It’s quite ironic that the Hon APJ Abdul Kalam, President of India. An avowed technocrat. Is so anti-Google Earth. His contention is that Google Earth allows anyone to view India’s secrets. I do wonder what these secrets are? I mean the maps that the software uses are at least a couple of years old. And if breaches of security continue to exist, perhaps its time to securely close such doors. And when an attack does materialize based on 2+ year old information, then in my book the intended targets fully deserve what they expect to receive!
Yes, its true that Google Earth mapping is found more in areas of strategic interest. So if you live near an ordnance factory. In or around a military cantonment. Or along the approach path to an airport with a known military presence. There’s a higher probability that parts of your city will be available in Google Earth. But there are many exceptions. The metros of India are well documented. But not all India’s security assets are concentrated here. There are many more towns and cities that literally remain unmapped by Google Earth. For more on attempts to ban. Along with several rather childish opinions. Is a Google search about banning Google Earth.
That’s enough with the ranting. Let’s instead look at something more pleasurable. Like new software. And do I have a couple of interesting ones for you. Let’s lead off with Opera for Windows 9.0 Build 8212 Technology Preview 2. This includes lots of new features. But remember its a Beta. And one that will be quite unstable. Make sure to backup your Opera Bookmarks and mail setting. And as far as possible install the new Preview build in a unique folder all its own. When Opera runs true to form it will also store its Profile settings in a folder distinct from your existing version.
The key updates include support for Opera Widgets (small web applications that run directly on a user’s desktop). You can also develop your own Opera Widgets to perform tasks that interact with news feeds, dictionaries and search engines. There’s a complete Guide to Opera Widgets. This release also offers selective content blocking, search shortcuts, and site specific preferences. New to this version are popup thumbnails that display when you hover (the mouse pointer) over the relevant tab. The address bar search now support Google I got Lucky searches that will open the web site Google matches best with the keywords entered. The History feature has been enhanced with sort by date and site.
The source page viewer now supports syntax highlighting. With CSS errors reported in a separate module. However in a way Preview 2 takes a step back. My Gamil account broke again. As did this blog’s login page. Where all I got was a blank screen. I hope the unfix whatever is causing the problem in the next release.
The Opera:config function introduced in the previous Preview has been enhanced to highlight modified settings (just like Windows XP). Opera for Windows 9.0 Build 8212 Technology Preview 2 also includes a BitTorrent client which supposedly is better than previous versions. But I still find it a pain to use. For the same Torrent file, uTorrent reports availability statistics and begins downloading immediately if available. Opera’s client just stays in the same no traffic state for >10 minutes (the limits of my wait ‘n see capabilities for 1 mbps connections).
The new Opera 9 Preview 2 build also introduces the world to Opera Labs. This is the company’s new research face. That lists topics of interest. And information about browser technology in development. There’s also a detailed Opera Labs illustrated version of the Opera 9 Tech Preview 2 changelog.
The other software discovery is GigaGet. This is the (now) free, licensed English Beta version of the Chinese-only Thunder Downloader. GigaGet includes patented Net-Grid technology to locates extra download links and mirrors in real-time. The software can also spawn new download threads from a single URL. All without a specific, per-download setting. On a 1 mbps connection, I found files actually downloaded up to 5 times faster than they did with the free WinGet 1.9 version. Or Metaproducts Download Express. And unlike both those products, GigaGet didn’t glom (grab) available bandwidth causing other applications like web browsers or mail clients to stop responding.
That’s it for this week. More next time. Stay Safe. And Sayonara!