Life Of Navin

Random Musings, Random Bullshit.



Am I the only one who feels the word 'EPIC' is being overused on the internetz?I propose a new word to measure EPIC-ness : NOLAN!
As for the Epic Browser bit, do read this!

The Not-So-Epic Browser!!

On the night (rather, late late night) of 16th July, I started a twit-review of the latest darling of the Indian online media, Epic Browser, which is being touted as India's first web browser. What started off as random comments, ended up as a 31 tweet review (LinkBunch). So just editing those tweets a little and ordering them, here's my review of Epic Browser.

Epic Browser, is built upon the Firefox 3.6.6 base, and claims to be available for all 3 major platforms (Win-Linux-Mac), but on the site only the Windows version of the browser is listed. Later, I found out that the makers, Hidden Reflex, have released only the Win version, and plan to release the other versions later on.

A ~10.5 MB Download and a quick install later, I was greeted by the Epic Browser UI:

Note the checkbox over the Username box? Simply by checking it, you can type in Hindi (or one of the other inbuilt languages like Russian and Nepali! :P ).

The UI is almost the same as that of Firefox, with a few additions here and there. One of the most noticable additions to Epic Browser over Firefox 3.6.6 is the sidebar, which comes pre-built with stuff ranging from a timer to a word processor to shortcuts to FB, Orkut, Yahoo! Mail and Gmail. On the first-run, every feature you click opens up a pop up window explaining the feature. While this is a great feature for newbies, it is a little clunky. Unfortunately, the sidebar is static (i.e you can't remove or add stuff to it) and hence irrespective of whether you use FB (read) or Games or Jobs, those buttons will always exist in the sidebar.

One interesting feature is 'Collections' which
enables users to create a collection of websites to launch with a single click. Another interesting feature in the sidebar was 'Backup', and I was pretty surprised to see that it basically consisted of logging into Gmail, and uploading it to your inbox. (Kind of like GMail Drive). The highly touted 'Inbuilt Antivirus' is simply a free system scan + an advert for ESET! The 'Video' feature opens up a sidebar Youtube search app. The Youtube videos play within the sidebar app itself, and generates a download link for the video as well. While this is a convenient feature, the fact that the videos play within the sidebar itself is off-putting. And of course, it begs the question of the legality of such an option to be asked.

One thing I absolutely hated about the sidebar was that clicking on a feature didn't open a new tab, but rather a sidebar app. So basically you end up having |sidebar|app|main browser|, which is a huge Pain-in-the-assassin.

The default theme, "Peacock With Feathers", while nationalist is pretty ugh. Thankfully, just like FF, you can change the themes as well (Firefox calls it Personas). Personas was brilliantly implemented, but here the theme changer leaves the user wanting. You can also use Firefox Personas themselves as themes for Epic Browser. One design error is that the text on the bookmarks tab remains black irrespective of the theme, so if you use a dark theme you end up with a bookmarks menu that looks like this:

Epic Browser, as mentioned before, is based on Mozilla Firefox (which as you may know, I am a huge fan of!), and thankfully it doesn't hide the fact. The Help menu features a "About Mozilla" link, and some browser options actually link to official Mozilla pages.

Epic Browser is made for people who use the mouse a lot, since there is a serious lack of keyboard shortcuts to access the features.

On the technical side, Epic Browser is a resource hog, taking up nearly 1.4-1.5 times the memory of Firefox 4.0 beta. Also, the Epic website lacks any information whatsoever! Licensing information, Source codes (or atleast saying it's free but not open source), release information, proper documentation, etc. are lacking! Infact the Epic site looks like a scam site for one of those "registry errors" downloads.

At best, Epic Browser is a India-specific Customised FF release. At worst, it's a clunky browser with unnecessary overhyped features! As for being India's first browser, it depends on perspective! If you think BOSS Linux was India's first Linux distro, then Yes, Epic Browser is India's first browser! I personally don't think Epic deserves that title, considering it isn't a indigenous browser, but rather a child born out of a group orgy between multiple members, most notably Firefox!

I don't understand why the makers launched the browser only for a single platform, instead of waiting for say 15th August or 26th January and launching the browser for all platforms together. This would also give them time to work on their documentation, site, and to polish the browser, things which are desperately needed. Also the fact that Firefox has already moved to v. 4.0 (the first beta is already out!), plays against Epic Browser which is based on v. 3.6.6. Unless there are some radical changes made to the browser, this shall be my first and last experience with Epic Browser!

Just a bit of promotion here: I've absolutely fallen in love with LinkBunch over the last few days. So here's a hat tip to the maker of LinkBunch, Aalaap Ghag (@aalaap).

Sabse Bada Rupaiyaa!

Another day, another interesting development, this time in the form of the Govt. of India announcing the results of the yearlong nationwide hunt for a symbol to represent the Indian Rupee! And the winner, the oh-so-softspoken D. Udaya Kumar, a product of Anna University and IIT-B, who has cemented his place in quizzes for years to come! (If you're into quizzing, this smiling face is something you'll start seeing a lot of!)

Despite Ambika Soni nearly falling asleep during the Press Conference, the news of the new rupee symbol hit the internetz within seconds, and people started thinking hard to come up with views, reviews and personal interpretations of the symbol, completely ignoring Mr. Kumar's hi-fi explanation of arithmetic equivalence!

One of the earliest reactions to the symbol was that it looked kinda Communist! And no, not the Che Guevara type communist (read: Awesome!), but more of a Brinda Karat type lamess Communist! Don't believe me? Check it out :

came out with a very interesting "Colonial Hangover" explanation of the new symbol:

Unless you're blind, you've probably noticed how the new symbol looks kind of like a illegitimite kid born out of the union of a R and F, albeit a little less elegant than the more famous RF symbol:

Mah online bro Jyotishko (a.k.a @OldMonkMGM) came up with arguably the best symbol for the rupee. He calls it the "Rupeace"! And I swear to God, the minute I saw this, Dylan baba's The Times They Are a-Changin' started playing in my head! :)

On some blog, I saw some of the other contenders in the competition, and there are some pretty interesting ideas!{sarcasm begins} But if I had to give an award for best design, it'd undoubtedly go to this one:
No, really! I mean, can you imagine how much time we'd spend improving our drawing skills if this was adopted? Heck, we may well produce another Tyeb Mehta or M.F. Hussain. And it's truly nationalist too! While Mr. Udaya Kumar said the lines in his design were inspired by the Indian flag, this design takes the whole friggin' chakra into account! I have a gut feeling that this prospective symbol was designed by an Engineer! Only we can come up with such amazingly awesome designs! {sarcasm ends}

Last of all, here's something that popped into my mind the very instant I saw the design:
And don't act all saintly now! Admit it, it does fit doesn't it? John Cena FTW! :)

In the end, the new symbol is just that, a symbol! No, it won't cure poverty, nor will it reduce inflation, but is simply an image building exercise for the FinMin. The wait now begins for computer companies to start making keyboards with the Rupee symbol. Let's let the FOSS activists have a laugh shall we?:

What's done is done! Now, let's pray (for the impossible) and hope that our government finally begins to focus on the important issues that need to be looked at. Until that happens, the only thing we have is an identity! :)
  • All images except those attributed to someone else have been made/edited by me! So feel free to plagiarise them without linking back! :P
  • For a more serious review of the new rupee symbol, check out HoboGobo's Posterous.

It's Always Darkest Before Twilight!

Edward Cullen is not a vampire.He lives in the woods, doesn't kill humans, & glitters when he's in the sun...the dude is obviously a fairy!!The things we do for love! Trust me, this IS a true story....... well, kinda!
Thank you Reddit, for the awesome alt text! :)



Finally after all these years, here's to the beginning of what was there, what is there and hopefully what will remain!! So here are my thoughts & words -Online!!