Out in the Open

December 21, 2007

Lemme preface this all by saying that this ain’t the horses mouth. This is just me as a curious Flock user checking in on the tinderbox builds and posting my reactions in the form of a photoessay of sorts. I have pushed for more sneak peeks like this from the horses mouth, and I know that there are many things to consider when officially announcing features. If we had the superlarge base of folks who thrive off of the tinderbox builds like Firefox does, I am sure that these advances would have been all over the net by now. (Slightly me covering my bum/justifying why folks should be aware of this) I want Flock users to know what’s going on backstage, and while Evan and the Flockers figure out how to do that officially from a company stand, I’ll give you a tiny peek of what’s to come.

Lemme also say that everything I point out here is definitely subject to changing in some way, and that tinderbox builds shouldn’t really be used as your primary browser. You use it, then be aware that there are some bugs that are sure to be squashed yet.

Flock 1.0 has been out for some time, and 1.1 is in the works. It’s always been neat to see progression from underneath the hood, so to speak, and I thought I might share a bit of that here for now. I don’t know what my readerbase is, and I truly hope I don’t steal any thunder. I actually learned about some of the new features of 1.1 from scoping out Twitter for Flock. Seems like some other people have gotten their hands on tinderbox builds as well!

Let’s start from the top, eh?

Splash screens aren’t exactly my favorite, but I have a feeling folks are 50/50 on the issue. Some people used to have Flock loading up for what seemed like hours and wanted a way to know that it truly was loading. The splash screen was introduced, and some folks like it, some don’t. I don’t mind it, as it is up for a grand total of one second on my machine. For those who don’t like it, there’s this to help you.

Install is pretty normal. You definitely notice that this isn’t Flock colors. This is to let folks know that this is by no means an official release. Due to this, and the fact that changes are constantly being made to these builds, there’s got to be a visual cue to let folks know. In this case, yellow sulfur. Tinderbox builds won’t even install to the same location unless you tell them to.

Installation is over, Flock 1.1a1pre (gonna just refer to it as Sulfur from now on, aight?) loads up. The general release notes page is loaded in a tab, as usual, and My World, the aggregate of all your Sulfur activity is loaded in the other. Let’s take a gander shall we?

Hmm, there seem to be some strange buttons on the column headings. Let’s press them randomly for a while!

Woot! Things moved! I now have my feeds in the rightmost column, the way I want them. Maybe you can customize it some more?

Ding ding ding! You can indeed add and remove columns. Folks asked for this, and therefore, folks got this!

On to my favorite part of Flock 1.x so far: People.

I can post to Twitter with naught but a few slick clicks. Saweet. I am totally addicted to this feature. You can also set up Flickr, YouTube and Facebook to be usable in the People sidebar. Each has their own actions, so be sure to check them out!

This is the Media Bar. The official name is “Media Mini Bar” but I tend to assume that that means it will provide me snacks and beverages in packaging that will ensure I am unable to replace them before the staff notices and charges me for their consumption, so I just call it the Media Bar. I get lost in the Media Bar sometimes. I just keep reloading the recently uploaded pictures and see how many awesome things have been observed in our world.

Then there’s the Web Clipboard. I gotta admit, I used this a ton in it’s former life as The Shelf, but for some reason, up until today, I haven’t used it much. After playing with it for literally 45 seconds, I remembered why I used The Shelf all the time.

Here you can see that I have dragged a few items to the Clipboard on the left to be stored for later use. If I ever forget what one of them contains…

…I can easily view the item to remember. At any point in time, I can drag and drop this item in to a comment, email, or even blog posts. Super handy, super awesome.

Then there’s the photo uploader. It uploads photos.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming. Bet you really didn’t see this one coming…

I won’t speak too much as to how nice this is to have this integrated in to the browser, or what the driving idea behind it was. I will leave that to Mike, Dan, Evan, and all the awesome folks at Flock behind it.

Feeling Quite Warm

December 21, 2007

I got in to Liberty, MO at about 5am local time last night (making it 6am Eastern [or Awesome] Time). Pretty typical trip really. Traveled through back roads for about 4 hours, then got on I-35 for the next 8 hours and chugged along towards home. There were some good Christmas light displays in the far western portion of the UP and the US2 section of Wisconsin. Then I hit Superior/Duluth. Holy crap, do they need to learn about pollution!

Not just regular smog/litter/sludge pollution. They need to learn about light pollution. It was as if every light in the city was turned up towards the sky. You practically couldn’t see the moon, let alone any stars (clear or cloudy, either way). Even Minneapolis was better in terms of light pollution than Duluth.

Anyways, slept til about 1pm CST, then headed out to go gift shopping.  Got Melissa’s gift (it’s awesome!), and I know what I am getting Jill and my dad. Jenn and my mom might be a bit difficult to shop for.

See, here’s the real kicker: my paycheck was accidentally mailed to my Houghton address instead of here. Nobody’s really to blame, but it does kinda suck for me. I was relying on the check to get here so I could pay the cable bill tomorrow/next Wednesday and also get folks presents. Looks like I’m gonna need to bum some cash from somewhere to get through this month. (I am also severely hoping that I can get my Charter online account resolved with their tech support, something is preventing me from registering with them properly).

Subnote: unless I can pull out a magic rabbit, this month’s paycheck is gonna be slim to none. I’m thinking I need to go to the rabbit store tomorrow and next week while I have free time. Apologies to Mike, Evan and the QA/support team for this past month.

It’s 55 degrees here, and people are wearing coats and sweaters. I want to wear shorts and a t-shirt. It is so awesome to have this kind of weather! It’s 40 degrees warmer than it has been the past few weeks in Houghton! Also: Any place that serves fried okra and gives you the choice between sweet and unsweet tea is awesome!

There’s going to be another post shortly; gotta grab some food and some drinks.

Old Things

April 17, 2007

Just grabbed a copy of Flock 0.4.9 from this page, just for kicks. I think I am going to put together a set of images detailing all of the progress from 0.4.8 to the current builds hot off the server. It’s leaps and bounds of progress, and you would be amazed at whats been improved.

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The Coop

April 12, 2007

So, Flock and the Coop actually Cooperate (har har). I’m not entirely sure how functional the extension (as it currently exists now) is in Firefox, but it is pretty nice looking in Flock.

Folks are calling the Coop the “Flock killer.” I don’t think this is necessarily a bad thing, if it turns out to be true in the end. There is obviously mucho inspiration coming from Flock in terms of where Firefox seems to be going (Places, Coop), and it’s a great tribute.
However, reading the major tech blogs about the release of Coop 0.1, there were giant red flashing lights and annoying alarms going off in my head. Flock is vaporware? Really?! There are tons of developments going on in the hourly builds, and Flock is miles ahead of the Coop already.

What is causing people (including former Flock advocates) to lose faith in Flock as a product?


Take a look at the main blog. There hasn’t been any development news in some time. There are definitely plenty of community posts, but to the average person who relies on the blog for news on what is coming: nothing.

There is progress being done to be more open, such as Planet Flock, but there needs to be more. A weekly update explaining a new feature, or an upgraded one, would suffice for most folks I think.

I have faith in Flock; I just think that there needs to be some shake-up goin on.

See, the key to open source is OPEN.

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GLF Wisdom

August 15, 2006

My boss is checkin out and moving on up. To Canada. It was news to me, and I honestly didn’t see it coming. Lloyd has been in a key role as far as my involvement with Flock and my transition to a more open source computing lifestyle, so seeing him leave will be pretty, well, strange. It’s all for the best for him and his wife Julia though. They’ll be living in a place they love, and they will be able to develop their careers in new ways.

All of this kind of got me thinking, what will my role at the next company be (along with “Who will I work for next?”)? How many jobs will I jump around before I finally find the one I can work with for more than a few years? Then end result will ultimately be missions (this year is gonna be filled with preparations for the two years after Tech that I will spend in seminary), because working with people is something I love, construction is something I love, and witnessing is something I love. But where will my life take me?

Sometimes though, you just gotta let it ride…

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Clunky Words…

August 11, 2006

Daryl and I may “weep for days” if the Flock topbars turn in to “bottombars.” I know some of y’all use Flock. Voice your opinions on the blog.

What are the positives of having topbars?
What are the negatives of having topbars?

What are the positives of having bottombars?
What are the negatives of having bottombars?

What are the alternatives?

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Extension Fun

July 27, 2006

Tested and uploaded quite a bit of extensions (tested more than uploaded), and came across this in an extension:

        <!– This baby will never expire –>

There are some problems with this (minVersion is set too high) but I found this entertaining.


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Web 3.0

July 21, 2006

I don’t want to be a part of the web 2.0 revolution. Screw 2.0 I want Web 3.0. The internet that is sharable. A social internet. Think Myspace meets (among better design) AIM, meets Skype, meets XBox Live, meets Flickr, meets Youtube, meets Digg, meets Flock.

With a twist.

Lew found this, for lack of a better term, thing, called Browser For Two. I won’t lie, it looks ugly. It’s based on IE, and it isn’t free. However, it has one feature that puts it in it’s own category; it is social browsing embodied.

Think of it this way, say you want to show a buddy some sites you like. How do you do it now? You go to the site, copy the URL, open up an IM conversation with the person, and then paste and send the link.

What would TRUE social browsing be like? How could it be implemented? Imagine this: You are browsing some sites, and you decide that John Q should check out all the tabs you have open. So you go into your browser’s friend list, and you see John Q is online. You set an option, “Share my browsing session with this user” and John Q gets pinged with a notice that you want to surf the web with him. He accepts, and all of your open tabs are opened up on his computer. As you navigate to other pages, it is mirrored on John Q’s machine.

This is a programmers nightmare, I’m sure. NetMeeting meets Flock. Ridiculous security issues to take into account. But it would, quite literally, change the way people use the internet. It would keep folks like me busy filing and testing bugs for hours on end, but you have to admit, it would be revolutionary.

What brings all this up? Gandalf. Not the wizard, but Zbigniew Braniecki, head localization (translation) guru for Flock. In his latest blog post he writes:

So, let me just give you a tips, we’re working on idea of what we call People. We want you to be able to see your friends activity, no matter where. To be able to open a tab and see your friend photo, last blog posts, pictures, IM conversations, emails. Imagine so way more powerful vCard, live updating with recent signals of activity, and last bits of communication with you both. We want to extend our favorites manager, so you can spend less time on managing your data, and be able to find what you need with minimum effort.

stream of thoughts » Next Flock

There will be some massive steps foward with Flock in the coming months, I believe. It’s important not to overhype or overpromise anything at this point. But man, the future is coming, and it looks nifty!

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This is a test

July 17, 2006

Testing 123,

The web browser for you and your friends.

Flock is a free web browser that makes it easier than ever to share photos, stay up-to-date with news from your favorite sites, and search the Web. Take our tour to learn what’s different about Flock, then download the beta to get started – and please tell us what you think.

Flock — The web browser for you and your friends

I should probably remember what my Flock testing blog is, and to configure it…

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Cerebral Palsy

June 21, 2006

flock has the capacity to empower

This made my day, although there were some situations that have been touching our family that are getting harder to cope with every day. I’ll explain tomorrow, if I can find the words…

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