The Google Chrome Extensions Challenge
Published by Toronto Mike on February 7, 2010 @ 13:02 in Google Chrome, Technology

ChromeYesterday, I wrote about web browsers. I've been a Firefox user for as long as the Mozilla browser has had that name, and part of the reason I've resisted the switch to Google Chrome is my reliance on the Firefox add-ons. The fact is, Chrome extensions have come a long way over the past six months, and Elvis convinced me it was time to give Chrome another shot.

This entry is about how I configured Chrome to give it a fair shot against my trusty ol' Firefox. I'll concede that Chrome is faster, and that's what has me rooting for this test to be successful.

The most important extension as far as I'm concerned is Adblock+. I simply can't search the web without it. Thankfully, Adblock+ is available in Chrome, so the test may begin.

The other significant change I had to make is how I manage my Twitter account. I love Twitter, and I've been reading and tweeting from a Firefox extension from Echofon. Echofon doesn't make this extension for Chrome, and I hated every Twitter extension for Chrome I tried last night. As a result, I'm giving TweetDeck another shot.

Now let's look at the Google Chrome extensions I installed and why.

AdBlock+ Element Hiding Helper - This is a must have extension. Use it for one day and you won't be able to live without out. (shorten, share, and track your links) - When I tweet URLS, I shorten them with It lets me measure clicks.

Copy Without Formatting - Sometimes I need to copy text from the web, but I just want plain text without markup. This extension does the trick.

Docs PDF/PowerPoint Viewer (by Google) - I hate it when I click a link on the web to a PDF and it opens in the browser.

Facebook for Google Chrome - Just a nice way to check my FB news feed and wall without going to Facebook.

Forecastfox Weather - I liked this extension in Firefox and I'm glad it's available in Chrome.

Google Calendar Checker (by Google) - I live by my Google Calendar.

Google Mail Checker - This is the heartbeat of my digital world.

Google Reader Checker - Like Calendar and Gmail above, I read all my RSS feeds in Google Reader.

IE Tab - Some sites require IE. It's nice to be able to see them without changing browsers.

Pendule - This was my find of the day. I love this extension. It does a number of the things the developer toolbar in Firefox would do, and more. It handles pixel measurement, colour picking, CSS viewing and so much more. Many of the Firefox add-ons I needed for work are satisfied by this single Chrome extension. If you're in web development or management, you have to try Pendule.

Picnik Extension for Chrome - A nice extension for taking and editing screen caps.

Now I just need a way to better handle my bookmarks. I've exported them from Firefox and imported them into Chrome, but I don't love the way Chrome handles them. There's gotta be an extension that'll make me happy.

The great Google Chrome extensions challenge begins!

Comments 8 comments
What Your Web Browser Says About You
Published by Toronto Mike on February 6, 2010 @ 15:14 in Google Chrome, Technology

firefoxUsing data in Google Analytics, here are the browsers visitors to this site are using. This data was collected over the past 30 days.


Internet Explorer is used by the majority of you, Firefox is a strong second and Safari is a decent third place with a little over 10%. Chrome is the new kid on the block and comes in fourth. No other browser is used by 1% of you.

Here's what your browser says about you.

Chrome - You're a speed freak, looking to get from A to B in as few parsecs as possible. Add-ons be damned, faster is better.

Safari - You're a Mac user and that makes you feel superior to the other 90% of us. Your arrogance is astounding.

Firefox - You hate IE, and that led you to discover Firefox back in 2004. By now you're so dependent on Firefox add-ons you'll never switch, no matter how fast Chrome gets. Your web standards sensibilities and loyalty to the Mozilla Foundation makes you rather endearing.

Internet Explorer - You use the browser that came by default with Windows, and you don't try another browser because you're lazy, disinterested in excellence and without a soul. Yes, I just called 52.39% of you soulless.

The other 1.78% of you using browsers like Camino or Blazer, you're anti-establishment and you frighten me. CSIS has already been notified.

Comments 28 comments
iPad Ad From Apple
Published by Toronto Mike on January 27, 2010 @ 14:04 in Technology

technologyI actually resisted the iPod for years. I preferred my iRiver because it actually had a built in FM receiver. Sometimes I want to listen to MP3s, other times I want to listen to the radio.

I eventually bought a Shuffle for running and a couple of years ago I got a Touch for my birthday. The Touch won me over. I love the interface, the apps, the browser - and it even plays MP3s!

Today, unless you're living under a rock, you've heard that Apple has unveiled their new iPad. It's more than just a bigger Touch, but it's not for me. When I need a pocket device I have my Touch and when I need something bigger I have my trusty laptop. I don't feel compelled to drop $1000 hundreds of dollars on an iPad.

Here, hot off the press, is the new ad from Apple for the iPad. This is a Toronto Mike exclusive.

And here's the iPad itself. This is not a Toronto Mike exclusive.


Comments 10 comments
No Hulu in Canada? Pity...
Published by Toronto Mike on December 21, 2009 @ 09:31 in Technology, Television

tvI'm bumping into embedded Hulu clips more often in the blogosphere. Hulu is a website that offers ad-supported streaming video of TV shows and movies from NBC, FOX and many other networks and studios. The quality is great, and because it's a legal channel, you never have to worry that the SNL skit you embedded in your blog might be pulled by the end of the day thanks to a copyright claim by NBC.

When Brittany Murphy died yesterday, several American bloggers posted a recent parody of her that aired on Saturday Night Live. Here in Canada, this is what we see:


That's right, Hulu isn't available in Canada. Apparently, the licensing issues were so complex they couldn't get a deal done. So we're out of the loop.

I see ad-supported high quality tv show and news streaming as the future of television. Hulu seems to be getting it right. I just wish I could see what all the fuss is about.

Comments 9 comments
Wireless Network Connections at the ACC
Published by Toronto Mike on December 15, 2009 @ 14:15 in Technology, Toronto Maple Leafs

wifiThere are several wireless networks inside the Air Canada Centre. Yesterday, while in the media press box, I was given the username and password for the connection known as ACCWifi.

Here are the connections my laptop detected.


Prior to my visit, Elliotte Friedman warned me that the ACC wifi was a little wonky.


I'm happy to report my connection didn't drop once and ACCWifi was as fast as an Al Iafrate slap shot.

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imeem Dies, My Search for YouTube of Audio Continues
Published by Toronto Mike on December 14, 2009 @ 08:42 in Technology

audioWhen Odeo stopped allowing audio uploads, I started looking for a replacement. Essentially, I was looking for the YouTube of audio.

I discovered imeem would pretty much do what I wanted. I could upload an audio clip, usually one of Tom Cheek's calls of Blue Jays baseball or a Humble and Fred bumper, and embed the player on this site. Although not perfect (sometimes it would only play 30 seconds on the site and would force a click to to hear the rest), imeem did the job nicely and all was well.

Last week, all imeem players embedded on this site disappeared. Literally. Maybe Humble and Fred bits and sports calls are AWOL. MySpace bought imeem and is redirecting to It would be easy to say MySpace killed imeem, but I understand imeem was dead before the ship even sank. MySpace gets a free pass on this one...

But now I'm looking for the YouTube of audio again. It might be Hound Bite, but maybe it's something else? Maybe it's YouTube, as ridiculous as that sounds.

Do I need to roll my own or is there a decent free audio sharing service a'la YouTube?

Comments 6 comments
I'm Giving Away 38 Google Wave Invitations Today
Published by Toronto Mike on November 28, 2009 @ 15:23 in Technology

googleI've got 38 invitations to Google Wave.

If you want to use Google Wave, leave a comment and I'll hook you up. The first 38 commenters get one.

For realz.


Comments 53 comments
Ready for Google’s Chrome OS
Published by Toronto Mike on November 13, 2009 @ 12:19 in Google Chrome, Technology

googleI have an old laptop primed and ready for Google's Chrome OS.

Sources have told TechCrunch that the new Google OS will become available for download within a week.

We expect Google will be careful with messaging around the launch, and endorse a small set of devices for installation. EEE PC netbooks, for example, may be one set of devices that Google will say are ready to use Chrome OS. There will likely be others as well, but don’t expect to be able to install it on whatever laptop or desktop machine you have from day one. Google has previously said they are working with Acer, Adobe, ASUS, Freescale, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo, Qualcomm, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba on the project.

Ok, so I likely won't be installing it on my old laptop next week, but it's getting closer. Here's what I wrote following the announcement from Google that they were developing an OS, something I've been hoping for.


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Five Years of Firefox
Published by Toronto Mike on November 9, 2009 @ 11:57 in Technology

firefoxThe Mozilla folks are celebrating Five Years of Firefox. As they say over there, "that's a long time on the Internet, so let's celebrate five years of working together to make the Web better for everyone".

Firefox became my default browser in June 2004 when it was version 0.9. It remains my default browser today.

Comments 2 comments
My Thoughts on Google Wave: It's Complicated
Published by Toronto Mike on November 4, 2009 @ 20:23 in Technology

XXXI've been beta testing Google Wave for about a month now, and... well... it's complicated.

I want to love Google Wave, because it's a bloody seductive premise, but it's just not intuitive enough for mass appeal. I'm one of those bleeding edge guys when it comes to web apps and I have a very hard time wrapping my feeble brain around Google Wave's advantage. I can't tell you how many folks I've been waving with who just throw up their arms and exclaim "I don't get it!". It's so hard to figure out, and life is so short...

And chatting via Wave is dangerous. Unlike every other IM that sends your message when you press "Enter", Wave sends each character over in real-time. Typos, mistakes and awkward pauses while you check your thesaurus or Wikipedia are fully exposed. It makes you not want to chat. How's that for improved communication?

Wave is supposed to be email were email invented today. It's very ambitious, but possibly too smart for its own good. Besides, Google has already re-invented email for the better. It's called Gmail.


Comments 7 comments

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