Posted in March 2011

Creating a branch of a repo on GitHub

This is a simple thing, but it took me some digging to find some straightforward instructions.  For my own future use and hopefully to save some others the same searching here they are:

1. Make sure your local repo is up to date 

git pull origin master

 2. Create a local branch

git checkout -b [local branch name]

3. Perform your changes to your new local branch.

4. When ready to commit to github:
– If you want the github branch name to match your local name:

git push origin [local branch name]

If you want the github branch name to be different than the local name:

git push origin [local branch name]:[remote branch name]

Also, as a bonus, to delete a remote branch use:

git push origin :[remote branch name]

Thanks to Joe Savak and his post here which I based my instructions on.
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The Social Exodus

There is a recent trend of people ‘quitting’ facebook.  Usually this action is accompanied by some form of attention fetching dramatic blog post or video where the remaining of ‘us’, the schmucks still using facebook, are referred to as drones or some similarly derisive term.  (Here’s a great example I found through britl) I’ve recently come to the conclusion that this annoys me, and if you feel your attention span is up to the task I’ll spare a few paragraphs to expand on the theme.

Thanks to the marketing campaign for “The Social Network”, we’re all now very familiar with the fact that Facebook has over 500 million users.  In Canada there are over 17 million users, meaning over 60% of Canadians currently use Facebook (  Not to argue that just because everyone else is doing it you should, this means that there is a good chance you can find almost anyone on Facebook.  When you want to get ahold of an old friend you haven’t seen in years, a past coworker, or a friend of a friend you met at that party last weekend Facebook gives you a convenient way to do that.  With more and more people discarding their landlines in favour of cellphones, Facebook offers a timely alternative to the whitepages.

Usually when people make their declarations of independence, one of their main complaints is the detritus in their news feed.  “I don’t care if you need help on your farm.”, or “I don’t care what you had for breakfast.”.  Aside from the fact that Facebook allows you to easily remove all future posts from a given user from your news feed, there is an even easier solution to this problem; just don’t read your news feed!

Personally the main features I make use of on Facebook are the messages and the events.  When I log into Facebook it takes me a total of 10 seconds to check if I have a new message or invites, and then I can get back to the non-social aspects of my life.  If you’re planning on throwing a party, being able to send out a mass invite to everyone’s Facebook account is an incredibly convenient way to get the word out.  In deleting your account your are in-fact creating an inconvenience for your friends and contacts.  It seems the belief that “I’m important enough that you should remember that I’m an exception and go out of your way for me” is one consisent with the psycological make-up of a typical Facebook quitter.

Finally, my greatest annoyance with the Facebook quitter is their patronising attitude to the “attention starved masses”.  Their complete confidence that all of those still using the service do so only because they have the neurotic need to share every aspect of their life with the world.  While such people certainly exist, generalizing the rest of us is comparably fair to calling anyone who ever drinks alcohol or walks into a casino a destructive addict.  The greatest irony of this is the need for the Facebook quitter to constantly share with everyone how superior they are because they don’t need to constantly share with everyone.

I have yet to find a real justification for the deletion of a Facebook account.  There is a happy middle-ground between being a drooling, locked in the basement Facebook stalker, and pressing pulling the dramatic delete account switch.  However, if you do feel the need to take the action please have the decency to try and not act so smug about it.  Yes, there is sometimes merit in moving against the current, but if you insist on staring down your nose at the rest of us at least come to the debate packing some good arguments.
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Chrome eats IE as Firefox watches

This is not intended to be a well researched in-depth post; if I have a chance I’ll look into these trends further and offer some more in-depth insight, but right now I just wanted to share an observation.  

Looking at developing a new web application I’ve started to do some initial research into the current market shares of various leading browsers.  Looking at the WC3 statistics, I found what looks to be an interesting trend.  
In September 2008, (the first available data point for Chrome) the market shares for the leading 3 browsers were as follows:
  • Chrome – 3.1%
  • Internet Explorer – 49.0%
  • Firefox – 42.6%
In the January 2011, the latest available data, the shares are:
  • Chrome – 23.8%
  • Internet Explorer – 26.6%
  • Firefox – 42.8%
Or in terms of deltas:
  • Chrome – +20.7%
  • Internet Explorer – -22.4%
  • Firefox – +0.2%

Ignoring all the reasons that this wouldn’t be a scientific conclusion, this suggests that Chrome might be taking market directly from Microsoft, picking up the customers that Firefox wasn’t able to convert when it maxed out it’s market share in the mid 40%’s.  Off the top of my head I can think of several reasons that could be contributors to this trend; Chrome’s stronger appeal to the mass market through it’s simpler interface, possible conversion of IE6 users to Chrome instead of IE8, impact of mobile browsing (i.e. Android based Chrome users).  
I’d be happy to hear any insights from others that may have given this trend more thought.
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