Looking for Ideas

I’ve not written blogs as regularly as I thought I would. I’ve been too busy to do that thus far.  But, I am curious what interests those that do read this.  So, this blog is simple and to the point:

“What would you like me to write about in a future blog?”

I’d be willing to review sites, give my input on things, even answer questions about a variety of topics.  Leave some comments and let me know! I’ll be sure to throw in these ideas along with my other blogs that are coming up.

Thank you!

WolframAlpha: Oh, Where Were You…?

Friday, something new was unveiled.  I don’t think it’ll be competition for the major search engines, but it definitely is cool.  It’s called Wolfram|Alpha.

It’s not really a search engine.  There are definitely quite a few neat things that you can do with it, though.  I did a few quick examples.  First, I did a search of a date.  I chose September 11th, 2001, as it is a date known by almost everyone worldwide.  Now, I’m shown data about how long ago that was, notable events, sunrise and sunset times, and how long there was daylight on that day.

Let’s try a different search.  One of the examples shown was to do a search for the International Space Station.  You can get sky position and orbital data about the ISS.  So far, this is looking really cool!

It seems that Wolfram|Alpha is great when it comes to data that has statistics, numbers, or other kinds of numeric measurements.  But this isn’t what I’ve been playing with the most.

One thing that I had to try was some mathematical computation.  I initially tried it with a simple quadratic equation.  I then moved on to something a bit more complex.  Being the geek that I am, I thought back to my Calculus days and had to try a little integration and differentiation, too.  Oh, and limits.  You can’t forget limits.

I must say… I am impressed.  I just wish I had had this to play with when I was still in my various Calculus courses.  Actually, I would’ve enjoyed using this with my engineering courses, as well.  There is so much to play with!

If you would like to try Wolfram|Alpha, why not check their list of examples?  There will definitely be something there that you can play with.

Have fun!

My Experience: Chrome vs Firefox

Before you start reading this, I’m not going to pick a favorite between these two browsers.  If you’re looking for a clear cut choice, you will not find it here.

That said…

I can’t believe I’ve been using the internet in some form since 2000.  What I really can’t believe is how I survived with Internet Explorer.  Now, should I be working on a fresh Windows install, my first move is always to install an alternate browser.  But what browser will it be? I really can’t say… I don’t use just one browser anymore.

As you probably can figure out by now, the two browsers I’ll be talking about are Google‘s Chrome browser and Mozilla‘s famous Firefox browser.  Both are useful.  Both have their advantages.  How do I use them?

Firefox has obviously been on the scene longer.  I’ve come to fully respect Firefox as a very stable and versatile browser.  Over the years, I’ve come across many different add-ons that I have found to be very useful.  Chatzilla, Colorzilla, Greasemonkey, Firebug, FireFTP, MeasureIt, ScreenGrab, ShowIP.  Actually, those are the very ones I enjoy using.  They’re helpful in so many ways.

Tabbed browsing forever changed the way I did work.  I went from having multiple windows open and having to try and go through them to having just one window with multiple tabs.  It definitely made it much easier to work.

For a good while, Firefox was my browser of choice.  I got to a point, though, where I would enjoy keeping several tabs saved with Firefox.  But what if I wanted to just look at a page real fast?  I didn’t want to have to load Firefox, with the tabs I had open, just for a quick look somewhere.

Well, when Chrome came on the scene, that changed.  After giving it a go, I quickly found my browser for such a purpose.  Not only did it handle tabbed browsing well, but it also seemed to do things in a very simple manner.  The UI is clean.  It seems to run pretty fast, too, something that I was not liking about IE7.

So, how can I sum up my use of these two browsers?

Firefox is my all-in-one browser.  The add-on capabilities just make it so easy to do various things, from figuring out colors as I’m working on a site to being able to just about anything else I need.   Even Greasemonkey makes Firefox helpful with some gaming (for reasons I’ll talk about in an upcoming blog).

Chrome is there for me for my everyday browsing.  If I’m just loading links from email or IM, or just want to check some message boards quickly, that’s my browser choice.

No, I don’t think one is better than the other.  No, I don’t feel a need to just use one.  I think these two each have their benefits and can easily be used together.  If you’ve never tried either of them, why not try them now?