Archive for the ‘Review’ Category

Review: Google Chrome Is the Most Awesome Browser Since Mosaic

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Full stop.

…Okay, so you want me to explain myself….

First off: yes yes, I know, based on WebKit, so it lacks that Mozilla Power, and; it’s yet another Google Permanent Beta! program, and; Chrome’s EULA says that they can use the things you browse in ads, and send you ads, and; IE8 had all that months ago, and; it’s only for “Winblow$”. 

And I don’t care. 

The tabs-at-the-top idea is brilliant and obvious (you see what I did there? how I implied I was brilliant?). The multiple processes-per-tab is brilliant. The Javascript performance is breathtaking (and yes, I’m that kind of nerd, who faints at javascript). The home page is awesome. The speed is fantastic. It’s everything Safari could be if Apple weren’t run by a guy who thought brushed metal was a great idea. 

I love it. And yes, I’m going to marry it. 

Addendum: Note well the menu-option “Create Application Shortcuts…”. This is the hammer that rings the bell that sounds Microsoft’s doom. And that bell, forged in the NeXT Cube of CERN, is the dark canvas Steve Jobs uses to write this dark prophecy.

…really, I could go on. Heck, I could link “doom” to one of the canvas-based 3d shooters. …I think what I’m saying here is that Steve Jobs has had it in for Gates for a longer time than any of us thought.

Review: Wanted: Do Not Want

Monday, June 30th, 2008

All he wanted was video games and porn!Wanted, a movie featuring Angelina Jolie’s Stunt Double’s ass (I can only assume–though she did make out with her brother, so who knows…), is an awful film. It’s like if The Bourne Identity had been screenwritten by a gang of 13-year-old foster-home boys during a sleepover, fueled by Mountain Dew and Metal Gear Solid: “And dude! Dude! He can bend bullets!” “woah!” “…yeah, yeah, and he like, kills everyone, and, like, totally makes out with Angelina Jolie!” “Dude! Awesome!” “Maybe we can show her butt, too!” “Yeah! She’s all hot and stuff.” “…I have to go to the bathroom.” “You just went, Ralph…” “…I have to go again!” …and so forth.

Now don’t get me wrong, dude totally bends bullets. And you see Angelina’s butt. And things explode and trains explode and cars …well cars don’t explode as such, but there’s sparks and stuff and guns and the et cetera. So the 13-year-old boy in me totally dug all that stuff. But at the end of the movie, when the main character breaks the fourth wall and asks what I’ve “done lately“, I had to admit that what I had done lately was “Sat through this shit.”

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be in the bathroom.

Review: Dear Microsoft: Fix Windows Journal

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

So the key reason to upgrade to Vista only applies to tablet users: handwriting recognition. Vista’s tablet functionality is simply awesome. And Vista comes with Windows Journal, which lets you use your laptop as a virtual quire* of paper, and take notes as you normally would for any given purpose, as naturally as writing. The awesomeness comes in when you select your notes and convert them to text. It’s super-keen. I tend to think more clearly when I write things out longhand, and can draw (literally) [...graphically?] connections between different ideas, which helps me order things when I finally set them in print.

Fix Windows Journal's Page ControlsBut Windows Journal has one problem: to change pages you have to use the fiddly scroll bar, which is just about useless, or the up-down buttons on the corner of the screen, which truly are useless. There’s a handy display of which page you’re on at the bottom of the screen that just begs to be a target for a menu, like the menus in ArtRage or SketchBook.

It should work more like thisThe control should work like a spring-slider. When you click on it, and drag the slider left or right (or up or down: my intuition was left/right), a bar should appear and the pages should tick down or up, depending on which way you drag and whether your Windows is running a right-to-left language (if it’s left/right dragging). The only downside is that dragging “further down” leaves you with little room for accelleration. Alternately, I was thinking you could turn the margin into a draggable region, where moving the cursor into it shows a little cartoon ‘draggy hand’. To get rid of the hand, you could scribble the pen until it disappeared with a poof of magic smoke, after which you could write and it wouldn’t appear so long as you came back into the margin within five seconds.

*I just learned this one. A quire is 25 sheets, a ream is 500 sheets.

Review: Nikon SB-600 Speedlight: the two-sentence review.

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

So I got a new SB-600, which works as a remote flash with the D-80 and up. It’s awesome, but it needs one feature: it should automatically go into remote mode when you remove it from the hot-shoe, and come out of remote when you plug it back in.

Review: Oh Vista 64…

Thursday, May 8th, 2008

So I just installed Vista 64 on my thinkpad tablet, which is only notable because a year ago, I tried Vista 32-bit on my brand-new Dell XPS 710 and hated it. On the Dell–which by all measures was “super bad-ass“–it was slow and annoying and never really worked right with my Samba domain login (and this was Vista ‘Business’, mind you). I ranted about it at length on the interblags.

But a year later, with the 64-bit version and a spanky new Service Pack, it’s all changed. There’s drivers for all my hardware on Windows Update, there’s not four dialog buttons to click to delete a file, and I can use all 4 delicious gigabytes of RAM.

The memory thing is the biggest part: since Vista “uses” something like 800 megs of RAM just sitting there looking pretty, it’s hard to accept that I only have 2 gigs of 4 installed to use. Which makes me wonder why Microsoft wasted our time with a 32-bit version. They should’ve released Home Basic as 32-bit and all the other versions as 64. I mean… Vista drivers were already a scant resource when it rolled out. If they’d just told us up-front that things would suck but be totally worth it, it might’ve been an easier pill to swallow.

Also, the Tablet PC options are a major upgrade. The handwriting recognition is nearly prescient. (Even if it does think that ‘heh’ isn’t a word, and should be ‘bch’.) Being able to answer an IM that pops up while you’re sketching in photoshop–without rotating the screen–is fantastic. Not only that, but being able to write it, in cursive, without even thinking. I approve.

The only thing I really wish vista had was a way to quickly say “pause indexing” or perhaps “don’t index unless this computer is plugged in”. (Though… actually it may do that. I just got tired of watching the drive light spin after copying over my 40 gigs of documents, and turned it off.) And Readyboost and SuperFetch bring nothing to the table for me, except spinning the drive while I’m trying to work. Yes, thank you for reorganizing blocks when I open programs, but honestly, my drive is slow and you’re not really buying me anything… hell it might actually be faster to zig-zag the blocks since I bet the seek time is better than the rotational latency… Look into that.

But I tell you, vista 64 is indeed totally worth it. And I take it all back. Welcome to the future.