My First Chrome Experience

My First Chrome Experience

My inbox has been flooded with emails asking me to blog about my opinion of Chrome. That is if you consider "flooded" to be one more than zero. And you include the email I sent to myself from work as a reminder to give it a shot…

Ok fine. No one asked. And even less likely care. But guess what, you’re getting it anyway.

What I liked…

The download is a wonderfully small 475 KB. The same cannot be said for either IE or Firefox.

I was impressed with how quickly Chrome opened for me. Both IE and Firefox take between 3 and 5 seconds to load on my Vista machine. Chrome however opens instantly.

One feature that sticks out is the default home page. Rather than a search page like Firefox or that bloated MSN page from IE, you get a slick UI with personalized content on it. The "Most visited" site section is reminiscent of the XP and Vista start menu’s listing of most commonly used applications. And having bookmarks displayed is also a nice touch.

Overall I’d have to say that Chrome is very quick and responsive. Pages render quickly and (from my limited testing) without any major issues.

What I didn’t…

One major flaw in my view is that the default home page, while innovative, lacks any control over what gets displayed. If you search Monster regularly for example then it is going to show up on your home page. While convenient in some circumstances, imagine your manager walking past your desk and seeing a screen shot of Monster at the top of your list. And I’ve been told that some people have been known to use the net for more "adult" activities. Wouldn’t that go over well when you open your browser during your quarterly sales presentation…. 

As a research project Chrome has some real value. If the benchmarks they present are accurate they have made some major improvements to JavaScript processing. But they are talking about it in much grander terms than just a research project. They seem to be positioning it as a first-class browser to replace IE, Firefox and the rest.

I’m still not sure why I should care. I’ve never felt an overwhelming desire to get a new browser. I use Firefox and IE and find very little difference between the two. I don’t really see what market need Google is trying to fill here.

Scoble Scale?

Scoble Scale?

Robert Scoble has an interesting post in response to Om Malik’s suggestion that Twitter start charging “Super Users”. Scoble would qualify as an edge-case when comes to social network . He has a history of hitting the limits like these on MSN Messenger and Facebook.

Charging seems like an acceptable action to take for users like Robert who use these services at such a level. Robert is obviously getting business value out of these services and it is perfectly reasonable to get revenue from that. But I agree with Robert when he says that this won’t completely solve their scalability problems. The amount they would have to charge would likely exceed the value of the service.

I also hope that Robert is correct in his assertion that Twitter’s problem isn’t caused by how it manages the data. If Assetbar is correct in his description then Twitter has a problem. I have no knowledge as to how Twitter works under the covers but I sure hope Assetbar’s description isn’t accurate.

I think we need to add another level to our description of scale: Small, Large , Enterprise and now Scoble Scale. Maybe he should rent himself out as a testing framework for social networks…

New Year, New Resolutions

New Year, New Resolutions

Happy New Year!

This whole "new year" thing is really interesting. I know it is really just an arbitrary milestone based on the rotation of a single planet around some star on the outskirts of one of the many galaxies. And yet I still can’t help but feel a sense of renewal. What can I say? I’m a human being and we’re a bit odd sometimes.

So far 2008 looks to be one heck of a year. I’m expecting my 3rd child (and 2nd son) in April, I’ve got two products about to go into beta (more on them in the coming months), and a bunch of challenging new projects to architect involving everything from data centers to multi-language telephony. I’m very excited.

I’ve also got a few new years resolutions:

  • Switch for black coffee. We’re talking the difference between 150 calories and 15 here. At the rate I drink coffee I can afford an extra helping of Pad Thai on what I’ll save!
  • Spend more time at home. I am notoriously bad at using my vacation time. I get wrapped up in projects and free time feels anything but free. For the last two weeks I’ve been home in order to use up my vacation time (how bad am I? I still have over a week to roll over). This year I’m going to use all my vacation time and maybe even work from home once and a while so I can save the two hours a day I commute. In the end I love my family and I’d rather they not forget what I look like.
  • Learn LINQ / Entity Framework. I’ve played with both an really love what LINQ brings to the table. I’m not so sold on the the Entity Framework but that I’ve never been a real ORM guy. I’m using WCF in one of my projects and plan to use LINQ in it as well.
  • Learn Ruby. Last year I spent some time picking up Python. This will fill my one language per year quota. Python is nice but I quickly figured our I’m a "bracket" guy. Although I do I have to say I found some serious problems with Python (and dynamic languages in general) that leave me still leaning towards compiled languages. I’ll have to post my experiences and see what the community has to say – maybe the issues I’ve have can be mitigated (I hope so, I really like some aspects of dynamic languages).

So there you go. I’ve now publicly posted my resolutions so I might just feel a bit more obligated to keep them this year. I wouldn’t hold my breath. 🙂

[update: fixed typo]