Tala Ko

Posts Tagged ‘work

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

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 inĀ 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

Okay. Been working for over a week now, and I haven’t had time to blog. I have the rest of my lunch break to finish this post, though. :)

I started using Google Notebook today and found it to be a great way for me to stay organized.

The little planner that I bring along with me has turned out to be too little to contain everything that I have to scribble down. It’s gotten messy, too. The other thing I did before Google Notebook was to create all these text files, and that got messy, as well.

The first thing that turned up in my search was a blog post about Google Notebook. I actually thought, ‘Not another Google thing.’ I wanted a little variety, and besides, the description didn’t match what I thought I needed – a web-based form of Post-It notes. But after bookmarking websites kept turning up in the search results, in the end, I found myself back at Google Notebook.

Screencap Google Notes

As you can see, I have two Notebooks in my Google Notebook account: one for work things and one for personal, when-you’re-not-at-work things (including topics for blog posts, haha). And inside each Notebook, I have notes, of course.

Organization is pretty simple. With a few simple clicks and drags, they can be reordered as I like. Each note can be labeled ala GMail labels, so that I can view all notes of one label at a time, regardless of which sub-Notebook it’s in (In WordPress terms, Categories:Notebooks as Tags:Labels).

After a while, I realized that its system would keep me a lot more organized than a lot of little yellow squares on the screen. I’ll be using it to

EDIT:

I have no memory of how that sentence was supposed to end. This post was all but done. But when I clicked Publish, the next screen I saw was something from a URL filter telling me that I wasn’t allowed to access the site because it was a blog. I’d been typing away for a good half hour till then. >:p When I logged on again here at the house, I saw that the draft hadn’t been saved completely.

I know that the Webwasher thingy is a program, not a person. But come on. It was break time. :p

Not only blogging, but also chatting, instant messaging, and web radio are filtered out. For a little over a week, I was able to use Twitter every now and then, but that, too, was eventually blocked. I understand that URL filters keep people from looking at dangerous or distracting sites. I just wish that the one at the office would get its ratings/definitions right.

Plain-text lyrics websites are blocked because they’re “Entertainment/Movie.” Wikipedia is blocked, because it’s a “Newsgroup/Blog!” Twitter was blocked because it was a “Dating/Relationships” site. It’s not. Technically, it’s more of a “Chat/Instant Messaging” site, but that’s not the point. Now I’m wondering if they’ll accuse me of online dating on the job. :p

I’d also like to use Chikka to send business texts, because I don’t want to pay to do part of my job. :/

I think what smarts the most is that using a filter implies that we can’t be trusted. Why not just get a simpler porn and mal-ware blocker? Sure, every now and then, I might look up someone’s blog or fire off a Tweet. But I’m not going to do that all day; after all, “no work, no pay” is an actual phrase in my contract. Just knowing that my computer faces a wall, and that anyone passing by can see what’s on my screen, is enough to make sure I don’t change windows for more than five minutes. What’s more is, I actually don’t want to do any blogging myself, at the office; it’s something I want to save for my own time. But it’s nice to know I’d have the option on, say, a slow day.

Yesterday was my first day at my first job (yay for me!) as a writer/researcher for the website of a local megachurch. :) I’m pretty psyched.

I don’t have a workstation of my own yet, so I had to borrow a laptop from their tech bank. It’s an IBM unit that runs Windows XP. A few minutes into working, and I started to wish for that feature in Ubuntu that keeps a certain window on top, no matter what. :/

But to be honest, what I do in Ubuntu isn’t all that different from what I used to do – and what I have to do again at work – in Windows. My copy of XP is original, too, so I don’t have anything to worry about from the software police. Because I’m not a programmer, I don’t get to fully exercise the freedoms that FOSS offers.

I just like knowing that those freedoms are there, and that they help make the computing world a little smaller and a little bigger all at once. Using Ubuntu and the free programs it comes with is just my way of supporting those freedoms.

Oh, and I finally got to use FirefoxPortable as well. :p It’s fast and it’s mine, but I don’t want to exact too much of a toll on my flash disk. It’ll tide me over till I get a workstation, I guess.

By the way, does anyone know where I can find a portable media player with ogg vorbis support? Locally, if you please. :) Thanks.

I signed up for blip.fm. I think it’s one big collaborative online radio station with Twitter-like features. It’s fun, and I get to hear a lot of interesting music. Check it out. :)