A Brand New Google Favicon

I’m not sure how long this has been online, but tonight I noticed an updated Google favicon. –> google-icon

google-favicon

If you’re unsure of what I’m talking about, the favicon is the little icon that you see in your browser’s address bar or in the tab.

I’m assuming that the change is an effort to reinforce the branding of the Google Chrome browser which has a very similar looking application icon.

From a design perspective I have to say, well done Google!

My first real dabble in Mac OS X

I’ve been telling myself for a long time that I need to take some time to get comfortable on a Mac. I used a Mac a long time ago. You know, one of those old clam shell Macs..

clamshell_ibook_ad

.., but that was only for a short amount of time. It was running OS 9 and a bit slow, but it was a neat little computer. It would be cool to get it running again, but I’m sure it’s a bit behind the times these days.

Anyhoo, I’ve noticed that Ubuntu and OS X are a lot alike! Not that Gnome looks remotely similar to the Aqua OS X, but I’ve found that I knew my way around in OS X from all of the time that I’ve spent in Ubuntu from Feisty to Gutsy to Intrepid and now to Jaunty.

If I had to explain the differences between Mac OS X and Ubuntu then I would start by skipping the obvious…there is no dock by default in Ubuntu, however, it is possible to mimic the OS X dock and very easily.

Mac has a certain way of minimizing clutter in windows. I would say that Gnome is pretty good at the same, but not as intuitive with file browser views and scrolling options.

One of the biggest problems with Ubuntu, and Linux in general, is that most applications are not polished. Since most applications used in Linux are open source, the development can be slow (or sometimes fast, but rarely) and User Interfaces are not always almost never polished.

There are a couple of themes for Intrepid, one being Dust, that really improve the aesthetics in Ubuntu. If your interested in installing it, checkout this short list of things that I install each time I setup Ubuntu 8.10. You can copy and paste straight into the terminal to install the community themes then select it as usual. For an Opera skin to match the Dust theme in Ubuntu take a look at the two that I’ve developed (Dust in the names). They are Dusty Chrome and Opera Standard Dust.

One of the things I really love about the Mac OS X User Interface is the way the menus are displayed on the top panel instead of in each individual window. This makes each window get straight to the point of it’s being there and reduces clutter and messy appearances. It greatly simplifies every window and just makes things look that much more polished.

It is possible in Gnome to get the menu Items to appear in this fashion, but it is a great deal of trouble (or it was the last time I tried) and a nasty hack.

The icon sets alone in Mac OS X are worth bragging over. I’ve seen some good looking icons in Linux that some people like and some people don’t like, but for the most part I would say everyone likes the icons in OS X and that to me is hard work towards polishing the interface.

I think it will take me a little longer to get used to Mac OS X so I can be just as productive using a Mac as I can using Windows or Ubuntu, but now I know that I can get around pretty well. I think I’ll stick with my trusty installs of Ubuntu for now, but maybe one day I’ll be a Mac fan as well. πŸ˜‰

December 12, 2008: Biggest Full Moon in 15 Years

Be sure to checkout the full moon at some point tonight! It will be the biggest full moon to appear in 15 years!

Hopefully I can get around to try to capture a good picture or two!

Update (2008-12-15):
Unfortunately my camera’s memory card was full so I borrowed a friends camera and took a few pictures. The moon is a difficult thing to capture in an image with nothing near it to give it some scale for size comparison. It was a big moon though and here is one picture that turned out alright.

n11815377_38167746_2043

Windows 7 Preview

Today Microsoft gave the first public demonstration of Windows 7. Below is a short gallery of Windows 7 screenshots. For more information about the details of the Windows 7 and what’s changed or new just click on one of these links.

Just to point out a few things that you should pay attention to, I’ve made the following list:

  • The New Windows Taskbar
  • Jump Lists
  • Aero’s New Moves
  • Unified Search
  • Fewer Annoying Pop-ups
  • HomeGroups
  • Device Stage

(Images thanks to LLarsen’s Flickr photostream)

Flickr: Backing up my photos

You know me. I’m always up to something on the computer. I can’t remember if I blogged about this a long long time ago or not, but I had a hard drive go bad. πŸ˜‰

I had to “undelete” about 300GB of data ranging from several years of irreplaceable family photos to website backups and database backups to my music collection to VHS family videos that I had been in the process of converting to DVD, etc.

To say the very least, it was a horrible nightmare. I thought I had lost all of the family photos that I had been archiving for so long and even had organized by picture dates in folders and such.

Well, fortunately I was able to get about 80% of the data back off of the hard drive that went bad and store it all on another hard drive that I had at the time. The other 20% was basically expendable data that I could replace or was honestly just wasting space and wasn’t worth the effort of spending more time to recover.

I did manage to get most all of my photos back, however, I was not about to go through and try to date each and every photo again. Luckily for me, I had already done this and tagged them in Flickr and as it turns out you can use a Firefox extension to download all of the photos in your Flickr account (this may be limited for non-pro users) and it stores them in the appropriate folders based on the albums and tags that you apply. πŸ˜€

This great extension is called Firefox Universal Uploader (fireuploader). I’ve actually used it in the past to verify that it worked as I needed it to, but I hadn’t actually used it dependently until now. It’s been around for a while and I’m sure that if you Google it you will find plenty of reviews and how-to articles.

I won’t cover how to use it, because it’s actually very simple. If you do need help then just Google it or see if it’s mentioned on the extension page. πŸ˜›

I’m well on my way to backing up all of my old photos again and even organize my new ones into the collect. For a while I had just been uploading to Flickr and didn’t really store the pictures I had taken since I knew I was going to eventually just download them all into an organized group of folders.

If you have a large collection of important family photos then you should also invest in storing your photos online in places like Flickr (free 100mb/month but only the last ~200 photos are accessible..or..Unlimited Pro account for $25/year) or even just using Gmail to store them with GPhotoSpace for free.

Another thing that I’m doing now is using two separate storage devices to backup my photos and other valuables and synchronize them across machines so if I lose one then I still have the other.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned about storage, it’s that hard drives can and will go bad and typically with bad timing so it’s best to stay on top of your game and keep everything backed up all along the way. πŸ˜‰

82 Epic Elemental Phenomena and Natural Disasters

I came across this site in my Google Reader news feeds and just had to share it with everyone.

It contains images and videos of all sorts of amazing things ranging from lightning to auroras and craters to shapes in mountains and so much more.

(Image from http://weburbanist.com/)

Check them out at:
http://weburbanist.com/2008/10/24/elemental-natural-phenomena-formations-disasters-photos-images-videos/

Opera Speed Dial idea

The other day this “duh” idea just popped into my head, so I thought I might draw it up and send it off to get some opinions and reviews.

Basically, I just realized that while adding a new entry to Speed Dial is relatively painless, it could be a whole lot more convinient and here’s how.

If for instance you find yourself checking a specific web site or web page frequently then you might be tempted to bookmark that page or save it to Speed Dial.

If you think about it, to bookmark a page you don’t even have to “leave” the page or switch to a different screen or window to do so.

You can go to the menu item “Bookmarks -> Bookmark Page” or you can just press Ctrl+D.

My idea makes adding or updating Speed Dials more intuitive in a way by adding a menu item to the right click menu of all pages.

I would add the entry “Add to Speed Dial”, which would then open a simple dialog prompting the user to select the Speed Dial entry that they would like to store the current page to.

This would be very handy in my opinion as not all users will realize that they don’t have to copy and paste the url if it is not already listed in their opened pages, frequently visited pages or an Opera page.

It’s also (in my opinion) visually reassuring of which page you are actually adding.

EDIT:
I posted an Opera forum topic about this as well and it has a poll so go vote!