September 22, 2005

Opera at Western Michigan University (Workarounds for gowmu/wmich)

Opera is fully compatible with everything you could possibly wish to do on the Wmich websites. That includes as well as

However the biggest problems you will encounter using Opera is with gowmu - because of the way it "sniffs" for browsers. It is only rejecting Opera because it sees that it's not on its "approved" list of browsers. But once you get around that, everything works - which tells you that GoWMU is arbitrarily blocking Opera - basically sending it different (read: broken) code, so that things don't work the way they should. The same thing used to happen with, until Opera sued their ass off.

The way to get around this is to "spoof" your browser identification. You can do this by pressing F12 and changing from "ID as Opera" or "ID as IE" to "ID as Mozilla". When you tell them that you are Mozilla, they will send you the right code, and everything will work. The longer term workaround for this is to add a line to ua.ini - which is found in your profile directory (to find this on your computer, type opera:about in the address bar and look for "Opera Directory").

At the bottom of your ua.ini file, add this line: - that will allow Opera to ID as Mozilla just for that site - and that setting won't change when you adjust the global setting via F12.

If you don't want to keep getting that annoying page saying "your browser is not supported", just bookmark this url - (right click and "bookmark link"). If you go to GoWMU via that link, you'll never see that annoying page again.

The broader issue though, is that Western should support Opera - it is a fast, secure, easy to use browser, that will be gaining a great deal more market share in the coming months. In practical terms, if Western's tech support department doesn't want to start getting unnecessary calls about this, all they need to do is stop "sniffing" for Opera. Their developers can start by having a look here. While that is taking place, I'd be more than happy to help them develop a page on their tech support site that deals with Opera - including using M2 (Opera's mail client) to read e-mail. The content of this post is free to be redistributed, in part or in whole - as long as you link back to me and give me credit.

Can anyone say Fanboy?

Edit: it appears I should have done a bit more homework - (IDing as IE) actually works better - you don't have to use the workaround url.

For all the people still using FireBadger, the url to avoid the unsupported browser page will work for you as well. But if you move to Opera, you don't have to :).

Posted by subtitles at 4:46 PM

September 6, 2005

Big Whoop.

I'm supposed to be going to IKEA, but instead I'm here, struggling to think of something exciting to boggle about the new Opera community site. They're still going through some teething problems, so well, whatever. As is my wont, I will unleash a slew of complaints as things progress. In the Once and Again dialectic of Christy and Graham, my initial impression is more sizzle than steak. Which is not a bad thing, and is a corollary of the fact that the community was pretty far progressed already before the revamp - it is what it is.

I'm getting a bit worried that they are only really privileging the journals hosted on, which would be very very annoying. As of right now, I can't see somewhere to submit my feed. And OperaWatch is missing. It's just dawned on me that the fuckers might have just changed the name of Opera Journals and that's the new blogging site. We'll see.

I'm hungry and thing Dino's might provide some welcome relief.

I suspect they might be trying to do something "subtle" by making Opera the destination of bogglers in general, rather than just meta-opera-boggling. Interesting, but this was not what was expected. I really am very hungry.

I know I'm a bit of a downer, perhaps I should wait till after the victory lap?

Posted by subtitles at 3:43 PM

July 29, 2005

Why Opera Blogs Should Keep News Links and Commentary Seperate

I don't know when exactly the Opera Blogs interface will be revamped - but I get the feeling that a revamp is inevitable, and probably under way as we speak. I've expressed any number of opinions about how things should evolve, which I'm assuming have already been discussed and presented to the extent they should be.

What I haven't been clear about is that I think Opera Blogs needs to streamline the way it handles "news". It's to the credit of the Opera fan base, that so many people want to post news about Opera on their sites - however, it can tend to clutter up the Opera Blogs interface with many redundant links to the same story. My personal feeling is that the Blogs interface needs, above all, to be "useful". We need it to be a place that people who want to monitor Opera news/commentary can come and have an effortless experience in terms of reading about Opera, especially from the point of view of Opera users.

This is particularly important for people who will eventually write about Opera, the people who write about tech - for whom we need to make this place useful. At the same time, we should be a place for newer users, and future users, or people with "Opera-Envy", to find out more about the community and our favorite browser.

If you have a news story that no one else has written about, of course you should post it. But if your post isn't going to be more than a sentence or two about a page long article (perhaps quoting an extract), it should be filed under news rather than commentary. That gives more play for people who are more familiar with the intricacies of the situation to express more detailed opinions. Of course there is a benefit to post stories on Opera in as many sites as are willing to do so, so the redundancy is not necessarily a bad thing - just that in the Opera Blogs interface, this repetition should be kept to a minimum.

One of the features of the social bookmarks site, is that they show you who else is linking to the sites you link to. If Opera could do that for the news stories people post/comment on, it would go a long way towards presenting a convenient way of viewing different opinions on a given story. These would be ranked by the number of clicks a given post gets, a built in way of ensuring that the best commentary is ranked at the top, but also rewarding the people who "break" the story, perhaps using a bookmark feed like OperaWatch does. So the aggregator would have to parse for links, and rank the linking posts by the number of clicks they get - presenting a short summary/extract of the post etc.

So I imagine a threaded interface, much like Google News, where the most popular headline has the extract, but links to the other blogs that have the same link below. Not easy, but perhaps worth the effort.

Of course this would be voluntary - the aggregator could parse for the words "Opera News:" as the first letters of the headline/post, just as it does now for relevant posts using the word "Opera".

Posts that did not come under "Opera News", would go to another aggregator that can deal with people generally writing about Opera, BUT STILL PARSED FOR LINKS etc. That way, expanded commentary will appear twice - once on the non-News site, and again as part of the aggregated news links. That's where people can, besides presenting expanded commentary, express general opinions, ideas, tips/tricks, testimonials etc. Obviously, a post like this one would fall under the "non-News" category. Though obviously things posted under non-News might end up in news, in more ways than one, because other people link to it. Especially when important tutorials etc. come up.

So the feed for non-news would be pretty straightforward, but the news feed would send you to the page with the various story extracts ala Google News, or the linked story directly. You'd then monitor the commentary feed for expanded commentary - though on the news page the commentary would eventually show up. A rough idea, I'm sure people can easily come up with something better. The idea would be to be notified of a story only once, unless expanded commentary appears on the other feed. There could obviously also be a combined feed, though marked appropriately as news: or commentary:.

Posted by subtitles at 6:17 PM

July 19, 2005

Press Bias Like A Hole In The Head

There are conscientious, serious-minded people, who think and look with a critical eye over what is put before them. And then there are Tin-Foil Hatted Crazies who make X-Files fans sound reasonable.

Opera is a great browser - backed by a great company that knows better than to get stuck in the muck from which you never fully extricate yourself. Opera supporters, like myself, do not need this kind of rabid rumour-mongering - supposedly on our behalf.

Bias is an accusation that has become debased by usage - and so often now it has become inaccurate as a description of the partisan hackery that can occur. The only reason people keep jumping up and down is because they fail to understand something fundamental about narrative, about writing. Any narrative, any story, by the nature of its construction, consciously or not, is laced with the context and person through which it is written. There is no absence of "bias" - just a failure to acknowledge the considered conclusion of your deliberation and opinion.

The media can write whatever they want - that's what they're there for. Calling all negative press "bad" and all positive press "good" is like saying chickens have too many feathers. I'm not saying the AP article was particularly well written or particularly honestly presented in any considered way - it is neither - but rending your garments about the tonnage of bad writing anywhere is about as useful as resisting the Borg (and I don't mean the cuddly Microsoft kind).

As for the blazingly astute insight that news gathering organisations have vested interests (tell me more of this "filthy lucre" you speak of) - if you want to have the psychological insight of a three-year-old, that's fine, just stay away from the man with the funny nose.

You might as well say the press have a bias against murderers and litterbugs.

It is only under protest that I even link to trash - and then only via Dan - though personally I think he should know better than to reprint tripe.

If you want something related (dirty, dirty, John), try the last teacup.

Posted by subtitles at 9:23 AM | Comments (3)

July 7, 2005

Optool 2.1 Released! - Sets Tongues Wagging

Seeing as there's no other Opera news of note today, I thought I should bring your attention to the certain knowledge that people still use more than one browser, for any number of reasons. And because of that, it's necessary to have the best tool for moving between browsers: Optool.

Martin's done a wonderful job, not just on polishing up Optool for the current release, but in re-designing his entire Optool site, which is now nice and spanky new.

Of course, Martin's also become a money-grubbing whore - no really - and is now demanding that you send him the official currency of Denmark - the foreign postcard. By which I mean that Optool is now Postcardware.

So go to the official Optool Site, in particular the Download Page. But get ready to fire up your brand new bittorrent engines, since it weighs in at a whopping 111kb.

If you were feeling particularly charitable, you could also have a gander at the Unofficial Optool Fora, where you can bitch and moan to your heart's content. After making sweet love to the Known Issues page, of course.

For a fuller description, and the changelog since 2.0a, word. From what I understand, 2.1 now also supports Netscape 8, though god only knows why.

Such gags. At everything.

Posted by subtitles at 12:20 PM

June 26, 2005

The Weekend In Opera

The reason, presumably, why so many news organisations do "features" on the weekend would be because there's literally no news. Though from the looks of it, still readers, simply unable to find fresh content. I'll probably have to endeavour to do more feature-like posts on the weekends then, since I've got to find a way to amuse myself. Hopefully idle people like me will do similar things, for all our collective amusement.

But yes, everyone is away from work, including journalists, and presumably most people who have lives decide that smurfing is something they tend to do at work to skive-off rather than anything else.

People like me, however, try their hardest to think up of story ideas about Opera, and what next to write about. Hence what I've posted in the last day or so. I actually write down ideas and go back to them when I run out of news being reported.

For better of worse, the ideas I've been having are often derived from the West Wing. One is to retell what occurs between Stackhouse and Bartlett, where Stackhouse relates being told by Josh a story about the tendency of new pilots. The other is about Josh and the civil rights lawyer up for confirmation as Asst. Att. General, Breckenridge I think - ie: Dixon from Alias; talking about the Pyramid on the back of the dollar bill.

Posted by subtitles at 6:04 PM

Towards a Better Version of Opera Composer

In case you didn't know, Opera Composer has just been relaunched for Opera 8, so that if you are an ISP or company, you can distribute your own customised version of Opera. Basically it's a way for companies to provide their own skin for Opera, since that's the part of the process that allows for the most customisation. So you can have your own company's graphics showing up etc. If only to remind them that Big Brother sees all smurfing :).

Other fun things include the ability to activate the personal bar by default, and add certain links/urls to it. You could even provide your own custom bookmarks file, though for some reason that doesn't include an option to turn on the personal bar. Most fun of all, you can even rebrand the browser, such that people could now be going around smurfing with their own customised browser.

I suppose the point of Composer is more towards showing off what Opera can do rather than a be all and end all tool for companies. I'd assume that if your company wanted to populate its thousands of seats with Opera, Opera would step and customise it up the ying yang for you. So they're offering a limited version of what can be customised for the benefit of the small to medium sized business, that still likes to do things themselves, and know how.

Now my problem with that is that I'm sure companies that want to do it themselves would probably want quite a bit of control over the product that's sent to their workforce. Just one example would be the ability to customise the search.ini. I'm not saying that Opera should disregard its bottom line and not put the paid default searches there, I'm just saying that allowing people to insert, even as default perhaps, a search field to search their company's website etc.

I mean, I'm sure it can't be difficult. The last I checked, the Opera installers I downloaded are simply archives with the installation files inside, so if they could be edited in the archive, that would be a nice way of tweaking without giving away too much of Opera's intellectual property. Certainly a little documentation couldn't hurt. If you could just drag and drop customised .ini files, skins and setup files into a folder in the install archive, that would really be the bees-knees.

Though it's now occurred to me that why Opera might not do this is that it could be abused by people putting dodgy (ie: malicious) files in the installers - but they they could just as easily exploit browser flaws in the default bookmarks.

In the end though, I think at the very least, there might be options to enable the personal bar when you have a custom bookmarks file, simple things like that, that seem like inconsistencies within the Composer interface, would make companies think just a bit longer about how easy Opera makes it for them to switch. And really, it would project a much more robust and professional image for Opera to put forward to its potential big customers.

Basically what I'm saying is that if you can upload a opera.adr file to customise, and can upload a custom created skin, why not allow that functionality for any number of .ini files?

Posted by subtitles at 10:53 AM | Comments (10)

June 25, 2005

Opera Users Shut Out of Mail

Considering AOL used to own Mozilla, this is all the more infuriating. Basically you need to ID as IE to get in. Something that wasn't exactly mentioned in the Inq's otherwise glowing review of the service. After signing up/in for the service, I appear unable to do anything complicated, like say read mail or change settings.

If you don't ID as IE, you get sent to the wonder that is their "supported software" list, which doesn't provide for any way to move forward with your registration.

This might be an annoyingly big deal, especially as Opera tries to break further into the US market, where AIM claims a large portion of the IM scene. Who would have thought someone could get it even more wrong that Microsoft? At least Hotmail works now, even if we can continue to ignore, because, well, it's rubbish. I started a thread. Since it's one of my pet peeves, I'll point out the knuckle-dragging idiocy, not to mention the hideous double standard, of the fact that sites insist that they are able to support SoFurry on the Mac, but can't get their act together for Opera - especially since their market shares aren't that dissimilar (and especially not if you consider the potential inaccuracies of how those stats are derived).

Edit: huh, it appears Proxomitron was at fault in blocking the page loading properly - but the blocking of non-IE-ID'd Opera is bad enough, and made worse by the fact that it might otherwise work (vaguely, it was crawling while I was trying it out). - now that it's not crawling quite as much, I was right above, reading/writing mail is too difficult for them to make work.

If you want an e-mail service that isn't stupid, and offers you free IMAP as well, check out the wonder that is Or get your own domain and hosting and offer other people the chance to get e-mail accounts.

Edit 2: I suppose I should make clear that personally I'm of the opinion that Webmail is for fuckwits. I take issue with browser sniffing here mainly on principle.

On close inspection, I can do enough in Opera so that I can use the address for IMAP, and they helpfully provide SMTP, which is nice. So really if you wanted to think of it that way, if you desire a free account, you'd go for GMail for pop3 and for IMAP. Theoretically you'd be able to use them without ever seeing the web interface except to sign up.

But at least GMail works in Opera. But GMail still functions on invitation only, whereas AIM. I can guarantee you your favoured account isn't taken up yet :).

Posted by subtitles at 6:39 PM

June 24, 2005

It's not a bug, it's not a feature, it's... well, we don't actually give a damn, please go away

Apparently security only applies to things that IE deigns to consider as flaws - so when a new way comes out to exploit design flaws in a browser that is many many years old, you just point to the sign on the door that says - bugs? patches? security? you do realise we're *Microsoft* right?

I mean, to be fair, just because a security firm says something is dangerous doesn't mean it is, but surely there can be no harm in helping out the people who buy your products? I can't see how Opera's way of handling the flaw is anything other than an enhancement of the browsing experience.

And as I've mentioned, if it's not a big deal to patch something, even if you/other people don't see it as a flaw, why not just do it as a gesture of good faith, as a concession to the public's (perhaps sometimes irrational) fears? I mean it's not as if IE is refusing to patch on principle to fend off the wages of paranoia.

And so there's a reason why it's worth it (yes, this is a Loreal ad) to use a browser that actually is in active development, rather than waiting for the vapourware that is the perpetually phantom IE 7 - which won't even begin to catch up with the features and agility of Opera.

Check the box, whoa-oh.

Posted by subtitles at 8:09 AM

June 23, 2005

Ad-Blocking Will Kill The InterWeb, say FUD-spreading ad-fairies

Apparently we all should fall on our knees and thank the Advertising Gods that we are allowed the *privilege* of having Flash, animated gifs, viagra ads etc. peddled to us on a daily basis. I'm shaking so hard I came in my pants.

I've done very extended spiels about my attitude towards ad-blocking, in particular, ad-blocking in Opera. Basically, despite the fact that I'm an unflinching supporter of rationalisation, ie things paying for themselves, I choose to block ads like they called my momma a ho.

If you want to block ads so aggressively your head will start spinning, have a look here. Opera certainly isn't going to help you out there.

So yes: Hey, cocksuckers - no one actually *likes* ads. Neither do I like you threatening me - view my ads or I'm going to take the InterWeb away. Pull the other one, you fucking moron.

Until I've lived in your apocalyptic world where newpapers (what are those anyway?) are $5 - following which the skies will open up and rain blood - you can bite my shiny metal ass. Kill all humans.

Advertisers really have to discover for themselves that they've got to stop annoying the fuck out of people long enough for them to give a flying fuck.

Between proxomitron and bittorrent, I haven't seen an ad for months.

I wonder whether they realise how absurd they can seem sometimes spouting the nonsense that they do.

Posted by subtitles at 6:32 PM

Opera and Firefox Hold Hands and Skip - Crying Wolf and Rending Garments

I posted this on Haavard's bog, but I'm just so clever I can't help quoting myself,

My perspective on what the reporter did is simple. You guys were using them to get your message out. They use you guys to get a good story. What exactly is it about that arrangement that you guys pretend not to understand?

There's times when people rending their garments about how the media treats them becomes very much like a surreal version of crying wolf.

The idea that Opera and Firefox are going to hold hands and skip is simply a rather carnivalesque fantasy. My suggestion is that you put a leash/muzzle on your CEO, and learn how to put a more professional face on what it is that you do (and do well) - after all, you guys (unlike other attack dogs) are the ones getting paid for it.

You see, that's what happens when you don't do trackbacks.

Olli replied, so I replied back:

I'm not saying you asked ZDNet to write you a rather ambivalent article - that'd be just silly. Someone approached someone and you guys had a chat - the understanding being, on your part at least, that you were going to get good press about the fact that you have a good browser (because you do).

But in case someone didn't tell you, reporters write stories they think will interest people, they don't re-print press releases for you. The press aren't the people with whom companies like yourselves hold hands and skip.

Of course what he said was entirely true (which I made very clear in my post) - that's not the point. If you say the words, they will print it - that's what they do.

Lashing out at the press is probably as helpful as your lashing out at browser stats companies - I'm sure you could get a lot more done if you asked them nicely. And if they say no, then you can wail about it in public. I again refer you to:

The fact that the issues raised are still there to be raised, begs the question why these things aren't already resolved. If there was no tension, no notion of Firefox and sugar daddies, he wouldn't say the words, even in jest, and the reporter wouldn't bother - it's only juicy because there's something behind it and people can smell it. Which part of this being called "browser wars" don't you guys understand?

You guys do great things when you throw down the gauntlet and challenge the other browsers - like Hakon did with CSS compliance - but you have to be in the driver's seat, not being taken for a ride by some hack of a journalist.

Sometimes their media strategy is fantastic, like how the ended up handling the whole PCWorld debacle (not how they got into it though) - but sometimes they're just nowhere.

Posted by subtitles at 2:37 PM

June 22, 2005

The Holy Grail - IE Only Websites Lose Customers And Revenue - And Still No Mention of Opera

Thanks to OperaWatch's rather helpful Link Blog, the Holy Grail of Opera Fanboy-dom has come my way. Basically some poky company or other (whose website doesn't validate, by the way) claims that 1 in 10 sites fail to provide access to smurf-tools other than IE. And that this potentially leads to a loss of revenue and users for those sites.

It's amazing how they can do a piece on this (and the company can do a survey on it) USING ONLY FIREVOLE. They didn't even have the temerity to include Safari, as seems to be the trendy thing nowsadays. Opera user's litany has always been that we are, if not the cleverest and most well endowed of all smurfers, at least (like SoFurry's Mac-Tax paying heathens) the ones who are most comfortable spending money - and spending money online.

Not that their rather alarmist tone isn't a bit welcome, and that other than with regards to browsers sniffing, I've yet to see a FireVole compatible site that Oprah can't handle - but Oprah users well know that the vast majority of spites work fine (if not better) in Oprah. The only real anemones are the ones that specifically work to block Oprah with their annoyingly silly sniffing fetish. Oprah even holds developers' hands through their user-string, and still the bastards don't listen. Will there never be justice in the world?

Apparently SciVisum (sounds dirty doesn't it?) has been sounding the gong for a while now, as their Press page (which strangely enough denotes the Other Plaice under that description) shows.

This standard disclaimer seems strange: "SciVisum is independent of all web technology providers, and do not build or manage web sites" - well, honestly, it shows - and they need to check themselves before they wreck themselves. Word.

I've never found Ctrl-Alt-V quite so useful before :) - it allows Oprah users to validate pages.

Posted by subtitles at 6:04 PM | Comments (3)

No Glove, No Love - Opera: The Online Prophylactic - Making Sweet Love to Secunia

As I mentioned, I had wanted to do a piece on Opera's very conscientious handling of security - on all fronts, especially the way they handle their relationships with security firms. The new (admittedly minor) phishing exploit that just popped up, seems as good a catalyst as any.

I was surprised to find, and perhaps even more annoyed that most "news" organisations failed to mention, that Opera has this already fixed in 8.01. Presumably, as I think most of these things go, the various vendors had been informed of this some time ago, but most figured it was too small an issue to be addressed like there's no tomorrow. And obviously Opera was already issuing a security release in the form of 8.01 for 3 other vulnerabilities, so the fact that they plugged the release before it was even publicised could well be seen as coincidence.

That's not how I see it.

Opera takes security seriously. There's hardly been a case where they haven't released an update in prompt anticipation of the security company publishing the exploit. With most other browser vendors, it's normally the other way around, the exploit gets published and then the company/foundation is shamed into fixing it - even though they would have been told about it for some time previous (that's how Opera can time their updates). Everyone should be able to do it as quickly and simply and conscientiously as Opera does - but they don't, and that's one of the many reasons why Opera is a safer browser - it's produced by a good company who takes these things seriously.

And really, it doesn't seem as if the fixes are that difficult, or rather they just shouldn't be. The exploit is simple, all that's involved is that the javascript popup (available on the Secunia proof of concept page) hides the small window that launches the popup - so that you think you're otherwise at All 8.01 does is ensure that the malicious window is made very evident (did I err? - see edit below). Personally it doesn't seem like the most superb of fixes - but then it's not the most superb of hacks either - and people who fall for it might not know what's happening, unhidden window or otherwise. But those people are just stupid anyway.

Regardless my point is this: Opera manages to maintain a superb relationship with the people whose job it is to find flaws in their software, a relationship you might otherwise think inimical. Opera are not coy about the fact that software (not least their own) is inevitably insecure (though they could do a better job of communicating that). And even when the flaw isn't the most earth-shattering, they make the effort to get the good report card that they so assiduously maintain. As opposed to *ahem* other browsers.

But I wouldn't be me if I didn't also point this out - that Opera's very cordial and productive relationship with Secunia just makes their inability to make things work with the browser stats companies all the more frustrating.

And so remember kiddies, even though Opera is your online prophylactic (I didn't use contraception, since you're not getting anyone pregnant online), it isn't 100%. The only way you can be really safe is to not be online. But no one will keep your browsing safer than Opera will (cue Trojan Man jingle). But as with all condoms, online or off, best to use one that's fresh (ie: update your software/browser).

Opera - not 100%, but at least it won't tear, and it won't make your hands sticky.

Edit: I stand very much corrected (by myself no less). (and all CNut related appendages) managed to get it right that Opera 8.01 is not vulnerable - though it was naughtily saying that Opera "claimed" this to be case, whereas it's as plain as day on the Secunia site.

More importantly though, Opera's fix is much more elegant than I realised - they not only maintain the window so it's not blocked by the javascript, but they put the url of the script's page on the popup itself - in this case - so if you can spot the classic signs of getting pwned, Opera gives you an extra leg up. How spanky Opera really is. I hadn't noticed it, mainly because I took it for granted - till I saw how the exploit worked in FireBadger.

But despite the Opera spokesperson saying (charitably I'm sure) that people supposedly scramble to fix these things - I don't see much hustle except from Opera (oh, snap/oh no you di'n't).

Posted by subtitles at 2:25 PM | Comments (2)

Opera Editorial: Crimes, Misdemeanors, and Browser Statistics

I had actually planned an editorial (which will still appear eventually) about how well Opera seems to have handled, for instance, security companies such as Secunia; cooperating about the timing of security announcements etc. And then this came along. As I've said before, there's a point at which I'm not sure if Opera is doing the right thing,

Surely Opera has been in contact with the peddlers of these stats - they seem to be large firms(?), and there can't be that many of them. I agree with most of the assessments Arve made, but this discussion has been going on for a while now, surely you've contacted these people to set them straight?

Because it makes more sense to me that you'd want to complain about it rather than help them get it right and sign off on their stats - if they still ended up saying your (our) market share was as tiny as it is now. If you're willing to contact sites that write broken code, wouldn't you want to set these stats people straight? Or is it more difficult than I could possibly imagine?

(Arve's post on the problematics of the stats is here.) I'm just wondering why the stats companies don't just count according to "unique users" as well as hits, in order to present a more broadly accurate picture of which browsers view the most, and how many people use each browser. Of course that would be misleading in an of itself - Firefox users might browse more enthusiastically than anyone else, or Opera users might browse more efficiently with their search boxes; though in most cases it just makes sense to differentiate between usage (ie: hits) and users (adjusted for dial-up changes of IP etc. of course).

Basically Opera are doing what they've always done, which is to attack these stats-gathering firms, saying that their stats aren't accurate. This was an issue with browser sniffing, and it's an issue now with pre-fetching. All kinds of caveats have been raised, I'm just not sure why they haven't quietly been addressed between Opera and these firms, and presented as an accomplishment on both sides - rather than complained about, by both, to the detriment of both, in the way that it has. And if Opera were rebuffed privately, why haven't they made more hay about that, rather than the stats themselves?

And whatever happened to "what is good for FireFox is good for us"? Unless Opera are grumpy about Asa pointing out their really rather egregious mistakes, I don't see where all this is coming from.

Supposedly Jon was misrepresented in the article; that it was a much longer and detailed conversation, but this is what got printed - presumably because it's sexier to talk about the recent fracas. Though there's really only so many ways to spin the "sugar-daddy" comment.

Which doesn't change the fact that Opera has been going on about something without having made the effort to compromise with the stat companies on a mutually agreeable means of accounting. And you can't be misquoted if you don't talk bad about people. Though to be sure, all that Jon said is simply factual - there is no doubt (in anyones' mind) that pre-fetching and browser sniffing affect the stats. Perhaps all his sentences from now on should begin with "Firefox are our friends, but..."

I want to be upset with the reporter, but I don't doubt that there wouldn't have been a story without the angle he put on it, so I think the consideration here is between not so great ink, or no ink at all.

Posted by subtitles at 12:03 AM

June 21, 2005

Opera Blogs: it's got to at least work

For the second week in a row, Opera Blogs has managed to come to a grinding halt. All this seems to be part of wider malfunctions with Opera's web servers, as various portions of the site became inaccessible over the weekend and throughout the week. There were times when could not be reached. I'd like to think it was in some way related to the release of 8.01, but that would really just be wishful thinking.

Personally, a lot of my Opera readership comes via the Blogs, so I'm not too keen to publish things till the interface starts working again. It's just that when it starts working again after these kinds of faults, it'll just repost everything it missed, which is fine, but then a bunch of posts end up getting buried, which is something I'd rather avoid. So my posts will have to wait till things get fixed. I've been working on a couple, and just feel a bit annoyed that I can't post them till things settle down.

I know that OperaWatch and Dan Yurman have posted and their posts aren't showing up, which is annoying since I also use Opera Blogs as a way to keep up with the world according to Opera. Those blogs in particular I have notification of anyway, but the point is that I shouldn't have to.

I'm still very committed to the project, but I just think that it's got to at least work, for people to continue to want to participate. The people I contact when things go wrong have been responsive enough, but it doesn't seem as if it's thought of as any kind of priority. And really, as I've said before, the fact that I have to be the one to tell them things are wrong isn't the best sign.

Posted by subtitles at 2:50 PM

June 16, 2005

I Suppose It's That Simple - Opera 8 is Just Safer

I think I'm trying to crib together a bunch of security notices, something that can be coherent in terms of making the case for Opera as a more secure browser - especially in regards to phishing, which seems to (rightly or wrongly) get so much coverage.

Opera did a release about phishing security. Somehow I'm not sure their security page quite strikes the right note of reassurance - it's not kiddy-dumbed down, it makes security sound too complicated. Though I suppose it's because the pretty pictures draw you away from the text at the top,

anti-phishing technology

excellent support for security protocols

visual feedback on security levels

automatic check for security updates

I suppose it's that simple. But the pretty boxes with the features should more directly address the specific threats they lay out above.

Oprah's Secunia record looks good, but still needs to be explained - regardless it performs favorably compared to FireVole. A way of saying Opera is, in comparative terms, Safer. I'm sure the checks (or lack thereof) are not too great a concern, but it certainly looks better. I'm too tired to look for a link that sufficiently illustrates Secunia's impartiality.

Also spare looks for their perhaps too extensive, but reassuring security tutorial, where the "phishing section" is euphemised as Shopping and Transaction Security.

Posted by subtitles at 6:28 PM

Straddling the InterWeb Like an Adonis - Opera 8

As OprahWatch so fortuitously pointed out, Oprah 8.01 now supports - another significant step in Oprah overcoming people for whom standards compliant web design makes weep like teeny children. So yes, Oprah may now stride boldly across the InterWeb, spreading its gay superman juice over all that desire its succour.

In addition, Macs have now their first taste of Oprah 8 goodness - I actually just installed Oprah on my friend's Mac, over his objections, till he realised how much zippier it was than even SoFurry. Nothing impresses like multiple search boxes, instead of the hard limit of 1.

And yes notch one more for the suave suasion that is Louis converting the unwashed masses - a long-time hold-out no less. I tend very attentively to my ministered flock, providing them the wine and body that is my much expanded search.ini - now replacing TVTome with and, and the additions of Technorati and the ability to search this self-same site.

If you need reasons, here are 3: Speed, Security, Simplicity.

To be fair though, 8.01 was necessary particularly because 8.0 wasn't quite ready for prime time, crashing much more than you might think or like. Steady steps towards Acid 2 compliance though.

Oh, and The Blogs, as I'm now calling them, are working again, though it's just scary that they got it fixed specifically because I noticed - twice. And I've finally gotten my Opera for Mobile key, and will have someone with a nice camera coming over tomorrow.

Posted by subtitles at 4:01 PM

June 15, 2005

Opera Blogs gone Tits Up again

I'm personally hoping that it's because they're hard at work making it better, but you and I know that that's highly unlikely. What probably happened was that on Monday (which is when the last posts to appear did), someone fiddled with something and now it's no longer updating. I've e-mailed the guy who should be the one to make it all happen, but that's not always worked before, so we'll see. I mean, if it's fixed within 2 weeks, it'll still be faster than the last time.

If you want to stay up to date without Opera Blogs, you can subscribe to my feed, which you'll find in your Opera address bar, or on my main bog page under "syndication". That main page also has a link to category feeds if you're just interested in Opera Boggling.

I should really find out what OPML is all about. OperaShow is looking fun, but it all seems like work to me.

I'm up, so I'll probably stay up for the little chat.

Posted by subtitles at 9:35 PM

Browser attacks are the new black

I just thought that was a rather good headline - but then again, it is the Inq. Despite how some people might interpret my stance, this is one of those times when Security should be a big issue for Opera.

It's really not surprising that browsers have become one of the biggest attack vectors for the bad guys, since most people can't even seem to figure out how to update IE - and if they're not using XP (SP2, to be exact), they're not likely to. And really, who's been doing a better job than Opera at combating phishing?

Sure, installing Opera still means you should figure out that software needs to be updated, but it, in general, is still Safer. In fact, it's as safe as it gets, since it's got the best security record. As long as you keep it updated (since Opera is so conscientious about issuing security fixes promptly) you can be assured of as high a level of security as you'd be realistically be able to expect.

That wasn't so hard, was it? Because while you're getting a Safer Browser, you're also getting one that's faster than anything out there, and easier to use. Convenient download button available on the right.

Posted by subtitles at 10:17 AM

Spread Oprah Fatigue

I imagine people just being very spent after the whole PCWorld debacle. I mean there haven't really been substantive updates for days, even if you don't count the weekends. I think people, me included, have just gotten tired of pouncing on every other headline that has some peripheral relevance to smurfing, or yet another knuckle-dragging incompetent reviewing Opera.

People have been saying though, that Oprah needs to get more prominent news coverage - but short of crashing planes into buildings, I'm not sure what exactly gets headlines. Maybe Oprah could molest small boys.

The other idea is to make Oprah available to government use and for non-profits, which might be fun. But it's not like I see OpenOffice making that significant inroads, despite having been given to China. After all, MS Office is free.

I'm suddenly thinking Oprah could do a little campaign along the lines of "All Your Base..." - which got some people in such trouble before. It would make a fantastic stealth marketing move, but would require quite a bit of coordination. And banner making. I'm sure that would get at least some coverage. The loom of Oprah.

Oprah could also insult Republicans, that might work.

Posted by subtitles at 9:01 AM

June 8, 2005

OperaWatch's Link Feed - Acid 2 Conspiracy Deepens

There's something I'd like to say about OperaWatch, but I shouldn't (well, in a way, I sort of can't), so I won't. But I'm happy that my place is what it is.

What's more important though, is that I've figured out the what and how of OperaWatch's very clever "link blog", which you see on the right column of his main page. It's actually fed by his page, the feed of which is, which you can get to via

That, however, reminded me of Acid 2 and the fact that iCab has passed it, beating out Konquerer (allegedly). Which reminded me to link to my little conspiracy theory regarding Opera and Acid 2. Just to bring it up again, because I think it's worth the fun.

Oh, and you can see both FireVole and IE 7 trying to emulate Opera features (which is good for all concerned, except when those two emulate Opera as badly as they sometimes have). Microsoft: IE 7 to have "fit-to-page" feature and Firefox's answer to Opera's sessions.

Posted by subtitles at 6:22 PM | Comments (4)

Throw it out with the Trash - Opera turns a fumble into a Win

Of all the ways that Opera could have dealt with it, I'm actually so pleased at what they've ended up doing, that I might wet myself. So what they've done is this - they've made it into a little joke - Oops!, as Haavard put it. That, and they've dealt with it in the same breath as pointing out people who have very definitely (and not in English) said that Opera is the best. A "proper" release/retraction will come out some vague time in a future because this is no big deal.

And instead of putting a "retraction" on the main page, they tucked it away as a blog post from Haavard, and they've put it (solidly below the fold, and below the posting about Chip) on the MyOpera Community Page - so that other than people who gave a crap (ie Opera and FireVole Fanboys) - no one has to know. Superb - a retraction that's been turned into a solid win. Laughing it off and making partisan hacks look like partisan hacks. You couldn't have asked for a better outcome.

(Unless you were dead set on making Opera look bad, for some reason that had less to do with facts, and more to do with mudslinging)

Edit: It's more of a win that I'd have thought - CNET's boggled about it, in a way that sends people straight to Oops! and leaves Asa with a bloody nose. I'd compare him to Howard Dean, but then I actually *like* Howard Dean. I'm tempted to change my headline to "Asa Dotzler the best thing to ever happen to Opera" - but then I'm not the National Review.

Oh, further cleverness - now that Opera have "issued a statement", they've felt empowered to just go back and "fix" the old one, so that they've left virtually no trace of the gaffe on the main page. Such genius.

"Me too, but at the end of a prize-fight, you look at the guy who's dancing around, and that's who won." Red Haven's on Fire.

Posted by subtitles at 5:45 PM

So Yes, Opera Told Porkies - That's Why You Don't Do A Big Thing Badly (or Stupidly)

At this point things have gotten a bit silly. I mean really, I had posted about this days ago - PCWorld: Opera Second String to Bushy Tailed Rodent, when everyone else on Opera Blogs was jumping up and down about Opera being there in the first place. Opera was one of 100 products on PC World's 100 World Class Products - of which FireVole was the product of the year.

So no, PC World does not think that Opera is a better browser than FireBadger, as my previous post makes clear; in a side by side comparison, they choose FireVole. That said, in their individual assessment of Opera, PC World like Opera just fine (though they just want to be good friends).

I'm not quite so outraged as Asa appears to be about it, but I do think that at the very least Opera was negligent in their understanding of what was going on. Though what is as much, if not more, likely is that Opera out and out was just telling porkies, and deliberately misleading in their very public statements. Someone needs a spanking.

In a way though, it really has been a product of Opera's otherwise successful marketing campaign - I think some people were starting to get a bit sick of hearing about Opera; ie within the technophile crowd, which really doesn't mean anyone other than them has even necessarily heard of Opera. And I think with people getting sick of being marketed at, they'd want to latch on to what has really been a rather spectacular gaff that Asa was right to latch on to. It's not overstating it to say that Opera Lied - because they did. And they did it in a bad way at a bad time.

What this intersection of events has led to, to an extent that surprised me, is the very real anger that Opera's mistake has engendered - though admittedly a lot of it has been from FireVole Fanboys. Have a look at Asa's comments, and Neowin's thread. In the Neowin thread, you can see that the screenshot taken back then is different from what it is now - apparently Opera has changed it, and done so without issuing an apology, and also without having amended their press release, much less corrected it.

Opera apologists seem to want to just say that Opera were just incredibly stupid and/or illiterate, rather than malicious, but if that's the case, Opera are compounding their own stupidity by not owning up, doing a complete mea culpa and moving on. When you make a mistake you admit it and move on, not hide and surreptitiously change things and hope no one notices. That's what screenshots are for.

I was thinking all this was annoyingly boring a minute ago, but I'm coming round more and more to the feeling that Opera needs to make this right. If only for making me agree with Asa Dotzler.

Edit: The discussion has also moved to the MyOpera Fora. I've also followed up with a comment on OperaWatch's post, about how the change of graphic, and the hiding of the press release, is not enough - and can very easily be seen as an admission of guilt and a desire to hide (or disassemble, as some might say).

Posted by subtitles at 10:13 AM

June 6, 2005

And so you see - a Good Review of Opera is really not difficult - Boston Herald

The review in the Boston Herald is one of those rare articles that manages to be both a good (as in positive) review of Opera, as well as be a good (clear, to the point) review. I'm sure that there should be a prize for any review of Opera that doesn't contain factual errors, so the fact that he gets things wrong is no surprise. He should hang out in the forums more, he'd learn a thing or two about how Opera can pretty much service your every lustful need and desire.

But what is particularly astonishing about the review is this - he's fulfilled my childhood wish of reading a review that didn't focus on features, but rather on the fundamentals of why Opera is fantastic. Speed, Security, Simplicity. I can just imagine him ticking those off as he was putting the review together.

And really, it shows that Louis is not an impossibly demanding judge of writing or style or intellect - if you do what you're supposed to do, and you do it clearly and with a little grace and pointedness, you get a gold star every time.

And let's just say he gets extra points for not making a meal out of Opera's security. Oh, and I should tell him about the wonders of Optool for switching between browsers - like from Opera to IE. Overall he was able to just be sensible and pragmatic, rather than absolutist and didactic. And he managed to not end the review with bullshit about Opera's cost, but instead dealt with it matter-of-factly, and with a shrugging kind of perspective.

I'd almost decided to ignore all reviews. Looks like we've got us a fanboy in the making.

Posted by subtitles at 5:53 PM

And so that's why Opera builds aren't "Final" till it's announced on

I was going to chime in when every one else was jumping up and down about 8.01 (then Final, now RC) - but that would have just been freaky, given what's happened. OperaWatch did a piece on why they've stopped propagating the build, and apparently there's a bunch of bugs chirping away in the beta forum.

I actually did a clean install of the RC, which cleaned things up - moving my "mail" folder for the first time. I can't say I've been having too many problems, especially now that my P2P scratch drive is not longer so fragmented.

I have, however, been having this strange thing where after I download a torrent from a based sites' description page, the page closes after the torrent gets handed off. I'm wondering if it's the pages or Opera - it's a neat feature, though a bit of notice would have been nice; either that or it's a rather abrupt bug.

Oh, and the new feature that shows the search you're typing for on the address bar is pretty cool, and very helpful for those of us with search.ini customised up the wazoo. So if you start typing g_, you'll get google search; or if you just type a normal word, the default search will offer itself to you. Much spanky. So yes, some features "just work". Though to be fair, it's in part based on an IE feature, if I'm not wrong, and this is sort of catch-up more than anything else.

Posted by subtitles at 4:09 PM

June 3, 2005

Klipfolio, "Not Just An RSS Reader" - Co-existing with Opera

As always, I find being an ass more and more difficult when confronted with sensible people - though it helps when they appear to be clever as well. This post, by Peter Matthews, one of Klipfolio's developers, presents a vision of what they expect to happen to their product in a post-RSS-ubiquitous world. Sensible stuff, and really, shows a level of forethought that is nice to see. All this at a time when I'm starting to actually miss viewing most of my feeds via KF. Opera's fine, but I'd gotten used to KF, despite it getting a bit cumbersome near the end. Looks like my little splinter rebellion was not unexpected. So far straddling seems to be going okay.

Posted by subtitles at 3:00 PM

June 2, 2005

Dumping Klipfolio, Using Opera for RSS, Kelly Brook

It's not really their fault, but now that I've figured out how to use views in M2 to do more or less a global "dismiss all items", Klipfolio suddenly seems a lot less indispensable. It's not quite as easy as hovering and clicking, but using the keypad to trawl through has it's advantages, as does opening in background pages etc. Can't do weather, which is annoying, but I really could just use Klipfolio for that :P.

Love is not love that alters when alteration finds.

I must say it is pretty, the new beta, but after awhile it gets a bit clunky - the problem is when it starts to actually look and feel a bit clunky. It is still the most attractive and innovative way to present feeds, but Opera is surprising me with its potential efficiency, and now a more ruthless kind of elegance. Though I'm sure I'll straddle the two for a while at least. I suppose what I should also do is have an email address just for listhost stuff, since I need an address anyway to activate my mail panel - an annoying workaround if I ever knew one.

I'm still very much against the lock-in of Opera's feeds - showing the url won't kill anyone - though I'm now really appreciating things being built in. Having problems getting Opera to recognise a .food file as a feed, shall have to remember to ask. Looks like I'm going to have to figure out how to transfer settings for M2 as well now.

I suppose what I should be saying is mo' features, mo' problems.

It's nice that I can use it for chat as well, though I think I still can't get beyond the desire for folders, so M2 as a mail client is gonna have to wait. Is it just me, or is it silly that there's not pure aggregated feed view - they could just put in in the root directory of "Newsfeeds".

And Starhub is really pissing me off that bandwidth really gets squeezed at primetime, starting from about 8. Allegedly.

I really don't think I'd ever smurf with the panel open though, having the mail window in the background should be enough. I'll see when the morning inundation comes. It's probably because of the end of the season, but I'm just too lazy to set up Azureus to batch download - though I suppose I'll end up bothering for the various summer series of note, not to mentions stuff like Celebrity Love Island.

I'm actually currently getting through the episodes of first season WetBoy with Kelly Brook in it. They probably needed external talent back then for all the languid bath shots. As in sermons in stones, and books in the running. But yes, DVD rips are really not as lovely as from hdtv, more pixelated if nothing else. Pissed-Off steak, nice pepper sauce.

I have since ameliorated my opinion of klipfolio 3, and reinstated it in a more limited capacity - for more information, see this post on the Serence forums.

Posted by subtitles at 1:01 PM

PCWorld: Opera Second String to Bushy Tailed Rodent

While in the lovely fairy-neverland - that glories in the fact of Opera's recurrence (it's been there before) on PCWorld's top 100 list - all this is no doubt a big deal; but to those of us who don't get baked before noon, it's pretty much over the bra, under the shirt. True, Opera is part of a long list of web apps, tucked between blah and blah. FireVole managed to get the much much less prominent and prestigious placing of being ProDuck of the Yearling.

Though it's nice to know that while the link to Opera's little review-let is suitably pithy and glowing (oy! - with the features already), while FireBadger's no less smoldering assessment takes place amidst another mind numbing comparison shop, where Opera is so augustly mentioned. Well mentioned in as much as it's there to play second string to a Bushy Tailed Rodent.

Oh, look, a parade, but I'm fluffy and cute and black and hovering.

Guys, it's time to bring out the penguin, and shove the gay superman.

Posted by subtitles at 3:13 AM

June 1, 2005

Opera Blogs on Hiatus

I suppose I should think of it as a positive thing, that they're going to go away and get things right, I just hope it's not indefinitely delayed - there's times when incremental change isn't the worst thing. So yes, now you know why Opera never tells when it's products are being released :P.

In the mean time, I think of it as a time for the community to build itself - away from the competition. To that end I'd ask you to have a look at my suggestion for a "message calender", or a monthly/weekly topic for the Bogglers to participate in, should they find it useful in giving them ideas what to boggle about.

In the mean time though, I've also started a thread where you can post suggestions about what you'd want to see when Opera Blogs is relaunched.

This is the notice on the MyOpera main page:

Note: As of June 1st, we have decided to discontinue our blogging competition until we come up with a better implementation for it. It will be back at a later date. However, the existing system is still available below, but there are no phones to be won right now.

Posted by subtitles at 10:55 AM

May 31, 2005

A Matter of Timing - More Security Complaints

And so I went pretty bitchcakes over the AP story that came out in the past day or so. That done, the press release providing more information came out (they re-used the headers/page title from the previous release - sloppy). Obviously it wasn't cobbled together because I was being picky, but it's nice that it's out. But now that it is, some questions remain. You'd think press releases would be a dime a dozen, and while I see the wisdom in keeping them paced and measured, perhaps this should have come out before the story went live on the AP wire. Someone dropped the ball there.

That done, I go back to one of my previous complaints, that sure, they want to be unambiguous about their message - and it's true, that Opera is safer - but I can't help but think they miss the point of addressing the larger issue, and in so doing set themselves up for a fall. Software will never be fully secure. More features, more problems. However Opera is more secure, and has a better security record, than any other browser out there.

Clarity shouldn't, and doesn't have to, be at the expense of misrepresentation. And it's not just about fulfilling a wider responsibility to tell people that software is inherently unsafe - that patching is mandatory; that's not necessarily Opera's job. But it's in Opera's self-interest to make it clear - secure as Opera is, like all other software, it will still have flaws. The minute you go waving the security banner all over the place is when you're going to get the bitch slapped out of you.

The analogy I choose to use right now is this. If Kerry hadn't been waving the flag quite so much about his Vietnam War heroism, it wouldn't have been quite so big a deal when Swift-Boat people lied about him, and his actions as a war protester got scrutinised the way they did. When you tout yourself so unmitigatedly as being one way and that is so rudely ripped away by facts or innuendo - you have no one to blame but yourself.

I'd have preferred it if they had put it in the broader concept of Speed, Security, Simplicity - so that it's an opportunity to talk about broader issues about how good their browser is, and to minimise an obsession with security, which is more prevalent in some senses than is healthy already in InterWeb society.

There's plenty of nuance in the release, but it is a bit single minded in its emphasis, and the headlines it generates will create to the casual user an inflated sense of expectation. And okay, they sent it to Harris to poll - how is this a "study" though. They polled, or they surveyed. And really, I've read the release a couple of times, I'm still not sure what the numbers are meant to mean, or what point they're trying to make out of it, other than Opera's Secure, Dude.

Posted by subtitles at 12:41 PM

Great Expectations

Opera (sort of) said they would implement some changes to Opera Blogs "in the next blogging period" - so presumably, come tomorrow, the 1st of June, we'll be bowled over by the wonderful new features and improved experience. If they do not at least put in an RSS feed, I will be boggling livid for at least a couple of days. Regarding some of their other ideas, I hope they've dried off.

I have a dark comedy of silliness to tell about the experience of the phone, but I'll save that for a more appropriate time.

I think I'm constantly impressed by the diversity of languages that now dominate the boggling landscape here, prolific voices all. That said quiris is catching up at a rate that defies imagination, and I'm pretty gob-smacked by the whole thing - surely we can't have that many Polish users? Well, whatever it is, as long as it's all kosher, I'm happy enough to relinquish top spot - staying there is a bit too much pressure.

Just to be clear though, that despite the fact that Opera are so coy about it, I've already told them that winning once is more than enough, so I'm not even in the running this month. If that's the reason quiris is catching up so rapidly, I'd tell him to chill out and back the fuck off :D.

I've just realised that I'm probably the only english boggler on the front page, which is (pardon me), rather boggling. I do however still feel strongly that there's plenty of room to grow in terms of numbers and quality of the bogglers. And what did I say, most of the one post wonders have pretty much fizzled out, and it's really only the hardcore ones who are still chugging along. Well, since things got fixed at least. Remember that?

I do wonder if there shouldn't be more guidance regarding the conduct of all this, especially a rough guide of suggestions as to what goes and what doesn't (or what shouldn't so often). I've also been putting together the idea of a message calender - perhaps a more co-ordinated approach to putting certain cases forward, and some suggested material to spark it all off.

Topics of the week perhaps, like standards, UI, bloat, security, speed etc. - it'd give the better bogglers some kind of framework to write around, in addition to their normal posts. I think just responding to press attention and Opera's release schedule and news about InterWeb Smurfing/FireVole etc. is fine, but there should be a will towards setting an agenda, rather than simply reacting to things as they occur. These would be picked by us though, and labeled as part of the series - we'd draft a bunch of suggestions and poll on it in MyOpera - so that we'd be independent of Opera's editorial approval. Important if we're going to discuss perhaps unpleasant things, like ads, ad-removal, pricing, gripes etc. We'll see.

And just to be clear, I am not, nor do I see myself as, headmaster. I argue so annoyingly and at such length because that's just me - when you show up, you show up to play. I'm ever willing to be convinced, but if you felt you were right, you would want to be as persuasive as possible, and stop people from making mistakes - yes/no?


Posted by subtitles at 12:03 PM

Teaching the AP (and Opera) about English Grammar - and not to Hide, or to hide behind Security

And so I'm not saying that the results are not believable - on the contrary, I'm sure they do very much represent the general ignorance of the public - but I have a necessary bunch of queries and caveats. It seems strange that the surely more detailed study cited doesn't seem to be readily available online - at least not to the extent where the AP links to it in the article, I can find it on the MyOpera fora, or it's on the Opera main page/press releases. My initial suspicion is that it feels like the study's been slipped to the AP, and Opera feels it can gloss over the journalists and the fact that Opera are the ones responsible for a study that makes claims beneficial to them.

My little tin-foil antennae get raised in particular by the evasive construction of this sentence - "Many American online computer users are unaware that choice of browser affects Internet security, and few switch browsers even when they know the risk, a Norwegian study said Monday".

English, by and large is a pretty simple language - sentence construction, most of the time, if you wish to be clear, consists of subject, verb, object - in that order. Within that formulation, you put the active party in the subject of the sentence - ie you say who is doing what. In the quoted sentence, the subject of the sentence is very ostentatiously tucked away at the end where no one will notice. The subject of the sentence is Opera Software, who have commissioned or conducted the sstudy. For some reason the AP is colluding with Opera in eliding the fact that Opera commissioned a study in their own interest. The sentence should read,

Opera software (subject) commissioned (verb) a study (object), which claims that many American online users etc. etc.

Don't you think that's the thing you want to not wait till the second paragraph to make clear? The reason you put the people who are doing things in the subject of a sentence is so you know who is doing what. I, did, this. In the original sentence, "American online computer users" are the subject of the clause, perhaps, but not of the sentence. The sentence is about the study, the sub-clause of which concerns the "users" - so those responsible for the survey should be the most active and prominently placed. If ever I would argue for clarity, in particular clarity of agency, this is it. The subject should be the responsible party.

Aside from this little sleight, I'd like to think that if Opera were serious about this, they would get an independent polling company to do their polling, or an academic institution to write their study - people who are expected to objectively present information, rather than Opera themselves. But even as it is, if Opera wants to do it themselves, and it's cheaper/better that way, I don't particularly take issue - as long as the study is made public and I can be assured that peer-review has taken place. "A Study" suggests to me an academic endeavour that can be cited as an authority. Where has this been published? Does it have any association with an academic institution? Surely this is just the top-sheet results - where is the detailed data, in particular the polling model used, the assumptions presumed, the questions asked.

It's not that I don't believe them, and experience tells me that the figures they state are as accurate as you might expect - but when you do things, you do things properly, lest you do a big thing badly. And you choose the right person or organisation to present your message.

Opera's supporters should not a) propagate information this is not true, verified and credible (like the BSA, for instance) b) spread FUD where there is none c) accept all positive(-ish) press about Opera as "good" press.

Opera is a good enough browser that silly tricks - such as over-stating the danger of insecure browsers - is not (should not be) necessary. *I* trust that Opera is safe - that is *my* assertion, my endorsement. But IE 6 for XP (and XP only) is not *that* much more insecure to the point where there is imminent danger for all who use it and keep it patched.

Also, you do not put all your eggs in one basket - if your product is *only* Secure, you dig your own hole - eventually there will be flaws, and at that point you loose your message and credibility. When you preach only Security, you end up like FireVole, or worse, Netscape - hounded by every security flaw that's inevitably found. Then, there is no place to hide - in language, or elsewhere.

Posted by subtitles at 6:38 AM | Comments (2)

May 27, 2005

Opera: Won't Fuck Things Up Like Netscape Will

A great selling point if I ever. I saw it first on OperaWatch but it was everywhere. All the articles lead back to this post on the IE bog. Basically once you install Net'sCrap 8 (or the even more popular 8.01 - now *with* security), you can no longer use IE, or any part of its rendering engine, to view XML files. Which for me wouldn't be a big issue except that it means that I can't view histories in MSN Messenger - which are basically XML files rendered using IE. Who would have thought.

Conspiracy theories regarding AOL wanting to sabotage MSN Messenger users on the advent of the new AIM beta: transform and roll out. Oh, and a number of job vacancies opened up at Netscape - I wonder if it's related. (Could that have *been* a lamer joke?)

But yes, I've never known Opera to fuck things up in any way shape or form - but then it can't use IE's rendering engine. More features, more problems. For those that don't know, you can run a different version of Opera as simply as installing it into another folder - I'm honestly not even sure if it adds anything to the registry other than perhaps things that make it default browser (if you tell it to, not before), place it in the start menu etc.

Posted by subtitles at 8:08 AM | Comments (2)

May 26, 2005

I'd imagine my fingers cramping up

I suppose I could write about Celebrity Love Island, but I think I'd rather just do a short thing on the chat client in Opera. The main thing being - ah, so it's pretty cool. I particularly like that the text ends up being so clearly presented. And that the smileys aren't ugly. I can't say I've ever really been a big fan of chat, perhaps earlier on, for fun to try it out, but otherwise, it always seemed like a kind of weird sub-culture. Of course I know of the IRC eye-patch boys, but then there's not really that much "chatting" going on is there. I suppose the best use of the chat client is for multiple user chat, though I suppose a more limited/controlled version of that would be via an IM client. I wonder at the efficiency of it all though, since it can seem to get pretty messy, and I'd imagine my fingers cramping up.

From which you can glean that Louis knows absolutely fuck-all about chat. Thanks for coming, tip your waitresses (servers?).

But yes, set Outlook to remind me for 7.30 on thursdays (am I that silly? I just made that mistake - friday).

Oh, and some clever monkey fixed something for me, so now javascript pop-ups pop up when I want them to. I think it even fixed CNN, though that's of less importance. I suppose I could take BBC out of the sandbox, but I don't see the point. You wonder if I should do a search to find out how to make MSNBC work. And I did.

Posted by subtitles at 12:57 AM

May 24, 2005

Is Any One Else Getting Bored? - Or: What Opera Bogglers (Perhaps) Should Avoid Writing About So Much - Any More

I really don't mean this to be mean (except in my own sinister little roundabout way), but I'm a bit bored with what (and how) people write about Opera. I mean no particular offense to anybody, but there really should only be so many times people can write

1) Why I use/like Opera
2) Why you should switch to Opera
3) Why Opera is better than IE, FireVole
4) I heart Opera
5) This good review of Opera is great
6) This crap review of Opera didn't know what it was talking about
7) Did you know about this feature in Opera?
8) This guy slagged off Opera, let's go flame him
9) Click on my affiliate links so I can get a free license
10) I like writing 3 line posts so I can get more clicks and win a phone
11) Opera 8 is out!! (like, a month ago dude)
12) IE has tabbed browsing, FireBadger has this feature, Netscape is out, they all stole Opera's features, ha-ha their security sucks, (I think I'm trying to say that we have news feeds for a reason)

I'm not saying people shouldn't write about these things, and I can't as of right now quite say what else Opera Bogglers should write about, but surely people can be more interesting that this yes/no? And I suppose what I mean to say also is that a little nuance wouldn't kill anyone - sure we all use Opera, but booster hats are a "sometimes" cookie. I think in general it's also a matter of doing better rather than more.

I think I really appreciate the posts about the more technical aspects of Opera, I know the new is something I was glad to hear about, though I can't honestly say that that many things about it set my heart aflutter quite yet. But yes, knowledgable technical posts are always raising a kind of bar.

Also I suppose, just as there are news feeds, where news belongs, there is also the forums, where discussions occur. So what is Opera Boggling about? I think I know - perhaps, maybe - but I think it's a question each Boggler needs to ask himself each time he puts the word Opera in one of his posts.

What is nicely gratifying is that I don't think I've yet encountered a boggling community that has quite as many languages saying "I heart Opera" - it's especially nice that it's not just the english bogs that are getting hits. But yes, a "why I use Opera" post in japanese/polish/mandarin is still just that.

But I think volume is also doing a good thing, in that there's only so long that things stay on the latest page, which tends to help drown out the attention seekers, and perhaps encourages more frequent calls for an RSS feed. Also it seems a good time to introduce things like "most visited post in the last 24/48 hours", so that the better posts are more readily evident. Oh, and if you'll notice, even people who post super frequently aren't necessarily climbing the charts - after a while, people figure out that you post crap.

Posted by subtitles at 9:38 AM

May 22, 2005

The Myth of "Good" Opera Reviews - Or Really, of Good Reviews

My contrarian instincts are kicking in, and I really have to just say that I've yet to read a really good software review</>. Honestly the best ones are the ones that aren't reviews per-se, just little notes, on sites such as Neowin, that tell you what's special about the app, perhaps a blurb from the site etc. That is often the most useful - that along with the recommendation of sites that are staffed by real people who actually know things and use computers, not journalists to whom the "industry" is more important than the day to day usage. Good only to grouch.

Which brings me to the conveniently provided "positive reviews" that Opera chose to link to on As reviews go, still hung up on "new features" - how "features" sets it apart. These people are stricken with the affliction of news. As any actual Opera user can tell you,

It's not about the features.

And even when it is about the features, it's something that really you take for granted, because people are being paid to innovate, and do so to put ease of use as much as possible within easy reach. I'm not saying you don't have to have the balls to make it so you're happy with it, it's just that you just don't expect things to be any other way. And it's not ugly.

The Boston Globe review is marginally better than the other two because it's about the company as much as it is about the browser - but then again it's just another one of those things to catch the world up on what's already passed them by - by someone to whom all this is some kind of revelation. Like someone just came on his face.

What is otherwise incensing me now is the fact that Delwyn (a friend of mine) made the decision of FireBadger based on the fact that cute bushy tail vs gay superman with red orgasm - who do you think is gonna hit dat? Maybe time Opera got a mascot worth a damn. I'm telling you, cute things make a lot of difference - without the penguin, you think linux users would get laid?

Posted by subtitles at 5:59 AM

May 21, 2005

The Inconsistent Hypocrisy of CNet's Review of Opera

I really don't like writing about or responding to reviews and generally getting too involved in what so many people write about, but I thought it important to point things out about CNet and its inherent, but inconsistent, bias. CNet, quite rightly, is a profit driven enterprise, and all power to it for that. However, it's rather conspicuous in favouring its coverage towards the highest ends of the markets - writing about big ticket items like HDTVs, and more recently, cars.

Just a side note now to say that this penchent, as occurs with so many tech newspapers, leads to what the Inq refers to (at least in part) as Megahurts - basically the inflation of hype. There will always be a market for the new and the expensive, but in certain ways I'm always sceptical about how outlets, like CNet, encourage a "we have to have the best, who cares if it costs me my left testicle" attitude towards technology. They do this at least in part because that is where the advertisers are - though to be fair, the people paying the most have a right to read the most coverage.

But yes, CNet has never really struck me as a place that was shy about price - sure they'd warn you if something was hideously overpriced, but they often shrug it off as "well, you pay for the best". They've also tended to privilege "the best" in their ratings, over "value" - so very good things get a high rating, even if they are expensive. So the high ratings tend often to be reserved for the most expensive items with the most established reputations etc.

So when they decide to put that aside and say, well, Opera is a fantastic cutting edge browser suitable for early adopters (as if Opera were a constantly beta browser) but it's not worth it due to the fact that it costs money, I'm baffled beyond words.

I think the fact that they figure the cost and availability of tech support into the review should be a real issue to take with the way they do things - one time "support" for FireVole and IE cost as much, if not more than unlimited (if e-mail only) support from Opera. Which would be fair if they stuck to their ethos of "rate according to how good it is, not by how much value it provides" - since IE and FireBadger have phone support - but it's not at all borne out in their overall reviews of the browsers at hand.

You'll notice I'm not writing about the quality of, or a great deal about, the "substance" (who was it that said quotation marks of protest?) of the review, because if I did that, I'd want to bite my hands off with a spoon. Can anyone say flashily irrelevant?

And oh man do I regret it when I write these things, because it makes me think I need to tell everybody that I'm not really like that.

Oh, and I actually rather like Netscape now that I've played around with it for a bit - I'm really rather indifferent to it in relation to FireRodent. I don't mind saying, that the option to use IE rendering isn't the worst idea in the world.

Posted by subtitles at 3:07 AM

May 20, 2005

How Am I Different - FireRodent (FireVole?) and the Jingoistic Rant

I am failing to see how the fucking annoying (and really very untrue) warnings of - hey you're using a crappy browser - from people who should know better, are there to do anything other than piss me the fuck off.

I got it from Techwhack (welcome to Opera Blogs, my your name could be a not so funny but mildly scatological (unless semen doesn't count as excrement) joke). They point you to this crap and this crap.

I do not need to be condescended to constantly about how "your" browser is better. Agnosticism is what it's supposed to be about. Sure I trash FireVole, but not for its ability to render pages - if you conform to standards, who gives a flying fuck? I mean it's all fine as long as it's fun and games, but if you try goodger's page in IE, you the most jingoistic rant that you'd think they would want to remove from web culture forever, rather than perpetuating.

Fuckwit motherfuckers.

But yes, the hilarity of "rending engine", which I'll assume is intentional.

Isn't depraved vulgarity just fun?

But yes, you have an unsafe non-beta browser - what a cockmunching idiot you must really be.

Posted by subtitles at 3:51 AM

May 19, 2005

hackety mchack - And so wonderful news, Opera Blogs

I'm not doing it for "cred" - I don't have any - my middle name is hackety mchack. Ok, I'm figuring I'm being really very harsh on the Opera marketing people, but I'm assuming that they'd rather have something a little unvarnished in terms of feedback - though I'm not sure the splinters would have helped, even *with* lube bent over. I suppose what I neglected to say is that I'm absolutely fucking ecstatic that they even are bothering to keep all this going. And BEING SHOUTED AT probably never brought out the best in anybody. I do however feel suitably martyred by the fact that if I don't take some time off and stop typing/mousing so much and so promptly, RSI is going to bite so hard.

And so wonderful news, Opera Blogs is getting more attention, probably a little revamp, and they finally (I think) are on their way to sorting out the sorting bug. Well, at least I see posts breaking away from the pack, I'm not sure if that means anything though, since some of the latest posts are still pretty ancient.

Golden Showers never killed anybody. I really really can't see myself getting behind the whole linking-in business, but I applaud the enthusiasm, and the willingness to change, and the gesture towards forethought - but it really needs to be nudged a bit - and to be honest, all this requires greater input from a larger and more varied group of voices from within the community.

What I think they need is to stop thinking of it as a contest, and to start thinking of it as incentivising their boosters, with whom they have to be gently persuasive in both wooing and persuading. But it needs to be more than an afterthought, and it needs to not be about the trendiness of boggling - think Barry Goldwater, have some mushrooms and peyote (vision, get it?).

Posted by subtitles at 4:29 PM

I Guess It's Not Difficult To Feel Guilty When You're an Ass

Yeah, I think I never quite grasped how much phones cost nowadays - the last time I bought a phone, sure, it wasn't cheap, but I wasn't spending quite this much. And I mean, really, I thought they were being sort of sponsored, or they had some kind of deal with the distributer or they had samples lying about. But the idea that they'd have to resort to paying retail? Crazy. And I mean, really fuck me crazy. Oh, and they're not being that silly and giving me a serial for Opera for Mobile (or whatever) - though to be fair, I did remind them before they had a chance to forget, and that really wouldn't cost them a cent.

And so like I said, I feel shatteringly ungrateful now. Not that I don't mean what I say about how things should be improved, and neither do I feel significantly bought off, but I'm starting to think all this might be a bit wasted on me. But yes, to anyone who's not quite grasped the coolness or cost of what you can get, this is pretty huge. Ok sure, it's not like they're fucking Oprah before tax, but you'd think it's a pretty big wad to blow every month of some fucker to grouses at them so much.

How can I judge without being ungrateful.

And so yes, slightly flabbergasted. I'd post the receipt, but that'd just be tawdry. Do you think it comes with its own nightstand?

I had been planning to do a post about their publicly available financial report, might move that up in the schedule.

But yes, really, I don't think I quite grasped how big the prize was, and it was nice those guys didn't succumb to me being annoying, and waited till the new model came out. But really, 2 cameras? what's that about?

Posted by subtitles at 3:35 PM

May 17, 2005

Proxo Simplified - Updated

Opera, Blah. I did an updated file for my previous post - Proxomitron Made Simple/Idiot-Proof - Advanced Ad-Blocking. The file url hasn't changed, but the rar file now extracts to a directory named Proxomitron Grypen, conveniently it won't over-write the old directory. Most of the caveats remain, but it's still simple, unrar, put the shortcut into your startup folder and you're off.

If you want to do a clean install and tweak it yourself, read my more recent post about Grypen. But this version I've tweaked to make it more usable. And my ads now show up, which took getting used to, but now things are more symmetrical.

Next is the Search.ini. But in the mean time, you can have a taster with my most recent search.ini. Not modified from version 5, just from 4, updated to 5. And pretty packed up top, and only for 8 (obviously).

Posted by subtitles at 5:22 AM | TrackBack

Thumb-Sucking Bastards

And yes, I am sucking my thumb until they - Opera - fucking fix the fucking latest page - I can't imagine that they actually want it this way. But that aside, a bunch of friendly newcomers have trooped over to grace the endeavour.

I'm sure there's a swell of butter in the aftermath of peoples' reviews coming out of Opera, and much flapping and rending. All part of the fun and games to be sure. Probably not exactly what the OSTF has in mind when it tries to tickle effluent. Much disappointment with the Washington Post though, you'd have wished perhaps for more political inflection. I think I've almost ceased to care about the fact of their lush - I'd rather wait for Thursday at Pumpkin Time.

And so apparently a swell of people eager to reward incumbency, and Polish(?) becoming particularly sought after? I wonder if they speak German or install English. I'm presuming the latter and have nostrils for the first.

It's not all position, as much is the kite-flying of fibre, sugar, and NewsRadio Tracker.

SpelChek has an annoying penchant for american spelling.

Posted by subtitles at 2:57 AM | TrackBack

May 16, 2005

Grypen's Filters for Proxomitron

For those not familiar, the past few days of absolute gaping silence is more what my posting schedule has been like than otherwise. Which is why really I'm not too upset at the prospect of living with monthly archives.

But anyway, leaving the obligatory Opera reference aside (see what I did there?), the discovery I made over the weekend was Grypen's filters for Proxomitron, which are, excuse my french, the dog's bollocks. Which apparently is slang for out-side-standing.

Apparently they're based on JD's filters, and they work fantastically well, though there are always going to be one or two quirks. For those not faint of heart, just do a clean install of Proxo with his filters (like Opera, you can just install to a new directory - the startup shortcut just goes in the start menu). You start by installing this, then this. Then except for tweaking and setting your proxy, you're done.

I still say I'd rather have the non-nuclear option of Opera having better CSS filtering, but this is the next best thing. I suppose I'd like to do another idiot proof post, but I just suspect that no one gives a flying fuck. Though as always, it's just easy in terms of doing it for others. I wouldn't wonder if you could just install Proxo and then copy the files over, since I don't think the registry's even involved.

Personally I'd rather have CNet's front page back, and really it is a bit annoying smurfing my spite with ads - if only because of the flickery-ness of them. Oh, but SpelChek gets its ads well-filtered :).

Posted by subtitles at 1:31 AM | TrackBack

May 12, 2005

Very Much Like Aslan

Again with the confluence - but it is the events, rather than my them of the piecing. You'll know when you see me. And the really very very funny bits in Concrete Cow about Lion/Witch/Wardrobe - "Aslan's just going to piss you off". Oh and the reasonably promising trailer for the new Narnia movie. It makes me want to read the ones that I remember more resonantly - Dawn Treader and (Su-lin will soon inform me) the one with the iconic presence of "Under Me", or something to that effect. But I think the Dawn Treader contributes in no small extent to my affection for Golding. And I shall find the opportunity to at least try reading Starter For Ten. One of my very first spell-checked posts, how lovely. Though it's annoying in the sense that it doesn't let you manually edit straight away, and there is more than one step towards putting it all back; so I tend to just check and when it shows nothing wrong, to close it. And it finds all manner of silly things wrong, which is wrong of them and silly. And I really must do a follow up on my writing about embracing chaos - the title is handily supplied: Chaos, Control. Chaos, Control. You Like? You Like? It's probably a kind of wrong that bulimia summarises for me such a assertive sense of the will towards control. There probably really is something wrong with me going Sorkin crazy again, but at least now I'm going to fun things like doing a Mary Louise-Parker splash. And dreams about things, and my grandfather, and his death and his funeral. Very much like Aslan.

I normally like to space paragraph things, but when it's composed the way it is. And apparently Opera has decided to abdicate all responsibility. And I think I'm just a bit worn out from Optool. You really do need to restart after you first launch after updating. Klipfolio 3 will be a treat. Perhaps I should cover their striptease before the money-shot.

Posted by subtitles at 10:31 PM | TrackBack

May 10, 2005

A Very Silly Kind of Toss - Norwegian Government Does Opera a Favour: By Not Using Opera

I don't know why I'm stepping into it the way I do, I can't help myself. And I'm not ragging on an individual, this is something I would go to great pains to correct in any number or shape of people.

Opera Watch decided to contact Norwegian embassies to see if they use Opera. The idea of "supporting the home team" - of gaining a level of utility from purchasing something that you are affiliated with - is well within the realm of expectation and behaviour. But for most people, the consideration of such utility tends to weigh less and less when you consider to yourself the relative price or cost of those affiliated goods, compared to those available better and more cheaply from somewhere else.

People *like* imports. Imports mean I can get better stuff cheaper than I could if I bought everything I wanted that was made within spitting distance of myself. I get a Norwegian Browser, I get Taiwanese designed and Chinese manufactured electronics, I get Japanese made optical media. Certain people and places make better things more cheaply than others; it's called comparative advantage. People *like* imports.

The warm fuzzy feeling you get from buying things made from where you're from tends to go away pretty quickly when you realise that where you're from can't make all great things cheaply all the time. If all things were equal, sure, why not get something to which you have a sentimental attachment. But.

What has to be made clear though is that this sentimental attachment does not translate into "helping" "your" own people. When you impose the consumption of a thing on people - the cost difference of which is not commensurate to the (surely very limited) sentiment derived from it - you are simply being counter-productive, and not a little wasteful. In addition, you are artificially propping up an industry which rational markets cannot sustain. At some point the economic forces at work will convince you more and more of how much you are costing yourself, and things will have to change. At which time the propped up industry will collapse - and fall further than it would have otherwise if it had not been propped up in the first place.

"By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good." Of which, more here.

Not least in public services, government should strive to use what is most economically rational. To do otherwise is to betray a trust between it and its people: not to waste the funds it collects in taxing the people. Governments serve a purpose, and it should fulfill that purpose with the least burden possible on the people that pay its wages - to do otherwise would be irresponsible.

I cannot honestly say that using Internet Explorer is in the economic interests of anybody, considering the amounts that can be required to secure it, or to clean up after its lack of security - in both the act and the loss of productivity. But to recommend Opera simply because it fulfills some masturbatory purpose is a corrupt kind of perversion.

How much more pride could you feel for the produce of your home, if you could not just say that it is yours, but that it is the best - and best not just as a thing, but best for any who would consider its purchase. "Hey, it's not very good, but we make it, so we use it - aren't we clever?"

Moreover, governments are the least capable of any to make decisions of industry - to be as arbitrary and cruel with its favour or neglect as to betray all sense. If wishing made it so - perhaps. National Champions are a very silly kind of toss.

Even when it comes to using Opera, there is, or there should be, a right and a wrong reason for it.

Posted by subtitles at 12:07 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

May 9, 2005

Firefox Worships an Awesome God - Opera - or: Hey, Look, A Wheel, Let's Go Discover It

Neowin is reporting on Firefox reacting to the lunch of Opera 8. Apparently they decided to consult the Oracle this time to find out how *good* browsers do things.

I can't help but notice that one of the spanky *new features* is "instantaneous Back-Forward" - which in Opera is known as: *duh*, how back and forward have *always* been. And nary a mention of the fact that Opera has had this implemented for years now.

I mean I'm not one to harp on the fact that Mozilla, and in fact most Open Sauce projects, tend to get most of their ideas from existing proprietary products (they do it, admittedly, better than anyone else, in a good way), but this is one thing that Opera really needs to roll on the floor laughing about.

Talk about rediscovering the fucking wheel. I nearly fell off the floor.

Posted by subtitles at 10:24 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

May 8, 2005

Boo Hoo, I'm Too Stupid To Figure Out Web Accelerator

Poor baby, can't figure out how to filter out those sites that don't work by adjusting the app's settings. And so now they're turning it into a more closed beta. Which is code for "we got bitchslapped by the bad press so we're gonna go off and tweak". I'm sure Opera users, of all people, will be savvy enough to realise that one size doesn't fit all, and that when people do stupid stuff with their sites, that things break, and if you want to get things just right, you're going to have to play with settings on your own rather than just stand there with your pants round your ankles. If things don't work with the GWA, just add that site's url to the exception list - is that so difficult?

From my experience using Web Accelerator, I can't say it was seamless, but I can't say it was particularly troublesome. I mean, I have more issues using Proxomitron or Opera than I had with Web Accelerator. And call me a sucker, but I got the impression it wasn't doing too bad a job. If nothing else, when viewing sequential pages, for example the individual entry pages of this bog, the pre-fetching was remarkably accurate and useful.

This seems to be the way things go nowadays, Google or someone launches something, people throw as much FUD at it as possible, and basically shame them into crawling away and sucking their collective thumbs. People have gotten so hyped up over conflated notions of information harvesting and over-fed kittens of *evil* - that sensible, helpful things get pilloried out the gate.

Oh and apparently it wasn't actually calculating the time saved per page, it was just extrapolating a guess-timate.

Posted by subtitles at 9:55 PM | TrackBack

*Finally* - A Detailed Discussion About Opera Blogs

Though obviously I'm starting to feel that my view-point is in the minority (you're all hippy-dippy tie-died globalisation-protesting bastards :D), there's a wonderful discussion on various aspects of Opera Blogs going on in the forums. It really gladdens my heart to see people giving a crap. And really, very very good ideas being thrown about.

My particular favorite (because it's mine) is user filtered RSS feeds, so you only get the headlines from people you give a crap about. Also you get me talking about Why Opera Blogs is good/necessary. Am I on fire or what?

Oh and the rest of them make good points too :D. Especially about nonsense posting and a desire for more quality content, as opposed to quantity (whose premise, on principle, I sternly disagree with). But regardless, it's a discussion, which is more than I've been getting till now.

Mandatory reading, if you work for Opera, and can make things happen.

Posted by subtitles at 6:34 PM | TrackBack

Mozzarella Software Riddled With Even More Holes

The Inq and /.. I'd like to put this in context of security flaws with Opera etc. but the effort escapes me.

Let the schadenfreude commence.

If only there were a convenient way of invoking the guy from the simpsons (Nelson?) who goes "ha-ha".

I thought the first comment on /. was particularly hilarious:

Uh oh! by kryogen1x (838672) on Sunday May 08, @10:16AM (#12467673)

Hey everyone let's use IE now, because it's safer than Firefox.

Oh, wait.

The actual Secunia advisory.

Posted by subtitles at 5:09 PM | TrackBack

May 7, 2005

Optool 2.1 Beta Leaked

Well, okay, nothing quite as dramatic as that, but while the documentation etc. for the "proper" beta test is being put together, I have what amounts to a very much working "teaser" of Optool 2.1. Not as big news as new Opera "Tech Preview", but still fun.

Download the setup file.

Blah blah - beta software - blah blah. From my own testing this build is as solid and usable as it gets. Please report bugs/make suggestions/comments at the Unofficial Optool Forums. Alternatively, you could contact Martin via the Optool site, but do everyone a favour and confirm the bugs in the forum before e-mailing him. The site also has documentation for the earlier builds of 2.0.

Please be aware that most if not all of the new features are undocumented - you'll just have to figure it out till the actual beta comes along. If you want you can have a look at the tentative changelog from a while ago - but just be aware that things have changed since then. Read the settings and pay attention to the tooltips and you'll be fine.

Oh, and you might want to uninstall older versions of Optool (if only as a precaution) - or basically just delete the folder with the .exe and .ini files.

From the Optool website:

Optool (formerly Operatool, now Optional Browser tool or Open-in-another-browser-tool - or whatever you like!) for MS Windows is a freeware utility which easily allows you to open a given web site in another browser. Use it if your preferred browser doesn't show the site properly or if you are a developer and want to check the page in several browsers without the hassle of cutting and pasting the URL.

Update: This was the beta changelog sent out to testers,

- Custom right click margin for long right clicks

- A 15% limit for long right clicks: no matter the custom margin, Optool will never claim more than 15 % of the window width. This is addressed to small popup windows, where eg. a 300 pixel margin would take far to much space up in a 400 pixels wide window, thus making mouse gestures etc. very difficult.

- The menu structure is more compact with for example "Close browsers"
grouped in a sub menu.

- The Window Resize Menu is only present if there are items present in the setup dialog. If you don't need the feature, there is no need to take up menu space.

- You can choose to hide disabled menu items instead of showing them grayed out.

- A nice "Go to Domain Root" feature which will navigate the browser to if your are at and so forth.

- Several bug fixes

Personally the biggest bug/feature fix was that now links are sent directly to Firefox, and you configure how FF reacts based on it's tab/window handling settings, instead of always opening in the same window/new window.

Posted by subtitles at 10:39 AM | TrackBack

May 6, 2005

Unofficial Opera Blogs Forum - Forum RSS Feed - Spamproofed Memberlist Page

I just find it a bit annoying having to write about Opera Blogs as a subsection of the MyOpera Community forum. Sure it'll get seen more, but blah. So: The Unofficial Opera Blogs Forum.

My new RSS feed for the forums is up - easiest mod *ever*. Pretty RSS icon doesn't show up in the address bar, but that's because I haven't a clue how to edit my headers. But now I do, thanks to this. The actual feed url is Oh, and now non-active users no longer show up on my userlist, so the spam bastards can bite me. I also trimmed my users, I've deleted everyone who had zero posts.

Posted by subtitles at 6:52 PM | TrackBack

Opera Blogs Unofficial FAQ - Opera Blogs Maintenance

I've decided it's time there was one, while waiting for Opera to get things rolling. You can find it in the MyOpera forums. Add comments etc. if you have suggestions/comments, or you want things changed.

Also have a look at my poll about the current and future status of Opera Blogs.

As you've noticed, posts are suddenly appearing - that's because they just fixed something and everything has just refreshed - things will get back to normal once people start writing new posts.

Posted by subtitles at 10:34 AM | TrackBack

Google Web Accelerator Just Exploiting ISPs' Local Cache? - Important Limitation for Bittorrent Users

I wrote about the GWA in a previous post, one that seemed rather popular with the Opera users in the forums. Hence an update.

Apparently their "web accelerator" might be doing something as simple as exploiting your isp's local cache. When I browse using it, my IP gets redirected to a different IP, identified as cache.myisp etc. Which makes me wonder first who's doing most of the work, whether my ISP should be offering this rather than Google etc. But I suppose ISPs are looking to minimise support issues as much as possible yes/no? And they probably don't mind people being efficient and using their cache. Still, it seems to take the mystique out of google's little miracle app.

Well, what this means is that if you belong to any registration based BT site, you're going to want to turn GWA off for those sites. Because if you don't you might not be able to down/upload, and your stats might not get counted - basically you'll be registering the site with a different IP than your BT client. You turn GWA off for those sites by going to the settings menu - right click on the system tray icon, under preferences. It'll launch the local web page with your settings in it, and you should add in the domains that you want to exclude, eg:, Simple enough, but took me a bit to realise. That preferences menu is also quite useful to twiddling the settings of the app.

Adding the urls to the bypass list in Proxo isn't the way to go apparently, since that didn't make a difference (obvious to some, probably, but not to me). I'm assuming passing Azureus through the proxy would be ill-advised. If only because it'd clog up the traffic through the cache, and I think the cache is clever enough to stop that - well at least it was with the Uni network back in the old country.

Oh, and I find out that it makes a hash of handling me going to my admin panel on my forums, so that's out as well.

Posted by subtitles at 2:28 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 5, 2005

Opera Should Not "Lock In" RSS Feeds

What Opera has done, with Opera 8 final, has been effectively to make the way it handles RSS feeds less agnostic - for all intents an purposes locking you in to using Opera as your main RSS client.

Okay, that's grossly overstating it. But that's what I do isn't it?

Anyway, the point is that it's now that bit more annoying if you use a third-party RSS feed reader. In the previous Opera 8 betas this wasn't so much of a problem, since when you clicked on the spanky RSS icon in the address bar, they would tell you the url that you were subscribing to - all the better to copy it an paste it into, say, Klipfolio. In Opera 8 they decided to simplify things - an admirable act, for which Opera should be applauded - but now they just show the title of the feed rather than the url - so no more easy copying and pasting.

Now if you want the url (which, as often as not is not available as a link on the page itself - which is why the address bar icon is so useful) you have to subscribe to the feed in Opera, go to manage feeds (more of a task for me, since I don't show my menu bar, and wouldn't have to except for this), and "edit" the feed into order to get at the url. If that's not locking things into the client, I don't know what is. To the technically challenged, speed-bumps are as good as a wall.

You can try it with this site, if you're curious, my feeds should show up in your address bar. An apt example too, since only the RSS 1.0 feed is linked in the page itself, while the RSS 2.0 and Atom feeds are most easily available through the address bar.

I tried using ctrl-j, but that doesn't seem to pick up on the feed links - the only other way is to ctrl-F3 to view source - the feed urls are normally on top.

My suggestion is simple - as I've said, the urge towards simplicity is a laudable one - but in this case, ease of use has to take precedence yes/no? Perhaps a context menu if you right click on the RSS icon, so you can copy the feed urls - seems simple enough, and elegant, as well as logical, for the UI. What might add more clutter is to put a "show url" button on the "do you want to add this RSS feed" pop-up. Not as elegant, but still works.

In so many ways, it's just so much more fun picking at Opera's little faults than to spurt Fanboy Juice, don't you think?

Posted by subtitles at 9:45 AM

Google Web Accelerator - Browse Ads Faster

I've been using the aforementioned web accelerator - which I think seems pretty useful. Heard it first on BetaNews. I've been using it for about half an hour or so, and pages do seem to load faster, but that might just be a placebo effect. The best thing though is that I can surf with it and Opera still ad-free through Proxomitron, all you have to do is put the proxy info they give into Proxo's proxy and check "use remote proxy". Voila - ad-free sped up smurfing.

What I realised later when I finally wrestled MS Anti-spyware into submission (I had paranoid-ly stopped the toolbars from installing), what the fantastic secret was behind google's cunning plan. Because they have a counter for how much time saved I could see the moment when time saved was being racked up - and guess what - it's when the ads are loaded. Google is saving you time by loading the ads you don't want faster.

To be fair this is not an inconsiderable service - people who don't use ad-blocking like Proxo will probably have a much improved browsing experience, since ads are becoming more and more the cause of web pages loading slowly - either due to lags on the ad server, or the size of the graphical ads in relation to the page content.

So basically when I went to check my stats, I realised that the time I spent with Opera didn't show any time saved. I can only assume time was saved because it felt faster and google news loaded and reloaded in a flash - which is what I assume prefetching is for. So either it's all placebo and it's crap, or it doesn't log time saved for "other browsers", or it's just a way for Google to collect stats and help advertisers serve ads faster. Because really, the content of the page would load, then the ads would flicker on a second later, just as the "time saved" would tick over.

Ah ok, I'm seeing how it works now, it does indeed prefetch links - for instance they use styling to extra underline prefetched links - for instance the english wikipedia front page when I was on Though I think they do it in the time you're supposedly "reading" the page. I'm not sure if this works properly in Opera, since, I haven't seen the styling links flicker on. I'm sure cleverer people than me will talk about this eventually, but at the moment, it's useful, but funny. Really, it might just be my 25 Mbit connection kicking in.

Oh my, I just realised the WikiNews page that they loaded on IE was from 5 days back - silly buggers. But Google News loads faster, which is one thing - and accessing Google's cache instead of the wider InterWeb is probably that bit more efficient. There's probably some form of compression going on as well, I'd suspect. It's interesting that because of the pre-fetching, Google says this is meant mostly for Broadband users. Pre-fetched links still not showing up in Opera, might try turning on FF's CSS ad blocking and see how that affects on the landscape.

Well I'm not wrong - the counter doesn't seem to tick up when browsing with CSS blocking - even with the prefetch pages, which is odd. Well, ok, not *not* tick up, but tick up in increments of .1 and .2 of a second. So really it is just about speeding up ads. Or not, since I'm getting the feeling all of this is just me talking out my ass - in IE it does appear to tick up the same with the ads. I don't know, it might just be google's caching being efficient, and the ads do seem to take a second to load - though not as long a second as I remember - but then again I haven't seen ads for ages.

It does a great job prefetching my bog though, especially if you're going post by post - though then the prefetch underlines start to get particularly annoying.

I think my final verdict is gonna have to be to try it, why not - though the ticking up can get a bit obsessive, so you might want to turn that, and the pre-fetch underlines (eventually) off.

Posted by subtitles at 5:30 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

May 4, 2005 - I've Been Spamming For Bogglers (and you should be too) is the place where the Norwegian invasion of America is supposedly being planned. You might have seen an invitation for more people to join their group on MyOpera. If nothing else, the bog-standard Opera fanboy might be interested in their boilerplate sample e-mails for haranguing ISPs to offer Opera - which could well be adapted to harangue sites to support Opera. Anyway, it's all good, sounds like fun.

I've also been gratuitously leaving comments for the most prominent Opera Bogglers on Opera Journals, for them to come here and submit their feeds, since they're writing about Opera already. Also to the people at Opera University (well, sort of). Oh and to Tim Luoma, who does 30 Days... If you want, you can do us all a favour and find a way to convince them to just submit their feeds and plump up the numbers - especially since the numbers are already there, they're just not all showing up.

And if you know of anyone who writes about Opera, tell them to come by and pimp their site, maybe win a phone.

Posted by subtitles at 8:01 PM | TrackBack

"Victory is mine, victory is mine, great day in the morning people, victory is mine"


"...I drink from the keg of glory, Donna - bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land"

"We so happy, we do the dance of joy"

A friendly Opera employee has just declared me winner for the calender month of April. More importantly I kicked that cheating motherfucker's ASS.

I now direct you to suggestions for the betterment and the future of Opera Blogs. I'd also recommend they re-set the counters (or something), because unless they do (or they disqualify me), I'm going to feel bad about writing as much as I do in the future.

They must have just said "oh fuck me, we're tired of dealing with this guy's shit, lets just give him the fucking phone and be done with it". I'll post ecstatic pics of it when it gets here. Maybe a little victory dance.

Posted by subtitles at 3:08 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I Smell A Rat - 65 Hits in an Hour? - What's Going on With Opera Blogs' Stats?

Below are screenshots of a sudden leap in OperaWatch's stats over the last hour or so - thanks to Opera's lovely caching. I don't have exact times, but my increase in hits were at least partly to do with seperate feeds mistakenly sent being joined together by an Opera staff member - and as you can see, LSR's clicks are exactly the same in both shots - so not that much time could have passed. Similarly, I'm currently on the top of the most visited charts. I'm not accusing anyone of anything, but this seems a bit irregular, and these sudden jumps have happened in the past. OperaWatch hasn't had anything on the "latest" front page throughout this period, so I'm at a loss to explain it. The only thing I can think of that wouldn't invalidate the results is that the same Opera employee joined up his stats as well, though I've not seen his blog being doubled up in the lists. The earlier screenshot is a bit blurrier because it's capped off win2k, with no anti-aliasing.


Could this have anything to do with me saying the deadline for the contest has been extended and that I'm going to kick his ass?

Edit: As my helpful (if anonymous) friend below has indicated, link pimping is probably the cause of the jump. I've said before that I would never do anything of the sort, nor have I. Basically what our friend did was link to his own blog with the url link on Opera Blogs, on a post in the forums. I have saved a copy of the page as proof. I'm not saying this is necessarily unethical, but without a framework to work in, some kind of terms and conditions, this kind of act is a kind of grey area that bogglers might not be clear about. Certainly if it's fair game, people will spend as much time pimping their links as writing about Opera.


You're going to have to take my word for it that I was hovering over the first link you see when the screenshot was taken - the mouse doesn't show up, and neither do tooltips.

Posted by subtitles at 1:15 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

The Month Ends On The 19th - I Wish Someone Had Made That Clear

Well, that explains it, so plenty more time for me to kick OperaWatch's ass :D. But friendly and helpful Opera staff member helped sort me out and sorted out my feed - amazing what happens when you ask. So yes, I'm now free to mention Opera in my other categories and not have it show up where it's not supposed to.

But more importantly, I'll quote the Opera Blogs page:

Blogs writing about Opera

Tell the world what you think about Opera 8 and win a Nokia 6630 for sharing your views! The most visited blog at the end of every month will be rewarded the prize. You can add your blog posts here by filling the form available in the sidebar. (My emphasis)

Am I wrong to have thought this meant the end of the actual month rather than a month from inception? I would think not. So yes, D-day is now 19th. I'll find the time to do an unofficial FAQ on Opera Blogs, probably in my newly dusted off Fora.

Edit: Apparently they've decided to clarify things on the site - which now states that the winner will be announced on the 21st of the month.

To iron out any possible confusion: The above-mentioned month is not a calendar month. It is a month from when the contest started, which means that the winner of the first phone will be announced on the 21st of May.

For the sake of posterity, I've decided to post screenshot of the period of time when the sun and moon shifted in the firmament:


Posted by subtitles at 12:16 PM | Comments (1)

Opera on Bittorrent - And P2P Generally - Tetchy Was Right, Opera *Is* Free

I suppose that's one of the questions I would have asked Tetchy: how he feels about the people out there who undoubtedly feel that Opera is worth pirating, and well, that it needs pirating. So yes, he's right, it is free.

In many ways I think that nowadays, in terms of a piece of software getting noticed or popularised, being well placed on a BT site, say TorrentSpy or ISOHunt, would be about as prestigious/useful as being featured on used to be. What disappoints me is that it doesn't seem as popular as you'd think, with not that many seeders, and even fewer leechers. Though I suppose being so tiny, that most people don't feel the need to stay too long.

Obviously these are people who either find it convenient, or don't know what astalavista is. By the way, Opera's keygen-ed serials seem to last forever (I'm told), unlike other applications (Nero for example) who blacklist serials in every other release. I think the last time they did it was when 6 turned into 7 (allegedly).

As far as my interest in this goes, as long as they're using Opera I don't see a problem, they're still upping the market share and telling their friends. I know friends who have been turned on to Opera by getting it off P2p, and friends who are annoyed by the ads (which is most of them), somehow find a way towards getting an extended trial period. Funny how that works. I wonder if the Mozzarella Foundation gets revenue from the Google searches from FF.

I'm still blown away that BT sites are linked to on Wikipedia.

As to how this fits in with me talking about Opera in an economic sense, that's a longer conversation.

Posted by subtitles at 11:55 AM | TrackBack

Fallingbeam Forums Re-Opened - Opera Bogglers Welcome - Unofficial Optool Forum

I finally got off my ass and updated everything and got rid of all the spam I know about - the guys who pwned me for a bit were sneakier than I thought. Anyway, I know I'm a poor cousin compared to MyOpera, but I don't think they have a specific place to talk about Opera Blogs, or about Optool, so since I already have a forum, I thought I'd make it available. It's accessable via, or just go straight to the Opera forum, or the Optool forum.

Posted by subtitles at 11:30 AM | TrackBack

May 3, 2005

Oh Good God - It's Going Well Isn't It? - What Just Went Wrong, and Why

Jeez. Okay, apparently adding my category feed didn't help matters, especially because it turned out that my notebook was showing I was logged in when apparently I wasn't and hence the repetition - though god knows to whose MyOpera account.

It's very simple - I want to only submit my category feed, so I can be more selective of what I send to the aggregator - and don't have to be shy about using the word Opera all the time in my other posts, most of which will have nothing but a passing connection to Opera.

As I've said, this endeavour would be best served by people being allowed to control their own feeds and how they are parsed by the aggregator. I'm not saying it's easy, I'm just saying the way it is now is annoying.

Posted by subtitles at 1:43 PM | TrackBack

I Think He's Gonna Have to Swim Back - 2 Million Downloads - Mostly in English and German

It's Press Release time again here on Opera Blogs, where we peruse the best chum the Opera marketing department has to offer.

Opera 8's hit 2 Million downloads, which means Tetchy, worn out from answering questions from idiots, is gonna have to swim back from the US to Norway, this time stopping at a pub for a pint and some chips.

What's interesting is that they announced the breakdown of the various language versions downloaded of Opera 8. Apparently the large majority are still English users, but the German version took up about a fifth of the total 2 Million at about 400,000. Interesting in light of my comments on the Linguistic Makeup of Opera Users. German is really a kind of lingua franca (that's me, cracking up) in many parts of Europe if I'm not wrong?

Reminds me of Apple and their glee over their music store, but instead of Steve Jobs, we have Tetchy, and instead of Keynote, we have OperaShow. At least Tetchy doesn't wear those fucking annoying turtlenecks.

Posted by subtitles at 11:10 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Did I Win? Is it the "End of the Month" Yet?

Re: Opera Blogs - I mean, I'm not trying to be naughty, but don't "contests" like these tend to have long terms and conditions and very set deadlines? I was particularly conscientious about keeping up my posting up till around midnight of the 30th, Norway time. I know it's pretty sad, but I really am that starved for entertainment. And I had my victory dance planned and all.

I thought, fine, May Day's a holiday, but not enough so that Tetchy couldn't post his answers. And it's tuesday now. Unless they were counting the month from when they started the thing, which they should tell people yes? I'm going to find more pictures of Emma Watson to post.

I'm getting ready more sections of my Opera Boggling series, as well as an informal FAQ for Opera Blogs, unless someone official wants to beat me to it. Maybe some suggestions on how to Boggle Opera Well.

Oh, and complain about the fact that I can't view RSS feed urls easily anymore - which is simpler, yes, but for those of us who want to post the urls into our rss clients, it's a pain having to add it to Opera and find the url and then delete it from Opera. It's not very friendly. Maybe an option to show the url in the "add feed" dialog that pops up when you click on one. The problem is that some sites don't have a proper synication link on every page, so the address bar is the best way to get at things.

And I've got to start encouraging more bogglers in Journals to add their feeds.

Posted by subtitles at 9:51 AM | TrackBack

May 2, 2005

Tetchy Tells All

All joking aside, I think I've never quite been so won over by someone replying to peoples' questions. To me just sounds like a nice sincere man who loves what he does. Of course he is the guy who created the party line to begin with, but coming from him, it's delivered with a particular gravitas. It's impressive for someone in his position to actually answer as many questions as he did, and not just cherry-pick. You even start to think that he picked the complimentary ones because they genuinely please him. It's nice that he was able to get himself to answer some really silly questions.

But I wouldn't be me if I didn't strike a more dissonant note. The reason he asks for questions and then answers them in text is at least in part so that he doesn't have to answer the hardball questions. It'd be interesting to know which questions he avoided. In particular I think it's telling that there were no questions answered that were openly hostile or combative, no one being anything more than disappointed. Though disappointment isn't anything to sneeze at in this context. All in all, it was better than you'd expect, and again, people like him probably don't have to answer that many stupid questions - unless he's talking to the press, perhaps.

What I found most interesting was his reply about ad-blocking:

Marius, Norway:

First, I must say I'm honored to contact the CEO of my all time favourite browser (and I've tried A LOT, and i mean a lot, like in everything from Lynx to umh, Opera). Anyhow, I want to ask you why you don't implement an Adblock-function in Opera? [Question shortened]

Jon S. von Tetzchner:

Marius, thank you for your kind words. We have chosen not to push adblock in Opera, but there is a lot of ways you can perfom this kind of function, including use of User CSS and User JavaScript. Please note, however, that many sites are only able to provide their content for free through the use of ads. They may well not be able to do so if everybody starts using adblockers. Regards, Jon

The annoying part of me wants to say protectionism by any other name. But I've pretty well laid out my position on ad-blocking. I'm not saying make it easy, I'm just saying make it possible so that the smart people can say how good it is in yet another way. I'm just hoping that he's being politic, rather than believing that anything is served by false charity and dinosaur coddling.

Also have a look at Haavard's summary of the boss-man's points - Opera's CEO reveals what lies ahead.

Posted by subtitles at 6:08 PM | TrackBack

Optool Screenshots and Testing Version Changelog

Screenshots of the new pop-up and the new improved settings - none of which are finalised. This is a special testing build, the normal test build sent to testers just says RC1.

optool02.jpg optool03.jpg

This is an interim changelog from the e-mail the testers recieved,

NEW STUFF - Long right clicks: Right-click for about half a second near the right edge (100 pixels) of the window to invoke Optool. The reason for the 100 pixel margin is that long right clicks would otherwise inhibit other special right-click handling such as mouse gestures in Opera and Mozilla/Firefox. With this margin you can still use mouse gestures, just don't start near the right edge! If you don't use mouse gestures and similar actions, you can disable the margin requirement in the Options dialog. You can also totally disable long right clicks.

- Close original browser:
If you press the Control key while selecting a browser from the popup menu, Optool will close the original browser before opening the new.
This can make the screen less cluttered. If you need this feature always, select it permanently from the Options. The Control key actually inverts the actions, so if you have enabled this, Optool will NOT close the original if you press Control!

- Custom window sized:
In the Options you can enter as many window sizes as your want for resizing instead of the four pre-defined.

- Make target browser same size and position as original:
If this Option is enabled, Optool will try to open the new browser "on top" of the original. I write "try" because some browsers may refuse to open in specific positions. They may also refuse to open maximized
(Opera!) unless they were maximized when you closed the program.

- Close all other browser APPLICATIONS:
This is just like the menu item "Close all other browser windows" except that it does not close windows belong to the current browser. Thus you can now close all other browsers but keep, say, all your Mozilla windows open (including mail windows).

- The popup menu is always accessible:
If you used the option "Switch between primary and secondary browser"
and also had disabled the tray icon, it was difficult (well, sometimes
impossible!) to invoke the menu and and change the settings. Now, even if "Switch between" is enabled, the menu will still popup if the foreground window is not a browser since the switch doesn't make sense in this case anyway. Also, long right click does always show the menu regardless of the "Switch between" option. Finally, running Optool when it is already started will offer you to show the menu.

- Algorithm for determining URLs improved:
The algorithm for determining URLs is much more "intelligent" now which is why you can no longer define how URLs look like in the Options. This algorithm is mainly for clipboard handling where Optool must be able to recognize a URL on the clipboard. If a URL is open in a browser, Optool assumes it is valid!

- Clipboard handling:
When you disable clipboard handling it is now not only ignored, the clipboard hook chain is totally restored. Even when Optool's clipboard handling was disabled it could still in rare cases interfere with other clipboard handling programs because the chain was still intact. Now Optool totally unhooks (or don't hook in the first place if you restart the application) when it is disabled. This means that Optool should no longer interfere with other clipboard applications.

Lots of minor improvements:
A lot more functions has been more or less optimized.

- "Center resized windows" option was not always remembered. (Btw, this option is moved to the main Options dialog which is more logical).

- Problems with strange URLs: Sometimes Optool wouldn't recognize a URL if it had a strange format. This is fixed partly due to the improved algorithm mentioned before, and partly due to other corrections.

- Optool sometimes skipped the final "/" (slash) in URLs. Normally a URL such as is equivalent with - but not always. Optool will now keep the final slash.

- Browsers closed by Optool sometimes crashed. This was because Optool in some cases closed invisible helper window which made the browser crash or unstable. Now it will only close main windows. Furthermore, Optool will now also close browsers minimized to the system tray. BTW, remember that this feature is useful for all types of applications, like if you have opened a lot of Explorer or Notepad windows!

- Parent and Root URL sometimes opening in wrong windows. This is fixed and the algorithm improved.

- Many more bug fixes.

If you're interested in testing Optool, Martin's very nice and very responsive, and last I checked he was still looking for a new batch of testers. His Optool 2 page has an e-mail link if you want to ask.

Posted by subtitles at 12:53 PM | TrackBack

Optool Dev Asks For More Testers

Martin's released his testing version, labelled Optool 2.1 RC 1. He says that some of his old testers are no longer available, so he wouldn't mind a bunch of new ones. I figure he's most likely to get them from amongst Opera users. Interested parties, have a look at the Optool 2 page. I'll post the e-mail he sent out/screenshots if he says it's okay. At the moment he's asked me not to make it publicly available, but I will say it's as good as ever and has very cool new features/settings.

I never realised, but he credits me as a tester at the bottom of his pages, when you hover over "I wish to thank the beta testers..."

I'm thinking of offering him space in my forum (I'll probably ditch the old one and do a proper install of a new one) so he can use it for support/feature requests, rather than people sending him e-mails. We'll see. It's just that Opera would never give him forum space - as I'm sure they would never give space to the Search.ini editor.

In case you don't know what Optool is:

Optool (formerly Operatool, now Optional Browser tool or Open-in-another-browser-tool - or whatever you like!) for MS Windows is a freeware utility which easily allows you to open a given web site in another browser. Use it if your preferred browser doesn't show the site properly or if you are a developer and want to check the page in several browsers without the hassle of cutting and pasting the URL.

Basically a must-have for every Opera user. Especially for those who can't be sure whether the problems they're having are due to Opera or due to the site (or both).

Posted by subtitles at 9:45 AM | TrackBack

The Roundabout Trackback

Sorry, LSR, I still can't get your comments to work, I keep getting "Sorry, you must be logged in to post a comment." So:

Aren't you talking about using "." (or "/") to search for text in page? - which means to search for "fanboy" on a page, you'd type ".fanboy". At least for me, ctrl F still brings up the search box, as it does for most Windows apps.

The best thing about this search is that to move to the next hit, you just press F3, shift F3 to go back - ie the normal Windows shortcuts. You can also copy and paste results in order to search, so you can copy the text "fanboy", press ".", then ctrl v.

List of relevant Keyboard Shortcuts. And pure keyboard navigation.

The thing I hate most about Firefox's search is that it makes noise like someone's biting off your testicles.

Posted by subtitles at 6:28 AM | TrackBack

April 30, 2005

The Future of Opera Blogs - Why I Will Try To Stop Boggling About Opera So Much In The Coming Weeks

I am convinced that there are talented and articulate people out there who want to write about Opera. Certainly there must be more of them than there are now. Just in Opera Journals there must be dozens. I think that while certainly having a prize for the top Bog at the end of the month is a good thing, I'd suggest that Opera work towards rewarding the top say 3-5 bogglers, so that there is more room for people to feel an incentive to write more and better. And really just to show up and submit their feeds, even if they post once or twice a month. A lottery for showing up perhaps.

Certainly having a top prize is a wonderful mind concentrating force, if only to let people know that number one is the place to be and that all others are about to go (more or less) unrecognised. I know it's made me more willing to devote my time to writing about Opera - to a point that probably isn't as productive as it should be - though I'd challenge people find something I've written that was unwarranted, or not at least in some way funny.

I can't honestly say that I've contributed entirely constructively to the community here, except to get at least some people to write more than they would otherwise. Conversations are always good. I'd hope that when I'm not trying so hard to monopolise the front page, that people will be encouraged to add their feeds and have a more rounded conversation about Opera.

Also I'd encourage Opera to implement a summary page for the posts - full text posts would be a bit much to ask. That puts less pressure on people to game headlines, when they know that part of their preview/extract will be available. I suppose it'd be too much to ask for Opera to archive posts, but perhaps to allow more than just 5 posts in the entirety of the site - sure, limit the number of posts on the front page, but older posts should be allowed some space, if only for continuity.

A randomiser would also help to even the playing field, just as it does with Opera Journals. Also a ranking by most commented, last commented etc. would introduce some variety from the click-through ranking.

An RSS feed for the Opera Blogs page is essential.

It might also be useful to have parsed(?) feeds for each boggler - so that there can be a ranking for most subscribed boggler (the highest prize should go there, if it can be verified) - presumably some people will only want to read these people when they're writing about Opera.

And speaking of feeds, users should be allowed to manage their own feeds. They should be allowed to change or remove them if they wish. Perhaps they should also be allow to choose whether all their posts should be submitted, or just those with the word Opera. For instance, OperaWatch shouldn't have to conform to the latter requirement, since even when it's not boggling about Opera, it's still relevant to the users etc. Making people *have* to use the word Opera (unless that's the only way they know to seperate their posts), is a rather odious way of going about things. Obviously moderators will be needed to make sure that the feeds correspond to the member claiming ownership, that the feeds are actually Opera related, and if the filter is waived, that all posts are relevant etc.

When it ends up being a couple of sites duking it out so aggressively for a top spot, it can turn people off. The best way to combat this is to have a *lot* of people writing. There must be some way of maintaining hope for people to win just by participating, and some way for people falling behind to get a push - a featured boggler, perhaps on the main Opera page (a prize in itself) or the My Opera page, or just pinned at the top of Opera Blogs. A post of the day or something.

Personally I'm happiest about the fact that this has boosted my circulation - I can't believe the amount of hits and page views, not to mention unique users, I've been getting since I started Boggling Opera - helped not a little by Asa Dotzler :P. And I would think that's what most people would want to get out of it.

But most important of all, is that Opera Blogs should become more than just a sub-section of My Opera. It needs its own, prominent, place - bloggers.(my) perhaps? weblogs or blogs could be confused with these being dev blogs or competition for Opera Journals. If you want to make use of your fan base to evangelise honestly their feelings about Opera, it needs to have a bigger audience than the choir that is myopera. It would also be damaging to the reputation of the project and the intention of evangelism if it were to become too much of an echo chamber rather than address a broad spectrum of interested and potential users.

Only Nixon could go to China. And I have two words for you: Empress Sato.

Posted by subtitles at 10:43 PM | TrackBack

Optool 2.1 Ready For Testing "In A Week or So"

Martin Larsen, the creator of Optool, sent out this e-mail as a teaser to beta testers:

Dear Optool Testers,

In only a week or so Optool 2.1 is ready for testing. There are new features, lots of improvements and bug fixes in this version.

For example, you can now invoke Optool by a so called "long right click"
in the browsers, which almost seemlessly integrates Optool with the browsers.

You can also close the original window before opening the new by pressing the Control key when selecting the target browser. Or you can optionally make Optool always close the original browser if you like that. Another option is to open the new window with the same position and same size as the original.

In 2.1 you can add as many window sizes as you like for the resize window feature.

Optool's ability to close other browsers etc. is augmented and the algorithm improved.

There are more new features and improvements, but I will make a full list when I mail the program for testing!

Since you are used to testing Optool and have contributed with many important bug reports and suggestions in the past, I would appreciate your feedback this time also. But of course, if you don't have the time or interest anymore, please tell me and I will remove you from the list of testers.

Best regards,
Martin Larsen

I've been a loyal Optool user for years now, and I use it on an hourly, much less daily basis. If you haven't tried it, it's an essential browser tool that lets you seamlessly switch from one browser to another. Martin Larsen deserves a fucking medal, especially since his program has been a staple of the Opera user's arsenal for as long as it has.

As the mail says, the new version will be mailed to beta testers. I'll ask if it's okay to release it to a people at MyOpera if it's stable enough, but I will respect his wishes if he wants to keep this close to his chest for the time being.

If you have any suggestions for the program, there's an e-mail link on Martin's site - or you can comment, and I'll pass the suggestions along.

Posted by subtitles at 8:11 PM | TrackBack

Boggling With Opera - Part I: The State of Boggling - Free and Paid Boggling Services/Software

This is the first proper part of my series on Opera Boggling, though you can read the Introduction here, where I encourage you how easy boggling can be, even, or especially, with Opera.

I haven't always boggled using Opera, largely because I haven't always been able to. I started off, as most people did/do by going to and getting a Bogspot hosted Bog - which incidentally is still there. But this post is about giving you a broad idea about what your options are, which fit roughly into 3 tiers, free sites, paid services, and software requiring hosting. The next post in the series will deal with Opera specific issues with the various services.

For the beginning Boggler, you'll be wanting to get your feet wet with the free services, the most prominent of which is, and to a lesser extent LiveJournal. Of late I've also become aware of, which is new(?) and small(?) (and apparently Irish) - at least I assume it is compared to Boggler. MyOpera's Opera Journals also offer a free service that many Opera users avail themselves of, which is similar to things like Slashdot Journals etc.

The next tier of services are those where you pay a subscription fee for what is supposedly a better service than would be provided by the free services. Of these, Typepad is probably the most well known. All of the free services will also have paid equivalents, which offer a bunch of different features.

What I'd recommend to the discerning boggler though, is to look closest at the software packages that allow you to use hosted space to blog - without the need for subscriptions (like Typepad) and with the most ability to customise etc. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely cheaper than a subscription service (because you'll have to get a proper paid web host, which isn't expensive), and really really not as difficult as you'd imagine. If people ask, I can go into more detail with these issues in upcoming posts.

The 2 biggest software packages that I know of and have used, are Movable Type and WordPress.

Movable Type has been around for a while now and is actually the back-end behind TypePad, which I mentioned above. It's incredibly popular and relatively easy to use and install, and it's what I'm using now. It also doesn't *require* a MySQL database, though it can make use of one if you want that. It's also free for personal use, though for unlimited use (which most people won't need), you have to pay for it.

WordPress is an open source solution that honestly, I've really been blown away by. I'm in the process of testing it to make sure it fits my needs, but it is fantastic in so many ways. Firstly it's feature set is everything movable type is, and more - which means that it can be a bit overwhelming for the newbie, but not so much that it's not usable - far from it. Second, the install is the easiest I've ever encountered, and the upload size is tiny. But from an aesthetic point of view, it's the way that it handles Themes that is most amazing, and there are an abundance of looks and feels you can apply to it much more easily and comprehensively than you can with Movable Type. If things turn out well, I'll be moving this place to WordPress. I'm testing it over here.

The best thing about WordPress though, is that there's an easy way to get your feet wet - because is basically a hosted version of WordPress, and it's free. Which is why I said in my first post that new Bogglers would do best to give Blogsome a go and see how they like it. Unfortunately there's not a free version of Typepad to try.

Don't worry about your posts that you'll put into the free services. In most cases you'll be able to export your posts and move them to your new service - though this will require a bit of knowhow and forethought.

The advantages of using software and your own hosting is that you can also register for your own domain while you're at it, and have something like what I have here with That said, it can lead to more headaches and worries, and more frustration in setting things up and making them work, though as long as you're willing to read documentation, you should be fine, and the forums can be friendly enough places if you're nice.

But as I said, if you're new and want to get your feet wet, stick to the free services. And if you're an Opera user, take it from me and start with - as the series progresses, you'll find out why.

Posted by subtitles at 5:59 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Read Opera Blogs in Full-Text

I've set up something on so that you can read the most popular of the Opera Blogs in full-text. If you want your blog added, e-mail me, or comment with your site url and your feed url. If you object to your feed being used, you can contact me and we'll discuss it. As far as I'm concerned, if you make your feed public...

I've left my own feed out of it as a sign of good faith - if you think this whole thing is a good/bad idea, feel free to tell me. I've neglected a couple of feeds since I can't get them to work, but this is meant to be more of a "proof of concept" rather than anything else. You can access it via this url

The thing about this is that I can't filter out based on the word 'opera', so it shows everything that you post. If you want, you can send me the relevant category feed or whatever that is related to Opera to be more about the thing itself. Similarly, if you want you can just subscribe to my Opera Boggling feed.

Posted by subtitles at 2:48 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Who Knew Haavard Was So Baby Faced

OperaWatch not too long ago posted a bunch of pictures of Opera staff members having a piss-up to celebrate their boss being lost at sea (apparently now the pictures are older photos, but it's still funny). I'd never seen pictures of the omnipresent Haavard, and was shocked by how boyish this otherwise steel fisted voice of authority was. Such boyish good looks, so tinged with that suspicious glint of steel in his eyes.

Reminds me of the line, of people who can "smile and smile and still be a villain". :D

It's the weekend, there's no news, what do you expect?

Posted by subtitles at 5:44 AM | TrackBack

No. 1 Wireless Campus in US Gets Opera - How to Get Free Licenses From Your School

Indiana University Bloomington had been named Intel's "Most Unwired College Campus" in their survey published in 2004, the full list is here. My source at IU Bloomington - Michel Salim - is a Masters Student in Computer Science. Currently he says it's only really available as licences for CS students at Indiana to install on their own computers - but basically he just asked them for it, it was that easy. You'd think it'd only be a matter of time before the wider University follows suit.

So if you're a student at a University, just ask your IT department - it's free for them, and not a lot of work, especially if they don't deploy it on the network immediately - and you get a free license for raising your hand. You can point them to this page.

An anomoly that Michel reported though, was that they provided keys for various platforms rather than a single desktop key, as is now the case for paid desktop users - I'm just wondering if this is a throwback to the old licensing scheme that the Universities/Educational Licenses haven't caught up with, or, as Michel suggested, whoever just wanted clearer figures on who was installing how many copies etc.

Posted by subtitles at 5:22 AM | TrackBack

Firefox Fanboys Ignore the Bad News in the Stats - Firefox Market Gains Slowing

As I posted earlier, OneStat had released new figures on browser usage earlier in the week. Apparently only BetaNews was looking at the text of the article, rather than just the stats, since most other news sites have been simply trumpeting the further gains in market share by FF, rather than noting the slow-down in growth.

Every other article available seems to have an irrational exuberance at whatever gains FF seems to get. It's not wrong then, to say the press loves an underdog. So much so that Bogglers report on "just the exuberance". But there's only room for one punchy insurgency? Of course I recognise that slowing growth may well be a naturally relative progression from the feverish downloading of the earlier days of FF 1.0 etc.

Oh, and apparently the 5 Day News Cycle has come to a close again marked by sluggishness on Opera Blogs. I'll probably be posting the follow ups to my series on Opera Boggling.

Posted by subtitles at 4:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Apple's Evil Safari, Poor Coding - KHTML Devs Left Stranded

On the heels of the recent story about Safari passing the Acid 2 test, a new story has developed about the really rather naughty behaviour of the Safari crew.

Safari had initially been hailed for the fact that is was working off the backs of the Open Source Project that had been KHTML, the back-end of Konquerer, a part of the KDE desktop interface for Linux. The deal had been that Apple would more or less participate in the project and that whatever improvements Apple made, they would be passed back to KHTML development, for the betterment of all.

However it turns out that Apple doesn't play well with others and has been welshing on their markers. More details in the Slashdot story. This from the company that brought you the suing of Think Secret.

Apparently Apple's code and documentation hasn't been up to scratch, so much so that KHTML might well have to do all the work over again to comply with Acid 2.

I'm sure Opera is today especially glad that all its code is proprietary. I'd say don't be evil, but I think the more apt words would be,

All friends shall taste
The wages of their virtue, and all foes
The cup of their deservings. O, see, see!

King Lear:
And my poor fool is hang'd!

Posted by subtitles at 3:44 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

April 29, 2005

The Acid 2 Compliant Browser For Windows - And Why Safari's Figures Might Be Fiddled

Chances are you already have a (well, soon to be) Acid 2 compliant browser on your PC - that is if you have iTunes installed. Which brings me to wonder whether that helps to up-tick Safari's numbers. Opera users are always wondering whether the fact that Opera defaults to ID-ing as IE (still true, yes?) leads to Opera's market share being under-represented. To this day, I'm still not sure I whether that concern is still valid (despite the fact that I might well have read something that explained it all). Ah well, I'm sure it'll remain a frequent war cry amongst the faithful.

Posted by subtitles at 6:33 PM | TrackBack

Muck-Raker Uses Opera - Hoorah.

Apparently it's a good thing that a gossip monger (other than myself) uses Opera. He's the august personage that told such worthy stories as Monica Lewinsky and the non-affair that Kerry had with an intern. Responsible journalism at its best, for sure. Honestly it puts me off Opera a bit to hear it. Read something worth a damn. Please. I mean, even the Inquirer isn't *that* trashy.

Posted by subtitles at 3:39 PM | TrackBack

Argh (or Good Grief) - Who Made Him Headmaster? - Berit Hansen Responds to OperaWatch

I refer you to my earlier post - Let's Go On a Witch-Hunt For Opera Employees - A Response to OperaWatch's Editorial, where I made very clear that the initial article that led to this non-story was a load of old toss. I can't be the only one who finds it offensive that Opera has to defend what otherwise sounded like an innocent remark.

Supposedly Hansen told OperaWatch she was misquoted anyway. I'm not saying I'm not a bit Opera mad, but this kind of rabid preying/pouncing strikes me as being that bit obsessive and objectionable. As I mentioned before, "You'd be pillorying people for speaking their mind and telling the truth. Yay you." Feeding frenzy anyone?

"Thankfully this issue has been cleared up." - you sound like someone who just needed to be told the war on terror can *definitely* be won.

Posted by subtitles at 3:24 PM | TrackBack

*gasp* You Can Mute Sound From Flash?!?!? - Proclaiming that You *Hate* Standards

I've just been reading a couple of posts by Virtuelvis. Apparently there's an app that runs in the background that can make sure you never have to endure the shocking terror that is flash-embedded-music. I honestly tend to jump whenever it comes on, esp. because my volume tends to be turned up a bit for when I watch TV. And really, who in their right mind would want/expect sound coming from their browser? Oh, and flash is a bane on the InterWeb, like spam and animated gifs. Flashmute.

Which brings me to Virtuelvis' opinion of sIFR:

"I hate sIFR with a passion, and I think it should die."

The first thing I noticed on the sIFR page was an icon that proclaims the fact that their site doesn't validate and points to this page. So apparently hippy-dippy tie-died "I think I'm a rebel" brain death is "in" this season. Opera users should sharpen their torches and fire up their pitchforks.

Posted by subtitles at 2:12 PM | TrackBack

Bog Crappy (I'm Just a Punningly Scatalogical Machine Am I Not?) - The Obsolescence that is "Browse Happy"

Random Thoughts brought up "Browse Happy", which I always assumed was a Firefox fanboy site masquerading as standards advocacy. It must be what, a year since it launched, and still only one Opera story? They must be fucking kidding.

I remember when it first launched I sent them an e-mail about the fact that no self-respecting Opera Fanboy would refer to Opera's MDI as "tabbed browsing" - apparently they decided to ignore it. So yes, FF Fanboys who now have an obsolete and un-maintained site from the looks of it. They still list Mozilla, when everything has pretty much moved on to FF and TB. If I'm not wrong, the list of people there are the same as they were when I first saw the site.

Posted by subtitles at 2:01 PM | TrackBack

Microsoft Executives' Secret Water-Sports in "Lake Bill"

I couldn't help myself, the headline just popped into my head - it's basically the Seattle Times reporting about Tetchy's extended bath to commemorate the successful release of Opera 8 (look for "sea browser" on the page). They mention MS execs having similar delusions of being interesting by becoming donuts in the coffee that is "Lake Bill". Obviously a name William coined himself. Found this at OperaWatch.

Posted by subtitles at 1:01 PM | TrackBack

Let's Go On a Witch-Hunt For Opera Employees - A Response to OperaWatch's Editorial

I'm writing this in response to OperaWatch's editorial.

First of all, the article in the "Daily Illini" is a joke (and not even a cruel one). The guy writing sounds rather definitively like he doesn't know what the fuck he's writing about, or doesn't know good/clear writing from a hole in the ground (what were his editors thinking?). I'd parse the article, but you'd have to pay me.

Who decided you should legislate what people say? Just because you don't like what's being said doesn't mean you get to invoke some vague notion of impropriety onto the person saying it. Especially when you got it wrong, and he didn't say what you say he said.

In what for you would be the worst case scenario, what Berit Hanson meant was what you said he meant, "that IE should be used as an alternative for webpages that aren't properly displayed in Opera". That, however, wasn't what he said. Perhaps you should RTFA. This is where that idea is (rather sloppily) put into your head:

"But Spektor also said that while Opera is better, it cannot replace IE because many pages are specifically designed with IE and do not follow the same standards as Opera."

Aforementioned "Spektor" is "Alex Spektor, [a] senior in engineering" at the university. It is following that sentence that the writer links that comment to Hansen's comment,

"Opera, like most web browsers, follows the w3c standards for web page design but IE does not, Hanson said."

Now, I could say that that was the intention of the writer, but I don't credit him with a great wellspring of ability/intention in what he writes. Confusion breeds confusion.

First, if Hanson had been saying what you think he meant to say earlier, I'd still be defending him, if only because he'd be displaying a decided candour as to the conditions on the ground for InterWeb users - I still use IE (and Firefox) when things don't turn out the way they should in Opera - and if you're advocating end-users not use IE at all, how would they get to Windows Update? Sure it's wrong for MS to lock things in like that (similarly with MSNBC), but that's the way things are - you're not happy with it? poor baby. You'd be pillorying people for speaking their mind and telling the truth. Yay you.

That, however is not how things went down, nor how they've progressed. What Hanson said, in isolation, is this:

"You can use them side-by-side. We recommend that," Hanson said. "Opera is a tool for the internet."

Perhaps "Penn State took IE off of their computers and instructed their students to use Opera instead" as Hanson claims - I suspect he means that IE is hidden or locked down requiring admin privileges on the school network. But normal end-users like you and me still need more than one browser - no administrator updates my computer for me.

What Hanson was referring to (unless I'm grossly mistaken) is the advent of choice - which is what Opera has always presented itself as - as a choice rather than as Grand High Poobah of All Browsers. Opera is a tool for the internet, just as IE is. Of course Hansen hopes that using them "side by side", since IE hasn't been summarily locked down, will mean that the students will realise what they're missing and switch over as much as is possible. I can't imagine IE Fanboys at Penn State being particularly friendly to Opera if it was forced on them.

OperaWatch, if you want to retract what *you* said (ie: post a response), you can e-mail me.

This is why you have many eyes. Stained-glass window anyone?

Posted by subtitles at 3:25 AM | TrackBack

Tetchy's Dunking Wasn't in Vain - US Welcomes Free Version of Opera

Yeah, okay, I'm getting my ass handed to me. OperaWatch has a fantastic story about the advent of Opera at some of the US' largest universities. Apparently once things are free, no one is in a position to say no. He also has an editorial piece lambasting an Opera employee - I might comment about how silly it is later.

Opera's entry into the educational market is just starting to make me think what a wonderful position Opera is in at the moment. Sure they have only a limited amount of market share, but almost all of those users are monetised, in that they are all paying customers or they smurf with ads - which other company can say that people pay money just for their browser?

But more importantly, you see the potential for what can happen when Opera is made free. In the future, if Opera is acquired by a larger software company with a level of perhaps irrational exuberance and cash, Opera might be made free - though maybe with a "Pro" version; there'd be no sense in wasting the monetised customers already there.

I wouldn't hold my breath though, especially now that Opera has gone public and seems to be doing well. In particular, their position in the phone market alone should be reason enough to want to stay in the game - I can only assume that the potential market is enormous. And since Opera is able, small as it is now to achieve what it has, I don't see the management wanting to put that in jeopardy by being assimilated into a flabbier corporate culture.

That said, Adobe seems to be in an acquisitive mood recently - you never know.

Posted by subtitles at 2:51 AM | TrackBack

April 28, 2005

Acid 2 Passed - Which Browser Did It First? - It's Not Opera

The Slashdot headline sort of gives it away - Safari Passes the Acid2 Test. Apparently the developers have done it, but the build isn't publicly available. Slashdot references the developer's blog, which is at least a little slashdotted. Anyway, congratulations to Safari.

I don't know about you, but this seems to, at least in some part, bear out my suspicions regarding why Opera handled Acid 2 the way it did - it was all a cunning plan.

Obviously my suspicions are just that, and it's as likely to just be chance as much as planning that led to this sequence of events. But somehow I just can't see them not having played all this out in their heads such that they knew exactly where they wanted to end up. We'll know more as the narrative of Acid 2 compliance progresses.

What's good for standards is good for Opera - and it appears to be a good day for Opera, in more ways than one.

Posted by subtitles at 5:10 PM | TrackBack

Boss-Man Tell Me - Tetchy Tells All - Opera CEO Issues Challenge: Spam the Fuck Out of Me to Prove How Good M2's Filters Are

Apparently Tetchy is going to do a round of Truth or Dare, though frankly without the Dare part, and probably with his (still damp) toady of a PR director next to him.

Not so much with the Dare only because he's so recently faced his own mortality.

I heard about it from Rijk first, then Haavard via Opera Blogs. OperaWatch gives some details about Tetchy's hazy past - apparently he was an Oggsford man.

You can tell me if my tone crosses a line, but it's just not as funny if it's not mean. And I suppose I do it so that I'm not basically boggling the same post as the other 3.

Posted by subtitles at 2:43 PM | TrackBack

Boggling With Opera - Introduction: Can I be an Opera Boggler Too?

I thought what I'd do is a little series on the experience of Boggling, and specifically Boggling with Opera as your main/only browser - a hairy task for the uninitiated. I've been at it for a number of years now, and while the situation has gotten more or less better for Opera users, it's by no means ideal or by any means trouble-free.

Also, depending on what you want to do, how much work you're willing to put into it, and how much you know about web design, there's plenty to take up your time and effort, but also a range of choices that can be found to suit your situation. Really, even if you know nothing and aren't willing to do much, Opera Boggling is still within the grasp of your tender child-like hands.

And in as smarmy a way as you'd ever think possible, I'm saying to you that Opera Boggling can be easy - if only you knew how, and had someone to guide you through the path of least resistance.

As to why you'd want to, that's between you and your keyboard.

Just so you know, despite your undoubted impression of me as maven of all things Boggle, I had absolutely no formal training in anything related to web design when I began, and even now I have only the sketchiest of ideas of what's what - mostly acquired through trials and error. And hitting things.

I'm a writer. Who happens to have more interest in these things than is healthy or advisable.

The series will be split up into various sections, which I'll link/update to as I post/write them

- Introduction: Can I be an Opera Boggler Too?
- Part I: The State of Boggling - Free and Paid Boggling Services/Software
- Part II: Boggling with Opera Limits Your Choices (For The Better)
- Part III: How Opera's Zoom Feature Makes Boggling That Much Easier

etc. as I think it up.

Along the way I'll also probably address issues of particular importance to Bogglers, Opera or otherwise. For instance how to get people to read what you write, how to boggle for profit, how to get and place ads, and how syndication and RSS are the most powerful tools at your disposal.

Obviously this is a work in progress, so we'll see how things progress. Part I coming soon. Subscribe to my RSS feed on the right (also the address bar if you're using Opera 8) or just pay attention to new posts on Opera Bogs.

However, if you can't/won't wait - you want something to figure out on your own - and/or don't already have a Boggling account, I recommend you register for a Bog at - it's simple and easy, and that'll be what I'll end up recommending for new Bogglers anyway. (Thanks for which should go to LSR)

Posted by subtitles at 10:50 AM | TrackBack

The Miracle that is the Hotclick - The Wonder that is Ctrl-D - George Harrison

In my opinion, one of the most under-used but powerful features in Opera is (what could it be?) Hotclick. Basically it allows you select a piece of text and open a context menu that gives you a huge number of options as to what you can do with it. In most cases this involves click on a word, but I often use it for things like selecting URLs formatted in plain text (and then Go to URL) and selecting phrases to search with. With a customised search.ini, you can not only change what dictionary and encyclopedia you use, you can also search using any number of search engines. Like so:


For a very good intro tutorial to the ins and outs of Hotclick, have a look at nontroppo's Visual Tutorial. As I've mentioned, he has a whole series of them. I wonder if his name has anything to do with George Harrison's "Gone Troppo".

What this basically does is eliminate the need for you to copy and paste items into your search boxes, unless of course they're from outside Opera, in which case let me introduce to you the evolution of ctrl-v - ctrl-d! What ctrl-d does is "paste and go", so you don't have to click on "go" or press enter after you paste. Isn't Opera fun? To find out more keyboard shortcuts, just press F1 in Opera to go to the Help page. If you really want to kick it up a notch, you can learn how to navigate using the keyboard only - which is more useful than you'd think.

Posted by subtitles at 4:32 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Surely There Are More Oprah Bogglers Out There? - The Puzzling Absence of Some Prominent Opera Personalities

I mean, of course not everyone's as much of an attention whore as I am (but then who is). I suppose I can think of a number of prominent voices that aren't showing up on this little free-for-all, but on second thought, a lot of them are Opera Staff, and I wonder if those guys are holding out because they don't want to be the ones to "accidentally" win prizes meant for the peons. Which would make sense, except Haavard's bog is entered.

I mean without even trying there are a bunch of people you'd have expected to just submit their feeds if nothing else, saito, Jor, as well as a bunch of Opera staff other than Haavard, like Rijk and Junyor (who I always suspect of being from the UK and hence having a very colloquial representation of "Junior"). And these are people who have posted since this whole thing started. Also, since Tim Luoma's new version of 30 Days... for Opera 8 is being presented in MT, I don't see a reason it couldn't be here - unless the glamour of the main MyOpera page has gone to his head :P.

I mean, if this (Opera Blogs) isn't meant to be a one-stop-shop, where else would be?

But really, I'd like to think I've not crossed a line by posting as much as I have - all my posts have been substantive in some way or other - sure I brought out a couple of my Greatest Hits, but I'd assumed it'd be good to have a lot of discussion. So far no one's told me to step off, and really, how long do you think it'll be before I run out of steam?

Posted by subtitles at 12:20 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

April 27, 2005

Favicons Getting Restless?

I had planned to do more of a post, with screenshots etc. but then I do what you're supposed to do and searched the fora, and discovered that, as always, I'm late to the party and that everyone and their left testicle knows about the problem already.

Basically what's been happening is that certain shorcuts have been displaying the wrong Favicons - so for instance, I now have a Broadvoice shortcut (hopefully not for long) that has a Yahoo icon etc. If I'm not wrong, this has been an issue since Favicons came into effect with Opera 7.6(?) beta?

Anyway, I've just organised the forum posts in order of the the date of the first post this is the oldest, not quite so, just a bit, newest. Basically they all follow a similar pattern - I've got a problem, but don't know if it's been reported, blah blah, here are screenshots blah blah, oh whoops, it's been reported blah blah, is there a workaround? blah blah. Pretty standard stuff. I haven't tried the workarounds, but they sound sensible enough, though I'm sure there's still something that will eventually get fixed.

I'd be interested to see favicons for some of my customised searches,whose favicons aren't showing up presumably because they're taking the space of some of the default searches - though doubtlessly I'll get a painful lecture on how this is not a priority and how this undermines Opera's business model and why it might never happen in the most obtuse way possible. Well, at least that's the way it was with "is post", which took forever to show up again in Opera 7.

Posted by subtitles at 11:46 PM | TrackBack

Database-Based E-mail Gets a Boost

So apparently WordPerfect is starting to claw its way back in terms of facing off with Microsoft Office. One of the big things people have always complained about is that their office suite didn't include an e-mail client, allowing Outlook to become the standard - though I understand Lotus Notes is still quite frequently used, especially in big companies.

I suppose the reason why this would be in any way interesting to Opera users is that the mail client WordPerfect are including (with their Small Business Edition only) is Bloomba. Bloomba I remember hearing about because it had a database approach to mail sorting - sound familiar already? This is very much what M2, Opera's e-mail client does best. Is it stretching it to say that this must be a good thing for Opera's vision of e-mail handling?

I've never actually tried Bloomba, but from the screenshots I've seen, it looks very much like another Outlook clone, though presumably with a more impressive back-end. Personally I can't say I'm too convinced by the whole entry points thing that M2 goes for, but it seems to be the wave of the future, especially with everyone buzzing about search on the OS being the next big thing. I suppose I'm just old fashioned, liking to file things away in folders - a means of organisation I still find remarkably useful.

Anyway, just to draw you attention as well to the fact that WebMail is for Intellectual Midgets, so anything that makes people start using proper e-mail clients has to be a good thing.

Posted by subtitles at 4:41 PM | TrackBack

Turns Out I Was Wrong About Safari

But not *so* wrong. New stats out for browser usage, reported by my favorite news site, the Inq. Supposedly Safari actually has slightly higher market share than Opera, about 1.26% as opposed to 1.03%. What annoys me about that is some sites now explicitly state that they support Safari, leaving Opera out, which makes me want to hit things.

0.23% isn't reason for exclusion is it? Most likely the problem is that Mac users are too stupid to get things to work and make more noise, whereas long suffering Opera users are probably too used to having to jump through workarounds.

But I suppose Haavard is right, every time FF gets mentioned, Opera gets mentioned, which has to be a good thing. Hopefully Opera 8's big push will change the dynamics a bit. I'll eventually get around to doing something along the lines of what have you done to spread Opera lately etc. Tell your friends, put a button on your site, there's a new sherrif in town etc.

Posted by subtitles at 4:01 PM | TrackBack

I Am a Sad Sad Little Man


Posted by subtitles at 12:23 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

I Don't Know Why My Posts Are Being Re-Posted on Opera Blogs

I honestly don't - it's been happening quite a lot, about once or twice a day, I don't know why. I know it looks dodgy, like I'm trying to bump my posts, but I'm as frustrated a you might be about it. I have no doubt is has something or other to do with Movable Type and the way its feeds work - if someone can tell me how to fix it, that'd be great.

I know it can happen with Klipfolio some times, old posts showing up as unread. I submitted the RSS 1.0 feed, that seemed to most sensible, but MT has Atom and RSS 2.0 if that'd be better (I'm doubtful though). If Opera allowed us to modify our feeds, I'd use my category feed for Opera Boggling, so I'd have more control over what I sent to the aggregator, and wouldn't be so constrained about when to use the word Opera.

It's also frustrating that older posts don't show up on the aggregator - only those on the feed itself, which MT defaults at 15. Makes the aggregator seem a bit too much of the moment don't you think? Or maybe you're meant to explore the bogs through the most visited? Ah well, we'll see how it goes. Personally I think it should aggregate either the entirety of posts, or at least a character limited summary, perhaps like

And just to say, since I'm doing a nothing-post, that OperaWatch - your ass is mine :D. If you want the phone, that's one thing, but for me it's become about being able to topple you from number one. It's childish I know, but I've apparently got too much time on my hands and TV tends to dry up over the weekends. Much like the 5 day news cycle.

Posted by subtitles at 9:12 AM | TrackBack

The Linguistic Makeup of Opera Users

Has anyone else noticed that the ones topping the affiliates charts appear to be in some Eastern European language? I'd be more specific, but I'm not sure if it's czech, serbian, polish, russian or whatever. Supposedly the cheaters have been weaned out, there's a column on the right "outing" them and a forum post - which brings me to my question - is the language mix of Opera users about to tip towards that region of the world?

I mean there's probably something to be said about the fact the the bogglers on Opera Blogs are posting in Japanese, Chinese, Greek(?) etc. I'm sure Opera must have internal numbers that differentiate their various language bases - though looking at their forums (fora), you'd presume English is predominant, followed by German and then the rest - I count about 20 auxiliary languages supported in the forum.

I wonder how tech support works, especially for paid non-english users - though I assume they'd have to read some english to go through the buying process unless there are special buying pages tailored to the various language versions of the browser. Maybe they do some creative outsourcing to knowledgable users? Though really, if you're not a n00b, your primary source of support would be the fora anyway.

I don't know how to put this tactfully, but the average personal income of a number of countries is well below that of richer ones, so are these the places where Firefox makes the most inroads, or are there simply plenty of ad-supported Opera users there? I wonder whether Opera will ever practise differential pricing to "third-world" countries, beyond their licensing efforts to education/large organisations.

A lot of the affiliates listed seem to be portals of some kind - though really why the owners would need so many licenses is a bit beyond me.

I'm wondering if the text ads in their non-english ad-supported browsers are as prevalent as in the English, amongst other things. Is the growth of Opera taking on an even more of a geographic bent? Though of course we know about Opera's attempts to woo users in the US, outside its base in Europe. I just wonder if Tetchy's swim to the US is representative of downloads or simply wishful thinking - and that the market is elsewhere. And I wonder if the market grows away from places that can afford licenses to places that use the ads, how that would affect Opera's bottom line. Apparently ads still aren't as lucrative as licenses, though I suppose that would depend on how long the ad supported versions are used for.

Posted by subtitles at 6:15 AM | TrackBack

April 26, 2005

The one thing that Firefox does better than Opera, and why Opera can't/won't do anything about it

First off let me just say that Firefox in general is just ugly and that I find it's interface clunky and really a bit stilted. So there. It's not like I'm saying anything I haven't said before. So's yer face; *yo* momma - etc.

But what it does do remarkably well is use CSS to block ads. Not that Opera can't do this, it can, and it also uses filter.ini to filter out ad sites - but the Firefox solution is simpler and more effective - even if it doesn't actually save on bandwidth. Of course ideally we could use Proxomitron, but I've found that despite doing its job fantastically well, it can break certain pages in a way CSS blocking doesn't. Personally I don't see why people even bother with the ad-block extension.

Digressing a bit I'd just like to say that the mouse gestures extension for Firefox, while servicable enough, is annoying - I'm not able to just hold down the right mouse button and keep clicking the left to keep going back, like I would in Opera. What's that about?

But getting back to ad-blocking, apparently it's just a matter of time before Opera includes the compliance with CSS 3 (or whatever, I'm not entirely clear on the whole thing), as they would, being a standards compliant browser. But then I've been hearing that for a while now. I get the feeling they're not in a rush to get it done simply because there's no urgency to it, since IE isn't likely to be supporting it quite so soon, and just because Firefox has it doesn't necessarily mean much.

Which brings me to why Opera (supposedly) isn't eager to block ads by default/make things too easy for users to turn ad-blocking on. Obviously I don't know for sure that this is *the* reason, and I'm sure it's part of wider concerns, but I've heard it mentioned, and it makes sense:

Web publishers won't like it.

Web publishers (which oddly and peripherally includes me I suppose) tend to like advertising. It provides them with revenue to pay for bandwidth/content etc. And of course profit, if that's their intention. The concern then is that Opera's market is already often treated as insignificant such that when pages are developed they're not tested in Opera, and worse, some sites can explicitly block browsers other than IE/Netscape etc. Making ad-blocking too easy in Opera would make web developers even less likely to want to support Opera, or even make them want to block the browser entirely as leeches. Opera doesn't even have the niche stranglehold that Safari does as the default Mac browser, such that sites are forced to support it - which is almost absurd given Safari's market share.

What also figures in the discussion is that Opera's already been the source of controversy regarding it's browser, in a way that turned publishers off - its built in text ads. These work on the basis of site context, so for instance they'd advertise RSS readers if you were smurfing for Klipfolio. Webmasters accused this of stealing their revenue - since Opera was making use of their content, which has its own ads or sells its own products, to advertise similar things. That seems to have died down since, but I get the feeling Opera didn't like the way that particular conversation went.

Without going into my whole spiel again, I have nothing against advertising, but I have no qualms about blocking ads whatsoever. I advertise on my site, but very prominently place a link on how to use Proxomitron. I don't see how that makes me anything other than well within the realm of human rationality. Can you really imagine the morality spiels? - blocking ads is like stealing a CD from the shop.

Anyway, my point at the end of all that is to say this - calm the fuck down. People are fucking stupid. And incredibly ignorant. As a corollary to that, what I'd say is that as long as a browser doesn't ship with ad-blocking turned on by default - or with it as a setting you can just turn on and off like that, web publishers shouldn't be complaining about anything.

The only people I know personally to use ad-blocking do so because I set up proxomitron for them. The learning curve required to make things "just work" at the end of it appears to be too steep for the majority of people - and in this I'm including the people who don't bother with Firefox's CSS ad-blocking. People are too ignorant/stupid to set up ad blocking if it isn't spoon-fed to them.

For the publishers, this stupidity helps you in another way. The stupid people are the ones clicking on your ads. And from the looks of it, there are stupid people around.

But at the end of this, why should Opera introduce/make easier ad blocking? Because it can. Because advanced users will be drawn to it - and advanced users are the ones who tend to convince the people they know about new products. You might not be able to openly advertise it as a feature - but then again why not - Firefox certainly is, with ad-block. It's also one of the things that Opera can do that IE can't - because IE is tied to MSN. If you want, wait till you're big enough that people can't easily block you - and then turn ad-blocking on by default/make it easier. And really, advertisers just need to learn to stop pissing off their consumers and learn subtler ways of enticing users - like encouraging user communities, like My Opera, and getting bogglers to pimp for you. But that's a longer conversation.

To be honest, I'm starting to get a bit tired of me too.

Posted by subtitles at 5:52 PM | TrackBack

What Happened to Oprah 1.0? - Chicken Suits and Freedonia

From what digging I managed to do, which wasn't much, it seems that Opera just decided that they didn't want to rename the browser. There was discussion about a name change, which was first suggested by Haavard (I think, there might have been something earlier), and later "confirmed", but I can only assume nothing came of it. The Oprah thing I probably first saw here. Oh well, it was funny while it lasted.

Who else gets the feeling that somewhere the marketing department had a list of marketing gimmicks titled "Ways to Create Buzz About Opera - For Free". Yeah ok, the new name is Opera 8, which makes me think they were really just out to stir up interest - carry as many news cycles as possible. And probably in particular to do so with their user base, which they likely view as an untapped source of evangelists - hence their promotion of Opera Boggling etc. Though I'm sure they genuinely must have wondered if re-branding would allow them to do an even bigger release - they seem to have done fine without it. Just as long as they didn't name it Sempr0n. Opera-Blank would have been too much like Mozilla Firefox.

I wonder if the chicken stunt from the West Wing Santos campaign would have been more fun. When you don't have the marketing clout to blitz the market, you do what punchy insurgencies do - you try to punch above your weight and find ways to endear yourself to a press that always loves an underdog, ensuring they megaphone your message for you with free press. And never loose an oppurtunity for free press - especially by being funny. 2 Slashdot headlines for the price of the Opera CEO getting into a wetsuit and some pretty pictures is a pretty good deal.

Posted by subtitles at 2:50 PM | TrackBack

WebMail is for Intellectual Midgets

I suppose this isn't strictly an Opera post, but well.

I'm always a bit surprised when I see large numbers of people complaining about how GMail doesn't work properly in Opera - obviously now fixed (not for me though, since Proxo's filters are fucking it up somehow). I would have thought the most important thing about GMail is that it offers POP3 access - as well as free SMTP, which to be fair is something I actually find could be of great use.

But to use it primarily through the browser? I'm sorry, but Opera has a perfectly respectable e-mail client - and really any e-mail client is going to offer so much more flexibility and speed and power than the poky web interfaces available. And with GMail's storage/options, your mail can still be accessible remotely via the web interface when you must. I'd be pimping more for M2, but I still prefer Outlook - especially with the new(ish) vertical views and less restrictive html blocking that I've yet to find in any other mail client.

Can someone tell me really why anyone would use web based mail other than because they can't figure out how to configure a client or they're away from their primary work machine? If you have a GMail account, move today - you'll no longer get ads and smtp is free. First you enable POP, then you set up your mail client. The instructions are pretty generic, so if you're using M2, I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out. The important thing is to enable secure SMTP and use the right ports. Personally I still think Outlook Express is a viable enough e-mail client, and it comes with Windows.

If you already have an smtp account, say via your ISP, but you still want an agnostic mail service so you can move ISPs without losing your e-mail address, try, who offer free IMAP (my protocal of choice) - I've been using them for years now, and if nothing else, they're small enough that people aren't keen enough to use dictionary spam attacks on it. Using them I've been spam free, except when I deserved it. Actually nowadays since I have proper hosting here at, I just use the unlimited mail accounts available. I doubt I'd be moving web hosts (ICDSoft is pretty good), so I feel pretty secure, and I can get whatever names I want, and if spam comes, I can just remove the account. SMTP has been a bit flaky in the past, but I tend to use these mainly as incoming boxes.

And of course most ISPs offer mail services - but as I said I prefer to be able to move ISPs and not have to fret about my e-mail addresses.

Posted by subtitles at 12:36 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Best UI Intro *Ever* - nontroppo's Wonderful World of Visual Tutorials

I just saw this on the MyOpera main page and was sort of blown away. I'm sure in the pantheon of UI intros, it's not necessarily the *best*, but for Opera, I've never seen better compressed into such a short presentation. A triumph of the genre, surely.

It's done by nontroppo, who amongst other things, is known for the mammoth task of maintaining the Opera Wiki. If that wasn't enough, he actually has a whole series of UI intro animations, to be found here. To be honest I found out things I had never known about Opera, so I'd recommend it to all comers. Least annoying use of flash *ever*.

We're not worthy.

Posted by subtitles at 3:21 AM | TrackBack

Post Roundup for Opera Blogs - The Cunning Plan Behind Acid 2

This ingeneous fellow has found a way to allow you to use right click left click to move back - even when you're hovering over a bit of Flash - I think it leads to unwanted side effects like you can't interact with the thing anymore, but it's cool for everyone who contstantly sees context menus when he just wants to get the fuck out of the flash hell he's been sent to. Flash is a bane on the interweb.

This guy writes about bloat and persuading a girl to switch to Opera. Because I'm loving trackback at the moment, have a look at this and this. I've also been thinking to myself that I should write something about the shortcomings of 30 Days, but that will come in time, and with the realisation of what a mammoth task it must have been.

This guy talks about the inital reactions to Opera since its launch, and addresses a number of complaints people have had about the browser, in particular its CSS support. I'm sure he's already seen my contribution to the bloat conversation.

This guy does a very friendly intro to people who are new to the browser.

This writes a bit about GMail compatibility, which reminds me that I should be doing a post on why WebMail is for Intellectual Midgets.

And having been pointed to Junyor's post about Acid 2 compatibility, I'm wondering whether after their bust out over the issue, they're willing to let someone else get the glory of first, just so they can give more credit to the test, and also to give the concept wider coverage, or maybe just allow IE to come in with a PR win - to the good of all really. Their marketing people really must be doing their work.

And as regards LSR's post responding to mine, I suppose I was generally trying to put my case forward to say why the motive for profit is a positive one, in response to his little fudge that Opera's employees do what they do out of the kindness of their hearts. Was that not clear enough?

Posted by subtitles at 1:41 AM | TrackBack

April 25, 2005

I Love That You Have To Pay Money For Opera

LSR and Red Man's Revenge commented on me saying this:

"at the end of the day, Opera needs to make money and compete to make money - and I can't think of a better incentive for people to get things right, or make things right"

My response, as it was previously, is this:

"Give me that which I want, and you shall have this which you want, is the meaning of every such offer; and it is in this manner that we obtain from one another the far greater part of those good offices which we stand in need of. It is not from the benevolence of the butcher, the brewer, or the baker, that we expect our dinner, but from their regard to their own interest."

"By pursuing his own interest, he frequently promotes that of the society more effectually than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who affected to trade for the public good."

Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations.

Also, if you would be so kind, please explore the link in my initial quote above, that links to this post: UnEconomic. Which was preceded by Opera Needs to Step Up.

Once you've done that, you can get over your hippie-dippie tie-died existences and realise that capitalism is not a bad thing - and even if you dislike it, there are ways in which it can be more useful to your ends than the equivalent of throwing your money off a bridge. Like saving the environmental movement perhaps, or maybe even the environment.

If you're unhappy with Microsoft about Internet Explorer, you should feel free to say so. Some times markets fail. Some times a single enterprise monopolises an economic space to the extent where competition is stifled. Economics is not unaware, or unwilling to admit, its own faults. "When the facts change, I change my mind, would you that it were otherwise?" But in the long run, when markets are left unhindered by stifling legislation (as opposed to careful regulation) things tend to sort themselves out - as is happening now.

Sure Opera and its employees are likely to be driven people who believe in what they are doing. That doesn't mean they'd be doing what the do as well as they do if they weren't being paid to do it. Do you really think Opera would be as prevalent on mobile devices if they hadn't decided that it was an area where there was un-tapped profit, and that they should put as much effort as they did into exploiting it? If they didn't we'd still be twiddling our thumbs (literally), waiting for MiniMo - whereever that is.

Oh, and I found the link I was looking for in UnEconomic - to explain my comment about the parasitic. From the Economist (where else) - Open source: Beyond capitalism?

Posted by subtitles at 2:09 PM | TrackBack

Cohones, Balls, Testicles - Bollocks More Like - Cocoa in a Teabag - Tetchy Goes Swimming

I thought I'd try to be the first to write about it so that I wouldn't bore myself into a stupour writing about it after everyone else had. Surprise surprise, there were 1 million downloads, and Tetchy (as I call him) will be (I'm funny aren't I) taking the plunge. To be honest, I actually quite like what they're doing, and if nothing else, I find it incredibly funny, despite whatever else I might say.

I've been writing extensively about Opera's marketing with this round of releases, you can have a look at Opera's Second Day Story - ie Their Marketing Department's Been Watching The West Wing (Or Something), and You Do Realise You're Boggling About an Opera Press Release, Right?. Or just browse via the new Opera Blog aggregator. I also added a new category for my Opera Boggling.

Posted by subtitles at 11:28 AM | TrackBack

Haavard the Bitch-Slapping - You Go Girlfriend

Well okay, that might be overstating things. But it's still a very pointed, and really rather funny, post/reply. I defer to people who know more, and are able to speak with greater authority. He's the man. The man from Opera - our man in Oslo. Very much like CJ on the West Wing, only probably not as much of a fan of pant-suits and "The Jackal".

Just to say though, my last post happened without having read his, not that it really matters.

Isn't boggling fun?

Posted by subtitles at 10:47 AM | TrackBack

Calm The Fuck Down - Why Nothing Has Really Changed With Opera 8

Just because discussion seems to be continuing still, and because Opera is Opera, and they've made decisions that people have to live with, I'll say this - Opera, as far as I know, wants/tries its hardest to accomodate new users who "just want a browser" - one that is very little except faster/more secure etc. than their last browser, most likely IE. That's why they answer the question "What is a Browser?", and still maintain instructions on how to mimic other browsers. You might also be interested in Rijk's journal entry on updated versions of those custom setups.

Never, in all this, has Opera stepped away from their stated intention to be most things to whoever they can convince. It's still the same browser made by the same people - just set up by default to be easier for the newbies. Mail, RSS, IRC, etc. are all still there in what is without a doubt the most customisable browser ever made. If you know how, you could make it do cartwheels and dance and peel grapes. Macarena Time.

People who have been using Opera for a while (Fanboys by any other name) can have a vested interest in not wanting things to be "dumbed down" - as I've said, Go To Bed, Would You Please. There is very little that has changed that cannot be changed back to the way you had it before - you want it so badly, figure it out, or ask in the forums. Honestly I'm surprised there hasn't been a greater outcry regarding the new simplified Preferences Menu. Certainly the pruning of verbiage in the menu bar (which I turn off anyway) is always welcome.

Opera doesn't make it a habit of alienating users. When they change things they normally do it because it makes things better - just because that was how it was then doesn't mean it's the best thing now. Maybe you preferred pressing 1 to go to the next page or 2 for the previous - but the other way makes much more sense. And really, when Opera does things badly, they hear about it, even when the people saying it (ie: me) are being (let's face it) assholes. And at the end of the day, Opera needs to make money and compete to make money - and I can't think of a better incentive for people to get things right, or make things right.

No I haven't forgotten, Opera vs. Firefox is still coming up.

Posted by subtitles at 9:57 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Peace In Our Time - Browser Wars, or: We Don't Want No Cuckoo Clock

I'm sort of getting the feeling that this is supposed to be moving day for me as well.

It's a rather weasel-ly thing to say, but I suppose I do agree with Asa Dotzler's statement that "as long as we're all moving toward an improved web experience for more browser users, I'm happy". And to be frank, it seems that that's how Opera is viewing things - that what is good for browser diversity is good for everyone (well, perhaps everyone except IE) - and certainly good for the consumer/user of the modern browser.

More cynical people might see it as spin, but I think one of the strengths of developers/employees boggling is that you get more sincerity than you ever would out of a press release, and from what I know of (the really rather long-suffering) Haavard, I'm more than willing to believe he meant what he said.

Fanboy wars are one thing, but I'd like to think any move that puts web standards more to the forefront of peoples' minds, the better. Of course Acid 2, and the way it was announced by Hakon, wasn't the friendliest way to go about things (though assuredly a PR coup), though I'm sure the tone wasn't entirely undeserved. But importantly I think that anything that goes beyond a rather playful jab at one another would be rather unbecoming between Opera and Firefox - fans included. Not that MS or IE is the enemy, but clearly Opera and Firefox would have more common cause to band together, and until MS finds a way to engage the competition constructively...

I have to admit that I've said to people that if they can't bring themselves to install Opera, to at least move to Firefox - if only so I don't have to deal with their spyware problems again/later. Of course in most those situations, I can provide the most detailed support for Opera, so most of my friends choose that rather than be left to their own devices with Firefox. Agnostic up to a point.

You know that what's coming after this is going to be me trying to enter flamebait territory and write (what will surely be my particular take) on why Opera is better - and what Firefox does better. Yes, it's that time of year again. In the mean time I'll leave you with a rather embarassing earlier post I did. Most of it is now not entirely representative of what I think now, but it serves as a reminder of humility to me, if nothing else. Opera Needs To Step Up.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is that regulated competition is good - and the people that will benefit the most are the consumers.

Posted by subtitles at 6:09 AM | TrackBack

The 5 Day News Cycle - Improvements/Suggestions for "Opera Blogs"

This might just be me finally catching on to how things work on the interweb - but it was brought into stark relief by me monitoring the Opera Blogs over the weekend. I suspect this is now the eggs and chickens work - on weekends, there are no press releases because people tend not to be working, but also because apparently a lot of people smurf from work, no one is reading stuff on the weekends either. I wonder if there is a spike in "traditional media" consumption over the weekends.

I thought I'd just use this post to vent my annoyance at a number of things (because, as you realise, I get annoyed a lot). How how how is OperaWatch still getting so many hits? He hasn't posted in days, so I can only imagine that people are trawling and find his "get a free Opera License" thing, or they're just clicking on the most visited blog and not bothering to move to number 2. Don't get me wrong, I'm over the moon that I'm able to go from nowhere to no. 2 in less than a week, but as the month is ending, I'm actually starting to get Nokia 6630 fever. I'm a naughty monkey.

Speaking of Opera Blogs, it might be nice if there were a number of improvements to offset some of the annoyances I brought up previously. An RSS feed for the blogs would be the most important of these. As I've said before, this is not a purely Opera blog, and the feed reader on the site simply filters in those posts that have the word Opera in them. If people wanted simply to read Opera related posts, it'd be nice to have a feed for the most recent posts etc.

I'm also brought in mind of LonghornBlogs, and though we're not Opera developers, I don't know, or something might be a good marketing move - the only downside might be that Opera might be afraid that this would lead to excessive Opera bashing from users, since users are the ones with the most complaints, and might represent in writing how good things actually are. But then you could say the same about forums. Or fora I suppose. If they wanted to go beyond just posting the headline, that would be fun too.

Just to be clear, I am endlessly conscientious about not gaming stats - I don't click on my own links in Opera Blogs (unless to check how it works), and I don't post links that contain the urls that would add to my click count. Not that I'm saying anyone would, but those are the things that spring to mind that could be manipulated. The most I do is send the main url to friends who might be interested.

Posted by subtitles at 2:04 AM | TrackBack

April 24, 2005

The Erotics of Experience - Reply to Asa Dotzler

It's always cool when a "somebody" reads a "nobody's" blog and comments about it. Asa Dotzler is a "someone" when you're talking about browsers and Firefox in particular, since he's actively involved in the thing itself. I mean he's got his own wiki for fuck's sake. I (as anyone who's watched "Anne", the season premiere of Buffy season 3, would recognise) am nobody. More specifically I'm a nobody who happens to be a writer rather than a technology expert.

What I know is perception, and what I understand is how things are percieved, and the erotics of experience. To be fair I should be more careful about tailoring my prose to my audience, but I writes the way I writes. And that includes nuance in phrasing. To quote myself via someone else:

"the paradox of features is also that you always want to make things better, to add more - and yet the more you add the more complicated a thing can get - and the more you can contribute to an impression of clutter"

Again, you might not know that I write/wrote either academic prose or fiction (more or less) for a living, so you might not approach the writing with that in mind. But there's a reason why I say "and yet the more you add the more complicated a thing can get" (meta-me's italics). When Opera added a very prominent new mail client, things got at least a little more complicated - what I'm saying is not so different from what you're saying; sure there are times when new features just work, but more often than not, new menus are added, more options are available etc.

Even a simple thing like RSS - it now pops up in Opera's address bar, just as it does in FF's status bar (as a livebookmark). Now, is that clutter or is that the impression of clutter? That depends on what you definition of "of" is. People are complicated fuckers - some people might argue there is an objective notion of clutter, while others might well say that clutter is a function of the one percieving it. I was writing about perception (hence the focus on the marketing), so I'm just necessarily pointing out that bloat/clutter need not necessarily be either to anybody, unless wishing makes it so.

But my larger point was this - when you announce features, whether they are as you say things that just work, or things that add clutter, people are often going to conflate the two - hence the title "The Unfair Impression of Bloat". Features means you have a new version number, which is when marketers/evangelists go to work. But when they pimp mostly about the features (ie: press releasing the equivalent of a feature changelog) people are going to assume that the new components add bloat/clutter whether they do or not.

I wish I was a UI expert - but I'm not, I'm a bitchy end-user who has eyes.

As for my boo-boo about the size of Firefox, that's just me not having paid attention to file sizes since 0.8 or something - I was wrong, bad me - but in my sneaky way I'm going to suggest that it makes my point about how with broadband, download size is a lot less of a deal that it used to be.

But really what I was trying to do was write around the issue rather than lambast Opera for what you rightly point out is the relative clutter of their default install in relation to almost any other browser. I've (fairly, but more often not fairly) lambasted Opera before, and this time I was just pointing out that the new version number was a step towards simplicity rather than version-and-feature-bloat. "The Unfair Impression of Bloat".

Posted by subtitles at 3:16 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

What is a Browser? - Reaching out to people who don't know what a browser is, apparently

And so Opera have decided they want rank newbies to rally to their cause. I think it's to their credit that they set things out as simply as they have on their new effort to get users to Switch.

Honestly I think only people savvy enough to ask the question would really want everything to be exactly the same when they move over - though there are people intractable enough that look at Opera and say - where are the missing buttons for blah. That button should be further to the left.

I wonder what the statistics are - how many people switch as a result of spyware. I know of at least 2 people that I personally persuaded to switch where spyware/virii was the reason - or at least the catalyst of what had been a long period of persuasion.

It's good work, is what I'm saying. Simple, direct, gently persuasive. Whoever designed the new front page deserves a medal.

Posted by subtitles at 2:27 AM | TrackBack

April 23, 2005

The Unfair Impression of Bloat

Part of the reason I go on the way I do about new features is that in many ways it can be counter-productive. As you'll notice, this marketing cycle Opera have decided that they're stepping away from the notion of an "Internet Suite".

Fair or not, real or not, people can be obsessed with bloat. In many software packages, this takes on the shape of a huge download, or a turgid, unimaginative and intractable UI. The paradox of features is also that you always want to make things better, to add more - and yet the more you add the more complicated a thing can get - and the more you can contribute to an impression of clutter.

To be clear, Opera's download is *tiny*, well under 4MB, about half that of Firefox. But really, now that dial-up is for chumps, I don't know how much of an advantage it can remain. I haven't done the math, but I'd think in terms of filled UI space at default install - that is where Opera's impression of bloat mostly comes from. The word Opera must learn to hate is clutter.

From a marketing perspective, features (or general 'newness') gives you the excuse to make noise and spread your message. The trap is that often times these new features contribute to the impression of bloat, and can make very boring press. As far as I'm concerned, Speed, Security, Simplicity should *always* be the message.

When you persuade people of things, the importance is often on the persuasiveness of the narrative - the painting of the manifest destiny. Obsession with minutiae can be counter productive - sure a changelog is more "informative", but it's also boring as fuck. You don't launch products by issuing a changelog.

I think Opera is starting to think huge. They want the huge market of people who don't want much from their browser. As long as it has a back button - they're set. For these people, Speed, Security, Simplicity is a great reason to move over in reaction to bad press/bad spyware (deserved or not) for IE, or even Firefox.

Of course Opera would want you to get the most out of your browsing experience, but that doesn't mean it should foist features on people for whom they aren't welcome. Simplicity.

Posted by subtitles at 6:46 AM | TrackBack

"Switchers" Left Behind - Simplicity - Newbies: Fanboys Go To Bed, Would You Please

It's occured to me that Opera have decided that trying to lure "switchers" is the wrong way to go. With the launch of 7.5, it seemed Opera had tried to appeal to IE, FF and Safari users by pointing out how easy it was to duplicate the look and feel of those browsers. Either that didn't give them much traction or whatever, I can only assume that they decided against using that as a major selling point.

I think this mainly because the customisation page that did 1-click setups to emulate other browsers is not pretty much tucked/hidden away - I had to look for the old press release and that link redirected to this one.

My feeling on this is in many ways one of agreement. Opera is different - deal with it. Sure, the keyboard shortcuts are a bit different, the toolbars not quite the same - but I'd like to think it's not that big a hump to get over, after which you realise how good Opera is. Speed, Security, Simplicity. And I think it's in the last point that version 8 really tries to deliver on.

Obviously I don't use the default setup - I'm a fanboy, I go crazy - but the default as it is now is as close to simplicity for the uninitiated user as you're likely to get for a while without selling the feature-set short.

Of course it still rankles me that the menu bar area can largely remain wasted, and I have complaints about the way the toolbars function - but on the whole I'm happy enough that people who discover Opera on their own won't be too intimidated by the first thing they see. If they can download and install it on their own, they can figure out the default interface.

And I feel pretty convinced that the last people who should be allowed to decide what the default interface is like are the fanboys/girls - usability studies is how it should be done, and I think Opera's been good in sticking to its guns about that.

That said, when I install Opera for my friends, I inevitably customise it for them (I'll be re-doing my pre-customised package soon, updated for 8). The most important thing I give them is customised searches. That's what Opera is best at - unbeatable at the moment, but not necessarily at startup. This is especially important for people who are shy at customising their interface - many people are still afraid they'll "break it".

IMDB, TVTome, (with Proxo blocking ads) and Wikipedia seem particularly popular.

Posted by subtitles at 3:30 AM | TrackBack

April 22, 2005

We Are Not The Press - Opera Bogglers Get More Punchy - A Reply to LSR - Camp "Mascot"

It's always nice to be mentioned. I was going to reply in the post, but it got too long, so here we go(yes, I've blockquoted myself, you got a problem with that?):

Just to be clear, I wasn't referring to you, your blog, or any other blog (okay, maybe OperaWatch a bit). Also, I've never actually been to your blog before, so I don't quite get how I was commenting on your post. If I referred to anything, I was referring to my own posts. That said, I'm ecstatic that there's more meaningful discussion going on now among the Opera bloggers - mission accomplished.

As for writing about press releases - I only brought it up because it seemed that everyone and their left testicle was blogging about the same swimming thing, and after seeing 12 headlines as variations on the same thing, I wanted to stab myself.

Regarding your wrap-up of various reviews/mentions, I thought that was one of the many useful ways boggling can occur. Aggregation is not the sin here, it's doing so without meaningful commentary. And of course Opera doesn't get enough press, that's why I've been so impressed with the marketing push this time round. But we (as we keep getting reminded) are not the press.

I'm pretty happy that people are being more punchy - this guy for example, talking about Opera's choice for "mascot". Interestingly he's using Yahoo's new 360° boggling service. Personally I think the new marketing campaign is overall pretty good - the "mascot" is a bit camp, but not necessarily in a bad way. And if nothing else, it reinforces their "message" - Speed, Security, Simplicity. Like a mantra, over and over.

Posted by subtitles at 2:16 PM | TrackBack

*sigh* - A Nokia 6630 Actually Sounds Pretty Cool

I'm now starting to think that I'd actually quite like to get the prize. I've always been interested in finding out how mobile browsing in Opera would be like, and I'm assuming that it'll have Bluetooth (yes it does), which I'd also like to have a go at. A short jaunt on Yahoo has found me this review. To have suddenly gone from nowhere to the first page of the most visited makes me think I'm in there with a chance.

The problem with writing for Opera is that whatever hits I get via the blog aggregator they have on MyOpera is probably from Opera users rather than people I'd be able to convert, probably a bit contrary to what this is supposed to be about. So technically I have to appeal to Opera's existing users in order to win, but ideally I should be writing for new users to get into Opera. Also, if I'm so good at what I'm doing, I'd be persuading people to come here just in general rather than coming here via MyOpera - not the biggest deal, but something worth noting.

I'm thinking I should do a post "I've converted X-number of users to Opera - what have you done for the cause" kind of thing. When I go where I go I'll definitely be evangelising - academic licenses are free anyway as far as I remember (yes they are). Perhaps I should do something on how the default setup should be - though I doubt that would be too useful - it'd make more sense to do a variation on my (now much outdated) search.ini made idiot proof post.

Posted by subtitles at 12:01 PM | TrackBack

You Do Realise You're Boggling About an Opera Press Release, Right?

That's sort of what pisses me off about certain kinds of bogglers - they can end up being annoyingly like new aggregators. Now, Louis is very inclusive or human behaviour - far be it from me to legislate boggling - but I'm sorry, even *paid* (or in this case "incentivised") boggling shouldn't be like this. To be fair, I haven't read the posts by the other right honourables, but with the headlines they have - I'm not exactly optimistic.

First, they should feel a bit manipulated that so many of them are regurgitations of a press release - and really, I don't think that should be what Opera's marketing people want. What you want is buzz, true, and breadth of coverage, but why "your" bogglers are important to you is their willingness to use their credibility to talk objectively about your product.

Somewhere somehow, this boggler has a kind of bully pulpit and he/she's availing him/herself of it for your cause. Having them spout your press releases is counter-productive - that's what news aggregators are for (Slashdot, Inq, news outlets in general). Bogglers - if I may be so bold - are meant to be authoritative consumers who are able to sway their friends and readers; they are opinion makers and shapers, not just means of dissemination. I suppose there's something clever to be said about Fox News' CEO talking about the seperation of news and opinion.

In that sense I suppose, I'm just thinking that the CEO story is a funny news story, rather than a story I should write about other than as a process story (as I have).

Posted by subtitles at 9:01 AM | TrackBack

Why I Might Ever Use Opera's RSS Reader - Instead of Klipfolio

Before I get into it, just to wonder, as I'll eventually discover, whether they simply filter the headline for the word "Opera". They don't seem to be vetting blogs - spammers take note. Honestly Opera Watch is the most loyal/timely and should probably get it, but it can (no offense) read a bit like an extended press release. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with shilling for the company you like, but it's not exactly the place you go for analysis and objectivity. He's welcome to bitch-slap me if he disagrees.

This is really a product of me sniffing around WordPress - since they offer feeds for every-fuck-thing, even comments. Now, I really like Klipfolio, and I'm not talking about migrating, but it's still best for monitoring stable headline feeds, rather than monitoring things that are more transitory and which could multiply exponentially.

I mean it'd be a hassle to create a new feed reader and paste the url just to get updates on a discussion - easier to just click and let Opera handle it. Though apparently Serence is working on making things easier. I wonder if the browsers would be obstructionist if that happened - if Opera is, they're in for an earful.

The last times I added feeds to Opera it was also because they were updates so often and plentifully that it didn't make sense to do anything else - but then those feeds tend to lose meaning, since without some form of editing, it's a bit meaningless. Oh, and once KF couldn't handle chinese characters.

Oh, and it's a bitch to get the feed menu up in Opera when you remove the menu bar and don't have a mail account so you can put it in your sidebar. I'm willing to be enlighted, but in general, I just find the "reading feeds like mail" thing a bit silly and not a bit ugly.

Posted by subtitles at 1:57 AM | TrackBack

Opera's Second Day Story - ie Their Marketing Department's Been Watching The West Wing (Or Something)

Jeez - how long is that headline? As I mentioned back in March, their marketing department must have decided that it's Moving Day, and that Opera's Nobody's Bitch.

I get the feeling they've decided to flex their agility and make use of this release to get things in order. I like "speed, security, simplicity", especially since I've always felt Opera stumbled in the past with their new releases. To paraphrase - it's not the new features stupid. I honestly couldn't care less that I can now give voice commands to my browser, just as I couldn't care less when they added a mail client - others might but I don't. For most people, that little marketing jingle is just the right note.

They're also doing a much better job of making the switch easier - basically putting the tutorials etc. up front on the main page, as well as the more advanced ones on the community page. The community page makes me think they've really decided to embrace the whole "new media" thing - like this, getting bogglers to create buzz. I can appreciate it, and I think they'd do well to allow as much dissent as is seemly off the whole thing.

But yes - humour is one the best ways they've had for getting headlines. Especially from the company that brought you the "bork" browser. I thought the buzz around Acid 2 (which is what I had been referring to previously) was similarly well executed. And I can't honestly think of it as being manipulative - they're "just" doing the politics - you play the same game the others are playing, using the same rules. The actual story (I can't imagine you missed it) is here. Thanks to The Inq and Opera Watch.

I do wonder if they're going to accept me as an "opera boggler", since I'm not going to just bog opera now - I wonder if they can just filter out the non-opera bits.

On another note, ICDSoft gave out free upgrades to their hosting plans, so I now have no excuse not to install WordPress for a spin. It looks really cool - I'm just concerned that importing from MT will be a hassle.

Just to be clear though - this is not about winning stuff - I'd (more or less) be doing this anyway. Unfettered.

Posted by subtitles at 1:32 AM | TrackBack

April 20, 2005

Super-Opera to the Rescue

Yeah, ok, it's *a bit* lame, but the super-opera thing is sort of fun. The new affiliate link on the right goes towards getting me a "free license" *ahem*. Well, that and it's sort of fun. For more information have a look at the list of referrers already in action, and the buttons and banners page.

So yes, new version of Opera. Apparently the new name was Opera 8. Inventive huh? Nothing much that I can see changed from beta 3, though I'm sure there are changes. You can see that and the rather effective new campaign for Opera 8 here.

I've been getting most of this news via OperaWatch - so much props.

Posted by subtitles at 5:47 AM | TrackBack