Blocking Firefox Popups

Firefox is great at blocking regular popups. So much so that insidious developers have gone to great lengths such as hiding them in Flash code to get them to appear.
bq.A number of pundits and bloggers have been wondering aloud whether or not we’ll be able to keep up with the pop-up spammers now that more of them are focused on us. Well, we shipped 1.0 with the capability to block these pop-ups and pop-unders but we didn’t enable it because we were concerned about breaking legitimate uses. If you’d like to turn it on, it’s a fairly simple change — and would be absolutely trivial for us to enable once we determine whether or not lots of websites are depending on the feature. – “Asa Dotzler(blocking those flash pop-unders with firefox)”:http://weblogs.mozillazine.org/asa/archives/007682.html I really think this is something worth putting into Firefox by default.

Just a tool

bq.A computer is just a tool. It’s just a hammer. Let’s get these tools to as many people as possible, let’s teach them how to use it, give them an idea of what they can do with it, and then let ’em go. And that’s really exciting. – “Leo Laporte(The PC and open source will outlive Windows)”:http://www.madpenguin.org/cms/html/62/4791.html So many are fascinated by the concepts of computers without really understand that it isn’t the computer but what you can do with it that is important.

On a USB Drive

Back in December 1993, I had a copy of Microsoft Office that I desperately wanted to install but it wouldn’t fit on the 40 MB I had in my computer. So I shopped around and bought a huge replacement drive, 340 MB. I was all set, for a while, at least. I thought of that when reading about the interest in “software that could be operated from a USB Drive(Portable USB Programs)”:http://combobulate.com/usbutils.htm. And “tutorials(Locking Down Your Passwords with KeePass)”:http://www6.tomshardware.com/consumer/20040507/ for programs like “KeePass(KeePass Password Safe)”:http://keepass.sourceforge.net/. At one time, this sort of thing would be totally impractical. Now they are almost becoming indispensable. And something we are going to have to “decide how to deal with(USB Drives @ Your Library)”:http://www.libraryplanet.com/2005/05/05/usb.

No Longing for Longhorn

bq.Should you buy Longhorn? Consumers buying new PCs probably won’t have much choice. Windows XP will likely stick around longer for corporate customers, but it’ll eventually be phased out. – “John Clyman(Microsoft Unleashes Longhorn)”:http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1895,1836619,00.asp I am not so sure about that.
bq.Windows 2000 remains the dominant desktop operating system in corporate IT, but it could be overtaken by the end of the year as larger organizations update their PC inventory, according to a new report by AssetMetrix Research Labs. AssetMetrix released a report Tuesday showing that Windows 2000 installations have declined by only four percentage points to 48 percent of existing installations in the first quarter of 2005, down from 52 percent in the fourth quarter of 2003. – “John Pallatto(XP May Catch Up to Win 2000 by Year’s End)”:http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1828240,00.asp We still run Windows 2000 on most of the hardware around here because of the generous licensing we were offered years ago by the Gates Foundation and the fact that a lot of the stations neither require nor would run XP well. I would bet most corporations still feel the same way. I think our focus will be more on having our stations “run Windows 2000 reliably(Recycle that old computer with Win 2000)”:http://www.downloadsquad.com/2005/07/19/run-windows-2000/ than on the features in Longhorn that we simply don’t need.

A Farewell to Floppies

bq.It’s something universally recognized with computers, and something I’ve come to loathe with a passion. Even though it’s changed over the years, it’s still mostly the same. I speak of none other than the floppy disk. We all know about it. That little black disk we’d have to dig out back in grade school every time the teacher gave us an assignment to do on the computer. The floppy disk was well intended, but its usefulness is now gone. Now, over 30 years later, the floppy disk needs to go for good. – ” Joseph McCollum(The End of a Floppy Era)”:http://www.flexbeta.net/main/articles.php?action=show&id=98 Every computer I have personally built has had a floppy drive… until this week. I put together a Media PC using a “Pundit-R(Pundit-R)”:http://usa.asus.com/products/desktop/pundit-r/overview.htm case. It didn’t even have a place to put one. But I still expect libraries will be supporting them for a while longer.

DontClick.It

Depending on your mouse, you can have anywhere from one to many buttons. Could you get by without a button at all? The people behind “DontClick.It(DontClick.It)”:http://www.dontclick.it/ are out to prove that you can, and they offer some examples of ways it could be done. I can personally attest that I have seen so many beginning computers users struggle with holding a mouse steady enough to use it effectively. This might be just the answer.

Microsoft and RSS

Is Microsoft’s “RSS Plan(Microsoft to bolster RSS support)”:http://news.com.com/Microsoft+to+bolster+RSS+support/2100-1025_3-5759366.html going to turn out to be good or bad? There is lots of talk both “for(Microsoft, lists, RSS and me)”:http://www.reallysimplesyndication.com/2005/06/22#a634 and “against(Microsoft to take RSS five steps backwards)”:http://www.digital-web.com/news/2005/06/microsoft_to_take_rss_five_steps_backwards. Better support for lists sounds like a good thing, but I had always thought that RSS already had “support for all sorts of lists(Seattle PL Releases RSS Feeds Out into the Wild)”:http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2005/06/17/seattle_pl_releases_rss_feeds_out_into_the_wild.html. The impact this will have on libraries, good or bad, is a bit unclear at this point.

The Power of the Internet

bq.Within the space of a few hours, the committee was Slashdotted, BoingBoinged and Instalanched. – “Danny O’Brien(Flag Day)”:http://www.eff.org/deeplinks/archives/003730.php

Death of the Audio Cassette

Back in the late ’90s when I was working as an elementary school media specialist, I remember having to explain to some students what a record was. I distinctly remember one of them describing it as “a big CD.” I am wondering now how we will explain what a “cassette tape was( Not long left for cassette tapes)”:http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/4099904.stm. Although I still think books-on-tape will be around for a while. The overlap between many of our primary users and those of new media is growing, but still has a long way to go.

Polaris 3.2

Our ILS, “Polaris(Polaris Overview)”:http://www.polarislibrarysystems.com/Polaris/PolarisOverview.asp, is about to hit version 3.2. The beta testing at the “Pierce County Library(PCLS – Pierce County Library System)”:http://www.pcl.lib.wa.us/ has been successfully completed. This is one of those situations where they could easily be justified in going 3.5 or even to 4.0. It is really going to be rich with all sorts of features that should really make this up upgrade fantastic. Although I can think of at least “one feature(OPACS and XML)”:http://www.theshiftedlibrarian.com/archives/2005/04/20/opacs_and_xml.html they will need to add in the future.