* Posts by Flood

7 posts • joined 2 Jul 2007

Firefox decade: Microsoft's IE humbled by a dogged upstart. Native next?


The article misses the mark

I believe the author brings forth some interesting points but I don't see it as explaining how today's browser landscape was actually painted; I seem to recall things somewhat differently.

Fresh out of Herzing's Institute (Private College) as Programmer/Analyst in the mid 1990s I was top of my class but couldn't land a programming job. I actually kept in touch with a colleague student of mine whom I kept "coaching" at the time and who is now a millionaire; I'm still paying off that student loan.

The very first job I found fresh out of Herzing so I could buy some other crafty dinner than Kraft Dinner was as a Technical Support Agent for the first Montreal ISP: Generation Net. What I experienced there would seal my IT/Programming fate. I was working the evening shift which I didn't care for and a good majority of my calls were from customers having issues with web pages not rendering the same when viewed from a Mac or a PC. In between the Hardware guy who yelled at me in a rage when I asked him a simple question and Legsy, that sexy blond chick who had a web page somewhere and who actually came into the offices to pay her monthly fee, I had some quality time on my hands to look at the HTML programming side of things, the womb in the code that would give birth to different looking twins.

When I discovered the amount of exceptional blocks of code in your run-of-the-mill HTML page trying to please one browser and then another.... I was absolutely shocked, even transpierced. For I recognized in the same instant both the power of HTML, which had remained unbeknownst to me through my formation as a Developer, and my revulsion at the thought of NOT being able to write code once, that would render fine across many browsers. It was then that I decided NOT to waste any time writing HTML and just stick with Desktop development, safer, sounder and more manageable; a mistake that would catch up to me more than 10 years later. I left that ISP after only a few months of employment in a fiery exchange with the actual founder, when in a meeting it became clear I was not going to land the day shift I had been promised.

I was a very good Programmer, the best of my class in actuality, but I was an even better creator, inventor, innovator. But with bills to pay and food to put in my mouth, I couldn't play the "application" and "interview" game like I thought it would pan out and I found myself having to take on another "Tech Support" job. But I watched and read with keen interest, as the browser war that was brewing finally burgeoned.

I saw Netscape, the towering Browser King, get dethroned by all mighty Microsoft with what I call its extremely successful "conquer at a loss" strategy of baking Internet Explorer for free into its OS as nothing more than really a shove-it-down-your-throat browsing alternative. I could not believe my eyes when in a matter of just a couple of years, Netscape lots its crown to the behemoth that was Microsoft. But it was then that I begun to understand something that I believe the author has not underlined in their article; Microsoft was not only going for the kill, but it was going its own way with HTML browsing and standards, incorporating proprietary solutions into its browser, thumbing its nose at the barely established HTML standard.

Now to those of us in the Desktop development world, this seemed like a good thing, naively I should add, that all this other non-HTML functionality was readily available from MS, defying the sandbox that HTML pleaded to offer, to the benefit of those looking for more functionality from a browser... ActiveX anyone? Just to name one. There was a perverse sense of triumph to be able to cross the Programmatic bridge between the desktop and the browser and bring a solution that worked, even if it meant that it worked only in IE because, after all, IE was now used by most of everyone browsing the net, those left out in the dust would repent, and follow The Way. I rubbed my hands and salivated. I had made the right decision not to delve in the chaotic world of HTML (and Javascript) programming, I would keep on writing desktop code using mostly desktop techniques these weird hybrid programs that we would all come to call "Web applications".

Not acknowledging web applications in the author's article as a fundamental reason why IE gained acceptance leaves too much out, in my opinion, for the Authors piece to have the full credibility it may have otherwise deserved because these web applications, in my opinion, where what gave way to about a decade worth of a stable platform from which to sow the $eed$ of growth, mainly so, in the Enterprise. This evil that the proprietary, reworked HTML standard that MS had spun out was to be mostly outweighed by the benefits it bestowed upon the Sys Admins. But that Empire had already begun to fall.

Opera. End of the 90s, a small privately owned start up emerged and began to offer an alternate solution. One that would strive and struggle to stay the course of what the HTML standard was, in its full specification glory, but also in Spirit. The web had to stay open, it had to stay free and for this purpose, Opera was born. I can not remember more of an open battle for what open web standards should be, or become, than the one between Opera and MS (maybe other than Samsung VS Apple); it even let up to an open letter (posted in some paper(s)) by the Opera founder/owner to none other than MS's co-founder Bill Gates, denouncing their approach to web standards. The effort would eventually over spill into a spat between Opera and Microsoft, brought against the European Union and a filing by Opera on privacy issues and allegations of anti-competitive practices by Microsoft.

Known in certain circles as the Porn Browser, Opera did way more than step on Goliath's little toe, it actually brought forth innovations that the browsing world much benefited, it even Innovated at a code/algorithm level. "Paste and go", "Customizable popup menus" were just a few examples that the usual surfer would notice, but more obscurely, though more importantly, Opera would push the HTML standard in the Browser space not only for its own self, not only against MS, but signaling every browser maker that this was how browsing was going to go down in the future. Opera nearly died its own death trying to enforce this Mantra, to the benefit of us all, but to its inevitable demise. Private VS Corp. Corp was to win.

At the same time, and in my honest opinion, that is when we found Netscape finally laid on its deathbed and whimpering, ushering the birth of its successor in Spirit, what was already known as the Mozilla Foundation, which was going to "fortuitously" take a piece of the pie while MS and Opera were battling it out for King of the browser Hill. Firefox was in its embryonic stages but it would rapidly gain acceptance fueled primarily, in my opinion, by the Open Source community that breathed continuous life into it and the slithers of stable voids that the battle of David and Goliath was leaving behind in its wake, that Firefox could grab.

Firefox gained its market share as an usurper, in my opinion. I will here pause to say that I do have a bias against Firefox for its delivery, its lack of a vision, lack of Spirit and lack of Titanium Balls wielding. I believe it had all the justifications to go after way more than just market share. It could and should have done more for the web as a whole. But it didn't. And that, was its more than predictable downfall; which is still ongoing.

Fast forward to today. What was Microsoft to you as a kid? What was MS for the Enterprise? It delivered visions and dreams to kids, delivered predictable bottom lines to the Enterprise. But the bane of Corporations would not take exception this time around either. A new behemoth was born, it was fast, open web, open source and it was about to slap IE back to the stone age: Welcome Google Chrome.

At a web-standards level, we can compare Chrome to IE to Opera to Firefox and to Safari all day. But on the ideology front, NOTHING compares to Chrome. In par with their counterpart: Opera, Chrome has adhered to web standards (HTML, Javascript, etc.) and has the weight of a whole Corporation to throw around its Chrome browser (and its Chrome OS, but that's another story) in the face of MS and anybody else paying attention.

Opera folded up and decided to drop their private rendering engine; after innovations that would rock even the Mobile world where it dominated for quite a few years.

Chrome is now the standard by which browsers are measured such as with their self-admittedly borrowing and acknowledging innovating ideas from Opera, and such as their "paste and go" menu option, for example, but more so by their wholeheartedly embracing current and upcoming web standards, to the point where Google and their Chrome browser have now become the defacto standard by which Browser efficacy as a whole, speed and bells combined, are measured.

Thanks to efforts by the little guys and then by the Visionary, big and small, I can now sit down and write a Mobile application that runs in a browser and I can say that for the first time in more than 20 years, my web page or web application will render acceptably the same, whether viewed on an Opera, Chrome, Safari or IE browser on a PC, MAC, LINUX or Chrome OS, and even whether viewed on a Mobile or Desktop application.

I guess my programming side and the rest of the browsing world finally inadvertently met halfway.

Thank fuckin gawd.


Chrome passes Firefox in global browser share


Predicted on first try.

On my first test run of Chrome beta, before anybody I talked to even knew of it's existence, I predicted it would live, it would overcome Firefox first and would overcome IE about 5 years after.

Not sure how long ago that was, but I can now predict that Chrome will overcome IE in about 2-3 years.

I just want to say - and I don't mean to brag, and I know it will come across as me giving it pretty thick nonetheless - but for some reason I've always been good at accurately predicting major trends based on what I would say is about 70% intuition, 20% information and 10% luck; with a score of roughly 90%.

- I could hear a song on the radio for the first time and predict it would be a hit.

- I could look at a store being built at a specific location and predict it would take over its competition.

- I have predicted that marriages would fail, including within which period.

- I have predicted regimes would fall and withing a certain time frame.

- I have predicted a certain company's stocks would go up, certain start-ups would fail, certain business models wouldn't live the year.

- The list goes on and on..

It's been this way since I was 9 years old as far as I can remember.

Although I know I do not have - of course - any special powers, I do believe that I'm one of rare few who knows they have such an ability who can actually put it to work in a consistent matter.

- Flood

NASA's nuclear Mars tank arrives at launch site



The landing method seems to have overall too many points of failure, with a few of them appearing to be unproven - tho surely tested here on earth. I'd say only a 66% chance of it being another lost probe, based on what I saw in that video.

The amount of time, money and effort expanded to send yet another Mars probe weighted against the return value seems to me to no longer justify this exploration method.

The delay in communicating with the rovers because of distance is excruciatingly long, so is the time it takes to get them to do anything useful, such as rolling along to point B. This makes sending Mars probes no longer an efficient exploration method; especially weighted against the planetary data we've amassed so far. It's just a sandy rock; so what if we find 20 damn microbes 30 feet below 40 years from now?

I beleive we will not find anything else that matters to the concept/plan/feasability of sending humans there ASAP. The consequence/contingency of whatever else remains to be found on Mars can be handled by humans at this point. I beleive the risks are now acceptable and that they have been for about 10 years now.

The probes have the half life of bananas. It's wasted tech/savvy/hardware/money/time VS what we could do by having humans "onsite". Instead of sending damn rovers let's send tools, cargo, etc along with a book for how to cook for forty humans.

We may not have much time left as a species, we should push ourselves to explore and colonise the cosmos at greater risk than we are willing to bare so far, while we still can/want/afford to.

It's time to send one way manned Mars missions; we need to, more than we want to. And if you can survive, thrive and prosper enough to make it back to earth many generations down the line, cudos to you.

Martians should get a clean slate for colonisation, not have to abide by any earth rules, have no mission objectives other than stay there, live there, have free unadultered porn, procreate and make that planet their own, not make it an offshoot of ours.

Humans shall be stripped of the Nationality they held on earth when taking residence on Mars.

Build a base on the moon. Not a hotel. Build a landing/takeoff strip and a manufacture/repair/maintenance facility.

Peacefully stand up to, confront and defeat creationnists otherwise we'll never get there.

Take Steven Harper with you, he's destroying my country.

I'm staying so he never comes back.

Grow pot first, tomatoes after.

Don't send a postcard.

Just plan for Venus.

Bring a die.


Guardian super-blogger flames Reg boffinry desk


@ Lewis Page


I've never been particularly good at expressing my thoughts all too clearly and English is also not my first language.

One thing I know for sure is that after reading the said blog post by the person at The Guardian I am very, very upset.

He misrepresents The Reg, attempts to discredit you, Lewis, and your journalistic integrity.

In the past, oh, five years - I don't know - or so that I've been reading your articles I have always felt that you delivered all facts and that when you offered your opinion it was clear that it was indeed an opinion.

I don't know what you do behind the desk but by the time your article is published it is clear that your findings are backed up with links to your sources, names, alternate points of view, tools to help us understand what your source is saying, additional explanation to help us make sense of highly technical material, you REPORT and you pratically never rehash, unless it is to add something constructive. You INFORM, Lewis.

And you often Break the news.

What the hell else could one possibly want from a journalist/reporter?

Has this Guardian blogger not ever sampled the barfingly simplistic, pre-chewed, over-vulgarised, petacrap of censored information that pollutes the online world of news today? By big names such as CNN, for example, to name only one?

I come here and I know that I get the facts. It is delivered to me in a witty style that appeals to my multi-layered brain that is very capable of reading between the lines of cynicism when it finds it and revel in the humor - which is always light-hearted, often incisive and never abusive BTW - that pepers your stories.

Furthermore you are as journalistically professionnal, fair and accurate as they come and as I have ever seen online.

I am so upset by what I have read from that Guardian blogger.

I guess what angers me the most about that person is the way he tosses those tid bits of misinformation around with the usual disregard that must accompany them to the potential damage it can cause to someone's reputation; it is almost an attack on your character and it's unbearable to just stand by and watch happen.

The last thing that either yourself, Lewis, or The Reg has ever done is misrepresent anything - albeit I haven't read every single article you have ever published; but I have read many articles over many, many years, on topics such as Security, Software, Science, Hardware and have been reading The Reg articles probably for more than 13 years.

I can tell you that the above are points of view that are shared by many in my circle of friends and co-workers who are familiar with The Reg.

And finally... Whomever has not understood that your use of the word boffin in your articles was more flattery than anything else is... lacking...something I cannot put into words... somewhere... I cannot put my finger on...

The respect you have for science and scientists oozes out from your articles, and you're also keen on catching and underlying the absurdity of some of it where it is appropriate.

Even scientists themselves will often admit the complete wackyness of either their entire field or their latest findings/experiments. Same as a geek or a nerd will admit to the geekyness and nerdiness of what they are doing or of what they are into, even though they recognize that the words can carry a very negative connotation; depending on the context.

It's almost 3 AM over here and so therefore I'm not going to drag this on, though I deathly want to. Let's just say that we need more journalists like you, Lewis Page, and less bloggers such as Martin Robins, more news like that from The Reg and less from the likes of The Guardian.

I suppose it does add to both sides of the debate however...


Keep up the exceptionally good work Mr. Page.

One more thing is that I have compiled - and shared with a few people I know - a pretty exhaustive list of your humorisitc references to DARPA going up to 2009/02/02 - I've been slacking but there have been so many - and we've admitted to each other that when we want a good laugh we sometimes pull up that list and read through it and LAUGH TO TEARS; I do so myself litterally still quite often.

Propellor-hat friday lol.... that's probably my favorite one.



Daniel Lambert

Calcitic astro-whiz clogs ISS piss recycler


I see...

No wonder astronauts walk around with their own diapers...

People just not that into Blu-ray

Paris Hilton

I'll be glad to be the first to comment.

Lewis Page can take a break we won't need him to figure that one out.

Price, demand, entertainment, storage.

When content I want only comes in bluray I will shop bluray.

When more and more files to burn have to span dvd discs I will consider the switchover.

When more of our existing DVDs become unreadable: bluray time.

When I see bluray burners at around 100$ and media around a dollar a pop, hip hip bluray! (had to slip that one in).

However I wonder whether blueray and hddvd might be merely transitory standards especially given that the amount of extra storage they offer is relatively minimal IMHO, and that has struck me from day one. It feels to me like there is a chance that something else will come along and FUBAR those technologies right in the nuts.

I think SD memory is doing great at the moment, albeit a couple years late; 32 GB postage stamp sized rewritable, multipurpose storage at less than 20$ US for those who buy their gear elsewhere than at Futureshop. I carry around two 4GB SD cards along with an SD card reader and in between my home DVD player, my 4 computers, my camera and PDA I don't need any other short term, even mid term storage as it is; and I use SD extensively at our help desk too.

IT analysts argue that downloads are the future. I think my 15 year old keeps redownloading the same damn music video 50 gazillion times on youtube and that's because I'm not charging her for the bandwidth (yet). The bigger the download and the more items downloaded, the more incentive one has to keep and store their content.

The NET is still plagued by a reliability problem. Flaky IP Telephony comes to mind, chuggy hulu clips and that email I just sent you a minute ago.... Did you get it yet? It usually only takes about a minute or two. How about now? Can you hear me now? How about now?

We would like to download everything right now but we are not there yet and we are still going to need cheap storage - lots of it and way more than bluray currently offers - for the next foreseeable future.

In the meantime Bluray is looking more and more like the Vista of media formats.


Loopy quantums reveal successive universes


Theoretical Fizzicks

The problem I have with theoretical physics and new discoveries of that realm is that, as was the case here, when numbers are revised and when new information is discovered the observation often changes. So much so that you have to wonder why would the latest revision be the last definate one?

I call it the Fizz factor. Fizz gets you and your story a spot in the media.

This Fizzle has been true of theories on how the planets form, how black holes form, how our sun and other stars are formed, the list goes on and on.

It's inevitable that when new information or discoveries come along we will need to ajust our theories and that's fine.

My point is that we always seem to talk about about a theory as if it were Fizzified, or confirmed. We should instead load articles with anti-Fizz verbatim such as:

"if my numbers are correct - and they probably are not - then it seems that there might actually be some exotic 'thing' akin to what one might call successive universes after somking a good one."


"well right now I'm at the Nth revision of my numbers but even if I don't have all the info that we are going to discover in the next 2000 years and I therefore probably am wrong, for the moment it looks like there may perhaps be such ludicrous unproveable things as what can be called successive universes by people who come back from successive commas."

Theoretical Fizzicks isn't the only field to be plagued by this fizzism, Natural History and Zoology are loaded with it. Ever heard such unverifyable assertions as:

"Here the Zebra shakes his head from side to side, flapping his ears wildly to attract the female. This is why we know they have grown bigger ears through thousands of years of natural evolution."

Well it may be that Fizzting one's discoveries might just be that irresistable.

- Flood


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