Why Does the Internet Depress Teenagers?

According to a recent study, spending too much time on the Internet can lead to depression in teenagers. Those who use the Internet pathologically are 2.5 times more likely to become severely depressed. More than a thousand Chinese students were evaluated in this study. Those who spent more than five hours per day (some spent up to ten a day) surfing around online showed agitation when away from their computer. They also displayed little interest in socialization and human interaction.

I am not a doctor, psychiatrist or any other type of medical expert. However, those brief statements don’t sound like depression to me. It sounds more like an Internet addiction. Whether these kids were addicted or depressed – spending five to ten hours per day on the Internet isn’t healthy for any young person. Teens need human interaction – they need to hang out with people, participate in some type of activity and spend more time with their family. Hopefully most of you out there who are parents don’t let your kids spend this many hours per day surfing around the ‘net.

Sync Google Chrome Browser Features


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I told you that I was considering making a browser switch from Safari to Google Chrome / Chromium Nightly. Well, thanks to newer builds, I’m inching ever-closer to making the leap.

Being able to sync extensions is something I’d want to do, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that newer nightly builds of Chromium had the feature enabled. I’m living on the bleeding edge!

So, do you know of any killer extensions I might be able to use in Chromium / Google Chrome?

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It's Time to Use a Different Browser When…


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Over on Lockergnome.net, Michael asked people which web browser they prefer, and why. This is something I am asked constantly. It certainly seems as though everyone has a definite preference: there are over a thousand views on that question alone, and several pages’ worth of answers. I’ve been using Safari for quite awhile, but I think I’m on the cusp of switching to something different.

The one I’m thinking of using is another webkit browser – Google Chrome. To be more specific, I plan on using the browser on which Chrome is based – Chromium. It’s very powerful, and it’s only getting better. It’s exceedingly fast, and there are a lot of extensions already available. Heck, there’s already five extensions that have been made by our community members that each have something to do with what we do on a daily basis!

It’s a big deal for most people when you switch primary browsers. There’s usually a good reason that you decided to make the change. Let’s face it – we hate change most of the time, even when it comes to our browsers. I’ve used Safari for nearly three years now, so yeah – this is a big deal for me.

With Chromium, I get nightly update builds loaded right onto my computer. That’s important to me… I’m always on the bleeding edge with the latest they have to offer. When you spend as much time as I do surfing the Internet, having the best browser available is critical.

Which browser do YOU use, and why is it your favorite?

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Social Pains or Social Panes?

I don’t know where this is going.

All I know is that what I need on a typical day is a quick overview of what’s happening on Facebook, Twitter, and now Google Buzz. Having three tabs open is impractical – and I simply can’t stand third-party apps that either (a) suck or (b) suck.

I’ve always found that the mobile (iPhone) interfaces for Twitter, Facebook, and Google Buzz were fine and dandy – quite usable, really. The problem is: you can’t load the iPhone versions of Google Buzz and Twitter in a desktop browser without first spoofing your agent (which has to happen on the client side).

My original idea (and I’m still looking for help to get something like this accomplished) was to have a single Web page that would automatically load these three networks with their iPhone interfaces into three columns (using the IFRAME tag, assumedly). This is allegedly impossible to do without some kind of user intervention – which is to say, you can’t easily spoof a browser agent from the server side.

The solution? Maybe create a Google Chrome plugin. After all, both Chrome and the iPhone version of Safari are based on WebKit. This way, the spoofing could happen automatically from within the plugin – and it could run just about anywhere.

Given that I’m nowhere near a developer, I was left to my own devices. I created a Fluid.app instance of something that was previously a “pane” in the ass. Why not use Mozilla’s Prism? It’s nowhere near as configurable, and Gecko isn’t WebKit. ‘Nuff said. This was my solution for a problem *I* was having.

And so, I made Social Panes and sent it to a few friends to see if it’d work on their Macs as well. I actually have a better name for the app, but am holding onto it until I see if either a Web page (without plugin) or various browser extensions can be built.

It’s not perfect, mind you – but I did my best.

  1. Unzip the contents of this download.
  2. Move the “com.fluidapp.FluidInstance.Social Panes.plist” to /users/[username]/Library/Preferences
  3. Open Safari and authenticate http://hahlo.com/ to your Twitter account (if you’ve never done so). NOTE: please use Safari, specifically.
  4. Double-click “Social Panes” and you should see three panes & a drawer open up. The drawer is a bonus – FriendFeed.

The reason I chose Hahlo over mobile.twitter.com is simple: Hahlo is more full-featured and doesn’t log you out of other Twitter sessions when you’ve authenticated with it.

Again, I wish something like this could be accomplished from a Web page that didn’t require a plugin or download to work properly. Sorry. If someone else can pull that off, I’d be interested in talking about extending this idea.

Moreover, if you can improve upon a standalone binary, I’d be interested in hearing from you as well. This version was cobbled together as a fully-functional prototype (and is far from perfect).

Oh, and I’m not going to provide support for this app – so don’t ask me support questions. 🙂 After all, I just did this for free (and if you wanted to send me a donation, it’s a different story).

How Does Your Web Browser Handle JavaScript?


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Google Chrome has been officially in beta for about a month now. Many of you are using it for your default browser already at this point. I wrote about Google Chrome this month for my CPU Magazine article. I want to discuss one of those points with all of you now.

As you visit websites, you may seem to be slowed down due to the amount of script that is running on the page. It’s all potentially tied into JavaScript performance. This is going to get interesting in a couple of months. Google has said they will be using the V8 JavaScript engine. This, of course, is now a part of WebKit. Just last week, WebKit came out and said they have SquirrelFish Extreme, which is a register-based, direct-threaded, high-level bytecode engine, with a sliding register window calling convention. It lazily generates bytecodes from a syntax tree, using a simple one-pass compiler with built-in copy propagation. This increases JavaScript performance even more, even compared to V8.

We’re about to enter a browser war, specifically in the area of JavaScript performance. Google releases a beta browser, with a good JavaScript engine. Let’s face it, a lot of your favorite sites are probably running JavaScript right now. And, Chrome is handling it much more efficiently. Here we have a Beta browser who is running a better JavaScript engine than what any of the current leading browsers have. This is raising the bar in a very big way for everyone else.

I went searching the web to help me find something that can help me download the nightly build of the WebKit. I found NightShift for use on Mac OS X. NightShift automatically downloads and updates WebKit, the Safari HTML rendering engine, to the latest nightly version for Safari. No user intervention is required, everything is fully automated. The developer has a few other cool tools, as well.

For Windows users, check out Chrome Plugins. This site is full of Plugins, Themes, Add-ons and information for the Google Chrome Web Browser! This isn’t an “official” Chrome blog, but the people who are working officially on Chrome are a part of this community, as well. You can learn pretty much everything you need to know about Chrome, and then some!

What are your thoughts? Where do you think browsers are heading?

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