Color/Hue IQ Test

I came across a cool little color test yesterday thanks to downloadsquad.com and got around to taking the test today. My scores were a little surprising, but I’m not complaining.

I took the test once and apparently I have perfect color vision. Here are some screenshots:

You should try the test. It took me about 10-15 minutes to just go through them and order the samples. It starts to do a number on your eyes, but it’s interesting in the end. πŸ˜‰

Google makes a web browser: Google Chrome

Although it was rumored for a long while, there were plenty of people doubting that anything would ever pan out.

Google has released a few details to the new browser in their official blog. Many people have given the rumored browser the name gBrowser, however, Google seems to think the official name should be Google Chrome. Regardless of the name, I think we are all excited to see what this browser will have to offer!

According to Jeff at the Big Blue Ball, Google will be releasing Google Chrome for the Windows platform today!

Google is getting their fingers into everything these days, and the latest foray is a new web browser called Chrome. According to the official Google Blog, Chrome will be available for download on the Windows platform beginning sometime Tuesday, September 2.

Google Chrome is built on top of the Webkit project so standards support and compatibility should be rock solid from the start.

After the initial release in Windows, Google Chrome will be released in versions for Macintosh and Linux.

I’m excited about more competition coming to the table to push and progress the web! I hope everyone understands what this will change!

Stay tuned for my thoughts and a review of Google Chrome. Until then you can read the comic strip that Google posted a link to in the Google Chrome blog post. I’ve taken the time to post the comic here, however, all work done in these images has been done by Google and I am only posting the comic here.

UPDATE:
To keep an eye on Google Chrome and test it as soon as it is released, point your browser to the following address and refresh as frequently as you wish. The link should become live and switch from the current 404 to the product page with a Windows download link. πŸ˜‰

http://www.google.com/chrome

In the meantime, if you’d like to learn more about Google Chrome before it is released you should head over to the entry that is already in place at Wikipedia.

UPDATE 2:
Google Chrome is now available! Download it now! I’ll be posting some screen shots shortly. Screen shots are posted here:
https://www.kyleabaker.com/2008/09/02/google-chrome-first-look-at-a-first-release/

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 Now Available

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 is now available for testing! If you would like to learn more about it’s release you can find plenty of information on the official release blog post.

If you would like to download and test Internet Explorer 8 yourself, you can find it here:
http://www.microsoft.com/ie8

You’ll find versions for 32- and 64-bit editions of Windows Vista, Windows XP, Windows Server 2003, and Windows Server 2008. In addition to English, IE8 Beta 2 is available in Japanese, Chinese (Simplified), and German. Additional languages will be available soon.

If you would like to see an overview of the new features implemented in Internet Explorer 8 then you can find them in great detail here:
http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2008/08/27/internet-explorer-8-beta-2-now-available.aspx

Enjoy the early notification so you can be one of the first to test out Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2!

UPDATE (2008-08-28 @ 12:38 AM):
Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 passes the Acid2 Test! Reports were made back in late December 2007 that internal builds of Internet Explorer were passing the Acid2 Test, but now we have a public release that is passing.

On the Acid3 Test, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 scores a 21/100 with a notification at the top of the window stating that:

This website wants to run the following add-on: ‘MSXML 3.0 SP10’ from ‘Microsoft Corporation’. If you trust the website and the add-on and want to allow it to run, click here…

After running the “MSXML 3.0 SP10” add-on, Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2 still only scores a 21/100.

Coding: Online Alarm

I’ve been working on my Online Alarm clock that I start writing more than a year ago! Really, I’ve just been going back to try to finish more of the user interface and clean up more of the code.

The work that I’ve been doing to the user interface includes bringing the design into the years of Web 2.0 with cleaner, larger and simpler layouts.

Just take a look at the difference between the original log-in page (top) compared to the log-in page after I completed functionality and updated the styling to make it a little more Web 2.0 friendly!

It’s amazing to me how you can have a functional web application, but if you don’t make it look nice then it seems like it’s so much more difficult to navigate and use. User interfaces really help sell a product as well, so hopefully I can get this one setup nicely.

I had planned on uploading the source code to the Google Code page that I made for it, but I’m still waiting to work out some kinks.

Mainly, I’m waiting until I get the GUI finished a little more so I will know which MySQL fields are needed and should be installed by an installation script.

The script itself shouldn’t be too difficult, but I really need to map out the process before I start coding it so I can make the installation as simple as possible at the same time.

I’m thinking it will be as simple as uploading all of the files to your server and completing a setup form that just requires server credentials (of course) and an initial Admin username and password. That should be quick and easy and get everything ready to start using!

There is also the issue of completing the admin control panel. If I don’t complete it then the admin will have little control over the service unless they choose to edit everything via phpMyAdmin or something like that.

It shouldn’t be too long before I can bring this project to a version 0.1 level, haha. Then you’ll be able to download the source and do what you wish with it for free (hopefully submit bug reports and patches πŸ˜› )!

Widget coding: Google Translator

google translatorIt’s been a while since I’ve worked on the widgets that I submitted to Opera Widgets. So I spent the last few days in my spare time just working on one of my most popular widgets…Google Translator. For the longest time it was handy, but not very well designed and the layout was poor…just a quick solution.

If you do translations from time to time or even often then you may find my widget very useful! You can convert text to and from many different languages and even web pages. The translations are done using ajax in the widget to fetch results from Google’s Translate service.

This widget, which is currently only available through Opera and Opera Widgets, happens to be a very popular widget and downloads count some where near ~82,000 at the moment.

I just uploaded version 2.1 yesterday, but the Opera team has to inspect the widgets to make sure there are no problems or possibly fraudulent activities going on in the background (kind of annoying since they don’t go live immediately and end up taking days, but worth the security).

Anyways, v2.1 included several improvements over the previous 1.42 (a.k.a. 2.0). An update notification is now included, the tabs are redesigned to match Gmail’s design a little closer, jQuery effects are now tied into the widget to make it more aesthetically pleasing to the eye, options were moved from a sloppy and quick side panel to the footer of the widget and can be toggled on and off, a more menu was added to pack in several more features that didn’t fit anywhere else (similar to Gmail’s more menu), useless images that could be replaced with css have been removed and a stylesheet has taken the burden off of inline styling which was never intended to be permanent..but a quick way to get the layout fixed right.

There are actually many many more changes and if you want to see a list then you can take a look at the changelog here.

I actually went above and beyond v2.1 almost immediately after publishing it. After creating a stable version (2.1) it was time to push the widget further, so v2.2 has many more fixes and updates. Optimizations are in progress and going well to reduce wasted code and duplicate elements that are not needed. There is actually a “Beta” version of v2.2pre1 on my Google Translator site. You can go a head and check it out if you want and see some of the updates from 2.1. It should be stable enough to use, but it’s not finalized just yet. πŸ˜‰

Anyhoo, just wanted to update everyone who reads my blog! Hope you’re all using Opera or at least gave it an honest run. πŸ˜‰ It’s a great browser, but sometimes you just can’t break away from the chains that tie you to another piece of software (most of us that would be Microsoft, lol).

Stay cool!

Opera 9.5 Final Released

Today Opera released a new “stable” build to the public. The latest “stable” version of Opera changed from Opera 9.27 to Opera 9.50. Opera released Opera 9.5 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) just two days ago. Between Opera 9.27 and Opera 9.50, the Opera Desktop Team fixed ~2350 bugs! You can view the changelogs for Windows, Macinstosh and Unix.

Please help spread Opera! digg it!

This is an incredible amount of fixes for a browser or any product!


Opera 9.5 Wallpapers

To use this wallpaper, you can right-click on the resolution sizes and save the image to your computer. Enjoy! πŸ™‚

For a full overview of the new features in Opera 9.5 check out my overview of Opera 9.5 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) Opera 9.5 is available for Windows, Macintosh and Unix x86 (32-bit) and Unix x86_64 (64-bit). Go get Opera 9.5 now!

Opera 9.5 just got a face lift!

Good news today for Opera browser fans! The Browser received a much needed face lift today. The desktop team has (on a side project) put together a new skin for the browser to enhance it’s appearance, improve functionality and bridge the gap between a few more cross-browser usability issues.

The new skin is now installed by default in the latest Opera 9.5 snapshots from the Desktop Team’s blog. However, if you need some time to get used to the new skin, they have also packaged the previous skin in the installer as well and it is called the Opera Classic skin.

Well, what are you waiting for? Go download this bad boy as you continue reading the rest of this post! You can grab the download from the original post (which is here), or you can just use the links I’ve gathered below for you. πŸ˜‰

Now that you’ve got the download process going on in the background, I’ll tell you a little bit about the changes that you may notice.

The new skin has replaced all of the old icons that you may be used to and with glossier and shinier new ones. The back, forward, refresh, stop, etc. buttons are all easily recognizable, but different.

It didn’t take me long at all to like the new skin! I actually liked it from the instant I restarted Opera!

One thing, however, that I used quiet often that has been changed is the panel toggle button that extended up the left-hand side of the window. You could click the talk and narrow button to show or hide the side panel and it’s windows.

A new button has been placed to the left of the tabs that does the exact same thing now. I’m still getting used to it, but I think it’s a good change..as many of you may not have known about the older button in the first place. πŸ˜›

The New Tab button is now moved to the right side of the row of tabs. It moves as the tabs row grows and is designed..or placed there to be more conveniently placed. This change is also one of the areas that Opera is working to bridge the gap between usability in Internet Explorer 7+ and Opera.

If you’ve used Internet Explorer 7 or 8 (beta) then you known that the new tab button is on the right side of the row of tabs and follows the tabs. Well, this is the same behavior as Opera now. πŸ˜€

The panels icons are also new. Although they take a little more time to get used to than the navigational icons, they are still a much needed update!

One thing that I’m not in favor of is the background color of the windows in the panels tab. The windows are, in my opinion, too dark and slow for the eyes to glance through.

I’ve spoken with some of the developers and they have told me that the skin is by no means finished. They are taking feedback from everyone, tweaking the theme, releasing it and then taking feedback again.

If you have any suggestions or feedback at all for them then you should go post it in the blog so they hear your voice! You can make a difference in the development of Opera!
http://my.opera.com/desktopteam/blog/2008/06/05/looking-sharp

Twitter’s down yet again: Twitter is over capacity.

For all of you Twitter fans out there, I’m sad yet not surprised, to tell you that Twitter is down yet again.

As if it isn’t bad enough that Twitter has been the target of much critism lately due to their poor site stability, they are down again!
twitter-down-again-2008-05-25

Twitter went down tonight at approximately 1:00 AM EST without warning. I personally am not a major fan of Twitter, mainly due to the fact that it is down a large percentage of the time when I would use it lately.

Thanks to Digsby, I was able to see exactly when my Twitter connection was lost and am able to tell you about the poor uptime that Twitter offered us tonight.

twitter-down-again-2-2008-05-25

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready to find an alternative!

UPDATE: Twitter is now back online. My last check was at 1:40 AM EST.

Ubuntu: Mac OS X themed!

So my fiancΓ©e loves the way Mac computers look, but who doesn’t? They’re so clean and simple. Well, as much as I like the clean and simple look..I’m not dedicated enough to try to get OS X installed on her HP dv1000.

Don’t get me wrong, her laptop is a mean little machine (especially since I’ve been playing on it lately). The problem with installing OS X is that you have to hunt for all of the drivers and some of them you have to manually configure. Manually configuring in this case also means little to no resources online for many of the things you will have to configure.

There are a few decent places with information about getting Mac OS x86 installed on a non-Apple computer, but trust me…it’s not been simplified enough just yet. πŸ˜‰

I tried installing OS X on my desktop about a year ago and ran into many complicated situations…so I did the next best thing. I installed Ubuntu! Now that I’ve had it installed and running for ~9-10 months I’m beginning to think this is the best!

So why would I install Linux on my system if I don’t want to manually configure everything? Okay, I don’t mind manually configuring something here and there. Today most Linux distros require very little manual configurations to run properly. Ubuntu literally required none!

The best thing about using Linux is that you can do anything with it! Having this in mind, I took a friend’s laptop (~5 months ago) and installed Ubuntu on it. After getting everything installed and updated I began to Macify it for her. I got a few things done here and there, but just recently I became more interested and began finishing some more of the conversion.

Now, there I’ve seen several screenshots where people have made almost pixel perfect copies of the Mac OS X environment. The screenshots here clearly show some faults, but overall they have the Mac feel going on!

I basically just searched around the web and found little tips here and there on how to get certain looks in Linux. The dock is Cairo-Dock. The web browser is actually Opera, which in Linux has the same skin as the Windows version, but I skinned with a Safari themed skin and altered the toolbar to get the address bar above the tabs.

You can click them for a larger image. I’ll try to post some finished product screenshots once I tidy up the menu bar a bit and add a few more Mac’ish ends. πŸ˜‰

In the meantime, if you’d like to get started with any of this on your Linux box then you can navigate over to my forum topic with several helpful links to resources!

I’m planning to write a guide for this pretty soon that will step through each little detail for you, but if you can’t wait then go checkout the forum topic. The topic is in no means a tutorial or a guide, it’s really just a note/pastebin for my thoughts and work process, haha. A way for me to hold onto some information in a slightly organized fashion. πŸ˜€

Stay tuned for the guide in the near future!

Screenshots now use on-the-fly thumbnails

phpI finally got around to implementing thumbnails for the screenshots to the right and in the gallery! Basically, instead of loading full screen images (which take ages to load on a slow internet connection) you are now loading images that have been shrunk from the originals down to the size that you see so no bandwidth is wasted and you see them load much faster!

Here is how it works:
The script that I’m using takes a src param and a width param. [You’ll see this if you’re viewing the source of the images. πŸ˜‰ ] The src (or source) param is the path to the original full size image. Once the source or path to the image has been established, the script shrinks and caches (saves or stores) the image on the server and then sends it to you. This makes my job of maintaining screenshots much easier!

Just thought you ought to know. πŸ˜‰ You most likely would never have known that these images were served to you on-the-fly and are not actually stored on the server in the sizes that you see. Just a neat little php trick!

If you’re interested in the script that I used you can find it at phpthumb.sourceforge.net/. It’s open source and updated fairly often (just enough so it’s not out of date, lol).

Enjoy the faster page loads!

New Screenshot Gallery Design..

I came across a very cool open source gallery project online that makes heavey use of Javascript, so I decided it was about time to get knees deep in some code and update the screenshot gallery a little bit. Little did I know how much I would have to manipulate the code to work with my screenshots. πŸ˜€

Checkout the new screenshot gallery design here!
Be warned..I haven’t implemented thumbnails as of yet, so the gallery will take a bit longer to load than it will when the project is complete. Just be a bit patient until I get the thumbnails loading instead of the full size pictures. πŸ˜‰

Credit goes to the ImageFlow project for the great work.

Next on the list is to add a custom made photo gallery so I can upload all of my pictures I’ve been taking over the years and let friends peek through them in a cool fun way! You better believe I’m going to be doing some more heavey Javascript coding to get this picture gallery going! The first thing I need to tackle is creating my own upload page so I can do everything from the site and not have to use ftp at all. After that it should be smooth sailing.

lso, uploading screenshots has been temperarily disabled until I update the uploader to cooperate with the new design. πŸ˜€

Cheers!
Off to get a bit of sleep in before NC State beats UNC in football..

UPDATE:
Uploads are now working for screenshots! If you want to upload an image just click here and browser for whatever you want to upload! I have it setup to only accept jpeg, gif and png images for now. The rest is straight forward! Enjoy!