Stephen’s Statements A little bit of everything from Stephen Duncan Jr, a Software Developer in Portland, Oregon

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Cable Modem Problems

For the last week or so, I’d been having trouble with my internet connection. I would lose my connection to the outside on a regular basis. It seemed to get worse over time. By Monday, it was only up for 2-5 minutes at a time. Each time I would turn off the cable modem and then turn it back on, I would get a connection for a while, and then it would cut out again.

After my third call to Cox Communications, it was explained to me that the Motorola Surfboard SB3100 was way out of date, and not supported anymore. Plus it couldn’t take advantage of the higher speeds I was paying for anyway. So I ordered a new Motorola SB5120 and, voila, my internet connection is reliable once again.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Xbox 360 as Web 2.0

Scoble asks if the Xbox 360 is a Web 2.0 product.

I love my Xbox 360, but no, it's not Web 2.0. For as far as this Web 2.0 concept means anything, it's about open methods of sharing: RSS, API's for web applications, etc.

It's cool that I can download things from the Xbox marketplace, but that's the only place I can download from. Nobody else can put up a marketplace that conforms to some API, that I can now add to my places to download content from.

Same thing goes for the media-center type capabilities. I'm sure its great if you have an Windows Media Center PC. But for me, the only good thing I get is if I plug in my iPod. I can't get anything of value off of my network. Yes, I know about Windows Media Connect, but, as far as I can tell, it's worthless when your content resides on a third file-sharing device not running Windows. I'm a technical person, but I haven't figured out how to get it work with either mapped network drives, nor UNC paths to an authenticated network share.

Xbox 360 has a very impressive walled-in community. Web 2.0 is about communities without those walls.

Monday, May 30, 2005

IE 7 Tab Browsing Details

I'm a bit backlogged on topics I wanted to blog about. The first topic is the details on the implementation of tabbed browsing in IE 7. There are several things that indicate that the IE team may be doing a bit better of an implementation than Firefox:

We are working on balancing the default behavior for whether a window opened from script opens as in a new frame or a tab. Currently, windows that have been customized, such as hiding a toolbar or making the window non-resizable, will default to opening in their own standalone frame, whereas ordinary pop-up windows will open in a new foreground tab. CTRL-clicking and middle-clicking links will open those links in a background tab.

Currently, Firefox doesn't have an option to treat customized windows differently. I think that it makes sense as a default though, and would make tabbed browsing work better. Additionally, middle-clicking or ctrl-clicking in Firefox doesn't seem to work on javascript based links, whereas it sounds like it might in IE7.

Another implementation detail mentioned for IE7 sounds like it will be important, though that will depend on how it really works out in practice:

One design decision worth calling out is that our current implementation is fully multi-threaded. Each tab is on a separate thread, and the frame is also on its own thread. This has some impact on the overall footprint of IE, but we believe this will allow IE7 to feel faster and provide an overall better user experience. Internally this creates some additional complexity as we have to deal with a lot of cross-thread communication, but it also gives us a way to do things we wouldn't otherwise be able to do with a single-threaded approach.

Firefox seems pretty weak on being multi-threaded. Whenever I load up large pages in a tab (such as the Java API), I'm unable to switch tabs for some time until the page finishes loading. Also, sometimes when saving images or files to a networked drive, which is somewhat slow, Firefox freezes until the save is completed. Firefox needs to fix these problems to be more usable, and it sounds like IE7 is already looking to address some of the problems. Hopefully the competition from IE will help Firefox improve.

Friday, March 4, 2005

Feeling Old at 23

Today's "Ask Yahoo!" has successfully made me feel old, at age 23. Although, to be fair, my memory of the answer comes after the answer given. To me, the "B" drive was almost always the 5 1/2" floppy drive. I'm kind of surprised that wasn't mentioned in the answer.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Why doesn’t TiVo help me resolve conflicts?

This is my current biggest complaint with the TiVo interface. If I have a show I want to record, and there are multiple showings, why do I have to manually check each to determine if they conflict with stuff I already have scheduled to record? How hard could it possibly be to check for the conflicts against my current schedule before showing me the available showings? This is a pretty major deficiency in my mind.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Testing Picasa/Hello

Toby, sleeping on the bed. Posted by Hello='0' style='border:0px;padding:0px;background:transparent;' align='absmiddle'>

Tuesday, November 9, 2004

Coming Back to Tech Goodness

Just got back from vacation with my in-laws. Now I'm setting up my new Tivo that they gave me for my birthday. And I find out that Firefox 1.0 has been released! So I'll be grabbing that shortly; go grab it yourself.

Monday, April 19, 2004

Windows 98 vs. Linux

I reformatted and reinstalled Windows 98 on my little brother's computer, as I had no legal copies of anything to provide, and he connects to the internet via a Netgear Phone Adapter (PA101), which I wasn't able to find any Linux support for, a didn't want the hassle of figuring out anything difficult.

Unfortunately, Windows didn't have the display adapter, and I couldn't find the driver online for the life of me. So, I found the restore disk, which didn't seem to give me any way to restore just the drivers, so I reinstalled again from the restore disk this time. It installed a whole bunch of crap I had to uninstall again, but at least it worked.

Lesson learned: for the most part, Linux is a much easier install than Windows 98. I'd also consider it an upgrade in terms of usability and desktop environment. I'd not say the same thing comparing Linux to Windows XP, but it's certainly getting there.

Tuesday, September 16, 2003


If you don't like AIM's ad windows and such (and find, as I did tonight, that I can't get rid of it with any free program yet), and you, like I, find Trillian to be bloated, unintuitive, and ugly, then get gaim. It's available for many OS's, including Windows and Linux. It's open-source, so it'll continue to be free and improve. It's not perfect, but I'm liking using it better than the alternatives so far. I'll update if that opinion changes.

Sunday, September 7, 2003

Buddy Zoo


It was gone for a while, but Buddy Zoo is back. If you have AIM, sign up!

Saturday, September 6, 2003


AVG Anti-Virus

Also, a free anti-virus program I found out about recently that I'm also using. Comes recommended from a couple people.

Another one with one recomendation, that I haven't tried, is also free for personal use: avast! antivirus software