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Facebook applications aren't that social, or useful

Sun, 09 Dec 2007 17:25:00 +0000

It’s been just about more than a year (if I’m correct) since the release of F8, Facebook’s platform for developers to create ‘social’ applications which Facebook users can add to their profiles and make merry. Just about more than a year later, a browse through the top 10 applications (ranked by use) shows the problem. Well, not so much of a problem; considering there is nothing wrong, but more of a worry. Atleast for me. You see it? No? Utterly useless Not more than 2% of the applications have any ‘use’ value. The only part of Facebook ‘from’ Facebook they use is the userbase. Not their details. Them. These applications are trying to come up with any little excuse to make people invite more people to use them. Take ‘SuperWall’ or ‘FunWall’ for example. These two applications do ‘nothing’ more than what the native Facebook Wall does not. The only difference? There is no difference! It’s just that people don’t know that their wall can do all those things, and more. And yet, they are top of the list, ranks one and two respectively. What makes them tick It seems people flock towards applications that are ‘fun’. Not necessarily useful. Application makersI’ll not call them developers, since they’re just coding; not really developing anything seem to understand this, and are resorting to making their applications dumber, and dumber so that it appeals to the common person. I can give you proof with my very own applications here. I have three: So much to do!: This is a simple to-do list tracking application, which allows you to make lists, and show it those lists on your profile. Photos2RSS: This allows you to get photos from anywhere in Facebook as feed (RSS/JSON), which can be further used anywhere feeds can be used. Thought for the day: Another simple application to show a ‘thought’ or a quote on your profile. It also lets you tag quotes as favourites, and share them with friends. Take a quick guess as to the order of ranks based on number of users of those applications. Answer’s at the end of the post. So, to come back to the point I was making. I don’t know what Zuckerberg’s main motive was to creating the platform, and allowing people to develop applications on it. Maybe this ‘was’ what he wanted. Maybe it isn’t. But on thing is for sure. This defininitely undermines the genius behind the technical proficiency of F8. I can only begin to imagine the kind of work that has gone into it, and the amount of effort that goes into it everyday for maintainence and cleanup. The use it has been put to till date, doesn’t even begin to do justice to it. Sure, it got more users to Facebook. It added value to your profile, and increased the worth of every user. But from a broader perspective, it hasn’t added ‘anything’ at all to Facebook in itself. There is no application which will make people join Facebook, because it’s true potential is only visible when you use it on the social level. I’m currently making another application. I’ll be all hush hush about it until I’m ready to release it. It only grazes the ideas I’ve touched here, because honestly, it ‘will’ take some serious brain racking to be able to come up with a concept like that. If someone can, it should be worthy of a job at Facebook itself. Eitherways, valued at $15 billion plus, Facebook will make him a rich guy ;) The answer As far as the answer to the question in the post goes, it’s: Thought for the day So much to-do! Photos2RSS What did you think? The geek app will have most users? Phsshh… You obviously didn’t read the post properly :P[...]

Wanted: A new look for Google

Thu, 06 Dec 2007 07:24:00 +0000

All those who are getting a little tired of the lack of things on Google’s pages raise your hands! Now now, c’mon! I know you want to, don’t be shy.

I am quite tired of it to be very honest. Seeing pages like Yahoo's new homepage, or, it makes me cringe when I have to go to a drab Google page. And unfortunately, it’s not only the search page. Google’s white, a sick green, light sky blue and light red have made their way to every Google service on the web till date. That is the reason I stopped using Docs & Spreadsheet when they removed the beautiful Writely look, Google Reader after I got sick of itIn all fairness, I got sick of Bloglines’ look as well. I opted for the tons better looking, and modestly functional Netvibes over an obvious superior, but downright ugly Bloglines and GReader, and for my searches after Firefox got it’s own version of the search page.

A little overdone

I know they became famous of their minimalistic simple design, which was copied by a lot of other sites. It was great for the time it came out, and it works to a limit even now, but I think eventually things should change with time (look at Microsoft and and Digg). I think this signature Google look has kind of outlived it’s glory.

A look which got 3001 (including mine) diggs is this one, by Andy Rutledge:


And I think it looks ‘much’ better the current one, because it firstly adds much brighter colours, and offers more visual cues than the current one. The other design elements are explained on his page, with a mockup page. This ‘could’ be improved further improved, no doubt. But this is the direction I think Google should be thinking in.

Not enough

There have been silent touches being added to different services, to make them a little more aesthetically pleasing. Like the recent new look of Google Groups, and gentle additions to the Google HomepageThey added (wow!) tabs. But this is not enough. They really need to get their pants up and start to make some serious design decisions. Blogger is the only Google service which looks good. I thought the hiring of Douglas Bowman would open the doors to some much needed visual changes, but it’s been almost a year, and I’m still waiting.

It would be a valid argument if one asked ‘Why fix something which is not broken?’. I’d answer that with the fact that a redesign will bring in more people to use Google services. If you think adding designing elements makes things slow, then you just need to look at Yahoo! Mail. Its new avatar is the perfect proof. Amazingly fast while looking really good. It just depends on what you change and what you add.

It is about time, don’t you think?

Vista doesn't suck! Not with time atleast...

Sat, 01 Dec 2007 17:18:00 +0000

I’m sure everyone by now has read the infamous Vista sucks… article. I don’t know if it was a deliberate attempt at trying to catch information, or they really believe what they wroteBy the looks of the explanations, looks like the latter is true, but I really don’t think putting Vista 10th on the list of worst things —- and not even of 2007, but all time —- is the right thing. We know Microsoft got a lot of things wrong, but Vista surely deserve’s better.

Personal experience

I’ve been using Vista for about a month now. It is a better operating system than XP, that’s for sure. Integrated search, the memory management, the looks, usage pattern recognition algorithms are all much superior. Sure, something that took 6 years to make should have much more to speak for, but I think this is a worthy product. Not worthy of the $300+ price tag, but worthy nonetheless. Somethings that are wrong with Vista are probably one’s that become clear over time. The hardware requirements are high. 1GB just doesn’t cut it anymore, if you’re a multi-tasker like me (Photoshop, Firefox, Outlook all at once :P). The final cost of using Vista is much higher than the price tag of the OS itself. And one thing that irritated me tons, and still does a bit, is that Microsoft very clearly traded features for performance. XP was ‘way’ faster than Vista has ever felt; even a clean new installed Vista seems like a slug compared to my year old XP SP2. And from what I’m hearing, Vista SP1 doesn’t seem to help issues.

Someone who wants a fast operating system, should certainly have no qualms about how it looks. Hence, turning Aero off should sit decently well with them. I like my OS to look top notch, and hence, would rather keep Aero on. But I can see a good difference when the load starts to mount. Also, I was also re-introduced to the concept of ‘restarting the computer’ after long periods of use to speed it up again. I hope Vista’s garbage collection and repopulation of the memory cache is improved in SP1.

So why doesn’t it suck?

In a single line, I’d have to say because once you get used to it, and with UAC off ( :P ), you will really see your productivity increase. Vista is extremely intuitive. It has made repetitive tasks simpler, and will make you a much more efficient user. From simple things like hitting the windows key, and starting to type to launch applications, to creating advanced scheduled tasks. And after a month, Vista does feel faster than it used to in the beginningWhich I think is because it has understood over a month the applications I use the most, and loads them up in the cache everytime it finds the space.. It’s networking is much better than XP’s, with creation and recognition of networks, and their settings far better and easier. Device installation is a breeze for most of the things, since some or the driver is already present for it. And security … even with UAC off, it seems to be a stable and hardy operating system coupled with Windows Defender (and constant updates from Microsoft).

I’d really say that bar the price, Vista is a good operating system to try out. And I don’t suggest a day or a week for a trial. Give it atleast a month. Get used to the slightly different ways of doing things. Instead of making a giant leap, Microsoft has eased the changes in, so that we can get used to them slowly and steadily. It will take a little time to get used to them. And once you do, you’ll see it isn’t ‘all’ that bad :)

Want to work for Facebook?

Sun, 25 Nov 2007 10:22:00 +0000

Justin Rosenstein had this to say when he was leaving Google for Facebook (June 8th, 2007)

A couple of months ago, after three years as a Google product manager, I decided to leave for Facebook. I am writing this note to spread Good News to all the friends I haven't already overwhelmed with my enthusiasm: Facebook really is That company.

Which company? That one. That company that shows up once in a very long while -- the Google of yesterday, the Microsoft of long ago. That company where large numbers of stunningly-brilliant people congregate and feed off each other's genius. That company that's doing with 60 engineers what teams of 600 can't pull off. That company that's on the cusp of Changing The World, that's still small enough where each employee has a huge impact on the organization, where you think about working now and again, and where you know you'll kick yourself in three years if you don't jump on the bandwagon now, even after someone had told you that it was rolling toward the promised land. That company where everyone seems to be having the time of their life.

I'm serious. I have drunk from the kool-aid, and it is delicious. Facebook is hiring ambitiously across the organization. If you're an engineer, UI designer, product manager, statistician, bizdev god, general entrepreneurial badass, whatever, and you would even consider considering Facebook as your new place for hat-hanging, please send me a Facebook message. We can have lunch, or I can give you a tour, or we can go kick it with Mark Zuckerberg -- whatever it takes.

It wasn't very long back that Google was voted the best place to work for, and I wouldn't argue with that. Google has been coming up with innovative new ideas, products and things that us geeks will be able to appreciate. Their stock prices have been rising (valued at $750+ at last check), and according to this video, it's a "really" nice place! Putting all those things together, it's not really rocket science to see how amazing it would be work for the company.

Or would it?

Techcrunch reports that Google employees are switching over to Facebook at 'an alarming rate'. Gideon Yu and Benjamin Ling already switched, and Justin Rosenstein is the latest. It seems there is something that is pulling these people away from the 'dream job' they once had, working for Google. It really does seem that Facebook is the new Google, and Google; they're calling it the new Microsoft. I don't know how true that is, but it does seem really harsh. Facebook rather, seems to be the young and fresh entry, which seems to have high ambitions, great energy and the 'want' to do something. Those are qualities every engineer and developer wants in the team he works. Justin's e-mail shows that as fact too. What I wonder is, how much is hype and how much is true.

But by the by, I won't mind a job at Facebook or Google ;)

The whole 'online office' thing

Fri, 23 Nov 2007 21:28:00 +0000

Sometime between yesterday and today, Sabeer Bhatia (creator of Hotmail) released Live Documents; a service exclusively for Microsoft Office, which allows you to do all the things you can with Google’s and Zoho’s applications, but now with Office. Personally, I feel like this is the tagging thing all over again!

We already have enough players in the ‘office on the web’ market, and very frankly, I don’t think the user count of the existing one’s is good enough for one more to popup. I know people prefer to stick to the desktop versions, simply because they’ve grown used to it, and most of the time they’re on the move and hence not connected. People who use office applications at a high frequency are mostly executives. I’ve yet to meet an executive who lives outside of Outlook, and by default, Microsoft Office. If you’re on a Mac, it has to be iWorkOr by the looks of it, Office 2008 for the Mac. In both cases, you’re offline because it’s faster and you have many more features than a web counterpart.

But most importantly, there is nothing new that these services have to offer, except for the technology they use, which only increases their speed and to a very small degree, what they can do. Google brought in AJAX, and Live Documents is bringing in Flex.

Same goes with Google Documents. I was happy when Writely was Writely. Ever since the change to Google Documents, it just looks and feels so bland. It’s useful for finishing English assignments because friends can get together and collaborate, but I honestly don’t see real world uses of these features. I haven’t even touched Zoho ...

It'd do us all good if we got more consumable services which have scope to grow. But as of now, I’m not even bothering applying for an invitation. Let’s see if I’m wrong on this ....

GUI Elements I like, and one's I don't

Thu, 22 Nov 2007 20:24:00 +0000

GUI (Graphical User Interface) is such an integral part of our computing lives, I really doubt we stop and analyze the separate elements that make it what it is –– easy and intuitive to use. It has evolved over years, suggestions and loads of empty coffee cups. It’s one problem designers try to solve always, but no matter what they do, there is a part of it which can always be improved. So here’s my little list of the things I like, and don’t like in user interfaces. One's I like Check/Radio box: The simplest element. I think it was a natural decider to use this for lists, which would let you select multiple options, or only oneNot many people know, but the difference between the two ‘is’ how they allow you to handle options marking.. I’d really like to see them make checking off more intuitive (shift+first+last to select all in between). Tooltips: Help without asking for it. I feel very disoriented whenever I don’t know what a button does, and even moreso when the little help box doesn’t popup telling me what it does. This is partly the reason I love Office 2007, where every button on the Ribbon has a briefly detailed explanation of what it does. Ribbon: This is one of the newest elements, present in Microsoft Office ‘07. It’s probably the perfect and complete alternative to the menu bar. Every option is categorized under one tab, and similar options are grouped into sections. Every button has explanatory tooltips, and they do a very nice glowy thing when you mouse over, highlighting the selected section as well as button. Looks like Microsoft got something right :P Pie Menu: Last, but my most favourite. This one takes some getting used to, but once you do, it gets annoying when you don’t have it somewhere. The perfect example of this is mouse gestures in Firefox. All it takes it a click, and movement; but movement which is very intuitive (like left for back). I’d love to see this in operating systems, because it’ll be a huge navigation boost! One's I don't! Menu bar: I won’t complain about this too much. With the onset of ‘Ribbon’, we can now start to do without the menu bar. Although, this is a better option when conserving screen estate. A retractable Ribbon seems the way to go :) Heads Up Display (HUD): This is more of a ‘focus on few things’ kinda thing. An HUD is supposed to be unobtrusive to the ‘bigger’ picture, but the moment all those extra stuff start popping up, you can’t not be distracted by them. That’s one of the reasons research is on to come up with a better way of relaying information to pilots through their visors. Sidebar: This my most unliked element. Having something on the edge of your screen constantly is irritating. Dashboard is a ‘much’ better implementation, although it’d be nice if you could keep ‘some’ widgets always visible. Retractable drawers are also a type of Sidebar, but atleast they’re retractable :) So, there you have it! These elements are a part of our OS, and now with the onset of Web 2.0, most of them are being adapted for use on the web to make things snappy and more OS like. I’d love to see an alternative to sidebars, especially on blogs. It’d just make things a little more interesting ;) I haven’t touched on UI elements like modal dialogues, throbbers etc., but they are more of symbolic and rare use elements –– used to signify something or alert people of something. They’re important, no matter how irritating they might get. There’s a nice article from Alex Faaborg about his tussle with going modal or using normal dialogue boxes for Firefox, but it kinda answers the basic question (Would you Like to Redesign ...) What elements do you like? And what do you don't?[...]

Another return!

Wed, 21 Nov 2007 07:12:00 +0000

I know my dear and beloved blog has been neglected for a ‘very’ long time, but that has mostly been because of college, and me being a little lazy :P I got caught up in a lot of different things at the same time, and I couldn’t do them all :P But now another semester is coming to an end, so I see some free times, and I plan to make the most of it.

There ‘are’ a lot of things that I’ve been wanting to share with all you guys, and going by my latest feed readership, most of you have hung around! Thanks a lot :) I hope to not disappoint ;)

So a quick update about my Blogger keep current date/time on post script; I’ve fixed it. I think Improbulus sent me a mail a long time back, but thanks to the reasons I’ve mentioned above, I wasn’t able to reply or respond. I got around fixing it this time, and it’s working wonderfully again :)

So, here’s to another return! :)

Facebook downtime, iPhone and my stinkin' exams

Sat, 30 Jun 2007 08:09:00 +0000

Facebook went down today for a couple of hours, citing ‘maintainence’ as the reason. They were down for a couple of ours for ‘me’. I don’t know about the others, since it said ‘your account is not available’.

This is the first time Facebook has gone down since it released the Platform, and I think we can put some blame onto that. Having to roll out fix builds almost everyday while keeping the site up and running like a jet engine. There are tons of new applications already (I have four), and they’re being approved by hundreds in a day. Every application added gets exposure in the directory, and starts getting more users. This adds to Facebook’s server load.

Platform has been hugely successful, and you can begin to see a visionary in Zuckerberg. Even though any data regarding the application itself (users, referrals, how many adds per hour etc.) aren’t availableThere are some applications which scrape this data out of Facebook, but that’s against Facebook TOS (scraping), so I don’t think they’ll be around for too long., the data and integration options make up for it pretty well :)


We’ve all heard about it, read about it, and know as much about it without having it as the person who does. The iPhone has been the most hyped gizmo in a ‘very’ long time, and little surprise it comes from Apple. People have been flocking to get their hands on one. Twitter saw increased activity thanks to the people waiting in line busy micro–blogging to get their experience out. The iLoser reached celebrity stardom for all the wrong reasons … with people howling for him to thrown out. But he maintained his place.

Now that the iPhone is out, it’s managed to live upto its hype, and Apple has lived upto it’s reputation. I’m sure Nokia and Blackberrys all across the world are feeling a little lonely right about now (when was the last time they were excited about ‘their’ phone?), although it’s a sad time for anyone ‘not’ in the U.S., since the iPhone launch was U.S. only. They will be announcing a model for the European market on Monday (as per reports), and Vodafone is being touted as the carrier. India, Australia, and all the countries this side will only be graced next year, same time.

I for one am actually glad that Apple’s taking it’s time to bring the iPhone here. It will give them time to iron out the bugs, hardware issues, compatibilities and problems, and give us a more polished and finished product. But the people who ‘have’ got their hands on with it, are surely not complaining! :)

Exams, exams! :(

Yes, the rants of a college going kid continue. I’ve been riddled with exams yet again, which is why my beloved little blog has been ignored so much the past days. All is not lost though. I’ve been keeping busy with a few projects, ideas and Facebook ofcourse. My end term holidays start in just over a week, and I’m planning big things for that this time around.

So! Here’s to a great iPhone for all those who have it, and who’re going to buy it! And I shall be back to blogging full time very, ‘very’ soon! :D

A shout out to Search Suggest users

Wed, 20 Jun 2007 06:32:00 +0000

It’s been quite a while since I released my Search Suggestions hack. Since then, I’ve seen the number of hashes being created for authorization increase steadily, which means people “are” using it. What I haven’t seen increase, is the number of search “terms” being added to my database.

This can mean one of two things:

  1. You have implemented the hack, but have botched up something in the implementation which is preventing search terms from being added to your account.

  2. You have “not” implemented my hack, and are just sitting pretty with a hash code in my database.

For the first case, if you need help implementing the hack properly, please let me know. I’ll be more than willing to have a look at your code and see where things are being messed up. We all want the suggestions to come up nice and pretty now, don’t we? :)

For the second case, well … if you don’t want to use it, fair enough. Just let me know your passcodes (which you used to get your hashes) so that I can remove them from the database, to prevent them from eating up space :)


A small success!

Thu, 14 Jun 2007 13:52:00 +0000

Checking today (‘today’ being the second day of this application being included in the application repository), I see 400+ users, out of which 4 are friends. These past two days have shown exactly what people meant by the Facebook ‘social graph’ and ‘viral distribution’ of applications. I noticed some applications become big time earners overnight, but a small application like my to–do list getting these many users in 2 days is very, very heartening :) So, now I’m going to have a look at the whole Facebook development scenario: F8 Platform The platform, at its heart is a REST based API. You make simple calls to one URL, with the required details, and the server sends back whatever you asked for after running a few checks to see if you “can” get the data you asked for. It’s quite simple that way. There are tokens, session keys (there are two types, more later), API keys and all the regular boobah that you’re used to seeing. However, it gets interesting when you begin to move away from this REST API. Facebook is one of the first APIs (that I’ve seen in my short stint with webdev) that offers direct access to their SQL tables. Ofcourse, they call it FQL, but the outcome is the same. You select columns, where certain conditions are matched and validated, from some tables. This not only saves time, but reduces server load, since you’re going to the heart of the data instead of being proxy–ed around. Finally, there’s FBML, which is Facebook’s version of (X)HTML. It offers RDF–type tags which get parsed by Facebook into proper data wrapped in relevant tags. This is used when your application has a profile presence box, and you need to show stuff in it. You update it with FBML using a given function. Or if you want to show editing options for features for your app. It’s quite cool! :) Static content is cached by Facebook for faster serving (like images, videos etc.), but most of the load is on the developers servers. All processes happen on your servers, and Facebook only acts as a mediator between your server and the user, so that they can control what comes and goes through. The development If you know how frameworks and APIs work, this will be familiar grounds. Even if you don’t, you can figure your way out by getting yourself the REST Clients from Facebook. It’s got functions to do everything, and all you need to do is call them. I use the PHP5 Client, but there are clients available for pretty much every major language used for Webdev today. It’s been a breeze getting the hang of it (thanks to a lot of help from Stephen, as usual), and just having access to such huge amounts of data is amazing. With all coding projects, you have to figure out how to get around some hurdles. For example, the current system allows the authorization token to be passed to only “one” page per app. That means, you can’t call Facebook from any other page, unless you have an infinite session key to pass around. It takes some figuring out, but once you get the hang of it, you can see a pattern emerging. I personally think Facebook should allow choosing custom pages (via. a “next” query string which they use, but don’t allow access to) to which you’d like to redirect to from Facebook. But oh well … Pretty much all workings with applications will require you to store data of some sort (if it’s a decent to good app). For that, you’ll need to know SQL if you want to work with relational tables. I use Ning at the moment, which offers a different way of storing huge amounts of data. I am adequately adept at SQL though, and plan to brush up on it since I want to move to my own hosting soon enough, and host my apps [...]

Facebook photos! Who needs Flickr?

Mon, 11 Jun 2007 21:52:00 +0000

People not on Facebook probably use Flickr as their main image host, because it’s easier to share it with people, tag them, and store them safely knowing you won’t lose them. Flickr, backed by Yahoo!, has surely become an essential part of the netizen’s arsenal of web–services, no doubt that. But, as with everything, there are alternatives which though not as good, are good enough substitutes. Facebook Photos Facebook Photos is one of the best “organised” photo collection tool available on the Internet today in my opinion. Sure, it lacks features which people have gotten used to because of Picasa Web Albums and Flickr, but if you’re looking for a simple photo storage service, with decent sharing and commenting features, this one is for you. The best part is, you’re not bound by features being rolled out by the provider. Applications can enhance your experience, and act as plug–ins, which brings me to the main point of this post. Let me present to you, Photos2Rss! Photos2RSS This was an application I wrote initially to take away my dependence on Flickr, especially since I found out the 200 image limit on the free account. The one feature which doesn’t come natively with the Photos application of Facebook is a way to get them out of Facebook. Your photos are sitting nicely in your album, but that way they’re only for your friends to see and enjoy. What if you want to share them on your blog, or some other place? Well, now there is a way … If you’re on Facebook, add the application to your profile. The application doesn’t add a profile box or anything. It just sits pretty in your list of applications in the sidebar, and you can push it down in the ‘hide’ zone if you don’t want to see the link all the time. Once you have it installed, it’ll take you to the album selection page. There you can select who’s albums you want to pull out as a feed. If you want a friend’s, you’ll need their UIDThat's the 9 digit number at the end of the URL on the profile page of your friend.. Fill that in, and you’ll be presented with a list of their albums. Along with that, there are options for randomising the pictures, and a total count. You can specify these for further control on how your photos are pulled. After filling in the details, you’ll have to submit once, before choosing the feed format. There are two feed formats available currently—RSS and JSON(P). RSS is for subscribing to someone’s albums to track it for changes. Say, your friend’s birthday pictures. Whereas JSON(P) is more for use with codes and hacks on blogs and pages. Add in the callback function name at the end and the data will be enclosed nicely in your function :) Drawbacks and limitations As I said, this is a little hacky, hence there are some pre–requirements, assumptions and limitations in place for this to work like it’s supposed to. To start with, the photos you want to pull out have to be part of one album, and one album alone. You can pull in photos from different albums, but not using the same feed. Well, not yet atleast. If there are enough adopters of this, I’ll add it inI’ll add it in anyways sometime in the future to find the easiest way to do it, but more users will speed up the process :P. The second thing is, the application needs to be a part of your list, because that’s the way I’ll get an infinite session key from Facebook for the feed. If you don’t add it, the feed will fail because it’ll need to log in to get your photos out. Like I said, it doesn’t ‘add’ anything to your profile like most of the applications, so there is no clutter :) I don’t like [...]

Who said that?

Fri, 08 Jun 2007 12:04:00 +0000

This seems to have been broken for a while. Blogger changed the structure of the comment form page, hence it wasn’t getting the comment author’s name properly. I’ve fixed it now. A quick re–install will do :)

There isn’t really much history behind this one, except that it was an idea originally put into my head by Avatar, for the old Blogger. Since back then we had the form as part of the post page, and not a Blogger page, a comment quoting system was the ideal thing for a blog like Bloggeratto which needed Avatar answering tons of questions. Back then when I wrote the script, it was so badly broken that I feel ashamed now of it :P

With the new Blogger, that system broke since the form disappeared. Although, the idea is still a good one, and the necessity of having a comment quoting system became very glaringly obvious to me right after my Blogger Smilies post, where I had to answer tons of comments, and reply to a lot of suggestions. So, I wrote this script a long time back, and it’s been through a _very_ long testing phase. I’m going to finally release it for everyone to use :)


It's a really simple script, which adds a ‘Reply’ link to all the comments on the comments page, which you can use to add the body of the comment to the form’s input, with all
tags converted to line breaks for ease of use, and the text itself enclosed in a i[rel=”cquote”] element for easy styling. It also wraps the quote in nice curly comments for you :)

Also, when you click the quote link, a link is created back to that quote, and shown right above the input area. That’s for the unusually large number of comments that you might have to reply to all at once :)

Inputs are always welcome! Cheers! :)

What you waiting for?

Blogger Comment Quote / Reply
All my Userscripts

More bVibes love: Greasemonkey joins in

Thu, 07 Jun 2007 10:50:00 +0000

Ah! Two updates today :D

While looking around bVibes, I bumped into a post on Hackosphere about remote vibing (?) buttons from bVibes which you can add to your posts. Well, I took it a little out of context, but the effect is pretty much the same :)


With Vibe me later, you can click through to a story from a bVibes page, go through the story, and if you consider it worthwile, vibe it from the page you land on. You won’t have to go back to the story page on bVibes to vote for it. The script adds a (not so good looking, but meh!) small button to the bottom right of your page, which flashes initially to remind you it’s there.

You can use the button to vote whenever you want. Also, the button will only show up for pages linked from bVibes, and when you click through from bVibes. I might recode it to check bVibes for every page you visit … hence make a ‘smart’ vibe button :)



Vibe me later
All my userscripts

bVibes get some Facebook love

Thu, 07 Jun 2007 05:25:00 +0000

bVibes is our very own Digg, for bloggers! Created by the elite hacker Ramani, I think it’s something the bloggerosphere needed more than the blogosphere in general. It’s about time Blogger started getting the attention it deserves, and blogs hosted at Blogger the credibility and respect they deserve.

I recently joined up, and it’s picked up quite well! Users are joining up pretty quickly, and stories are being submitted even quicker :P But as usual, enough is never enough! So now, bVibes is getting some love, Facebook style! My recent fascination with the Platform and a mail from Ramani were enough … and we now have a bVibes application for you to add to your profilesIf you’re not on Facebook yet, I suggest you start with that the moment you finish reading this post.

The application basically does what the normal application does. It shows the stories you’ve recently voted for in a nice little box on your profile. As things are, there is a half an hour delay between new votes showing up … I might try to fix that, but I’m sure you can live with that :P You can also tell the application how many of your recently voted for stories do you want to show (Digg’s app doesn’t allow this, hah!), or a default of 5 will be enforced. The app also shows how many votes a story has :)

So, do your share of the good work. Show off the posts you think deserve attention right on your Facebook profile, where it’ll be seen by all your friends! Let them get the exposure they deserve!

All bugs, suggestions and feedback can be posted in the comments here, or messaged to me via Facebook. Enjoy!

Facebook has the lead!

Sat, 02 Jun 2007 10:02:00 +0000

I’ve been obsessing with Facebook for the past week because of the revelation of the new Facebook Platform. What that has in turn done is show me the intricate ways in which Facebook works. How different components come together to integrate themselves to the central goal of Facebook—to keep people connected to each other. I think Facebook in itself is way ahead of the competition because of their goal. They aim not to have tons of users. Their userbase is a result of constant innovation. They aim to improve the networks that exist, and improve the interactions between the users of the networks. They are probably the only network which emphasizes on innovating, and I think that focus is what keeps them ahead. Facebook Platform Some see the platform as going against Facebook’s goal. I felt the same way when it first came out, but as time has passed, and I’ve seen the applications that have popped up, I can guess where Facebook is coming from. They’re not trying to foray into any foreign territory (even if they’ve inadvertently done so). They are trying to make Facebook the one stop destination for all it’s members to find info (about everything) about their friends and the people they know. Applications to track someone’s music, activities and calendar are some of the one’s which have popped up, with some of them becoming very popular. The popularity of applications is thanks to Facebook’s social graph, and what I like to call, the Wavefront effectHuygen's principle states that every wavefront acts as the source of another wavelet. Applying that logic to how news feeds work, when someone adds an application, it shows up in their news–feed, bringing it to the attention to their friends. Their friends then add it, hence starting a new wavefront.. The beauty of this is that the one thing that developers spend most amount of time doing is trying to get their applications to the public. Facebook does that for them, so they can concentrate on building killer apps. This is very tempting to someone like me, developers, who don’t have resources to consolidate data. Facebook provides the data. All we have to do is use our creativity to use that in ways we think people would want to use them. I don’t see Facebook platform as a detachment from their primary goal. I see it as a natural evolution. Facebook bloat Many complain about many of the features as ‘bloat’ and unnecessary, wanting to revert back to the old Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg once said: Change can be disorienting, but we do it because we’re sure it makes the site better. It may have felt different at first, but things like photos, events, groups and the wall have all made Facebook a more useful and interesting site. It’s our goal to provide a tool that helps people understand what’s going on with the people around them; all of our additions and changes contribute towards this goal. The new things we’re going to launch will do the same. And all the current features achieve all this in perfect harmony with each other. I can’t imagine a Facebook without the news/mini–feed. That is truly the major thing that sets it apart. The first thing I want to see when I log in is what my friends have been upto since I last logged in. Who their new friends are, what events they’re attending, what pictures they’ve added, what groups they joined … all those things. If I have to go to each and every profile to check what they’ve been doing, it beats the whole purpose of being part of a network … the information should come to you automaticallyThe[...]

A bubble burst!

Thu, 31 May 2007 15:38:00 +0000

The past few days have been rather amazing. If you’re not a ‘geek’, then you probably won’t know of all the things happening, but if you are, then I hope you share the same excitement as me! After a rather considerable lean stint in the blogosphere, the general development sphere, things are back to kicking into top gear. I’ll just list out a couple of things that have got me excited and busy the past few days:

Facebook Platform

The biggest and the best announcement :D They opened up their API completely (it existed, but not with so much power) to developers to sit and make applications that interact with Facebook directly, and it’s different components (alerts, groups, etc.). The great thing is that, as a developer, you get to tap into the the best resource which you might need. People!

Facebook’s insanely large user–base opens up to every developer, and all his applications that moment they hit the Application DirectoryI'm glad they screen the applications that are added to this directory, and are avoiding another Firefox extension–type fiasco!.

This afternoon I finished developing my first application for it. It was meant as more of a test than a full fledged commando application like ‘iLike’ or ‘Photos’. You can check it out here, and if you’re on Facebook (why haven’t you added me yet?), add the application and take it on a quick beta spin :) I want to understand the API and all it’s crannies properly before I actually get down to serious app–ing!

Google Gears!

This happened just today, but I think it’s a very good step. From my end, it seems more like a reflex action to all the hype towards making applications for the desktops and frameworks being released to help developers do so. Whatever it is, it is good! The ability for Google services to go offline with you, and then re–sync when you come back online is something that people will appreciate the more that they use, and realise how much they needed this only once they get used to it. Ofcourse, they have a long way to go with this.

What I am thinking about now is that how is this move going to affect Mozilla’s plans to add ‘Offline Web App’ integration and functionalities into Firefox. If Google directly allows people to take things offline, an added functionality in Firefox seems like overkill, and will add to the ‘bloat’ that many people (and in a tiny voice, me) are complaining of everyday.

There are other great things out there now, sure. But these are the one’s that are of immediate ‘Wow’ to me, being a coder and a developer :P Somethings that you might find interesting are things like the new Microsoft Surface, Microsoft’s Live suite (kind of) in Beta, and others doing the rounds!

Great times :)


Fri, 25 May 2007 11:45:00 +0000

‘The Last Word’ has officially hit the 300 subscribers mark :) This is extremely heartening, considering I have not been posting as frequently as I used to. I’d like to apologise for that, and shift the blame a little on a very stagnant blogosphere and my internal examinations (starting tomorrow :( )


The good news is, that I haven’t lost track of things happening (whatever little is happening), and I will begin posting regularly again after these set of exams get over. Thanks for all the reads! You make my day guys! :)


Making punctuations look good!

Sat, 19 May 2007 08:45:00 +0000

Oops! Comments got disabled by mistake. Re-enabled them ... let me know what you think! :)

Recently, I’ve been rather taken in with smart punctions, rather than the dumb normal ASCII ones. You know, the straight dumbOpposite of ‘smart’ is? ;) quote marks (" and '), or the normal ellipsis made up of full stops (...) ? HTML has predefined special entities to draw these rather nicely, but we don’t use them normally because most of us don’t know about them, and Blogger natively doesn’t convert the characters. Typing them out manually can be such a pain, and you need to remember so much more stuff.

So, I worked up a quick Greasemonkey userscript that adds a nice little link in your row of buttons (in the post editor), which you can use to quickly convert all your punctuations to what they should be. Since there is no way of creating a “plug–in” for Blogger, anything which needs to affect a post directly needs to be tackled at the post editor level.

The script is ‘smart’, as in it understands when to use a left curly quote and a right curly quote. It also changes hyphens to what you want them to be. A single or a double ‘–’ generates an en–dash (–), whereas a triple ‘–’ generates an em–dash (—). To know which one to use where, and other punctuation marks, look up the A List Apart article. I referred to it while making this.

Known Bugs and License

Since this went through an extended testing period, and some live testing (I guess you could call it that) on Userscripts, and there hasn’t been a complaint or a request, I’ll assume there to be no bugs :) Except for some weird behaviour when it comes to apostrophes and quotation marks :P And like everything else, this script is licensed under an NC–ND Creative Commons License.

The name for the script is taken from the excellent SmartyPants project, by the oh–so–creative John Gruber. So a big thanks goes out to him for coming up with the idea. I had sent him a mail regarding using of the name and the basic concept. I never got a reply (it’s been about 2 months now), so I took it as a yes and published this :)

Get the script!

Pseudo–SmartyPants for Blogger
All my Userscripts

The reason behind the action: Your motive

Sun, 13 May 2007 08:44:00 +0000

I’ve been looking at various sites the past few days. Sites that keep people like Arrington and Om Malik busy. Sites that keep PostBubble up and running. Sites that we hear about all the time, and just go around to have a look because of all the hype created. There have been quite a lot of these since the ‘startup’ times, but how many do you see still being counted among the ‘big guys’? I think the reason can’t be bottled down to sustainability measures…

Stick to your basics

This whole topic came to mind as I was reading about Facebook’s rise up the ladder these past few years. Out of all the network’s, Facebook is the one which has really caught on. There were networks before Facebook, and there have been attempts after it, but you don’t see mention of them as regularly, do you?

I think one of the reasons for this is that unlike other networks, Facebook is always looking to grow. Not just in it’s user base, or number of page views/hits. They want to grow technologically as well. They want to enter forays others haven’t. For example, the whole concept of a mini–feed is something “extremely” new, and it’s worked so well. Of course, it didn’t start off initially the way it was supposed to, but after a few refinements, it’s something that almost defines Facebook.

An API! When was the last time you saw a social network allow piping out of the data from your account? It’s like the perfect way to build applications that works with the greatest resource — people, based on an established platform which does the hard work of getting you the data. Keeping people together was the only thing Facebook started with, and went on building around that, implementing whatever they thought sounded good. And look at where they are now.

In all facets of development

Whenever you create and develop a project, you always have “something” in mind. It’s that something which you shouldn’t lose focus of no matter what stage of development you are at. Everything you add, implement, should have a purpose, a reason. That purpose or reason should complement your initial “something”. Wonton features won’t help your application, or your time, because just like you, people expect features related to the core reasoning of an application.

So, keeping all those things in mind, next time you come up with a game plan, or are asked to join in the development of the “killer–new–app”, look for one word that probably doesn’t get as much attention as it should — focus!

Templates for sale!

Thu, 10 May 2007 18:43:00 +0000

Seeing as how I have been putting this off for quite a while now, due to various apprehensions, I’m now going ahead with a plan I announced a while back. I’m going to start dedicating more time and energy to something that I love doing. Designing web pages! But not just any web page :) Starting now, I am going to start making some beautiful templates for the new Blogger, which will immediately go on sale (the moment they are through testing) for anyone who wants to use them. This will be ‘almost’ freelancing, and the earnings will go into buying myself a hosting, and get down to some serious web–app’ing! :) The price for the template will be decided by the amount of effort I have to put to get the template out the door. They will not be high at all, something in–between the range of $10 to $25. You’re gonna simply love the $25 ones, because those will take the longest and come out the prettiest! Now, I am no professional, but I am sure you’ve seen my works in the past. So I’ll let them talk for me :) Ofcourse, hacks will be included with the templates :) And you get to pick which ones you want! But hacks as much time and effort (if not more) as the actual designing of a template, so if it goes beyond a certain point where I’m having to go out of my way to add something in, I’ll let you know. If you really do want it, a little extra charge will get it for you. The prices will be negotiable for these, so you don’t need to worry about hidden costs anywhere. I’d like to clear out a few things before you begin mailing me about this. Every new owner of a template will have his/her blog listed on an exclusive page linked to from my blogs, with a short description about the blog. Perfect way to get your blog ‘out there’. I am a busy person, so if I can’t get back to you immediately about a template modification, don’t think I have ditched you. Wait for a few days, and I will surely get back to you. If you can do the necessary changes on your own, nothing like it! My templates will work like they are supposed to only in Opera and Firefox. I have never bothered with Internet Explorer, and never will, so please don’t ask me to fix it for that. As far as Safari goes, I can’t do anything because I don’t own a Apple, so can’t test it on that. If someone is willing to help me port them, however, or buy me an Apple (preferably the latter :P), contact me and we’ll negotiate something. I will also try and make them as resolution independant as possible, but results may vary from template to template. These templates are not going to be ‘lightning fast’, and they’ll depend quite heavily on pictures/images and scripts (because of my hacks). Which means, they might be a little slow for <56Kbps speeds. Broadband users won’t see any change however. I’ll remove anything which you might not need however, to increase the speed. There will be no reduction in cost for this however. I can’t offer a lifelong maintainance promise for my templates. I will probably quit with this after a certain point of time. Whenever this happens, I will let my users know well in advance. None of the templates will have any built in ads, or any pre–decided place for them. We all hate ads, don’t we? But something can be cooked up for you (no extra cost :) ) Also, except for a small design credit at the end of the page, there will no other mention of my name or my[...]

Getting 'em while they're young

Sun, 06 May 2007 11:06:00 +0000

It’s truly rare to see a young coder/hacker. While I started when I was 16, not everyone is ‘geek’ enough to do so. Partly to do with this is the whole not cool factor, but a good part is to do with the fact that languages are many, most of them not being easy to learn. If you target a learning group of say 13–15 years old, try and find me a tutorial on the web which caters to this group, and can get them programming quickly, even basic programs un–helped.

Not rocket science

It’s a known fact that kids learn the fastest when they’re young. So, not aiming for these young kids is making everyone lose out on so many potential coders, we probably cannot imagine. Given the right language, training and a friendly push, everything falls into place. Even if it means starting out with BASIC, or LOGO. It’s not particularly rocket science, and doesn’t take much to understand when someone starts getting interested. Advanced concepts like pure Object oriented programming can be kept for a later date. Don’t tell me they won’t understand int i = 5; has released a version o.4 of a Ruby starter’s guide. It’s basically a friendly way for kids to learn the basics of programming, using Ruby. Ruby has pretty straightforward reading–English type syntax, so it makes the learning curve flatter. I downloaded the guide for myself, and am mighty impressed by the sheer simplicity (while not compromising power) of Ruby. I’ll surely be looking more into that, later … :)

Get it rolling

We need more efforts like Hackety Hack, which aim to help out and start early with the teaching thing. Once the concepts are in place, other languages become easy to understandNot learn though. I think Ruby is a good language to get started on since the syntax is simple, but not to continue using if you want to progress with learning concepts. Acquiring the knowledge of a language and the basic concept just needs a bit of time and practice.

Kids have more time than grown ups do … sadly!

The fight for desktop superiority

Tue, 01 May 2007 12:28:00 +0000

Unless you’ve been living under a frozen rock in Antarctica, you’d know about Adobe Apollo. Now, welcome Silverlight! Microsoft’s answer to Adobe, but in the other direction. Silverlight is to the Internet, was Apollo is to the desktop. While initially it didn’t seem cut out, features being revealed slowly but steadily are hinting at a pretty decent enough framework for developers to work with to get people moving towards the Internet. The question I ask here is, “Why are Microsoft and Adobe headed in two different directions?”, and “Is it really worth all the trouble?” Living in a browser Weren’t we hailing Web OS, rich Internet applications, stable and asynchronous data flows just a few weeks (or months) back? There were talks of how the only application a person may need on his/her PC would be a decent enough browserMy constant advocation of Firefox might get a little annoying, but in this case, it is necessary because if people argue that Internet Explorer is a decent browser, they will not be half wrong. But IE is a very good RIA killer if you ask me., and Internet applications will help perform the daily things that people presently depend on desktop applications for. Google Office, aims to provide a useful and feature–full online office suite as an alternative (a.k.a replacement) to Microsoft Office. There are countless online image editors (with Adobe’s Photoshop for the web on the way), and many other applications which we have been so used to using on our comfortable desktops. So then why going back to desktop applications, and why not push the Internet application scene further? I’ll try and answer why … To say the least, the Internet still offers many restrictions when it comes to privacy concerns. When people start bellowing down the doors to a bot scanning one’s mail for ‘contextual’ advertising purposes, you know you’re close to seeing everything. How can these people then trust services with really sensitive documents that may contain goodness knows what from their personal or official lives. The moment you put something up on the Internet, you’ve given away a good part of the privacy away. That is a well known fact. What depends is how is that loss being put to use. But that is not the point here. The point is that people will probably never be able to trust a web service (even with the name Google) enough to let it handle their data. The name ‘Microsoft’ will not help reduce their concerns. The online storage scene is only now beginning to gain widespread acceptance with services like DivShare coming up which offer a lot of leash when it comes to uploading and storing/sharing files. Google’s rather liberal storage spaces for their different services shows exactly how cheap it has become to save large volumes of data. This will still take some time. There were forecasts of a time when the online copy of your file is the one which is under regular use, and local copy (on your hard–drive) is actually your backup, instead of the other way around. That prediction is a little far away as of now. Apart from privacy restrictions, the Internet as a platform is in quite a tough spot. There are too many people trying to standardise it in their own way, and failing miserably. The whole XHTML concept is the best example of this. The everyday user wants something that works, and doesn’t care (usually) about how it[...]

Do feeds make blog pages useless?

Wed, 25 Apr 2007 14:29:00 +0000

Around the time of this post, I saw an unusual rise in the number of visits to my home page. Now, being the home page, it usually gets the highest number of visits, but recently before I wrote that, number began to drop. When that post went up, it again rose significantly (more than a 200% increase to be exact) which surprised me. Further inspection revealed it as the work of a single link to the home page I had put there to show a demo of the TOC. This little detail shows how many people actually visit the post ‘on the blog’, rather than read it in their feeds and let it go. The problem doesn’t lie with the blog, I’m sure. Just the convenience of having to see just the post content in a way you’ve become accustomed to, surely lies heavier than having to click over to a blog page to read the post. It’s understandable, but that does put a question mark on the result of the effort authors put into making their blogs look good and adding functionality, amongst other things. There are many blogs out there which look absolutely amazing, have a reasonably high readership and viewership, and impressive subscriber counts. Then there are blogs which have great content, stunning subscriber counts, but look terrible and have moderate to low viewership. I believe TechCrunch might face this problemThis is absolute 100% speculation. If there are statistics that are against and which disprove what I think, please let me know., because its looks are nothing compared to its content, so people might prefer to stick to reading it in their feed readers rather than come to the page itself. This might also be the reason why TechCrunch posts’ number of comments are not even significant in comparison to the number of readers. So, does it really make sense to sit and design your blog to perfection, only to be defeated by the one thing that you cannot afford to stop? The point The biggest reason I think people take time to work on the looks and functionality of their blogs is to attract more viewers and people to come, have a look, stay for a while, leave a comment or two, and then if they’re up to it, subscribe to the blog. A subscribers count is something that gives a much more accurate idea of how popular a blog actually is, and a high number usually impresses people more than the look. So how important really is the design of the blog? Quite a bit I’ll say. The first impression of any page you visit is generally summed up in your brain within a 20th of a second of seeing itBBC news article, and that is a very small number. So, within that much time, you (very) obviously cannot gain anything of the content of the page. So the only logical deciding factor is the ‘look’! But we also know that looks don’t make a reader–base. It is the content which ultimately decides how many people keep coming back. The verdict Looks and functionality are important. Definitely. Without good looks and effective features, your pages have a handicap. And it probably won’t reach it’s full potential of readers. That’s why designers experiment so much with innovative ideas, and new layouts. Who knows what might clickThere was a brief period where the 3 column template was a rage, and everybody ran to get one. It’s on the outset I think, but I can still see a lot of blogs sticking to it.? Very recently, Rick from FeedBurner wrote about the implications of partial̵[...]

Pixel perfect!

Tue, 24 Apr 2007 07:31:00 +0000

Alright! If there are people going ‘What? Again?’, then it’s completely justified … but I was beginning to get a teensy–weensy bit sick of all the gold all over the place. I realised I can never settle for anything which doesn’t have my basic colours (the ones here) for too long. I anyway cannot settle with one look beyond a few months! :P

So, this is what I aiming at initially when I set out to make Golden Summer way back in December–January, but got severely sidetracked and went nuts with it. A simple, minimalistic template which really pushes attention to the post, while not making the whole place look too drab. I switched over to using simple and plain colours, ones which you’re probably used to seeing on pretty much every blog these days. The layout in itself breaks away from my previous two layouts, to go back to the header, post left and sidebar right normal that Blogger has gotten us so used to.

This is (as usual) not the final product, but a work in progress. I’ll be moving around widgets here and there to see which one fits the best where. I also might take this whole thing out because I have a couple of more templates in the bunk, so if I begin to like them, you might get to see them as well :P

Some of you might notice that this bears a lot of resemblance to basic Wordpress theme layouts. The truth is, I have begun to like the simplicity of those templates, and their ability to be simple, and yet strikingly concise. You can really throw anything at them, and they’ll hold up pretty well, while still looking nice and simple. I wanted to capture that essence in a Blogger blog. I had to hack my way into a couple of things to do that though, and you’ll see them turn up slowly in the next few weeks as I tinker around further.

A few things might still be ‘gold’ around here. That’s because I’ve reused them to keep things not looking out of sync. They’ll be fixed soon enough. Let me know what you think! :)

Firefox: 3.0 and future plans

Thu, 19 Apr 2007 18:27:00 +0000

It just so happens to be our favourite browser. With more and more vulnerabilities showing up in IE7, it’s pretty much a no brainer selection. Coders love it, designers love it even more! With such a strong past backing them up, Mozilla plans to make some serious headway with Firefox 3.0, and in a way, redefine browsing 'again'! InforWorld reports that there are hosts of new features planned for Firefox 3.0. You can read the whole list on the article there, but I want to take up just two of the features which sound extremely promising, and as these things go, open up a whole new door of possibilities for geeks! :) Databases and offline web app-ing The article says that Fx 3.0 will likely contain a feature which makes working with web applications offline, possible. Scratching your head? Ok, I’ll take the example from the article, since it’s something people can relate to. Imagine having GMail functionality, offline. You can write a mail, and save it. When you next go online, Fx 3.0 and GMail will work together to automatically send that mail. Pretty much what your desktop e–mail client does at the moment. Now isn’t that cool! What this effectively does is take away an active Internet connection as the restriction to a lot of things. Maybe Blogger will work with this as well, with you being able to store posts offline while on the move, and transfer them to your blog (published/drafts) the moment Firefox discovers an active connection. This feature is almost an answer from Firefox to features like the in–built e–mail client in Opera, the blogging and photo–uploading tools in Flock and any other feature which integrates a web service application natively into a browser. Personally, I think Mozilla has been freagin’ brilliant at coming up with this! It sure makes me want to add sexy to the browser’s name ;) The next feature, will appeal mostly to people who know how to use it. That, for the record, does not include me for the most part. They plan to integrate SQL Lite into the browser, albeit in a rather small form. It is going to be used to query content from the browser’s content cache. The immediate use Mozilla sees for this is a vastly improved ‘history’ and bookmarking system. However, there is a good chance this might ‘not’ make it into 3.0. That is not really a problem. Just the fact that such a feature is being developed, is pretty much enough at this point. I can see a lot of load–from–cache and history–extend extensions coming up to use and beat this feature black and blue. This also moves Firefox closer to what Mozilla ultimately plans for the browser, to turn it into an information broker. Maybe they could change the way existing variables are handled in Firefox, allowing Greasemonkey scripts to become a little more robust and share data between scripts? (Hey! Just saying!) Looking good indeed! The next version is slated for a ‘07 second half release. Ideas and features such as this make the next release one of the bigger ones yet. I didn’t see anything about the much spoken about Places, and am guessing they are going to chuck that idea, and make everything searchable (the latest toy of the application world) using the embedded SQL database. It’ll surely much more user–friendly, since the first attempt at using Places didn’[...]