To dwell

There are but two choices —
To follow the heart,
Clockwork you never understood.
Or to follow the world,
Why dream, even if you could?

No bread playing Soul out on the streets,
No soul spending days balancing sheets.
Earn the bread first, the heart can wait,
Play Soul today, the bread will come late.

Follow the heart and the world cries,
Follow the world and the heart dies.
The heart is dead,
The world moved ahead.

But the decision is simple —
Where do you often dwell?
The world or the heart.
Where do you go for solace?
Your wallet or your art?

Make Firefox fast again

Recently, I have been trying to untangle myself from closed software, and move to open source and free (as in speech) alternatives. The first switch I made was from Chrome to Firefox. I was always a Firefox fan, but after college, when the only computer I had was a borrowed 8 year old MacBook Pro, I had no choice but to switch to Chrome for it’s speed.

Even though I have a fast computer now, I was a bit skeptical about Firefox’s performance. I use it often for testing and the speed did not compare favorably with Chrome. Upon a friend’s suggestion I installed the Developer Edition and was pleasantly surprised to see the improvement that Electrolysis brought! After a few days of using it, I decided to do some more research and stumbled upon a config that lets each tab run it’s own process. I set the process count limit to 128 and since then it has been smooth sailing.

These features exist in the normal versions of Firefox too, but are hidden behind config flags. To set them, go to about:config and set the following:


browser.tabs.remote.autostart true
dom.ipc.processCount 128

Restart, and see multiple browser processes (Activity Manager on Mac OS). Enjoy your new 128 Foxpower browser, yes foxes are better than horses.

Update: Based on when you’re reading this, you might need the Developer Edition or the Beta version of Firefox for this to work.

Contentless RSS feeds

I’ve been using Feedly regularly now and am loving it. Being able to stay up to date with the websites I like without having to follow them on Twitter or Facebook has made me more of a follower than I was.

There are however certain feeds that make it hard for anyone to like them. The Dilbert Daily Strip for example, apart from its weekend comic, the feed only has the following content:

Dilbert readers – Please visit Dilbert.com to read this feature. Due to changes with our feeds, we are now making this RSS feed a link to Dilbert.com.

This is what shows up in my reader everyday. Thankfully, Feedly has an option to open the linked web page directly, which is what I have now done for this feed.

Why do publishers do this? To get more ad impressions? Are ads not allowed on feeds? I’d really love to know the reasons behind this strategy.

Nearby Wikipedia articles for the Pebble

The Nearby API from Wikipedia has always fascinated me, so when I received the Pebble Time last month, I knew I had to use it to make an app for my wrist.

In the excitement of the Kickstarter campaign I had already started dabbling with the JavaScript SDK using Cloud Pebble. It took me a while to get started with the SDK on my computer because I couldn’t find a clear way to initialize a JS project. Things went smoothly once I realized that I had to clone the pebblejs repository first, and copy my files there.

The Pebble.js environment is still in beta and it shows. While the documented features work, I kept wishing for more, especially those that let me add color. I could get a few colors using textColor, and highlightTextColor, but couldn’t find any documentation on what was actually supported. I made my peace with the lack of colors and released the app on the Pebble app store.

splash

Analytics tells me that around 400 people are using this app and that makes me happy. The people are nice too — I got two emails reporting an issue on iPhone (I am working on it), both being informative and polite. This might not mean much, but I feel its an important litmus test for the community.

I hope more APIs get exposed to Pebble.js soon, until then feel free to contribute code and bug reports on Github.