Etc.

Seems like we’ve had a quiet end to the week here, with Computex, E3, and WWDC all winding down. Last night, we set out to record the podcast, and the list of newsy topics to discuss from the past two weeks was probably unprecedented in scope and volume. Things are hopping, no doubt about it. That episode of the podcast is now in the can, and Jordan should have it ready to go by the end of the weekend, I believe.

In other news, TR web development projects continue behind the scenes, even though it may have seemed quiet for a while. We’ve brought two separate little projects nearly to fruition and run into snags on both, but I think at least one of them is close to ready: improved RSS feeds. We may have a URL for you to add to your readers and test before too long. Stay tuned.

After that, we have some additional clean-up and goodness to add to the main site, including doing something productive with the up/down vote on comments posts. Then, we’re planning to start work on a mobile version of TR. Should make things easier for those reading on smart phones.

I’m pleased to report that my new computer has been completely stable since that last memory swap I noted in the article. It’s also fast, smooth, and quiet. Honestly, much more of an upgrade in terms of everyday productivity use than I’d expected, since my old box was a Core 2 Quad with a first-gen Intel SSD and 8GB of RAM.

I have to say, though, that my efforts to overhaul my software suite have been less successful. Of course, I’m happy to be running Win7 at last—we shall not speak of its predecessor further. Beyond that, the only truly successful conversions I’ve made have been from Pidgin to Trillian—a clear upgrade between apps with eminently similar core interfaces—and from Windows Mail to the business version of GMail. E-mail simply belongs in the cloud, I’ve decided, and GMail does a fine job of organizing everything and letting the user access it from almost any connected device.

However, my attempts to replace my two favorite text editors—ye olde HomeSite for web article frameworks and EditPad Pro for everything else—have pretty much failed. I’ve tried PSPad, Notepad++, and EditPad Pro, and none of them will do everything as well as those two others combined. Also, hating the unfamiliar interfaces. Similarly, Excel 2010 gives me much more precise control over making my charts and graphs not look like I want. The older version I’d been using simply produces correct results, with fewer knobs and dials—way fewer, given the noise that is the ribbon interface. Also, wow, there is noticeable latency when typing data into multiple fields. Really, Microsoft? 3.3GHz hexa-core not enough? The verdict is still out on that one, but the transition is on shaky ground. Feels like a lot of work and money to commit for mixed results.

Comments closed
    • eitje
    • 9 years ago

    You could always give Visual Studio Web Developer Express a try.

    • yogibbear
    • 9 years ago

    The Ribbon is EXCELLENT.

    I was 100% in the hate the ribbon bandwagon and then just used it every single day at work in word/excel/powerpoint/etc. and after a while it just works. My only gripe is that I had to spend a while re-learning keyboard shortcuts. But once you get over that hurdle it’s great.

    …until you find yourself using an older version of excel on someone else’s PC and it’s snappy, you can find even the most obscure setting to change for something easily and your macros just work….

    However, I still don’t think it’s as tragic as everyone makes it out to be. Yes it’s a severe change to programs that a LOT of people use everyday, and it was a PITA when people asked you questions on where such and such was ‘because you’re the grad and you’re meant to know shit about computers even though it isn’t your job to’ and you have to struggle through the ribbon just as much as everyone else.

      • derFunkenstein
      • 9 years ago

      It’s like a tabbed, permanently-expanded menu. I’ve had Office 2007 for a bit more than a year; we adopted it corporate-wide about a month before Office 2010 shipped. And at first I didn’t get into the ribbon at all, and to be honest, it’s still not my favorite thing ever, but I’m used to it.

    • DrCR
    • 9 years ago

    After getting used to Office2007, I found I have a real hard time using older Office versions e.g. OfficeXP. Kind of funny how that works, as I initially found the ribbon quite annoying.

      • riviera74
      • 9 years ago

      +1. Agreed.

    • ShadowTiger
    • 9 years ago

    can’t wait till i get an SSD in my work computer. I’m sure that alone will speed me up greatly.

    • burntham77
    • 9 years ago

    I have used Trillian and Pidgin. Both are fine programs. I am currently using Pidgin, but I am curious to know why you moved over to Trillian.

    • Flatland_Spider
    • 9 years ago

    Have you tried Komodo Edit or Kate from KDE to replace EditPad? I’m not sure about a replacement for HomeSite. It looks like BlueFish, but you’re not running Linux.

    KDE for Windows
    [url<]http://windows.kde.org/[/url<] Edit: I just looked, and Geany, Bluefish, and Gedit have windows ports. I would recommend one of those as a replacement for both HomeSite and EditPad. Geany [url<]http://www.geany.org/Main/HomePage[/url<] Bluefish [url<]http://bluefish.openoffice.nl/index.html[/url<] Gedit [url<]http://projects.gnome.org/gedit/index.html[/url<]

    • matic
    • 9 years ago

    If there is still room on your hard disk for another text editor, my humble advice goes for UltraEdit. I love it for columnar editing mostly.

      • mutarasector
      • 9 years ago

      I’ll have to check it out. I miss a text editor with columnar copy/cut/paste. My favorite editor was an editor for AmigaOS called ‘QED’ which had this feature, as well as a rich ARexx port/command set as well as its own internal macro command set. For an 88Kb text editor, it was powerful little text processing engine I once used as part of an automated GEnie RoundTable Real-time conference(chatroom), file library, & bulletin board navigator (a primitive ‘newsreader’) I was working on back in ’91.

    • Arclight
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]Also, wow, there is noticeable latency when typing data into multiple fields. Really, Microsoft? 3.3GHz hexa-core not enough? The verdict is still out on that one, but the transition is on shaky ground. Feels like a lot of work and money to commit for mixed results.[/quote<] I know what you're saying, i upgraded this year from a PC bought in 2004 with a single core AMD CPU and FX 5500 to a quad core AMD and a GTX 560 Ti and i was also put off intially by the fact that even with so much more horsepower browesers still crash or freeze, alot of apps still take long to start, especially when you want to open fast 2 or 3 of them......all in all i am super glad i finally upgraded but i'm still jaded bout the fact that nothing is ever good enough when it comes to PCs.

    • DancinJack
    • 9 years ago

    I don’t have the same problems with Office 2010. I have Win7 x64 Pro (along with Office Pro Plus 2010) on my SSD and I don’t experience any issues. You only notice latency when inputing data into multiple fields?

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 9 years ago

    Microsoft office suite 2011 is two steps forward 5 steps back. No reason for us enthusiasts with high end machines to take such a performance hit, what do normal people feel when using those applications?

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      Their eyes glaze over with a button placement differences and they gladly fork over the $$$.

        • Scrotos
        • 9 years ago

        Jesus I wish they kept the UI like in Office 2000. I knew where to go for that stuff. This ribbon crap is HORRIBLE. Change for change’s sake or to pretend to be a Mac or something, I dunno. Like Win2K/XP UI to Vista/Win7. WHY. WHY DOES IT TAKE MORE CLICKS TO DO WHAT I WANT TO DO.

          • riviera74
          • 9 years ago

          Just keep using the Ribbon. I used to be anti-Ribbon when I was forced to use Office 2007. I am now Ribbon-neutral at least. Mac OSX will NEVER use the Ribbon; Apple has their own ideas in terms of UI on every app in their world.

          As for Win2K/XP to Win7, there are two reasons the latter is better: security and 64-bit goodness.

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            Office for Mac uses the Ribbon, but because of the omnipresent menu bar in Mac OS X, you don’t actually have to use it, which is nice.

          • BobbinThreadbare
          • 9 years ago

          There are a lot of improvements in the Vista/Win7 UI.

          Like I can open any application by just pressing the windows key and then typing what I want and pressing enter. Whenever I go back to XP I wonder how I ever lived without this feature.

    • slaimus
    • 9 years ago

    And I recently just upgraded to a Core 2 Quad from a Pentium Dual Core. They are still amazingly expensive ($300 for a Q9550 at newegg), so your leftover parts can still fetch a good price for those that don’t want to replace everything.

      • anotherengineer
      • 9 years ago

      OUCH. You could have gotten a new AMD 955 BE, a new 880G SB850 motherboard and new ram (8 gigs) for the same price!

      • riviera74
      • 9 years ago

      Time to go to AMD for a better CPU/RAM/MB upgrade. Unless you go Sandy Bridge and P67.

    • adisor19
    • 9 years ago

    TextMate FTW.

    Adi

    • BobbinThreadbare
    • 9 years ago

    I have a software question of my own. In another article (maybe a shortbread), there was a discussion about free office suites. I’ve been pretty happily using Open Office, but someone said it was basically dead and people should switch to LibreOffice or Lotus Symphony.

    Well, I downloaded them and gave them both a very quick whirl, and I don’t see what I was missing out on. LibreOffice seems exactly like Open Office except it doesn’t something weird when rendering the GUI so it kind of flickers when I go through menus, and Lotus Symphony has a few of it’s own annoying quirks like staying running in the task tray.

    So why should I use these instead of Open Office?

      • nagashi
      • 9 years ago

      Libreoffice is basically a fork of the latest OpenOffice, which means as of today there really isn’t an advantage. Going forward though, the two projects will be managed by separate teams and will likely diverge. Libreoffice is seen as the stronger project with better developer backing, so that’s probably the one to follow.

      As far as Lotus Symphony, it’s also a OO fork (though this occurred a while ago). Obviously the UI is heavily reworked unlike Libreoffice, so that’s basically the argument: If you like LS’s ui better, use it. But you’re not really gaining any sort of technical advantage.

      • indeego
      • 9 years ago

      LibreOffice has a much stronger development future than OpenOffice.

      The flickering I can’t repeat. You using latest Java version and latest graphic drivers? Using [url=http://lists.freedesktop.org/archives/libreoffice-bugs/2011-May/011324.html<]ubuntu/linux[/url<]?

        • BobbinThreadbare
        • 9 years ago

        Windows 7 64, latest drivers and java.

        Flickering isn’t quite the right way to put it, but when I move my mouse back and forth across the menus it looks odd.

        I just checked open office, and it actually does something similar, but slightly less.

        It looks like it’s just going too quickly, like it’s not waiting half a beat like other programs do to make the animations looks smoother.

          • Flatland_Spider
          • 9 years ago

          The “flickering” is Java redrawing the controls. It sucks, and Java needs to get ripped out.

      • Flatland_Spider
      • 9 years ago

      Oracle pissed of the coding community, and now the major FOSS vendors, Canonical, Red Hat, etc., are behind Libre Office. Only IBM is behind OOo now, and they are only interested in robbing code from OOo for Symphony.

      Symphony is based off of the OOo 2.x line, and it has major shortcoming when compared to OOo/LO 3.x. Symphony is mainly about the GUI. IBM hasn’t made any major improvement to code base, which is sad since folding Symphony into OOo/LO would be really nice.

      You should also also switch to LO in order to quit supporting Oracle.

    • thesmileman
    • 9 years ago

    I really like jEdit. It is nice to know that it is available for every platform linux, windows and mac old and new.

    It also has lots of plugins which is nice. It definitely isn’t what I would recommend for my mother but for most others it is pretty nice. I have tried most of the others because I want to see what they have to offer but I always come back for feature x or feature y. Also it is pretty easy to write my own if there isn’t a plugin that does exactly what I want.

    • wmgriffith
    • 9 years ago

    Try ConTEXT. Has add-on highlighters for most stuff that isn’t already built-in. Very lightweight. Hasn’t been updated in a while, but works fine in Win 7.
    [url<]http://www.contexteditor.org[/url<]

    • nagashi
    • 9 years ago

    I use geany and couldn’t be happier with it, particularly with the version control plugin, the tree browser plugin, and most importantly the webhelper plugin, which basically adds a webkit-based browser that automatically reloads a url when you save your current file.

    Here’s a screenshot. The lower right is a little weird because of my dual monitor setup (1200×1600 for the browser/inspector, 1920×1200 for the editor/file browser)
    [url<]http://www.zimagez.com/zimage/screenshot-06102011-125059pm.php[/url<]

    • anotherengineer
    • 9 years ago

    Office 2003 FTW!!

      • Scrotos
      • 9 years ago

      Office 2000 is best!

        • Flatland_Spider
        • 9 years ago

        Office XP beats them both.

      • riviera74
      • 9 years ago

      All of you are wrong. Office 2007 is better in multiple ways than 2000/2003/XP. The Ribbon is your friend. Besides, eventually Office 2007 file formats will replace Office 97-2003 formats any day now.

      This message is from a former Office 2000 user.

    • Dposcorp
    • 9 years ago

    I agree with you.
    Some apps get to the where they work so well for you, that as far as I am concerned that can freeze development at that version.

    Once you leave that version, it sucks when u upgrade and lose productivity, especially when there is no going back.

    Web browsers did it a lot, although a lot less in recent years. IE6, although not secure, still is faster and better for me then 7 or 8.
    Who the hell wants tabbed browsing when the PC slows down when u go to a new tab?

    This was when IE6, 7, or 8 was needed for special apps, and a alternative browser wont do.

      • Meadows
      • 9 years ago

      [quote<]"the PC slows down when u go to a new tab?"[/quote<] It does? You need your PC checked out, then.

        • thesmileman
        • 9 years ago

        agreed. What browser is slowing down when you open a new tab. I have used opera, firefox, safari, and chrome and non of them slows down the pc when opening a new tab. Maybe IE but I have used version 9 and it is pretty fast also.

        • Dposcorp
        • 9 years ago

        And what about all the other PCs? Even the brand new dual core workstations in the office?
        IE 7 sucked compared to IE6, speed wise, when it came to opening new pages/tabs.

          • Scrotos
          • 9 years ago

          I agree. IE6 broke stuff and had security holes but at least it didn’t chug along. I tried removing IE9 from my Vista machine, too many changes I didn’t like, and it’s broken IE8. Any “open in a new tab” just causes things to freeze in the new tab. And sometimes now the freeze will seemingly correct itself but jack up Explorer in a way that my desktop is unresponsive when I click on icons. I have to kill IE in task manager to get things working again.

          It’s also the sites to blame. With a ton of tabs open and each tab wanting to take 50 to 200 MB of RAM, yeah, of course that crap’s gonna slow you down. Especially with poorly-coded Flash apps and ads taking up processing time as well. I’ve noticed that for a while with IE8 and even with Firefox.

          I’m glad I’m due to move to a new system as my browsing experience with my main machine is now ruined. Thanks, IE9!

            • rndmuser
            • 9 years ago

            You’re doing something wrong, then. IE9 just “flies” on my Windows 7 machine (old OS installation, never been re-installed) – it opens almost instantly (no, I don’t have SSD), same goes for links opened in new tabs. To be honest it “feels” faster than the Firefox, even with no extensions loaded. I would gladly use it as “default” browser if there would be a fully functional Adblock-like add-on.

            • oldog
            • 9 years ago

            Yo, dude. Learn how to use “Tracking Protection” in the security tab. A quick Goog search will tell you how to use “Easy Lists” (the guys behind Adblock) and a “personalized list”.

            As an added bonus in IE9 you can block location tracking and you can add mouse gestures. You can even disable Active X although it makes some sites wonky. Try to do that in Chrome!

            It is my go to browser.

          • Meadows
          • 9 years ago

          That’s true. But that’s because it was literally IE 6 with a changed interface to allow for tabs.

          IE 8 tried to help performance, and IE 9 solved performance issues almost completely.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 9 years ago

        The argument is that IE7 was much slower than IE6. And in that case it’s true. And 8 didn’t make things any better. There is a noticeable (but short) delay clicking on tabs to switch between them. It might only be 3/4 of a second, but it’s enough to enrage me. Chrome on the same machine is fast and tabs switch instantaneously. There’s nothing wrong with the PC, other than I’m trying to use IE8.

      • evilpaul
      • 9 years ago

      If you don’t have GPU accelerated Flash or sufficient RAM, then IE8 will be a slow. Also, it’s Javascript engine kind of sucks, so things like Facebook aren’t great on it. On Windows 7 it ran acceptably for me though, so I used it over Firefox. IE9 I don’t like the Favorites being moved from IE8, but otherwise flies.

    • GTVic
    • 9 years ago

    The up/down vote and reply use up a lot of room on the page for short comments. There is a lot of room unused to the right of the person’s name above the box that could be put to good use.

    Have you tried TextPad?

    • chuckula
    • 9 years ago

    [quote<]However, my attempts to replace my two favorite text editors—ye olde HomeSite for web article frameworks and EditPad Pro for everything else—have pretty much failed.[/quote<] VIM FTW!

      • BobbinThreadbare
      • 9 years ago

      lol

      • notfred
      • 9 years ago

      Heretic, EMACS is the one true editor!

        • bthylafh
        • 9 years ago

        ed is the standard text editor.

          • Scrotos
          • 9 years ago

          pico!

            • derFunkenstein
            • 9 years ago

            DOS edit.

            I actually edited alot of HTML in college (in the mid-late 90s) using pico. I was pretty good with it after a while.

          • jensend
          • 9 years ago

          How can you vote this down? He’s of course referring to the classic rant about ed: [url<]http://www.rants.org/ed.html[/url<].

        • DancinJack
        • 9 years ago

        +1. EMACS and Eclipse sometimes.

    • ApockofFork
    • 9 years ago

    I’m sort of okay with the new tools and interface in excel 2010. Some things are harder but others are easier and in the end I feel like its more + and less -. I do have to agree with you however that I’m always disappointed with the performance of the office suite. It somewhat boggles the mind a word processor or spreadsheet program can cause any computer hiccup in this day and age. I remember turning on an ancient machine (probably a 1ghz celeron of some sort) with win98 booting up word2000 or maybe the version before and it loaded instantly. No splash screen, no pause, no spinning sand timer. I’m not sure what happened between then and now. I realize word2010 does much more than its predecessor but I can’t imagine any of those new things have to happen when the program opens!

      • Scrotos
      • 9 years ago

      Preach it!

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 9 years ago

    Dear Mr. Wasson,

    We are sorry to hear you are having issues with Excel 2010 on Windows 7. Have you tried it on Vista?!? Please do so at your earliest convenience and you will find that you will have many other reasons for aggravation and simply not notice the latency…as much.

    Regards,

    MS

      • riviera74
      • 9 years ago

      Vista was as half-baked as Win ME. In some cases, Vista was half-assed too. As for Office 2010 vs. Office 2007, I personally have found no reason to go to 2010. And a year ago, I was married to Office 2000.

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