That bloated question – again

Filed under:Browsers — posted by Svein Kåre on 31 August 2005 @ 20:42

Opera is a great browser that has its friends and supporters, and people who have no problems pointing out its strengths, even though they may use a different browser themselves. There are some, however, who seems unable to be happy on behalf of Opera or say anything about Opera unless it is to pull the browser down.

With the recent registration code giveaway to celebrate Opera’s 10 year birthday, complaints over the ads in Opera were almost gone – although I did see one who blamed Opera for the ads on the web pages, because Opera don’t feature a built in ad blocker… The usual claims of bloatednes prevailed though.

Now, as said in the Wikipedia, software bloat is two things: To use larger amount of system resources than before, or to implement extraneous functions. How does this relate to Opera?

Opera is a small download, smaller than its competition, even though it includes more features. Installed, it’s also less demanding on system resources, so obviously the bloat can’t refer to the coding. This is confirmed by those who claims Opera is bloated, in that they speak about the interface and features. So, let’s look a bit closer into that.

First a definition:

Extraneous
adj. Something that is extraneous happens or concerns things outside the situation or subject that you are talking about.

Extraneous functions in Opera should therefore be functions that is outside its intended “working area” – this is not just a browser, but the whole internet suite. However, let’s look at the browsing experience first.

Email, IRC, newsreader, RSS feed reader – these things are by default not enabled. Thus, if you just want a browser and nothing more, there are no extra features to clutter up the UI and confuse you. In practical terms it means they don’t exist. The sidebar also contains various options; some enabled by default, some not. Again – if you don’t want them, they don’t exist, for all practical purposes.

So those features that don’t show up in the user interface don’t contribute to the claimed bloat. That leaves only the browser features themselves. Are they really that bloated – that is, do they really include much that doesn’t have anything to do with browsing? At the first glimpse: No. The few buttons that are immediately available all have to do with the navigation of web pages. Clicking on the address bar reveals some more, but these functions are also directly linked to navigation of web pages. How is it, compared to other browsers? It’s different – but not really more than people expect to have these days.

So, no bloat in the browser, I’d say. All of the available functions have to do with browsing and navigating the web pages, the Opera way. True, you may prefer a different setup, different functions – but these are only a right click away, to customise everything to your liking.

With this in mind, what is it that makes these people claim that Opera is bloated, when looking at what the browser actually do goes against these claims? It’s just plain silly…

Opera 10 years – and gives away birthday presents

Filed under:Browsers — posted by Svein Kåre on 30 August 2005 @ 20:48

It’s already all over the net: Opera is turning 10 years, and at the party today they’re giving away birthday presents to their users: Free registration codes! What a pleasant surprise. 🙂

Of course, while this is the most exciting news at the party, there’s also nice music to listen to, sung and compiled by Opera employees. IRC logs of the chat with Jon von Tetzchner, HÃ¥kon Wium Lie and Trond Werner Hansen will probably be up all over too soon, for those who didn’t attend or want to read it nicely formatted. There’s pictures and film from the Opera party, and a trip down memory lane with pictures of how Opera has evolved through the versions.

But it’s still not over: While the registration code giveaway will only last for a day, there’s an anniversary competition, too:

Share your birthday wishes with Opera and win a prize! Use your imagination – the more creative the better. Write a poem, haiku, a story, draw a picture or just something fun. Our 100 favorite submissions will be shared with the Opera community and the winners will receive a super-cool Opera t-shirt!

The submissions for this is due September 6th. See more details at the page.

I’ve moved!

Filed under:Crazee Aftermoon — posted by Svein Kåre on 26 August 2005 @ 05:49

When moving, there’s often a lot more to take with you than you expected, and once installed in your new home, there may be some small things that you don’t seem to find again, or something. So it is with me.

OK, I’ve only moved my site to a new host, but there is the small things here and there that may not be in place yet. I struggled a bit with the databases I had started to use, but I managed to get them over and populated. It looks like they work now – well, except for my Norwegian blog… I haven’t quite figured why that one should behave different, but I don’t worry much. It’ll work out in the end.

Maybe there is a few more things to do (just remembered that I have to check the hi-score table of the breakout game – it needs to be writable… ;)) but things seems to fall in place.

This post was mainly written to spread the joy I feel right now because of that. 😉

How EMI prevented me from being their customer

Filed under:Music/MP3 — posted by Svein Kåre on 13 August 2005 @ 14:39

The copy controlled logoI was buying some music the other day, as I had got a gift certificate for quite a bit to spend in the music store. I had heard the latest Coldplay album should be great, so I decided I should listen to it to see what it was. The headphones fit snugly around my ears as the sales woman put the CD in the player and gave me the cover.

I noticed quickly by the cover that it wasn’t a CD after all, but a Copy Controlled disc – but I wanted to listen to it anyway. The music was nice, so I did listen for a while, but the experience was marred by repetitive clicks and small skips in regular intervals, as if the disc was badly scratched. When I told this, the reply was that this wasn’t too unusual – they just tried another disc if that was the case, and this could be without the clicks and that stuff – and they were easily ripped anyway. “Would I try another one?” But no, buying such a disc is totally out of the question for me. I would rather find another one, a CD that works as it should.

As I looked through the CDs, I noticed there were some tempting ones that I normally would try, even buy, but despite their placement among the innocent CDs, they couldn’t hide the ugly fact: The Copy Controlled logo told its story – not a CD, don’t buy.

So, the result? The record company (EMI and subsidiaries) lost sales of at least one CD, because they try to sell faulty discs. Sorry Coldplay, not this time – but if you decide you’ve had enough and want to release your music on CDs later, I may have a look again.

For thise who are curious, I ended up with “Leaves’ Eyes: Vinland Saga” – also an enhaced CD, but the enhancement in this case consists of some extra video tracks, not any copy protection stuff. Nice.

Opera advertising on TV

Filed under:Browsers — posted by Svein Kåre on 10 August 2005 @ 21:57

Hot on the heels of the news about Opera Mini being released today, I just now saw an ad on TV that I enjoyed: Opera Mini is being promoted, together with the easy downloading instructions (Send an SMS with “Opera” to 1984 – Norway only, remember.)

The ad is straightforward enough: Have access to the web wherever you are. A couple of guys sit down on a motorbike, switch to a mobile phone which shows how easy it is to use Opera Mini, and how good looking it is(!). Switch back to the two guys, where the passenger starts singing opera. 😉

Looks like the best browser is set to get well known. 🙂

Opera conquers WAP

Filed under:Browsers — posted by Svein Kåre on @ 14:03

How Opera Mini works
So far, Opera has spread out on the desktop, on various platforms, and on advanced mobile phones. Users with only access to the net via WAP could only look at the rest with envy – up until now. Opera is introducing Opera Miniâ„¢ for WAP phones that can run java. With this, you’re no longer restricted to WAP pages, but you can surf the web as normal. Installing is as easy as downloading a ringtone; click a link, or send an SMS. (Currently available for users in Norway.)

Another first for Opera. Now – where’s my phone…



image: detail of installation by Bronwyn Lace