Amazon

A few recommended books, movies, games, and albums. If you want to look for more recommendations, feel free to look at the larger selection over at Amazon or my Amazon Store with more recommendations.

  • Man School: lessons on love, power, honor and purpose
    Man School: lessons on love, power, honor and purpose
    by Michael Bronco
  • Cryptonomicon
    Cryptonomicon
    by Neal Stephenson
  • Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (2nd Edition)
    Programming in Objective-C 2.0 (2nd Edition)
    by Stephen G. Kochan

    An outstanding introduction to the core of the Objective-C language.

  • DreamCypher
    DreamCypher
    Dancing Ferret
  • Tron: Legacy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+Digital Booklet]
    Tron: Legacy (Amazon MP3 Exclusive Version) [+Digital Booklet]
    Walt Disney Records
  • Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (3rd Edition)
    Cocoa(R) Programming for Mac(R) OS X (3rd Edition)
    by Aaron Pablo Hillegass
  • The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
    The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress
    by Robert A. Heinlein
  • Hot Fuzz (Widescreen Edition)
    Hot Fuzz (Widescreen Edition)
    starring Jim Broadbent, Kenneth Cranham, Timothy Dalton, Julia Deakin, Patricia Franklin

Entries in browsers (2)

Saturday
Nov202010

Recommendations

Antivirus

If you need to have a free antivirus for home use,  try Microsoft’s “Security Essentials.” It’s fast, it works, and best of all, it’s free. Even for businesses.

If you have the cash to spring for antivirus (or have to because you are a business and have lots of computers) try out Kaspersky and ESET Nod 32.

On the Mac side, I’d stay away from both of the Norton and McAffee products. Both have a reputation for causing weirdness that should have also been earned on the Windows side as well (I’ve run into some totally showstopping bugs over the last few years). If you NEED an antivirus there is a graphically-driven version of ClamAV for the mac that is free, and will scan files.

Routers
For home gear I now generally recommend stuff from Netgear. Their current boxes seem to generally work more reliably than equipment from Linksys or D-link (though they generally also work well), and are readily available. They also tends to upgrade fairly easy.

Wireless
If you’re willing to spend the extra money, the Airport WAP/routers fromApple are high-quality pieces of equipment with excellent security, signal strength, and ease-of-setup features, as well as allowing their use as a repeater, and a decent Windows/Mac print server for USB printers. The repeater functionality is especially slick and well done. Last but not least, the Time Capsule allows for wireless home storage and across-the-network backups (for Macs). Otherwise, I’d usually go for a Netgear.

Browsers
Windows: IE8 is a huge improvement in many ways. It is somewhat safer from hijackings, has tabs for browsing, and best of all for all too many people I’ve known, finally fixes a printing bug that would cut off the right side of wider web pages.

That said, in combination with all of the various security updates and antispyware and firewalls and such, Windows starts running like a crippled turtle with IE7 on it unless you have a lot of RAM. 512MB, even 756MB, no longer cuts the mustard. 1GB on a Vista machine is asking for trouble.

So if you want a browser that won’t punish your system as much, and is still more secure, nevermind more extensible, do yourself a favor and use Firefox or Chrome wherever you can.

Firefox is a solid browser with support for many useful plugins, but getting away from its origins as a small, light, standards-compliant alternative to IE. Chrome is a browser provided by Google that uses the same "webkit" rendering engine as Safari (also available for Windows) but with an emphasis on speed and a minimalist interface that I wish Firefox would emulate. 

Mac: A matter of taste. While there are other good options available such as Camino, you really can’t go wrong with either the built-in Safari, Chrome (intel macs only), and Firefox for those occasions where Safari just won’t work, or vice versa. Firefox is slower but far more flexible, and on the newer intel-based Macs, the differences are far less noticeable.

Memory
As much as is humanly possible. Neither an up-to–date copy of XP nor OSX run comfortably with less than a gigabyte of RAM. Two Gigabytes or more are recommended for OSX or Vista. Check out 18004memory.com for good prices and a great return policy. Another good place to check out is crucial at crucial.com.

Friday
May042007

Safari vs Firefox

As a web designer, I get to deal with every major web browser in existence on a weekly basis. As a Mac user, I use two, as a matter of practicality. As a computer geek, that means that I've developed a favorite I consistently use, though at least I'm not fanatic enough to draw blood over it.

This is a tale of my attempt to shift my day-to-day browsing from Safari to Firefox, and why I went back to using Safari for most everything.

This is not to say that Firefox is a bad browser. First of all, it has built-in AJAX handling that makes it easy to edit online weblogs such as those driven by Wordpress with a convenient formatting toolbar. I may be a hand-coding web geek, but when I'm writing the last thing I want to do is remember tags. Second, it has a dedicated plug-in and theming architecture that allows you to add some absolutely fantastic tools. Third, many web designers who care if their site works with a browser other than IE on Windows will make sure it works and looks good in a Mozilla-based browser first - especially if there's extensive Javascript or css changes.

Since google had added a bookmark synching capability, as a long-time Safari user I decided to copy all my bookmarks over and give it a try.

All in all, it was nice. The plugins worked as advertised. Full AJAX support was a joy. With the appropriate theme the windows didn't hog the screen any more than safari did.

Over time, several things drove me nuts. First of all, Firefox is noticeably slower, especially on an older G4-based iBook like I was using at the time. Secondly, the bookmark synchronization was nowhere near as smooth as I'd hoped between my office desktop and my iBook - often failing if I forgot to completely shut down Firefox on the other machine. Lastly, while they finally, finally put the close boxes for tabs somewhere sensible (on the individual tab), the behavior still wasn't consistent. Once I'd opened up enough tabs, the tab closure box would disappear off of all the tabs except the current one, still forcing me to shift to the tab I wanted to close before closing it.

Safari might be missing a few features, and isn't expandable or themable, but it doesn't use up excessive real estate, it's faster, and in a matter of utterly personal stylistic preference it behaves more like I'd like a browser to.

That said, I still bring up Firefox to do weblog updates, and to reserve books at the library.