Nathan’s blog about software development, design and the people behind it.

Firefox 3 is now the number one web browser in Europe!

Written on May 24th, 2009

Firefox Vs IE.. om nom nomIf you didn’t know already, as of last month, Firefox 3 has become the most popular browser in Europe! I am personally overjoyed by this occurrence and wish the Mozilla Foundation the best and much continued success.

This is a huge triumph for not only website developers, but also open source software as a whole. Before the Mozilla Foundation came onto the scene and released Firefox, the world of web browsers was in a depressing state. I wouldn’t doubt the majority of people reading this blog remember the post-Netscape, pre-Firefox days. I was graduating from highschool at the time and remember this era clearly.

Microsoft enjoyed a functional monopoly on the web browser market with their own Internet Explorer 6. As a result of Microsoft’s monopoly, web standards were for the most part thrown out the window, introduction of closed-proprietary features and formats were common, computer infection rates were very high and spyware ran rampant. At this time I frequented computer gaming events (LAN Parties!) with a number of my buddies. I remember us sharing our experiences about how ourselves, our friends and family members were constantly infected with malicious software contracted through Microsoft’s web browser. It was common to do a complete re-install of ones operating system every few months in order to keep things running at an acceptable level.

Feels good man.

Then out of nowhere, Firefox was released into the market. I admit, even I was a little skeptical to try it at first, yet I do remember that first day.. My good friend Andrew Almond insisted I try out this fantastic and fresh new browser, insisting a huge improvement over Microsoft’s offering; after which I did.

Installing Firefox was a breath of fresh air as my own computer infection problems nearly disappeared overnight! After about a month, the adoption of this new web browser exploded, and the thought of using Internet Explorer over Firefox became nearly laughable to us. The good word spread like wildfire.

Fast forward to now, Firefox is in its third iteration and better than ever. Microsoft has since had to clean up their act as a result, and there are now a number of very good web browsers on the market to choose from including Opera, Apple’s Safari and Google’s Chrome. Competition is great, and the Internet is generally a much safer place than it used to be.

Firefox is still my favored web browser, and of course, it holds a special place in my heart as it once symbolized a bright light in a dark era on the web, and continues to symbolize itself as a model open source project. Thank you, Firefox!

Firefox eating IE icon by Archangel-Daemon!

Posted in Firefox, Open Source

Programming Musical Tastes. What do you listen to while you Code?

Written on May 3rd, 2009

cat-retroMost of the people reading this blog will probably agree that programming is one of the most mentally engrossing tasks out there. I believe this certainly has an effect on the variety of music listened to by people who write code.

Michal Marcinkowski, the creator of the infamous popular online action shooter called Soldat, is a huge fan of programming to heavy metal music. Michal listens to metal bands such as Manowar, Amon Amarth and Moonspell. He compares listening to metal as absorbing pure energy, using that energy in his programming efforts.

On the other hand, Dan “Data” Tabar, the main guy behind Data Realms, tends to listen to softer music such as chiptunes (including demo scene music) and retro video game music while programming his game, Cortex Command.

Personally, and surprisingly enough, I am partial to silence when programming. I’ve done some of my best programming and deepest thinking with a pair of earplugs. Although I do admit, some music is great to keep the thought process flowing; and in this case, my musical choice varies depending on what I’m working on. If the ideas I am translating into code are fairly complex, I will listen to something non-lyrical. This includes classical music such as Beethoven or Mozart, electronica, or similar to Dan, even tunes from retro video games.

Here are some sites that stream music I enjoy programming to: – Old school game and demo scene music. – Electronica, classical and much more. – Low tech music for high tech people! – Demo scene music. – Good for everything else you can think of.

What do you listen to while you code? Feel free to share your musical recommendations and add your thoughts below!

Posted in Game Development, Programming