly typical for me, and I'm experincing no lag and no serious drain on my system resources.  It also doesn't get worse over time, it just equalizes at one level and stays there.  Hopefully my profile will not gunk up (which is still possible), but I don't feel like Chrome is as gunk-upable.

If you have any questions about how I'm getting along, please let me know.  I want this to be a resource for others making the big leap.  I haven't played around with some features, like the Application Shortcuts, so there is still a bit more for me to test out.

Good night and good luck!

[Image from]

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Finally, Christians Can Play Guitar Hero!

As most of you are aware, Christians have been suffering for many years now as other faiths and the non-religious enjoy the game Guitar Hero. The lyrics are obviously too dark for they ears of the Faithful, so much of the nation has experienced an increase in hand-eye-coordination while Christians fall behind. Well no more! Now there is Guitar Praise!

Satire aside, let's look at the name first...Guitar Praise? Personally if you were going to rip-off and re-purpose the game, wouldn't you pick something that is at least slightly original? Or at least go with Praise Hero, which sounds a lot better to me...

Here is the ad for the game, which was originally posted on GeeksAreSexy by Casey:

Are you serious? This is an incredibly inferior game for obvious graphical and platform reason, but on top of this, it illustrates how backward some people are. The ad is clearly for people who have somehow never been exposed to Guitar Hero and are generally new to the idea of a guitar controller. This isn't just some new's one of the most popular game control systems in use today. Truly you must have been buried in some hole (and consequently buried your kids in that hole with you) to be in the dark about this game.

It's hard for me to express my aggravation with groups that have to digest and rebrand everything they use in order to ensure it fits with their own way of thinking. Ironically, the parents of modern parents would probably see all the tracks on Guitar Praise as works of the devil.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jimmy Chows Down - Eli's Deli Becomes "Best Deli"

It's true, Eli's Deli is under new management and will henceforth be known as "Best Deli." It was quite a shock to my system as a long-time Eli's fan, but times change I guess. Anyway, here's my review of our local deli:

I hope you enjoyed our recent video...I feel this one came out especially well! Also, notice I'm wearing my Epic-Fu's fabulous and you should get one too!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Books and Movies on My List

Sorry for my low number of posts this month...I've been preoccupied and somewhat uninspired to do much blogging (still much more than normal humans, but not much for ME). Anyway, I thought I'd post some books and movies I'm planning on reading/viewing in the near future.

Currently Reading:
Cryptonomicon - I have to say I'm kind of not enjoying it. As crazy as I was about Anathem, this Neal Stephenson book isn't holding its own at the moment. Basically it seems like "just another" convoluted war story with some crazy philosophy/concept worked in. Hopefully it will get better...otherwise it may have to go back to the library.

Upcoming Books:
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer - Yes, I'm on a Stephenson kick...get over it, he's a fantastic author. This book sounds pretty intriguing so I'm gonna give it a shot. Basically it's about a girl in a weird nanotech-driven future who learns all kinds of stuff (how to think for herself, most importantly) from a book she finds.

Ender in Exile - It's another book in the Ender's Saga I need to say more? If you're a real geek, consider the cost of the book part of your membership fee in order to maintain your geek status. For those interested in knowing what it is before they's a DIRECT sequel to Ender's Game. I'm really hoping it doesn't suck...and also that it will be AMAZING!

His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass) - I don't know too much about this book set, but I saw the first movie and it shows promise that it will elicit some thinking on my part. I don't really like books that don't make me think at all. All I've got for that one.

Memoirs Found in a Bathtub - This is a neat sounding story about a secret agent and a future where all the paper of the past was destroyed, save some small remnants. It is the pick of the month for Sword and Laser, so I figured I'd give it a try if I get a chance.

Upcoming Movies:
Quantum of Solace - I haven't seen it yet, but I hope to on Friday. I hear it's amazing. Personally I'm very excited by this new set of Bond movies! I really like that they are based on the original stories by Flemming (the link above is actually for the series of short stories, not for some time-defying Amazon listing).

Who knows which of these I'll actually read. I promise this isn't turning into a book blog...they're just more in my consciousness recently.

[Edit: Somehow forgot Ender in Exile until 2:30PM (see above)]

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Book I Haven't Read: Experimental Heart

You may have seen my Anathem book review. I've been trying to read a lot more and that's what happens when I read good books...I talk about them. Another book that I hope to read sometime in the future is Experimental Heart, by Jennifer Rohn. It's an interesting look at the life of a fictional biotech researcher who begins to fall in love with a vaccine researcher. She disappears...the plot ensues.

The reason I bring up this book is that it's actually kind of difficult to find a book that really looks at scientists and takes them on as more than simple plot tools. Instead, scientists are often pidgin-holed as geniuses with a master plan or dithering lab techs. We're real people too and need love and attention the same as everybody else.

This is not really a recommendation, as I haven't read the book, but it looks interesting and if you have read it (or buy it through the wonderful link above), please let me know how it reads!

[via io9]

Saturday, November 1, 2008

I Owe You a #wotw2 Explanation

If you've been reading The Beat regularly you might have been a bit surprised by my posts yesterday. Here's the scoop:

On Halloween day, I participated in War of the Worlds 2.0. If you remember hearing about Orson Wells' first on-air reading of The War of the Worlds, you probably also remember that it didn't go so well. People though it was REAL because they came into the broadcast after the show started. Well, a fellow named Kris Kowal decided that this year we should pay homage to that first reading by re-enacting the whole thing on Twitter!

Now unlike the first reading, few people were probably frightened by the imaginary attack. It was also a bit different in the delivery. Instead of one story, there were literally hundreds of stories because each user who chose to participate added updates to Twitter that were relevant to their story.

Here's how it worked:
  • The orchestrators of the event planned it out on a Google Doc that you could get access to if you wanted to help (which I didn't).
  • Then they created a Twitter account named wotw2 that served as the timeline keep everyone on the same chronological page.
  • Finally, everyone posted their updates in line with what was "happening" and tagged them with the hash code, "#wotw2."

How did the whole thing stay together? Well, you could search Twitter in a number of ways (I used Twemes) for the special hash code. In doing this I saw SO MANY other people on the network. It was a ton of fun and I met a lot of new Twitterers!

Specifically, one of my Twitter friends did a great job posting updates and I want to congratulate her on the great work! Here's a post summarizing her activities yesterday. If you want to see all my antics, just check out my Twitter feed and scroll back to Oct. 31st.

[Image from the wotw2 repository]
The content of this page is completely the creation and opinion of James Rogers. He is affiliated with Connect Mason and formerly Broadside Online but the relationship only governs republication, not content.

Further, in the interest of full disclosure, this author holds minor financial investments in Apple, Inc. and Advanced Micro Devices.