Microsoft Edge – First impressions

After the upgrade to Windows 10 I started using Microsoft EdgeMicrosoft Edge as my main browser. Now, just a few days later, I can tell you about my first impressions.

For me, Edge seems like a lean browser, but it still feels very much beta.

Some things I already complain about: When you drag tabs out of the main window, and put them on the desktop as a separate window, and perhaps later want to drag that separate window into the main window again, then the second window automatically opens up a new empty tab and stays there.

When using my web mail account, I cannot use drag & drop there to add new attachments from an explorer window. Also, the normal file upload dialog does not work there (it does here on my blog, though).

Also, on certain pages like Twitter and especially JabbR, the tabs tend to hang and block and I need to reload the page often.

Another huge issue for me is, that there is no adblock extension for Edge so far. And I am so used to using the adblocker, as it really makes my browsing experience just so much better, that I was really disturbed about the awful lot of ads I now see again.

After all, there are some problems with Edge that needs to be fixed, and some extensions need to be provided soon. Still, Edge seems promising, when the issues are resolved quickly. At the current stage, I really see Edge as a beta and not as a production-ready browser.

Horrendous cool software

Devices should work together. All devices. Also from different companies. They don’t.

A good example is the feature ‘USB Tethering’:

  • When I plug my iPhone in my Macbook it works.
  • When I plug my iPhone in my Windows notebook, it works.
  • When I plug my Google Nexus in my Windows notebook, it works.
  • When I plug my Google Nexus in my Macbook Air… I’m screwed.

I didn’t find a way to make it work. I always needed to open up a mobile WiFi Hotspot to tether when I’m on the road. That sucked. And it costs a lot of battery on my phone. And I need that for Ingress 😉

Then someone saved my day. It was Joshua Wise (@jwise0) by writing a cool piece of software. What he did was writing a driver for Mac OS X that understands Microsoft’s proprietary RNDIS protocol – that is used for USB tethering by Google’s Android devices. No, I won’t go on the topic ‘Google uses a proprietary Microsoft protocol for their relatively open Android platform’ now. That’s not my thing.

The software has the interesting name HoRNDIS (pronounced horrendous) and its source is also available on GitHub. He also have binary packages available on the projects homepage for a simple installation.

And, what should I say? It works like a charm. I installed the driver, plugged my phone in via USB, activated USB tethering through the menu and now I’m publishing this blog post USB tethered.

Thank you, Joshua. Very much.

Ask a Ninja: Automated WordPress blog backup using Git

I thought I had posted this already, but the article list of my blog tells otherwise. Early this year I posted how I moved this blog from the old server to the current one. After that I thought I also could automate the backup this way.

So, what are the required steps?

  • Create a dump of the database.
  • Add the dump and all local modifications to the local repository.
  • Commit the changes to the local repo.
  • Push to a remote repository.

In my case I like to go sure and push to two remote repositories.

So, this is the script that will backup my blog and push it to my repos:

D:
cd D:Websdotnetninja.de
SET PATH=%PATH%;D:MariaDBbin
del backup.sql
mysqldump --skip-dump-date -u backup blog_dotnetninja.de > backup.sql
git add .
git commit -m "Automatic backup"
git push origin
git push backup master
exit

To automate the backup I just created a simple scheduled task to execute this script once a day.
Restoring the blog from the backup is as easy as described in my blog post about the move.

This game has to be made: Elite: Dangerous

<Update> The Kickstarter reached it’s funding goal, and also the stretch goal of 1.4 mio GBP for a Mac version. With a few hours to go it’s still possible to accomplish the 1.5 mio stretch goal for 10 additional playable ships. </Update>

There is currently a Kickstarter by David Braben to create a sequel to the lengendary Elite computer game. I want this game, and so I want to point some additional people to this kickstarter. Now here’s my personal story why.

When I was a kid of about 8 or 9 years (in the late 80ies), we regularly visited my uncle and aunt in the black forest. In this house lived a young guy that had an Amiga and played Elite, and I was allowed to play it. That was my first contact. Whenever we visited, I played my own commander and eventually I made it into the second galaxy on his Amiga.

We moved there a few years later on, and that guy moved away. In the early 90ies I found out that someone in the next village had a copy of the original PC Elite, which I bought from him. It is still in a good condition (even though I don’t have a 5 1/4″ floppy drive anymore to read the disc). See this picture I just made:

My copy of Elite for PC
My copy of Elite for PC

I loved this game, played it through various galaxies and even blew away some Thargoids.

Until now, there are some games that try to resembly the original elite.
I’m not talking about the two more or less official sequels Frontier (‘Elite II’) and Frontier: First Encounters. They were in the spirit of Elite (David Braben, one of the original Elite programmers, was the head here), but I personally disliked the way too realistic physics. More than a few times I ended up drifting into endless space with all the fuel used in what one would call a dogfight. I’d call it turn, burn fuel to change direction to the target, fire a few times by passing through it, turn, burn fuel etc – until one of the ships eventually runs out of fuel or gets hit.

Frontier and Frontier: First Encounters were a nice idea, but totally failed by being too realistic in physics.

What I liked to play too:

  • Wing Commander: Privateer
  • Freelancer
  • All parts of the X – Series
  • EVE Online

In my opinion the X-series games from Egosoft (a german game studio) are very good in resembling the old Elite feeling. Especially that one can build his own space stations, produce goods, own multiple ships and have them fly on auto pilot to trade is a very nice idea and I love to see the next part X: Rebirth on a totally new game engine.

Eve is a very good massive multiplayer game, but the dogfight capabilities are very limited and I really miss the pilot’s perspective from the cockpit.

Nevertheless, the original Elite with his legendary ships like the Cobra, the galaxies you can level through (without jump gates like in X) and the whole feeling of total freedom is unique, and I’d love to see a sequel.

So I backed Elite: Dangerous in the hope that David Braben won’t mess up the physics again and I really do hope that they get the missing 200 Pounds in the next few days.

I’m a proud backer of the Elite: Dangerous Kickstarter, and I say: This game has to be made.