IE 7 Beta Overview

Well, Microsoft finally released it’s beta of the highly anticipated Internet Explorer v7. And the tech community rejoiced let out a collective groan. As exhibit A I’d like to introduce this this screenshot of the new browser UI. As exhibit B I’d like to introduce this screenshot of the RSS feature. Now, there are a few good things in this release.

  1. Tabs. Finally.
  2. RSS. Finally.
  3. Search. Finally.
  4. Phishing detection, which I think Microsoft should surely be commended for. Though I think the word “phishing” should be replaced with something less tech-centric that my mom would understand.
  5. They’ve added the ability to manage browser add-ons, which evidently wasn’t supported in previous versions.

My problem with this list is I find myself saying “So what?”. Firefox, Opera and Safari have had all of these features, except for phishing detection, for years (NOTE: Firefox has an anti-phishing plugin, but does not ship an anti-phishing feature by default). I find myself wondering if this is too little too late. Either way, Microsoft should ahem be commended for making these changes. They’re late to the party, but at least they came. As can be expected from someone who pretty much hates Microsoft products I do have a few complaints.

  1. Why the hell did the move the menu bar below the tabs? They’ve actually gone against their own UI recommendations. They should clearly put this back at the top of the window.
  2. No stop or refresh buttons? I don’t need a 500 pixel-wide location bar, but I do need a stop and a refresh button.
  3. What the hell is up with the phantom tab to the right of the tab? It opens new tabs, I get that, but it should be turned into a “New Tab” button next to the “X” for closing tabs.
  4. I can’t aggregate feeds? I assume this will be fixed before it launches.
  5. IE 7 still isn’t acid compliant and still doesn’t fix many of the CSS rendering bugs in IE 6. As someone who makes a living banging his head against various IE bugs I seriously hope they fix this before it’s finally released.

As a web developer I’m pretty pissed that the rendering bugs haven’t been fixed and the browser still isn’t compliant with even CSS1. Meanwhile, CSS3 is being proposed and CSS2 is getting wider support in Safari and Mozilla/Firefox. I would have liked nothing more than IE7 to come out and be fully CSS3 compliant. You would be reading a very different post if it had.

Overall, I give this beta a C. Why? Because Microsoft has done the bare minimum. They haven’t done anything ground breaking here and they didn’t even bother to fix the existing rendering problems. Unlike others, however, I’ll wait to pass my final judgement until the final release has hit the streets, which I think will be around when Windows Vista is released.

iTunes Favorites from a list of Bands

Maybe I’m late to the party, but I’ve finally figured out a way to build Smart Playlists in iTunes that include only my favorites from a pool of bands. Since iTunes restricts to you all or any of the search terms you can’t say something like “All of the songs that are rated three stars or more and where performed by any of the following bands: The Thrills, The Killers or Franz Ferdinand.” Well, I’ve figured out how to make this work.

  1. Create a new Smarty Playlist and have it match any of the Artist names you want (ie. The Thrills, The Killers and Modest Mouse). Name your new playlist and save it (ie. “Thrilling Killer Mice”).
  2. Create another new Smarty Playlist and choose all of the criteria should be met. Set Playlist is insert name of first playlist and then click the plus to add another criteria. Set this second criteria to a range of stars that suits your fancy. Save this new playlist.

It was killing me for quite some time that I couldn’t group bands by their specific sounds and also have the playlist reflect my ratings. This way the first playlist stores all of the songs by all of the like sounding bands and the second playlist reflects songs from that pool of artists that I like.

Of course, the first playlist is for reference only. When you add another album by a band in one of your various pools the first playlist will update and, when you rate songs on the new album, your second playlist will update. It’s kind of like inheritance in iTunes playlists.

10 year old Microsoft "wizard"

I’m sure everyone has pretty much heard about the 10 year old Pakistani girl who passed the Microsoft Certified Application Developer. I’m sure this was no small feat for a 10 year old girl living in a third world country and I’m not going to comment on this. The funny part of the article is that, upon meeting Bill Gates, she read him a poem “celebrating his life.” The guys on Slashdot couldn’t resist speculating what the poem’s contents where. Here are some of their guesses.

There once was a man from Nantucket
Who told all the world to suck it
Selling insecure code
He sure was a chode
And his ethics could not fill a bucket

There once was a programmer named Gates
Who never could get any dates
So he bought MS-DOS
Became his own boss
And now he just masturbates

I stole stuff from Jobs.
And now I own Microsoft.
Holy crap I’m rich.

That’s some funny stuff for sure. By the way, the last one is haiku, so it’s not necessarily supposed to rhyme.

While many might scoff at someone passing a Microsoft developer exam, I have to point out that this girl was 9 when she passed the exam. The most complex thing I had figured out at 9 years of age was my Nintendo. Meanwhile, this girl is programming in C#, which is a strict typed language. Meaning it requires her to know the difference between an int, float, etc. Impressive.

I hate you Pennsylvania

I bet you voted for him because he’s good looking or seemed like a “nice young man”. I was reading an extremely ironic story about the homophobic senator when I happened upon this little gem.

In an interview with the Associated Press, the Senator suggested that the government has the right to prohibit gay and lesbian individuals from expressing love for each other physically. “The idea is that the state doesn’t have rights to limit individuals’ wants and passions. I disagree with that,” said the Senator, “I think we absolutely have rights because there are consequences to letting people live out whatever wants or passions they desire. And we’re seeing it in our society.”

At face value this seems to make sense. For instance, maybe my desire is to kill 1,000 people and then burn their corpses while dancing around the fire. That’s a desire that should be limited no doubt, however, where do we stop? At what point do we say, “This desire of yours should not be allowed.”?

It’s at this point I turn to what I feel is the essence of Libertarianism. If an act occurs between two consenting adults and that consent can be proven then I don’t have a problem with it as long as it doesn’t affect anyone else.

Here’s a good example. It’s illegal in many states to have “unnatural sex”. Who defines this term? Who does it apply to? Everyone? As a crazy lady with a blonde buzz cut once said, “Stop the insanity!”

Holy crap

I was reading about the new Ford GT, which I was lucky enough to drool over in person, when I read this little tidbit. If this doesn’t get your testosterone factories burning I don’t know what will.

You can reach 60 mph — without leaving first gear — in an amazing 3.4 seconds. Second gear is good for 95 mph, third for 135-plus. That still leaves three more gears.

Holy. Shit.

AJAX and Ruby on Rails

Two of the hottest “trends” in web programming right now are AJAX and Ruby on Rails. Why are they so hot? I honestly don’t understand the hype. Both are old and proven technologies wrapped up in pretty packaging. One of them isn’t even a new technology, it’s merely an acronym slapped over something whose original name wasn’t flashy enough.

AJAX is just XMLHttpRequest. That’s it folks. Nothing really to see or talk about here. It’s a pretty name for an awesome technology.

Ruby on Rails is the one that really pisses me off. Everyone is heralding it as the second coming in web development. Guess what? It’s just an MVC framework. Whoa! Don’t everyone jump up and shout for joy at the same time.

I can’t possibly be the only one looking around and saying to myself “So what?”. I’ve been programming within an MVC framework for three years. It’s been running large scale websites since then without issue. It uses crazy things like a controller, a presentation layer and leverages PEAR. To everyone doing cartwheels over AJAX and Ruby on Rails I say, “Welcome to the party. You’re late.”

Rove in Hot Water

It’s recently come out that Rove, the deputy chief of staff for President Bush, did, in fact, tell at least one reporter indirectly that Valerie Plume was a CIA agent. According to Newsweek Rove told a reporter in an email “wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip.” Of course, the right wingers are spinning this by saying that Rove didn’t have any intent or that he didn’t specificlly out her by name. So what? His actions lead directly to an undercover CIA agent being outed in the public press with great risk to her and her family. Ignorance isn’t and shouldn’t be used as an excuse for what many Americans would view as treasonous behavior.

Now the White House is taking some heat as evidenced by a heated exchange between a reporter and Press Secretary Scott McClellan.

QUESTION: Do you stand by your statement from the fall of 2003, when you were asked specifically about Karl and Elliot Abrams and Scooter Libby, and you said, “I’ve gone to each of those gentlemen, and they have told me they are not involved in this”?

QUESTION: Do you stand by that statement?

MCCLELLAN: And if you will recall, I said that, as part of helping the investigators move forward on the investigation, we’re not going to get into commenting on it. That was something I stated back near that time as well.

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you’re going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you’ve decided not to talk.

You’ve got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I’m well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation…

QUESTION: (inaudible) when it’s appropriate and when it’s inappropriate?

MCCLELLAN: If you’ll let me finish.

QUESTION: No, you’re not finishing. You’re not saying anything.

You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson’s wife. So don’t you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn’t he?

MCCLELLAN: There will be a time to talk about this, but now is not the time to talk about it.

QUESTION: Do you think people will accept that, what you’re saying today?

MCCLELLAN: Again, I’ve responded to the question.

QUESTION: You’re in a bad spot here, Scott…


… because after the investigation began — after the criminal investigation was under way — you said, October 10th, 2003, “I spoke with those individuals, Rove, Abrams and Libby. As I pointed out, those individuals assured me they were not involved in this,” from that podium. That’s after the criminal investigation began.

Now that Rove has essentially been caught red-handed peddling this information, all of a sudden you have respect for the sanctity of the criminal investigation.

MCCLELLAN: No, that’s not a correct characterization. And I think you are well aware of that.

We know each other very well. And it was after that period that the investigators had requested that we not get into commenting on an ongoing criminal investigation.

And we want to be helpful so that they can get to the bottom of this. Because no one wants to get to the bottom of it more than the president of the United States.

I am well aware of what was said previously. I remember well what was said previously. And at some point I look forward to talking about it. But until the investigation is complete, I’m just not going to do that.

QUESTION: So you’re now saying that after you cleared Rove and the others from that podium, then the prosecutors asked you not to speak anymore and since then you haven’t.

MCCLELLAN: Again, you’re continuing to ask questions relating to an ongoing criminal investigation and I’m just not going to respond to them. QUESTION: When did they ask you to stop commenting on it, Scott? Can you pin down a date?

MCCLELLAN: Back in that time period.

QUESTION: Well, then the president commented on it nine months later. So was he not following the White House plan?

MCCLELLAN: I appreciate your questions. You can keep asking them, but you have my response.

QUESTION: Well, we are going to keep asking them.

When did the president learn that Karl Rove had had a conversation with a news reporter about the involvement of Joseph Wilson’s wife in the decision to send him to Africa?

MCCLELLAN: I’ve responded to the questions.

QUESTION: When did the president learn that Karl Rove had been…

MCCLELLAN: I’ve responded to your questions.

QUESTION: After the investigation is completed, will you then be consistent with your word and the president’s word that anybody who was involved will be let go?

MCCLELLAN: Again, after the investigation is complete, I will be glad to talk about it at that point.

QUESTION: Can you walk us through why, given the fact that Rove’s lawyer has spoken publicly about this, it is inconsistent with the investigation, that it compromises the investigation to talk about the involvement of Karl Rove, the deputy chief of staff, here?

MCCLELLAN: Well, those overseeing the investigation expressed a preference to us that we not get into commenting on the investigation while it’s ongoing. And that was what they requested of the White House. And so I think in order to be helpful to that investigation, we are following their direction.

QUESTION: Scott, there’s a difference between commenting on an investigation and taking an action…

MCCLELLAN: (inaudible)

QUESTION: Can I finish, please?

MCCLELLAN: I’ll come back to you in a minute.


QUESTION: Does the president continue to have confidence in Mr. Rove?

MCCLELLAN: Again, these are all questions coming up in the context of an ongoing criminal investigation. And you’ve heard my response on this.

QUESTION: So you’re not going to respond as to whether or not the president has confidence in his deputy chief of staff?

MCCLELLAN: You’re asking this question in the context of an ongoing investigation, and I would not read anything into it other then I’m simply going to comment on an ongoing investigation.

QUESTION: Has there been any change, or is there a plan for Mr. Rove’s portfolio to be altered in any way?

MCCLELLAN: Again, you have my response to these questions.

Ouch. So you have the White House on record saying they asked Rove personally if he was involved and Rove said “no”. Either Rove was doing some serious hackery behind the scenes or someone else is lying in this equation. Either way it looks like Rove’s political career could be ending real soon now. My questions would be geared more towards how much the rest of the White House knew about Roves dirty tricks. More links and video at

Congradulations In Order!

First off, congrats to my father who recently was promoted at work. He’ll be doing a lot more paper work and managerial stuff from the sounds of it and, most likely, some more traveling to make sure various plans are up and running. He works for East Jordan Iron Works. Who are they and what do they make? Next time you’re walking over a manhole cover look for “EJIW” stamped on it – they make about 50% of the United States’ sewage components.

Next up is Lauren Lynn, who is my best friend’s little sister. I’ve known Lauren since she was six or seven and she’s grown up to be quite the singer. She recently won the American 1 Teen Idol competition and will be heading back to compete in the American Idol competition. Good luck Lauren!

Just try and take our booze – I dare you.

Benjamin Franklin once said, “Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy.” And, to the vast majority of Americans, a good beer ranks highly. Personally, of course, I think that anyone over 18, which last time I checked made them a legal adult, should be able to consume cool tasty beverages in a responsible manner whenever and wherever they wish. Today, we find out that a man is fighting for what he describes is his Constitutional right to get drunk on private property.

Laverriere argues that the Massachusetts Protective Custody Law was written to combat public drunkenness and that the police had no right to use it to take him from a private residence. He also says he had planned to spend the night at his friend’s and wasn’t going to be driving anywhere.

So, let me get this straight. A guy goes over to his friend’s party and gets drunk. The police show up and remove him from a private residence because he’s drunk. It’s a sad day in America when you can’t have some beers with your buddies in your own home. Ol’ Ben is rolling over in his grave as we speak.