Dec 312008

Our pet hamster, Happy (called “Happy Monster” by Sophie before she could pronounce “hamster”) died sometime this evening.  She was fine this afternoon, judging from the ruckus coming from her wheel, but about an hour ago I went to feed her and she had passed on.

I don’t look forward to explaining this to Sophie in the morning.

 Posted by at 2:52 AM
Dec 272008

Yesterday, after having thought about it for a while lately, I finally bought a new car to replace my old 2001 Expedition.  I came home with a lovely new Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited, which looks like this on the outside:

It’s pretty fully decked out:

It has DVD navigation system, 4-disc CD changer, aux port for my iPod, fold-flat third row seats, power moonroof, back row AC power outlet and inputs for the DVD entertainment system.  Two wireless headsets for the entertainment system, too.  Heated leather seats.  Pretty much the works.  It handles great, is nice and quiet (almost too quiet when running entirely on electric), and I think I’m in love with it.

 Posted by at 9:58 PM
Dec 052008

As I’ve mentioned before on my blog, occasionally I try out Thunderbird to see if it feels like a good fit to become my mail client.  So far, the longest I’ve stuck with it is about two weeks, back during the later stages of development on Thunderbird 2.0.

With Thunderbird 3 teetering on the brink of beta, I thought I’d give it another try today.

By and large, Thunderbird has come a long way!  The editor is improved, the look and feel is better, the tabs are a great addition, and it seems a lot nicer to use overall.

However, I ran into one frustrating hiccup and a few weird throwbacks that give me pause.

By “throwbacks,” I mean features that seem half-implemented compared to, well, every other mail client out there.

  • In this day and age, having to write your signatures using an external editor and choose them using a file picker seems beyond quaint.  I haven’t seen another email program that does this in at least a decade.
  • The fact that there’s not only no built-in “new mail” sound effect, but that Thunderbird doesn’t support the standard sound file formats most commonly used on the Mac, seems very odd.  At least on the Mac, it’s very easy to play back just about any type of sound file.
  • In my opinion, there should be an “Edit this account” button in the account creation wizard.  The default configuration is rarely adequate for my needs, due to quirks of most of the servers I use.

There are a few other things, mostly minor, along with me personally having some hard-to-explain issue with the design of the server settings user interface.  I don’t know what it is that bothers me, but something does.

As usual, this sounds like a lot of whining, so I want to stress that I’m incredibly impressed by the progress made in Thunderbird 3, and I’m quite excited for its release.  Even more so, I have little doubt that Thunderbird is on a course toward meeting my rather nitpicky personal preferences and eventually becoming my email client of choice.

Keep it up, folks!

 Posted by at 6:15 PM
Dec 022008

We have a couple of new articles on MDC that are of interest to Firefox 3.1 users (among others).  I wrote neither of them (which makes me so happy), but want to be sure everyone is aware of them:

Arun wrote the article HTTP access control, which provides details on how HTTP access control works in Firefox 3.1.  This includes examples of both server and client side code, as well as examples of what the HTTP transactions themselves look like.  It’s very useful information that will be of interest to anyone that wants to use web fonts and cross-site XMLHttpRequests.

Mossop put together a handy article that covers the basics of listening to events, including both DOM events and web progress events; this incorporates both stuff existing prior to Firefox 3.1 and the new “all tabs” listeners introduced in Firefox 3.1.

There’s still plenty of stuff left to write about for Firefox 3.1, but we’re making great headway, and it’s sure helpful when others contribute content like this!

 Posted by at 5:09 PM