Entries from November 2004

Optimized Firefox for the Apple G5 processor

WARNING: This is an unofficial Firefox build and comes with no guarantee that it will work properly. It is built from the same code as the Firefox 1.0 release, and seems to be working fine for the majority of people testing it. That said, this is still an unofficial build, so caveat emptor. I am not responsible if this doesn’t work, screws with your profile, causes blood to pour from your computer’s speakers, renders you impotent, or anything else.

That said, they work for the vast majority of people using it. So give it a shot, and post in the comments if you’ve decided that you love or hate me.

firefoxJanuary 16: I’ve started building optimized Firefox builds from the latest nightly code, so if you’re interested in the latest, greatest, and most probably buggy, check out the latest nightly builds. If you’re interested in the optimized G5 builds which are more stable, download the Firefox 1.0 build linked below.

For the past two weeks or so I have been running a totally kick-ass nightly build of the Mozilla Firefox web browser optimized for the Powerbook G4 processor. Because it was created specifically for my laptop’s CPU, it is noticeably faster than the normal nightly builds. If you use a Powerbook (or iBook G4), you should check it out.

(Edit: I wanted to clarify that Kai Rune is the person responsible for the G4 builds, not me - I’ve seen some misleading linkage on the internets which makes it sound like I built the wonderful G4 version. The G5 builds are 100% my fault, however.)

Now that I own an iMac G5 (which I plan to post more about soon), I figured it would be interesting to see if I could build a version of Mozilla Firefox for the G5 processor.

With help I managed to get a version to build successfully. All of the rampant nerdiness was worth it: Wow, does this build fly on my iMac. For those of you who run a machine with a G5 processor in it (and who use FireFox), give it a try and let me know what you think.

» Optimized Firefox for the Apple G5 processor continues...

Firefox en français


(or any other language you like)

Here’s how to localize your copy of Firefox into your language of choice:

  1. Download the language pack that you want Firefox in. Language packs filenames end in .langpack.xpi and contain a two-letter language code. FR = French, ES = Spanish, JP = Japanese, etc.
  2. Install the .xpi file by either dragging it into an open Firefox window, or by opening it via File > Open.
  3. install Benjamin Smedberg’s Locale-Switcher Extension.
  4. Restart Firefox.
  5. You should now see a Language option under the Tools menu, and in it items for en-US (American English) and your installed language pack. Select the new language and restart Firefox.
  6. If all goes well, you should now have a localized version of Firefox!

The Mozilla group already have localized versions of the Firefox 1.0 release available, but if you want to use a custom build (like my G5-optimized version, par exemple) this is the easiest way to do it.

And now back to this web site’s regularly scheduled personal introspection, cranky old man ranting, and miscellaneous bits of life-related particle board.

30,000 geeks can’t be wrong

Allow me to perform a little bit of self-evaluation:

I started posting my optimized Firefox builds on November 6th. The response and traffic have been pretty incredible, at least by this rather unassuming web site’s standards:


Since November 6th:

  1. The first builds were hosted on an unused 1and1 account, which had a monthly bandwidth allotment of 25 gigabytes. That was gone within 36 hours.
  2. I then moved the builds to my dotMac iDisk, and to Apple’s credit they’ve been up ever since. One of my clients (Cocoatech) let me mirror builds on their server, which helped alleviate the bandwidth crunch.
  3. Over 30,000 downloads in ten days, which is a low estimate as iDisk doesn’t offer stats, so I’m judging this 100% on exit linkage in my domain stats.
  4. I’m sitting at around 65,000 visits since I started posting builds, with the lion’s share of traffic (over 55,000) going to the build’s entry URL. To give you some context, I normally get around 15,000 unique visits in a month.
  5. No Slashdot (thank god), though I was kind of half-expecting it, seeing how this managed to make nearly all of the major mac sites.

The top referring domains? In order:

The only other post that even came close to attracting this much attention in the past was either the importing Gmail contacts post, or the Mac OS X software inventory post. And the latter was mainly due to the mighty Merlin Mann doing the Mac nerd linkup.

All in all, pretty neat, especially considering I thought there wouldn’t be a lot of interest in a build optimized for such a new processor as Apple’s G5.

Okay, enough self-examination. Back to listening to the new Stars album and some yummy ginger tea.

The Journey is the Destination

Blurred Trees

When I was a child there were two things I could always rely on: being dragged to an endless stream of lessons (piano, organ, school band, swimming & diving, and many others), and family summer road trips.

Every summer the entire family would pile into the camper and make the long, meandering drive out to the West coast, staying at campgrounds along the way. I think I’ve been in every KOA campground along the Trans-Canada Highway from Portage La Prairie, Manitoba to Victoria, British Columbia. These summer trips inevitably ended in Victoria, where my great aunt Jessie would be waiting with Chinese candies, warm, friendly smiles, and an avalanche of hugs.

To me there was something about road trips that seemed right. After more than ten years of these marathon vacations (covering 4640 kms from Winnipeg to Victoria and back), and six years of touring around North America as a penniless musician, I grew to view the road as the only, true way to travel.

The first time I ever flew in an airplane was when I came to visit Renée in Toronto; this was before I moved out here to be with her. The incredibly short flight time and overwhelming convenience of the whole experience left me feeling very disconcerted. Forced to consider a new context of travel nearly broke my unshakeable belief in the road; like some kind of pavement zealot I had come to believe that the road was the only way.

» The Journey is the Destination continues...

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