Browser Benchmarks

Posted by tigerhawkvok on October 04, 2008 20:39 in General , computers

Since I've not managed to post anything in about three weeks, I'll start with another minor computer type post -- some browser benchmarks. They weren't conducted the most rigorously, but it definitely gets the idea across. Test machine was Athena, the "Weighted" benchmark is Sunspider/V8 (so it approximately squares the mean of the difference), and you can download Chrome here.

Enter Google Chrome

Posted by tigerhawkvok on September 02, 2008 14:08 in General , computers

So, Google Chrome is out, and I must say, its a very attractive browser.

Click for larger

It also doubles FF3's Sunspider javascript benchmark speed, nearly triples Opera 9.52's, and nearly quadruples IE8's. Very slim browser with an installation routine that is under 500 kb and the whole install takes well under a minute, and installs cleanly -- doesn't ask for admin privledges.

On a technical basis, it has uses a tweaked WebKit renderer (after Safari) but doesn't do Safari's horrible proprietary font-smoothing; copies IE8's tab process isolation (thus, if one tab crashes only that tab crashes, not the browser); has a startup page very similar to Opera's speed dial (but lacking Opera's wand feature and speed-dial shortcuts); largely matches Vista's UI conventions in Vista (big plus); renders SVGs like Opera (see if this will render in your browser, and see what happens when you zoom).

Gotta say, I really like it. We'll see if it becomes browser of choice over Opera for speed, or if Opera will end up winning with its extra keyboard and mouse shortcuts.

Programmer Passions

Posted by tigerhawkvok on August 10, 2008 21:17 in General , computers

So, I actually will post the interesting sci-tech tidbit in a bit (I've been behind in reading papers this week -- the camp was a blast, but it ate up time like no tomorrow), but I thought I'd post a breifish update on why developers hate IE. I think it is best encapsulated in these two photos:

Click for larger

IE 8 rendering http://beta.revealedsingularity.net

Click for larger

Opera on the same

As is evident, Opera and Firefox and Safari will all render it one way, and IE another. To be perfectly fair, the utter mutilation in the image above is IE8; IE7 just does a hack job on places that images are supposed to blend into backgrounds. Unfortunately, this is something I'll have to look up to fix.

I'll try to post the promised science tidbit sometime in the next few days, along with a rundown of Adapt or Die. Till then, by popular demand from the students, here's a link to the Evolution Game (best played with more than four players).

Curse of Budget Cuts and the Would-Be Biologist.

Posted by tigerhawkvok on July 02, 2008 16:22 in General , kepler

So, budget cuts have finally caught up with me, and I am now working for Kepler on a solely volunteer basis. In the ensuing job search, I turned to Dr. Padian who hooked me up with one poetential website job, and in adddition hooked me up directly with a job which involves creant a k-12 teacher / publisher site for demonstrations and examples of how to teah "macroevolution" to (particularly) high-school students. This promises to be quite intersting -- and I encourage my readers to keep periodic tabs on the beta site. I will update as the site progresses and I get more information on the objectives. Now, more prep-work on LHS stuff and website work. Of course, after watching Heisenberg eat.

Hawai'i, Move, and Internet

Posted by tigerhawkvok on June 08, 2008 14:10 in General , kepler , computers , lhs

Having just returned from a trip to Hawai'i, I would very strongly recommend it to anyone who is thinking about going -- O'ahu in particular is a beautiful island, and the ocean is beautiful. I've uploaded many photos to my Flickr page, should anyone be curious.

Tomorrow I return to Berkeley via Amtrak. Thankfully, there are power cords -- I fully intend on working more on sauropods and doing some course outlining for the LHS Adapt or Die camp. Later this month, I will talk with Jim, Kevin, and Gibor about recommendations; and, around August, if things go well, I will talk to Erica about recommendations as well.

What will be irritating about the next few days is lack of internet -- its not getting activated until the 12th, which, needless to say, is painfully long from now. I suspect much of my days will be spent setting up the new place, but if I have down time, I will see about working on the stellar models from the UGAstro room in Campbell. I have a few colortable ideas, and in addition I will probably rewrite some of the interface when I get it done in my head. No use having so many programs to call and save files when you can do it better internal to one program or by passage of variables. Relying on saving of structures almost obviates their use.

It really is strking how internet dependant everything is nowadays -- my work with Kepler is strictly network based, and I rely on the internet to keep copies and synchronized versions of my biomechanics work across multiple computers. No internet will be hard, indeed.

Paper Creep

Posted by tigerhawkvok on May 29, 2008 17:13 in General , biomechanics , dinosaurs , sauropods , computers

As I've been working on the sauropod paper (aside from feeling a bit neglectful of Kepler), I've definitely felt the wish to "feature creep". For those unfamiliar with the term, its one I borrowed from computer program development; its the wish to include ever more "new" stuff into a program that you're writing, often to the detriment of timeliness. Aside from finding ever more species to want to add to my analysis, I find that I am having a difficult time finding the line where I say "enough -- I've explained this to my satisfaction." There are some legitimate holes that are left over from its "essay" form, such as comparisons on different ways of getting the taper constant, ways of extrapolating neck length and accuracy, and even I can't remember what I did to find the trunk length.

I also was a bit lax about my citing in the initial essay (oh, the usefullness of BibTeX -- I wish I knew it sooner. Kudos to Kit for helping me out there), I also really want it to look nice.

So, with its current state of revisions, it is being looked at by Sara W, Sarah W, Sarah K, and Andrew. Hopefully, it will be ready for submission by the end of June, July at the latest. Sarah (K) brought up a good point though -- where to submit it? Its hardly Nature or Science quality, but that still leaves:

1) Journal of Paleontology
2) Paleontology
3) Historical Biology

As the prime candidates at the moment. Hm. I'm leaning towards Historical Biology, but we'll see.

Hopefully this will be out of my system by the time Hawaii is over -- then I can do some solid astronomy. Helps that that's the one I get paid for, too.

First Post!

Posted by tigerhawkvok on May 18, 2008 01:06 in General , computers

So, as my housemate Kit very properly asked: why am I starting this blog?

 Its true!  I have (two) defunct Blogger addresses, and I regularly stick to my Livejournal -- so why this one now?

 Well, this is an OSS expandable platform with by own domain name, which is nice.  But, more to the point, I think this is where my sciency posts will live.  Posts with more quality input than discussion of girls, homework, the latest movie ... if this blog starts to become substantial, I may end up migrating over from LJ, but we shall see about that.  This is to be used for something else.

 And, well, I need to work out the kinks still.  I am still not sure if timestamps are working right, and I'm wrestling with remote Atom posting.


So we'll see.

Comment testing

Posted by tigerhawkvok on May 14, 2008 16:42 in General

Time to see if the comments work .....
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