Firefox 3 – 2 days, 4 tabs, 1gb+ RAM in use

I don’t normally restart my work box that often. Its a pain to wait for all of the services to get up and running (apache(php), tomcat(java), Ecliplse, 4 browsers, etc). I usually have to kill Firefox towards the end of the day and restart it to make it speedy again. I didn’t restart it for the last 2 days and thought I would document the first time I’ve ever seen FF3 use over 1gb of RAM with only 4 tabs open. Hopefully the next v3.1 update will help fix some of the apparent memory leaks.

firefox 3 using over 1gb of ram
firefox 3 using over 1gb of ram

Tried Using ChaCha? Me Neither.

Over Thanksgiving weekend, I found out my younger sister “works” for ChaCha. She showed me the interface and told me about how it works.

The site only started getting over 500k monthly visitors since August, according to Compete.com.
She can usually sit there for up to 2 hours waiting on a question to come through from a user. The problem isn’t scalability, its finding customers who actually want to use the darn thing.

She made a little over $20 for the entire month of November. Their internal message boards are filled to the brim with hundreds of other workers who complain about never getting questions. The reason ChaCha stopped accepting new workers a few months ago seems to be that they outstripped the supply of people asking questions.

An important policy that seriously restricts the usefulness of ChaCha’s answers is that its workers are restricted to the sites they get their answers from. They are not allowed to use 3rd party search engines, such as Google or Yahoo. They are also restricted from using Wikipedia and almost any kind of message board.

ChaCha has an internal directory of human-categorized approved links across a number of directories, ala Yahoo’s early attempts to create a categorized view of the web by employing librarians to index sites. That was the 1st gen business model that pretty much failed for Yahoo.

I ran a series of questions by her and the answers she could find were a combination of inaccurate, incomplete, or occasionally right.

After having seen ChaCha from the inside, more or less, I can’t say there’s anything there that shows me it has any value to the user. Go hit Google, Yahoo, or even Live.com. You’ll get better results.

Fix for "The Adobe UI font could not be loaded"

If you encounter this error message when opening Adobe Photoshop CS2 in Windows XP, “The Adobe UI font could not be loaded” here’s a quick fix that worked for me. CS2 was doing this for months to me.

Search your system for a file called ADMUI3.fon. Copy this file into the Required folder in CS2. For example, “C:Program FilesAdobeAdobe Photoshop CS2Required folder”.

Restart Photoshop and there’s a good chance it’ll be fixed.

11 Places to Get Started with iPhone App Development

The goal of this list is to provide a starting point for people looking to get involved with iPhone application development. I’ve tried putting the most recent, pertinent, and/or useful towards the top of the list.

The Apple iPhone Dev Center, but you have to sign up to enter: http://developer.apple.com/iphone/

iPhone Developer Central. Lots of tutorials: http://www.iphonedevcentral.org/

Forums @ iPhone Developer Central. Very active community: http://www.iphonedevsdk.com/forum/

A thorough, step-by-step tutorial to make an RSS reader: http://theappleblog.com/2008/08/04/tutorial-build-a-simple-rss-reader-for-iphone/

How to setup your dev environment on your Mac: http://www.jeroenvanwissen.nl/lead-story/2008/10/08/howto-iphone-application-development-environment.html

Slide your view around when editing UITextFields so that they never get trapped under the onscreen keyboard: http://cocoawithlove.com/2008/10/sliding-uitextfields-around-to-avoid.html

Glassy Scrolling with UITableView: http://www.fieryrobot.com/blog/2008/10/01/glassy-scrolling-with-uitableview/

Using frameworks in iPhone applications: http://blog.omnigroup.com/2008/10/01/using-frameworks-in-iphone-applications/

A very short and older quick-guide to the Interface Builder: http://forum.insanelymac.com/index.php?showtopic=96104

Older tutorial to making a simple Hello World touch app: http://ihatetheiphonesdk.blogspot.com/2008/04/reason-2-interface-builder-is-buggy-and.html

Another older tut written with a beta-build of the SDK, still thorough and useful: http://www.iphonesdkarticles.com/2008/07/first-iphone-application.html

If you're in the Coast Guard, you're using Internet Explorer 6

coast guard boat

Over at usabilitypost.com , Dmitry Fadeyev posted a brief but good writeup about why we should drop support for IE6 in order to give people a reason to upgrade. Based on a recent experience I had at a focus group on a Coast Guard base here in California, that may be harder in large organizations than regular run-of-the-mill users. If you’re in the Coast Guard, you might not have any other choice. (more…)

Fear Doubt

Fear DoubtA lot of people have great ideas, myself included. We think about them, write and plan them out, and search around for competitors. We see other people that have already implemented similar ideas and we start doubting. We talk to our friends, families, coworkers, and strangers. Some of these people are encouraging us to put words into action. But others say “hasn’t that already been done?” or “that doesn’t seem very valuable.”

The old saying goes, “Stick to your day job.”

For whatever reason, we listen to the naysayers because it reinforces our own doubt. We shelve our ideas, or start procrastinating because doubt is telling us we have other more important things to do at the moment. The moments turn into days, then weeks, months, and before long we’ve lost the initial drive we had when we were inspired at the start.

Fear doubt. Be afraid of it. If you start doubting, start thinking about the thing that scares you the most. Spiders? Imagine shoving your hand into a bucket filled with thousands of the squirming, hairy, eight-eyes things with huge fangs. Make your brain start getting the same association with Doubt that it does with whatever makes you squirm.

Lets use Fear as a tool to succeed.

Where did the time go?

Do most people really understand what’s happening? A homeless man says to me yesterday, “Wow, where did the last 8 years go?”

Where did those years go? My first response is to think its mainly about getting older, now into my late 20s. My mom and other respected elders frequently proclaim how fast the years go by. “Kids grow up so fast” and all that.

I fall back on that most of the time, but sometimes what’s really happening hits me. Things are speeding up. The easy markers are traditionally Moore’s Law. Yeah, computers are getting faster. We all share information at an increasing rate. But the problem is, these are just single facets that people trumpet out as examples. But they don’t really understand what it means.

We’re already moving into the singularity. How many phone numbers can you remember without looking at your cell phone? Is it easier for you to look on Google for a bit of information you need than to ask someone you think might know the answer? When you lose your phone or switch out for a new one, can’t you feel that vacancy of your contact list being gone? Doesn’t it feel like you left your wallet or purse in the house when you went out the door in the morning, with that nagging feeling like you left something important behind but you can’t immediately place what it is? Is it easier to bring up your computer’s calculator than to try and do simple multiplication in your head?

Our minds are already moving outside of our wetware.

The reason our brains work so well is that they are always re-wiring connections. Our brains are largely neural maps of our various body parts. Let me bring up people who have lost limbs and have phantom pains. The pains have nothing to do with the location of the lost limb. Its all in the brain. Its cause is rather interesting. When you lose a limb, a corresponding section of the brain that was devoted to handling sensory input is suddenly left without any activity. Other surrounding areas of the brain then begin “invading” and connecting into the non-active area, cross-connecting normally separate neurons into an area of the brain they aren’t supposed to be in. So, you might have activity for your left upper thigh stimulating neurons that are mapped to your left hand that you lost. The mapping is still there, except now sensations from your thigh are sending information to the wrong part of your brain. Your brain’s map of the lost hand interprets it as pain. The way to fix this is several weeks of therapy with a mirror. Put a mirror in front of you that bisects your body, so that an image of your right hand and arm are reflected onto the left side where you lost your hand. You fool the brain into thinking it has a left hand again. You then proceed to walk through physical therapy excerises for a few weeks, and the pain goes away. What you are doing is re-wiring your brain so that it correctly remaps that part of the brain to the new physical state of the person. Good story about this over at ITConversations.

So, if you lose your contact list and you feel that vacant spot, that is probably very similar to what happens with the accident victim. Your brain has created special neural maps for the use of your cell phone in the same way it maps for your body parts. Take that away, and your brain feels its absence.

So to go back to what I was saying before, our minds are moving outside of our wetware. Our brains are adapting themselves automatically to use information technology as an integrated part of the functioning of our consciousness. Hollywood has gotten stuck on this idea that we have to use brain implants to get this effect. In reality, its already happening a few decades before direct neural interfaces become common.

So when you next stop and feel the passage of time and ask, “Where did the last 8 years go?”, realize something very important. You are subjectively experiencing the singularity. Its not a far off sci-fi dream. We’re already in it, and its just getting started.