September 28, 2004

One user at a time

People all over are switching to Camino. It's hardly taking the world by storm, but it is happening, one user at a time.

Posted by pinkerton at 12:44 PM

September 26, 2004

Science vs Marketing

I've been trying to educate people about just how bad Bose speaker systems are since I owned a set and was tremendously disappointed with the terrible performance. Bose, for obvious reasons, doesn't post any specs about their speakers so it's hard to argue based on measurements and technical details. I recently stumbled across a very good writeup (with measurements) that covers it.

Bose - Better Profit Margins Through Shortcuts is a must-read if the thought of buying a Bose system has ever crossed your mind, even for as long as a tenth of a second.

Posted by pinkerton at 2:23 PM

September 23, 2004

Toot!

I hate tooting my own horn, but the Ars Technica article on Camino has some interesting history of which most people are unaware (or get patently wrong).

Posted by pinkerton at 3:24 PM

September 21, 2004

A new contributor

Today I'd like to announce a first. Josh Aas has been approved as the first contributor from the Camino open-source community to earn Mozilla CVS checkin privileges.

Welcome, Josh! Better not break the build ;)

Posted by pinkerton at 2:19 PM

September 16, 2004

Back In The Saddle

Back on irc again, with some help from friends. We (meaning AOL NetOps and IC) finally figured out, after a week of going in circles, that AOL SecOps is sniping all IRC traffic from inside the firewall, period. I had clearance for irc.m.o to be let through, but that was revoked and I have to once again get justifcation. Yay!

In the meantime, thanks to Geoff Beier (who wrote the new tab widget for Camino) for the ssh account.

Posted by pinkerton at 12:57 PM

September 15, 2004

Because they get paid, that's why

Someone sent me feedback yesterday, and I've seen similar questions in the forums, asking why the product cycles are much longer for Camino versus FireFox. The answer really is very simple.

There are a group of people who are paid non-trivial sums of money to develop, QA, and release FireFox and Seamonkey. Camino developers, myself included, are doing this work free of charge, in our spare time, simply because it's the right thing to do.

Any questions?

Posted by pinkerton at 11:01 AM

September 14, 2004

Still fighting....

Still fighting to get back on irc. We've narrowed it down to a routing issue in my building at AOL. I'll keep everyone posted.

First lecture went quite well, the students seem eager to learn. Maybe they just like my Netscape stories.

Posted by pinkerton at 10:00 AM

September 13, 2004

Odds and Sods

Just a bunch of random things to clear out from a weekend of sitting on the couch like a lazy-ass watching as much football as I could.

I can no longer get on IRC from work. I can connect but anything I type (that isn't /whois) bumps me. Meer says it's not their problem, AOL says it's not theirs. Fun, fun, fun. In the short term, I won't be on irc.

I spent some time on Saturday rearranging furniture to get a response from my side surrounds in my basement. I was never happy with my surrounds, everything seemed so localized rather than "enveloping" as you're supposed to get with bipolar surround speakers. I took a tip from UltimateAV's Russ Herschelmann for better placement: play pink noise out of a single rear channel and move the speaker around, with your eyes closed, until you can no longer pinpoint the exact location of the source. This is the spot for your surround. I discovered that my surrounds were placed best for when I was sitting upright in my chair, as if I had a pole up my ass. Moving my couches 12" forward made it better for my actual listening position, but required a lot of pushing stuff around. Seems better so far, I'll keep you posted, but it's a simple trick to improving your sound w/out shelling out a dime.

While you're at it, make sure that your seat and speakers/subs are not falling on a primary standing wave node: 1/4, 1/2, or 3/4 of the distance from either wall. Makes a big difference if you're seated in a null or a peak, and there's really not a whole lot EQ can do about room modes. Most importantly, do not, I repeat, do not sit all the way against the back wall. That too is a node, and a recipe for boomy bass.

As I mentioned, I spent all day sat/sun on the couch watching football. College games are fun, but my gf and I were ready for the meat of the NFL, especially with Fox making its HD debut (albeit at 720p, sigh) with six (!!!) HD games on Sunday. Game one, Redskins/Bucs, was a reasonable first entry to HD broadcasts. The 5.1 was ok, though the applause in the surrounds was very discrete, like they had some guy clapping into a mic for each rear channel. Picture quality was reasonable, slightly less than one would expect from ESPN-HD. The second game, Giants/Eagles, was horrific. The sound was very low and essentially mono. Any time it would cut to commercial you'd be blasted by the volume change. The picture quality was terrible to boot: blooming and high contrast everywhere, very little detail, a lot of compression artifacts. Looked no better than 480p. Any shot of the sideline exploded into a wash of unintelligible white. By that point, I was crying for ESPN-HD's sub-par performance. Anything but this! Overall: game one: B+, game two: D-. But hey, who ever would have expected HD football on fox. Let's just count our blessings here.

Turning it over the ESPN-HD for the Sunday night game, it appeared that Pat Summerall was about to keel over right on the set. I'm amazed that geezer lasted through the entire game without dying. PQ and audio were as expected from ESPN, but please guys, enough with the Circle Surround! Nobody cares!

My first lecture of the fall semester is tonight, another group of unsuspecting students about to be taught COM and XUL and Bugzilla (oh my!), with a heavy dose of software engineering and open source methodology. Now that I have the class written (unlike last year when i was writing most lectures the @&*$! day before), it should go a lot more smoothly and I'll have time to sprinkle in extra elements.

I'm debating whether I should plunk down the $$ and buy Ableton's Live multitrack software, or wait for the nebulous ProBand from the fruit. ProBand could either be the solution to all my recording dreams or a ploy by FruitCo to ensure that nobody else released something with that name and confused customers. I guess time will tell, but until them I'm caught in a micro$oft-esque "waiting for the vaporware app to materialize" cycle of despair. Either way, it gives me a little time to start writing some words for some of the songs I've already written. I appear to be very bitter and full of hatred for my ex-wife. Who'd have thought?

Posted by pinkerton at 1:27 PM

September 9, 2004

Camino 0.8.1 Multi-language

Thanks to the hard work of the CaminoL10n team, I'm proud to announce the multi-language localization of Camino 0.8.1.

We worked hard to improve the quality of the l10ns in this build by requiring a review for each from someone else who actually spoke that language. Any l10n without a review did not ship, ensuring that no really bad translations got through.

Posted by pinkerton at 10:57 AM

September 7, 2004

Luckily I've got the 2 cats part covered

Flood watch until Thursday. It's now Tuesday. At sunrise I'll start construction.

Posted by pinkerton at 8:21 PM

Amped up

Oooh, ESPN2 in HD for Jan '05. Not that I ever watch anything on the deuce, but it's yet another sign that HD programming is taking off.

Did anyone catch the five (5!) college games this weekend on ESPN-HD? Is there any better way to kick off the college season? I'm so stoked for the NFL this weekend. With Fox in HD, it's gonna be sweeeeet.

Today I bought a Parasound A51, a 250Wx5 separate amp which I'll use to drive my Denon in the basement. Now let me give you a little education. That's not 250W total, that's per channel with all channels driven (into 8 ohms).

Normally when you see a receiver at your local electronics store, they'll list the "total" power (eg, "500W receiver" meaning 100W for each of 5 channels) or they'll list per channel but be deceptive about how it's computed. Sometimes they'll say something like 150Wx5, but fail to mention that they're only driving one channel at a time. Gee, that's easy. But how many blockbuster movies only have sound in one speaker at a time? It's when you start driving all channels that you separate the wheat from the chaff. If they do happen to list power ratings with all channels driven, look at the total harmonic distortion (THD). Less than 0.1% is the standard. Some bargain receivers list their full power with 10% distortion!

Why is any this important? Most people think that the most common cause of damage to your speakers is by overpowering them. In some limited cases this is true, but by far the more serious problem is caused by underpowered amps. When an amp is driven too hard, it doesn't have enough power to generate a clean signal and clips. Clipping is downright terrible for a speaker and the easiest way to destroy it. What's the solution? An amp that has enough oomph to give a clean signal in the most harrowing of action sequences.

Thus ends this month's home theater lecture. Next time you get itchy to buy that l33t 500W receiver at Stereos R Us rating 10% THD with all channels driven, save your money. Now you know better.

Posted by pinkerton at 7:41 PM

September 2, 2004

New Tabs in Camino

Landed a slew of backed-up Camino patches tonight. First time I've had an evening to spend on it in weeks. The most anticipated of these patches is the new custom tab widget. No more OS tabs, we're rolling our own, baby!

Download tomorrow's nightly and bang on them to make sure we got everything right. There's still stuff that will be added, such as drag reordering, but we wanted to get the basics in and solid.

Posted by pinkerton at 7:06 PM