Sunday, August 31, 2008

I bought a Nikon D-40

Well,I have gone ahead and bought a Nikon D-40. I got it from this guy (his real world shop - #12 Palika Bazaar, not from the EBay one) The camera has good reviews, and is currently the 5th most popular camera on Flickr. I feel it's quite a steal for its price :)

Here's how my car looks like with a macro focus. (Click to see full size)

Here's a flower

And the same with my DSC-S60 for reference

Well! The DSLR shot certainly looks better :) Of course, I am just beginning to get the hang of it - there are all sorts of stuff (ISO, Metering, Aperture) to learn to really use a DSLR properly. And it uses focal length not zoom :) Should be fun!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Ultimate Firefox Tweak Guide

Firefox is one of the best browsers out there. What I really like about it (besides all the plugins) is the ability (via about:config) to set most of the system paramters via the UI. I have been using Firefox for years now, so lets see what I set up and why.

Most of these settings also have an entry in the Mozilla knowledgebase. I have tried to link to that, wherever possible. Some of these may not exist by default. In this case, they can simply be created from the right click menu (Make sure to match the type.) There is no option to delete something in about:config. Simply click "Reset" and the option will be gone the next time you open about:config. Warning Many of these options, particularly the ones which deal with reduced memory footprint and content rendering will slow down Firefox.

Setting Type Value Purpose
accessibility.typeaheadfind boolean true Make Firefox star searching inside the page the moment some text is typed, if a field does not have focus
accessibility.typeaheadfind.flashBar integer 0 Prevent fashing the toolbar when typeahead starts
accessibility.typeaheadfind.linksonly boolean true Searches only links. Equivalent to starting search with '
browser.cache.memory.capacity integer 15000 How much data can Firefox store in its "in memory" cache. (In KB) (Yes, I know, 15360)
browser. enable_automatic_image_resizing boolean false This controls Firefox's behavior, when displaying a image only (i.e. if the URL itself points to an image). If enabled, images larger than Firefox's window will be resized down automatically.

Setting Type Value Purpose integer 0 Forces Javascript links to open a tab instead of a new window.
browser. sessionhistory. max_entries integer 10 How many URLs can you traverse purely through the Back/Forward buttons. Setting this to a high value will make Firefox use more memory, as some data for this is cached. (And this is 10 per tab BTW)
browser.sessionhistory.max_total_viewers integer 0 The number of pages (per tab) to store in memory to allow fast back/forward. Separate from memory cache
browser.ssl_override_behavior integer 2 Prepopulate the faulty certificate on the add exception page. Enabling this and xul.error_pages.expert_bad_cert will reduce 2 clicks from the process to add an exception for a bad certificate.
browser.xul.error_pages.expert_bad_cert boolean true Show "Add Exception" on the invalid certificate error page automatically. browser.xul.error_pages.enabled must be true

Setting Type Value Purpose
config.trim_on_minimize boolean true Makes Firefox release most of its memory when it is minimized
content.interrupt.parsing boolean true Periodically interrups parsing a page to check for UI events. Useful if Firefox freezes under high CPU
content.max.tokenizing.time integer 50000 How much time (in microseconds) Firefox will wait between checking for UI events.
content.notify.interval integer 1000000 While parsing, how much time (in microseconds) to wait before the currently parsed content will be displayed
content.notify.ontimer boolean true If true, will enable content.notify.interval setting. Dont enable this if you have a high speed connection

Setting Type Value Purpose
content.switch.threshold integer 1000000 How long will Firefox stay "on alert" when its rendering of a page is interrupted by a user action (say typing or a mouse click)
gfx.color_management.enabled boolean true Enable this setting to make Firefox display richer colors for images
network.prefetch-next boolean false If true, Firefox will (on a hint from a webpage) fetch some links before you actually click on them.
browser.identity.ssl_domain_display integer 1 Makes Firefox highlight sites using HTTPS by showing their domain name in a blue background(New 10 Nov '08)
geo.enabled boolean false Disables Geolocation(New 30 June '09)

Setting Type Value Purpose
network.manage-offline-status boolean false Prevent Firefox from going into offline mode by itself if you don't have a network connection
browser.sessionstore.max_concurrent_tabs integer 0 Make Firefox 4 load only one tab at a time - inbuilt bartab
browser.gesture.* string See Link Make Firefox 4 support multitouch gestures from the mousepad
dom.event.clipboardevents.enabled boolean false Set this to false to prevent annoying webpages from disabling copy/paste

Some other useful stuff: a list of the winners of the best Firefox 3 extensions is here. If you want Firefox 3 on Ubuntu to look like the way it does on Windows (with the huge back button and all) you can get the required theme here and finally, if you want to use MPlayer as a plugin in Firefox (on Linux) to play streams and media files, you can get it here.

A blog is an interesting way to put out your thoughts, its also an interesting way to store information, almost like a diary :) Well this post leans heavily on the side of the second purpose, to store exactly what custom Firefox settings I keep and why. I will try to keep it updated as I change stuff around...

Friday, August 22, 2008

On a more Positive note

I have been accused of being very cynical lately, especially where the PS3 is concerned. So I am going to fill this post will all the GOOD stuff I know about the PS3.
First off - Ps3 gets an absolutely weird keyboard addon... (What IS that thing?)

Sony launches iTunes competitor for PS3 - er... region locked... Damn... try harder...

Here's how you can get into the Home beta - wait - US only... aaagh

Ok... generic stuff - 24 best PS3 games, 8 scariest games soming out this fall (most are ALSO on Ps3) - By the way, there is a really cool Flash version of The Last Guy that you can try out here

Here's something good...

Heavy Rain - Read Joystiq's breathless review and see a trailer here. This is the game that might redeem my decision to buy a PS3 - and I am not being cynical here. This game is by Quantic Dream - the same guys who gave us Indigo Prophecy (and if you havent played that, you have really missed something). And if you think I am kidding, see this video of The Casting tech demo

Well! That wasnt so bad :) Till the next rant then...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

PS3 Home Access to be Region Locked

News is trickling in that access to PS3's Home service will be region locked to the console region and not the the PSN ID or IP address. The purported reason behind this decision is advertising: Home will be ad supported and Sony doesn't want say people in India seeing ads targeted towards people in UK. In the meantime, if you have friends in the US and want to hang out with them, you can wish those plans goodbye. Of course, this could also have been achieved by locking onto the user's IP address rather than the console region, but that hilights Sony's other fascination - the destruction of import hardware sales market. No one knows as yet why Sony is so obsessed with blocking the sale of imported hardware - after all, more hardware sales are better right? But no - Sony refuses to repair imported consoles, even if you are willing to pay for it, and is prepared to go to unusual lengths to use legal means to shut down import shops. No other video game company does this - filing suits against importers, although, even M$ will refuse to repair imported consoles. Of course, M$'s console is region locked, thus giving them a pseudo-valid reason to deny repairs. Plus, we have the notorious RROD and the associated lifetime warranty - I could see how M$ India would go nuts having to replace consoles bought in Europe that they didn't get a paisa for. None of these are however, issues we can ascribe to Sony's system.

Right now, considering the fact that Sony makes it easy to install Linux on their system and has no region coding, makes it easy to think of them as consumer-friendly. However, back in 2005, Sony caused a massive furor when it was realised they had a Patent (#6,816,972) on a technology to prevent people from reselling or even sharing games with their friends. The technology essentially involves writing information onto a game disc the first time it is inserted into a console, thus tying that disc to that console. Even the LA Times picked up the article, albeit two months late. Sony also planned to introduce a licensing model for games - wherein ownership of the disc itself would NOT give you the right to actually play the game.

What changed all that? The XBox 360 and the runaway success of the Nintendo Wii, thus relegating Sony to a miserable 3rd place in the console race. Considering the fact that Sony was launching its expensive ($600) system a year later than M$'s one and that the Wii with its revolutionary gameplay cost only $250, Sony was forced to put a halt to these plans, thus proving once again that competition is good for the consumer. But at heart, Sony remains the same litigitous organization that is part of MPAA and RIAA. Some of that shows with their fascination with hardware imports.

The upshot - well there is no upshot, just that my mood with regards to the PS3 stays just as somber...

In other news, PS3 fanboy is maintaining an updated list of trophy status of PS3 games here. And (the big one) a hacker claims that he is able to run backups from a PS3 hard disk. (But you need a 60GB HDD, possibly to store the blu-ray data). Update - more on that (including a video) here.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Toll The Hounds

Well, I am done with the book, it was hard enough to find a copy in India. Overall it was a bit disappointing, the guy has GOT to stop putting in irrelevant threads and putting all the action in the last 200 pages of a 1000 page book... I am waiting for a friend to finish the book, so no spoilers here :)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Sony Promoting PS3 in Japan as only a Blu-Ray player

Sigh... Original Link (Kotaku)

These guys just don't get it do they...

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Yahoo Debuts India Only Glue Pages to compete with SearchMash

Yahoo has launched a new Glue Pages concept to compete with Google's SearchMash. The new concept, accessible only from Yahoo India adds additional informational gadgets on a search results page, essentially turning a search into a mashup.

For example, click here to see what Yahoo Glue pages fetches for Olympics.

And this is what SearchMash shows for it...

I personally feel Yahoo's version is better, but of course, as usual, search results are a very fine grained preference, people may not like the ones Yahoo returns for advanced searches...