Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Browsing Browsers

I'm not entirely sure why, but my computer seems to accumulate Internet browsers like a fat person's folds attract flies or Dane Cook attracts thrown bottles. I propose a Eighth Law of Thermocomputing: the number of unused Internet browsers on a given computer can be defined by its RAM minus its current number of downloaded applications (excluding, of course, Internet browsers), divided by the number of songs currently in the iTunes library plus the product of the processing power and the number of USB ports. The entire equation is then multiplied by the computer's Jobs Constant: if the computer is a Mac, you multiply the whole thing by zero since Macs can't use anything other than Safari anyway. If the computer is anything else, the Jobs Constant is one.

The worst part is you're never really sure where all of these browsers come from. I suspect there is an expertly trained strike force of gnomes that sneak into peoples' houses and download Chrome when everyone is asleep. I haven't been unable to prove this theory, but I figure if I keep watching my computer at night instead of sleeping I'll catch one eventually.

At one point I had every browser on my computer from something or another, save for Opera, which I downloaded anyway. I'm not even sure where Chrome came from. Since I'm unfortunate enough to be associated with Windows, I can't get rid of Internet Explorer, and Safari snuck in with an iTunes update. I downloaded Firefox with the intention of never using anything else, and I downloaded Opera for lulz and Hipster Points, which can be exchanged for a free scarf at any participating Urban Outfitters. Thus, I made it my mission to fairly and equally test all five of the main browsers, assuming, of course, people actually use Opera. I might be the only one. Fuck, I should just use Opera all the time. I could get so many scarves.

Anyway, each Internet browser will be measured in three areas. General Usability will be measured in Engineers. Each Engineer represents the ability of five grandmothers to check their emails with only minor assistance from their grandchildren. Infuripoints are measured in Sweetie Belles, each one representing half a fistfull of hair you have just torn from your head. Finally, the browser's Hipster Factor is measured in This Self-confident Douchebag. Each Douchebag is redeemable for ten extra Hipster Points. The maximum rating in any category a browser can receive is five, a theoretical perfect score being five Engineers, zero Sweetie Belles, and a number of Douchebags you've probably never heard of.

Internet Explorer

I'm starting at Internet Explorer because, theoretically, it will be all uphill from here.

We've all felt the pain of clawing and biting our way through this weeping mess of a browser. Unsafe, unusable, and generally not at all enjoyable in the slightest, I'm already reserving the last place trophy for everyone's least favorite browser (the trophy is actually my fist punching people who use Internet Explorer in the face). It's gotten to the point where Windows should just change the slogan to "the number one browser for downloading other browsers."

I clicked on the evil blue E on my sidebar so I could validate my prejudice and test the worst parts of every browser rolled into one, but nope. It took five minutes to load. I timed it. Five minutes. Not only that, but processing speed ground to a near halt as over nine thousand gigabytes of screaming failure attempted to load. And do you know what I did as soon as Internet Explorer opened? I took one look at the squirming, amorphous mass of toolbars, closed the window, saved this post draft, and went to bed. I wasn't having any of that shit. No fucking way. I remembered every reason I started using literally any other browser all at once, and the reasons could be neatly summed up as: everything about Internet Explorer.

General Usability    -    three Engineers
Despite the fact that Internet Explorer should never be used by anyone under any circumstances, it is often the browser of choice for old women with Dell laptops because they think that "Internet" and "Internet Explorer" are the same things. I once explained to my grandmother what Firefox is. I don't think she got it. Long story short, the General Usability rating is slightly inflated due to the sheer number of grandmothers checking their emails with it.

Infuripoints    -    five Sweetie Belles
The last time I got this pissed off was when I flew to Siam on a couch, only to realize the Moon was upside down. In other words: never have I been this pissed off.

Hipster Factor    -    zero Douchebages
Considering IE is somehow the most popular browser bundled with the most popular OS lines, the Hipster Factor of Internet Explorer is so low it's actually negative. If a hipster were to use Internet Explorer, his eyes would melt into his unshaven beard and his hands would combust. Should it somehow be installed on his precious Macbook Pro, the entire laptop would decompose into a pile of molten slag and burn a hole through the coffee shop's -excuse me, café's- floor.


"Fuck. Fuuuuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck." Those are generally the words I say when forced to use Safari.

I've had a lot of experience using Safari, which roughly translates to "I've had a lot of time to learn how much I hate Safari." I'm taking a class at school about video and production, and the entire class is taught with a bunch of Macs, meaning I have to use Safari when I need sound effects, music, or I don't feel like putting the energy into loathing iMovie. I've been using it daily since September, so I can tell you every awful thing it does: everything. I don't know why Safari is so bad. It just is. I've never enjoyed using it. I even clicked on the little taskbar icon thinking "how awful can this be," and came out with more PTSD than a Vietnam vet. Somehow, Safari gets everything wrong by doing nothing at all. It's a great browser to use if you like looking at the color silver, though, so there's always that.

General Usability    -    two Engineers
It's sort of usable if you need to download six different sound effects for a car revving up, but I'd loathe using it for anything other than that and finding a better browser.

Infuripoints    -    four Sweetie Belles
Silver is a calming color. That is why it did not get five.

Hipster Factor    -    four Douchebags
Safari ranks fourth out of the five major browsers in use and comes with Macs, so it should come as no surprise that Safari gets four Douchebags. The only thing keeping it from getting five was because being a hipster is so mainstream now.

File:Opera O.svg

I honestly wasn't sure what to expect opening Opera for the first time. Some part of me was expecting some beautiful untold wonder of the Internet, hidden away because people were too busy lauding Firefox/Chrome/Safari or making fun of IE. The other, larger part was expecting a screaming shuddering train wreck everyone forced out of their minds for a good reason.

The result was ultimately...really good. I like Opera. In fact, it's the only one of the extra browsers I've kept. It's a light browser without a whole lot of frills, but that's nice in a way. It's pretty quick, too, which is cool. Opera is good because it doesn't do anything wrong, even if it doesn't do much to begin with. It...browses the Internet neatly and efficiently. What more would you want?

General Usability    -    four Engineers
"Basic" is one of the first words that come to mind, but it's a bit negative sounding. "Simple," maybe? Either way, it's very usable.

Infuripoints    -    one Sweetie Belle
I think the most infuriating part of Opera is how everyone will say “oh, you’re using Opera? Degenerate.”

Hipster Factor    -    five Douchebags
Holy hell, this is so hipster. I have so many fucking Hipster Points it’s unreal. I could fucking buy Urban Outfitters if I wanted to. That is how hipster Opera is.


I’ve used Firefox for a while now, mostly because when I try to do something, chances are Firefox will cöoperate and I won’t have to try to reopen Internet Explorer to remind me how much worse things could be.

It’s open, it’s extremely moddable, it’s reasonably fast. Also, fire and foxes are two pretty awesome things, so a fox that is on fire? Fucking awesome.

But there are things that bug me. Too many plugins and performance tanks. It tends to eat up processing power. They’re minor things, though. No big deal. I think the fact that flaming foxes are awesome sort of makes up for that fact.

General Usability    -    five Engineers
Fuck yeah open source.

Infuripoints    -    two Sweetie Belles
It seems like every day something or another is screaming at you to update. THIS PLUGIN NEEDS UPDATED! THAT PLUGIN NEEDS UPDATED! FIREFOX NEEDS UPDATED! Generally, I delete the plugin when that happens, because I start to wonder why I downloaded it in the first place. Eventually, I redownload it because I need to use it for one thing. The cycle repeats.

Hipster Factor    -    one Douchebag
Firefox is pretty mainstream, but I can see a Firefox-using hipster passing it off as a complex form of double irony.

File:Google Chrome 2011 computer icon.svg

I don’t get Chrome at all. I really don’t. It’s nothing special, really. I’ve been told it’s stupidly fast, but with all the testing I’ve done, it’s, well not. It’s not slow, but it’s not fast. It’s average. I have nothing to say about it, really. It’s just…average.

General Usability    -    three Engineers
It’s pretty usable because the interface is quite clean, which is nice.

Infuripoints    -    one Sweetie Belle
Nothing really pissed me off about Chrome other than the complete lack of things you could really customize with it, but since I never intended to use it for extended periods of time anyway, it doesn’t matter.

Hipster Factor    -    one Douchebag
With all the fuck and shit that’s been heralded about Chrome, no hipster should use Chrome. Doing so would result in an immediate banishment from the clan and destruction of their thick-rimmed glasses.



“Wait,” I’m sure you’re saying, “what the shit is a Rockmelt? I thought you were only reviewing five browsers! Why is Earth exploding in that logo?” I can answer your questions for you: an Internet browser, dickbutt; let me explain myself before you start throwing around questions, shitass; because fuck you, that’s why.

Rockmelt caught my attention as I was checking browser market shares. I thought it was a pretty interesting concept: a browser that integrates with your social networking. So I thought “hey, why the fuck not?”

Well, right away, Rockmelt absolutely fucking needed me to connect using Facebook. Okay, that’s sort of the whole point, isn’t it? What I hated though was how, even after it gave me the opportunity to disable some features before connecting (the two that I wanted disabled: accessing my contact information and allowing it to post statuses as myself), it then wouldn’t let me connect if I enabled those. “Fine, fine, fuck, have it your way,” I told Rockmelt after posting a status about how there might be weird activity on my Facebook page. “Jesus, no need to throw a tantrum, you stupid piece of code fuck.”

And then I felt bad for calling Rockmelt a stupid piece of code fuck. Rockmelt is pretty cool. My social networking is limited to deviantArt, Facebook, and YouTube, but Rockmelt managed to pull a lot of it together into something that wasn’t constantly screaming for my attention, save for deviantArt, which did not have a handy inbox app. In fact, for something with so many connections, it’s very clean, and somehow noticeably faster than the other browsers I tried.

One interesting thing it does is when you search something with the little Google bar, it doesn’t navigate you to a Google page, it brings up a little subwindow with the results. It’s actually sort of cool.

Also, there’s an app for The Onion. Yeah, I installed it.

These are all first impressions, but I’m starting off by giving Rockmelt four Engineers, three Sweetie Belles, and six Douchebags. Six? Because it’s even more hipster than Opera. Rockmelt is so fucking underground it’s got rock in its name.

So yeah, in rough order of how I like them: Firefox, Opera, Rockmelt, Chrome, Safari, Internet Explorer. Now go change the way you live your life radically because I told you your Internet browser sucks. Get to it!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

They Solved My Problem of Needing Something to Write About

A show being strange for the sake of being strange is far from something new to me. I grew up watching a somewhat confusing show called MXC: Most Extreme Elimination Challenge, which operated under the baffling premise of being a randomly redubbed Japanese game show. Two Japanese men wearing fake samurai ponytail wigs watched and made bad jokes as other Japanese people (subdivided into two random 'teams,' such as hairdressers and cab drivers) attempted to clear various challenges and obstacle courses while avoiding embarrassing themselves/running into guys in ridiculous costumes. I also watched a lot of Ed, Edd n Eddy. That couldn't have helped.

That's why I think of myself as being qualified to say that a lot of new cartoons are fucking insane. I'm not even kidding. Regular Show, halfway through any given episode, will suddenly take the plot in a direction completely opposite of any expectations. Adventure Time is entirely based on the premise of being set in a bewildering post-apocalyptic Earth (I'm not the only one who's catching those subtle hints, right?), I'm not even sure what Secret Mountain Fort Awesome is about, and The Amazing World of Gumball is populated by at least eighteen different art styles.

Then there's a show called The Problem Solverz.

The Problem Solverz, spelled with a Z, makes the opposite of sense.  Every time a new episode of The Problem Solverz is scripted, a physicist's head implodes. Imagine, if you will, a world of extremely bright colors that were picked to clash at the exact level of infuripoints calculated to make your eyes hate you but not enough to do anything about it. Nothing has any real outline to speak of, so the colors are free to crash into each other. Then, populate it with humans and freakish nightmares, the two categories not necessarily being exclusive to each other. Animate it with Flash, call it The Problem Solverz, and you've got yourself a show called The Problem Solverz.

Okay, I'll admit, I've only really sat down and watched one complete episode, but I figure I've just about seen all of them through just that one, or at least enough to easily identify the Problem Solverz from a distance. I never bothered to remember their real names, so I just refer to them by names I have assigned that are probably better.

 Sorry, I didn't know you wanted to sleep tonight.

Turtleneck appears to function as the Problem Solverz's leader. His only powers appear to be having a garish sweater, a bad haircut, and the most horrifying eyes in the above picture (which is seriously saying something, because holy damn).

Turd is the brute force of the Problem Solverz. He appears to be impulsive and hungry all the time, and on at least two separate occasions ate out of a garbage can in the one episode I've bothered to watch. Also, you never quite notice he has a nose until around halfway through your first episode. I figured I'd point that out now to save you the shock.

Mega Man has creepy sideways closing eyes, sort of like that one alien from the beginning of Men in Black. He's also the team's brains, but is a nervous social train wreck most of the time; I don't blame him. When your eyes close sideways, your have Voldemort's nostrils, and your hand is a limp abomination, it'd be hard to interact with most people.

A recurring character is Tux Dog, who is a large, anthropomorphic dog wearing a tuxedo that appears to harbor some sort of ill will toward Mega Man. I assume that's about as detailed his character gets.

Now, to the episode I've actually seen. A few minutes of Wikipedia research has told me it is a season one (did I mention? There's two completely baffling seasons of this show) episode with the imaginative title of "Magic Clock." Not the Magic Clock, just Magic Clock, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense, since there's only one magic clock. You'd think they'd bother to distinguish.

Anyway, following the opening sequence (which states that some individuals, throughout time, have been destined to solve problems), we see Turtleneck, Turd, and Mega Man walking down a street against a brightly colored building. Turtleneck mentions that they have a problem to solve at the Clock Museum. Okay, other than everything else about the show, there's nothing wrong here. I just did a Google search for "clock museum" and got 5,710,000 results, so at least this one singular event is probable. Turd says something that establishes himself as stupid and impatient. Mega Man flusters. Cut to the Clock Museum, which has a girl wearing colors so bright they probably transcend into ultraviolet milling about aimlessly in front of it. I decided to call her Prostitute since she didn't have any immediate traits other than "miniskirt" and "fishnets," aside, of course, from "oh god the colors."

Prostitute mentions she is a) Mega Man's number one fan, b) the writer of a blog about the Problem Solverz, and c) Mega Man's biggest fan again. She promptly oozes and gushes emotion and adoration all over Mega Man, who responds by making awkward noises that I assume means he has popped a roboboner in his lime green codpiece.

Fuck me, that last sentence is going to put this in all the wrong Google results.

Turtleneck holds a vote on whether or not they should bring her along. He thinks her writing about their clock adventure would generate good publicity, so he votes yay. Mega Man would vote nay, but is too busy making out of place anime expressions to speak. Turd has been eating out of a garbage can this entire time, so doesn't have much to say. Thus, Prostitute joins their party and they walk into the Clock Museum.

Inside the Clock Museum, the curator explains a magical clock has been stolen. He tells the Problem Solverz that this clock bends the laws of physics by adding an extra thirty seconds to every minute, thus somehow enabling the bearer to work extra fast. I have no fucking idea how that would work. Maybe the clock simply adds thirty extra seconds to the bearer's perspective time? Maybe it creates a localized time field that slows down such that when a minute passes outside, a minute and a half passes outside? Maybe this show just doesn't give a fuck? I don't know.

The Problem Solverz decide to search for clues. In a brazen display of nonsense, Turtleneck grabs a specific clock out of the thousands of other clocks in the museum and declares it a clue. Mega Man analyzes it and declares it belongs to a famous skater. Prostitute swoons over Mega Man and what I assume to be his ability to read someone's name etched on the back of something.
Scene cut to the skate park, where Skater Man is tearing some sick air up on the halfpipe line to the max level or however you say "flying through the air" in skaterese. The Problem Solverz astutely identify the giant glowing Flavor Flav alarm clock as being the magical clock they're looking for. Before they can do anything but point out the obvious, however, a person wearing a cupcake suit appears out of nowhere, punches Skater Man, and runs off with the clock. I wish I was kidding.

Prostitute, who so far had only served to turn Mega Man into a quivering mess of social ineptness, recognizes the cupcake getup from her favorite cupcake store. I wasn't aware there was a need for a store specializing in cupcakes specifically, but who am I to judge?

It's been a while since we've had an image, so have this completely out of context cap.
Jesus, I could write a sonnet about all the things wrong with that picture, and it would be five pages long.

The Problem Solverz and Prostitute arrive at the cupcake factory instead of the cupcake store, which seems to me like an important distinction to make when looking for a magic clock that gives physics the finger. The Problem Solverz find Cupcake anyway, who is using the clock to make cupcakes really quickly. Angry that she will have the clock taken away from her, Cupcake starts throwing cupcakes at the Problem Solverz, maybe hoping one of them had diabetes. Turd, who so far has done nothing but complain about how magic clocks make his head hurt and make remarks at Mega Man's expense, leaps into action, acting as a giant walking garbage disposal, absorbing all the cupcakes thrown at him. Eventually, Cupcake is knocked out, and the Problem Solverz claim the clock, but, in a twist ending that had to be written in because so far they had only used half of the given airtime, Prostitute steals the clock and stops time with it (which is apparently a thing it can do) so she can be creepy and obsessive over Mega Man in a world where they are the only two people that can move.

Just for reference, it was around this point when I noticed Turd had a nose.

In the park, Mega Man escapes from a pleasant picnic with a psychopath long enough to have a one-sided conversation with Tux Dog and hatches a plan to get the clock and succeed at winning the mission, but it requires he get uncomfortably close to Prostitute. Since the episode was rapidly running out of airtime, he bit the bullet and fake proposed to her, intending to use the wedding as an excuse to free Turd and Turtleneck and get the clock back. He does so, but the plan backfires in a way that can only be described as deus ex machina in reverse: Prostitute easily notices Turd's special Clock Smashing Bat and threatens to use one of the clock's other buttons to end the world or something. So what does Mega Man do? Begin rapping. This provides enough of a distraction to steal the clock and hit it with the bat, thus fixing time and spontaneously generating a police car. The police grab Prostitute and take her to prison, but not before she confesses she likes Turd more than Mega Man. Turd, for his credit, just eats out of another garbage can. Turtleneck declares the problem has been solved. End credits roll.

I think it's pretty safe to give The Problem Solverz elephant out of tornado on the scale of unmeasurable insanity. The show is too batshit crazy for its own good, and honestly, I hope it stays that way. Not that I'm probably going to watch it ever again, but I take solace in knowing that such a show exists. It shows that we as a race have reached the stage of enlightenment where we can spin a plot out of pure nonsense. Hell, that means we can't be far off from becoming Chozo or something. And that's the ultimate goal here, right? Because that'd be pretty cool. I've always wanted wings.