It begins: Google to drop IE6 support

I just got this email in my Google Apps admin mailbox

Dear Google Apps admin,​

In order to continue to improve our products and deliver more sophisticated features and performance, we are harnessing some of the latest improvements in web browser technology.  This includes faster JavaScript processing and new standards like HTML5.  As a result, over the course of 2010, we will be phasing out support for Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 as well as other older browsers that are not supported by their own manufacturers.

We plan to begin phasing out support of these older browsers on the Google Docs suite and the Google Sites editor on March 1, 2010.  After that point, certain functionality within these applications may have higher latency and may not work correctly in these older browsers. Later in 2010, we will start to phase out support for these browsers for Google Mail and Google Calendar.

Google Apps will continue to support Internet Explorer 7.0 and above, Firefox 3.0 and above, Google Chrome 4.0 and above, and Safari 3.0 and above.

Starting next week, users on these older browsers will see a message in Google Docs and the Google Sites editor explaining this change and asking them to upgrade their browser.  We will also alert you again closer to March 1 to remind you of this change.

In 2009, the Google Apps team delivered more than 100 improvements to enhance your product experience.  We are aiming to beat that in 2010 and continue to deliver the best and most innovative collaboration products for businesses.

Thank you for your continued support!

If browser support was like the stock market, Internet Explorer 6 would be as valuable as GM.

Interesting anecdote that Google makes the claim that Microsoft no longer supports IE6. Then again, if you’re a SharePoint user, Microsoft is planning to leave you out in the cold too. Maybe it’s time for an upgrade, no?

I’d take this time to share some grievances with HTML5 but i’m working on a piece about HTML5 Video for release this weekend.

Posted in Browser Bitching, Web Design | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

Happy New Year

I’m not going to let this blog collect dust, so here’s a run down of what I have planned in the next year:

  • More blog entries, ideally at least two a month. I literally have more drafts than I have real ones right now. This will come to an end this year. Many of the drafts I have written have little relevance, such as one on Bazaar, which is useless given that I now use git. Another on Duke Nukem Forever, which is pointless given Wired’s recent expose. If you really want these articles, I could post them as unfinished drafts or finish them.
  • Diversity in articles. There will be more posts on the Chattanooga club scene, and musings on reality over a strictly technical blog. Hopefully my existing audience won’t take offense to that. I will not tip into Politics as one of my drafts almost did. If you want to really hear about how I feel about the world, there’s this thing called Twitter.
  • Embrace learning. Not only do I want to learn new technologies such as HTML5, Scala, PostgreSQL, and so forth, I’m going back to school in the summer, so i’m excited. I also want to play Violin.
  • Be even more meta than I can quite possibly be. Or narcissistic. Whatever.
  • Turn the sarcasm up to 11 MISSION ACCOMPLISHED

I also have a few plans for the site in general, if you can brave another unordered list…

  • Move the entire site to WordPress. In reality, I’d love to use Message
  • Leave the folio section even more neglected
  • Add some more color besides black

So sit back and enjoy the show, you’re about to get rocked a second time. :)

Posted in Blog Meta | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Chrome OS: Is it really that shiny?

A couple of weeks ago, the intertrons, the weboscape, the tweetsphere, whatever you want to call it, were on fire with the breaking news of Google’s latest press release product: Chrome OS. I can remember the initial emails at Knetwit about this being a strike back at Microsoft, a brand new way of looking at desktop computing. Ok, so the initial announcement email was sent roughly two hours after I read the original press release. I won’t get into the long and nasty boring mailing list argument that followed, but I basically flipped out and called it what it was: A web browser and nothing more. And I stand by that belief. I haven’t had much time to mull over my thoughts of why I don’t think much of Chrome OS. In fact, this was the primary reason I chose not to speak about Chrome OS at BarCampChatt. So, this blog article will haveta suffice, now that i’ve further collected my thoughts. Let me just get some disclaimers out of the way: I have nothing at all against Google Chrome or Google whatsoever. Ever since its release, Chrome has been my primary web browser and I have gone as far as suggested it to immediate friends and family. And I still use Google even though I claimed I ‘binged’ it. But my love for Google can only go so far. Also, i’m sure I boned some of the historical parts of the article below, I am not a computer historian, just an observer. Don’t correct me when I know that in some places i’m being a gigantic idiot.

Overvaluing or Undervaluing the “Personal Computer”

Let’s go back in time to a period where Sarah Palin wasn’t running (or running from) anything, computers were sold out of a farm in Pennsylvania, and AT&T wasn’t trolling 4chan but trolling the entire country: the late 60s-early 70s. See, back then, if you wanted an “Operating System” it came on an iron mainframe, and the undisputed king of the mainframe world was UNIX, one of AT&T’s many Bell Labs products (and one of its most well known). You didn’t access Unix directly at the mainframe, you typically accessed it through a dumb terminal or a teletype machine where commands were executed. In the world of the mainframe, you were more or less at the mercy of the system administrator, where he could view all the files stored in your /home directory. And god help you if someone else finds a way to fuck up the system — you could lose all the user rights in one fell swoop. There wasn’t any privacy per se, just blind trust. History will never reveal if AT&T ever planned on extending the wonders of Unix to every home, it’ll always be rampant speculation. The point remains — Unix had a severe design flaw. Nobody owned their content. And it extended all the way back to the terminals used to connect to the mainframe. Enter the Personal Computer: A fantastic device that was cheaper than a mainframe, could be run seperate from other computers, and ran an operating system aimed at satisfying the sole user, not multiple. The paradigms of computing had been changed once over, and with the advent of per-computer networking, and eventually agnostic networking through Ethernet, and global networking through the Internet, the PC quickly became the cornerstone of the computing world, relegating mainframes to the hushed caskets of failing banks. (well, ok, some companies still use a mainframe-esque way of running computers through thin clients, servers, and virtualization, but you get my point) And now, we’ve enter the next age of computing — where we can store data “in the cloud” and access it across multiple PCs, edit it, and share it with others. While it feels like an extension of the mainframe ideaology, service providers make it very clear that you own the content created in many cases. While its a step up, it still leads me to fear that someday, we will once evolve to having “dumb terminals” for all of our data, and instead of being a computer for oneself, the content of a computer besides its OS will change based on who’s logged in on it. While that has a lot of practical uses (this is coming from a Dropbox user, I might add), it feels like a compromise of privacy.

Lack of entertainment apps

I’ll be honest — I play a lot of computer games. They’re fun and they help take the edge off a long and hectic work day. While some neat stuff is being done to bring more native app-performing applications inside the web browsers, and there is a greater focus on bringing good 3D Rendering to the browser (hint: it’s not VRML), It’s still no World of Warcraft. It’s still no Maya. It’s still no Adobe Premier. It’s not effective or fast enough to replace a great native desktop app. Granted — Bespin is sorta neat, but its still no NetBeans. What I guess I should be saying is — HTML5 has done more to make web browser more like sandboxes akin to developing real applications, but yet it’s not a real application. We had this same discussion when the iPhone came out, and in the end, we got the ability to make native apps for the iPhone. We’ll probably have it again when Chrome OS comes out.

But I will end with a positive note

Chrome OS will change the paradigms of how we use computers, just like how Xerox set the stage for the invention of the GUI, and its further capitalization by Apple and Microsoft. Where the fine line between who owns what data and who accesses it, but it does promise a single pipeline to access said data — the web browser. Chrome OS could be the next best thing — but I just think that calling it the “Microsoft Killer” or the “Next big thing” before we’ve seen what it can do is sorta ridiculous. Let’s just wait it out.

Posted in Opinion, Technology, You're full of hot air! | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

Eight Sexy Kung Fu Hours of Lectures: BarCamp Chattanooga

I’ve been to a lot of the growing social scenes in Chattanooga — believe it or not, Chattanooga has a growing niche of social-network aware citizens, and I must admit, I am going to miss the people that i’ve come to known through Facebook and Twitter. But you know what, I loved every minute of BarCamp Chattanooga and i’ve decided to talk about this lecture. So, if you will, sit down, grab a drink, some food, and gather round children as I tell you about Eight Sexy Kung-fu Hours of Lectures: BarCamp Chattanooga.

Gather, Bloggers

I decided to sit in on the blogging roundtable. It was by far my favorite of the events — to be able to shoot the shit with the fine folks of Chattarati, Knoxify, Nashvillest, and The Terminal was very enlightening, even for someone who just blogs as a hobby.

One topic that I felt was covered very well by our panel was monetization and how the bills are paid. Given the collapse of the online and print ad market, many are experimenting with local advertisments on their blogs. It seems even with the attempts at experimenting with advertisments, all of it is pretty much self-funded and done as a side project (notable exception being The Terminal).

The entire roundtable is viewable on Ustream. Check it out.

Social media: A Roundtable

It was about here that I wish that some of my Knetwit colleagues could have been here. It was a packed classroom (complete with cheesy desks) and we discussed strategies for social media and social marketing. A true highlight of my day, the only regret I had was that I didn’t record it or take many notes. Hopefully all the people there walked away with new tactics and strategies to help build the relationships that entail in social marketing.

Not suprising is how Zappos and how they’ve made social marketing their cornerstone of their ideaology was a topic brought up frequently. No doubt, this week’s buyout by Amazon has left us wondering the future of the socially-aware shoe store in our collective uncounsciousness. It’ll be interesting to see how Amazon takes the same direction with their social marketing (given that Mr. Bezos is one who likes to laugh. A lot.)

Strat Parrott is the coolest person ever

The God of BarCamp Chatt

The Prince of BarCamp Chatt

Don’t mind this picture of him being awesome. Ok, back to the topic at hand.

A Re-examination of Project Planning

I felt this topic spoke to me in volumes since I freelance a bit, so hearing about the unique challenges was pretty interesting. It’s hard for me to describe, but the video of the entire lecture can be viewed here. Check it out.

“You put my voting in your twitter…”

When I first met Joe Lance at ChattUp, I found him to be an interesting fellow. So I made a hard choice between Donald Sayer’s social media satire and Joe’s open lecture on politics and social media.

Even though his speech waivered, he did bring down the hammer and give us some great ideas on how web designers, developers, and bloggers can collaborate and work together to hold politicians and government branches accountable. We talked about the challenges of making government more transparent and modern. Chattarati did something to appease this with their Cash Maps mashup, but it was still dependant on them collecting PDFs of campaign donations and processing them by hand — it makes you wonder the challenges of implementing easy-to-access APIs and platform agnostic formats to help inform the public.

Its a shame that there was no camera filming Mr. Lance’s speech on political fact-finding on the internet. Not only is it a great intro with good links, it opened up real channels for many of us programmers and web designers to pursue, and I hope we do pursue these as the next batch of state and civil elections approach in the coming year.

Its WebKit or No Kit

I guess I was disapponted a bit with Daniel Ryan’s lecture on Mobile CSS, since he focused on select statements and not ideal design practices for mobile websites, but I did learn quite a bit about the secret CSS and HTML tags used in Mobile Safari on the iPhone. And, he did provide an interesting case study for a good mobile site design (the BarCampChatt site). I guess I was expecting a bit more. Nevertheless, I liked the lecture a lot and I will use the footage of it to evangelize mobile device support over at Knetwit.

(define iphone-scheme-development ‘epic win’)

I caught the tail end of this lecture but I have to say, it rekindled my interest in Scheme (HAVE YOU READ YOUR SICP TODAY?). The lecture focused around iPhone development using Gambit Scheme. The stuff he demonstrated was pretty cool, and I wait with bated breath to see if James’s Gambit-to-C compiled apps make it into the App Store.

I guess its time I ignored the ads, and joined the club. Because i’m sold on writing apps for the iPhone. Seriously though, I am psyched about this.

The Aftermath, and final thoughts amongst chafing

My memory is a bit fuzzy here, but I remember there being a giveaway, and an after party at the Terminal Brewhouse (not related to the blog) and it was fun. Try out the Oatmeal Stout, its good.

All in all, Chattanooga’s first BarCamp was a good one. I regretfully wish that not that much effort was poured into documenting the entire event — we had a shortage of camcorders (I admit, I forgot to bring mine) and we had a lot of events. Hopefully next year, BarCamp will have more speakers, and we can do events over a two-day period, and every speech can be taped for watching later, like TED…only cheaper and awesomer.

So I guess my final question to you is: Was it good for you, too?

Posted in Events, Web Design | Tagged , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

Summer Of Taco review: Taco Mamacita

I heart the taco of Little Mommy.

-Aaron Collier, overheard in a conversation

There has been nothing finer to date this Summer of Taco than Taco Mamacita — I mean this too. They are miles away from being what I would consider (IMHO) to be the genuine mexican taco, but the quality of their tacos exceed gourmet quality, and that’s cool — its what they do, its what they specialize in. And they do a damn good job of it too.

While I was chillin with the Chattarati crew, we ate one taco to benchmark the rest — the Taco Royale, which i’ll get to later. I ended up buying three tacos there, and I will review each with meticulous detail.

Keep in mind the scoring system has changed a lot — this will be the last review I use decimals in a review, as Chattarati has shifted to promoting pure integers. You can always round up if you aren’t satisfied :)

The Baja Fish

I’ve never had a taco with fish, so this was a first for me — a popping of the taco “cherry” if you may put it. Anyways, the quality was incredible — the fish itself was breaded and fried(?) to perfection, and the greens — the pico de gallo, cabbage, radishes added to it were at the peak of freshness.  I was very unclear on what made up the taco, but it didn’t matter because I nary had bothered to identify it before sinking my teeth  into it. When it was all finished, I had remarked to my neighbor on the table that I liked it the best.

Anyways, enough chatter — I rated it like this based on Chattarati’s scale

  • Presentation & Experience: 4
  • Construction: 4.25
  • Quality of Ingredients: 4.5
  • Flavor Balance: 4.25
  • Creativity & Authenticity: 3.75
  • Average Score: 4.15

I eat vegetarian…I really do.

Ok, so maybe nobody takes my reviews seriously — but I felt obligated to do a review of a vegetarian taco. So I chose to order a Black Bean taco to go with the massive amounts of animal-driven protein as well.

I’m not an expert on vegetarian or vegan cuisine so I won’t try to be — but the quality of the black bean cake used in the taco matched that of the greens. It was also fairly spicy on its own, but I chose to add some of the restaurant’s own chipotle sauce (serious stuff, btw — its like thai food hot, it smolders over burning and it enhances the flavor of everything else) and I was vegetarian heaven. A perfect excuse to join us during the Summer Of Taco. If anything, the Vegetarian Taco is as delicious as the black bean.

  • Presentation & Experience: 3.75
  • Construction: 4
  • Quality of Ingredients: 4.25
  • Flavor Balance: 4.25
  • Creativity & Authenticity: 3.75
  • Average Score: 4

And now…the undisputed King of Tacos:

A taco in a taco…brilliant.

-Veronique Bergeron

A taco inside a taco — yes, its like Xzibit pimped out my dinner and instead of laying my hand on my face in disgust my mouth rocked with the taste of a thousand epic wins. Seriously, though, this taco might be the undisputed king at the moment in this year’s summer of taco. It’s more than certainly deserving of some form of royalty. I mean, look at this fucking thing:

The Taco Royale in all of its glory

The double flour tortilla inside  a black corn tortilla temps the mind — did they do it to reinforce the layers of chicken, lettuce, black bean cake, cheese, salsa verde, cilantro and chorizo that await the mouth and the mind? Did they do it to just look awesome? What does matter is the experience. This taco represented at best what Taco Mamacitas wanted to deliver to the customer. The medly of chicken and chroizo enhances the audacity of the lettuce and the salsa verde. Every bite is a step into heaven. And then, sadly, it ends. I was prepared to buy another one, but I was a bit strapped for cash and I had to say no. God, I fear that my love for this half pound of meat and greens has a stronger hold on me than that “fling” I was in during high school…ok  I need to seal the deal, get focused man…

  • Presentation & Experience: 4.5
  • Construction: 5
  • Quality of Ingredients: 5
  • Flavor Balance: 4.75
  • Creativity & Authenticity: 5
  • Average Score: 4.85

It’s at this moment it hits me — Taco Mamacita isn’t trying to make something that is authentic to tex-mex — they’re going all out on their tacos. These bad boys are high dollar restaurant quality — the build quality, the presentation (even though I rag on them here, its still unlike anything i’ve ever had before), the flavor balance… they’ve perfected the art of the perfect taco. And I can’t think of a single negative thing to say about the quality of their food to date. It’s incredible. And, it was pretty cheap as well — I ate well and hearty for 11 dollars. I was a bit strapped for cash and every bite of these three taco felt like a full blown return on investment. I’m certain many more who came before and after me will agree.

The Exciting Conclusion

Taco Mamacita might very well be the undisputed king of tacos in Chattanooga. If you are in need of a break from the status quo, or want to explore new grounds in tex-mex, you need to get your ass on the ball and hit this place up. I walked in a very hungry man — and walked out satisfied beyond any level i’ve ever felt before.

And hey, they have a full bar so it never hurts to go all the way in your meals, does it?

Three cheers for the Summer of Taco! Too bad that's bottom-barrel tequila

I look forward to where destiny brings me next in this weird summer. Many thanks to the guys at Chattarati for throwing down as always.

Posted in OM NOM NOM NOMS, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summer of Taco review: Taco Roc

Cinco de Mayo is a pretty important time of year for Knetwit — it marks the anniversary of our move-in from our old corporate offices to our current residence, and this year it represented more as we are now in the middle of The Summer of Taco – every Chattanooga blogger must do his part to find the best taco in town! Serendipity brought these two events together, and I walked into Taco Roc on Lee Highway a very hungry man, and left satisfied.

From an Observer’s Lenses

I ordered a burrito (Ok, I can’t remember many specifics of what I ordered) and a taco to go on the side.  The burrito I will discuss in a moment, for now i will turn my attention to their magnificent, small-fist sized taco.

The taco itself, despite having the appeal of traditional mexican food, served in a manner that promotes fast edibility. The quality of the ingredients is like no other — the lettuce itself was chopped up very fine and was arguably farm-picked green, sitting on top of the lettuce was a crown of one thin yet freshly sliced roma tomato and the beef was fried to perfection with a mix of distinct seasonings (I could identify garlic and peppercorn) and it didn’t feel too greasy, either. The taco itself was not messy, it was the antithesis of messy — it was clean of excess oils and stayed in its flour tortilla quite nicely. Finally, the taco itself was topped with crumbled cheese, which shows as a testament the dedication that Taco Roc’s chefs put into their simple culinary prose. The flavors brought in a sophistication to Taco Roc’s small portion, making it more than suitable for my palate. With the addition of some of their homemade salsas (convienently served in a island-like bar in the middle of the restaurant), I was well on my way to taco heaven.

The Burrito I purchased followed very closely the same artisan standards the taco itself preceded. The same seasoned beef, flour tortilla was used, and it tasted very much like its open-faced counterpart. They also served some pico de gallo on the side, which I used to stack onto to provide a healthy serving of greens with every bite. The other included sides of mexican rice and beans were also exceptional even in modest designations, the rice had a distinct spicyness, but not an overpowering one.

The salsas that Taco Roc has are well prepared, and plenty hot for those who enjoy the mouth-burning experience. An even balance of all herbs and spices assures that no one flavor is overpowered (such as excessive cilantro, I can’t stand that). Try out the hot salsa, you’ll love it. It’s hot, but its not thai food nor is it a spoonful of tabasco to the mouth, it enhances the flavors.

Per Chattarati’s Guidelines

Average Score: 4.3
Presentation & Experience: 4.5
Construction: 3.8
Quality of Ingredients: 4.5
Flavor Balance: 4.5
Creativity & Authenticity: 4
Taco preference: Beef (ok, steak)

In Closing

Taco Roc might not be the place to expect a great taco, or great mexican from, but its genuine mexican food, and its served at a good price — I was able to dine for less than 10 dollars. A great start for the Summer of Taco.

Hopefully as I tour the rest of Chattanooga, and the rest of the tri-state area’s taco shops i’ll be able to make new benchmarks in quality. Until then, make Taco Roc a place you must dine at this summer.

Posted in OM NOM NOM NOMS, Reviews | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments