Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Yesterday and today, two interesting new computer applications came to my attention. I intend to try both. Today's first....
Google is going to release a new web browser today. It's called, "Chrome". The post at the link expands upon the following highlights in more detail:
- Google Chrome is Google's open source browser project.
- Google Chrome will use special tabs.
- The browser has an address bar with auto-completion features. [I hate auto-completion, but this one is an improvement. --ed]
- As a default homepage Chrome presents you with a kind of "speed dial" feature, similar to the one of Opera.
- Chrome has a privacy mode; Google says you can create an "incognito" window "and nothing that occurs in that window is ever logged on your computer."
- Web apps can be launched in their own browser window without address bar and toolbar. [This will be very nice on small laptops like the ASUS. --ed]
- To fight malware and phishing attempts, Chrome is constantly downloading lists of harmful sites.
I imagine that this first release will be Windows-only, which will preclude my immediate use of it, unless it turns out to run on Crossover Office, which I plan to try. Or, better, unless Google surprises me and offers a Linux version on its first rollout.
Chrome may solve both problems, and I'll happily switch if it does. At a minimum, it will make blogging much more rapid and enjoyable for me, as well as potentially making some potential changes I'm contemplating far more doable.
One word of caution: This is release is admittedly for human testing, such as for web sites that require a human to log in. Your mileage may vary.
The second application I ran into yesterday while stopping by Life Hacker. It's called "todo.txt" and is a collaborative effort to do something I've only taken baby steps towards doing on my own: creating a text file-based list manager. Its simplicity, economy, and freedom from both hardware and software vendor lock-in are all extremely appealing to me. The project web site explains:
Plain text is software and operating system agnostic. It's searchable, portable, lightweight and easily manipulated. It's unstructured. It works when someone else's web server is down or your Outlook .PST file is corrupt. Since it's been around since the dawn of computing, it's safe to say it's completely future-proof. There's no exporting and importing, no databases or tags or flags or stars or prioritizing or [Insert company name here]-induced rules on what you can and can't do with it.The great thing about open source projects like this is that with so many people out there, it is frequently the case that somebody else has encountered the same problem you're pondering and, more often than not, has made some kind of decent stab at solving it.
Todo.txt is a flat text file that contains one task per line, each optionally associated with a context, project and priority for slicing, dicing and sorting.
Installing this program on a few computers I frequently use and having it process a file on my "pocket office" will make accessing my to-do lists far easier than it has ever been.