Go check out Mozilla Ubiquity

Yesterday, Mozilla Labs introduced Ubiquity, “An experiment in connecting the web with language”. It’s a lot like Launchy or Gnome-Do, except different. Install Ubiquity into Firefox and then hit the shortcut keys to launch Ubiquity, and then start typing. You can search Google, post to Twitter, send an email – all through an intuitive command-line interface. It’s not for everyone – if you spend all your time pointing and clicking, you may not like using the keyboard this way. But for those of you who use the mouse only when you really need it, this may revolutionize the way you use your browser. Remember, the browser knows a lot about you. If you’re signed in to Gmail, for example, and you find a great webpage you want to share with your friend, you don’t have to know your friend’s email. Just type, “email ” and then your friend’s name – Gmail will find the address, and copy the url for the page into a new email to your friend. And this is just the beginning – there are already tons of user-created scripts available, and it’s pretty easy to create your own. There’s even a tutorial. And lest you think I forgot to get in a dig on Microsoft, ye of little faith, let me remind you that this is the sort of functionality that will be in Internet Explorer 17, due to be released around the time your great-great-grandchildren are colonizing Mars. If you’re in Firefox now, install Ubiquity now. If you aren’t, get Firefox first, then install Ubiquity. And if you find or write any really cool scripts for it, be sure to let me know.

Experimental new stuff from Mozilla

Remember when Internet Explorer was pretty much the only browser out there? Yeah, me neither. IE has always sucked, and IE7, touted as competing with the newer browsers, is really just playing catch-up. And not actually ever catching up. Over at the Mozilla Labs Blog, they have a little video about experimental browser changes for Firefox. The idea is to anticipate your actions in the browser and offer no-cost assistance. That is, when I open a new tab, if my browser could offer me options, like a search bar, instead of a blank page, there is no cost to me, and it may streamline my browsing experience. Anyway, it’s a cool video, and it demonstrates one more time how far Microsoft has fallen in terms of innovation.

Mars Landing

Bad Astronomy Blog and countless others are all over this, but it took seeing pictures to really get me excited. We just landed something on Mars that is going to try and find out if there is or was or could be life on the planet. That’s pretty friggin’ cool. The potential for life on Mars doesn’t really excite me that much – it’s not like we’re going to meet E.T. or anything. The life we’re hoping to find is either long dead or just a couple of cells. Scientifically fascinating and important if it’s there, but not that big a deal for the average person. But Mars. It’s incredible that we can actually put a little machine on the planet, and then have it do stuff and send back information. Kinda makes you wonder why there are still places you can’t get decent cell phone reception.

Hey, all you Catholics

DSC_8698So the Pope is in town. Since I work almost right next door to the White House, which is where he was hanging out this morning, some coworkers and I went up to the roof of the building to watch as he hopped into the PopeMobile and drove off down Pennsylvania Avenue and past the adoring throngs. Anyway, there are more pictures here. The view from the roof is pretty good. And there are electrical outlets and benches up there. With the weather getting nice, I might just have to take a laptop up there now and then.

South Park shares all the episodes

New South Park site debuts, with full episode streaming – Boing Boing

Eventually every episode and clip will be available everywhere in the world. There is a tangle of contracts that Comedy Central has with different cable companies and territories that are preventing us from that right now. But hopefully it won’t be long.

This brings me back to the glory days Chuckles. Chuckles was the name of the forgotten machine on the work network that the IT team didn’t realize was unused. It had every episode of South Park through season 8, gigs of MP3s, movies, and tv shows. Whenever I was bored at work, I could just watch something. And now the creators of South Park are doing the same thing. Shocking that the show that has never been afraid of pushing the envelope (BTW, did you know that “pushing the envelope” actually refers to the flight envelope, which is “the capabilities of [an airplane] design in terms of speed and altitude”?) is also not afraid of experimenting with new business models.