Blog Index for 2014

Why do we need Skype et al on Chromebook - should Google do everything for us?

(March 1, 2017) Yesterday we wrote how to install Skype and other desktop software on ChromeOS devices, using Crouton. Today we ponder 'Why?'. Google intends the ChromeOS environment to provide a huge portion of our needs, but we went to a lot of trouble to install Crouton. Are we nuts? No, there are valid ideas going on here.

How to make a super bright LED light panel (for video work etc)

(Aug 27, 2014) Here's how to make a super-bright LED light panel. It's equivalent to a 1000w incandescent light bulb, and it's super useful for video work as it has a daylight colour temperature and doesn't use PWM for dimming. There are 900 individual LEDs in this panel, which is why it's so bright.

You can joyfully parse and manipulate URL's in browser-based JavaScript

(2014-08-20 00:05) URL's are not strings, but are a data structure that's represented as a string. How do you easily and reliably manipulate a URL string programmatically? Do you use regular expressions or other kinds of string manipulations? Given all the ways to encode data in a URL, how do you ensure it remains syntactically correct while doing string manipulation? Manipulating URL's with regular expressions is rather difficult because of the format and nature of a URL. It's better to manipulate a URL as if it's a data structure, to let software easily change URL fields while ensuring the URL is syntactically correct.

Lenovo Flex 10 SSD Upgrade and mini-review

(Jun 13, 2014) The Lenovo Flex 10 is a very light-weight Windows computer that is extremely easy to update with an SSD drive. The SSD makes it a completely silent machine, reduces weight, reduces power consumption, hugely improves performance, and in general makes the computer much better.

Chrome will become a new application distribution platform for any operating system - over time

(2014-05-09 13:22) What if a browser-based application can act in a desktop computer the same way as any regular application? Typically, browser based applications stay within the browser, and are launched inside the browser, while regular applications are launched through the regular desktop menubar or file system browser. Typically these worlds don't meet, but what if they did?

Ra - not just the Sun God, but a mighty fine programmers editor for Chrome for editing local files

(2014-05-07 23:22) I like my Chromebook (an Acer C720) because it's lightweight, slim, the battery lasts forever, and the performance is great. It's a wonderful machine on which to browse the web, run Gmail, Google Docs, etc. But there are several things I do frequently that is keeping me using my Mac desktop computer. The potential for freedom using the Chromebook is beckoning, but these use cases keep me chained to the Mac.

Accidental Amazon Kindle purchases: It's easy to buy for Kindle, and hard to return

(Fri Apr 04 2014 17:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)) I like my Chromebook (an Acer C720) because it's lightweight, slim, the battery lasts forever, and the performance is great. It's a wonderful machine on which to browse the web, run Gmail, Google Docs, etc. But there are several things I do frequently that is keeping me using my Mac desktop computer. The potential for freedom using the Chromebook is beckoning, but these use cases keep me chained to the Mac.

How to fix Google Chrome crazily creating extra new tabs when opening a new browser tab

(March 17, 2014) Recently Chrome (on my Chromebook) began crazily creating a zillion new tabs every time I asked it to open a new tab. It was very painful, because every time opening a tab there was an explosion of new tabs being opened, and it meant trying to click the close-tab button to stop the explosion. At first I thought, "oh, Chrome got updated with a bug, they will sort it out, and issue an update." After waiting for a few days and it did not fix itself, I saw a note in passing that Google had changed something with the "New Tab page" .. and indeed, the excess new tabs being created had the URL "chrome-internal://newtab".

Review: The Past, Present and Future of JavaScript (Axel Rauschmayer)

(2014-03-15 22:03) You may have heard that the ECMAScript committee (that oversee's the standards for JavaScript) are working on the next version of the language. ECMAScript.next will probably become EMCAScript 6, and will mean some changes for JavaScript programmers. It may be useful for all JavaScript programmers to start understanding what those changes will be. That's where "The Past, Present and Future of JavaScript" fits into the world, helping us know what the ECMAScript committee is looking to do to the JavaScript language.

Review: How to Make Money Blogging by Bob Lotich, a so-so book on pro-blogging

(2014-02-07 21:08) I'm always interested in improving my understanding of how to make a living from writing. A few years ago I started writing blog posts seriously, getting the idea that I could make an impact on the world through writing, while earning a living doing so. That's what the book "How To Make Money Blogging: How I Replaced My Day Job With My Blog" is all about, the steps required to successfully pursue that version of the Great American Dream.

Chromebox for Meetings should decimate the incumbent audio/video conferencing market

(2014-02-06 12:49) Chromebooks are now being joined by Chromebox's, and we should start to wonder whether Chrome devices will represent a whole new wave of computing platforms. That is, will Chrome devices take a place alongside Windows PC's, Mac's and Android/iOS mobile devices as a major computing platform? I'm typing this on a Chromebook and have to say the experience is pretty good, enough that I haven't used my Macbook Pro for several days where previously I'd used it daily.

Here's why net neutrality is important, and why the Internet may have died this week

(2014-01-15 17:48) This week a federal appeals court overturned the FCC's ability to ensure open access to all websites. The details of what this means may get lost in the translation, but the image on the right encapsulates the problem very well. Now, with this ruling, Internet Service Providers will be able to block websites on a case-by-case basis for purely business reasons, and will be able to create a menu of addon "services" that we now enjoy for free.

VLC is a great way to transfer videos or other personal media to iPhone or iPad without using iTunes

(2014-01-05 12:11) We love our iPhone or iPad, they're beautiful machines, but try to do something Apple thinks you shouldn't do and you run into a brick wall. We live in a walled garden designed by Apple. It's a very pretty walled garden, but it can be frustrating at times. The example today is the desire to transfer those videos you own outright from your computer to your iOS device. Apple's preferred method to transfer stuff to an iOS device (iPhone, iPad) is through iTunes. The iOS devices are not, technically speaking, cloud computing devices, because Apple designed them to tether to iTunes. Apple, in its infinite wisdom, doesn't let the iPhone or iPad simply appear as a mountable disk on a computer when connected via a USB cable, which would make it trivial to transfer files back and forth.