Archive for February, 2005

Monday, February 28th 2005

Mozilla Usage Update

WebSideStory and OneStat have both published updated browser stats, showing that Mozilla Firefox is continuing to snatch users out of Microsoft’s clasp.

WebSideStory is trying to cause a stir by claiming that adoption of Firefox is slowing down. They show that relative increase of Firefox usage was lower between January and February than between November and December. While this is true, it’s rather misleading. For the relative growth rate to be constant Firefox would need to increase exponentially. The Firefox downloads are increasing in a close to linear fashion. Stats Weenie has some calculations showing that the real decrease in adoption is much lower.

The OneStat browser report is confused as usual. This time they mix up Mozilla browsers in general with Mozilla Firefox, as well as using both commas and dots as decimal separators. They also split the browsers up differently than in their previous browser press relase, making comparisons difficult or impossible.

Update: I sent an e-mail to Erik Bratt at WebSideStory this morning, and just recieved a reply stating that they are planning to change the wording of the report.

Update 2: WebSideStory have now changed the numbers. In reality, the Firefox adoption rate has not decreased significantly since the beginning of December. Between 2004-12-03 and 2005-01-14 the average was 0.0212 percentage points per day, and between 2005-01-03 and 2005-02-18 it was 0.0211.

Monday, February 21st 2005

All 16,777,216 RGB colours

A while back, having nothing better to do, I set about creating an image with all the RGB colours. Yes, that’s right. All 16.8 million.

This little show of lunacy also turned out to be a great demonstration of the powers of the PNG image format: The graphic, being 16.8 million pixels and 24 bit colour, ends up a modest 50 MB uncompressed. The PNG format produces a 58.0 kB file.

Before you take look at this (truly) colourful piece of art, I warn those with slow computers. Don’t let the light download trick you – the graphic packs a nice punch to the CPU if you’re on something like 400 MHz.

All 16,8 million RGB colours

Update: Per popular request, I have now created a version of the image with all pixels randomized… (This time it’s a bit more than 58 kB…)

All 16,777,216 RGB colours, randomized.

And how about a little mathematical challenge: What are the chances that, by randomizing the pixels in the (randomized) image above, I would get the (ordered) version at the top? 🙂

Update 2: I created another version of the ordered image, with the squares laid out along the diagonal of the image instead. This one (78 kB) didn’t compress quite as well as the first one (58 kB).

All 16,777,216 RGB colours, with tiles ordered along the diagonal of the image.

Edit 2011-06-30: Was inspired by one of the comments to try and compress the 58 kB png file. IzArc can create a 7z file which is only 705 bytes large! That is 1/71436th the size of the uncompressed image in Tiff format. That’s pretty impressive stuff!

Tuesday, February 15th 2005

IE 7 beta to come this summer… yeah right!

It seems Microsoft are planning to release an IE7 beta for WinXP SP2 this summer. I must say it sounds very much like a ‘hang-in-there’ message to all the corporations out there thinking about switching to Firefox… After all the betas and delays, I would expect a final IE7 to be out no earlier than spring 2006, which isn’t much earlier than the planned release of Longhorn.

Reading the description of what is to come, IE7 sounds like little more than a glorified XP SP3.

Also, I believe “maintaining compatibility” is equal to (practiacally) not touching the rendering engine. So, don’t hold your breath for real CSS or PNG support…

Blake Ross of the Mozilla Foundation has produced an interesting time-line of recent events in the browser sphere.

Tuesday, February 15th 2005

New Volvo C70 out and about?

What looks like the upcoming C70 from Volvo is being winter-tested somewhere in Scandinavia. The following sites have the photos:

The Car

The articles refer to the car as the upcoming S80, but I strongly doubt it is – for several reasons:

  • It looks too small to be the new S80.
  • The four doors are fake – look closely in this picture and you can see that there are only two doors underneath the plastic camouflage.
  • It has several design cues which indicate kinship to the present S40 and V50. (Headlights, shark-fin aerial, wing-mirrors with indicators, rear lights.) Volvo have previously said that the new C70 will be more closely related to the S40 than the S60/V70.
  • The timing of these photos indicate that they show the C70, which is the next planned major release from Volvo. (Similar photos circulated just before the release of the S40 and V50. See the end of this page.)
  • The profile looks too coupé-ish to be an S80.

If I’m wrong about the doors being fake, it could possibly be the next S60 – but I believe that car isn’t due for release for at least another 18-24 months.

There are several on-going discussions on the topic:

Monday, February 14th 2005

Ogg Vorbis is Way Better

I’ve just had the pleasant experience of discovering the greatness of Ogg Vorbis. Some may think I was a little slow on the uptake, but I just haven’t checked it out properly until now.

I’m using CDex to compress my audio files, and it comes with Vorbis support. At low bitrates, such as 64, 80 and 96 kbps, Vorbis is without any doubt way better than WMA and MP3. At 128 kbps it’s truly difficult to hear the difference between the original WAV file and the Vorbis file. MP3 at 128 is clearly less crisp and detailed. I have yet to try WMA at 128, but at the lower rates it was closer to MP3 in quality than it was to Vorbis.

Update: I tried WMA at 128 kbps now, and while it is not as bad as MP3 at the same bitrate, it still cuts out details at very high frequency (~18-22 kHz probably). The difference is easily seen when studying the levels. Ogg Vorbis manages to keep these details. And, if those details don’t matter that much to you (they are barely audible) then I suggest using Vorbis at maybe 96 kbps – the quality is still close to indistinguishable from a CD.