Flash & Opera on the XO + Firefox

Carlos Nazareno object404 at gmail.com
Fri Jan 2 19:11:06 EST 2009

>Since Opera's newer releases still won't see the XO's webcam, I won't be installing Opera updates until
>someone (OLPC people or Adobe) gets the driver situation fixed.  I don't think either organization has much
>motivation to fix it, though.

Yeah, a shame IMO. The IT world has gone full-circle and if you think
about it, users are now actually shifting back to thin clients kinda
like dumb terminals back before everyone had a personal computer. A
lot of services/applications are shifting to the web and and a lot of
traditional desktop apps can now be run from browsers (thin clients)
especially now because of leaps in dynamic interactivity because of
AJAX and Flash -> Rich Internet Applications (RIAs). Microsoft's
windows and office productivity software is now under a big threat
because of this and that's why they jumped onto the cloud computing
bandwagon ;P

Anyway, as such, I'm hoping to contribute more to OLPC as volunteer by
attacking the problems we're trying to solve from a cross-platform
web-based approach rather than being tied down to hardware/software
configurations (which evolve so rapidly that stable locked-down
versions are moving targets that are practically impossible to hit
because of new stuff breaking old stuff all the time), and the camera
is a particularly useful and interesting extension.

Since Flash is now the de-facto "installed everywhere" interface for
tightly-integrated interactive multimedia (vector graphics, sound,
video, etc -> it completely ate Java's originally envisioned browser
niche!), I was hoping we could do more work in browser-contained
sandbox environments (Webcam -> Flash).

Anyway, I think Adobe isn't that unreachable regarding Flash + XO cam.
I mean with Adobe's strong support and coordination Flash-wise (Flash
Lite) of less-well known devices (that hold similar geek appeal as the
XO) like the Chumby (http://www.chumby.com/) and iRiver Clix
(http://www.iriver.com/), I think we've got a decent shot at getting a
Flash 10 webcam fix for the lean mean green machine ;)

> However, Opera didn't play nicely with the icons at the top of the
> frame.   There were two circles on the frame when I ran Opera, one of which
> would not go away when I closed Opera.

Oh, I guess I didn't encounter this because after my 2 failed attempts
at trying to modify newer versions of Opera to run sugarized, I did
complete wipes and clean reinstalls of the XO with me. Is your current
Opera installation an "upgrade" with the latest 9.63 desktop version
installed over the 9.12 OLPC edition? If so that could be causing
it... the un-updated section on upgrading Opera at its wiki page is
now wrong: you will no longer be able to launch Opera with the Sugar
icon on newer XO Builds (8.2.0/767) because of Rainbow Security.

> I couldn't get that icon to go away
> without rebooting (it didn't respond with a menu when I dwelled the mouse
> pointer on it).

I experienced this too when I installed Opera 9.12 OLPC Sugar Activity
edition. Didn't happen to me anymore when I fresh-wiped and installed
the vanilla Opera standard Fedora desktop rpm version.

Off-topic, I'm also experiencing a lot of circle icons that refuse to
die until reboot with C Scott's Sugarized Activity version (0.6) of
Firefox 3.01. Am going to try out latest Firefox non-Sugarized on the
XO and see how it goes.

> Since I don't plan to use Opera until Flash plays in it on the
> XO, I'll just ignore that icon bug.

Oh, Flash plays pretty well enough with Opera, better than with Browse
IMHO ;) It's the webcam that's wonky, and I just recently discovered,
the flash and stuff now refuses to click buttons properly in the Flash
privacy configuration screen (I hadn't played much with my alloted XO
since the Flash 10 beta/XO OS 767 beta days because of work and the
privacy configuration screen was working pretty okay during Flash 10

> Opera is nice, but I have to use a
> microscope to read some of the text menus because it's not set up for the
> high-resolution on the XO's small screen.

Oh, sorry about that!

*insert developer "It's not a bug, it's a feature!" joke* ;)

Seriously tho, "tiny resolution" is more a feature for me: because
everything's being rendered at native resolution with Opera
(everything is so tiny because the XO's real resolution is a
mind-blowing 1200x900), everything is so much faster compared to the
Browse Activity and Sugarized Firefox 3.01 where pages are zoomed in
to make them more readable. (I could be wrong about Firefox -- is it
displaying just larger fonts, Scott, or is everything zoomed in?)

Scaling up/zooming in graphical stuff taxes the processor so much more
because it's actually resampling and upscaling content and has to work
even harder because it's now rasterizing more pixels.

Anyway, you can change the default Opera zoom to remedy the
microscopicity problem:
(We really should update the Opera wiki ;P)

"Setting the default zoom/scaling of new windows

You can set the default zoom levels by opening Tools (Opera on Mac) >
Preferences > Web pages. The default zoom is 100%, but you can choose
to have new tabs or windows use a different one, so that all elements
(text and graphics) become bigger or smaller. This is ideal to
pre-configure the settings for people with visual impairments."



Carlos Nazareno
interactive media specialist
zen graffiti studios
Philippine Flash ActionScripters

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