CSS3 Rocks! Please use latest version of Safari or Firefox.
Welcome to Walter Moore Canada's Blog. These comments are strictly opinion. You can disagree!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Outdated Information

Lately I have been doing a fair bit of research on the web and I really notice that a lot of content is old and outdated. Particularly when it comes to coding. What was the cool solution 2 years ago is integrated into IDE's and done in a couple of clicks today. You could spend hours implementing this "cool" function only to find another newer article telling you it is really simple to do now with a few mouse clicks.
As time goes on I think the date of creation and last updated date are becoming much more important in search results. So, now I am starting to perform a lot of advanced searches with date filters set. You might want to try it to reduce the crap in search results. For that matter using any other filter also gives you a little better results.  

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

MagicJack is worth the money

I bought a MagicJack in 2009-09 and it has definitely been worth the value. In case you don't know what a MagicJack is here is a simple explanation. This little device allows you to use your computer with Internet to make phone calls anywhere in Canada/USA. Plus it gives all types of features like call display, conference calls, 3 way calling and more... OK, this is starting to sound like a sales pitch... Lets break it down...
Benefits:

  1. All phone calls within Canada/USA for $20 PER YEAR!!! That should be enough. It cost more per month for long distance and then there is the basic line charges and additions like call waiting and call answer. If you can get away with $50 per month that is cheap... $50x12=$600 per year!
  2. Call quality is usually as good as land lines but periodically works more like a cell phone(may  not be perfect).
  3. Simple to install. If you can connect a phone and use a computer you can do it.
  4. You can register the phone number in most cities within USA(I registered mine in St.Pete, Florida.
  5. Comes with lots of accessories for free. Things like call waiting, forwarding, display, answer, 3way, even your own hosted conference calls are free.
  6. You can send a MagicJack to someone in another country and they can use it like a local area phone... Example: I, a Canadian living in Ontario, registered my MagicJack phone number(727-827-8295) in St.Pete, Florida. Now, no matter where the MajicJack is physically located it acts as if it is in St.Pete. Anyone that calls my MagicJack is billed as if they called me in St.Pete(it may be in Canada physically). I could send my MagicJack to Japan and it still works like it is in St.Pete.
  7. Can send you an email when any voice message is left. Email will include the actual voice mail.   
  8. You can use a regular phone or computer headset.
  9. Disconnect your current service and you can plug MagicJack into any phone jack and all phones in your house will work.

Disadvantages:

  1. If you are looking for 100% quality on every call this unit is not for you. I would think of it more of a cell phone. Once in a while call quality is less than perfect. Try the call again.
  2. When I registered I could not register a Canadian phone number. Only USA cities are allowed.
  3. Once in a while there seems to be an echo. 
  4. While calling out seems to work well sometimes people calling in have problems.
  5. Requires high-speed Internet and could get costly if you pay for your downloads.
  6. A certain degree of nagging to buy other items when registering.
  7. 911 services are only available in USA.

Summary:
If you already have high-speed Internet then this unit is definitely worth it. You will probably save the money it cost in the first month. Do not disconnect your current phone service until you have fully tested the MajicJack. Excellent as a second line(ensures you have 911 services(not an issue in USA)).

Installation Tips:
Just plug the phone into the unit then plug the unit into your computer. It will automatically configure for you but be careful when reading the prompts. There are constant little things trying to get you to buy additional services. This was one of my dislikes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Do NOT save passwords if using Google Chrome

If you are using Google Chrome as your personal browser(which I have recommended and am questioning now) DO NOT ALLOW GOOGLE CHROME TO SAVE ANY PASSWORDS!!! Why you ask? Simple. In their infinite wisdom Google decided that anyone that has access to the device can look up ALL the passwords you have saved in it.
This is CRAZY!!!!! Wasn't anyone thinking of security....AGAIN! I found this by fluke but if you  choose "Options" from menu, then choose the "Personal Stuff" tab, there is a button called "Show saved passwords" that like it says shows a list of the sites, the userid AND password you entered. Talk about giving away the farm. Why would you ever allow ANYONE to see the password!!! Defeats the whole idea of security.
Now you know why I m quickly taking back my recommendation of Google Chrome. These bimbo's don't seem to understand the first thing about security. Anyone I know with a couple of years experience could see all types of problems allowing this... And they want to replace Microsoft??? Things are not looking good folks ;(

Thursday, February 18, 2010

HTML5 - JavaScript LOCAL SQL Databases

I just built a demo at http://wmoore.ca/basic/localdbdemo.htm to show some of the possibilities with the new client side databases(that's right databases on customers device) that are part of HTML5(sort of). It shows you most of the common database functions and the code to do it. You can easily learn to utilize databases in offline mode so you can allow customers to work while they are offline and update the online systems later. Or you might want to create a 100% offline tool. If your solution requires a local database you can now use this database structure natively in JavaScript. I am already working on ideas.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Internet Explorer.... The modern Edsel? Don't write it off yet ;)

First off, I use Google Chrome V4 now and am a recent convert from Microsoft's Internet Explorer(IE8). I have noticed a lot of IE bashing lately particularly related to standards support. I find this rather ironic since most of the things mentioned as non-standard are items that IE implemented as far back as IE3 but because the standard didn't exist they created their own. Things like opacity and shadows that everyone hypes in CSS3 were all working fine in IE3!!! Things still being worked on like transitions in CSS have been in IE since beta3. HTML5 items like databases and custom tags were all part of IE3 & 4. My demo site that was made exclusively for IE4+ used these and many other cool capabilities that were not available in any other browser. That is when all the competition disappeared and IE got slower and sloppier with every release.
Now I see many people writing IE off. I do not recommend this for business at this time! Microsoft is too large a company to just roll over and let this happen. Remember when Netscape said the same thing... Netscape was going to be the browser... Woke up Microsoft who then crushed Netscape. IE9 is going to reduce the complaints by being faster and more standards compliant and by IE11 I suspect they will be in the battle again, maybe even dominating. I also think the versions will be coming faster now there is competition.
Now on the other and... It would make sense to me for Microsoft to totally drop the browser and let others build them to run on Windows systems. After all they don't make any money on the browser. It would be quite an achievement to put something like Firefox on all Microsoft systems(I can't see Chrome with the Google/Microsoft wars ongoing).
This war really doesn't matter so don't invest to much into any specific browser. Try to go with browser neutral code or at least code that degrades gracefully like CSS.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

CSS3 will really make things better

It has been a long time since much has made me hype technology but CSS3 is one of them. This version of CSS really implements some time saving options. If you haven't noticed this site is utilizing CSS3 in several ways...

  1. Using box shadow to create the cool shadow around each section.
  2. Using text shadow to create the nifty fire shadow underlining text.
  3. Rounding corners without graphics and a lot of code or complex tables.
On my website at http://wmoore.ca/  I also implemented the above options plus...
  1. Using Rotate to rotate both the text and pictures 45 degrees left or right.
  2. Using Opacity to dim pictures until mouseover, then brighten image.
  3. Using Transforms, positioning and rotate to put text sideways.
  4. Of course the old demo site built for IE4 has extensive use of CSS1&2 including dynamic themes. All built around 1999-2001(more than 10 years ago).  Still works if you have IE or Opera.
There are even more that I have not implemented... Here are a few...
  1. Multiple backgrounds
  2. Gradients
  3. 2D & 3D transforms
  4. Template layouts... What tables should have been. While difficult for those that learned tables already(like myself) to comprehend value these are much simpler and powerful than current tables.
  5. Even Speech which really came out in CSS2 is covered.
Maybe this time people will pay more attention to CSS's value. It was really underrated when IE3 Beta was released(when I first saw it). And few adopted CSS for several years... I of course was telling everyone of the great value they are missing. Unfortunately this was not a battle that was winnable at the time. Business still wanted to support every browser EXACTLY the same so we were all limited to the very basics. Even when repeatedly, new browsers/versions would appear requiring in some cases almost entire rewrites of some systems. Business would not compromise on a "works for everyone but best in XX browser" model which was needed. Once we got past that unfortunate situation CSS took off.  Business started realizing the potential of CSS to support everyone in at least a basic form. Now CSS is the standard and soon you will not be allowed to code design descriptors(like height,width,color...) in HTML tags. Most design tools are switching to this model in front of the curve.
If you see my web site in Chrome then look at it in IE you will be able to see what CSS3 is doing for me... IE8- does not support CSS3(IE9 will) but did have some options(like opacity) implemented BEFORE the standards came out. I am sure that IE9 will be a dramatic improvement in supporting CSS3 standards but it will take sometime for IE9 to be adopted by everyone. The site does not look very good in IE... much better in Chrome, Safari or Firefox.
Adopt CSS3 now!!! That way we can all reduce the bandwidth glut and provide the customer with a better experience. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Browser memory usage at startup

Ever wonder how much memory the various browsers are using when they start? Well Chrome has a nice feature from the address bar... Type in about:memory in the address bar and press enter. If you did like I did and started the 5 top browsers before entering about:memory you will get a display something like below:


This display had to be refreshed one additional time in Chrome so technically it shows using more than it really was by about 1mb. As you can see the more features available the more memory is being used. IE8 is surprisingly the stingiest in memory. I was surprised that Opera used so much memory but I guess with all the extra features like voice it needs the resources.
Please note I took caution to start each browser in a blank page to ensure no extra load was recorded for memory usage. Each browser was started only once beforehand.

Monday, February 1, 2010

IE8 is Really SLOW... compared it to Chrome..

Well after switching to Chrome I performed a standard test from Sunspider(http://www2.webkit.org/perf/sunspider-0.9/sunspider.html) using various browsers and this was the results... Chrome & Safari are clear winners. For that matter, in performance, they beat IE & Firefox easily.

Here is the results... Chrome is on average 10.2 times faster than IE8. These are generic tests of JavaScript and other resources that Microsoft recommends! Microsoft touts that IE9 will be faster(only 2x as slow instead of 10x)and tests of IE9 do reflect the improvement but who cares... Microsoft is STILL the slowest of all 4 tested browsers(IE9, FireFox3.6, Chrome4, Safari4). Chrome/Safari are the fastest regardless if you are using older versions or the latest builds. Firefox is around 30% slower. IE... putt putt putt ;)

This chart compares IE8 and Chrome3 where you can clearly see how slow IE8 really is. All times in milliseconds. IE9 is faster but still slower than Chrome!

Test IE8 Chrome TimesFaster
3d: 1,268.6 139.6 9.1
cube: 415.6 43.0 9.7
morph: 347.0 47.4 7.3
raytrace: 506.0 49.2 10.3
access: 1,525.2 65.2 23.4
binary-trees: 315.4 5.2 60.7
fannkuch: 600.2 21.8 27.5
nbody: 437.6 32.6 13.4
nsieve: 172.0 5.6 30.7
bitops: 1,018.6 58.4 17.4
3bit-bits-in-byte: 159.2 4.4 36.2
bits-in-byte: 168.6 11.4 14.8
bitwise-and: 468.8 17.4 26.9
nsieve-bits: 222.0 25.2 8.8
controlflow: 246.8 4.4 56.1
recursive: 246.8 4.4 56.1
crypto: 650.0 53.6 12.1
aes: 275.0 21.6 12.7
md5: 187.6 17.0 11.0
sha1: 187.4 15.0 12.5
date: 943.4 138.4 6.8
format-tofte: 449.8 62.8 7.2
format-xparb: 493.6 75.6 6.5
math: 1,077.8 87.8 12.3
cordic: 390.6 29.4 13.3
partial-sums: 315.6 41.2 7.7
spectral-norm: 371.6 17.2 21.6
regexp: 293.4 24.8 11.8
dna: 293.4 24.8 11.8
string: 2,096.8 321.6 6.5
base64: 397.2 31.0 12.8
fasta: 502.6 44.2 11.4
tagcloud: 372.0 76.0 4.9
unpack-code: 406.2 93.8 4.3
validate-input: 418.8 76.4 5.5
Total: 18,241.2 1,787.4
Average: 521.2 51.1 10.2