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For a comment left at the Humanized blog on a post called Humanized Puzzler #2: Firefox Tabs.

Recently I wrote an article called Firefox 2.0: Tabs Gone Wrong. In it, I argue that Firefox introduced a new feature that represented a big step backwards in terms of tab usability:

So here’s the challenge. What’s your solution to the many-tab problem? I’ve already said that reverting to the Firefox 1.5 method of just making the tabs smaller and smaller is better than even the animated version of what’s in Firefox 2.0.

I said:

2 layers of tab space with limited tabs.

First layer is the normal tab layer, but only say 5 tabs are ever visible on that level.

Second layer is a line of squares that are color oriented. The squares represent a tab, but have no descriptive measure unless you maybe hover over one and it tells you the what tab it is.

The squares always represent how many tabs are open. So, if you have 3 tabs open, haven’t used up the limited tab description space, you see three different colored squares on the next layer. Once you open 6 tabs, you only see 5 in the first layer, but there are six squares below. You always know how many tabs are open by the number of squares. As you square grow in number, say to 100, they may shrink in size to accommodate so many squares, but you always see them on screen.

You can always view 5 tab descriptions at a time, so you highlight those five squares, which should be positioned next to one another. When you select any other square outside of those five, you get that set of five tabs shown in the descriptive tab space and those five are also highlighted.

Not sure how much sense that makes, but I might find time later to do a picture, or maybe someone else likes the idea and will try it instead 🙂

Here’s a picture to accompany my idea Click for larger image
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This is a post I made at Stephen Lewis’ blog partly disagreeing with his post about Library Access, the Limits of the Web, and the Shelling of Sarajevo. Found from Doc Searls’ blog posted as Findings. I haven’t included many of the conversation I have else where on this site because I was worried about broadening to scope too much, but screw that. Part of the reason I write here is so I can reference my own progress, so I may start including some new areas of interest such as the following.

Excerpt from the Stephen’s original post:

My own take is that while the web might theoretically have the potential of providing more shelf space than all libraries combined, it is quite far from being as well stocked. Indeed, only a small portion of the world’s knowledge is available online. The danger is that as people come to believe that the web is the be-all and end-all source of information, the less they will consult or be willing to pay for the off-line materials that continue to comprise the bulk of the world’s knowledge, intellectual achievement, and cultural heritage. The outcome: the active base of knowledge used by students, experts, and ordinary people will shrink as a limited volume of information, mostly culled from older secondary sources, is recycled and recombined over and again online, leading to an intellectual dark-age of sorts.

My thoughts:

I think you’re undervaluing the new primary sources going up online, and you’re undervaluing the new connections that are possible which parchment can’t compete with like this post I’m making to you. I definitely agree that there is a ton of great knowledge stored up in books and other offline sources, but people solve problems with the information they have, and in many communities – especially rural third world communities, offline sources are just as unreachable, if not more, than online sources. The cost of getting online, though, is far less expensive than getting access to older forms of offline sources, and that’s the greatest threat to modern libraries and offline sources.

Cost alone will drive as much information as possible online – not the cost of moving established information necessarily, but the cost of new information, especially considering poorer communities entering the mix. Some information may have to be “re-invented” if it isn’t already online, and that’s ashame. However, connection and interaction are the real drivers of knowledge, and knowledge is far most valuable than information.

Those are two attributes, connection and interaction, are almost inherent in the internet, and yet those two are precisely lacking in offline sources (without already being in an academic environment at least). Frankly, considering the greater communities at large, it is almost the imperative of the modern library to move online and get established sources up. Otherwise, the greater communities at large are likely to pay the price of re-discovering already discovered information and re-inventing already invented ideas, and libraries risk becoming disconnected from those communities for their lack of relevance. That will be the true dark age of our day, and honestly, it’s one that already exists in rural and third world communities.

Still, knowledge will spread and knowledge prospers best in an environment of connection and interaction. As long as the internet is the best environment for that it will be the inevitable destination of those seeking knowledge and progress along with those looking to spread new information and understanding.

…is what you get when you can’t think beyond the bottomline. It’ll happen both in business life as well as in home life. Be afraid of this disease because it’ll strip anything it’s infected of excitement and intrigue, and leave you with boring, lackluster results. See penny pinching, lack of creativity, being inside the box, and high levels of anxiety as you pounce on each chance to cut costs as some of the symptoms of bottomline disease.

Now, setting your sights on the bottomline isn’t always bad. Sometimes people and companies are just out of control, and need to be reined in. Fair enough. Sometimes that’s an easy way to come back to reality. However, if you think that you live and die by the bottomline, then you’re probably going to die anyway. In business you live and die by innovation, which requires that you have your sights focused outward while budgets and such are focused inward.

The same is true for home life. Budgets focus you inward. They’re great if you’re having a problem, and need boundaries set. However, that could trap you in the money box. Your stare is so focus on those budget numbers that you miss great opportunities. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying you have to start spending loads of money, but focusing on what you already know as your spending habits can keep you from finding better spending habits, which might actually save you money.

And sometimes, you do just need to spend some money for a great experience. For instance, this trip that my friends and I came back from. It was cheaper than some trips, but more than others, and all of us being in our mid twenties, we might not have reserves of cash for such trips. One of my friends that went on the trip was in that situation.

With a new house under his belt, and still small (but growing) client base for his company, he wasn’t in the same financial situation as myself and our other friend who have much more financial flexibility at this point in life. We wanted him to join us on the trip, but missing mortgage payments afterwards isn’t an option in our book. We tried to encourage him to come, and we knew he wanted to, but at same point, there’s a line for too much financial struggling. Thankfully, he was able to put enough away before the trip to feel comfortable about going. He’d still be tight after the fact, but not missing any bills.

In my opinion, our trip was a once in a life time trip that’s well worth the cost (well, once in a life time trip until our next one around the Mediterranean – I love traveling and experiencing new people, places, and cultures). Had my friend only been watching the bottomline, he’d probably have missed that experience. Heck, he probably wouldn’t have even thought of joining us in the first place. It helps once you know you need the help, like trying to make the cut for this trip, but doesn’t help leading up to it.

Bottomline focus can be infectious. In the short term, it tends to help. You see your costs going down. That feels good because you should have more cash on hand. Great. But, that’ll only get you so far. It follows the law of diminishing returns, which is when your blinders are turned on, and you can’t see opportunities passing you by. As long as you’re aware that bottomline activities such as budgeting are short term activities meant to fix short term habits, you should be fine. A penny saved is a penny earned, but a dollar missed and a life passed by just aren’t worth it.

A bit of a rant here. Blowing off some steam for yall’s pleasure.

I’m out to dinner at a local Irish pub with three friends. Somehow the conversation shifts to stocks. I keep my mouth shut the whole time. I’m so awed by the ease of ignorance, especially from friends, I’m left speechless. I want to pour their beer on their heads and hit them with their mugs.

One guy, the oldest in his mid to late 40s, is outed as the investing failure. “Whatever he does, do the opposite because you’re sure to make money.” He plays the market timing game, and loses often. I guess he recently sold Apple just before the stock shot up. Why he bought or decided to sell, I don’t know. He also sold gold commodities at a loss too, and his thoughts on this were, “I’m the only person who can buy gold during wartime and lose money.” All I want to ask is, do you have any clue how commodity markets work, wartime or not? Do you have any idea how gold is effected by world trends? Actually, that’s not all I wanted to ask, but where he gets his assumptions on how and why to trade in gold, or even Apple stock or any of the other stocks that he sold at the wrong time, is beyond me, and why he keeps doing it is also beyond me. Or at least why he keeps doing the same thing without have much of a clue why he does it is beyond me. Is self-education really that hard? People say my generation has a short attention span, but how else could one explain the continuing actions of the older generation?

The other guy, the second oldest in his late 30s, recently bought stock in a health company of some sort. His reasoning, at least the one he gave at the table, was that Obama has been pushing his universal health plan. Maybe there was more logic behind it, but I doubt it. First, Obama is running for president, he isn’t president yet. Second, there are plans from 4 other candidates, not including plans from people not running for president, which have striking differences from Obama’s plan that may or may not help the health industry or that one company. Why that one company he purchased is in any better position to benefit at all is very questionable. Of course, all of these plans are years if not at least a decade away from even happening, if at all, so I’m not sure I’d bet my money today on something as far away and unpredictable as Obama’s universal health plan.

The only upside to this whole conversation was that the last friend, youngest of us by 10 days, didn’t have any of his own stories, but instead teased the oldest about his poor market timing skills. He’s definitely in a better spot than the others, but I want to bow my head in shame when they all talk stocks and no one even thinks to ask my input. Me being the only one at the table who’s even worked in investment banking, has a degree that at least taught me about investing even if it’s not a finance degree, and the only one who actively researches and studies these things. I don’t want to be the authority figure in the group, and I’m not trying to be the final say, but that so many silly and misleading statements could be made without a thought of getting feedback is disappointing. It’s like diagnosing an illness you have with a doctor sitting next to you, but never thinking to ask for the doctor’s thoughts.

It just makes me want to scream. I speak up when it feels appropriate, but too much of our talks are just idle chat. Personally, I love challenging assumptions and beliefs, and sometimes it’s like the world would rather sit back and watch than think or god forbid do something. Maybe I just need a different breed of friends to satisfy that side of my personality, but I don’t know where to find them. Still, I’m an optimist, even if this rant doesn’t feel optimistic.