06 April, 2008

Firefox, Vim, and (almost) no mice.

Someone tried to marry the vim editor's uhm, ubiquitous keystrokes up with Firefox's web interface. Now we have one big happy family. Vim. Firefox. Yeah, right. Still, the vimperator plugin seems to work (mostly) okay, aside from one or two issues with fonts for hints. I can't seem to get my statusbar back, as this particular version (0.5.3) took it away and isn't giving it back, much like a bully that's got Johnny's medical erm, notes on female anatomy. Poor analogy, but I can't seem to get it back. It's either vimperator's statusbar, or mine. I choose.

That choice is better than IE7 gave me, I guess. I get to "choose" IE7's crappy renderer, which doesn't always do the right thing. I don't get to choose from an alternative renderer, oh no. Frankly I can put up with Firefox's slowness any day, but at least it mostly puts stuff on a page in about the right place. Why it's so slow on my machine, I don't honestly know, but hey. It works. And with vim keybindings "at hand", so to speak, I find Firefox even "handier" than before. Very few things remain that require the mouse, and I can probably tolerate those, as I've been a bit mouse happy in the past few years.

The mouse was a bargain, relatively speaking, if you can call half price a bargain (original cost NZ $99). It's a Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse, and runs on a pair of AA batteries. There's a story about those too, if I could be bothered digging it up, suffice it to say that I got 17 months out of a pair of Lithium batteries, when the manual suggested I'd get a more normal 3 to 5 months. That figure, ironically, has been borne out by the times the other batteries have lasted. On average, about 7 months. And these aren't cheap batteries I'm putting in - they're alkaline each time, I replace them in pairs (because you're supposed to), and note down how long the last pair lasted... I ought to save up for a new pair (or four) pretty soon. Wish I could go back to those Lithium batteries, they were good! Incidentally, further investigations show that I bought the mouse back on 23rd of June 2004, so it's lasting okay so far.

Now, back to vimperator. I was having a little trouble reading the tiny (12px on 1024x768) white text on red background labels that come up in QuickHints. Could I do it? Erm, not initially. But I did it eventually. Basically I ended up creating the .vimperatorrc file, stuffing somebody else's values for hintstyle into my file, then re-reading that file with vimperator. It turns out that 12px is fine, it's just the font I was trying to use that made it look really really tiny. I managed to change the font, and even managed to reduce the font size. Now I have nice readable (even at 10 px!) sans-serif letters. Okay, so they obliterate a fraction of the link I'm trying to see what the letters actually point to, but I can work with that. Now I can't actually use vimperator to submit a file into a text field, as I still have to use the mouse to do that.

04 April, 2008

OhOh No? Yeah to OOXML.

The Microsoft OOXML submission to the ISO for standardisation acceptance has apparently got through the ISO voting process. Roughly speaking, enough votes were cast as "Yes" to sway the vote, even though it was clear that some countries changed their votes from No to either Abstain or Yes, possibly under pressure or incompetence. Thankfully, not that it's much consolation, New Zealand continued to vote no. There are further details at Groklaw.net, with a succinct summary at tideway.com. Appeals will of course be lodged, and there are suggestions that the passing of the OOXML as a standard (subject to appeals) will actually not help Microsoft's case with regard to anti-trust accusations.

As I don't know anything else about this particular standard, aside from Microsoft pushing it, I'll leave that commenting to the excellent team at Groklaw.net. Suffice it to say that what I have heard of OOXML, that it can include a "binary blob" that is necessary for the operation of the document standard, is of note. Others have commented better in other arenas.