TIP: Opera browser and Flash (TM) on slow computers

Thursday, 22 March 2007

This tip is especially useful for people who surf the web on older hardware (e.g. 500Mhz PIII with 128MB RAM). For example, while editing a post on LinuxQuestions.org, I noticed extreme lag between my typing and the text appearing on the screen. Then I noticed one of those fancy-pants flash adds was running, wasting so much precious computing power that I could’t type normally.

The problem is that I do need flash to be able to run when I don’t care too much about the responsiveness of my old computer. For example, when I am *not* typing a reply to a linux question, but instead want to watch a funny flash animation.

So what I need is a way to disable flash only on certain sites, instead of disabling it completely. And this is (almost) what the Opera browser allows me to do: in opera, you can opt to disable *all* plug-ins for a specific site. The disadvantage of this is that you throw out the baby with the bath water: all the plugins that *don’t* cause problems are also disabled! But at least you can control this on a per-site basis, which still makes it a very useful feature, and this is how you access it:

First in the menubar, select “Tools” => “Preferences” => “Advanced” => “Content” => “Manage site preferences”
Then type the name of the site you want to disable flash for, and click on “Add”.
Enter the site’s URL, and click on the “Content” tab. There, you *deselect* the tick-box “Enable plug-ins” and click on “OK”.
Close all the dialogue windows and restart Opera.

And that’s all there is to it.

In the comments below, two quicker methods for achieving the same effect are discussed, as well as one alternative method that may be used when disabling the browser plug-ins is not an option (e.g. when the site contains non-flash multimedia that you want to play).

Various calculations on fuel

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

Just watched a video on CNN.com with some Americans complaining that the gasoline prices have risen to $2.55 per gallon. So here are some (fun) calculations, using google
There are about 3.8 liters per us gallon. So the price of gasoline in the USA is about $0.67 per liter. Here in the Netherlands, fuel costs €1.43 per liter at the moment. This is about $1.88. That means that we pay about 2.8 times as much! So things could be worse. But on the other hand, the average American car gets around 3 kilometers per liter, which is about 7 miles per gallon. While that’s a very small number of parsecs per gigaliter, it’s actually a rather immense number of Angstroms per hogshead. Nonetheless, it’s not quite enough to compensate the lower gasoline prices.

Ok, ok: I may have exaggerated that figure a teensy weensy ;)
But it’s a fact that on average, American cars do not do well, mileage wise. Therefor, I hope that the high fuel prices will make more Americans aware of the need to do as little damage to our planet as is necessary to maintain a comfortable way of life.