Tala Ko

Posts Tagged ‘links

I’m writing this post from Google Chrome. Can I just say how happy I am, that although it probably resembles Vista more, the title/tab bar reminds me of Ubuntu? *sniff*

I first read about Chrome this morning, when a co-worker brought it up. I had a lot of fun reading the comic (learned a lot, too), but to be honest, just doing my usual online activities and seeing how FAAAST everything is seems to have blown my geekery out the window. It’s like when our battered family couch was reupholstered this summer – the new look and feel just gave family couch time that extra zing, even though we knew that the same old squishy cushions were inside.

Except, based on what I’ve learned from the comic, Google Chrome doesn’t have the same old squishy cushions inside. More like, they decided to take the couch apart, find out why (besides shifting butts) it needed reupholstering in the first place, and build it from the ground up, all the way to the woven blanket my mom throws over the pillows. This foam will last longer, is just as soft, and won’t start to sag in the middle, they’re telling me.

So it’s fast, more efficient, safer from crashes, and prettier. I want to know now, what about my extensions? :( For instance, ever since I started using AdBlock Plus a few years ago, browsing hasn’t been the same. That’s one of the reasons I was so happy to finally be free of Internet Explorer (more on that later) at work. No matter how pretty and comfy this new couch is, if it doesn’t have room for Mom’s sewing kit, Dad’s can of Pringles, and my brother’s security blanket, we’re not really going to enjoy it.

Till then, I’m going back to Firefox.

And, speaking of Firefox, I wrote before that once we got our new computers in, I’d no longer need to run apps off my USB stick. I remember thinking as I booted my unit for the first time on Monday, “First thing I’m gonna do is install Firefox, the GIMP, and Pidgin.” I’d already downloaded the .exe’s the previous week, in anticipation of this golden moment that I’d be back in FOSS’s arms.

Then, I found out that IT had done something that prevented me from installing programs. I was a guest user in my own computer. (-_-‘) Apparently, any desire to do more customization than changing the wallpaper had to be cleared with them and scheduled.

I don’t know how they do computers in your office, but for me, this was just wack. I cast my USB stick an apologetic look and proceeded to fire up FirefoxPortable.

I got a prompt saying that I was attempting to run it off a disk in read-only mode. Did I want to un-write-protect my USB stick, or would I be fine copying FirefoxPortable to the Desktop and running it from there? I blinked. Why hadn’t I thought of that before?

But as IE begrudgingly unhooked its claws and slunk off into the Unused Desktop Shortcuts folder, where it belonged, my feeling of relief was mixed with annoyance. Why did I have to resort to such a workaround? Couldn’t I be trusted not to break anything?

(The answer, of course, was no. I haven’t been at the office six months, so IT doesn’t know me or how much fun I find all this geekery.)

So, of course, I had to wait till I got home to try out the Chrome.

Another hiccup caused by this no-installing-by-yourself policy is that they forgot to install a PDF reader. Anytime I get a PDF now, I have to upload it to Google Docs or convert it with Zamzar.

This reminds me of the height of the liquids ban at airports, when one lady’s baby nearly died of dehydration because some idiot wouldn’t let her take the baby’s formula on the plane. To loosely quote Banksy, somebody save me from the people who’re trying to save me.

Yes, yes, I know. To compare my situation to that is a bit of an exagerration. I must behave. I’d even go so far as to remind myself that the Bible tells me to submit to appointed authorities.

It’s just… I’m so used to having such freedom with computers that every wall I come up against – first Webwasher, and now this no-installing thing – feels like a huge injustice. :(

Hang on, now I remember something that’s a little more serious. I found a bar311 virus in my USB stick (I’m not going to point any fingers, but I know where the stick’s been). AVG didn’t find it, but ClamWinPortable did (so it’s a win for ClamWin. Hehe). I couldn’t manually remove it, and the cleaner I’d downloaded off the web wouldn’t work, either – all because I’m not allowed to edit the computer’s registry.

I decided not to tell IT, because they look pretty busy. Anyway, ClamWin told me that the virus wasn’t in the computer’s hard drive; it was just in my USB disk. So I waited till I got home (again), hooked up my Stella Baby to my relatives’ peripherals, and manually deleted the infernal files while in Ubuntu. When I opened up my USB disk at work this morning, bar311.exe was no longer a process listed in the Task Manager. (Another win for FOSS.)

*sigh*

I know, I can’t always get what I want… without having to resort to some kinda workaround.

=*=

Other stuff: I’m teaching myself more stuff and can’t wait till I can mess around some more with MODx. :D

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One of our consultants installed two FOSS Content Management Systems in his own server so we could play around with them. Here are the notes I took while doing just that:

MODx: Manager users cannot log in from the front; Web users can’t log in from the back. Moderators/Admins need both a Manager and a Web account.
WordPress: No need to switch between accounts when working in front or out back.
MODx: Supports Page Parents and Children, with a nice tree that shows the numbering of each page.
WordPress: Also supports Page Families, but without a numbered tree. HOWEVER, it more easily allows URL customization.
MODx: Has an Import HTML function, which might make transition from static to CMS-based easier.
WordPress: Does not have Import HTML. :/
MODx: Requires you to learn MODx tags to add certain things.
WordPress: As far as I can tell, you’ll be fine with the usual languages.
MODx: Need to write a template.
WordPress: Need to write a template.
We’ve decided on MODx upon the consultant’s recommendation, though. The interface could be a little easier to navigate, but the overall system makes it easier to do what we want to do. Anyone here who’s got experience using these CMS’s?
Of course, we’ll be back to square one on the search for a free CMS if the server doesn’t support SQL (I already know that it supports PHP). :p It isn’t a Linux server, that I know for sure. :(
The funny thing is, I found out that most of us younger people on the web team are pretty supportive of FOSS. But IT ordered us computers that run Windows, because the rest of the office uses Windows. *sigh*
Maybe one day, I can tell someone in Admin how much money we could save if we all just used Ubuntu. :D
People at the office are starting to ask us how the website is coming along, and when they’ll be able to see it. I don’t have the heart to say that it’ll take a little longer, as we still have to figure out the CMS stuff. And we’re also redesigning!
Hmph. I wish I had something for Tala other than work stuff, but most of the tech I encounter these days is encountered at work. I’m going to go look for Clips. :p

Recently, I read some posts (1 and 2) by Larry Dignan on ZDNet. He had this to say:

The OS will never be totally irrelevant, but it will be increasingly less important. It’ll be plumbing.

He also introduced me to the idea of “the Webtop, which will deliver programs through the browser.”

Actually, the idea doesn’t surprise me. Sometime ago, I wrote that what I do in Ubuntu isn’t all that different from what I do in Windows. I consider my use of Ubuntu a show of support for computing freedoms, even though I as a non-programmer aren’t equipped to fully use those freedoms.

I could have gone further and said that what I do in Ubuntu isn’t all that different from what I do in Windows, because I can do most of what I need to do through my cross-platform browser, Firefox. Most of that work is done with Google apps, too: GMail, Google Notebook, Google Docs, etc. I also prefer the web-based version of Yahoo! Messenger because it’s nice and neat (and kind of a ripoff of Pidgin’s tabbed chat window, but hey). I just can’t use it at work because of the URL filter. :p

The point is that as long as there are browsers and browser-based applications (once I get the hang of a browser-based image editing app, I’ll be all set), it doesn’t really matter what OS I use. Except, as I said before, as a matter of principle. Principle behind the plumbing.

=*=

The K2 theme has gotten wonky, so I changed to [ ]. Will fix the image header eventually. Any theme I try seems wonky, meaning the right-hand column appears at the bottom of the entire blog instead. Wish I could view it on the work computer to see if it’s just the home computer that has a problem. What do you see?

=*=

I remembered this OS-becoming-less-important thing because we’ll finally be getting our own computers (which will run either XP or Vista) at the office soon. No more borrowing from the Tech department’s supply of standby laptops. No more putting my USB stick on the rack with portable apps; now it’ll be back to simply storing files. :)

A few posts back, I mentioned that I’d started work for the website of a local church. While on the job, I found a bunch of sites that were a great help to me, so I decided to share them:

The Internet Ministry Conference – site of an annual conference on, well, Internet ministry. Contains schedules, an insightful blog (lately, the topic was evangelism and social networking), and links to other ‘net ministry-related sites. The conference itself will have various talks on ministry, web design, and programming.

Church Marketing Sucks – all about improving the image of the church as presented through church websites. Points seekers to resources while providing its own tips and thoughts on making church marketing not suck.

Ekklesia360 – Content Management Systems for church websites. This isn’t just a great solution for the web-challenged; on the whole, CMS’s can save the web team a lot of time.

Circle Builder – Helps you build your own online community for your faith-based group. It’s open not just to Christians, but also to groups of all faiths.

Internet Evangelism Day – Like the conference, this is a project of Gospel Communications. This site has a lot of tips, tools, and articles about improving a church website’s writing style, navigation, design, and so forth. Ironically enough, I find IED’s site design a little dated, but that doesn’t diminish the value of the insight one can find on the site.

The next three links are examples of the kind of online activity that my employers want their church (can’t say ‘my’ church yet because I’m not yet a member) to eventually go into.

Lifechurch – A church that conducts its services online. Messages and music are broadcast live to 12 different locations around the US.

Truth Media – One-on-one counseling and sharing of the good news about Jesus online.

I’ll throw in just one more link: Relevant Magazine is something that I’d like to see for Christian youth here in the Philippines.

A little about myself, now. Yes, I am a Christian. I like the work I’m being asked to do, and I wouldn’t mind doing it for a while. It’s fun. And it’s nice to get the opportunity to show people on both sides of the belief gap that faith, science, and technology aren’t always a bad mix.

On another note, while working on some site content, I got the idea for a church group / ministry group that I’d like to see and join. I’d like to see a group that gathers to discuss advancements in science and technology in light of God’s Word and plan for the universe. To be more specific, it would be a faith-based group that isn’t afraid to talk about aliens, genetics, parallel universes, Mitochondrial Eve, and evolution. They’d geek out in order to (attempt to) answer the question, “If this is true about our universe, what does that tell us about our God?”

The group would also promote and participate in conservation activities, simply because human beings aren’t the only part of Creation of which God made us keepers. We have dominion over the earth in the same way that a good politician has dominion over his constituents – he’s the last to be served.

*dreamy sigh…* How awesome that would be.

ARGH.

Posted on: Monday, 16 June 2008

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve tried to download the Xubuntu alternate ISO. I’ve tried downloading through Firefox’s download manager, a different download manager, and through Transmission (the bittorrent client that  came with Hardy Heron), and for some reason, I can’t get one with the right hash. :(

See, we’re trying to breathe life into an older computer with one of the earlier Intel processors. We want to donate it to someone in the community who needs it more (my dad’s thinking one of the local schools). I suggested that we try Xubuntu – it made sense, considering the age of the machine; also, I wanted to see Xubuntu in action for myself. Giving the beneficiary a GNU/Linux system would keep them safe from malware while they worked AND introduce them to the wonderful world of FOSS.

Trouble is, I can’t get a good copy of the raw CD image. :(

Our neighbor, Kuya Russel, is our go-to guy for tech support, and he told me he’d had an installer CD handy. But it turned out to contain Wubi stuff. I don’t want to just tack the new OS onto the outdated system; I want the latter replaced completely.

Here’s hoping for a successful download by tomorrow afternoon.