Space saving, permanent Gmail and Google Reader Tabs in Firefox

This very useful tip was sent by Harsha Kotcherlakota to Lifehacker.com.

The idea is to set up tabs for Gmail and Google reader that will always be open, but with a few extensions will have minimal impact on the interface while providing the information relevant to each app (site). For a full guide see the link at the bottom, but here’s the gist of it.
Using the Better Gmail 2 add-on turn on unread count display in the favicon. Then get the Faviconize Tab and the PermaTabs Mod add-ons. The Faviconize add-on will add an option in the right-click menu of the tab to “Faviconize” it, i.e. remove the text and only leave the favicon visible. The PermaTab add-on gives you an option (right-click tab) to make a tab permanent. This will prevent it from accidently closing and will leave it on even after Firefox is closed (to close the tab you’ll need to “un-perma” it). And apparently permatabs don’t load their content until they’re first selected, in other words, this setup will not cause Firefox to load up 2 extra tabs every time you open it.

This is extremely useful. I check both gmail and reader multiple times a day but don’t like leaving them open all the time because the tabs take space, but with this I can have the best of both worlds.

[Original Lifehacker Post]

Amazing footage of James May on a U2 spy plane

This is a bit of an old story but it’s just so amazing and mind-blowing and I wanted to post it. James May, from Top Gear, took a flight on a U2 spy plane.

The Lockheed U-2 is a wonder of engineering. It’s intended for very high-altitude flights – 70,000 feet (about 21.3km). The design of the plane leaves very narrow margin for error. At its top cruising altitude the plane must fly very close to its maximum speed without exceeding it – that would break the wings, or falling more than 18km/h below it – at which point it would stall and start falling.

And James May gets to take a ride on it – he’s got the best job in the world.

HTC Dream and Magic are $79.99 on Rogers

Wow, I haven’t heard anything about this but I was checking out the Rogers site and they are now selling HTC Dream and Magic (the Android phones) for $79.99 with a 3-year contract. It started out at $149.99 only a couple of months ago, and now it’s almost half the price. I’ve been thinking of getting myself a smartphone finally, and while I’m not crazy about either of these phones (Dream is old hardware and awkward looks, Magic doesn’t have a physical keyboard) $79.99 is awfully tempting.

[Rogers]

Engadget goes hands-on with Google Wave

The good folks at Engadget got a personal tour of Google Wave from the masterminds behind it – Lars and Jens Rasmussen – and lived to tell the tale. The full article goes into some juicy details about this new communication tool, and concludes that while there’s tons of great ideas in there, it’s still not clear how Google Wave will fit in with the rest of various facebooks, lolcats and tweets. I think that as revolutionary (or not) Google Wave is currently, once it gets into the hands of general public and, more importantly, 3rd party developers, that’s when we’re going to see some truly revolutionary things begin to happen. So I’ll be anxiously waiting for September 30th to roll around.

HTML5 Video and Audio Experiment

Gizmodo had a post on an HTML5 experimental page from 9Elements design studio. If you have Firefox 3.5, Safari 4 or latest Chrome build you can check it out yourself here.

It’s really an amazing piece of work – beautiful animations coupled with sound and neat interactivity (clicking the lights displays tweets about the page). All this is done with no Flash, or Silverlight or anything like that, though of course the code that runs all that isn’t exactly trivial, it’s all HTML5, JavaScript and Canvas.

I hope that we see more and more people taking advantage of HTML5. Internet Explorer currently supports only a small subset of HTML5 spec and none of it is for something like this. But if there’s enough push for HTML5, hopefully either the other browsers will leave IE completely in the dust and people will just stop using it (one can always dream), or Microsoft will wiseup and implement proper standards and HTML5 support into IE.

[Gizmodo Post]

Echo — even more “social” comments

TechCrunch is testing a new comments system, called Echo. Very interesting idea – there are two parts to it. For one, when you post a comment on an article, any accounts that you tie to it (facebook, twitter, google profile, etc.) get that comment as well. The more interesting part, is that comments from around the web (from systems supported by Echo) that refer to the original article, will get posted to the article’s comments. That, among other things, of course includes twitter, which means this will need some sort of filtering system since a lot of tweets will just have a link to the article, and a word or two. All this is by the way seen in more or less real time in the comments, i.e. they get periodically updated, creating sort of a live feed of comments.

Here is the original TC article.

The web seems to be having an explosion of social services lately – everywhere you turn someone’s offering a new way to share your experience, with even more people, and it’s always more and more “current”, “live” and “real time”. And with iPhone and other smartphones becoming more and more common, accessing internet on the go is becoming a trivial thing, and everyone can pretty much post their lives on the web as they happen. I don’t know if it’s such a good thing in the long run, but right now I’m finding the whole thing pretty exciting.

Reflections and Accordion using CSS only, in Safari and Firefox

Using combination of CSS transforms, transitions, gradients and :target it’s possible to create things that usually require JavaScript – such as accordion and reflections (in Firefox). Unfortunately, this only works 100% in Safari and Chrome (and I guess any other webkit using browser). In Firefox these elements behave properly, they just don’t have animations or gradients. As for IE, I didn’t bother with it at all.

Here is the page I’m going to go over. Feel free to dig into the code and if you’ve got any ideas on how to make it even sleeker let me know. Read more »

Weekend Highlights — Google Wave, HTC Hero, King’s Quest and Screengrab!

So this has been a pretty busy week. Of course the biggest news is me launching this site… <crickets>… or maybe not. I guess it all depends on your perspective. As for the other interesting stuff – Google is sending out 100,000 beta invites to Google Wave in September; HTC Hero has been reviewed by everyone except me; Steam is having a sale on King’s Quest and Space Quests collections, and you know I got it as soon as I saw it; and finally a small Firefox add-on that is going to change my life (not really, but it’s an attention grabber, ain’t it). Read more »

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