Earth Hour

I’m not sure if you remember, but a few years back (2007?) the city of Sydney turned off all non-essential lights for an hour to raise awareness for the need to fight climate change. That “Earth Hour” has now spread around the globe, and, well, today’s the day.

Earth Hour will take place at 8:30 to 9:30 pm your local time.

What can I do?

Again, in Earth Hour you turn off all non-essential lights and other electronics. That means you shouldn’t go around and turn off all the streetlights you can find (that would lead to mass chaos.) Instead, you should turn off:

Firefox 4 is out

It’s been about a year in coming (it was in beta for a full year), but Firefox 4 is finally out and can be downloaded at The open-source web browser’s latest version is a gigantic step forward from the 3.6 version (the old stable version from a year ago, which is pitifully outdated by now.)

What’s changed

  • Firefox 4 is about 3 times faster in page loading and JavaScript performance than 3.6. This means your favorite web apps and websites are – get ready for this – 3 times faster than before.

Microsoft helps kill spammers

Well, not really kill, just bring down. But it makes the title sound nice.

In other news, Microsoft has finally done something right by bringing down Rustock, a botnet that infected millions of computers and caused them to send massive amounts of spam. Rustock was one of the (if not the) biggest spam networks in the world.

Microsoft (and some feds) raided some hosting facilities in the US and took down the servers that instructed infected computers to send spam.

You can read more at cnet.


As usual, I got bored so I wrote a game in JavaScript. It’s a role-playing game called Labyrinth (you can find it here) which follows a guy who gets lost in a cave. You have to collect sticks to destroy barrels, planks to cross water, keys for colored doors, and more.

Here’s what Labyrinth looks like:

Playing Level 10 of Labyrinth
Playing Level 10 of Labyrinth

I know it’s horribly drawn, but I drew everything myself. I’m such a bad artist that it’s a miracle that the key even looked like a key. And that glowing yellow/orange/red thing is a lantern.

Internet Explorer 9 is out

Well done, Bill, you’ve finally done something right. Internet Explorer 9 is now out and can be downloaded from Here’s the catch: it only works on Windows Vista and 7.

Let me repeat that:

It only works in Vista and 7. It doesn’t work in XP.

Thoughts on the new browser

For one thing, it’s a lot better than Internet Explorer 8, although that isn’t saying much. To be honest, it’s actually decent; Internet Explorer can now compete with the other popular browsers like Firefox and Chrome.

Here’s what really matters:

JavaScript-powered calculator

I was bored (and my calculator was out of batteries), so I figured I’d take a crack at developing a web-based calculator. (You can find it at Basically, you can enter some commands (variable declarations or function calls) and the calculator will use JavaScript power to find the answer.

The neatest thing about the calculator is that it has some built-in functions (anything from finding a number’s square root to finding the LCM of two numbers to finding the solutions to a quadratic equation.)

Here are some commands you can enter into the calculator and what they do:

7-Zip: a free way to unzip files

My parents just downloaded a zipped file from the internet (not sure what it was, I think an installer or something.) But that’s beside the point, the important thing is that they needed to unzip it so that they could access the files inside. They downloaded WinZip, which lets you unzip files.

All’s good, right? Only problem is that it costs a lot. $30, in fact. That doesn’t seem like much, but the general rule of thumb with software is:

If you pulled out your credit card to download something, you probably did pay too much.