Friday, August 26, 2005

[News] Richard Stallman is Now In Town!

Richard Stallman, founder of FSF (Free Software Foundation) is now in Universiti Sains Malaysia to talk about "Software Freedom and Danger of Software Patents".

He'll be coming to UM as well tommorrow, so do check it out as it's really an opportunity of a lifetime.

For more information about Richard Stallman, you can refer to these good Wikipedia articles:
- Wikipedia: Richard Stallman
- Wikipedia: FSF

And for the news, check here:
- Jeff Ooi's Screenshots... : Richard Stallman is coming to town
- Event information -- Apparently the link doesn't work at this point of writing

Monday, August 22, 2005

Minor Compiler Gripe

Been getting one of those typical Why-can't-this-stupid-code-compile frustration, and I thought that MinGW is giving me one of those GCC nightmares again.

But after some close inspection of the error log, it seems that it's something that unexpected: it turns out it's caused by a corrupted compiler utility.

Hmm... guess I'm still learning how to understand the compiler's gibberish? I really hope that I'd make progress.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

[TechTools] Microsoft's Attempt Against Photoshop

From's newsletter:

Microsoft Switches Paint To Acrylic

By David Utter

The Redmond-based software and game console company now wants to kick Photoshop off your computer.

When Microsoft bought Creative House and its Expression graphic design product in 2003, it seemed like an odd fit. In businesses that have creative staffers like graphic artists, they are frequently the only Macintosh users in a business. Microsoft and its ubiquitous Office suite were for people doing real work, like creating reports and attending meetings.

But the company has been quietly bringing the vector-based illustration and graphic tool along, recently releasing an updated beta version. They don't call it "beta," though. That's not very creative. It's a "community technology preview." And it still doesn't have a final release date. Mac support? Nope, doesn't have that either; Acrylic runs strictly on Windows XP SP 2.

The latest CTP, as those in the know like to call it, weighs in at around 81MB for the download, and is valid through December 2005. Once it's on the desktop, users will find Acrylic combines pixel-based painting with the vector-based editing that Microsoft found compelling enough to buy the company outright.

Acrylic has a connection to the forthcoming Windows Vista operating system. Interface and content designers can work with application developers to build new products that take advantage of the "Avalon" presentation classes in Vista. Acrylic designers can export their designs in XAML format, which is the user interface definition language Vista interprets for displaying graphics.

About the Author:
David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.


For more information about the product, please check here: Microsoft Acrylic August 2005 CTP

Geez... It does seems like Microsoft is creeping EVERYWHERE right now. Scary thought...

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

[TechTools] Take Control Of Your Firefox Tabs

miniT: Additional tab related functions for Mozilla Firefox

Ah the joys of tab browsing! Ever since Opera introduced it in their browsers, it really changed how we surf the net. (Admit it: Taskbar's real estate space is never enough for hardcore Internet surfing) And it didn't took long for Mozilla's Firefox (previously known as Phoenix and Firebird) to notice the coolness of it and included the functionality in the very beginning*.

However that being said, Firefox didn't give us much control over the opened tabs. On top of the annoyance list is that we can't organize the tab order. But the Firefox team has definitely have enough foresight to allow developers to write Extensions to enhance their browser, and Dorando did just that to save the agony of control freaks like myself :p.

miniT is one cool Firefox extension that allows more control of your tab-bar. Two of main features are drag-and-drop tab reordering and tabbar scrolling (which allows you to switch your tab focus using the mouse wheel). I never get to test tabbar scrolling now since I don't have a wheel mouse in the office. However the ability to reorder your tabs is very empowering. And one of the neat thing is that when you drag your tab and attempt to reorder it, it has one small, blue arrow that acts as an indicator on to where your tab will be positioned when you release the mouse button. Dorando has good UI design sense to come up that will never surprise the user with strange behaviour. Two thumbs up for the thought being put into that.

So, for all Firefox users, grab this extension now and you'll be amased by it!

* Source: Flexbeta - The History of Mozilla Firefox: From Phoenix, to Firebird, to Firefox

Monday, August 15, 2005

[TechTools] Mac? Windows?

Can't decide between Mac and Windows (I do :p)? Now here's a good reason to get a Mac (provided you aren't a Windows power user or that you have a Mac powerhouse at your disposal): Virtual PC for Mac

This undoubtly secures a iBook/Powerbook on top of my computer shopping list. (although that also means that I need to secure an extra grand or two for both Virtual PC and WinXP licenses)

Monday, August 01, 2005

[TechTidbits] Banana Problem

While I'm still working on my site, probably let's just go for something light but yet still technologically related (somewhat).

Anyway, I have been browsing through MacMillian English Dictionary's website (which happens to be my favourite paperback dictionary site ;) ) and I found this interesting word of the month:

banana problemnoun
a situation of uncertainty about when a task is complete and therefore when to stop working on it

The term banana problem is often used in computing when talking about badly written or incorrect conditions for the termination of a computer program. It has also been applied in website development, referring to a situation in which a designer adds so many different features that the whole thing looks messy, for example: ‘If you insist on adding that video clip, I’m afraid we’re going to have a real banana problem on our hands.’

The term originates from the story of a little girl who said ‘I know how to spell 'banana', but I don’t know when to stop!’

In the computing world reference is often made to a one-banana problem, a phrase which looks similar but in fact has a completely different meaning. This term derives from the idea that those with less-skilled jobs in the IT industry, such as computer operators, can be compared to monkeys, and incentives given to monkeys (bananas) can be used to describe the level of difficulty of a task. A one-banana problem is therefore the simplest, for example: ‘It’s only a one-banana job’. In contrast, two- and three-banana problems would constitute more complex activities.

Copyright notice
This article was originally published in the award-winning MED Magazine, Macmillan's free monthly webzine for everyone who's passionate about English, words and dictionaries.

For more information about new and topical words and phrases, read Kerry's Word of the Week articles on the MED Resource Site.