Your friendly neighbourhood über-browser

Vivaldi01There’s been a trend in the browser market in recent years – streamline and strip out features that ‘nobody’ uses, let someone else add them back via extensions or plugins.

This makes sense for those who only use the basic features, but for power users, developers, geeks and tweakers, all those plugins just slow down the browser, add bloat and risk causing the whole thing to fall over like a washing machine with a brick in the drum (google it).

Now, however, there’s Vivaldi.

Vivaldi03The beta is super-fast but still with tons of features and configuration options, even before it’s been officially released.

Stacked tabs, tiled browsing (side-by-side comparisons anyone?), keyboard shortcuts, customisation settings for EVERYTHING, the ability to use arrow keys to move between links (instead of just tabbing), etc, etc.

All your settings are belong to us...

All your settings are belong to us…

There’s also a really cool feature where the tab changes colour to match the favicon of the website you’re viewing. Plus, Sync and a minimal email client are in the pipeline.

Vivaldi is built from JavaScript – React and Node.js, plus other – and is based on the same Blink engine (WebKit fork) used by Google Chrome and Chromium.

It’s closed source, but you can’t have everything…

It’s like having the good old Opera back (before it lost the plot), with all the best bits of Firefox and Chrome as well.

The developers say they’re only just getting started – expect much, much more from this app.

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#2 – learn to code

Original Image Attribution: Tim Lucas,

Original Image Attribution: Tim Lucas,

Well, that’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions anyway, to learn programming.

So, this is how I’m planning to go about it.

First, I’ve started Mozilla’s School of Webcraft at the ‘Peer To Peer University’ (P2PU). I’ve got some basic experience with HTML, but it looks like things move on fairly quickly to CSS and there seem to be modules on PHP and Python too. I like the way this site is set up. When you’re starting out on your learning journey, there are peers and mentors to help you through. It’s free to join and participate. Once you get competent at a subject, you can put yourself forwards as a mentor, and give something back to the community that helped you. I’ve yet to really see how that works in reality, but I like the idea.

Next, I think I’ll work through some of the courses at Codecademy, which is also free to use, by the looks of it. They have courses in jQuery, Javascript, Python and Ruby.

Then, it’s off to Learn Python The Hard Way by Zed A. Shaw, which is available to buy as a book, with the material on the website kindly made available for free. This course uses a technique that I’ve tried in the past, and I know works with me. You’re given clear instructions to carry out, which you do step-by-step, and repeat until they sink in – after that, what you’ve just done, and its significance, is explained. Zed has also written courses on Ruby, C, SQL, Regex and the Command Line Interface, most of which I’d like to work through at some point.

Finally, I’ve also bought a book: Python Programming for the Absolute Beginner by Mike Dawson (Amazon UK link). I haven’t properly looked through this yet, but it came recommended.

If you have any advice on which programming languages are good to learn, or of great resources to do so, please feel free to leave a comment below – I’m interested to hear your opinion.

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