Diggler for Firefox 2.0

On the heels of my posting of Diggler for Firefox 1.5, here’s Diggler tweaked for compatibility with Firefox 2.0.

All the thanks goes to Neil Bird, who modified and repackaged the innards. Thanks also go to Adam Locke, Diggler’s first creator who maintained the extension until Firefox 1.0.


# Download Diggler 0.9.3.
# Drag it into your Firefox window to install.
# Enjoy! It will automatically upgrade your old Diggler version if you have it installed.

As usual: this extension is provided “as is”. I hope you enjoy it.

In space, no one can hear you spend

While looking at the live webfeed of the Christie’s Star Trek auction two weeks ago, I caught a good glimpse of some of the innards of the Christie’s Star Trek: The Collection auction catalogue. And so, I had a moment of weakness. I logged in and bought the damn thing.

The next day, we went off to Silverlotus’s parents for some Thanksgiving turkey, and the very next day after that, this arrived in the mail.

It was really expensive, at $60 US plus $19 shipping. It’s two silver-covered full-size paperbacks on heavy-stock glossy paper – the entire package weighed in at an impressive 4 lbs. They thoughtfully also included the two Star Passes, which would allow me into the auction room should I ever come across a time machine.

The text in the books are identical to the online catalogue – even the interesting bits of trivia – but you really need to read this in book form to comprehend the enormity of memorabilia here. Data’s poker visor! Vulcan mummies! Worf’s spine! It’s full colour and the pictures are rather handsome, although I’m still nursing a bit of buyer’s remorse. Hopefully it’ll be worth something someday; apparently only 10,000 copies have been printed.

The source address was also a street in New Jersey called Enterprise Drive, so that was pretty nice.

Serviceable parts inside

Electronics manufacturers sometimes quietly use open source code to save on development costs – for example, the the celebrated Linux-powered Linksys WRT54G / WRT54GL wireless broadband routers. Despite the fact Cisco has adopted a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding its famed hackability and extensibility, there continues to be a wide variety of customized WRT54G firmware available with amazing new features. This was the main reason why I bought one for myself; I currently run HyperWRT-Thibor.

But now, for some companies, community software development is embraced and even promoted, rather than being purely incidental.

Slim Devices’ elegant digital music streaming products such as the Squeezebox proudly list their open source powered server software (called SlimServer) as a selling point.

Neuros Technology has taken the concept further by offering prize money to coders who can hack and enhance the Linux firmware powering the Neuros OSD, their Windows Media Centre/Apple iTV competitor. The top bounty of US$1000 goes to the lucky hacker who can stream Youtube onto the diminutive device.

Then there is the Chumby, a WiFi-powered clock-radio gizmo that encourages its owners to tinker with both its software and hardware; even the electronics guts inside are removable. So far people have stuck the Chumby into stuffed animals and footballs, and rigged it to stream photos from the Internet and play MP3s. It’s $150 and in a closed beta program and It’s already more personable and feature-packed than Sony’s and Apple’s best efforts.

Will free software code and hardware extensibility be a competitive advantage these companies win over the masses? Only time will tell.

UPDATE: Om Malik reported on this earlier this year; he called them iCompanies. Choice quote: “It’s the open-source software concept applied to product marketing.”

Boldy going, going, gone

“You’re not buying just that jacket, you’re buying a piece of a dream. You’re buying a piece of childhood. This means something far beyond just the plastic here.”

– Michael Okuda, on Christie’s Star Trek auction, “ABC News: Star Trek: The Auction

The six-foot model of the USS Enterprise-D was just sold for half a million US dollars at Christie’s 40 Years of Star Trek: The Collection. The Borg ship was assimilated for $96,000; the Enterprise-E was pushed off at $132,000. And so there is a price to childhood memories…

But perhaps I’m being a bit too sentimental. After all, Paramount doesn’t need them, even if they decide to make a new series one day – props can be rebuilt from photos and the starships are safely berthed as computer models – but I still can’t help contrast this with the festivities that accompanied Star Trek’s 25th anniversary. Leonard Nimoy made a cameo on Star Trek: TNG. Star Trek-themed videogames and action figures and Franklin Mint 3D chess sets flooded the market.

Now, there are no more Trek series on the telly. There is no more creating – just disassembling. Celebrating Star Trek’s 40th with a sale seems so…final.

Nevertheless, I’m finding it fun to watch the proceedings via the History Channel live video stream. It’s amazing how the Internet has progressed where not only can I watch this auction in realtime, others can bid alongside local and telephone bidders. The atmosphere is quite light. A few folks including the auction assistants are dressed in Starfleet uniforms, but so far no extreme geekism has been witnessed. The auctioneer once quipped to a man who had just bought a sizeable amount of rubber-and-pleather Klingon chairs for a sizeable sum, “You will be back next week for some Monets and Picassos?”

Empires I have known

An interactive map chronicling 5,000 years of empires in the Middle East and Eurasia, starting with the Kingdom of Egypt to the Roman Empire to the autonomous nations of the 21st century. It’s interesting to see how many peoples have fought (and continue to fight) for control over the Fertile Crescent.

Silverlotus remarked that it’s as if as humans we are compelled to covet the land where our species originated from.