Firefox 3 for the Mac

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

I tried Firefox 3 on Windows and I liked it there, but on the Mac? Bleah. It looks like a bad knockoff of Safari but without the attention to detail that signifies Apple products. A lot of the icons are ugly, and off by just a pixel here or there. You’d think one pixel wouldn’t make that much difference but it does. Plus I actually preferred the traditional Firefox 2 chrome to the Safari style brushed metal widgets.

Plus it’s perceptually much slower than Firefox 2. I’m a 20 WPM typist at best and I’m typing faster than Firefox can enter text into this form. The characters are several words behind where I’m typing about half the time.

Long-bodied Cellar Spider

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

Long-legged spider with prey
Long-bodied Cellar Spider, Pholcus phalangioides
Irvine, CA, 2008-06-10

This one appears to be eating some other spider.

Apple gets Pwned

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008
$ osascript -e 'tell app "ARDAgent" to do shell script "whoami"'

Wow. A one line script that allows any logged in user to grab root, not even a buffer overflow or third party software involved. This is movie plot hacking at its finest. I haven’t seen an attack this bad in years.

The only thing I would imagine that could be worse would be if you could execute this attack remotely.

Age of Slonan

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

Anyone else notice that Age of Conan got covered in tar by the latest patch on Monday? My new PC (2 GB RAM, dual core, NVidia 8800GT) went from a respectable 40+ frames per second at maximum settings to a nearly unplayable 10 FPS or less, even on much reduced settings.

If this isn’t fixed soon, it may break my MMO habit once and for all. (Then again, I have been wondering about City of Heroes…)

Irvine Dining

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

A few random notes from the culinary wastelands:

Mimi’s Cafe

I was really looking forward to this little restaurant on Barranca. Several people had recommended it, and it was always packed. When we walked in I couldn’t quite place the decor. It looked vaguely like it was trying to be a French brasserie. My wife finally identified it: this is supposed to be New Orleans! All I can say is whoever designed the decor and the menu cannot possibly have ever been closer to New Orleans than Bastrop Texas. It looked a little more like French brasserie. Possibly the designer heard that New Orleans was French (something that hasn’t been remotely true for over a century now) and checked out a picture book of Paris from their local library.

The menu was a bit of a shock given the recommendations we’d had: the same prepackaged Sysco pablum you can buy in any Chile’s or TGI Friday’s around the country. They may have listed one or two items as “Cajun”, but there was nothing the least bit Cajun about them (not that New Orleans is or ever has been a Cajun city anyway). I had the pork chop, which was the typical large but bland pork chop you can find anywhere. I don’t know if I can really blame them for this though. Pigs have been so wrongly bred for so long now that only a few specialty farms still raise decent pork. Unless you know where the pigs come from, a pork chop is almost always a mistake nowadays. Still, they could have at least put a little seasoning or something on it. They didn’t even have Worcestershire sauce, the old standby of flavorless meat everywhere.


One of the few bright spots in an otherwise dark strip mall. Reliably good food, if a tad on the pricey side. Do be careful to warn them not to put bacon on everything if you don’t eat pork, though.

Chaparosa Grill

Technically, not in Irvine, (just outside it in Tustin) but I had to include it just to prove I don’t hate everything out here. This is a shockingly good restaurant right outside an AMC multiplex. Beth and I just popped in to grab some Margaritas before a movie started, but were charmed into staying for dinner instead. The food was excellent: redolent with interesting spices and tastes, exactly what’s missing from everywhere else we’ve eaten in Irvine. The Chaparosa Cioppini was a wonderfully spicy bouillabaisse. We’ve had it several times now. The Shrimp Scampi was possibly the best Shrimp Scampi I’ve ever eaten: nothing like the prepackaged reheated Korean shrimp slopped over pasta at most chain restaurants. The seafood pasta was equally unusual and interesting.

This restaurant is several notches above everywhere else we’ve eaten, and quite reasonably priced for the quality. What it’s doing in a shopping mall I have no idea, and I don’t know if it will be able to survive in a climate of diners trained to think that The Olive Garden qualifies as fine dining, but enjoy it while you can. Highest recommendation.

#433 Bell’s Vireo

Sunday, June 15th, 2008

I feel like I should be exploring more new places and habitat like the Dorothy Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary, Huntington Library and Gardens, Santa Cruz Island, the Sanata Ana River, or Yorba Linda. But why when I’m still finding life birds within casual walking distance of my apartment?

Last Sunday (June 8) I once again joined the Sea & Sage Audubon’s Monthly bird walk at San Joaquin Wildlife Refuge led by Chris Obaditch. We pulled over 50 species in about 3 hours from 8:00 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. including Yellow-breasted Chat, American Avocet (with chicks no less!) and American White Pelican.

However the best bird for me was #433, Bell’s Vireo. There are maybe several dozen breeding pairs at San Joaquin right now so they aren’t hard to find. However I didn’t know this bird’s call, and it looks a lot like a warbling Vireo, so I’d missed it. However Chris found them again and again in the northern part of the refuge.