Foxes on fire, and other entertainment

So, Firefox 3 popped up, got downloaded less times a day than the Flash plugin (version 9 is being downloaded at the rate of 12 million a day, well over the 8.3 million the Mozilla Foundation is harping on about), completely botched Flash support for a lot of people1, managed score some idiotic “0-day” security issue and (more to the point) survived exactly three minutes on my Mac.

Why? Because, like I pointed out earlier, the “awesome bar” is annoying as hell, and it feels way slower than Camino on my MacBook (besides taking up twice2 the RAM).

I will eventually get back to it on the Mac when it reaches 3.1 or something, but what amazed me throughout the whole week was the hype wave. It’s just a browser, people. Get a grip.

Still, the portable edition is now my secondary browser on my XP laptop (after Safari), since it doesn’t break anything and I was able to install Firebug and AdBlock Plus on it with a few clicks3. Plus I still prefer the official add-on to the built-in Firefox bookmark manager.

And that is about as much new technology as I was able to muster this week. I’ve noticed that OpenSUSE 11.0 is out and look forward to the day when I can actually find time to try it (or, most likely, version 12), but there were other things to do.

Why would I ever want an Apple TV?

Since moving back in, and since the living room is still a war zone, my ability to watch “regular” TV has been pretty much nil. And there are now around a bazillion photos of the little pink devil (and a couple of short videos) to show to people, so it was about time to put my PS3 to use as a home media center in earnest.

After manhandling a plasma TV into the bedroom and festooning it with a wire hanger to act as an indoor antenna in the best “MacGyver”:IMDB:tt0088559 tradition (since we never made plans to have a TV set in the bedroom and, as such, there is no RF plug there), I hooked up the PS3 to it via HDMI and, thanks to MediaLink and the PS3’s Wi-Fi connection, was soon streaming music, video podcasts (including the Apple keynote) and most of my photos down to it.

In the old days I’d had tried to get some random UPnP daemon running on a Linux box and devise all these little rules to manage media, but now I just leave iPhoto and iTunes running on the Mac mini I squirreled away in the former broom closet and VNC over to add stuff – there is, after all, only so much time in the day4.

While it is true that the PS3’s UI is not immediately intuitive and that the thing is physically imposing, I’ve found that I can live with both by dint of compensating by downloading PS3 game demos and hiding the box behind the plasma (yay for Bluetooth remotes).

The Sony store is slow, pokey and so far behind the iTunes experience that it is almost hilarious, but I find it a lot more interesting because (hint hint) it is actually available for me – i.e., I can get at pretty much everything else any other PS3 owner on the planet can download or buy, and it is a pity that Sony doesn’t seem to care much about TV series or movies – which would be an excellent reason for me to buy an Apple TV, if there was any decent video content on the Portuguese store5.

Still, one manages. The thing plays DVDs and DivX files wonderfully, so I can actually watch stuff I’m interested in – although, with the kid interrupting us every half hour or so, it took something like a week to watch the “Bee Movie”:IMDB:tt0389790 DVD, and I was going crazy with all the junk they stuff in before the DVD menus these days.

I guess I’ll just have to rip all my DVDs to H.264 and drop them into the mini – unless, of course, Apple suddenly decides to start selling movies and TV series on the Portuguese store.

Hmmm… Nah.

1 Go Linux

2 For the nitpickers, the score was 310MB for Safari (four windows, thirteen tabs), 35MB for Camino (two windows, six tabs) and 72MB for Firefox (one window, three tabs).

3 For those of you complaining that Firebug doesn’t work, yes it does. Just go over to the add-ons page and get it there instead of relying on automatic upgrades. So much for consistency, right?

4 Older and wiser, I guess. Managing photos still requires some planning, but I expect to sort that out and post about the experience sometime soon.

5 And yes, I’ve written before about the “Beverly Hills: 90210”:IMDB:tt0098749 workaround. Call me old-fashioned, but I’d rather have things done right.