An Alien in America

An alien's perspective on life and everything else

Archive for the ‘Techno Geek’ Category

Migrated to FireFox

Posted by nickxyz on December 2, 2007

I had been toying with the idea to upgrade the overall security of my home network for quite a while now. I have a wireline and a wireless network at home (to keep the tinkering interesting). After having achieved a somewhat decent security level over the wireless connections into the basement and having played with various software firewalls in addition to the hardware firewall in my router, I had to change topics for a little bit. So I tried to see what can be done in terms of ongoing surfing.

Over the last several years I had been using IE in its various versions, tried to keep up with the ongoing patch levels… tried Netscape Mosaic for a while, experimented with some other no one browsers as well. Due to personal complacency and simple laziness, I ended up using IE on 99% of my systems.

But…. a few weeks ago I ended up installing Firefox just for kicks. Plain and simple standard version. Started to read about it on various sites and blogs to see what it could do and offer for me as standard run of the mill user 🙂 Not until this weekend, did it actually occur to me to put the pieces together and try to dig a little deeper in the touted plug ins and options that are floating around there. I also have to admit that I was somewhat lured into Firefox by the testimonials and recommendations of family while being in Germany last week. Being back and getting up early because of the two spoiled rotten dogs needing to go outside, I actually started tinkering with the idle icon on the desktop.

Firefox does have some very neat features I had not heard about before!! Other than the tons of handy add-ons, such as the web developer plug in, integrated previews of links and images, I really love the integration with Free Download Manager (FDM). Granted it has to be accomplished via FlashGot, but once installed, it works like a charm! I didn’t even have to configure it for FDM use (I cannot give up my use of FDM!!). The thing that amazed me the most, was the easy integration for downloads in general via the pop up window that just simply lets me install stuff via a single easy click. After I had installed the first plug in and having been surfing on various other tabs and separate windows, the install informed me that I had to close all Firefox windows to complete the installation. Well, dog gone it. Should I bookmark all the sites I still wanted to look at and hadn’t? Would I find the same sites again when I brought up Firefox after the successful installation, … stuck in a dilemma. I clicked on the button to close all open windows and decided to just deal with it later… *still thinking in IE dimensions and short comings*

The installation completes and barely 5 seconds later, Firefox reopens a new window. I was still deep in thought as to what I had actually typed into my Google search window to get to the results list I had before. Before I could even realize it, the screen showed 4 open Firefox windows. Huh?? Clicking on the first one, it was the window (including tabs!!!) that I had open before… somewhat incredulous I look at the other 3 windows and guess what, those were the exact sites I had open before I so bravely allowed the installation to complete. I was in shock!

Being the skeptic I am, I thought that could only be a coincidence. Kinda like the well known existing feature that auto recovers on an application failure…. So I tried it again. And again.

After 3 times of performing this highly investigative little project, I am hooked. Firefox forever! Oh, and I also downloaded Thunderbird just now. And I ordered a T-Shirt! 🙂

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Posted in Daily Insanity, Techno Geek | 1 Comment »

Zeitgeist – Most popular searches on Google

Posted by nickxyz on October 22, 2007

Ran across the Google Zeitgeist (pre 2007) site that lists the most popular key words or searches that run across Google. They even “analyze” social and cultural events in order to correlate them with their current searches. Very cool.

Also check out the Zeitgeist replacement – Hot Trends, updated in regular intervals. As if one really needed to know what other people are searching for on the web…. H*** yeah!

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Schwaebisches im Internet

Posted by nickxyz on October 7, 2007

Auf einer meiner Streifzuege durch die Auswanderer-Foren hatte einer der Mitposter einen Link zu einer Schwaebischen Version von Star Wars auf YouTube gepostet. Mein Gott, was habe ich gelacht….! 🙂 Will Euch das auf keinen Fall vorenthalten.

Es scheint, als ob es noch mehr dieser Schwaebischen Vertonungen verschiedener Medien auf You Tube gibt. Enjoy!!

Und noch jede Menge mehr

Posted in Daily Insanity, Techno Geek | 2 Comments »

Vonage – Part 3

Posted by nickxyz on August 19, 2007

As of this past Friday we no longer subscribe to Vonage service.

Starting at about the beginning of this year, my phone calls to overseas began to drop, had a horrible voice quality and repeated re-dials didnt’ really help the situation either. Studying the FAQ section of Vonage, there was a suggestion to specifically set QoS for the voice transmitting ports on the VoIP router. Sounded good, so I did that. That alleviated the problem for a few more weeks (see previous post) and I almost thought we were through with the issues.

About 3 months ago, the issues started to re-surface. My international calls quickly turned into a marathon of how many words / how much conversation can one fit into each conversation segment before the line droped again. Each segment also started with each party continually repeating “Hallo…. Hallo…. can you hear me?” It always was a unilateral conversation. I heard them, but they never heard me. Another re-dial attempt.

About 4 weeks ago, said problem now also increased in frequency when making local or US calls. The quality degraded quickly on pretty much every single call.

While it most likely is not attributable to Vonage as a service, I am fairly confident it is due to the broadband technology I am using here at the house. Although we have a cable modem, the provider does not guarantee dedicated bandwidth for each user. Instead, all users on the same neighborhood block share the available bandwidth. Logically, the bandwidth available for each user starts to decrease at certain times of the day / week when more and more neighbors start to surf the Internet. Quite a few in my neighborhood also work from home during the day as do I on certain days.

Unfortunately, my current provider is the only one I can get at the house. Can’t get DSL at all, which guarantees dedicated bandwidth for each user. From conversations with other Vonage users utilizing DSL / ISDN, their quality of calls is very close to regular landline quality…

Result: Experiment closed, moving on… back at AT&T

Posted in Daily Insanity, Techno Geek | 1 Comment »

The Internet Crashed

Posted by nickxyz on August 10, 2007

Truth or fiction???

Youtube: The Internet Crashed

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