IE7 Beta and Webaroo

April 27, 2006

I tried out the IE7 beta the other day. I didn't know how to use it and removed it. I'm not quite sure why MS seems to think menus are bad (e.g., Media Player 10, 'basic' menus, etc..). Luckily, installing/uninstalling it didn't seem to affect Fact200 at all.

I also decided to give Webaroo a whirl since it overlaps a little with Fact200 in its offline browsing capabilities. Webaroo continues along a concept that's been around some time: Suck in parts of the web to your hard drive so that you no longer have to deal with Internet latency, transiency (stuff disappearing), or connections anymore. Their added spin is that they offer 'web packs' of information they've prepared for specific subject areas and locales. They also support PDAs which reminds me a little of AvantGo.

The biggest problem is the sheer size of the packs. I also tried downloading Google's news site and associated links/images. Although it was small (15MB), it took quite some time to finish. At at least 256MB a pop and going up to several gigs, the web packs also take a lot of time to download over DSL. I only had it on my system for a day, but it seemed essentially like AvantGo with a whole lot more content, but also a whole lot slower. A big differentiator is that it has a search facility. But it is a mere replication of standard Internet search and offers none of the potential interactive capabilities that are possible with locally stored data.

The Last Set Of Bugs

April 20, 2006

So I was testing Fact200 last night and it seems like the bugs never stop! Actually, there's some that I had just conveniently forgotten about like ideogram handling which isn't handled correctly in adjacency scoring and snippet creation. There's also term completion results which don't understand quoted phrases. These aren't so bad.

After a few minor touch ups, I rebuilt the app and was greeted by a friendly message saying that the binary couldn't be built because it was still open. So I look in the taskmanager and sure enough, Fact200 is sitting there in the process list doing nothing. Crap. I thought I fixed this.  Even worse, it doesn't happen all the time. Even worse, when it does happen and I try to attach the debugger, the debugger hangs. I hate bugs.

I came across Goowy through this blog. It's a flash based application environment. I would go so far as to call it an OS. It's fun to play with (being a little similar to OS X), but I do wonder how useful it is. Many of the apps are already available through the web and its a little laggy which is understandable since its flash based after all. I think I will bide my time and get one of those spiffy new Macs that can dual boot with Windows.
Playing around with Google's personalized search makes me wonder where this whole privacy issue will resolve itself. Already, various articles (the latest that I've read is out of California, UC Berkeley's Alumni magazine) are a little wary of the information that websites like Google's main search are collecting. Information collection ranges from the relatively harmless short term search patterns over a session, to personalized search which collects search patterns, URL visits, and emails over the long term (i.e., attached to registration), to personal data sharing and hosting. I think most companies are betting that privacy concerns will blow over and the benefits (Hey, it's all free!) will outweight those rights that users willingly (but some might say ignorantly) relinquish.

Domains and GoDaddy

April 20, 2006

I almost registered the alternate domains (org and net) on Yahoo when I got presented with the $9 fee/yr fee for private registration. So I checked around, and naturally GoDaddy's site popped up in the result list.

Of course, I remembered their SuperBowl commercial last year. In the end, their prices were cheaper (by $1 for .net domains and $2 for the .org), their interface was better for adding multiple domain suffixes, and their private registration was free because I registered over 3 domains, but it otherwise would have been 1.95/yr per domain. Still cheaper.

So far so good. I get the expected welcome e-mails and such, then I get one from "domainsbyproxy" and I'm like "WTF? are they just a reseller?" Welp, it seems like the way they do private registration is to register somebody else (a proxy) in your place. I looked up my yahoo domain and it looks like they do this and just don't bother telling you (and slightly to my dismay, the whois entry for my yahoo domain still contains my name). Domainsbyproxy has the additional feature that they will keep or forward any e-mail sent to the domains they're managing for you.

Looking over the GoDaddy manager, it looks like they don't have DNS management like yahoo does. Not too big of a deal since I'm just having them redirect to anyway.

So overall, despite not being quite what I expected, it seems like its all a good deal. So far.

Getting Ready To Release

April 18, 2006

It's been a decade since I last did this and it's a lot tougher than I remember.

The app is largely feature complete after suffering through 6 and a half months of creeping features. There's still many various rough spots that need to be sanded down, but nothing too glaring. The largest spot is the memory size which is roughly 30-60 MB. Most of it is taken up by IE when rendering pages, but there's a sizable chunk taken up by the indexer as well as the preview rendering buffer. There's also various small memory leaks, but I don't think they add up to a significant amount.

Every now and then, the "Last" feature question pops up where its seems like this one last feature will make everything "Complete". The latest "Last" feature has been the concept of destinations: places to send your links to. For now, I've resisted the whole Web 2.0 binge of social internet networking. Fact200 is almost the antithesis of that, esentially allowing people to collect all their goods from the Internet and then crawl into their own little corner and have their way with it. But I do use, and I do find it very useful to have a centralized space for my links.

 The website is up, the blog is up, the forum is up (but not setup). The lights are looking green so far! 

Greetings and Tests

April 13, 2006

This is my first entry. This and others to follow will probably look bizarre as I get adjusted to the format and tools here. I'll probably mess with blogger at the same time to get a feel for which one I like best.

I just finished typing a quick Fact200 overview here.