Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Recent miscellany

Peace Garden
It’s time for another one of those blog posts, where there are multiple things that aren’t big or important enough for their own entry but too big to fit into 140 characters on Twitter.

  • I recently booted up my old 2005-era Mac Mini, as I haven’t done so since January last year. It’s becoming increasingly evident that developers are abandoning the PowerPC architecture. Skype doesn’t support it from version 5 upwards; the latest version of NeoOffice (3.2) is now Intel-only and even Firefox will only work up to version 3.6.x. Thankfully there will still be security updates for 3.6.x for a while, but I understand the last version of Skype that it PowerPC compatible has known security issues. Presumably there’s very little demand for universal applications now, as it’s been over four years since Apple ceased sale of new PPC Macs, and they don’t give access to the new APIs like Grand Central Dispatch and OpenCL that were added in Snow Leopard, which is Intel only.
  • With Firefox, all is not lost. As I said, 3.6.x builds will still be available for a while, but some independent developers have come up with TenFourFox which is based on Firefox and brings most of its features to PowerPC-based Macs, provided you have at least OSX 10.4 (Tiger) installed. Its JavaScript performance beats all other browsers available for PPC Macs, and it includes the same support for HTML5 and WebM video that Firefox 4 users get. You don’t, however, get out-of-process plugin support (but few plug-ins still work properly on PPC anyway), OpenGL acceleration, WebGL, or the new JaegerMonkey JavaScript engine, and some Indic and Arabic web pages may not display correctly. Still, nice to see independent developers picking up the baton, and it’s all part of the beauty of open source software.
  • An update on the weee-buy situation, and it’s not going so well, to be honest. The courier has now missed two appointments to collect the laptops. I’m going to contact them again and try a slightly different strategy – and will keep you informed as to how it goes.
  • On to non-techy things. Britain has been bathed in really nice, sunny weather for the past few weeks, with many days being warmer than at the height of summer. The string of nice weekends has meant I’ve been on a number of days out, and, as usual, taken my camera. Here’s some recent pictures from Sheffield and York over the Easter Weekend; I also have some Hebden Bridge photographs to upload soon as well.
  • Earlier this month, Christine and I reached the point where we’d been together for 18 months. We didn’t really do much to celebrate, as we’re still slowly unpacking everything in the new flat. Which is great – having a balcony during this warm weather has been bliss.
  • Finally, we’re planning a trip to London at the end of the month – four nights in a budget hotel near Merton, as it works out cheaper than staying more centrally even when factoring in the cost of travelling on the tube. The hotel has good reviews on TripAdvisor which always helps.

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