Saturday, May 15, 2010

I Finally Gave in to the Fox

Two days ago, I switched back to Mozilla Firefox as my default Web browser.

My first dance with Firefox was in 2005...back when it was version 1.xx. It performed superior to Internet Explorer (if I may so detest such software). Also, Mozilla Thunderbird surpasses Microsoft Outlook any day as an e-mail grandma has even been using it for the past few years.

However, rumors surrounding Firefox going commercial convinced me to switch to a different browser around 2006--2007. The answer was the Opera Web browser. Opera dominates everything, hands-down. It is the most secure Web browser around, and it can be changed to suit any taste. Opera is also available as a mobile Web browser. Another feature Opera holds is its ability to act as a torrent program, which is handy if you download torrents (I use ĀµTorrent for any torrents requiring removal of certain trackers and such). Still, Opera is a powerful browser deserving more credit than it gets. There is one fallback, however, which was enough to get me to revert to Firefox.

The Internet has not caught up with Opera. That is to say, there are Web site coding and frame structures not equipped to be compatible with Opera. One of these Web sites is the Onetech portal for ATU. The setup of the Web site is only compatible with IE and Firefox, due mostly to using in-line frames (there is a warning when you try to access the Web site with Opera). However, there is an option within Opera to make the software identify itself as another one of the browsers. This works sometimes, but it gets annoying. I have been dealing with that one since I started attending ATU. Another menace is the Blogger Web site. It does not smile upon Opera, either. I could post, but I could not edit the HTML or edit a blog after the fact. Minute problems, yes...but there is no reason to have to switch between different browsers to surf the same Internet. Other Web sites had similar issues.

I realized, years ago, that the rumors of Mozilla commercializing Firefox were false, but I still wanted to give Opera a chance. I got attached to the browser, but not too much to prevent me from reverting. I still have Opera installed and ready to go, but I am happy with Firefox, once again. If the above two problems were fixed, however, it would be safe to assume I would switch back to Opera immediately. Maybe some day...

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I-40 Accident Friday

I was on my way to my mom's house Friday afternoon when I drove (eastbound on I-40) up to an accident scene in Conway before the emergency vehicles showed up. I watched the ambulance try to fight its way through stopped traffic on the westbound lanes as I was pulling away from the scene.

At first, I noticed traffic suddenly slowing as a few people were huddling around an SUV, which was overturned in the median. As I was inching forward, several others swarmed the SUV to check on the driver. Before too long, they had the driver out of the vehicle and on the ground. I did not rubberneck/gawk, but I did see the driver was completely surrounded by people. When I was even with the SUV on the eastbound lane, I saw something I had never seen before...the engine was on the shoulder of the road, almost even with the SUV. Then, I drove through about 50ft of debris, feeling shattered fragments of the SUV bouncing off of my car's undercarriage. The front bumper had been pushed onto the shoulder about halfway through. The good civilians were attempting to clear the road, but there were too many pieces. I started on the inside lane, but soon moved to the outside lane as everyone else was doing. When I passed the debris field, I was about a quarter of a mile from my exit for Vilonia/Beebe, if anyone knows where that is (for an estimation of location).

According to this CNN iReport, both sides of the interstate were shut down for the next two hours. As far as I can tell, no information (other than the iReport), has been made public...but I could be wrong. The picture in the iReport was taken from the side of the eastbound lanes because it is the same view I had, and emergency vehicles were approaching via the westbound lanes. The iReport says the engine ended up half a mile back...this is incorrect--I know because I saw it. At first, I did not know what it was. Then, I saw the pulley system. As my car was even with the SUV, the engine might have been another seven feet or so in front of me.

Also, since I passed the SUV prior to debris, I could only assume the SUV was travelling west, crossed the median, then rolled into oncoming traffic. I do not know exactly what time it happened, but cars that had passed me minutes before were pulled on the side of the road to help. I saw a yellow semi pulled over past the debris, but it did not appear as though it was involved. I did not take any pictures for obvious reasons.

Also...less than five miles back from the accident scene, I saw a state trooper burying his Dodge Charger in the woods to set up to catch speeders. Where the hell was he when it counted? The whole ten minutes I was stuck in traffic, I did not see that officer. I know his car is capable of off-road travel (we have all seen cops in strange spots along the interstate, I am sure). That thoroughly disgusted me. There was no reason he could not have driven down the road to help. He was already out of the traffic, so he had no excuse. Also disheartening was seeing the ambulance stuck in traffic. People can be void of common sense. If you see an ambulance, get the hell out of the way (even if you have to pull off of the road to do so). The life possibly hanging in the balance is far more important than your tires. It was frustrating and disillusioning to see. Yet the amount of people helping was incredible. There was no reason for me to stop, so I did not. There was nothing I could have done that the other 30 people already there had not already done.

On a bright note, I am through with this semester.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

And so it Begins...or Ends

Finals week is upon us, at last! Generally serving as a nice distraction, Facebook has disappointed me this morning. It has been a while since Facebook chat showed its inefficiency, but today is different. I cannot chat, nor can I update my status. I do not take Facebook that seriously, but I at least expect it to function properly one of the few times I use it...especially one of the fewer times I go to actually update a status.

I remember back in the day when Facebook served a function much more closely related to its name, before the pointless applications and advertisements (every one of those teeth whitening and bodybuilding advertisements are reported as being scams, so way to go Facebook for being part of the problem instead of the solution). To have an account in the old days, your school had to have a Facebook domain set up. Thus, Facebook also served as a face finder for new students. Then, Facebook took the MySpace route straight downhill. The chat function usually works well for being a combination of programming languages. I use an Opera Web browser, so I am used to having to open IE to browse some Web sites. However, Facebook does not work in IE, either. With all of the revenue from advertising and applications, I find it hard to tolerate such nonsense.

Here are more reasons Facebook sucks, but is kind of necessary for a good, hearty laugh at others' sheer stupidity. Such a waste...but enough people still use it to give it a purpose. Want to know a challenge? Sift through the narcissistic posts and status changes looking for useful information. Is such a thing possible? Now that I think about it, how useful is the status I was attempting to post? Is it now even worth the time it will take to type it?

And when a friend has a kid, how often is the Facebook profile transformed into the kid's baby book, documenting everything the kid does? I do not care about the kid, especially if I am an old friend from high school. If I visit my friend's profile, guess who I want updates is a hint: not the kid. There might be two or three friends who are the exceptions to that rule...and none of them has kids yet.