Today I looked at this blog's usage statistics and as it turns out, a whopping 54 percent of my visitors use Firefox, followed by Internet Explorer, then Safari, Opera, Chrome.

fredericiana Browser Statistics

It's interesting to see how much difference the "clientele" of a page makes for its statistics. The overall market share of Firefox has topped 20% a few months ago, but since this blog has a lot of tech content, a higher number of Firefox users is probably not surprising.

By the way, almost 80% of my Firefox visitors surf with Firefox 3.0.5, followed by only 5% of 2.0.0.20 users and a long tail of various other, outdated, browser versions.

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Computers are, as we all know, there to do jobs us humans just can't be bothered with, such as thinking, or noticing the obvious. I am therefore glad that the travel website Orbitz reminded me today that my air travel itinerary contains (gasp!) flights.

Orbitz: no... Sherlock!

Thanks, Orbitz. If it wasn't for this friendly heads-up of yours, I would have almost accidentally walked.

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Remember when everybody and their brother made a little website with lots of "under construction" signs and excessive use of the <blink> tag? No? Lucky you.

Of course, these times are long over, now everybody has their own blog, and facebook, and myspace, and, uhm yeah, twitter. Of course, woe is yours when you realize nobody wants to read what you had for lunch. Or dinner. Or that you went to the store and bought toilet paper (gasp! on sale!)...

But thankfully, if you have a few bucks to spare, you can always count on Google Adsense to spread the word of your oh-so-boring personal updates across the globe. Like this gentleman, who decided to show ads on people's Gmail accounts, in order to get more readers to his twitter account:

Google and Twitter

Now considering he is deeming himself an "online media" expert -- couldn't he have guessed that this kind of self-promotion is a huge cyber-turnoff?

Dear slowing economy, could you free the Internet from this and similar "SEO" annoyances in 2009, please? Probably as likely as the hell freezing over or the spammers running out of money, but one can always hope.

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A little technical side note:

On Thanksgiving, November 27 between 5am and 7am UTC our server host will perform upgrades on their network infrastructure, leaving this website (and all other domain names and services associated with its server) unavailable for probably about half an hour.

Sorry in advance for the inconvenience.

You should be sleeping at the time anyway ;)

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The "One Laptop Per Child" laptop ("XO-1") is due to go on sale in Europe tomorrow, November 17:

The One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organisation is planning to sell the devices via online store Amazon's European outlets from 17 November. The machines will be sold under the Give One, Get One scheme that the OLPC organisation has already run in the US. Under that scheme, buyers get one machine for themselves and the other is donated to a school child in a developing nation.

The OLPC laptop is a fabulous little device and I had a chance to play with it a little--both with its interior only at the OSL, as well as a full-blown device at Mozilla--and I really liked it.

Let's see how it picks up during the holiday season. The article says, only 600.000 items were sold so far, less than the makers had hoped. But maybe Europe is just the market for it? Of course, at an expected price of about 300-something Euros, it has to compete with a lot of the new mini-notebooks on the market (Acer Aspire One and Asus EEE, for example), most of which are much more "beefy" than the small OLPC. Nonetheless, it's a great "first computer" for the little ones -- and since each bought one will give a child in a developing nation one too, the whole concept is very "Christmassy" indeed, so let's see how it sells during the holiday season.

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I just implemented a little eye candy for my blog: Language icons in front of links.

Actually, it's only one language so far, German. The reason I am doing this is because on occasion I link to German articles that are no use clicking on for people who don't understand a word in German -- or at the very least it makes them aware of that behind this link, they'll find a German page.

I left English hyperlinks unmarked so far, but if you guys like it this way, I will do it the other way around as well, marking English links as such when I blog in German. Obviously, there's no use flagging links that have the same language as the article itself.

For the geeky readers, I used a CSS32 selector in order to "flag" only the links whose "lang" attribute I set to "de". Consider me a fan of CSS (2 and 3, alike). Now it can only take a decade-or-so until its features are available in Internet Explorer as well. In fact, any reader out there who cares telling me if my language icons work in IE? Leave a comment :)

Update: As a few commenters point out (thanks!), this is a CSS 2, not 3 selector. Nonetheless, it won't work with IE 6, but with IE 7. That's fine with me.

Update: In the comments, Michał notes that the hreflang attribute would be more appropriate than lang, as it denotes the language of the link target, not the language of the link text itself. He's right, so I changed it. Thanks!

Update: Some commenters pointed out a better way: Taking the hreflang attribute and displaying it behind the actual link text. That removes possible confusion about the flag icons, and hopefully doesn't disturb the reader. I found the approach very nice so I adapted it instead. This is how it looks:

On a side note, even IE 7 users won't see this. Sorry.

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Looks like I was right holding off on the new MacBook Pros for a while: A huge part of the users apparently experiences problems with the "no button" trackpad not registering clicks:

A tip came in this weekend from someone with a fleet of new MacBooks. His complaint? Every 50 or so clicks and the trackpad freezes for 5 to 10 clicks and then wakes back up.

The users in the comments over at CrunchGear also note that the click of the new "button-less" trackpad is considerably louder than the previous versions' button, which is why some of them have switched on "finger-tap" clicking (incidentally a feature that I disabled on my laptop because it mistook my moving the mouse as a click too often). Maybe it's a case of nostalgia: Dear younger generation, this may be news to you, but keyboards always used to have an audible "click" sound whenever you pressed a button (and I can't believe that's how old I am already ;) ).

Let's see how long it takes for the first hardware and software fixes to be released. And for old times' sake, when will the first battery factory recall be?

[caption id="attachment_1765" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Schlock. CC-by-nc-sa licensed on flickr by nathan."]Schlock. CC-by-nc-sa licensed on flickr by nathan.[/caption] Picture: "Schlock." CC-by-nc-sa licensed on flickr by nathan.

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After I disabled the "subscribe to comments" plugin yesterday, I found out today that two people already extended the original plugin with a "double-opt-in" feature (Link 1, link 2, both [de]).

So I installed the latter and set it up so it sends you the following email the first time you subscribe to comments on this blog:

Note that this email will only be sent once, ever. If you accept it, you'll be able to subscribe to additional blog entries' comments without further hassle. If you ignore it, you won't be asked again.

"Le roi est mort, vive le roi." -- I hope this is a solution that everybody can live with. I'll go back to the original subscribe-to-comments if the author adds a double-opt-in solution himself, but until then we should be golden.

Sorry for the confusion :)

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For quite a while now, I've been using a popular Wordpress plugin called "subscribe to comments" on fredericiana. It allows people to request email notifications when further comments come in on an article they commented on themselves. As it turns out though, the plugin has an unclear legal status in Germany [de]. The fact of the matter is, since somebody can put an arbitrary email address into the email field when commenting, a person who didn't want that may get "spammed" by my blog against their will.

That would result in a situation where the seeming "victim" of my "spam" could sue me for unsolicited advertisement, provided my blog is considered commercial--and depending on the judge, even a link to Amazon can make a website "commercial".

It is sad that German laws are so Internet-unfriendly, but I have to live with them. So I switched off email notifications on my blog until further notice.

I may switch to a double-opt-in solution (i.e., before notifications are sent, people have to click a link in an email to confirm they actually requested this service). While this is also not completely safe in legal terms (that means, no significant court has ruled about it yet), it is currently considered state of the art when it comes to sending out any sort of regular email to a group of people.

Since a lot of people are facing this problem, maybe the plugin's author or somebody else will extend the plugin to have double-opt-in functionality soon. I may even do it myself when I am bored the next time.

Until then, sorry for the inconvenience. You can always subscribe to the Comments RSS feed if you want to stay up to date with what's happening here.

(via JP)

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Over at AppleInsider, they have a bunch of photos comparing the new 15-inch Macbook Pro with the now "old" design:

My thoughts: The new MacBook Pros are a really worth thinking about. From their overall look, they seem to be better designed, and a few annoyances have been taken care of, such as the old MBP's plastic rim, or the hard drive (failure part number one in computers, seriously) that was hidden way on the inside of the box.

Along with that, since I bought my first-generation one, the processor speed (mine still has an Intel Core Duo CPU), and now also graphics power have increased significantly. All the new "bling" in Mac OS X Leopard and many new and fancy applications demand a lot from a laptop, which mine--in spite of plenty of RAM--sometimes can't fulfill.

Bottom line: I am considering retiring my laptop "Chronos" some time next year as my primary, every-day tool, in favor of one of its younger siblings, with much more "bang" to tackle the work to come.

I also looked at the smaller MacBooks, and while I like that they moved closer to the MBP (being aluminum and all), the missing FireWire, ExpressCard, and the shared-memory graphics made me forget about that pretty fast.

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