Monthly Archives: November 2007

Firefox 3 Beta 1

As promised earlier, here is a quick review of Firefox 3 Beta aka Minefield. I am running the Linux version on Ubuntu 7.10 on a T5300 processor at 1.73 GHz and 1 GB RAM.

About Minefield

    The Beta did not find a suitable upgrade to a few themes and del.icio.us toolbar. But that     is not a major cocncern now since most of the developers would be working on it. At least I     hope they are on it 🙂

At first glance, the beta version is faster than the previous version. It also consumes less         memory. And the default theme integrates well into the desktop theme. Not only the toolbars and dialogs but also the buttons and text boxes on the web pages. Below are a few statistics.

Memory consumption on launching with a single blank tab – 23.7 MB of RAM

Launching Facebook on a single tab – 8% of CPU Max and 24 MB of RAM

Gmail on single tab – 24% of CPU Max and 40.6 MB of RAM

Ten tabs loaded with an assortment of Web 1.0 and 2.0 websites – 55 MB of RAM

There is a new Places folder which contains recently starred items, recently visited pages, recently visited starred pages, most visited pages and the like. This definitely helps in visiting pages that you are interested in. What remains to be seen is how differently can this be used when compared to Bookmarks.

A new website identification system is in place too. And this sits right where the favicon of websites appear. Clicking on it says if the site is secured or not.

And one more significant change is there is an Applications tab where one can customize which type of file should be opened using what application. I have been reading that the rendering is similar to Opera’s progressive rendering. But I still see that the entire page is rendered at one go.

So far everything looks good and it should only get better as we go through various betas and the release candidate.

1. Minefield

Firefox 3 Beta 1

2.  Places

Firefox 3 Beta 1 - Places

3. Preferences

Preferences

Advertisements

Firefox 3 Beta 1

Well, it does, look slick and fast. And more importantly it feels a part of the OS. If you are wondering what I was blabbering, then here you go. Firefox 3 Beta 1 is out. I have read mixed opinions so far and decided that there is nothing better than a first hand experience 🙂

I am writing this post from within the beta. I have reserved a review for the weekend. Hopefully, I should be able to do it. I must say that this would be a review on my Gusty. I am not planning for a review on Vista.

You can get Firefox 3 beta here.

KDE 4 RC 1

Just when I was about to pop in the KDE 4 Beta 4 for another close look, the KDE guys let loose theKDE Logo RC1. This is available for download here and this is the OpenSUSE distro. The release announcement is here.

I grabbed a copy of the disk image and got started. Keep in mind that this is a live CD. The RC1 is a minor change in the version. Well looks like the version has been rounded to 3.96.00. But the text next to it still says KDE 4 Beta 4. Shows work in a hurry. At first look I was really surprised. But on another look, I observed the KDE 4 Beta 4 was version 3.95.2.

KDE 4 RC 1 - About KDE

At first glance, not many changes are apparent.

The desktop screen shot is right below the About KDE screen shot to your left.

The font for the clock on the task-bar had been changed and rightly so. Just refer to my previous post and you can see how bad the clock looks. Now things seem to be in order. Well, they just seem. I am still not able to right click on the clock and change its properties.

No major changes were visible on the other fronts too. As an example some of the icons for commonKDE 4 RC 1 - Desktop applications like Kate were missing. For a desktop that is touted as which will be the best, this cannot be considered acceptable.

One major problem I still have is that the Configure Network Card application does not work. As I have mentioned earlier, my ISP provided me a static IP and I have no way to set this and so I could not get online. Shouldn’t that be ready by RC1?

More work is still left. The guys have done a really great job and they should just not loose steam during this crucial period. Even if it KDE 4 goes for 10 RCs I think its fine, but when released, the fanboys from the other side should not have such easy targets to point out.

There are a few things that I had left out in my previous post. Let me tell you about them. KDE 4 RC 1 - PlasmaPlasma has got a lot of attention. I can see a few improvements there. Just as it was mentioned in the release note, the bits are falling into place and I can see that widgets have options to configure, close and drag them around. The hard disk info widget blanked my screen and I had to restart X.

KDE 4 RC 1 - Dolphin PreviewDolphin, now shows the previews of images. I have not checked with PDF files though. So there too the final fixes are coming in. Good sign again.

I tried to play an ogg file Amarok and it was good. I did not try the mp3 format sinceKDE 4 RC 1 - Amarok I was using OpenSUSE and mp3 by default is not supported.

The next thing I tried was Konsole and it worked pretty well too. I have a bunch of screenshots below for applications such as Konsole, Kontact, Ocular, Klondike and Sudoku.

For those who are not aware, Konsole is the terminal application aka command line. Kontact is the all in one Personal Information Manager. Ocular is the PDF reader for KDE. Klondike is Solitaire and Sudoku needs no explanation I guess 😉 ( I myself was interested in Sudoku, but, never became a fan )

Konsole

KDE 4 RC 1 - Konsole

Kontact

KDE 4 RC 1 - Kontact

Ocular

KDE 4 RC 1 - Ocular

Klondike

KDE 4 RC 1 - Klondike

Sudoku

KDE 4 RC 1 - Sudoku

New Look

I have been trying to give a make over to my blog. You might have noticed that themes have been changed so many times within a few minutes, header graphics being changed and such.

Finally I am done. I have decided to retain the same theme even though it does not show my tag line. Added a new header graphic sans blue. Updated my About page which I hadn’t bothered with for long long time.

I kinda seem to like it. I invite you readers to judge the header graphic and how well it goes with the theme. Please leave your comments. BTW, the header graphic can be obtained here. They provide cool header graphics. I have them covered in one of my earlier posts.

KDE 4 Beta 4 – First Impressions

I finally got time to try out the KDE 4 Beta 4 that was floating around for a while. I downloaded the Debian Live CD. It was around 420 MB in size. I burnt the iso to a CD and booted. I took a while before I was presented with the login screen. Well, there was no clue what to use for the User Name and Password. After a bit of googling I found that the User Name was user and the Password was live.

After logging in, I should say I was disappointed. There were not many apps and those that were available did not even open. So after some reading, I decided to download the openSUSE version. I downloaded it from here, burnt a CD and booted with the openSUSE live CD.

This was more or less a complete CD of about 590 MB containing most of the KDE Applications if not everything. There was a lot of applications that did not come up. I could not get to configuring my network card. My ISP provides me a static IP and I could not set it up and so no internet. Amarok did not work. The new KDE menu system is in place. I personally feel it is a pain. The older one was far better. Why should so many clicks be required just to open a program. But the Search bar on the top was a saviour and I ended up typing the names of applications in that instead of using the menu.

Whichever application worked, worked well. I was really impressed to see the Column mode in Dolphin file manager which brings a new level of usability. It is very very similar to Finder on OSX. I was only disappointed to see that Column mode was not available in the Dolphin I installed on my Ubuntu Gutsy. My USB thumb drive was recognised on plugging in and Dolphin showed the drive contents. I was able to open the files and save files into it. No issues there. But there was no icon on the Desktop. Neither was I able to directly open my thumb drive from the KDE Menu. Always had to go through the /home folder.

Now lets look at eye candy. Oxygen is the default there for icons and controls. I feel a distinction between the title bar and the menu bar would have been better in terms of usability. If I have several windows overlapping each other, it becomes quite difficult to figure out which one is where. The controls and the icons definitely look great though. Plasma allows user to add widgets to desktop. I tried to add a few. Again, a few worked perfectly and others did not. The hard drive monitor widget showed that I had 777.296 TiB free on all my four partitions. But it showed that I had 1.1 GiB free on my removable device which was correct. I have not testd Wi-Fi.
Those are the first impressions. This is for sure a Beta product and requires a lot of work to get things in place. I have touched only places where a normal user would play around. If you like me to cover some other area/application please let me know.

And for those who love screen shots, below are a few, 14 to be exact 🙂

1. KDE4 Desktop

KDE4 Desktop

2. About KDE

About KDE

3. Menu – Favorites

Favorites

4. Menu – Applications

Applications

5. Menu – My Computer

My Computer

6. Menu – Recently Used

Recently Used

7. Menu – Leave

Leave

8. KWrite

KWrite

9. Gwenview

GwenView

10. Dolphin Preview Mode (did not work)

Dolphin - Preview Mode

11. Dolphin Column Mode

Dolphin - Column Mode

12. Dolphin Removable Device

Dolphin - Removable Device

13. Open Dialog

Open

14. Properties Dialog

Properties

Windows Vista – Update Failure

I dual boot Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon (7.10) with Windows Vista Home Premium which came along with my laptop. Until today, there was no problem with Windows due to installing third party software or Windows Updates. Well, the problems like sluggishness on a Core 2 Duo T5300 with 1 GB ram, slow startup, shutdown, hard disk working all the time, resolution being set to 1024 X 768 on waking up from Stand By were there right from day one.

Yesterday, four updates showed up. One for ATI PCI something which I was not interested in since I dont have an ATI card, one update for Windows Email, Media Center each and another one named, Windows Vista Update which said it increased system reliability.

I tried to updated yesterday. Once all the updates were downloaded and installed, the computer rebooted twice and I logged in. I was thinking that the updates were successful. I could even see that it said so in the Updater window. A minute later it again said updates were available. That is when I realised that the updates failed. I gave another try, but in vain.

Today I tried to update again. I included the ATI update as well even though it was an Optional update. After the update was complete, the system rebooted twice and then showed me a screen which was 800 x 600 instead of 1280 X 800. I logged in and checked if I could change the resolution but I could not. Again all the other three updates have failed. For a moment I thought I had done something stupid by including the ATI update.

But, I calmed down and did a System Restore hoping that everything would be back to normal. I should say I was not confident at all. The nightmare of installing Windows was right in front of my eyes. I have installed Windows versions 98/ME/2000/XP innumerable times. So I know what it means and how much time it would take, even though I have not tried installing Vista.

Things did go well. At least the System Restore worked. And I was able to set the right resolution. Well, it was my fault to select that update. I don’t know how it went for the others. If everything went alright then may be this is an isolated problem. If it has been occurring to other people as well then that raises several questions.

  • Why publish an update that fails? Was it really tested?
  • Why does an update that does not work be online for two days?
  • Is someone at MS aware that their update failed?

I am not sure if the Windows Update program calls home if a particular update failed. Does anyone have any idea?

I then singled out the Windows Media Center Cumulative update and installed it. No hitches there. It went fine. No reboot was required. As I was typing this, I updated Ubuntu 7.10. It installed several (atleast 15 or more) updates and none failed. Nor was a reboot required. Since I typed this post on Ubuntu I don’t have those crazy KB numbers handy. I will post an update.

Already, I am using Vista only for gaming, and I have started thinking that if I should wipe it out and install XP.

Nov 17, 2007: Update:

The updates are

  • Updates for Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter [November 2007] (KB905866)
  • Update for Windows Vista (KB941649)
  • Cumulative Update for Media Center for Windows Vista (KB941229)
  • ATI Technologies Inc – Other Hardware – ATI PCI Express (3GIO) Filter Driver

Nov 19, 2007: Update:

I tried to install the updates one by one today. I could see only the first two of them from the above list. Looks like the other two got installed somehow during the prior update that failed. I wonder how :O

Well, I was able to install the first one Update for Windows Mail Junk E-mail Filter [November 2007] (KB905866) successfully.

I tried the next one. After download – install – reboot – configuring updates – reboot – please wait – login events,  Update for Windows Vista (KB941649) failed 😦

I am not trying this for another two days.

Work mode

After coming back from yet another vacation – yes, I was on vacation for about 2 weeks 😉 – I am back to Work mode. I have been quite busy catching up with what is left over and also a few other things.

A friend of mine got married and we had lots of fun at the wedding. Marriages seem to be the place where most of our friends gather these days. A few were missed since they could not attend but everything went well.

In the mean time I am thinking hard on what to write.