Five Firefox Things Everyone Should Know

May 4th, 2010 |

According to Net Market Share, Firefox has a 24.59% market share. Not too bad for an open source web browser. If you’re still on some version of Internet Explorer, check out my previous article “Ditch Internet Explorer 6, 7, and 8” on why you should be dumping it. Here are a few tips that I’ve found essential:

Use these techniques to outfox other web browsers

1. Use keywords: Chrome and Safari both have wonderful “Speed Dial-like” quick launch pages to bookmark your most visited websites, but I find it too slow. I don’t want to have to write “Facebook” or “Gmail” or “Google Reader” or god forbid the sometimes long URLs for some blog. To get to where you need faster, create a keyboard keyword shortcut. Here’s how:

Bookmark the website (Control/Command + D). Ex) Facebook. Then go to the “Bookmarks” menu. Click “Organize Bookmarks.” Navigate to where the bookmark is (usually in the Bookmarks Menu or Bookmarks Toolbar) and click on it. There should be a little arrow icon for more options situated at the bottom of the window. Next to “Keyword,” type a shortcut. For example, for Facebook, I keyworded it to the letter “F.” Now when I type “F” and then press enter, Firefox brings me right to Facebook. I’ve done the same for other websites I visit every day, several times a week. Here’s what I have: YouTube = “YT,” Gmail = “G,” Google Reader = “R,” Yahoo = “Y,” and “Ploked” = “P.” These are just my shortcuts, but I find it has sped up the time I spend on Facebook and YouTube by getting me in and getting me out. The faster I can say “done,” the faster I can start doing more important things! Read the rest of this entry »

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Raymond Wong

When Less Isn’t More – We Need Better Batteries

April 28th, 2010 |
More, more, more. In the tech world, who doesn’t want more megahertz in their CPUs? Faster and more powerful GPUs for the increasing demand of high definition video from 1080p. Moore’s Law states that every two years the number of transistors on a circuit board can be doubled. Thus, this is the reason why the iPhones or BlackBerry’s in our pocket are nearly as powerful as a computer I purchased ten years ago. The silicon is shrinking and the hardware is getting stronger.

There’s only one problem – the battery. Batteries haven’t improved as fast as the rest of the computing world. In fact, why the hell are we still using Duracells and Energizers? AA batteries should be obsolete by now. There shouldn’t be a single digital camera on the market that has a battery that can’t last through a days worth of picture taking. No buts. End of story. It’s two-oh-freaking-ten. Designers, get with the times, please!

When Apple revealed their iPhone back in 2007 sporting an internal non-replaceable battery, the world cried foul. Then look what happened. Oh right, no one is whining about it anymore (except for all those Nokia fanboys). The rate at which our gadgets are used to their fullest potential and then disposed is so rapid today that it doesn’t matter. I don’t know a single person who owns an iPhone and has used it to its max for two years and has needed to get the battery replaced – they are still holding charges and bobbing along.

Asutek (Asus) struck on something interesting back when it introduced the first eeePC and practically opened the floodgates to the Netbook category. Their batteries, at the time, sucked. The original 7″ eeePC ran a variant of the open source OS, Linux, and while it was supposed to be the stepping stone to the future, the OS never caught on. Unlike Windows XP, Linux is so un-bloated that a 3-cell battery lasted quite a long time back in the day. We all know what happened to Linux. Consumers demanded Windows XP, and they got it for another couple years until Microsoft shipped Windows 7. Once everyone made the jump to Windows again on their little Netbooks, people demanded more battery. The 3-cell could no longer cut it. We needed 6, 9, and even 12-cell batteries. As the batteries expanded, the slimness of Netbooks became chunky. The Netbook of today is hardly what you would consider ultraportable. At best, a good Netbook is expected to be able to handle a day’s worth of web browsing, because let’s face it, no one wants to be lugging around an AC adapter at all. Lesson: If you’re going to do Linux, make it a competitor to Windows. I’m willing to bet Google’s extremely feather light Chrome OS will be able to jump start what Asus, HP, and many other companies have failed at.

If you asked me which Atom processor is the best for a Netbook, I’d probably have to spend a bit of time on Google. I’ve lost track of all the Intel Atom versions (now there’s dual core Atoms?). The most important thing when considering any mobile device is now, of course, the battery.

With almost every Android phone packing a 1Ghz Snapdragon processsor or iPads with their A4’s and Netbooks with their Atoms, the processor is no longer the cherry on top. Finding a computer that fits your needs, looks good, and has incredible battery life is no easy feat.
One of the companies that have been innovating and putting a larger chunk of R&D into getting more juice out of the old Lithium is none other than Cupertino’s Apple, Inc. Apple may get a lot of attention for their shiny new gadgets from their iPods, iPads, and iPhones, but no one can complain that the batteries that power Apple’s latest gadgets are anything but spectacular. Read the rest of this entry »
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Raymond Wong

Do You “Like” That? Making Sense of (The New) Facebook

April 26th, 2010 |

Facebook is trying to implement a universal “Like” button for non-Facebook sites so that your friends will be able to see what you like across the Internet. (YouTube just added a “Like” button, but I’m not sure if that has any relation to Facebook, yet.)  Sites across the Internet also have incorporated a share button, one of which is on this very site to help, well, share information with others.

These features, along with things like “Recommendations” and “Live Stream” are known as social plugins which will be broadcasting your information to partnering sites unless you opt out. That’s right, you’re automatically signed up for it thanks to  Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg.  It is predicted that 30% of websites will have some of these plugins  in a month. Some of the new features you can expect from Facebook are as follows:

  • Instant Personalization: Facebook will try to help the web cater to you by giving up your information when you move to another site like Yelp or Pandora. In the case of Pandora, the music site will be able to go through some of your favorite artists and make Pandora more YOU friendly, because we were too lazy to type in “Coldplay” before. Or you can go to Yelp and see what YOUR friends have to say about a certain restaurant over what a stranger has to say.
  • Toolbar: Facebook plans to add a toolbar that it will encourage other websites to use. My guess is that “Like” and “Share” will be included on the toolbar so that you can give instant feedback to your profile of what you’re digging at that moment. In absence of this addition, you could have simply copied a link and posted it to your Facebook profile if you really felt the need to express your love for a certain site.
  • Activity Stream: Of course, all those things that you are in fact digging have to go somewhere, so a mini-stream will be created to display all of that activity. In other words, this will probably lead to another Facebook makeover with more clutter.
  • Docs: In a final move to ensure its worldwide takeover, Facebook seems to have teamed with Microsoft to take down Google Docs. The idea is practically identical to Google Docs with users using their Facebook accounts to create, manipulate, and share Microsoft office documents. With Facebook accounts known for being hacked and Facebook itself always changing their layout, I wouldn’t want to use these docs to work on an important project. Read the rest of this entry »
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Sunil Ramsamooj