Monthly Archives: March 2012

The fallacy of Firefox “bloat” apropos of comparisons to Google Chrome

Chrome users seem to use the “bloat” argument against Firefox any chance they get, seemingly without being able to back the claim up with anything of substance. So, these recent benchmarks are rather interesting.

Memory usage under Windows and Mac OS X:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/macbook-air-chrome-16-firefox-9-benchmark,3108-13.html

“Under a heavy load of 40 tabs, Safari for Windows uses the least amount of memory (just 725 MB). Firefox comes in second at 910 MB, followed closely by Opera at 925 and Chrome at 995. Microsoft’s own IE9 uses the most memory (1.75 GB).

Opera is the only competitor to use less than a gigabyte of memory in Mac OS X. Safari comes in a close second, eating just over 1 GB, followed by Firefox at 1.25 GB. Chrome reports a whopping 2.3 GB of usage with 40 tabs open, which is significantly more than any other browser.”

 

Windows 7 and Ubuntu:

http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/chrome-17-firefox-10-ubuntu,3129-14.html

Tres intéressant.

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Adding a custom theme to GIMP

GIMP running on .nix distributions that support the Gnome desktop environment can be used with custom themes. Following is a brief how-to which covers doing this on OpenIndiana oi_151a x86, with GIMP 2.6. The method should be very similar or identical for Linux distributions (e.g. Ubuntu).

 

First, let’s locate a sample GTK theme. I am using a rather nice theme called “Darkilouche” found here:

http://art.gnome.org/themes/gtk2/1285

Simply download the compressed file in the above link, and extract the contents to disk.

 

Next, we need to locate the gtkrc file in the uncompressed theme folder. The sample theme we are using contains the following files and directories once uncompressed:

$ ls -al
total 7
drwxr-xr-x 4 dave staff   5 2012-03-07 22:47 .
drwxr-xr-x 3 dave staff   3 2012-03-07 22:47 ..
drwxr-xr-x 6 dave staff   9 2007-02-28 00:22 .svn
drwxr-xr-x 3 dave staff   4 2007-02-28 00:22 gtk-2.0
-rw-r--r-- 1 dave staff 240 2007-02-28 00:23 index.theme

The gtkrc file sits within the gtk-2.0 directory, and appears to be the only critical file that is needed.

 

Next, we copy the gtkrc file into the GIMP themes directory. In this example, I am using the global GIMP themes directory at /usr/share/gimp/2.0/themes. We simply create a directory named after the theme we are installing (in this case “Darkilouche”), and copy the gtkrc file into it.

 

Finally, we launch or restart GIMP and test that the theme is accessible at Edit -> Preferences -> Theme. The following screengrab illustrates that GIMP has found the theme, and, it is also the active theme:

Darkilouch GTK theme installed in GIMP

Skype and Microsoft’s silly Bing Bar

Sure-fire sign that Skype is now another fine Microsoft product – and therefore unsuspecting users can expect to have installed a toolbar for a second-rate search engine as well as have their browser homepage altered:

Skype Bing Bar installation

Good to see nothing has changed with regard to Microsoft treating their current and prospective customers like idiots.

Stream video content from XBMC to an Android tablet (continued…)

In my blog entry describing how to stream from XBMC to an Android tablet, a commenter remarked that the ASUS “MyNet” application used in the example was an ASUS-specific product, and therefore not applicable to other non-ASUS Android-powered devices. A quick look in the Android market reveals plenty of other free and paid-for UPnP applications, so let’s briefly repeat this exercise using one such vendor-neutral app, which goes by the name of BubbleUPnP.

I am using the free version of BubbleUPnP (hence the ads visible in the following screengrabs), on the same platforms as described originally here.

After installing BubbleUPnP, fire up the application, browse to the Devices tab where you should be able to see your XBMC server listed. Make sure that the “Local Renderer” is selected as the renderer, and the “XBMC: Media Server” is selected as the library source:

BubbleUPnP - select renderer and library sources

Then, head over to the Library tab, and drill down until you find the relevant movie content:

BubbleUPnP - browsing the media library

BubbleUPnP - selecting available video media

On the first attempted playback, you will observe a prompt to select playback through one of the media player applications installed on your tablet. In my case, I am going to use the built-in Android “Video player” application, and set this as my default (of course, if you have other media player applications installed you would expect to see a different set of apps listed here):

BubbleUPnP - selecting the default video playback application

Et voila:

BubbleUPnP - playing back a streamed video locally

Again, the chunky video quality in the above screengrab is simply because I am using a low-quality example video, not because of any inherent quality issues with the source material, software, or hardware.