Mozilla WebRunner 0.7

Firefox has been our browser for quite some time now, touted all along as safer and more efficient. Everyone knows, though, that firefox has memory leaks and, when using many of the web applications out there (gmail, meebo, facebook, etc.), firefox can slow down to a crawl.

Mozilla’s WebRunner is a streamlined version of the mozilla browser, designed to handle one web app within a window, without all the menus, bookmarks, and complications of a full browser. Profiles of the form <app_name>.webapp can be downloaded for different apps and placed on the desktop. The idea is that users open these apps much like one would a program on the computer itself.

There are a number of bundles out there for various web 2.0 applications. If one hasn’t been made yet, it’s pretty simple to do it yourself.

  • Open a new text document in notepad.
  • Modify the following code to fit the settings you want.  ‘id’ must be some unique id allowing WebRunner to keep track of multiple profiles.
  • [Parameters]
    id=www.thanscorner.info
    uri=http://www.meebo.com
    status=yes
    location=no
    sidebar=no
    navigation=no

  • Save the file as ‘webapp.ini’
  • Right-click on the file, select ‘Send To’ -> ‘Compressed (zipped) folder’.  This will create a file called ‘webapp.zip’
  • Rename ‘webapp.zip’ to ‘<app_name>.webapp’
  • This file is now a shortcut to a streamlined version of that app.

Here is a bundle I made for the instant messaging app Meebo.

WebRunner is a project still under development.  With future additions such as support for work offline, spellcheck, extensions, and more customizable options on the way, this may be a nice solution for those apps otherwise sucking up memory all the time.

Embodying Wisdom

jr bookstore

Lost in a world, fresh and vivid, the weary and seeking mind of a man beneath the blossom of branches and colored leaves begins a journey. The novel, whose pages flutter like the leaves above on the autumn breeze, could be a calculus text, or a romance novel, or a simple story with plot and climax. Vast bookshelves whirl past the imagination with the endless possibilities and collections and genres.

Yet, tossed among the rising seas of published knowledge, this book rests on the surface with few others worthy of our adoration. The young man passing his autumn afternoon in the cradling comfort of nature’s vitality could memorize a text book or skim the cliff notes of every honored classic. Educating himself thus he might be called learned; seen as respectable. He may claim this knowledge as his, but he does not absorb it; cannot so easily integrate the lessons into his flesh and soul.

There are those we encounter passing on the road who radiate wisdom. there are these who care in face more about the process of exploring and learning for the sake of itself than the information obtained. The wise need not speak, but embody themselves the wisdom they’ve gained.

Human life shuffles along in ebbs and flows while maneuver highs and lows as each soul searches for meaning and purpose. We cannot navigate struggle by simply grasping for achievement, in the same way success in knowledge doesn’t come from equations and aggregation of detached facts. A human soul embodying curiosity, a seeking consciousness and a loving heart, resting against the trunk of a solid oak doesn’t need the half-truths of ‘success’.

Protesting Monks in Burma

By 12:30 p.m., hundreds of monks, students, and other Rangoon residents approached the police, stood in the road and began to pray. Then the soldiers and police began pulling monks from the crowd, targeting the leaders, striking both monks and ordinary people with canes. Several smoke bombs exploded and the riot police charged. The monks and others fought back with sticks and rocks. Many others ran, perhaps four or five of them bleeding from minor head wounds. A car was set alight — by the soldiers, some protesters claimed — and then there was the unmistakable crack of live ammunition: the soldiers were shooting into the air.

TIME Exclusive

BBC Report

I am by no means an expert on the situation in Burma, but I am familiar with a sense of decency. Nonviolent protest and the idea of calm prayerful opposition don’t warrant a violent response. Praying monks do not deserve a club to the back or a rifle-butt to the head. The image of a Buddhist monk’s shaved head, red with blood simply does not compute. This is not justice.

These reports are important for the fact that the correspondents feeding the information are doing so secretly under penalty of prosecution themselves. No one can get in to tell the world about events within this region.

The details described in article sound pretty bad. Worse, though, is the fact that these few bits of information are the only thing out there. Any situation in which the governing body is driven to covering up and keeping secrets cannot be good. 1o,000 monks and civilians are silently speaking out. Will we hear? And will we listen?


BBC: Accounts From Inside Burma

Turn a Smartphone into a Webcam

SmartCam

Alas, I can’t personally justify to myself the need for a smartphone, but if I could, I would totally take advantage of this SmartCam project. You install a server on your machine and then extract the client on your smarphone and voila! you have your very own portable webcam.

I could see this coming in handy for video bloggers or anyone wanting to run video on the fly. This sort of thing is going to become more and more mainstream over time as smartphones like the iPhone fall into the hands of the common consumer.

Xming and Linux Programs on your Windows PC

As a computer science major, I spend a fair amount of time in the Science Center on Linux machines working on homework and projects. With the semester wearing on, the trek over there and the time spent in the lab have become more and more of an annoyance.

Solutions for my laziness? I could go through the trouble of setting up Linux on my machine, duel boot or otherwise, or I could use an SSH or VNC connection to log in remotely to the lab machines. Better though, is a program I just came across called Xming.

Xming is one of a number programs available that allow a windows machine to accept and display X11 window forwarding from a Linux machine.

Here’s how it’s done:

  • Download and install Xming server
  • Install the following font packages (without which programs like emacs have compatibility issues)
  • Run Putty to connect to the Linux machine (check the “Enable X11 forwarding” under the left menu system SSH -> X11)

And with that, you’re done! Any windowed linux programs you open from the shell will be natively displayed on your windows machine. Other options such as Cygwin offer some of the same capabilities.

Sure beats the hell out of trekking across campus…

Your Online Footprint

Each of us has at some point done a google search of our name, curious about what sort of information is out there to be found about each of us. Taking this process one step further is a new site in beta called Pipl. Enter the first and last name, and home city of a person. This service then does a search of what it calls the “deep web”, including social networks such as myspace.com, blog networks such as blogcatalog.com and more otherwise unindexed media. Depending on the uniqueness of your name, it can turn up a lot of interesting stuff you didn’t know was out there.

Peopledata.com supplements the information on Pipl, with current and previous addresses and phone numbers. All this info on the internets…

ReCAPTCHA Putting Website Users to Work

ReCAPTCHA puts a new spin on the typical ‘Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans Apart’ (CAPTCHA)

CAPTCHA describes a technique for restricting website access to spammers or bots by means of an image with scrambled letters that a human user should be able to recognize and authenticate. ReCAPTCHA combines a solution to this common problem with the ability to help scan and make digitally available the vast wealth of print media information in circulation.

How it works: Users are shown a background image with two words printed over it. One of these words is already known and understood by the computer but the other is one that it was unable to recognize when scanned off the page. The user then types in these words and is granted access if the response was correct. ReCAPTCHA benefits from providing the service because each time someone verifies him or herself this way, another previously unrecognized word is added to the project’s version of that text.

White House Benchmarks on Iraqi Progress Released – Success?

White House Press Release on Assessment of Iraqi Progress

This morning, the White House released the mandatory assessment of Iraqi progress on a number of benchmarks. All-in-all, there has only been one additional ‘satisfactory’ benchmark rating since the same assessment was made in July.

So, our ultimate purpose for military and political action in Iraq was to establish a stable diplomatic government capable of sustaining itself and maintaining order within the country. With that in mind, here we are – mission accomplished? I’d say, rather unfortunately, that going into this engagement, we naively thought these sort of goals easy and achievable with enough force. The military ‘coalition’ involved did nothing but tear down the current forces holding things in place.

We can’t force a people we don’t understand to live according to our beliefs about the world and society. Our leaders do not understand the values and general day-to-day life of a common Iraqi person. In such a volatile situation, with such a lack of experience, how can they expect to bring about such optimistically defined order?

Xbox Media Center


Lifehacker: Turn Your Xbox into a Killer Media Center

This article is really a sweet tutorial for how to turn your (probably) neglected Xbox into a networked media center capable of running video, music, and additional applications off of its own hard drive or those of any PC on your network.

I look at this and see essentially an Apple TV with more user control. Well, perhaps my Xbox will be experiencing an overhaul over the weekend…