Wednesday, November 24, 2004

Turbo = True

In Firefox, there are numerous settings that aren't available in the options dialog. All of them, however, can be changes by typing about:config in the address bar of the browser.

Here's something that I found recently in the about:config (actually, a few things). The first is reminiscent of the old turbo buttons on PCs back in the day.


this defaults to false, so I set mine to true. I have no idea what this does because I also changed these values to true:


I read somewhere that it makes a speed difference, but I was actually amazed. I mean, everyone says that Firefox is faster than IE, but sometimes it is hard to tell. With these set to true, I've done tests giving IE a head start and Firefox wins every time. So, go turn your turbo on.

Monday, November 08, 2004

The Program I Wanted to Love.

I love Mozilla Firefox. It is my default browser. It is simple, fast, and very clean. It does everything I would want a browser to do. Naturally, I wanted to switch from using Outlook Express to Thunderbird, the instant I saw it available. I believe that was around v0.4. Unfortunately, however, I can't use Thunderbird. It isn't for a lack of trying, either. I have installed/un-installed that program about half a dozen times or more.

Here's typically how it goes: I install it. I take the time to set everything up with all my POP accounts. I get excited about the junk mail filter. I start to use it for my daily emails. I hate it. I uninstall it and go back to <gasp!> Outlook Express.

There are those reading this that might call me a Microsoft lover. I am not. I am, however, not afraid to admit that sometimes Microsoft does it better than anyone else. Now, don't get me wrong, Outlook Express is limited, and it frustrates me. However, there are certain things that I can't live with in Thunderbird.

1) What is wrong with the fonts? I can't set up the fonts correctly. Out of the box, it seems to look okay, and I'm fine with Arial. Then I notice something: Why is the font I type in the reply bigger than the font in the message? That is, if it is plain text, and the size is set the same, why in the world are the fonts different sizes?! Also, why is 13 tiny? For some reason, Thunderbird seems to render the fonts much smaller than all my other programs.

2) Okay, that's really the big one. Call me a whiner if you will. I mean, it doesn't seem as clean as Firefox does, but that's pretty ambiguous. I've never liked the huge "to:" line in the compose window (which has been the same since the early days of Netscape). I don't like the way it doesn't, by default, let you just choose a font and size during compose. ...

In the end, it is a great program, but there are enough little things that bug me about it, that I'm not compelled to move over from Outlook Express. In the future, with each successivebuild, I'll probably give it a try. I really enjoy trying new programs. I'm skeptical, however, that the Thunderbird team is looking to change the UI much. I did want to love Thunderbird, though.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004


A number of years ago, while working at this same company, word got out about my attraction to bicycles. (I have no idea how... its not as if I ever talk about bikes.) Anyway, I met a woman who told me about some "expensive frame made out of a funky material like titanium or something" that she had possession of. It turns out that while doing PR for a local cycling start-up, she came to have this frame for some campaign or something. Low and behold, the company went belly-up. After a few attempts at contacting the owners so she could return the frame, she gave up. Because she had no desire to hold on to a frame--not being a cyclist, herself--she offered to sell it to me.

I found out, through some detective work, that the frame was made of Magnesium, and was a mountain bike hardtail frame. (At the time, expensive hardtails were still prevelant.) The name was Keef. I also found out that they really were just importing the frames from a Russian manufacturer. Low and behold, there was another company that picked up sales where Keef left off. I believe they were called Salt City Cycles (based out of Salt Lake City, Utah). I say "were", because they, too, have gone away. Anywho, I didn't have much money at the time--just like now--so I offered her $50. I also, to be fair and honest, told her that it was worth much more (like $500), so she was free to decline. Much to my surprise and satisfaction, she accepted. Of course, I didn't have money or parts to build up a high-end hardtail then, so it sat and collected dust.

Fast forward until today. I now own a nice full suspension mountain bike. I don't have much desire to ride a hardtail anymore, so I have all but forgotten about the magnesium frame.

Then, all at once (well, based largly on my brother's tremendous commuting record this season), I decided to see how cheaply I could build it up to be a commuter. Since I first purchased that frame, I have cycled through some parts, so I knew I had a wheelset, cranks, and many other items that I could slap on the frame. If I used it only for commuting (where I'd have to park it outside), I would want the quality of parts to be low enough not to worry about it being stolen while at my day job. So, I got online and started pricing things...

To Be Continued...

Part II
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