Born Geek

The Future of CoLT & Googlebar Lite

August 24, 2015

It has been quite some time since the last releases of either CoLT or Googlebar Lite, and a lot has changed in the land of Firefox extension development. In a few weeks, Firefox will require all extensions to be signed. At the moment, neither of my extensions (as available from this website, at least) meet this requirement.

The Firefox extension world is increasingly becoming a walled garden, much like every other browser today. As such, I’ve made the frustrating decision to release my extensions through the official add-ons site only. This policy will begin with the next release of each extension, which I hope to make available in the next month or so.

In addition, the next releases of both Googlebar Lite and CoLT are likely to be my last. I’m not as interested in Firefox development as I once was, especially given some of the frustrating plans they have announced for the ecosystem. This unfortunately means that support for the multi-process version of Firefox that is coming down the pipeline will not be implemented (at least by me).

If you’re a developer and want to contribute either bug fixes or new features for my extensions, you are more than welcome to do so (merge requests are always appreciated). The source code for both is available via GitHub:

Yosemite National Park Photos

August 19, 2015

Back in June, my wife and I visited Yosemite National Park while in California. It was truly a memorable place, and I can see why this area has inspired so many people in the past. Here are some photos we took on our visit. Enjoy!

Photo Catch-Up

August 19, 2015

I recently realized that I had forgotten to post some news about various photo albums I’ve put up on my photography site. I’ve been woefully behind the times in getting things posted, but I’m slowly catching up. Here are the albums I’ve posted so far that I didn’t mention here:

I have a number of albums from California in the wings, followed by a number of albums for new state parks that I’ve visited. Stay tuned!

Carolina Beach State Park Photos

May 22, 2015

I’ve finally gotten around to posting some photos from a trip my wife and I took last year right before we got married. We visited Carolina Beach state park back in September, and enjoyed our trip (it was a nice break from all the hectic wedding planning). If you’re ever in the Wilmington, NC area, be sure to check it out!

Contact Form Fixed

May 4, 2015

Well, that was fast! I’ve found the problem with the contact form and corrected it, so emails should now actually make it to my inbox. Apologies for the problem!

Contact Form Not Working

May 4, 2015

I discovered this morning that my site contact form is not working properly. I will investigate why and hope to have a fix in place soon. Until then, if you’ve sent me an email recently, I likely didn’t get it. Feel free to leave a comment here or email support at borngeek dot com. It’s been fixed!

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Fixing the Thinkpad Hot-key On-Screen Display

April 6, 2015

Lenovo Thinkpads have an on-screen display for various hot-keys. For example, when you change the monitor brightness, or the volume level, an on-screen overlay will display showing the current brightness level or volume level, respectively. Twice, I have received laptops from Lenovo that have this software installed, but the on-screen display never appears. Frustrated by this bug, I used the Dependency Walker to troubleshoot this problem a while back, and subsequently found the solution.

Simply install the Visual Studio 2010 C++ redistributable, available from Microsoft (make sure to install the x86 version, even on a 64-bit system; the on-screen display application is a 32-bit process). Once this package is installed, and the laptop rebooted, the problem should go away.

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Brown Sugar Saver

March 24, 2015
Brown Sugar Saver

I’ve been meaning to post about this for a while now, because this product is as close to black magic as I’ve ever seen, even though I know the theory of how it works. My wife and I picked up a Brown Sugar Saver from Sur La Table while at our local mall a few weeks ago. We had a container of brown sugar that was literally as hard as a rock. Various metal implements were unable to pry the concrete-like material from its container, so we decided we’d give this a try.

The Brown Sugar Saver is simply a piece of terracotta pottery; nothing more. You soak the small medallion in a dish of water for 15 minutes, remove it, blot it dry with a towel, and place it directly in the container with your brown sugar. We did this, and in the morning found that our brown sugar was just as soft and pliable as it would be had you just opened a fresh bag of the stuff! Needless to say, we were really surprised. It only cost $4, and has solved an annoying problem that I’ve lived with for far too long. I highly recommend this thing (you can buy similar ones in a number of places).

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Setting the Time Zone in GitLab

February 27, 2015

GitLab defaults its time zone to UTC, which may not be what you want. Thankfully, you can update the value directly from your gitlab.rb file. Here’s the relevant line:

gitlab_rails['time_zone'] = 'America/New_York'

Once you’ve added the field, simply reconfigure and restart:

sudo gitlab-ctl reconfigure
sudo gitlab-ctl restart

A list of all the available timezones is available on Wikipedia.

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Dropping Outdated Locales

February 18, 2015

I’m currently working on an update to Googlebar Lite, and I’m debating whether or not to drop some of the more outdated locales. I wrote a Perl script to gather some data about the locales, and this is what it reports as of my current development snapshot:

Locale   Matches   % Match   Missing   % Missing
------------------------------------------------
 en-US       172   {Master Locale}

 ca-AD        24     14.0%         6        3.5%
 cs-CZ        12      7.0%         0        0.0%
    da         7      4.1%         0        0.0%
    de         8      4.7%         0        0.0%
 el-GR        32     18.6%         6        3.5%
 es-ES         4      2.3%         0        0.0%
 et-EE        14      8.1%         6        3.5%
    fr        13      7.6%         6        3.5%
 hr-HR        31     18.0%         6        3.5%
    it        23     13.4%         6        3.5%
 ja-JP         9      5.2%         6        3.5%
    nl         8      4.7%         0        0.0%
    pl         6      3.5%         6        3.5%
 pt-BR        31     18.0%         6        3.5%
 ru-RU        22     12.8%         6        3.5%
 sk-SK        32     18.6%         6        3.5%
    tr        30     17.4%         6        3.5%
 uk-UA         5      2.9%         0        0.0%
 zh-CN        30     17.4%         6        3.5%
 zh-TW        11      6.4%         6        3.5%

The 4 locales most out of date are el-GR, hr-HR, pt-BR, and sk-SK. Those are currently the ones I’m considering tossing out, but I also could make a case for tr and zh-CN. My non-scientific rule of thumb has been that I toss out locales that get to be more than 20% out of date (meaning that a sum total of 20% of strings either match or are missing). I’ll give this a few more days to think about it. Do you have any ideas as to what I should do? If so, feel free to leave a comment below.