Archive for the ‘ Web ’ Category

Subete Forums: A Community Where You Can Talk About Anything!

You may be wondering, “Why am I posting about a forum?” Well, there are three reasons. First, it’s a great place for anyone around the world to talk about whatever they want. From sports to television shows to help on lifestyle decisions to relationship problems and even simple rants. Whatever it is, Subete Forums welcomes the discussion and even promotes it. Second, it’s made by me, so you know it’s going to be safe yet easy to use. It’s also based on my ruggedly-built Linux server which adds even more protection and the power of open source. Third and finally, and this is the point where it ties into this blog, the forum is completely free and open source. It’s based on myBB, a fantastic forum software package that tries to be a bit similar to the expensive vBulletin software, yet have it’s own unique style. It’s really simple to use and just as easy to add plugins. So, anyone is free to join and start talking and chatting, right away.

Where do you go to join in? Just go to and you can join right away! For those who are curious, Subete is a name that adds to the feeling that everything can be talked about. Subete is the japanese word for “everything,” so why not use it for anything?


The Browser Wars: Firefox/Internet Explorer/Safari/Chrome/Opera

Browsers are a part of virtually every computer user’s life, whether to read up on news, check email, or do anything else. With the new arrival of what people are calling Web 2.0, which includes intricate online games and social networking sites like Facebook, browsers have become even more important than ever. A couple of years ago most people didn’t know what they even had a choice, and always used Internet Explorer, which was hard-coded into operating systems like Windows XP and Vista. As of late, a lot of people have been open to the idea of using other browsers, thanks to a lot of advertising for browsers like Firefox and Chrome as well as a fight between Microsoft and the European Union for antitrust issues. Ever since, people have been comparing their choices, sometimes with invalid statements. This post is all about to clear that it, although the final decision is still your own opinion.

Even though these “browser wars” started to be significant as of late, it has already been around for a very long time. In fact, there have been a lot of browsers most people don’t even remember. But memorable browser wars began with early versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape. As you have probably noticed, Internet Explorer grew in popularity, and Netscape eventually became extinct and is no longer supported. Internet Explorer then had a period where there were no major contenders. Then, in 2004, Firefox emerged, who has slowly and steady gained ground over Internet Explorer. In addition with Opera, the porting of Safari to Windows, and Google coming out with their Chrome browser, today’s browser market has become a big mixing pot with many high-quality, major contenders. Current standing show declining numbers for Internet Explorer, while virtually all other browsers are gaining users. The current top browser, Firefox, has toppled the crown that IE held for such a long time. Let’s see why these changes are happening.

Firefox, the current top browser, has gained it’s major popularity because of many different aspects that made it appealing to all users, especially IE users. Of all things, Firefox is a completely open source browser and is based on the Gecko engine, which gives way to a number of other opportunities. Since Firefox is open source, people can download it without any problems, completely free. Also, this points us to next perspective, security. Firefox has a reputation for being a secure browser. This is again thanks to it’s open source nature, where anyone can find security flaws and other bugs and report them so that they can be fixed, instead of a set of developers finding their own bugs without any public assistance. Firefox actually has to thank IE for part of its userbase as Firefox was a replacement option during times where extremely dangerous IE security flaws were found but not yet fixed. Firefox also as a mature extension system, which enables the use of popular add-ons such as Adblock Plus. Firefox is also appealing due to features such as Private Browsing, the Awesome Bar, and a very high Acid3 test score. Finally, Firefox is available on all major operating systems, and is automatically installed in almost all Linux distributions. There is also a variation of Firefox that is being made for mobile devices. It is definitely a great browser for anyone.

Internet Explorer has been a popular browser for a long time, based on the Trident engine. Back in the day, websites were made to appear the best in IE instead of staying with web standards. However, other than websites that work better on IE and a known user interface, the list of advantages for IE runs short. IE has turned into a big resource-hogging monster, flawed with security holes, and has been forced up in Windows up to and including Vista. Windows 7 has finally changed this, but it further promotes other browsers. IE has no built-in system for addons and scores poorly on the Acid3 test. IE is the only browser that supports ActiveX controls, which have been known to compromise system security, and is for Windows only.

Safari is a fairly good browser by Apple, and is automatically shipped with Mac OS X, although it has also been ported to Windows. It is based on the WebKit engine, which gets a perfect score on the Acid3 test. It offers a number of features, such as a panel with the most visited websites when Safari is opened. It also has Private Browsing and a few other features in browsers like Firefox. However, for whatever reasons, there have been a few features stripped in the Windows version of Safari, and therefore is less appealing to the Windows user.

Chrome, which is also based on the WebKit engine, is made by Google. Along with it’s large marketing push to create a browser, an operating system for mobile phones, and eventually an operating system for netbooks as well as a few other products and services, Chrome is supposed to be Google’s vision of what a browser should be. Some of it’s most characteristic features include it’s V8 JavaScript engine, which makes page loading very fast. It also has a security model that separates tabs into their own processes, so that if one tab crashes, the browser along with the rest of the tabs stay alive. As of the latest versions, Google is trying to incorporate an extension system into Chrome, although it isn’t very mature compared to the extension system in Firefox. One of Google’s main focuses is to keep the user interface as small as possible to give as much room as possible to the displaying of the website. Chrome, that is also open source, has received massive amounts of bug fixes and new features in a short time span, which shows great improvement, but also skepticism about what else may still need fixing. In the short amount of time it has existed, Chrome has gained a couple percent of users, and is still growing. Chrome is available for Windows and just recently for Mac, with development releases available for Linux.

Opera, last but not least, is a very innovative browser. Based on the Presto engine, it has continually kept a small amount of users compared to other browsers. However, it has invented a number of innovative features, such as mouse gestures and Opera Turbo, which compresses images and other objects to speed up load time. However, it has a somewhat bulky user interface, and is not exactly as easy to use and configure and IE and Firefox. Opera is available for all major operating systems, as well as on certain mobile platforms.

So, in conclusion, each browser has its own set of features and focuses to please a wide range of people. These competitions between browsers give users choice, something that will never go away. For the average Internet user, I would recommend Firefox because of it’s ease of use and customization. Also, it is extremely secure, and will always be up-to-date. Or better yet, rethink the browser that you’re using and come to your own decisions.

I’d like to hear what browser you use! Leave me a comment saying what browser you use, and why you support it!

Mozilla Sunbird + Google Calendar = Harmony

There are many times during the year where you may be under a lot of stress because you suddenly get hammered with family meetings, work projects, and anything else you may need to do, such as grocery shopping or paying bills. During these times you have a high need to stay organized, and there are some great free tools to help you achieve that, no matter where you go.

Sunbird is a great, free, and open source application developed by Mozilla, aimed to help you organized. It’s based on the Lightning add-on project, and made into a standalone. However, although that might sound simple, it’s a great tool to have, and I’ll tell you why.

Calendars seem to be very boring ways to keep track of your time. At least, most of the time it is. Having to write all your daily activities into that tiny, little box isn’t very fun, and neither is looking at the calendar every few hours to see what’s going on. Thankfully, technology can make this process a lot easier. Sunbird does an excellent job because it has a number of features that may attract you to it. It can include:

  • A number of views, such as Day, Week, Multiweek, and Month.
  • Supports multiple calendars, which can also be shown together at the same time in one “combined” calendar.
  • Supports network and online calendars that use the iCalendar format, CalDAV, WCAP, and Google Calendar (more information below).
  • Differentiating colors to keep track of what events are on what calendar.
  • Timely reminders so you don’t have to worry about missing an event.
  • Useful repeat functions allow a “set-it-and-forget-it” environment for events that continuously repeat.
  • Available on all major platforms, including Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and Solaris.
  • It’s open source.

If all of the things in the list didn’t make any sense to you, it basically means this: More power and flexibility means less work for you to manage your time. Sunbird is definitely a program worth trying out no matter how you plan to use it.

However, this blog isn’t about all the great features of Sunbird. Yeah, it’s a great and useful program, and we’ve already given an overview of Sunbird, but that’s all we’ll do. This is about Sunbird working hand in hand with Google Calendar. So let’s meet our other half of this friendship.

Google Calendars is a service provided by Google that is supposed to keep your life organized in an easy-to-use system that also incorporated your Gmail and Google Contacts, as well as other Google services. It also has a lot of stunning features, and is just as worthy to be tried out as Sunbird is. You can do virtually the same things. The only problem with it is that things will be a bit slower as every part of it is made up of web pages. Also, the interface of both Google Calendar and Sunbird are well made, but Sunbird has an advantage. However, this doesn’t mean that Sunbird should be used completely over Google Calendar, in fact, let’s put them together.

First of all, you may be asking, why put Sunbird and Google Calendar together? Well, to put it simply, it offers even more flexibility than what even Sunbird and Google Calendars offer by themselves. To put these two together, we’ll be using Sunbird mainly as our interface and Google Calendar as our “database”, or storage of where the events are actually saved. Note that the only requirement for this is to have an internet connection whenever you wish to access your calendar, but that would not place any new limits if you were using Google Calendar by itself. This combined setup is extremely useful for a number of reasons. If you have more than one computer, such as a desktop and a laptop, and have your Google Calendar configured in Sunbird on both machines, you’ll have completely synced events on both computers without even touching any sort of button with a “Sync” label on it. Another example would be when you are traveling and happen to be away from your computer. You can get on another computer, such as at an internet cafe, and look through your calendar using Google Calendar, where you can edit, add, delete, and do other things with events. When you are finished, and come back home to your computer, those changes made at the internet cafe will automatically update itself in Sunbird, saving you lots of time trying to keep the different copies synchronized.

Now that we know why we want to put Sunbird and Google Calendar together, it’s time to actually take the few seconds time to make it happen. First, be sure and have a Google account where you can then access your personal calendar.

Go ahead and fire up Sunbird on your machine. Once loaded, be sure to choose the Calendars tab on the left side, then click into the white space and click on New Calendar. Next, you will be asked where the calendar is located. Click on “On the network”, then click on Next. In order to configure Sunbird to use your Google Calendar, we will be using CalDAV, so go ahead and choose that. In the location box, type in the following: email address here]/events and replace [your email address here] with your actual email address. An example would look like When it asks for a username and password, type in your complete email address into the username box and your Google password into the password box, then click OK. Now, choose a name for the calendar, a color (or leave the color how it is), then click Next and Finish. If you typed everything correctly, you should now have access to your Google Calendar!

You can repeat this process with other calendars or on other machines. You can even add custom calendars, such as separately made calendars or Google’s “Interesting Calendars”. However, I’ll leave that to be added later or for a different tutorial.

A general view of Sunbird

Adding an event to Sunbird

Adding a New Network/Google Calendar

Main view of Google Calendar

Accessing the calendar settings menu

Finding the Calendar ID

If you have any questions concerning this blog, don’t hesitate to leave a comment! I’ll be happy to answer you.