Macbook Madness continues

I posted last week about my long wait for the release of the new Macbook Pro range, hopefully with the Arrandale CPU and enhanced graphics processing.

Well another Tuesday came and went without Apple releasing the new version of its flagship laptop. As I write this the Forum is currently on page 214 of the 5th thread of people waiting for the release.

The problem is nobody really has any idea when the new laptops will be out. All we can be sure of is every day that goes by brings us one day closer to the inevitable release. The problem is there are lots of people who need to make the decision to either buy the current model or wait for the new one.

Without any indication of when the release will happen, all people can do is wait and join the forum discussion  support group.

Apple is really starting to disappoint me as a company. I am a self-confessed fan-boy, but only of their products, not of their company ethos.

I will purchase one of the new Macbook Pros eventually, but I steadfastly refuse to part with significant amounts of money for year old hardware.

Replacing Firefox with Chrome

I blogged about my first impressions of Chrome a while ago and have barely touched it since. Largely I have been happy with Firefox in terms of what it gives me in terms of a browser and the extended features I have come to rely on in my day to day life.

However, recently (over the past year) Firefox has also started to give me some other things… headaches and  high blood pressure to name just two! I have loved using Firefox for so long I am tempted to blame Windows for the constant freezes, crashes and general slowness. Unfortunately I can’t. I use a PC at work and a Mac at home, and Firefox behaves the same on both of them.

Today I found out that Firebug is now available on Google Chrome, which prompted me to take a look at what else is available. To my surprise I found a Twitter client, XMarks, a great page screen-grab utility and an SEO tool. Wow, things have moved on since I first tried out Chrome.

In fact, all my deal-clinch extensions are now available on Chrome!

So, as of 2 hours ago I made the jump to Chrome. So far I am loving it. Despite having my extensions active the browsing experience is still very slick and it has not frozen up once. I still have an open mind, but for now I think I have closed Firefox for the last time.

I will keep trying Firefox from time to time, but I think until they release v4.0 their back-end core is just too flaky for my liking.

I am glad Chrome now has extensions. I know it is a matter of debate as to whether it should be kept as a “clean browser” but I kind of figure if you want it clean then don’t install the extensions. Completely bare of extensions Chrome is still faster than Firefox!

I hope Firefox does get it’s act together. It has done wonders for the web community, helping topple IE off its perch (or at least getting them to play ball, not sit on their market share). If Chrome does compete with Firefox I think it could be a game changer for the web. With the Google Apps behind them I think they have a better chance of reaching the general public and hopefully will eventually push IE below the magic 50% market share mark!

What are your thoughts on Google Chrome?

New Macbook Pro… still waiting

I have blogged before about being somewhat of a Apple Fanboy. Ever since I bought my 15″ Macbook Pro I have loved the Apple hardware and the Apple OS. Unfortunately Apple are making it a little difficult at the moment.

I have planned on getting the new 17″ Macbook Pro for a long time now, but the existing models are using the Core2Duo processors and the rest of the Apple line (and the rest of the world!) has moved on since then. I decided to wait for the Macbook Pro product line to be refreshed before getting the new one, but each time the rumor mill says it will be updated, it doesn’t happen.

Once again rumor has it that tomorrow will be the big day and I will be able to get my new MBP, but alas I am getting used to it not happening and will have to make do with the 15″ for now. This is not a problem, but it has recently been slowing down and is in need of a good blatting, but I don’t want to do that with all my data on it, I would prefer to get the new one up and running before formatting the existing one.

Why am I blogging about this? I am not sure really, I am just anxious to get to grips with the new 17″ as it will be a LOT easier for Lightroom work as it has a lot more scream real estate available.

So, will tomorrow be the day? I will just have to wait and see… watch this space…

How to delete hiberfil.sys on Windows 2008 or Vista

I was (for my sins) working on a Windows Server 2008 box today. To make it worse it was a VM with very little disk space. In trying to find things to remove I found hiberfil.sys sitting there at 4Gb! I tried to delete it but Windows wouldn’t let me. I then went into power settings, disabled hibernation (or so I thought) and tried to delete it again… still no joy.

Anyway, it turns out the easiest (or only, I don’t know) way of deleting this stupid file (why Windows SERVER would need to hibernate anyway is beyond me!) is to drop into command prompt and run the following command:

powercfg -h off

Easy when you know how, but annoying if you don’t!

Getting Firefox to work with Windows authentication

This is something you are more likely to come across in an Intranet environment, but it is a useful trick configuration to know about. There are 3 settings you need to change in Firefox in order for it to work. Here’s how to do it:

In the address bar, type about:config

You may get a warning message, this is fine.

From the list produced, find the following 3 properties:

network.automatic-ntlm-auth.trusted-uris

network.negotiate-auth.delegation-uris

network.negotiate-auth.trusted-uris

You need to add the server you wish to authenticate to the end of the value associated with the property, so it should read something like “localhost, myserver.com”.

You need to set that for each of the 3 properties and you should be good to go, no restart needed.

Like I said, you are unlikely to need this in an Internet environment, but it is necessary to authenticate with Windows authentication in an Intranet environment.

Sir Richard Branson, stop being greedy!

Before I start, I think Sir Richard Branson is great! As a Brit, I think there are a handful of people that as a nation we can be proud of and Sir Richard Branson is right up there in my book. I have followed his adventures for years, have read his books and I think the man is truly inspirational.

scr_virgin-atlantic-s-flying-without-fear-1.1_120710875That said, while browsing the Apple App Store for iPhone apps I happened upon the Virgin Atlantic “Flying Without Fear” program. I am not scared of flying at all, but I happen to know a few people who are and this app looks great. It covers everything from explaining what all the noises are, the procedures during the flight, the concept of turbulence, right through to what to do if you feel you are starting to panic. Brilliant!

I believe every airline should have things like this. In the grand scheme of things it costs them little to produce and maintain and can be one way in which they can make their potential customers feel welcome and valued, like they actually WANT you to conquer your fear and get on their plane (where you will subsequently pay through the nose for every aspect of your journey).

My problem with this app is they have priced it at $4.99 (£2.99 in the UK). Ok, it is not exactly re-mortgage the house money, but really, this should be FREE. People do not choose to be scared of flying, and as a national carrier, Virgin should be doing more to help those with a legitimate fear of flying. You don’t see airlines refusing to help disabled passengers board the plane, do you? Airlines go out of their way to help the disabled, elderly, and infirm. Why can’t they do the same for those affected by fear of flying?

I have the utmost respect for Sir Richard Branson, but when I first saw this app I thought “great, this is a guy who cares”, then I saw the price tag and was less than impressed.

Yes, I know they are a business and I know there are shareholders to satisfy, but for a company that plans on being one of the first in line to take paying passengers into space, maybe they could break some frontiers a little closer to home first.

I know there is very little chance Mr Branson is reading this post, but if you are… With respect, please don’t try and profit from peoples fears, and most of all, please don’t turn into Alan Sugar!

I want to love Firefox, but….

I made the jump from IE to Firefox as soon as I was told about it and I have never regretted it for a moment. The experience was faster, slicker, more accurate and altogether more enjoyable. This was when tabbed browsing had just been introduced and so that was welcome as well.

Over the years Firefox has grown up. As the market share continues to increase more and more developers are bringing out really cool and useful tools and plugins that make Firefox very powerful, especially for the web designer/developer. I would actually go so far as to say Firefox is now an essential part of my workflow as a designer.

Tools such as Firebug for HTML/CSS debugging, Colorzilla for grabbing a particular colour off screen, and SearchStatus for SEO information are just 3 examples of tools that I would really struggle to do without.

It is not all good news though. The more advanced Firefox has got the more problems it seems to have, especially on the Mac platform. It seems to have got progressively more sluggish and often consumes complete cores of CPU for no apparent reason (albeit more often than not it is Flash related). Stability is not what it used to be, and while all this is going on the competition are reigning it in and in certain areas overtaking it.

If you judge the browsers on a performance basis only then Google Chrome blows Firefox away, mainly in the javascript execution area but also arguably in stability. Firefox doesn’t even come second!

Unfortunately Firefox seems to have cornered the market in terms of plugins in the same way IE forced itself in the market based on being bundled with the most popular Operating System in the world. I say unfortunately because we are now in a situation where one of the best browsers available has a lot of people using it that have nowhere to go and no other alternative. This situation is never good for the end user.

The ideal situation is either one of the other smaller competitors will introduce a versatile plugin system to rival Firefox’s offering, or someone new will enter the fray with another, probably webkit based, browser which will force Firefox to pull its finger out and tidy up its core product.

Google Wave Invite

Ok, this is not something I would normally do, but it seems I am out of favour with the Googlemeister at the moment. It seems I requested an invite at the same time everyone else did, yet the great God of Google has yet to take it upon himself to reward me with an invitation to the Wave party.

I was hoping to do a write up of Google Wave once I had chance to see it, but at this rate I guess it will be a bit late. So, if anyone happens to have a Google Wave invite going spare and would care to hook me up with one it would be much appreciated.

Thanks 😀

Fasthosts email outage… Will they ever learn?

It seems that not for the first time UK based Fasthosts Internet have experienced massive outages, this time to their email service. As reported in the UK Business Forums lots of people have found that they have lost access to their email over the past 24 hours. The situation is starting to get resolved for some users, but for many they have lost an entire days worth of email access.

This is not the first time it has happened either. Back in 2007 Fasthosts broke their email system and didn’t have reliable backups. Further back than that their backbone went down for nearly a week.

For a company that claims to provide reliable hosting and support they do not exactly have the best track record. I jumped ship with Fasthosts after one of their big outages as it cost me business. One of their flagship products is reseller hosting, encouraging customers to put all their eggs in one basket. That’s all well and good, but when things go wrong their phonelines tie up and they drop those eggs all over the floor.

This might be ok if you have some hobby sites, but if you rely on hosting for a percentage of your income I would recommend hosting with someone who does answer the phone and has people in place to fix faults fast.

Oh… one last thing… when was the last time you (or your host) did a backup of your sites and email? 😉