16 December 2010

Melting Rocks

Well for all my mad passion for Google Chrome, I have been experimenting with a new browser called "Rock Melt" from the people who brought you Navigator. The reason I was interested in it, was because I thought Navigator was the best browser I had ever used. I was very disappointed when it stopped being, even though by that time I had moved on.

I have fiddled with Mozilla's Firefox, looked at Opera. Internet Exporer, which is the main Browser used in the world, seems limited and slow compared to the others. It's only use is that Hotmail is stable within it. I often find my Hotmail account difficult to administer when in other browsers. But, to be honest, I would give up my hotmail account in a heartbeat if I couldn't use it in other browsers. Yahoo and Gmail are both stable in other browsers, so I really cannot see why Hotmail can't be.

The big features for me with Rock Melt is that it is intrinsically interfaced with facebook and twitter. My friends are listed down the left hand side of the screen and my accounts listed on the right hand side. I can see at a glance what is going on in both, so that I am instantly updated. The big plus with Rock Melt is that I can be browsing the web and chatting within Facebook at the same time. Previously, and with any other browser, you can only chat within Facebook if you are actually in your facebook account. No going out anywhere. This really impresses me, because sometimes chatting can be a bit slow, particularly where the person who you are chatting with doesn't have English as their native language.

So I am very much enjoying Rock Melt. It is built on the same Chromium platform as Chrome and has many features in common with Chrome. I suppose the creators will keep up with the features and apps as they go along. They don't want a lot of users but in my opinion, they should be pushing this thing to become a standard.

Onya guys.

07 October 2010

Grandpa on Facebook....

I have to admit, I spend a fair bit of my time on Facebook; it is a marvelous way to keep in touch with people and glimpse into their lives. My friends are roughly divided into family, horse people, crafts/artists and my religious friends. I don't interact with them as a group, but individually. I have a variety of friends from all walks of life. I will confess, however, that of the 350+ people on my friends list, I have know about 11 who are mostly family, and all the remainder I have never met personally, have never seen and with the vast majority I never will - mainly because they live in other countries to me, the bulk being the USA.

With that number of friends, there would be a mine of demographic information if I was to use it in a commercial sense, but I'm not interested in that really. So it is just a point of note. I will not go into the Marketing potential of facebook in this article.

One of the best things is that I can keep in touch with my grandchildren who live in Brisbane; about 1400kms from here and I wouldn't hear from them otherwise, they are teenagers and granny isn't first thing on their minds.

Another great thing, is that the vast majority of my horse friends are Arabian breeders. It is always interesting to keep an eye on what is happening both here and overseas within the breed. In being "friends" with these people, I get to look in on their programs, see their foals and get some insight into their breeding ideas. It is also interesting to keep up to date with breeding trends in Australia compared to the rest of the world. Although it appears to me that Australian breeders have embraced Facebook in far greater proportion numbers than their American counterparts.

Facebook is a great way to bring together vast groups of people to involve in conversations - over time - about their subjects. I can see where in the future a young person getting into, for example, breeding Arabian horses, can call on the expertise of everything recorded on facebook pages in regards to the subject, as a way to move into the future with their own breeding programs. The information is slow, as it trickles in day by day, person by person, but it trickles nevertheless, all of it, from the past into the future. This is true for almost any subject, for example, rubber stamping, sewing/tailoring, religion, anything where there is needed an interaction of ideas.

I have no idea whether there is much archeaology, politics, social sciences, humanities, physics, chemistry, history or stuff on Facebook, but I suspect there is, any subject you can think of is there, and in great quantities. Not everyone thinks alike, so there is also a vast confluence of ideas on any given subject. People interact at the height of professional level, to the most ignorant rank amateur. It is a great source of learning, of educating and of spreading ideas.

Admittedly, it can spread bad with the good, but even to the most extent that is a matter of perspective.

The thing that bothers me most about Facebook, is that appears to mostly be a younger person's social activity, rather than everybody. The people who could most benefit from facebook and who would be of benefit to have on facebook are the much older people, the people well over fifty. Yet this seems to be a group who have been the most reluctant to join it; mainly because they do not understand how it works.

I would like to encourage everybody who is on facebook to go to a relative or friend who is over 50 and sign them up for Facebook, but to also, please, take the time to teach them to use Facebook and to use it as it should be used, for the interaction of ideas, for the interaction with people and for the contact of people from all walks of life who love the same things as they do.

Those of you who use Twitter and can use it properly, please encourage them to use twitter as well, help them to build a following (don't forget to add their twitter address to Facebook).

29 July 2010

Google Chrome - take II

Earlier this year, while using GC the computer managed to snag a virus that the mega expensive virus detecting and killing software didn't detect or kill. So the HD had to be wiped clean and reloaded all the old stuff. Luckily our really important stuff gets backed up on a reasonably frequent basis so we didn't loose much.

When we reloaded the software we decided to perhaps not reload GC because it was the browser in use when the virus hit. Bit silly but that was our reasoning. Anyhow, I find not having GC a bit of an inconvenience because I had got used to using it. So today I took the gamble and reloaded it. It was kind of on a low level of getting back an old friend.

Chrome seems to be better for using html and CSS and the other stuff than any other browser. It doesn't just sit there making its mind up. A few people have noted lately that Chrome is having issues with Blogger, but that is nothing new.

I tell you I am thinking of getting an iPad, but I would rather something more friendly to GC and will be looking, too.

Well, now that I am back and have said this, I guess I better get cracking on some articles.

18 October 2008

Meltdown ....

So it is a bit scarey to watch the news at the moment about the big financial woes that are leading to a recession. The politicians are concerned and are trying to stimulate the economy by giving certain welfare sectors a large payment, just before Christmas. I can see the worthiness of this. Most people with children will spend it on Christmas presents and, if there is anything left, on getting ready for school next year. A boost to the retail industry will flow along the system fairly quickly - but it seems a short term solution for what is going to be a long term problem.

The second big giveaway is to double the first homeowner's grant. This is to try to stimulate the housing industry again. It may work for a while, but since much of the financial woes are credit related, sub-prime purchasers are not going to be able to raise a brass razoo for anything, let alone a house. Okay, being sub-prime, they probably shouldn't be able to raise credit for anything, let alone a house. But maybe if someone took the time to educate the sub-prime would be house buyers into becoming Prime borrowers, and stuff, that maybe it would work towards getting the problem sorted out.

I don't know that it is as big a deal here in Australia as it is over in the USA where greed got the better of many people.

Bad times don't last, and we will recover from this, but it will change the face of Politics forever.
Be interesting to see ....

05 September 2008

Google Chrome

Well, I downloaded Google Chrome the other day onto my laptop and have been using it ever since. I don't know why it is, but I really love google "stuff".  My RSS reader, my blogs, my i-google page are all really good and now Chrome has me smitten as well.

Oh, yes, I have been around the web and read what everyone has been saying about it - and it bothers me there is so much negativity.  When Microsoft bought out Vista, it was the same, doom and gloom.  No one had much good to say about it at all, and now they same is happening with Chrome.

Let me tell you some stuff, okay?  First of all, I have tried to download other browsers besides IE7 onto this laptop, I have gone all the way through and at the last minute they say it wont work on my machine.  No explanation, or anything. Grrr....  But Chrome downloaded, and although it took a bit more than the few seconds they said (it was exactly 40 minutes), it works.  

And it is neat and tidy, and it is discrete.  No dialogue boxes.  If Chrome has anything to say to you a little box drops down below the Address bar and asks you the question, then disappears.  It is not obtrusive.  Furthermore if I choose to ignore it, it goes away.  Not like a dialogue box that waits until you have closed it to let you do another things.

The tab system is just so much better than new windows.  New windows spawn a new browser, whereas a new tab does not, therefore it is not chewing extra bandwidth.  

It is fast.  For my laptop, it is quite fast.  Okay, maybe not FTL, but at least when I click on something, I don't have to twiddle my thumbs waiting while the browser decides that it is going to have a really good look at the website, prior to opening it for me.  Nope, Chrome just opens it up and there it is.  

I haven't had it long enough to know if it is as secure as they say it is, but seeing as all the other stuff they bragged about is there, I am working on the assumption the security is there as well.

As I use it, I will keep you informed.

28 June 2008

Animal Rights II ....

Aparently the Spanish Government has given the "Great Apes" rights. What this actually entails I am not sure about, because the idea is so ludicrous. Europe is passing alot of strange and stupid laws lately. One country, I think it is Sweden, has given plants "rights". I guess saying this is stupid is not the same as it being stupid.

To give something "rights" automatically means that the thing given "rights" has the capacity to understand those "rights". So I would like someone, obviously a little brighter than myself, to explain how non human creatures/things are capable of understanding "rights"?

How do you explain to a great ape that bashing another great ape to death is not on, because the other great ape has the same right to life as you do? How do you explain to bonobos that child sex is not acceptable when bonobos have sex with their young from a very early age? Child sex is not acceptable to humans, so why should it be acceptable to great apes? And bonobos are considered to be more closely related to humans than chimpanzees.

Great apes are not proto humans. They have never evolved into humans in the past, do you think they will evolve into humans in the future? Why would you think that?

The people who introduce these ideas into a pliant society are misguided. They do the animals no favours and do their society no favours. The animals have no understanding or concept of what are now their "rights", they are an added burden on society, because they can no longer be kept in captivity for a start, nor can they be killed if they develop into pest proportions. They cannot be handled as pets, per se. And I guess if a severe enough drought came and people began to starve, a) the people could not eat the apes, nor b) could allow them to starve, even though people are starving.

Does that mean if a female great ape is having trouble having a baby she can go to hospital?

Do they have the right to form unions?

Do they have the right to a bank account and an ability to earn money?

Can they gather on street corners and hold a protest?

What does giving an animal "rights" really mean?

20 May 2008

Anecdotal Evidence ..

It has been a while.

I want to discuss some things about horses that I have observed over a few years. The setting of these "incidents" is within the confines of a farm, even to a paddock. It involves only two horses so far, one of which I owned and the other I saw on a video. The behaviour was so remarkably similar that I have thought about it for a while to come to the basic conclusion that I have.

The "incidents" involve two stallions, one actually a three year old colt, but the other is about eight or nine years old. Both animals were raised very close to humans and have lived as domestic animals all their lives. The older stallion is a breeding animal, the colt was old enough to breed but not the opportunity as he was isolated with just his dam as company.

Both "incidents" involve the motion of rearing, standing on the back legs and walking a few steps. These actions were done voluntarily and in the presence of humans. The stallion was playing around with a human in his yard and involved cantering around his paddock, then going to the human and rearing up next to him. There was no threat in the stallion to the human. The colt was doing the rearing and walking while holding a feed bucket and throwing it around.

The colt would take the bucket by its handles in his mouth, as the handles were the easiest way to hold the bucket. He would rear up and take five or six steps forward. Because of my close interaction with this colt, I really felt that he was imitating the upright walking of humans. When I saw the stallion doing the exact same thing in the presence of his human, I realised he was doing it as well. Showing the human he could walk upright as well.

It may not seem unusual at first that a horse would behave in this way, considering that both animals have spent all their lives with humans. When you think about it deeper, you would realise that it is indeed unusual for an animal to think like this. First of all the action of rearing is not an easy one for a horse. It has a rigid spine (unlike a flexible spine of, say, a cat) and is a grazing animal. Rearing is often seen in young horses as part of their play, both colts and fillies do it. Mares rarely rear once they are adults, although they are still capable of doing it. Well fed domestic mares will rear in play sometimes, but not often. Mares are quieter in that they think mostly of either feeding a foal or just wandering looking for grazing. A stallion in the "wild" will rear as a threatening behaviour towards other stallions/horses. Rearing is used by stallions in fighting as a position of height can allow the stallion to gain an upperhand in a fight and defeat a challenger. These are the main natural uses of rearing in horses. Rearing for no apparent reason other than play just is not usual.

For these two stallions to rear up and actually walk on their rear legs only is very unusual and indicates to me that there is a deal of thought going on with the animals. The imitation of humans this way is unusual. Very few animals other than primates are capable of imitation of humans.

As to why I concluded that this was actually what the two stallions were doing, I must admit I cannot be certain, other than the way the walking was done. And the need for approval of both horses afterwards. My own colt came up to me afterwards and was cocky and acting in his way of telling me he was clever. It is a body language he developed for me. Body language among horses is important as it is their main means of communication.

The other stallion was beside his human when he performed the "incident" and afterwards made some cocky behaviours similar to my colt and then repeated the whole thing. It was as though both stallions needed to know they had been seen doing what they had done and afterwards wanted to know if the act was good to the human opinion.

Thinking and the ability to think is something humans believe is solely their domain. Horses were domesticated as beasts of burden and for transport, particularly during military conflict and speed. An ability to think/reason is not required on the part of the horse. However, both of these stallion do not do alot all day. They have time to think. My colt worked out that he could stand behind a shed when it was feeding time and jump out at me to give me a fright (from not expecting him to do this). He never resorted to biting or kicking when he did this, just jumped out, waited for my reaction and then trotted away, as though he was laughing.

The colt was a registered Thoroughbred, and the stallion is a registered Arabian. Both breeds are reputedly "hot blooded", and the dam of my colt is spooky even though we have tried many things to de-spook her. The colt has since died, although the stallion is still alive.

If this incident had just been my colt doing it, I would perhaps have thought I was a bit one eyed in thinking him smarter than he really was. Having seen another horse act in the same way, when the two animals had never met in any way, shape or form nor was either stallion related to each other in any way. I have never had personal interaction with the stallion. I saw the stallion on a video that appeared to have been filmed from a mobile phone.