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...am a nice person, that's it..... i think so.....

Friday, December 03, 2010

My Guide to Synchronize Bookmarks Across Browsers

One big drawback in using several browsers is to synchronize bookmarks. Now now, just a tad of patience would be good. I can hear some of you shouting out names like xmarks, delicious, etc. New releases of FF and Chrome come with their own sync options. So many to choose from, right! You may be spoilt for choice. 

Currently, I am using IE 9, FF4, Chrome 9 and Opera 11 on both Windows and Linux platforms. So, now you know that I am game for any cross-browser sync solution. I have tried quite a few products, xmarks, bookmark bridge, bookmark sync, transmute, etc. Here's what I experienced.

I have used xmarks for quite some time now and was initially a big fan with their concept and product. I was really quite sad to hear that xmarks was going to go down. I even pledged support. But recently I have to admit that my opinion is changing a bit. I have been frequently running into problems with xmarks. You might ask, "What problems, Sir?". Well, first of all, bookmarks get duplicated after a few syncs. Also, the sort order of the bookmarks would get mixed up. Here, I would like to point out that I am an end-user and am in no position to judge why this happens. These bugs may be related to the browser or xmarks, and I really don't care.

I had contacted xmarks support team quite a few teams, but unfortunately, they did not respond excepting the initial thank you response. For an avid Internet surfer (daily average is round about 10 hours, I hope you get the idea!), this becomes really irritating. 

So, this is now what I do. I am now using Chrome's default option to sync my bookmarks. Then, I am using Transmute to copy the updated set of bookmarks to FF, IE and Opera. This is a bit more work, but it is free and more importantly, there's no bugs to bug you!

I really loved Xmarks and had recommended the software to many friends. I am not sure whether they are facing the same problems that I faced. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Simultaneously Running Multiple Versions of Firefox

The main drawback in using the newly released FF Betas is the delayed support provided by the extension writers. Hence, many of you may be wanting to run two versions of FF simultaneously, thus enjoying the power of your favourite extension as well as taste the new innovations. Here's the way to do it:

1) Select your FF shortcuts and right-click and click properties. In the Target box, add the following options: -profilemanager -no-remote. So your full path now looks like
 "XXX\firefox.exe" -profilemanager -no-remote.

Do this for all the installed versions of FF.

2) Start FF. The profile manager will start automatically. The default profile is the one which was already existing and will contain all the customizations that you have for your old FF installation (say 3.6.x). So, create a new profile for your new FF version (say FF 4b4). Choose between profiles depending your use.

This workaround has been around for quite some time now, and you will find many posts on the net. I have been using this feature since 2005, when a friend of mine, Indradeep, showed it to me. Still, thought of noting it down. I don't know why Mozilla doesn't have the Profile Manager enabled by default.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Benchmarking My Browsers!

The "browser war" has hottened up in recent times. So much so, that I am sure almost  every person who has been accessing the Internet for some time must have come across this fight at least once. Many articles have been written upon, many blogs have been posted, and many results have been and will be published. 

The race for the fastest can be gauged by the fact that a new version is released almost every week. Just for a second, let us ignore all the heaps of data and published results. What really matters to one is how a browser is expected to perform on his/her system. So, if you are really crazy about pace, which in reality should not matter much, the best is to execute a benchmark on your own-used browsers and then analyze the results yourself. That's how it should always be, judge and choose for yourself.

I was going through the Opera blogs when I came upon the Peacekeeper Browser Benchmark. Peacekeeper primarily focuses on the Javascript performance of a browser. Currently, I have not yet studied much about the effectiveness of this benchmark, but the main plus is its ease of use. And for once, I let myself be lured into the race-for-pace. And so here is my take on the browser war.

My system configurations are the following: Compaq SG3770IL desktop with a Intel Core 2 Duo Processor E7400 CPU, 945 GC chipset, 3 MB L2 cache, and a  Intel(R) GMA 3000/3100 GPU. I have both a 32-bit Windows 7 and Ubuntu 10.04 OS installed. I performed my tests on both Windows and Ubuntu systems. 

Windows: I have four browsers installed - IE8, FF3.6.3, Google Chrome  6.0.422.0 dev, and Opera 10.60 build 3403. I have also tried to execute the benchmark maintaining identical load conditions. And now the wait is over, here are the results.

Ubuntu: And now for the results from Ubuntu. Note that at the of composing this post, Peacekeeper does not support a Linux system scan. The browsers that I tested on Ubuntu are FF3.6.3, Google Chrome 6.0.422 dev, and Opera 10.60 build 6347. The below figures shows the results obtained.

My Conclusion:
So far so good. Now what to make of the results? I was actually surprised to see IE8 and FF 3.6 lagging so far behind Google Chrome 6 dev and Opera 10.6. For while actually browsing, the difference is hardly noticed. Therefore, just in terms of mere browsing experience, FF is still my favourite. The seemingly extreme control it gives you is no match for the others. I am also impressed with the improvements in Opera 10.6 and recommend it strongly, but unfortunately it is still hardly used outside its niche users. Looks like its not only Microsoft but also Mozilla who has a lot to think about for its version 4.0 excepting the GUI. But for me, Google Chrome 6.0.422.0 dev is the clear winner!

Added on 6th July, 2010:
Results with FF4b1

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What does "h" indicate in computer benchmarks?

I was attending a class on Real-Time systems and our professor was discussing about various benchmarks that can possibly be used with computers and real-time systems. Many of you must at least have heard (if not knowing the detailed) of such synthetic benchmarks such as Whetstone, Dhrystone, Rhealstone, etc. These have been proposed in the early seventies and eighties and were initially very popularly used for evaluation purposes. 

However, my intention of blogging this post is not to talk or explain these different benchmarks. During our discussion, a friend Bhanu suddenly asked "Sir, what is the significance of "h" in these names"? Hmm...this apparently innocuous question got all of us thinking. Sir tried to explain the significance of the word "stone" embedded in these names. He said that just as some stones are used to determine the purity of gold, may be that has influenced the names.

After class, I looked up on the Internet for a possible reason. And the answer was not difficult to get. Whetstone was the earliest benchmark to be proposed. And the Whetstone compiler was developed at a laboratory in a place called Whetstone, Leicestershire, England. So that explains the name for Whetstone. Dhrystone was proposed as a benchmark for integer programming. So it was for something that was not a "float" - meaning its dry or rather, "dhry". As Wikipedia puts it, the name is a pun on the then-popular Whetstone benchmark. Rhealstone is for real-time systems.