Trying to use Opera as a baseline

I decided that time of day could cause differences, who knows. I did side-by-side comparisons of two of the three ASP pages from this morning. The windows machine had not trouble, my F11 machine with Firefox 3.5 RC4 decided it still wanted to hang around.

I ask my brother who looks into it, and so far has no idea yet. He suggests trying Opera to set a baseline reference. Now that I think of it, I’ll try both firefox and Opera on my business machine, just to really try things out.

So I download and install Opera as a baseline on my computer, figuring that either things will work and I’ll figure out that it’s Firefox 3.5 RC4, or that it’s something else. That licence screen isn’t as scary as other licenses, it appears that I can use it to browse the web and so on — as long as I’m not doing so as part of air traffic management or running my nuclear power plant — but it’s still interesting.

I quickly check two of the websites I had trouble with this morning. And they hang.

Now I’ve just installed firefox on my business computer. To my great surprise, it worked — for the past several months I haven’t bothered on the presumption that somewhere along the line I’d get a message saying that I couldn’t do it without admin rights.

Surprise surprise — the two pages work without a hitch (firefox needs a couple of plugins, but the pages come up no trouble.)

At this point I’m going to let the Opera installation on Windows drop.

For those of you who are curious, the two sites in particular are geocaching.com and pwbrewing.com. The other two sites are not useful references since one is a corporate email server (all Windows, to my chagrin I have received confirmation from the techs there that they have no linux, and I’ve learned from other times not to bother mentioning linux to them, they seem more hostile to linux than I to windows — some say that it threatens their livelihood!) and the other was a survey tailored to my email addy as a customer satisfaction response.

Of course, I have read a few things about the latest Firefox Fiasco but that seems to be about load time and the way Firefox generates “random” numbers.

ASP and Windows centric web pages slow

I am at another hotel on business. (Ho-hum, they have a password, I don’t care at this point to find out how long it’s been in place, I’m sure it’s good odds that it’s been a while. Shall we say that it’s named after a good ship. I suppose I could be wrong.)

Surfing is, often enough, slow. A good number of pages hang and time out. At first, I don’t notice much because the main one I visit is always slow, always hangs and occasionally times out.

At first I was wondering if it’s because I’m in a hotel using their internet — you know, bottlenecks due to lots of people using the internet hookup at the same time (what, at 6AM?), people setting up repeaters in the bushes stealing signal because there is an insecure password that at worst would cost them a night’s stay to figure out, etc.

I also have the company laptop with me, to do company work (of course, I have my own laptop to do personal stuff, the company policy on personal usage of the computers is getting to be much like closed source licences that make you wonder whether you may use the software at all, even for its apparently intended purpose.) It uses windows on a Centrino Core 2 with something like 2.8GHz or more. For the fun of it I type in le web page du jour. It loads quite speedily, while the page load on the same web page on my F11 ACER Aspire One is still hanging.

And I notice something interesting: le web page du jour is in ASP. So is the historically slow site. Last night the site that was impossible to properly log into using my laptop, the work email server — such that I logged into my own web email to send the message to the home office — is, you got it, on a windows server. A fourth site this morning timed out in the middle of a survey I agreed to take; I hope it’s a linux server, it’s for a magazine I subscribe to on a little topic called linux (the publishing house also has a PC magazine, so go figure.)

I’m wondering: Am I having difficulties with these pages because I’m using Firefox? Linux? A slower machine? Is it Fedora’s implementation of Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 or whatever? Some combination of the above? Is this an ASP compatibility problem? Or an ASP discrimination problem? Or are the pages in question themselves biased against non-windows computers? Or non-IE browsers? (Never heard that one before!) (here’s my archive)

À suivre …

The new Google OS

Well for those of you who haven’t heard, internet darling Google announced in the past day or two that it will be releasing a new OS expected in 2010 (here’s my archive).

I had a few reactions:

– Google getting headline news should make it interesting, and they have the money and clout to be a real competitor. I saw the news about the new Google OS by watching the morning news and one of the taglines was “Google to launch operating system”. Sorry, Ubuntu only gets headline news within the likes of gearheads like me (see below), and it’s a footnote at best when people talk about that South African Space Tourist.
– What will “it” be? Linux? Google-Hurd? Open-source? GPL? BSD-licence? Apache Licence?
– I wondered what it would be about. Goobuntu? Ahhh, it’ll be an internet-centric linux distro — meaning, even though it’s obvious that it’s meant to be a MS-killer on the netbooks (with the possibility that it could be released, with appropriate changes, for the desktop too), its main comparison will be gOS. (Insert tongue firmly in cheek here. Then bite.)
– It’ll only have any way of working if it A) deals with the problems Fedora has out of the box (flash, mp3, avi, DVD, etc.) by no doubt including such support out of the box, and generally be AS GOOD POINT FOR POINT as MS, and then some, and B) do something better than MS — and be something that people want.
– It’ll have to likely change the computing paradigm. The cloud computing paradigm has been touted for about seven years or more now and has only been taking off in the past year or so. Google has been slowly eroding MS with things like gmail and google docs, alongside Firefox and OpenOffice.org, and generally contributing to opensource and other projects, but I’m wondering when the breakpoint will be when suddenly EVERYBODY drops MS and goes somewhere else, or rather the pie becomes properly split up such that what’s under the hood matters less than what goes on on the screen. Oh, and people don’t like change. Resistance to change is one of Open Source’s, no scratch that, “any alternative to MS”‘s biggest enemies.
– My original take on the above was that Google *would* be the people able to push things beyond the breakpoint.
– I’m wondering if it will have to go on par with MS by pulling a Novell to integrate MS-files nicely.
– Ahh, “machines with it will be sold starting in 2010” — it was but also wasn’t as specific as that … will there be a slice in it for Google? Or will there given away the way other distros are, but have insidious settings that encourage the user without realizing it to go to some web page that has google click ads? Or … what’s in it for them?

Then of course, I’m listening to one of these “deal to the lowest common denominator then add 2 points of intelligence” syndicated talk radio hosts who’s got a guest talking about this subject. To set the stage, the previous topic he discussed was a videoclip on YouTube of a person using both hands to shave his head while driving and whether there should be a law against such a thing, which he caps up with the likes of “there should be an anti-moronification law against such morons.”

To be fair, the stance he and his guest take is targeted at most people who inexplicably (to me, anyway) have no clue that there *is* an (easy) alternative to MS on the PC, besides the Mac, which he rightfully puts in a class of its own. And, Linux *is* mentioned as an available alternative, but “it’s pretty much for the gearheads”.

Here’s what I sent him, I was so riled up:

*****

Forget Ontario hair-shaving idiots making the roads less safe, I wonder about those on the radio who say linux is for “gearheads”.

I suppose I’m a gearhead, I do indeed like computers for their own sake beyond the day to day usefulness they present.

However I’ve been using various versions of linux for the past several years on my PC and take great pleasure in overwriting any existing MS format on any new computer I get — over the past three years, that’s about 5 computers, formatted a few times over on some. Some are older and more archaic than the netbooks your piece mentioned, let alone today’s top of the line desktops, and I’ve been using them for desktop uses, not server applications. On them are full OS’s that are not stripped down — unless, of course, I were to have chosen one of the minimalist versions — and interestingly are not all that slow.

There are several versions which are geared toward the “average” user. Most of the more common versions can do all of the day to day uses that were mentioned in your piece and are on par with — sometimes superior to — MS. I use a version that is a cross between the “gearhead” market and day to day usage. I recommend to newcomers Ubuntu, which I do not use. Virtually all users of MS however would be able to use Ubuntu, available at ubuntu.com, with no difficulty, and it is the most popular of the linux versions and is not aimed at the “gearheads”.

I was incredulous listening to the show to hear that people still think that MS is the only option for their PCs. I suppose that the few who have heard of linux figure that something given away for free is worth the money paid for it. Au contraire, MS is less configurable and as you know virus prone as compared to linux; for the virus part, you have to pay more to get properly protected. Linux on the other hand is safer, faster, and free compared to MS.

I found your guest informative but I found the bias toward linux not being a competitive alternative on the desktop — which it has been for years — compared to Windows “very interesting”.

*****

Oh, I do think that the driver in Ontario is a complete moron. 🙂

And Mr. Shuttleworth, please note that I *will* recommend Ubuntu to the general public since the learning curve is easier than even Fedora’s.

Wireless under Fedora 11

Back in September, I cried for joy that wireless worked out of the box in F9, even if it was only 2 bars out of 4, inches away from the wireless router, and surmised that this might be due to a presumed lack of Ndiswrapper in the Fedora kernel, expecially since a plain old vanilla kernel downloaded from kernel.org gave me 4 bars. The number of bars and signal strength on my PIII 450 laptop varies from about 10% (zero bars but still connected) to about whatever 2 bars represents. On rare occasion I get 4 bars, which usually drops back down in seconds.

Under F11, things seem to be the same. No complaints.

Seems that I might not haven Fedora enough credit, if you can believe it.

On my new Acer Aspire One, I have 4 bars, all the time. And it’s about a foot or two further from the router than the PIII 450.

So it seems that it could be my card, the drivers available, and the age of the technology.

Good going Fedora!

Fedora 11 finally released!

The past 2.5 weeks have been a little hairy for me, I finally came back from a month long business trip and, well, I had some computers to update. And another to update at the same time to sync it with the other two instead of updating every 6 months. And, a birthday gift to reformat.

First, the old PIII 450 laptop was a breeze to update; a bit peppier on just about everything, except videos are now completely out of sync instead of occasionally just a bit. Maybe changing from Gnome to XFCE will do the trick … but, obsolescence moves on, my outright need for videos has been … well shifted back to the DVD player at the cottage is back in service with a “new” tv. And, well, read on. In the meantime, the bootup sequence is slightly different from the other systems, the line with the three advancing “line heads” à la F10 is there instead of the advancing line on the Fedora logo on the other systems.

Next was my P4 2.8. Funny thing happened, the Palimpsest Disk Utility said that there were some fatal errors on my HD. So before doing anything, I got another used HD and reformatted it. What fun to eradicate Ubun… to have an opportunity to enjoy a new installation. 🙂 Palimpsest again comes around and says that the new drive has fatal errors. A quick net search reveals that this apparently isn’t a bug, it’s working like it should and well I have two used drives with “fatal errors”.

Next is a new Acer Aspire One. This one was fun. Over about 6 hours, my brother and I tried to get F11 on the machine; no, my 512meg usb ramstick was not big enough for a CD, and it we couldn’t make it bootable to put in the net install. Couldn’t get his 1gig mp3 player to boot. Several other ways later, we finally tracked down a USB dock and put in a CD player, and it worked.

Then my PIII 550 used-to-be-a-casino-server-then-a-printer’s-server-then-my-main-desktop server formatted nicely on the 80gig drive … which died about 100 packages out of 1100 from the end of the install. Hey, I still have that HD with an install that Palimpsest says has bad errors; things boot up nicely. I still have to put in some of the daemons, my brother is interested.

In between I’ve bought a 16gig usb memory stick. Nice story: The price is $49.99, ok I’ll buy it. The cash register says $67 with tax … hey, that’s not right, and lower down the price says $59.99 before taxes. I show the clerk the price tag on the shelf … and thanks to Quebec’s consumer protection laws, the new price is $10 off the “correct” (lower in this case) price at $39.99. Including all taxes, that’s less than the $49.99 price.

Then I ran out of space on the Acer trying to add Google Earth … what’s the deal? Seems maybe I made a typo or something during the setup, the system said 5.9gig drive when another utility recognizes the full 160gigs. So I decide to reformat today, and I finally get a bootable image onto the USB memory stick and after 3 attempts (the first was good but I had a snag in the setup, something about I can’t do an ext3 filesystem given the existing ext4 on the usb stick, and I can’t do an install under ext4 — I think I forgot to uncheck the usb stick as a target) I finally get the net install iso on the stick. The repo? Duke University. Really good, since a yum update only had ONE update; they keep their images up to date!

I’m finally in the process of doing all the little details and transfers and installs, and all just under the wire — I’m off on another business trip tomorrow!