Flippant Remarks about Google Chrome

My last post about floating in the cloud is now followed up with my take on Google Chrome. Flippant summary: Google Chrome helped me think about how to use Firefox better.

Google Chrome must be awesome for certain posh, desktop, multiple-monitor users. I can see how tearing off a tab to make a Window would work well in such a luxuriant setting.

Before I started using Chrome, I assumed that a new process would start for each tab. Actually processes start up for plug-ins as well. So any casual, nerdy glance at a list Windows/Linux processes will show at least a dozen chrome processes. This feels like clutter to me and does not encourage me to open tabs and enable plug-ins. Yes, Firefox uses chunks of memory too but it seems not as liberal as Chrome with RAM.

Google Chrome inspired me to get rid of the thick layer of toolbars and menus that show in Firefox by default. To me this is the biggest win.

The delicious.com plug-in for Chrome works clumsily against the default bookmarks system in Chrome. The developer of the plug-in is not at fault here. The Chrome API should accommodate this as Firefox does quite reliably.

Chrome leaves me with the expectation of writing search terms directly in the address bar. The Firefox awesome bar does not support this feature very well (as it assumes that the use of a colon in a phrase refers to an HTTP protocol). However, the awesome bar is better at finding old web addresses than Chrome.

To me, Chrome is not as violently fast as some pundits have claimed.

Eric White is my personal replacement for Brian Jones…

Okay! The title does sound “negative” but I’m the dude that wrote “Good Stuff about Brian Jones” in 2007. The issue here is that Eric White kicks the asses I’m thinking should be kicked—and I’m willing to childishly sing his praises at the expense of getting petty with Brian Jones.

Without Eric White, I would have no ‘sane’ way of dealing with this Microsoft litigation issue mentioned earlier. Here’s the plan:

  • Build a tiny, thin VSTO project that is a façade/gateway into the Open XML SDK. This stub would replace CleanXHTML.
  • Use the Open XML SDK to process Flat OPC strings obtained directly from any given Word Range object.
  • The ‘process’ is based entirely on Eric White’s code, the static method FlatToOpc, in “Transforming Flat OPC Format to Open XML Documents.”

My little OPC documents will litter the writeable temp folders as the Open XML SDK does its magic. One little reward for this revitalized interest in Open XML in general and the .DOCX file format in particular, is stumbling upon the way to get WPF to work in Office Solutions (VSTO):

Update: actually the two WPF articles mentioned above are not necessary to get WPF working with VSTO. All that is needed is a reference to a WPF Window object inside the VSTO project or as an external reference (my preference). More on this later…

Today’s Google Starred Items: Sheri Parks Re-examines the “Strong Black Woman” Archetype in “Fierce Angels”

Daniel Belton: “I always had conflicting feelings about the term ‘strong black woman,’ because it implied that black women were somehow more fit to take pain and abuse than other women, not taking in account that often there is no choice in this matter. You either have to take your lumps and soldier on or you can fall apart. Considering that falling apart would cause pretty much the end of everything, many black women in the face of adversity simply kept on fighting the best way they knew how.”

This “Black Snob” topic leads me to “Flippant Remarks about ‘Why women have sex’” and ultimately to “My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse.” Here’s my little observation older Black women can enslave younger Black women in a Calvinist contest of self-sacrifice and self-loathing. Another one:  like most red-blooded Americans, the Black women of my hometown can sometimes swing to the other extreme from “strength” to incredible “weakness.” No ‘man’ is an island but too many Black women can …?

“Changing Africa’s Self-Perception, Changing How The World Sees Us”

Lola Adesioye: “I haven’t done any kind of poll on this, but I would contend that there are many Africans who also see themselves and their continent in the same way that the mainstream media portrays. I know that when we get together we can tend to have hours-long debates about the terrible things happening in whichever African nation. We ourselves often focus on the negative and can often feel overwhelmed and resigned at what seems like the sheer mountain of problems that need resolving.”

“Map of African Country Codes (Infographic)”

Appfrica Network: “This map visualizes the ccTLDs of the African continent. The country code top level domains of Africa are organized by geoposition, while the top countries are scaled to reflect the number of millions of internet users in those countries.”

What the hell does Microsoft litigation with some Canadian company have to do with my writing tools?

I’m sure I was wearing headphones with the sound going directly into my ears while Paul Thurrott in some episode of Windows Weekly mentioned in passing that “Microsoft complies with court, strips Word of custom XML.” It was a jury in Texas that decided that my digital life should be intimately disrupted as “Microsoft has issued updates for Word 2007 and Word 2003 that strip those applications of a feature that infringes on the patent of a tiny Canadian software company, i4i.” And I’m flippantly sure that Paul Thurrott said that this change will have an “insignificant” impact on whatever he continually says “whatever” about… so, speaking of bad comedy, here’s a picture from a previous post showing just how much I’m into “custom XML”:

One important finding of mine disagrees with the use of the word “strip” in sentences like:

So what do you do if you have custom XML in your Word documents? If you don’t use the custom XML, then there’s no problem, just open the files and Word will strip it out, leaving you the rest of the document. Same if your use can be switched to using another feature. You will lose your existing markers but otherwise can continue.

What’s actually happening (according to my copy of Word 2010) is that word is not altering the contents of my documents simply because it contains “custom XML.” This apparently “illegal” content is not displayed in Word 2010. The XML defining the “custom XML” is still stored in the document.

What this suggests (after many hours curled up on the floor sobbing, Why me!) is that the Open XML SDK can be used to reach those fragments of “custom XML”—once there one could:

  • Brutally copy the contents of the document (with a VSTO add-in) and paste it back into Word. This might coerce the “custom XML” tags to show again because (according to my copy of Word 2010) the commands and tools related to “custom XML” work as expected—you simply can’t display your work in a future editing session.
  • Stop using “custom XML” and use the Content Control instead. In “What is ‘Custom XML?’ … and the impact of the i4i judgment on Word,” this suggestion is made. The first subtle problem here is that Content Control visuals don’t appear in draft mode—which is my favorite mode to work in Word.
  • Assume that Microsoft will not let some judge in Texas and some company in Canada stop them from “innovating” with Word. It may take them years but they’ll come out with some kind of “embrace and extend” trick.

In the summer of 2009, Mary Jo Foley reported that Microsoft appealed the decision. Since I’m writing this very, very late to the party, clearly the appeal failed. In fact, in the winter of 2009 we find Tim Bray saying:

I see that Microsoft lost an appeal in the “Custom XML” litigation, and may be forced to disable that functionality in Microsoft Office. This is a short backgrounder explaining what “Custom XML” is about, and why nobody should care.

Hey, let’s drive this issue into the ground (deeper) with Stéphane Rodriguez (in 2008):

It’s interesting that Microsoft bloggers don’t even seem to be [embarrassed] by ridiculous expressions such as “Custom XML”. Custom XML is indeed just as silly as “Office Open XML” : the reason is X in XML already means Custom.

“Coconut Oil for A Healthy Heart” and other links…

American Chronicle: “In the coconut growing regions of India, people were told to stop eating coconut oil because it contained saturated fat. So they started eating more processed vegetable oils and margarine. As a result, within just 10 years the heart disease rate tripled! In those areas of the world where people eat lots of coconut oil, heart disease is relatively rare. Where people eat very little coconut oil and depend on processed vegetable oils and margarine, like the United States, heart disease is a major health problem.”

My concern about coconut oil in particular and coconut products in general is because of my embarrassing desire for So Delicious® Coconut Milk Mini Sandwiches. The Turtle Mountain people call these “coconut sandwiches”: “The perfect snack size treat that you can feel good about eating. With an agave sweetened center, our So Delicious made with Coconut Milk Banana Split Sandwich Minis are the perfect snack.”

Wikipeadia.org Moment: “Dabbawala”

“The concept of the dabbawala originated when India was under British rule. Many British people who came to the colony did not like the local food, so a service was set up to bring lunch to these people in their workplace straight from their home. Nowadays, although Indian business men are the main customers for the dabbawalas, increasingly affluent families employ them instead for lunch delivery to their school-aged children. Even though the services provided might include cooking, it primarily consists of only delivery either home-made or in that latter case, food ordered from a restaurant.” Check out dabbawalla.com.

Green Belt Movement Kenya

greenbeltmovement.org: “GBM Kenya is a non-profit grassroots non-governmental organization (NGO) based in Kenya. You can read a general overview of its work, find out about itsachievements, survey its partners, study its annual reports, and find a list of its staff experts.” To me, this movement starts with Wangari Maathai, mentioned previously in “My Three Sexist Assumptions of the Apocalypse.”