All posts tagged ‘cool sites’

File Under: Web Basics

Video: Visualizing How Your Browser Sees the Web

Ever wondered what a web page looks like to a browser? When a browser renders a page it parses through all the HTML, CSS and JavaScript commands at lightning speed to display the pages you see, but slowing it all down offers a fascinating look at how a browser “thinks.”

The video above show how Mozilla’s reflow tool works. For the unfamiliar, here’s how Mozilla explains the reflow process:

Reflow is the process by which the geometry of the layout engine’s formatting objects are computed. The HTML formatting objects are called frames: a frame corresponds to the geometric information for (roughly) a single element in the content model; the frames are arranged into a hierarchy that parallels the containment hierarchy in the content model. A frame is rectangular, with width, height, and an offset from the parent frame that contains it.

Sounds rather dry and boring, which is what makes the video visualization even more amazing.

The videos were highlighted by blogger Doug T, who discovered them on Google video. The videos are part of a talk at the recent Mozilla 24 event in Tokyo. A series of videos from the talk are available as well (in Japanese). There’s also a few more visualization videos available as well.

A commenter on the original post also points out Matthew Buchanan’s TimeLapse CSS tool, which uses JavaScript to slowdown page rendering and show how page elements fall into place.

Although it may not be technically possible, the visualizations would make for a great Firefox add-on.

[via Google Blogoscoped]

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File Under: Other

Just Can’t Get Enough of Addict-o-matic Search


Back in high school, whenever we wanted to know what the cool kids were smoking, all we’d have to do is go out behind the hockey bleachers and take a whiff. We did that today and here’s what we found: Addict-o-matic, a new multi-search site that invites you to "Inhale the Web."

The concept is simple — it’s a bunch of little boxes, and each one searches a specific site for the term you enter into the search box at the top of the page.  It pings all of the most popular news, video, photo and bookmarking sites, plus blog search engines and the like. From Google News and Flickr down to Summize and Tweetscan. Try your favorite band or TV show. Topic searches can be passed around with simple, human-readable URLs.

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File Under: Other

Get Your Animating Fix at

obessing.jpg is a new online dev tool for those that would like to play round with the Processing drawing and animation language. The site is still in a very alpha state and lacks features like the ability to save your work, but the live demo feature is very cool.

If you were impressed by the processing.js library we mentioned last week, which allows you to interact with Processing using JavaScript, Obsessing is right up your alley. In fact, that site uses the processing.js script behind the scenes.

Obsessing is a two part site, a text editor where you can write your script and then a live preview of your script in action. As with the Processing JavaScript library, you’ll need to have Firefox 3 in order to run the scripts (Safari support is about half complete).

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File Under: Other

Chat Without Installing Anything

MibbitPutting everything in the browser window — word processing, spreadsheets, photo editing, heaven knows what else — can raise more problems than it solves. Locally executed software, for the most part, ain’t broke.

But there are some tasks that aren’t terribly processor-intensive and don’t require storing important data, that take well to browser living. Instant messaging, for instance, is very pleasant using Meebo, a web application built on the Pidgin project’s libpurple library. It has taken off, I suspect, not just because it’s easy but also because it’s more workplace-friendly than installing one or several dedicated IM clients.

Now, for IRC, there’s Mibbit. It’s convenient, with a clean, usable interface, and it offers a nice helping of features. There’s even a mini-client that can be embedded into your site.

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File Under: Other

Bountii: Find the Best Deals and Earn Money Doing It.


Most of us software nerds harbor a gadget fetish as well. After all there’s nothing that makes the latest version of Photoshop sing like a blazing fast new PC. But hardware isn’t cheap and finding the best deal is always a challenge. Luckily there are some great bargain hunting sites out there that can take the work out of finding a deal — like Bountii, which launched not too long ago.

Bountii incorporates a few ideas from some of our favorite bargain sites, like OfferTrax or Retrevo but adds a some nice new features of its own. Where Retrevo concentrates on reviews and articles about products, Bountii cuts to the chase — finding the best price.

Bountii offers one of the best features found in OfferTrax — RSS feeds for price changes. But Bountii doesn’t just track price drops on individual items, it offers a whole subsection dedicated to items whose prices are headed down.

Bountii also takes the RSS feature and turns it on its head, offering a way to broadcast out the best deals for any item. There are two ways you can take advantage of the broadcast feature: by using the very nice cut and paste embedding code, or by diving into the full-fledged API.

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