Category Archives: Technology

Commentary about what happens across the country from me in Silicon Valley and other technology news.

My First Stab at Tech Punditry (Or: Internet Explorer Needs UI Skins to Compete with Netscape 6)

Back in 2012, old friends of mine such as Patrick O’Keefe, Brad Kelly, Ray Angel, and James Fintel somehow unearthed a copy of “XPreme Magazine.” It was, in essence, a tech blog distributed via .exe file (seriously).

I wrote an article for XPreme Magazine’s January 1, 2002 issue, originally entitled “Internet Explorer Over the Years”, which discussed a perceived slowdown in Internet Explorer development. It is remarkable in how prophetic it was while still being tremendously short-sighted.

With full permission (acquired in 2012, from which this draft is being updated), I have reprinted the article in its unedited glory. Enjoy. Continue reading

Derived Parameters in Unidata AWIPS on macOS

I have a really big post in the works about how I’m using Unidata’s fork of AWIPS II for weather stuff these days on my Macs. It has come a long way in a year, and I’m really digging it. (In fact, I have it up on a monitor at virtually all times at home these days as a situational awareness display.) In the meantime, I wanted to share an important finding on its own that may help a lot of struggling AWIPS users out there.

Updated July 18, 2017: You don’t need to follow all these instructions anymore. With AWIPS 17.1.1, Unidata has provided a package with the required jep and gridslice modules. Download these modules from the Unidata website.

Continue reading

Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape Communicator 4.08 displaying a simple Web page completely differently.

Internet Explorer 4.0 and Netscape Communicator 4.08 displaying a simple Web page completely differently.

It’s a good thing standards won out on the Web, huh? The difference between these pages is that IE 4 can interpret the <marquee> tag while Netscape 4 never understood it. Those late ’90s browser wars were not for the faint at heart.

It wasn’t all bad, though: The Windows NT virtual machine I ran this comparison on only was running 22 concurrent processes for the entire system, and was barely touching my MacBook Pro’s battery. Why can’t we get back there?

WebKit Rules the World

I’m writing this in Safari, the genesis of the WebKit project, while listening to music on Spotify, a WebKit-based music player. On my other monitor is GitHub’s Atom, a really damned fine programmers’ editor that has its roots in WebKit (to the point where you can inspect it and change the UI with stylesheets).

Just imagine if Microsoft had continued to actively develop, and perhaps even open-source, Trident (the IE rendering engine) in the early 2000s. (On second thought…best to just leave that alone.)

Improve Yosemite’s text display on non-Retina displays

The other day, I upgraded my wife’s MacBook Air to OS X Yosemite. Immediately, her first concern was that the UI text was harder to read. This is, in part, due to Helvetica Neue replacing Lucida Grande, but also because Yosemite’s LCD font smoothing seems rather harsh on non-Retina. Fortunately, a Terminal command makes for a crisper and easier-to-read display:

defaults -currentHost write -globalDomain AppleFontSmoothing -int 2

Log out and back in and you should see some improvement in text rendering in the Yosemite UI.

Two good reads on Twitter’s new blocking scheme

Update: Twitter is reverting to the old block functionality.

I’m not a huge fan of Twitter’s new blocking scheme. These two posts do a great job of explaining why:

hypatia dot ca:

Blocking, even on a public account, is surprisingly effective at dealing with low-grade harassment. Most harassers just aren’t that invested in the person they are bothering, and putting up the tiniest roadblock will make them move on to their next target. I had this conversation with a Googler shortly after G+ shipped, as its blocking behavior was at the time the same as the new Twitter behavior. I have no idea what it is now because I hate G+ and don’t use it, and I realized that this may be unintuitive to someone who hasn’t experienced harassment before – but trust me, as someone who has, it works a lot of the time. Which is great!

The Daily Dot:

Unfortunately, by enacting this policy change, more people will simply lock their accounts to bring back the capabilities of the “old” block. Not exactly the transparency Twitter is hoping for.