More Assorted Shorts (11/2009)

Some assorted shorts, given that I haven’t had much time to post of late. I’ll write more on some of these in the coming days.

More to come on some of these as we get our lives at least marginally back under control as soccer winds down for the fall…

  • We’ve got Halloween pix coming; you’ll want to keep an eye out for those in the next couple days!
  • On the Linux front, Ubuntu 9.10 is out as of late last week. I pushed one of my older boxes to it with reasonable success. Not much more there to say other than the startup and shutdown times are impressive, even on old hardware. Brown hasn’t done much for me lately.
  • The time change is wreaking havoc on our mornings at this point, particularly with Li.
  • The first pre-release of Firefox 3.6 is out, but I haven’t had a chance yet to pull it down and give it a try. At least on the surface, the only interesting aspect is the return of some eye candy regarding switching tabs. Also on the browser front, Google Chrome continue to progress, but the continued absence of the ability to control default font sizes on Mac OS X is mystifying.
  • Ian wrapped up his high school soccer career with a trip to the state tournament in Boise in late October. Odd to think that’s over and done with; odder to think that I am going to be saying that more and more over the next few months as he works his way through his senior year.
  • Done a bit of reading, although little of it was worth noting aside from “South of Broad” by Pat Conroy. I haven’t read anything by him for several years and this was a great reminder of how much I love his writing.
  • On the movie front, go see “500 Days of Summer” if you haven’t yet and can still find it in a theater. Best movie we’ve seen in a very long time.

Busy Couple Weeks in Open Source Land

It’s been a busy couple of weeks with new releases (and pre-releases) of several key software packages, and the benefits of using a rolling-release distribution of Linux like Arch Linux are again pronounced.

It has been a pretty busy couple of weeks in the land of open source software:

  • OpenOffice.org‘s new version 3 made it into the regular repositories in Arch Linux last week. One of the aspects of a rolling release distribution like Arch is how quickly stuff like this becomes available particularly in light of the recent announcement by the Ubuntu team that they will stay on version 2.4.1 in their next upcoming release. Both my Arch boxes have been updated, and I’m impressed with the changes and the speed improvements.
  • Firefox’s beta 1 of version 3.1 was released up, too, and I’m running it on 3 of my boxes, including my Mac at work. It feels much faster — even without turning on the disabled-by-default new JavaScript engine which is still reportedly pretty buggy — and some of the UI changes are pretty nice.
  • Mozilla Messaging release an alpha 3 of the next release of Thunderbird, and I’m running that as my primary mail client on my Mac at work. It has picked up some nice Mac UI changes, provides integration with the Mac address book, and the re-tooled IMAP support is noticably better that the current stable version 2 branch of Thunderbird. And how could you not like a mail client named “Shredder”?
  • GNOME‘s latest release — version 2.24 — made it into the stable repositories earlier this week, and both of my Arch boxes are now running it. Most of the changes aren’t all that obvious at this point, but it is noticably faster and feels more responsvive. The upgrade was painless (aside from the big download) and seems to have gone flawlessly on both boxes.
  • Finally, WordPress released a minor point release to fix a security hole.

Firefox 3.0rc2 is available

I pulled down a copy of it late yesterday evening, after seeing a blurb that it was out. The MozDevs must be close to sticking a fork in it, as this is the first of the recent pre-releases that doesn’t take you to the funky sci-fi start page that we’ve come to love, and the “About Mozilla Firefox” dialog shows it simply as “Firefox 3”. Learn more on — and grab a copy from — the Mozilla Firefox 3 release notes page.

Firefox 3 RC 1

Mozilla Firefox 3.0rc1 is out and it looks like they’ve finally fixed the long-standing bug with the handling of Gmail’s dynamic addressing menu.

… is out, and it looks like they’ve finally fixed the long-standing bug with the handling of the dynamic address list in Gmail. Woo hoo! Read more about this new release candidate here. Rock solid so far on Linux, but I haven’t tried it on any of my other boxes.

Firefox 3b4 is out

Firefox 3b4 is out, but still suffers from some minor borderline-annoying problems.

As of late yesterday, Mozilla has released beta 4 of Mozilla Firefox 3. Still not yet ready for prime time but getting close. At least on one of my Linux boxes, it still suffers from some wierdness with the dynamic aspects of GMail (the address auto-complete dropdown is completely munged, for example).

I also found a post showing how to control the size of the comment text and URLs in Firefox 3’s new “location bar”. Adding the following two lines to your userCrome.css file help (particularly on Mac OS X where the text size difference is even more striking):

.ac-comment { font-size: 90% !important; }
.ac-url-text { font-size: 90% !important; }

(On my Mac at work, I dropped those to 85% and 75%, respectively.)