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August 8, 2004

Mad Props

I can't say I'm that nuts about it all, but I did download SP2 off Suprnova.org, so I guess I just lack self-control. Before I get into that, I'd just like to give a shout out to Benq for manufacturing my lovely new keyboard, that now allows my mousing hand to be more ergonomically placed. It's a nice mini keyboard, so my mouse pad can move nearer to the center of my body, so my arm isn't at an odd angle due to silly things like the number pads on full-size keyboards. And as I was telling peishan, this keyboard is a sure demonstration that Benq is so a subsidiary of Acer - the keyboard is basically a repackaged notebook keyboard - like those used the more recent Acer notebooks - how do you like *them* apples?

But much as I wish I was Mary Louise Parker, and before I return to SP2, I'd also like to mention one of the things that Opera still does superbly better than any other browser - allowing me to customise my personal bar with searches up the ying-yang. IMDB is to be expected, but Chicago Reader's brief reviews is woo-hoo, and All Music would be better if they fixed their site, Suprnova.org and ShareConnector are great, and I'm getting lots of mileage out of Dictionary.com, Wikipedia and TV Tome. How do you like *them* apples?

So yes, Service Pack 2 for Windows XP. I've already slipstreamed a copy for those who would desire it, and was vaguely contemplating using it to accomplish all manner of minor bug squashing. Miraculously though, installing SP2 has fixed that for me. Even my annoying maximise bug is gone :). I'm actually in awe of the new Windows Firewall, since it does have outbound protection of sorts, since it prompts you when you run a program potentially as a server - so you get a notice when you start eMule, ABC, Yahoo Messenger etc. Lovely. Only issue is this - that the firewall acts globally, so I'm not sure file sharing will be as easy as before - hopefully they worked out the kinks before RTM. Anyway I can't check it out till Winston gets back from Tibet, unless I want to disturb chinese neighbour :P.

Having recently auditioned a whole bunch of firewalls, Kerio, Sygate, ZoneAlarm, etc. the new firewall is all the more impressive. Mad Props.

MS have also seen it fit to reinstate the click sounds that accompany opening of folders/links, which is not a bad thing.

And as I admit that the ad blocking in Firefox is amazing compared to Opera's more patchwork approach, I have to give much credit to IE's implementation of a pop-up blocker - the execution of it is flawless, with all the right prompts and a fantastically easy way of excluding certain sites, such as webmessenger.msn.com. Opera's got a lot of work to do for its next version. The competition really is hotting up.

Oh, and the alarms I sent to people about non-640 PID's being blacklisted turned out to be just another MS bait and switch. They seem to have mastered their PR moves around this - threatening in the betas to keep people guessing and encouraging legal migration, but being lenient for such a huge security update - for the benefit of Mr. Kite. Much deftness there to do and not do at the same time. Many masterful.

On top of all this - and this might just be a placebo effect - but the responsiveness of my system seems to have gone up, especially with things like explorer launching etc. Good stuff.

Oh, and shame on Louis for only now figuring out how to emulate in Opera the automatic switching on and off of the page bar.

Posted by subtitles at August 8, 2004 9:30 AM | Computer Stuff