WordPress Upgrade Madness

Tuesday, September 11th, 2007

Recently, I have been becoming increasingly annoyed at the frequency with which WordPress releases updates, most of which are proclaimed to be security updates so that users are encouraged to “upgrade immediately”.

While I am thankful that WordPress remains so on top of security problems, it is rather disconcerting that security flaws are being discovered with such frequency, possibly pointing to deep rooted flaws in the security methods it employs.

I do have one piece of good news however. From what I can tell, v2.2.3 (which was released little more than a month after v2.2.2) does not address any security problems that will affect the majority of users. The only security hole it plugs is the ability of a user (meaning someone who can write actual posts to the blog) to post unfiltered HTML when their preferences are set to prevent it. In other words, unless you allow hackers access to the admin area of your blog, don’t worry about it.

iReview iLife ’08

Friday, August 17th, 2007

Ever since my copy of iLife ’08 arrived this afternoon, I have been attempting to determine whether Steve Jobs was telling the truth as to how “cool” all the new features are.

After several hours of arduous product testing and evaluation, I have come to a difficult decision: you better believe it is!

Ok, seriously, iLife ’08, the release of which was announced by Jobs at an Apple special event on Tuesday, is a very nice upgrade to the entire iLife suite (at to the apps I use). This isn’t intended to be an exhaustive review, so I’ll only touch briefly on each of the iApps, excluding iWeb, which I have never even used, so I don’t consider myself qualified to comment on it.

iPhoto ’08

Let’s face it, iPhoto ’06 was just lousy, especially when compared with the strong competition given to it by Picasa on the PC. However, iPhoto ’08 has significantly reduced or eliminated the number of headaches I encountered while managing my photos.

The first improvement is speed. Scrolling through my photo library (which, albeit is rather small, consisting of only about 700 photos) is lightning quick, with no lag at all.

The “events” features is also an incredible improvement over the “rolls” based system used in iPhoto ’06. They are a much more logical user-friendly way of organizing photos, and the events index (shown below) is a fantastic way of quickly looking through all your photos. Furthermore, the “skimming” feature demonstrated by Jobs in his presentation, where dragging the mouse from left to right across the event thumbnail quickly flips through all its photos, really is as fast and cool as it looks like!

iPhoto events

One final improvement in iPhoto ’08 is to the way photos can be moved between albums/events. In iPhoto ’06, a photo had to be dropped directly onto the title of an album to move it, but now it can be dropped anywhere in the album. This means no more dragging an imported image up past 200 photos just to move it into the proper album.

iMovie ’08

Although iMovie ’08 has been the subject of much controversy, with many people claiming it is even a downgrade from iMovie ’06, I believe it is a great improvement. Honestly, iMovie ’06 never made much sense to me, titles were difficult to use and couldn’t be edited after being applied to a clip (or maybe I just couldn’t figure out how). A simple video taken with my digital camera would have to be “imported” to be used, a process which generally took about as long as the clip itself, and the program seemed generally slow and unstable.

In contrast, iMovie ’08 is extremely intuitive, easy to use, and lightning quick. Its video skimming feature is a joy to use, and is just as fast as in Jobs’ demonstration. Being able to simply select video segments and drag them into the timeline makes creating videos fast and easy. The program’s set of transitions, although small, is adequate and includes all of the most commonly used and professional looking favorites, such as cross fades and fades through black or white. Titles are quick and easy to apply, and can be edited afterwards just as easily.

On the downside, it is true that iMovie ’08 lacks any video effects (besides color correction) and does not allow the volume to be faded up and down inside a clip, although the audio level of each clip as a whole may be adjusted. Themes are also gone, although I personally never used them and won’t exactly miss them.

Rather than considering iMovie ’08 a “downgrade” from ’06, I would prefer to think of it as a “crossgrade”, if that is even a word. Although it does lack some of the editing power of iMovie ’06, it more than compensates for these deficiencies with what it gains in usability and speed.

iDVD ’08

I don’t have much to say about iDVD, besides that it is probably the most routine upgrade in the entire iLife ’08 package. Besides a few performance and usability enhancements, there really isn’t anything to exciting in it, although the new pro-quality encoding is probably exciting to some. Other than that, iDVD remains an incredibly easy way of creating high-quality DVDs quickly and easily. What more could one want?

GarageBand ’08

The iLife ’08 upgrade to garageband doesn’t appear to add anything too spectacular, although the magic garageband is rather fun to play with, even though it may not actually be very useful in composing actual music. It has some minor interface enhancements, and the arrangements feature will probably be useful in some instances, although I don’t know how often bands will simply swap verses around in a song. I am not exactly an expert in using Garageband, so I honestly don’t know how useful any of the new features will really be to those who actually record music.


Overall, iLife ’08 is quite a significant upgrade to the iLife suite, one which I think is well worth purchasing for the improvements in iPhoto alone. Although iMovie is still in its first version and lacks some power features, I believe that over time it will mature into an excellent editor for simple films and home movies, although its usefulness for making more advanced videos is severely limited. The changes to the other members of the iLife bundle are of less significance, although they are still useful in some ways.

But, you ask, should I buy it or not? I would reply with an unequivocal, probably ;). If you disliked iPhoto and iMovie ’06 as much as I did, then definitely yes, go buy the upgrade. But if you are satisfied with those two programs, the upgrades to the rest of the suite most likely aren’t significant enough to warrant immediate adoption.

Adobe CS3 Announced!

Tuesday, March 27th, 2007

Adobe has just announced the imminent release of Creative Suite 3. This will be the first version of Creative Suite to run natively on Intel macs (like mine). It is also the first new version to be released after the Adobe/Macromedia merger.

The Web Premium bundle includes Adobe Dreamweaver CS3, Flash CS3 Professional, Photoshop CS3 Extended, Illustrator CS3, Fireworks CS3, Acrobat 8 Professional, Contribute CS3, Bridge CS3, Version Cue CS3, and Device Central CS3 (in other words, all the software you could ever possibly need for web development, besides Textmate of course). Better yet, the educational version only costs $499!

Also, if my understanding is correct, you are now allowed to use educational versions of CS3 for commercial use, which you wasn’t the case under the old Macromedia licensing scheme.

Updated, Finally!

Sunday, March 25th, 2007

In case you hadn’t noticed, I finally updated my blog to use the current version of wordpress, along with a new theme I created. Now that I’ve updated, its probably safe to say that before I was running wordpress v 2.0.4 (which is about 6 months out of date). Thank goodness no-one tried to hack my site!

I’m going to attempt to be posting more regularly now, as one of the main reasons I didn’t post before (or my excuse at any rate) was that I needed to update this blog before I used it.

I hope to publish a review of my experience with Mac thus far in a few days, although I need to get some tournaments up and running first.

Feel free to comment on any parts of the new design you love or loathe 😉

Mac Graphing Calculator Story

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

This story is hilarious! It gives the history of the graphing calculator built into mac since version 8.0. Apparently, the project had been canceled, but two developers stayed on for free at apple for over six months to finish developing it. They would sneak into the building by tailgating other employees through the entrance, and hijack empty offices. Each of the two developers said he was reporting to the other one, so they were entirely autonomous.

All sorts of different employees helped them accomplish the task. In fact, the story says they probably received more aid than they would have had they been on the payroll. Eventually, their project was discovered, but by that time it was advanced enough that apple decided to include it on new macs.

Its a fascinating read! The Graphing Calculator Story

My MacBook Arrived!!!

Monday, January 29th, 2007

I just got my MacBook this morning! I love it! 😀

As if enough people hadn’t already documented the MacBook being unpacked, I decided to do it again. Here are some pictures of my little white beauty.

Now I just need to name her…

Firefox about:config Tips and Tricks

Friday, January 12th, 2007

In this post I’ll outline some of my favorite custom configuration options for Firefox, which can be set from about:config. Some of these preferences do not exist by default, so you will have to right-click in about:config, select New, the type of preference, and then enter the preference name exactly as I have written it.


Type: Boolean
Possible Values: true, false
Setting this option to true will cause the url bar to auto complete urls. With this option, you can type the first few characters of a url, hit enter, and bingo, your at the site!
urlbar autofill screenshot

Note: It isn’t at first apparent how to stop the auto-completion at a certain point without going to the entire URL. For instance, if you want to go to a root domain, but the URL that starts to auto complete includes a specific page, just hit space after the domain name to stop the auto completion.

Read the rest of this entry »

Aardvark Firefox Extension 2.0

Friday, December 22nd, 2006

Aardvark v2.0 has just been released with support for Firefox 2. This extension allows you to easily remove elements from pages, which is especially useful when printing oddly formatted websites.

Download Aardvark or digg it!


Monday, November 27th, 2006

Ok, so call me an idiot, I’ve been using computers my entire life and I never new this before, but pressing control-backspace erases an entire word, while control-arrow key will move forward and back a word.

Am I just stupid and never learned this, or is it something that most people don’t know about?

Swift – Webkit for Windows

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

I recently stumbled upon a very interesting find: the Swift web-browser. It is essentially a port of Apple’s webkit to windows. Here’s a screenshot of it right after startup:
The Swift browser

My first impression is that it is definitely alpha, VERY alpha (it is only the 0.1 release after all). It’s also a much larger download, 15mb, compared to Firefox, 5mb, or Opera, 6mb.

Good Points

  • Its page rendering is exceptionally fast, even more than Firefox
  • Tabs, but that isn’t anything to incredible

Areas that need work (I won’t say bad points, after all it is only alpha)

  • Crashes regularly on complex pages
  • Password inputs are not supported
  • Anchor links (page.htm#section) are not supported
  • Acid 2 doesn’t work (probably due to the previous)
  • Lack of any preferences whatsoever

Overall, I would say Swift is a great effort and it looks promising, but at the present state of development it is little more than a proof of concept, and definitely not practical for normal use.