Long website load times on Firefox under Linux

For quite a while now, browsing websites in Firefox on my Linux setup has been quite uncomfortable:
It often took half a minute to load pages properly, despite having a decent internet connection and hardware setup.

So I looked up the issue, and found that Linux‘ proxy lookup may prevents the browser to connect to servers more quickly.
That being said, there was the recommendation to simply disable any proxy usage by default (this only works with a VPN-less connection though, of course):

Results were amazing. Websites do show up quickly again!

Strange laptop display flashing artifacts after Linux kernel update

There’s this ’new‘ intel graphics feature in Linux kernels called Panel Self-Refresh.
This feature bypasses the GPU drawing cycle if there’s nothing to render on your display, so it’s ought to save certain amount of battery charge, as you can simply take the old drawing buffer contents and stream it to the display hardware.

Unfortunately, this somehow seems to work only on newer hardware, i.e. neither my Lenovo z510 from 2013 nor my even older Samsung N220 Atom netbook.
Symptoms are progressivley whitening screen contents if one doesn’t move the mouse (,so it has to reassemble display contents again) or even an entirely black display when booting up my netbook.

How to disable it?

Assign i915.enable_psr=0 to your kernel boot options, so either e.g. under /boot/refind_linux.conf or your grub config.

[Update: I had PSR disabled for a while now, but it seems they’ve fixed these display issues in recent kernel versions, so no need to apply this fix anymore – nice!]

Pulseaudio: Automatically make external sound card default device

It’s quite annoying to have to set your externally connected sound card as default device via pavucontrol again and again. To let pulseaudio automatically do this, append
load-module module-switch-on-connect
in your /etc/pulse/default.pa file.

It was quite a relief that I found this config snippet in the interwebz 😀

Reduce comment trolling by enforcing link click

It’s been a couple of times now where I simply put a comment under some shared link on fb or g+ without having ever read the actually linked page, that may is an article or some video.

Then, after I commented the post, I actually read/watched it first – which caused me to change my actual „opinion“ concerning that link.

So my idea is now to force users to at least click on the respective link in order to become able to leave a comment. This might reduce all those troll threads where people flame each other without having ever read the actually linked content.

This might increases the chances that those folks who want to comment the content have actually read parts of it before just catching on a bad headline.

Rant on Tiles on Websites

Welcome to the 90ies:

ScreenshotSeriously, in which way shall nowadays‘ websites like this one give the user a clear, consistent and comprehensible way of being guided through the website?

First off: I *love* Rood.fm – they have nice radio shows, awesome DJs playing and generally do a great thing!
But:

1) There’s no clear navigation, in fact there are so many distributed navigation elements to reach different subcontents. Even when accessing the page via small-screen devices, there are too many misleading visuals (see point 4).

2) Which designer-chosen visual element suggests that this website can be scrolled? Not a single one!
— On some other web sites, I simply had no idea that the page contained further stuff..accessible through scrolling down.

3) Talking about accessibility..how accessible are pages like these for users with limited coginitive abilities?
— Where do screenreaders start reading on pages like these?

4) Misleading visuals: A smartphone that stands for mobile radio? A light bulb representing Windows Media? Seriously?
— The same goes for news apps on actual smartphones: Why the hell do articles need a senseless unrelated teaser image anyway?
God damn it, just give me a 3-7 words long headline, that’s totally sufficient for everything!

5) You’re probably enforced to use a website search or some search engine to scramble through all content layers of the websites: Just look at this one. That’s the site of a German University of applied sciences. Despite its text is German (which probably gives you the advantage of not having to read everything but just look at it), there are many subsites only accessible through
a. skipping the nonsense/misleading images everywhere,
b. perceive the link captions
c. hope you just clicked on the right thing.

Why the hell should important contents be that hidden. That’s [un]conscious stressing of the user’s patience, not helpful at all to get to the content quickly.

Stupid web trends..or perhaps I’m just too stupid for perceiving those kinda like websites properly.

My wishlist for a better Interwebs:
1) No misleading visuals.
2) No misleading visuals. (Yes, twice!)
3) Consciously leaving screen space empty. There are sub pages available for subordinate contents. Why was this single-page crap invented anyway?
4) Form follows function – and thus: Form follows Content. If there’s special art or creativity-oriented stuff to show, then then this may be an exception. Anything else just should deliver content straight to the user.
5) If there is advertising to show, please have dedicated ad pages that open up as a redirecting page like adf.ly does – I love this concept, as there’s strict perceptional separation between content and advertising. I may even spend a second looking at the ad, if I’m promised to have ad-free content afterwards with absolutely zero misleading visuals.

Focus, people!

Get Iron to open http-links properly after updating it

There’s this one issue I’ve experienced a bunch of times after updating the SRWare Iron browser:
When clicking on an http link in chat/mail/teamspeak/explorer programs in Windows, Iron simply won’t open with the link I just clicked on. That’s mainly because there was a wrong launcher associated with http links: iron.exe
Instead, it must be chrome.exe because iron seems just to be a launcher, not the browser executable itself.

  • So open regedit.exe
  • Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\ChromiumHTM\shell\open\command
  • Set the default value to "C:\Program Files (x86)\SRWare Iron\chrome.exe" -- "%1"