Jan
13
2009

Space – the final frontier

I can’t believe I am saying this, but I am actually running out of space on my computer. This sounds silly to me and yet at the same time it doesn’t.

I am currently using 75% of my disks and that is after I removed about 80GB of data the other night.

You see, when I built this version of my machine some time ago I used old hard drives and added more as I have always done.

This has left me with 2 X 160GB, 2 X 250GB, 1 X 320GB. I probably spent the same amount each time, it is just that the bang for your buck has gone up. I don’t like to throw away perfectly good working kit, so this has left me in a situation where I am using 5 drives to do what could technically be done with 1 now. Well, I say it could be done, part of the reason I use lots of drives is to protect against data loss in case a hard disk dies (I have never had a disk in my machine die on me).

In the case of my setup I use the 2 250GB drives as data and data backup. Problem now is my data is running out of room and I like to keep my data on two same size disks.

The only solution for my current way of thinking is to remove the two 250’s (well, probably the 160’s and give the 250’s their role) and replace them with something like a pair of 500GB or 750’s or something. However this is a lot of work and still leaves me with a problem I wish to address.

I am all for being able to get to my data from anywhere at any time. The problem with my monolith of a computer is yes, it has loads of space in it, yes, it is very powerful, but it also requires a lot of power to run and I don’t like leaving it on overnight etc.

The only real solution for me is a data server. Some low power box that contains disk after disk and keeps my data safe. There are some cheap ones out there (this springs to mind) but me being me, this isn’t quite good enough. It only holds 2 disk which means to keep my data secure I have to to use RAID 1 which mirrors the two drives. This means I loose 50% to storage space to backup’s. What I really want is a box that supports RAID 5 where i only loose 33% to backup. Problem here is it needs at least 3 drives and those all in one boxes I like so much don’t do RAID 5 as much.

So far the best solution to my issues is this device: TS-509 Pro Turbo NAS

It holds upto 5 drives, it contains more features than you can shake a very big stick at and most importantly, it rebuilds the arrays, expands them etc all by itself, I don’t need to spend days breaking it or rebuilding it myself if I need more storage. The only catch is it is about £600. I guess that is the price you pay if you want to keep your data safe and accessible.

Jan
09
2009

Live goes, err, live

Some of you may know that CES is currently going on in Las Vegas in the states. This is a big trade show for the tech industry to show off its new toys. All the big boys are there including the likes of Microsoft, LG, Samsung, AMD and Intel. This is the place where we were first shown the CD player, the DVD, the Commodore 64, the camcorder, even the game “Pong”. So there is no doubt this is where you go talk about big things.

The headline opening talk was by Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer and he was showing off some of the new things MS have to offer. If you have a spare hour and a bit, the talk is here: Clicky

Obviously most of the talk was history, marketing and clapping, however some interesting stuff did come out of it.

Firstly they have now made the new version of Windows (Windows 7) available for public download. It is only the beta (test version) and it only has a limited time that you can use it but this is the next version of Windows to play with and all very early. Not that you should download it and install it on your main machine. This is beta which means if it breaks, tough. If you want to try it make sure you only put it on a machine with just data you don’t mind vanishing.

Another big thing that came out of this was the Windows Live essentials suit coming out of beta. The live suit is made up of a fair few things, the main ones being Live messenger, the gallery, e-mail client and blogger. Most of these have been in testing for some time now, but now we have the full versions.

As such, I am currently running the new version of MSN and alike. First impressions are good. All the tools i normally use (MSN Plus and APatch) work just fine. The interface is nice and clean (and looks so much better on Vista than 8.5 ever did). I might have found one little bug, but all in all, looks good.

One of the things that I wasn’t expecting with this release was the new outlook plug-in for Hotmail. Many many moons ago you could use hotmail for free in outlook express for free out of the box. It was very easy to set up and use. Then, as Hotmail really took off they made this a pay for feature. However, the lucky few who had got round to setting it up (myself not included, i missed out by a couple of days!) got to keep this feature for free. Clearly I have been far too tight to pay so i have been stuck with the webmail until now. I say until now because they have released a couple of toys. The first is a Vista mail clone for XP and Vista which works with your hotmail account without paying. That’s very nice, but what about those who use Outlook. Well, there is now a plug-in for Outlook which lets it connect and work just like an IMAP account. This means I can create rules for Hotmail!

Now I know that creating rules for Hotmail has been around since the interface change, but this time it’s different. Now, because I have full access I can set up a rule and most importantly apply it to my current Inbox, not just new messages! This is the what I have been looking for for ages!

If you want to get all of this stuff, I suggest you go here and have a little download session: http://download.live.com/

Actually, and while you are at it, why not go to http://home.live.com/ too, this is their new live services home and it has to be said, I am impressed, it has a Facebook style feed with friends details etc. Funny that, especially when they are teaming up with Facebook and others to put feed information in this feed.

It looks like they may have actually come up with a nice way to etc all your news. I am impressed.

I for one would like to remain positive about this. So no MS hating for a little while, pat them on the back, they did good. You never know, it might last too.

Jan
06
2009

Apples for apples

So, Apple, masters of design, why do the shadows for icon in the dock bounce with them?

Why did you decide to change the dock application running icon from a black triangle, clearly visible, to a little blue neon that blends in?

Why when I have an applications folder stack does it find the newly installed application but not it’s icon until after a reboot?

Why does my battery claim not to be charging when plugged into the mains, yet when I unplug, the laptop is still running. It was holding steady at 70%, then, (while not charging) jumped to 71%. Go figure.

Why did it take them this long to write a decent bluetooth stack?

Why aren’t I in bed yet…

Dec
25
2008

Christmas cheer!

Today has been a long learning curve. When I say “today” I technically mean yesterday, but I always consider today and tomorrow to be relative to my sleep, not the time.

Today I have felt pretty pants all day. Not Christmassy, fairly moody and all I have really wanted to do is be left alone. Of course that is far from what happened, what actually happened is I was bugged left right and centre about fixing technical things, computers, media centres, working out why a radio stream wasn’t holding, working out why an aspect ratio wasn’t working in recordings… you get the idea, lots of bugs and issues that I just haven’t cared about all day. I have also been fairly argumentative to top it off (yes, I know, even more than I usually am).

I am pretty sure I know why today was such a bad day. Demelza was staying the past week and a bit and yesterday she went back home for Christmas, and while this doesn’t leave me in tears, “it sucks” doesn’t quite do it justice.

In all of today I have however learnt one thing about myself. I have always assumed I neatly rode line between introvert and extrovert and never really fell either side of it. I can today with some certainty say that I lean to introvert. I needed peace and quiet today to recharge.

With that analysis out the way I do now have some Christmas cheer. Unfortunately it has come in a rather sad form, but it is sticking which is nice.

My website has a gallery. It has had one for a number or years and it works fairly well. Over the last few months I have been re-writing it to have a multiple upload script so I can add whole folders worth of images at a go. I have also been taking in meta data like camera shutter speed etc and adding tags to images. As such it has been a full re-write. I got the basic set of features working about a month ago when I finally transferred all the old images to it. Unfortunately, when I did this I noticed a CSS rendering bug (AKA, the thumbnail view looked very strange and just didn’t work). This bug completely threw me because it didn’t happen with the Flickr images page.

This new gallery is the last price in the puzzle of moving my site to the new theme however and this has been very frustrating. The incentive has always been there however to finish this or work out the bug.

So, after a conversation with Dan on MSN about how he may actually roll out the new version of his site before I fix this bug and roll out the last price of my site gave me an extra reason to work mine out. So, i set about trying another method of displaying the thumbnail grid view with CSS only. I tried it and the same thing happened, it was a mess. At this point i realised I had a common bug. 2 mins later I had solved it… just typical isn’t it.

The issue came up because some of my image titles were going onto two lines. On my Flickr page they only ever used one. The padding above my images never took this difference in height for different titles. One height variable later and it is solved. ” other simple changes and the new gallery is now live. All the old data is there, all the comments, all the old links work and finally, in a long time my site is on the same theme. It finally looks like a site again.

Please feel free to try it out and tell me what you think: http://www.craigk.org/pictures/

Of course there is lots of work to do first, but for now i feel i better use my new found Christmas cheer for something more immediate, like Christmas.

Happy Christmas.

Dec
23
2008

My Documents

The clue is in the name. They are my documents, not yours. When I install an application I don’t want a folder just for it to dump it’s files, I will decide where I want them.

I mean, come on, how many people sort their files by what they are? Seriously, everyone stores them based on the project they are in or in a group of sorts. For example, you don’t have JPEG’s, GIF’s, PNG’s, BMP’s etc, you have “Pictures”. The same applies to everything else.

To this end, thankyou for “My Chat Logs”, “My Received Files”, “My Shapes”, “My Web Sites”, “My Weblog Posts”, “MyHeritage”, “Notes”, “Expression”, “Visual Studio 2005” and “Visual Studio 2008”. You were never wanted and all your did was waste my time and my space. Please don’t come back.

Dec
08
2008

Censorship fail

WARNING: Some links on this page may offend some (probably won’t, but may)

Censorship is a big thing on the web these days. We have always seen the Internet as freedom of information. You connect up to the tube and then you have all the information (good or bad) within your grasp. When the likes of China and Australia to name but a few start to mess with this model we all get slightly edgy. For a time Net neutrality was the chief threat to the freedoms of the web, but thanks to a recent political change in the US this is unlikely to come into play in the near future.

With all this in mind when Censorship starts to come home and starts to involve that cornerstone of Internet free speech Wikipedia we all start to get more than a little edge. This is clear by the number of articles I have read on this so far.

So, to the problem. If you visit the following link you should find it is blank:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgin_Killer

This is because it has been classed by IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) as child pornography. It is a picture of a mostly naked prepubescent girl. Now traditionally this would be fine, censoring child porn by anyone’s standards should be fine. But in this case the album cover, although banned in many countries, was never banned over here. It has caused outrage a few times, but nothing significant. Yet suddenly our wise and mighty Internet filters have deemed it to be too much for us now, despite it being around and never banned for a number of years.

What makes this whole mess even more strange/farcical is that they failed with their censorship.

The following link is the secure version of the page on Wikipedia:

https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Virgin_Killer (this one will almost certainly work for you)

This whole mess has made it into the public eye, for example, the BBC has this page on it:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7770456.stm

Note on the right there is a related link to the Scorpions homepage. If you click on that (here) you will note on the left a discography, which in turn also has the banned image on it.

So what the IWF has shown is you can not censor the web and in by trying to censor information that has been in  public domain for years, all you actually do is drag it up and draw more attention to it. People got over this in the past enough for most countries not to act, why do we suddenly need protecting?

Dec
08
2008

Where do you lie?

Myself and Dan (one of my housemates) just had a very long, very philosophical, very confusing and brain bending discussion which I will do my best to explain.

We began talking about wether you should require users to have JavaScript running in their browser so they can log in and fully use a website, or wether you should put considerable pain into working on a solution which will work without for those without it. Those without it number in the 0.01 percentile or thereabouts and make up, for the most part an insignificant proportion of the population, but still a proportion none the less.

My opinion is that these people should be dropped for the sake of simplicity of your code solution and to push JavaScript to the few who don’t have it. Dan’s opinion was that we should work to maintain the web in its most basic form despite the complication as to allow those people to continue to function within it. I believe that opinion is correct anyway.

Actually, speaking of correct opinion, when it was clear neither of us was making much headway convincing the other to their point of view we began to discus what made up a point of view, wether one could ever be wrong and what the differences were between belief and knowledge.

This then moved the conversation into religion, and what constitutes right and wrong.

Some time later we moved back to our original discussion and linked our views on it to our core beliefs. Dan is a Humanist and believes that that good of the many outweighs the few, and in his example he described the analogy of someone making too much noise on a train. If he silenced this person then it would benefit the whole carriage. I then pointed out that his analogy then brought us back to the original question but arguing against his earlier point of view by suggest that he was smiting the one to make the systems better for the many (which is not quite true, but for the level of abstraction we had reached was close enough). He then points out that he would weight this decision in the favour of the one person and do his best to help them (in this case our one non-JavaScript fan). At the point he mentioned the favouring of the one over the many in this case I brought up the point of being extrovert and introvert. In his case he is defiantly introvert and as such puts his weight behind the one. In the case of the web (which tends to follow the argument I was making originally) it is mainly made up of people with something to say (blog and alike) and as such, extroverts who are more interested in the opinions and the good of the many.

OK, that is complicated and the best I can do to paraphrase about an hour and a half of at times deep and philosophical and at other times, deep and technical discursion in the small hours.

Who says computing people aren’t fun!

Dec
07
2008

Onward…

So, better update this thing really.

Life has been going on (as it does you know) with not that much of note happening. One thing that has been getting some of my attention however is my final year project. As part of this project I have to keep a log of it as I go along. This being me I am doing this in the form of a blog which I will then print at the end.

This blog has been up for a little while now, but as I’m starting to make some progress I thought I would draw peoples attention to it now. For those who are interested I suggest reading the first couple of entries at least as they explain what I am trying to do in the most simple terms i feel I can muster at this point.

Location: http://www.craigk.org/uni/

Project description: http://www.craigk.org/uni/2008/10/11/deferred-success/

I am kind of winding down for Christmas (which as per usual seems to have crept up on me again. I don’t know why it let it do this each year, it’s not like I don’t know the date). As is always the case I am disgusted at how soon some decorations have gone up. There was a house on my walk to uni which had decorations up by mid November. This is taking “too far” to a whole new level.

I myself will continue to do my best to play scrooge until i am at least not in uni but home for the holidays. Otherwise it is just not that special.

Oh, another little project I am have been working on is the new version of my gallery for my site. I won’t link to it as Google will pick that up, but if you put a “2” at the end of the current pictures link you will see it. It almost certainly won’t work very well. (well, actually, I tell a lie, it will work well, it just won’t look very good).

Right, time to go battle this damn cold or whatever it is… bring on the z’s

Nov
12
2008

Stop making my life hard!

I cannot think of a harsh enough punishment for the person at Adobe thought when I selected that I wanted 2 copies of pages 7-16 from a PDF I meant I wanted it printed like so:

page 7

page 7

page 8

page 8

page 9

page 9

… you get the idea…

What were they thinking!

Nov
10
2008

Spam attack solved

Spam comments can be a real problem for any website, not just the big guys, little guys such as myself get hit by them all the time.

Many websites choose to use something called CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart) to deal with this problem. Normally the CAPTCHA implemented is you having to read a word from a box (which is actually an image generated by the server) and write it down. Unfortunately these aren’t as good as they used to be now. You see, OCR (Optical Character Recognition) has moved on a fair bit in recent years to the point where computers are very very good at reading what the word says (sometimes even better than the humans).

There are of course a few other variants of this system such as picking the shapes etc, although many of them can be solved by the computer through trial and error.

But complex (and more often, useless) as these current solutions are they are still somewhat flawed. They require the human to do something to stop spam, not the other way round.

Clearly these are not an ideal solution. I prefer something known as negative CAPTCHA. This is a system where you have a comments field, but you hide it from the user using a language the robot can’t understand (CSS in this case). You then have a another comments box which the user does see but is not called comments (something like feedback will suffice). Then, when a comment is sent in, you check to see if the comments field (AKA, the hidden one) is filled in. If it is then it must have been a robot because the user couldn’t see the box to fill it in. This way the user ha nothing to do and it is up to the robot to give itself away.

This is a nice system and one I have been using for several years (it seems to be a very rare idea which I hardly ever see mentioned, people for some reason seem to like proactive defence) with a very very high success rate.

To give you an idea, when I first put this in I was getting about 70spam comments a day plus on my gallery, maybe more. When I put this in I get maybe one spam comment every couple of months.

All very nice you are thinking, but there is more…

You see, when going through my logs I have found an anti spam side effect of a feature I use all the the time.

My gallery uses ID numbers for pictures. When you request a picture you might request the following:

URL http://www.craigk.org/pictures/p/403/

Now this URL suggests that you are viewing the index page in a folder called 403 which is inside the folder pictures. However, I actually use something called mod rewrite to change the URL’s. So in this case the real URL which this links to is as follows:

URL http://www.craigk.org/pictures/view.php?id=403

Now I use mod rewrite to make the URL’s cleaner and nicer looking.

For those who care, the code for this is placed in a .htaccess file in the current folder and reads:


    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteRule ^p/([^/]+)/$ view.php?id=$1 [L]

This has a side effect though for spammers. You see, this means the spammers don’t know there is no folder called 402 or called p. Instead, when they read my comments file is called add_comments.php they have to make the assumption that this file is located here: http://www.craigk.org/pictures/p/403/add_comment.php (which it isn’t). Instead, it is actually located here: http://www.craigk.org/pictures/add_comment.php (if you click it you get the error you see when you didn’t use my comments form to get to this file (which you wouldn’t be if you click that link)).

According to my website log this .htaccess side effect has stopped 53 spam comments in the last 10 days.

I like getting something for nothing.

Oct
24
2008

Computer extremes

OK, it has to be said, my computer and the way I use it is fairly unusual. Let us take Firefox (my browser).

I currently have 74 tabs, spread over 7 windows using a total of around 1GB of RAM.

It has to be said, my Firefox session is pretty huge. I have windows for groups of tabs based on subject plus one other main window for my main tabs like news sites, forums I use a lot, social networking (just because it says I’m logged into the Facebook doesn’t mean I have looked at that tab in hours).

I don’t remember the last time I restarted my session. I know it is less than 5months ago but it is defiantly since before the summer. You see, the Firefox session is everything, your browsing history, your current tabs and windows, your history within each page. This means I can go back to a tab I was working on months ago and hit back a couple of times and it will take me to maybe the Google search result page I was on to get there. It is kind of like bookmarks with state.

Many people think this way of doing things is a little nuts. This is in part because they restart their machine more often than me. I put my to sleep most of the time which gives it an almost instant on feature (sub 1 second).

OK, so next, drive letters. You see, these days everything is USB and everything is a mass storage device (it comes up as an effective harddrive).

I don’t think Microsoft ever thought we would start using as many devices as we do when they suggested using letters to identify drives. I put together a list of all the drives I would be using if I plugged in every device I use (note, not own, just the ones I actually use day to day).

  1. Floppy drive
  2. Main drive
  3. Data drive
  4. Temp drive
  5. DVD drive
  6. CD drive
  7. Card reader slot 1
  8. Card reader slot 2
  9. Card reader slot 3
  10. Card reader slot 4
  11. Data backup drive
  12. Backup drive
  13. Linux drive
  14. Virtual CD drive
  15. Jump disk 1
  16. Jump disk 2
  17. Phone SD card slot
  18. Camera
  19. External drive 1
  20. External drive 2
  21. MP3 player main
  22. MP3 player SD card slot
  23. Public network share
  24. Private network share

Yes, I know you can map folders to drives so I will never actually run out as such, and I also know some of these don’t need to be there like the network drives, but still, the point remains… scary. And yes, I have enough USB ports to plug all that in!

Oct
02
2008

Backing up!

OK, as I talk to yet another friend who is having trouble with their computer not working, it occurs to me far too few people back up their work. If that is you, please please keep reading.

Firstly, a lot of people simply don’t bother backing up because they don’t think about it or don’t care. I normally find the idea of loosing every photo from the last 5 years makes most people quite upset, as does the thought of the hours of work spend on essays and alike going down the drain. Backing up is painfully cheap, very easy to set up, costs very little and makes life so much better when things do go pointy bits up.

If you are anything like me you have whole swaths of your life stored on the computer, shouldn’t you be more careful with it? Laptops in particular are very prone to disk failure. They are after all laptops, they take a lot of knocks, bumps and generally get a fairly rough life. They are also what almost all students trust their lives with. By their very design they only have one disk built in, it is your single point of failure, it goes and your data goes with it.

There are several ways to do backups, some ways are very simple, other not so much, some cost a fair bit, some are dirt cheap and some require lots of effort, some require none at all.

DVD’s

The most basic form of backup that I can think of is just to back your work up on DVD. Most computers from the last couple of years and beyond come as standard with the ability to write DVD’s. Every major OS in current use can write to them with no special software and they cost almost nothing. At first glance I can find a pack of 25 disks for £4.99. Those disks have 4.7GB of storage on them. To put that another way, that’s 1340 photos from my fairly expensive camera which produces HUGE files. Most current cameras I see don’t make images bigger than tow thirds that. So that’s around 2000 images per disk. So in other words, with a pack of 25 disks you could keep the most important data to you backed-up for a year or so.

External hard disks

DVD’s do have their downsides, they require you to do some work, they require you to update them from time to time and they also take a bit of time to get your data back off if you do kill your machine.

With any form of harddrive (in this case an external one) you can set it up to copy your data over as things change or as I prefer to do, get it to wait a couple of days just in case I want to go to the backup and get an older version of the file. You can pick up an external harddrive for scary money. I have just found 1TB (1024GB) for under £100. Even I would struggle to fill that, so the cheaper options will almost certainly be for you.

As for software to set backing up, I suggest something called Syncback. This has a free version linked to on their downloads page. It is pretty simple to set up, it has an easy mode and holds your hand through setting backups up. You just pick your my documents folder as the source and then your external harddrive as the location to backup to.

Internal disk

If you have a desktop you can take this a step further by adding an internal disk, they are even cheaper and even more reliable, especially as they don’t have to take much in the way of knocks and bumps.

 

If half this article was too complicated for you, then just copy some stuff to DVD’s and lump it into your bottom draw, its better than nothing. But please please make some form of backup, recovering data from a broken disk can cost thousands of pounds and take months to get back with limited success. If you also don’t think this will ever happen to you, know that i have 2 disks in my computer and 2 outside of it dedicated to backup and I have fixed a awful lot of machines and got back a lot of peoples data, but it isn’t always possible and I’m not made of spare time.

Sep
05
2008

Officially cool

OK, so it’s slightly old hat, but when it works it’s just scary cool. Im using my phones data connection (you know, that unlimited one) via bluetooth and the random bluetooth widget plugged into my laptop to be using scary fast and usable. When i say usable, I’m using several tabs, big pages and collecting my e-mails at the same time.

Now in theory i should have been able to do this for years, and i sort of have before, but now i have a new battery for my laptop this is actually a viable solution long term.

Somethings Tech just rocks, especially when all of this is happening on a train…

Sep
03
2008

Digital life

The idea of a Digital life as I see it is a really really cool (most importantly, useful) thing. I would always define this as having all the data you want and need very accessible to you at as close to all times as is possible.

So this is photos, videos, music, e-mail, the web, contacts, calendars, instant communication etc searchable, accessible, available all the time.

This is something thanks to our modern computing generation we are getting closer and closer to this, however, much as I try, this is still a very very complicated goal to achieve.

For example, all my photos, music, videos, contacts, calendars etc are all on my computer. I have done a fair bit of tagging of my photos based on events and people in them, this makes that data searchable. So, lets pretend I’m looking for some info on Demelza. So I type her name into my computer as a search term. That then spits back all the photos with her in, any videos she might be in, her contact sheet in outlook which contains a profile picture, her phone numbers, addresses, e-mail address. I get back any calendar events she has been tagged to, like me visiting her at home this coming week. I also get any chat logs we have between us on MSN.

Not bad going, that’s my computer fairly sorted. I also carry my phone with me which contains my full calendar, my full contacts list. I also have my task list, my notes, and although I don’t bother for reasons that become clear, I could have my favourites too. My phone also has access to most of my e-mails as my e-mails are mainly IMAP accounts. This means the e-mails themselves stay online and whatever device I’m on just contacts to them, so be that my phone, my computer, my laptop or even webmail, they remain the same for all.

Bookmarks is a tricky one, or even my Firefox session. I’m looking at ways to have all my bookmarks tag-able, searchable online so I can get to them everywhere.

I also did look at having my MSN chat logs online (behind a password) so I could get them from anywhere and again search them. This turned out to be a lot more complicated than you would have though, I also have my logs on my phone, computer and laptop for all IM logged separately with no way as yet to search them all at the same time.

So most of this has come a long way, however it didn’t get there quickly, nor was it easy. In the last year I have taken about 9,000 photos, all of which needs to be tagged for this to work. I have maybe a weeks worth of work on them to clear the backlog.

The technology is just about caught up with what’s need, but its still not easy enough, fast enough or useful enough. I still don’t have all my files available to me from anywhere. I could remote in but that’s not quite the same, I could access the files in their directories but that wouldn’t give me access to all the nice search data i want.

I think i have even forgotten where this post was going, maybe I’m just trying to explain that at the moment, keeping track of your data is a nightmare.

Sep
02
2008

Google chrome – new browser

OK, about an hour or so ago Google launched a new browser called Google chrome. This was in actual fact a mistake, they accidentally launched some of the material about it yesterday so today they decided to come clean, explain and then release.

First, the download link: Google Chrome

Suffice to say, me being me, I have read most of the info about it now and have just installed a copy. The only things really that make it any different from any browser should be that it has tabs on the top, its faster and its more stable than anything else.

But before I get to what it looks like, here is what happened when I tried to install it on my machine:

chrome1

Basically it tried to shove itself in my auto run before anything else. This strikes me as just not needed and annoying at best. No idea why they needed to do that, i don’t have it set to feedback data to them (You get asked at the point where you download, not in the browser once its up and running, so the installer should not need anything here!). In short, Google, not a good start.

OK, once I gave it a bit more room to move it was installed:

chrome3

Not bad looking, it works with Aero in Vista which is good enough for me. Interface is very light. Not impressed I don’t seem able to change the quick-start links that come up when you go to a new tab, they change themselves… I would of thought of all the people in the world Google would be happy to make it easier to let me get to what I want to.

Not been looking long, but one thing I did notice which hasn’t impressed me… I would have thought a modern browser, especially made by the kings of speed would be light. Now maybe I’m behind the time but last I looked over 62MB wasn’t small. Especially when I had Digg, The register and Google open.

chrome2

This said, it is very very fast. Not sure if that’s enough to move me away from a very nice and well suited Firefox setup for me, we will see.