Entries from February 2006

People I have been mistaken for that I am most definitely not

  1. “Hey, aren’t you the bassist from Death Angel?” (note: he’s Filipino)
  2. “OH MY GOD, you’re James Iha!” (half-Japanese, though I did have blonde hair at the same time he did, for what it’s worth)
  3. Some guy named Terry, who apparently treated this girl rather badly (I got slapped in the face at the bar)
  4. “Holy shit - you’re the guy from 21 Jump Street!” (Vietnamese. This was preceded by the same person saying that my aboriginal buddy was “totally Johnny Depp”.)
  5. Repeatedly mistaken for a guy named Nick. Nick, Neil - they both sounds like verbs, I guess.
  6. Someone with a deep, meaningful grasp of the dark martial arts. You would be amazed how often this still happens. Stop learning your racial stereotypes from 70’s action movies, please.
  7. “Hey, aren’t you the guy from the Mighty Power Rangers?” (Archie Kao, now a semi-regular on CSI, and Chinese.)
  8. Shauna’s boyfriend’s cousin Lance. Maybe this name-as-verbs theory does hold water…
  9. The “surly, bitchy shop owner” from the convenience store down the street.

G4 and G5-optimized Firefox now available

Alrighty, folks - I’ve just finished building optimized versions of the new Firefox release. There are builds available for both the G4 and and G5 processor.

Here’s the changelog as writ by the Mozilla folks:

  • Improved stability.
  • Improved support for Mac OS X.
  • International Domain Name support for Iceland (.is) is now enabled.
  • Fixes for several memory leaks.
  • Several security enhancements.

All great, especially the OS X support and IDN support for Iceland. I’m all about the Iceland. Get the full details in all of their nerdy glory from the Burning Edge.

Form Widgets a go-go

Each processor’s build is available in two separate flavours - one with aqua form widgets, that look like this:

aqua form widgets

… and one that has the Firefoxy form widgets, that look like this:

firefoxy widgets

What’s the big difference? Besides the obvious visual differences, the main key notable is that the aqua form widgets are not affected by styles, and the Firefoxy widgets are. So if a site you’re visiting has applied visual styles to the form widgets, you won’t see them with the aqua widgets. Not a huge deal, but some people prefer to see a site as the designer intended it so I’m making both available.

G4-optimized Firefox builds

This is if you’re running a Powerbook, an iBook from the last three years or so, an eMac, Power Mac towers before June of 2003, or a Mac Mini.

Download the G4-optimized Firefox release (disabled) A newer version than this is now available

G5-optimized Firefox builds

You’ll know if you’re running a G5.

Download the G5-optimized Firefox release (disabled) A newer version than this is now available

Because I constantly have to answer these questions, I’ll get them out of the way here:

  1. These are unofficial builds and come with absolutely no support or warranty. I am not a Firefox developer and cannot fix bugs, troubleshoot issues on your system, listen to you rant about how much you hate Firefox, etc. There are better places for that.
  2. The reason these are called “DeerPark” and don’t have the swank Jon Hicks Firefox icon is because both the icon and the Firefox name are trademarks of the Mozilla corporation, and only official builds can use the official branding.
  3. No, I’m not accepting donations - hell, all I’m doing is entering a few commands and swapping a few things around. The builds are hosted on my .Mac account, so Apple is covering the bandwidth. I appreciate the thought, but I’m cool.

Enjoy, and feel free to post your thoughts (bearing the above in mind) in the comments.

Quatre choses

Ça va, ça va. Si tu me veux répondre à ses questions, il serai en français. :)

Just kidding. As if I could keep that up for more than a dozen words.

Four jobs I’ve had:

  1. Semi-professional (meaning I got paid, sometimes) musician (1989-1996)
  2. Ditch digger (two very long weeks in 1994)
  3. Boom operator (1996, got sore shoulders)
  4. Chicken killing machine designer (1989, became a vegetarian)

Four movies I can watch over and over:

  1. Withnail and I: “Of course he’s the fucking farmer!”
  2. The Sweet Smell of Success: “You’re dead, son. Get yourself buried.”
  3. Ran: “Man is born crying. When he has cried enough, he dies.”
  4. Bucket of Blood: “Life is an aimless hobo, bumming a ride on the omnibus of art.”

Four places I’ve lived:

  1. Vancouver
  2. Winnipeg
  3. Toronto
  4. In the back of a van.

Four TV shows I have been known to enjoy:

  1. Jeopardy
  2. CSI
  3. Everyday Italian
  4. The Family Guy

Four places I’ve vacationed:

  1. Vancouver / Victoria (see this post)
  2. Paris
  3. Barcelona
  4. Quite a bit of the U.S.A. except for Wyoming, New Mexico, and Utah.

Four of my favourite dishes:

  1. Butter Chicken Roti from Gandhi Roti on Queen Street West, Toronto
  2. Chicken Poderosa from La Fiesta Bakery in Winnipeg
  3. Finnish Pancakes from Hoito in Thunder Bay
  4. Noodles #2 from The Hunger Hut, Winnipeg (now located in Vancouver, or so I’ve heard)

Four sites I visit daily:

  1. del.icio.us (web nerd)
  2. Versiontracker (mac nerd)
  3. Flickr (photo nerd)
  4. Google (doesn’t everyone?)

Four places I’d rather be right now:

  1. In a lovely, affordable house in a nice, friendly city owned by Renée and I that isn’t located above a rendering plant, next door to a sulfur pit, or within a thousand metres of Mike Fleiss.
  2. Hanging out with my brother and nephew, listening to my dad complain while my mom shakes her head and sighs.
  3. Tuscany, Italy (though I’d gladly settle for Cinque Terre)
  4. Somewhere where they understand the concept of the Frictionless Life. Montreal is an excellent candidate.

Four people I’m tagging

I think I’ll leave it at that, thanks. To make up for this, I’ll add:

Four moments worth savouring:

  1. The first time I successfully performed an ollie, summer 1980
  2. Sleeping under the stars at Shuswap Lake while on tour, 1990
  3. Walking down the backlane with my brother Kevin after playing pool at the UofM, 1986
  4. Standing at the top of a hill in the Parc Guell with Renée, Barcelona, 2001

Four words that I can’t get enough of:

  1. indubitably
  2. boom
  3. squishy
  4. onomatopœia

Put yourself in my shoes


It’s been quite since I’ve written anything remotely journal-like for this site. This isn’t for lack of ideas of what to write about, however.

The last four or five months have been some of the busiest ever. Everything has been a crazed flurry of running around, and screaming, and gnashing of teeth, and moments of stressed-out, involuntary buttock clenching, and laughing out loud with just a teensy sliver of mania present, and a lot of swooning in damp, dark rooms with a moist towelette on the forehead like Greta Garbo in Grand Hotel, but a hell of a lot less elegantly.

A big part of this was my involvement for the past five months on the redesign of the Globe and Mail, which finally launched a few weeks ago. It was a huge job with six of us working full-time to build out and integrate the new design (by G&M newspaper designer Adrian Norris) with the Globe’s somewhat antiquated content management system.

The new site won’t win any design awards, but it’s a huge improvement over the previous design and we worked our geeky asses off on it. It only has two validation errors on the homepage (both ads-related), and it’s an all-CSS, semantic layout that’ll hopefully garner some poindexter cred with the too-cool pocket protector crowd.


Sporadic victories aside, it’s been a crazy time. I massively over-committed myself to too many projects and have been teetering on the verge of burn-out more than a couple of times - something I promised myself I would be more careful to avoid. The industry is just hopping these days, though, and it’s sometimes hard to say no when big, high-profile projects somehow manage to plop onto the dance card.

I don’t know if it’s something in the air in Toronto, but something about this city brings the workaholic out in me, and I don’t like it. I’ve been so busy lately that my social skills are starting to resemble rotting eggplant. Come to think of it, I’m not smelling so great, either.

The good news is that SXSW 2006 is rapidly approaching, and if that doesn’t knock me hard on my ass in the best way possible, nothing will. I’m heading back down with James McNally, the Zen Master General himself, and I expect to play swing-eights and slam dunk the moon more than a few times. I can’t wait.

Firefox optimized for Mac Intel (nightly)

Intel iMacI just received one of the Intel-based iMac Core Duos on Friday. I wasn’t planning to order one of the new machines so soon, but with a surprisingly high number of Path Finder customers with Mac Intel machines, I needed to pick one up for testing. I feel so bleeding edge.

Colour me impressed

I’m planning to write a fairly in-depth review of my new acquisition once I’ve worked with it for a while, but first impressions are very positive. This machine is pretty damn fast, and the transition from my G5 iMac to the new platform was almost seamless. Photoshop run a bit slow, but I’m almost never doing print-related stuff so it’s bearable for now. Rosetta is incredible - pretty much any application I’ve thrown at it just works.

If you decide to order one of the new Intel machines, my advice to you is to max out the ram, because you’re going to need it. But this is easily the fastest mac I’ve ever owned, and so far I’m pleased.

Optimized Firefox build

mactel_firefox.pngOf course, like any slack-jawed nerd one of the first things I needed to figure out was how to build an optimized build of Firefox for the new processors. With warped priorities like this, sometimes I wonder why Renée puts up with me.

It took quite a while, as a bunch of stuff has changed, but I managed to get a build working, and wow, is it fast. Even building the application was fast. Normally, building Firefox on my G5 from scratch takes around two hours or so. On my new machine, the build took maybe 45 minutes.

The hardest thing was figuring out what to put on the icon. I couldn’t bring myself to put “Intel” on it, and using “Core Duo” seemed overlong and a bit misleading, as this build should run fine on any Mac Intel machine. So Mactel it is, for now. I know it’s kind of sucky. Intel needs to come up with snappier names for their processors, I guess.

At any rate, this build has the aqua form widgets applied (see this post for a screencap of what they look like) and has my first run at processor-specific optimizations. It’s important to note that this build is based on the latest nightly code which will eventually become Firefox 2.0 - it is not based on code from an official release. But it’s working like a champ so far.

As usual, the icon and name are still DeerPark, and I am not responsible if anything should freak out or throw a hissy fit. And now it’s time to crack out the bold:

This build is for Intel machines ONLY. It will not run on a non-Intel Mac machine. If you’re looking for G5 and G4-optimized builds, check out this post.

Firefox 2.0 is now available - Get it from here.

I will probably start updating these every couple of days, so keep your eyes peeled for a dedicated nightly builds post. If you have any questions about this build or the machine it was created on, feel free to post them in the comments, but keep in mind that as usual I’m not providing support for this build.

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