Monday, June 29, 2009

Gnome 3 Mockup

The above video demonstrates some new ideas for the Gnome 3 desktop. I am quite excited to see such goodness hit Linux

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

chromium extensions

Once I'm done with this semester, aside from some work-related learning, my personal learning will revolve around making Chromium extensions. There is a preliminary guide at

For those who don't know Chromium is a new open-source browser developed heavily by Google. Chrome is Google's rebranded version of Chromium that Google actively promotes and distributes.

I now use Chrome about 50/50 with Firefox. It is much faster and stable than Firefox. One of my favorite features is that one tab can crash, and it doesn't bring down the whole browser. That one tab closes, and the rest of the browser keeps going. Also, if I close a tab all of the resources it was using are gone, unlike in Firefox where you can close all of your tabs and still have a large memory footprint from the tabs that you closed.

At work we have an application that crashes quite frequently. It is especially bad about crashing when you have it open twice in the same browser. Now that I run it in Chrome it crashes less, and when it does crash it doesn't disrupt every tab I have open.

The largest setback to Chromium/Chrome is the lack of extensions. Extension support is in development, but has not made it to the release version of Chromium yet. I am very spoiled with Firefox's AdBlock+ and Customize Google extensions. I used to not see any ads. Now that I'm using Chrome a lot I see them again.

Another setback is that their Linux version is still in heavy development. In Linux it is just Chromium.

It actually runs very well in Linux for browsing, but it doesn't yet support addons (no Flash, Java, etc.) It also doesn't have any preferences yet. Aside from that viewing pages is fast and reliable. With my hopes to learn extension development comes another problem. Even though extension support is in the development builds for Windows, it is not in the development builds for Linux. This means I will need to use my Windows virtual machine to learn development. Hopefully in four weeks when school is over this will have changed.

One of my favorite things about extensions in Chromium is that they are written in HTML, Javascript and CSS. The work learning that I mentioned above is the need to become much more familiar with using these three technologies as I plan on using them full time for my job. I am hoping to become an interface developer for our web applications. So this ties in real nice with Chromium extension development.

One great thing about Chromium on Linux is that the nightly trunk builds have been setup in a repository on Launchpad. So I simply put added the following to my software sources: jaunty main
And then run the following from a console:
sudo apt-key adv --recv-keys --keyserver 0xfbef0d696de1c72ba5a835fe5a9bf3bb4e5e17b5
sudo aptitude update
sudo aptitude install chromium-browser chromium-browser-dbg

Now every day I get the latest version of Chromium for Linux. I have slowly watched it grow over time. It is exciting to slowly watch the features get implemented.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Biking to work

As I had mentioned previously, for our anniversary Kim and I purchased brand new road bikes. The timing was awesome because summer had just started. This meant that I no longer had to take Aurora to school or pick anyone up after work. I had been wanting to ride my bike to work for a very long time. The first six miles to work there is a bike trail that separates me from traffic. The next three miles is a road with a very narrow bike line that shares a road with vehicle going around 55mph, and at the time I leave for work there is a good amount of traffic.

The city had been extending that stretch of road with a completely new lane that, when done, will allow for three lanes of traffic going each direction. This new lane has been completed enough that for those three miles I can now ride on that currently unused road. Another bonus is that this new constructions includes a bike lane that is separated from traffic.

So I now have a new bike, no obligations to pick anyone up or drop them off, and two lanes of road just for me.

The Sunday after our anniversary I took my new bike and road it all the way to my job and back. That is a full twenty mile ride. The ride was good and the next day I rode my bike to work and bike.

Riding to work has proven to be a great way to start my day. I feel great when I get there. I wear shorts and a shirt and have a small bag with clothes and a hair brush for when I get there.

The first week was really great. The morning where nice and cool and the afternoons weren't so bad. It also helps that the first six miles on the bike trail is a North-South ride with trees so I am always in the shade for that stretch. The next week the heat cranked up. I lucked out with some overcast, but the ride home is still pretty hot. It is not unbearable, and I still quite enjoy it, but when temperatures are pushing towards a hundred, it is just plain hot no matter how you slice it.

I have already put in almost 200 miles on my bike, and I plan on keeping this up all summer. I don't get to ride every day because Kim goes to the YMCA in the morning and I cut into her available time, so we switch days I ride in a way that gives us both roughly the same amount of workout each week.

Between these rides, and our new commitment to not consuming empty-calorie beverages, I should be in pretty good shape by the time the sumer is over.

Above is a static image of my ride, and below is a Google Map of my ride. Google maps calculates my trip to be 9.9 miles.

View Larger Map

Our sixth anniversary

After missing our last two anniversaries, Kim and I dedicated ourselves to doing something this year. We where married on June 6, 2003.

I had originally planned a camping trip on that date, and we where all set to do it when Kim realized that this was our anniversary weekend. I'm not the kind of person to forget our wedding date, so I was a little embarrassed at this, but it took her about a week to notice it too, so not all is lost.

So I pushed the camping trip back a week, and planned for Kim and I to take the VW camper down to the state park St. George Island and camp there. By the time I had a sitter for the kids all of the beach parking in NW Florida was reserved for many weeks to come.

Our backup plan was to visit Saint Augustine. We have been talking about just the two of us making a trip that way for years, and this would be a great opportunity to do it. That wasn't possible because my mom wasn't going to make it to our house to watch the girls until noon on Saturday and she needed us back a little after noon on Sunday. Driving out there and back would have been hectic and left very little time for us to do anything. So then we where stuck.

Friday night I took the three girls down to the Saint Marks River to play and on the way back noticed a bed and breakfast I had never noticed before. Kim has always wanted to stay at a bed and breakfast, and even though it was only ten miles from our house, it still had the promise of being a good time.

I pitched the idea to Kim and she was all for it. The next morning Kim wanted to get a lot of cleaning done. I was supposed to get the kids out of the house so Kim could focus on cleaning, but after replacing the V-belt on the VW there really wasn't much time left. My plan was to take them up to the Great Bicycle Shop and get Kim and I new bikes. I have a mountain bike that needs a major tune up, and Kim has no bicycle. This was going to be a surprise gift.

So instead we all pitched in to help, and to our surprise the two big girls where great helps. Usually they are pretty good compared to many kids, but this time there was absolutely no fussing or complaining, only lots of good hard work.

After my mom showed up we laid Arianna down for a nap and headed south. At the bed and breakfast we ran the bell at the front, which calls the manager's phone, but nobody picked up. We left a message with our cell phone number and then Kim came up with this great idea. She wanted to go buy bicycles. Perfect! We headed up to the Great Bicycle Shop and picked out two road bikes and gave up all of our spending money for about two months.

As soon as we pulled out Sweet Magnolia's called us up. They had plenty of room and the manager said she would meet us up there.

There was only one other guest, two girls, who seemed to be a couple. They where on the second floor, so we picked a room on the bottom floor.

We talked to the manager for a long time. She was about our age, and Kim and her both knew a girl named Mandy. She is also in the Roller Girl crowd, of which we know by proxy a few of the people.

Armed with our new bikes we rode up to a nice seafood restaurant up the road and had a nice dinner. We where the only people there until another couple showed up towards the end.

The restaurant was in this awkward sub division. It had been built on a swamp, and each developed plot of land had been raised up from the swamp with brought in sand. Probably less than 10% of it had been developed and almost everything was for sale. I think it had been started during the housing boom, and now it was just a hole for real estate investors who where now probably having a hard time paying two mortgages. Each plot of land with a for sale sign was from a different real estate group, or read "For Sale By Owner." We rode up and down each of the roads and then down to the river side next to the San Marcos de Apalache State Park and finally back to then Inn.

From the Inn we could hear the live band playing at the Riverside Cafe. That got me jonesin' for some oysters so we headed up there and got two dozen oysters.

The next morning we ate our breakfast, had a nice chat with the couple from upstairs, and then took our bikes back to San Marcos de Apalache state park and walked around. We talked to the ranger on duty and watched the short video showcasing the history of the park. It dates back to the first settlers in Florida and was torn down and built back up for different purposes through history.

Back home we took our kids back over. I rode my new bike up to my job and back, which I will write about in my next post. Afterwards I tried to get some homework done but fell asleep in the middle of it.

Aurora and Kim's blog

Last summer I had Aurora start a blog so that she would keep writing through the summer. Just last week Kim started hers and Aurora started blogging again now that school is out.

Aurora's blog is at and Kim's is at Aurora's latest entry includes a really nice poem.

I hope that this time next year Athena is writing good enough to start one as well.