6 Great Firefox Add-ons

So, I have a few great Firefox add-ons (all free of course) for you guys to check out. And if you don't have firefox, I would suggest clicking on the Get Firefox button on the top of the blog and getting it. It's free, and very secure/fast.

  1. Adblock Plus -- REMOVES ALMOST ALL ADS automatically
  2. Perma-tabs -- allows you to have tabs that stay open always, even if you close and reopen firefox
  3. Fasterfox -- speeds up firefox
  4. DownThemAll -- fast download manager
  5. Google Notebook -- make little notes in the corner of the window, and copy and paste little bits of a window
  6. Grab and Drag -- makes it so you can drag windows up instead of just using the scrollbar or a scroll wheel


Added Open Source Buttons to Blog

Just wanted to let you know that I added the Firefox and Ubuntu buttons to my blog. The main reason I want to tell you this is, I am not getting any money for this. I am just doing this because I recommend both pieces of software.

Firefox is REALLY good. If you are still using Internet Explorer (if you have Windows), then SWITCH IMMEDIATELY. Firefox is much safer than IE. As for Mac OS X users, Safari is good, but sometimes it doesn't show all the features on a page (for instance with WYSIWYG editors). And, if you last used Firefox 1.5 or so, the new Firefox 2's much faster. I know that the older version was really slow on Macs, but it has improved greatly.

As an added bonus, you can get Adblock Plus, and remove almost all ads on the Web automatically!


SPECIAL REPORT: The March on Washington

What I, as a 16-year-old, thought about it.

Hello folks, I'm just coming back from the peace march in Washington, DC. I'm writing this into my Palm Pilot, riding on a bus bound for New York.

Last week, we went to a small protest one night near my school, and during the protest they told us about the march. Since it was only $30 dollars per person for the round trip bus, including snacks, and we didn't have anything to do on Saturday, we decided to go.

We got in touch with organizers in our area. Since New York is so far away from Washington, DC, the bus trip would take 5-6 hours and we would have to leave at 6:30 AM.

So we got up really early (my alarm was set for 4:45 AM), ate some breakfast, and took off in the car for the bus pickup point. When we arrived, the bus wasn't there yet. That was because the original bus had broken down and they had had to get another, smaller bus. This had also happened to the other bus for our area, and we wondered about sabotage.

We finally got going. I started my trip by listening to some podcasts (Unger Report, Maccast, Seventh Son Podiobook, New Scientist Podcast), and then a bit of music. After that, a man who was sitting across from me, who was a war veteran, took out a portable speaker and plugged in his iPod Nano (theere were at least four iPods on the bus). He played "Give Peace a Chance," and everyone else on the bus began to sing along to the classic protest song.

He played various other songs, and I contributed to the entertainment by plugging in my iPod and playbing "All You Need Is Love" by the Beatles and "We Shall Overcome" sung by Bruce Springsteen (Album: We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions).

After about seven songs we sort of ran out of things to play, and the vet put away his speakers, but by that time we had almost reached Washington, and not much happened until we arrived in the large parking lot in front of the Metro train station in DC.

As we rode into the parking lot I saw many buses lined up in the parking spaces. There were about a hundred buses, and this parking lot was not the only one being used by all the buses coming in from everywhere around the US.

After we had gotten off the bus, we followed an organizer in a group to the train station. We waited outside until the leader, whose name was Bernie, had purchased the tickets, then streamed in to the station. We took the green line to L'enfant Plaza.

On the trains, on the street, there were protesters everywhere. We gathered at the same spot where everyone had gathered when Martin Luther King, Jr. had spoken. Various speakers gave speeches, and each of their sentences were punctuated by the loud cheers of the crowd. A few speakers were hoarse from yelling, but bravely shouted on.

Many chants were heard today:

"What do we want?"
"When do we want it?"

"Move, Bush, get out the way. Get out the way Bush get out the way!" (shouted by some people from the Bronx)

I also encountered many different signs, quite a few of them very inventive. Examples:



It was very exciting to be there, right in the middle of the protest, and to feel the energy of all these people who wanted to make a difference.

After the speeches, we began to march around the Capital building. This was when I realized how many people had arrived. There were endless crowds of people! Right now I'm on the bus, but when I get home I want to see a bird's-eye view of it.

We took footage with our camcorder, and many photos with our camera. I'm planning on quickly editing the video and posting it to YouTube, and after that the blog, for your viewing pleasure.

The turnout was astounding. I hope people look and realize that the idea of peace is still very present in the minds of the American public. And if there are any European or non-American readers of this blog (there's Renuka, but anyone else?), I hope they realize that the Americans aren't ALL for Bush and the war.

I believe that this march was very important for America, even if the mass media does not cover it much, because the people who went to it and marched and sang and shouted and protested will know that there really are many people out there who agree with them, and these people will not give up.

But the event was so big that I do believe it will be big news, and I hope that it will help change the minds of the people with the power, and be just the beginning. I hope that this march will lead to the eventual impeachment of Bush and Cheney and others who are involved in the criminal practices of this current administration.

With luck, we'll see some great changes in this country. I hope that this march will help stop the war in Iraq and, because of this, make it possible to fund more important things, such as alternative energy research.

It's hard to describe the atmosphere of the protest in a blog post. Everyone was charged up, ready to shout, sing, and, with humor and good-natured laughs, tell the world and the White House their opinions. The feeling one gets when one is right in the middle of one of these events is one of joy, perseverance, and highly controlled anger. You can feel the strength of all the people, and you feel connected with them in a very uncomon way.

To see all of the people who agree wholeheartedly with almost all your opinions, and to chant, cheer, and yell with them feels so liberating. It feels as if a new being is created by the crowd, and it's speaking, and saying to everyone watching the protest, "You had better listen to me, or face the consequences."

At about four PM we headed back to the trains, since we needed many hours to travel back to NY. At the platform, there were crowds, hundreds of people all waiting to board the same train. When the train pulled up, however, it was almost completely packed already, and we couldn't fit in. So we had to wait another ten minutes for the next one.

We managed to squeeze in that train, along with a foam chicken with the face of Dubya. Everyone was laughing and joking about the "Chicken-in-chief" needing to get on the train.

It was very tight on the train. I videotaped it, because I was already holding the camera, and because I wanted to share the experience with you guys (hold on a few days for the video). The funny thing about it was the fact that the majority of the passengers were against war, and they all agreed with each other, so the trip didn't contain any yelling or bad temper because everyone got along.

Back here on the bus, everyone is tired, but happy, and not cranky.

Today was a great day for America, as well as the rest of the world. We've made history today, and we're really proud about it.

There's going to be another march in March, on the 17th. Come if you can! I'm sure you'll find out more if you Google it. Make a difference in the world! Stop foolish wars! The world will thank you.

Peace, Gavin

As a side note, Ubuntu imported these photos with absolutely no hiccups, a dialog asking "Camera Detected: do you want to import photos?" and it worked really quickly. So, copying the above text from my Palm Pilot to the blog, and importing the photos--all done on a free operating system with a computer with ~$400 total spent. Sorry for promoting Ubuntu, but I'm really happy with it now.


The Coriolis Force

Ok, here's a weird thing I just learned in school...


The Coriolis Force. Sadly, though, the teacher was wrong about it affecting drains... I have to tell him.

Here's a helpful graphic explaining it:


Ok, on to another look...

All right, enough Vista, time for "Linux Geek" look. Here are some screenshots...


Video: Beryl on Ubuista

I decided to take a screencast of my desktop. Here it is. Remember that the screen frame rate is slowed down considerably when I use the screencast application. The real frame rate is at about 100 frames per second (i.e. not jerky at all), so don't think about that.

My Monitor (arriving in a few days)

Title says it all.... Here it is, from a review of it. Oh boy, I can't wait!!


Vista-like Ubuntu

I showed you my desktop before. Well, today I tried to make it look like Windows Vista. It doesn't look exactly like it, but I didn't try very hard. One cool thing though: The windows are still wobbly, making this BETTER than vista... "hasta la Vista" i suppose....


iPhone's coming!

Yes, the Macworld Keynote was very interesting!

Two things about it: iPhone is coming in June, AppleTV in February.

Find out more at www.apple.com!


Macworld Keynote Coming Soon

Hey, the Macworld Keynote is coming up on Tuesday! We are going to see a bunch of new stuff coming out from apple, and according to the Apple website, this stuff is going to be VERY interesting...

I wonder what they're planning... A cell phone? New notebook computers? New desktops? They are at least going to introduce their new OS, Mac OS Leopard! Good stuff. Sadly, I'll be at school when it happens, so I'll see what's happening a little later than usual... Oh well.


A Midnight Walk with the Dog

I just came back from a walk with my dog Lucy. Tonight it felt very special to be outside, because the moon was so bright, and because its light shone from directly above me, creating a very alien sort of light.

As soon as I stepped out of the door I noticed it. It looked as if it had snowed, because of the white light of the moon shining on the table outside in our front yard. I had to check to make sure it hadn't snowed because it looked so different.

It is very interesting to go for a walk during the full moon at around midnight, because almost nobody's around and it is very quiet. The moonlight is calming, and the fresh cold air is wakening, so that your spirit of inspiration comes awake again. That's the main reason I am writing this post right now, in fact. I was inspired by the moon and the cold air. Now it is 12:30 AM and I feel almost as if I have been recreated.

I believe it's a good idea for inspiring writers to go out on such a walk as I did, for about 20 minutes. It really changes your thoughts a lot, and calls up old memories, old inspirations left to stagnate in the rush of the "real" world.

Another thought: isn't it sad that cameras can't catch the exact beauty of a quiet dark night? It almost never works, even with a tripod and a camera set for long exposure. Looking at the water tonight, it was so beautiful that I wanted to share it with you, but found it impossible.

Now that I have my Ubuntu box, I've been wondering what I should do with it. Why have a computer without a reason? But now, going for this walk, I've decided what I should do. I should use it as a tool for writing. I plan to leave it on the whole night (because I have Folding@Home on it, and it's for science), and it's in my room, so it's actually quite ideal for a sort of "inspiration notebook" for if I wake up at night and feel moved.

Also, if you are fans of my blog, then this is also good news: I will have VERY easy access to the blog now and will post quite frequently if I have time.

Anyway, when you think about things while walking under the light of the moon, you will get inspired to do things, finish things. I would strongly suggest you do this too, as soon as possible. It helps to have a dog.


Ubuntu Edgy Eft (6.10) and Beryl

After getting new parts for my computer upstairs, I finally was able to install and configure Ubuntu Linux, Edgy Eft. Above is a screenshot.

I also was able to get Beryl working. That means that whenever I move the windows around they're "wobbly" (go here and you'll see what I mean). Also, I have a 3d desktop switcher, which means that when I need more space to work on the desktop, I can press CONTROL-ALT-and the arrow keys to switch between desktop spaces. It makes a cube effect when I do this.

Also, I have succesfully installed Google Earth Linux, as well as two open-source 3d FPS games that are quite neat, the first is Sauerbraten, and the second is Nexuiz. Nexuiz is available for free for any operating system (Windows, Mac OS X), and it is quite cool. It is also really neat to be able to use my graphics card, which has 256MB of VRAM. My fast processor makes everything snappy too.

My only gripes as of now are:

  • I've only got 512MB of RAM
  • I still have a CRT screen
  • Ubuntu AMD64 is a real pain to configure, because AMD64 is not popular.
Google Earth Linux works REALLY fast on my machine, with no jerks or anything, compared to every other computer I've seen running it (of course there's still the waiting for the internet to load, but that's Verizon's fault now, our internet can't get faster because of our location)

Also, I seem to be in luck. One of my cousins is working on a project and she asked me a few days ago if I could design a website for her. She said she'd give me a brand new LCD if I did it! And if that doesn't work, then at least I can get her old LCD, which is the first generation of LCD monitors, which means it's NOT a flatscreen (it's about 1 1/2 feet deep). And a flatscreen is better than a CRT, even if it's just as bulky. My eyes hurt so much with this CRT screen.

And the memory problem is easily solved with a bit of extra cash. I'll wait a bit and get about $50 and get me another 512MB chip and I'll be all set!

Finally, the AMD64 problem is not a big one... It's just going to get better and better as the type of chip gets more and more popular. With the chip I have, according to Wikipedia, I can have only up to....17,179,869,184 gigabytes of RAM (versus 4GB with standard 32-bit):
The emergence of the 64-bit architecture effectively increases the memory ceiling to 264 addresses, equivalent to 17,179,869,184 gigabytes or 16 exabytes of RAM.
--Wikipedia, 64-bit
So, eventually, I hope to reach the limit ;) When I have my seventeen billion gigabytes of RAM installed, maybe then programs won't crash (just kidding)

So, I'm sure all you nongeek readers found this techspeak to be gibberish, but I had to release it from it's cage inside my mind. Everyone else: go ubuntu! You'll need a bit of Terminal training, but it's worth it... it's FREE.