Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Liveblog: Chrome install

The initial download is 475k, preceded by this message:

The Google Chrome installer should complete in seconds and start your new browser automatically.

Well, I'm sure the Google Chrome installer will complete in seconds. The real question is, how many seconds? The universe is somewhere in the range of 4.247 * 1017 seconds old. That many, or some lesser number of seconds? The default assumption these days is that users are on cable or DSL, not 56k dialup. Mmmmm ... guess who's on 56k dialup?1

Some small part of me rebels ... I haven't even taken the time to download Firefox 3 yet -- do I really want to invest this time in a beta on its first day out?

Well, yes. There's value in expeditions back into the fog-shrouded past of teh Intarweb, the early to middle post-BBS epoch ... a time when giants walked the Earth with nothing but their US Robotics 56k externals and spillproof keyboard covers between them and certain doom. Besides, it's for the children. We must persist. We are, after all, professionals.

And, well, there's no "cancel" button, just a progress meter. Twenty minutes into this, the download is about 40% complete, and that 40% looks to weigh in at 5Mb or so (I've been doing other things while I wait, so this is a Scientific Wild-Ass Guess). At 40%, I'm content to play Freecell, look up the age of the universe in seconds, etc., rather than invoke Ye Aulde Task Manager and put a stop to things.

Hmmm .... now the progress meter is back down to one little blue bar in a wide field. Problem? Or did I misinterpret the meaning of the ratio of the width of said bars to said field before? Maybe I should have downloaded that pre-release comic book that Google put out. I bet it says how big the damn thing is. Maybe it even has an illustration of a naked woman saying how big the damn thing is. "Oh ... it's soooo big!" Inquiring minds want to know: Was production of the comic subcontracted out to Larry Flynt? Alas, trying to download it right now would just leave fewer of Senator Stevens's Patented Intarweb Tubes free to ferry the substance over from there to here.

Thirty minutes. My ISP connection meter shows receipts of about 10.5Mb in this session, but of course some of that is due to other activity. The alleged progress meter is at about 25% now. No, wait, it's a few bars scrolling left-to-right across the field. This calls for for an Old Crow and Coke.2 And I might as well post this and make it a liveblog now that I'm drinking.

Forty-five minutes:

Installer download failed. Error code=0x80072ee2.

There's a "help me fix this" link. I'm going in.

Forty-eight minutes in:

An error occurred while trying to install or update your application. While we don't have more information about the error at this point, [punt].

Fifty minutes in: Per Micro$haft, the error was a timeout. Let's try again. Be vewwwy, vewwwy quiet. We awe hunting a successful download.

[Queue Spongebob Squarepants fake French voice] One hour and ten minutes later: Hey, guys, I'm now blogging from Chrome! Watch, this will be really cool! [... he said, right before he tried to jump Snake River Canyon on an old Huffy ten-speed with two flat tires and a can of nitrous taped to each pedal]

A_S (see comments): it may have been a 43MB+ download for you. My connection meter showed a total of 22Mb of data received in the session, and that included more than 10Mb before the first timeout. Per your suggestion, I read the download.com article on the EULA/ToS (and I had already semi-attentively browsed the source of same), and didn't find anything that I preemptively can't live with. I do all my super-secret spy shit over on the Linux partition in Firefox anyway.

First impressions: Yeah, it is minimalist. So minimalist, in fact, that it's missing one of the most important features: A "stop" button. That just may cancel out one of the features I was most prospectively excited about, "isolated tabs."

When entering content, or proofing others' entries, for RRND/FND, it's not that unusual for me to have 10, 20, or even more tabs open. Over time, this gums up the works when memory that a tab used and then closed is not completely yielded back for new operations. "Isolated tabs" -- one of Chrome's boasted features -- is that when you close a tab, it's gone.

Thing is, I also have a habit of starting a page load and then stopping the load when there's enough content showing for me to do what I need to do. I haven't found a way to do that in Chrome yet. If it's there, it's neither visible nor highly intuitive.

Page load speed? Offhand, not as good as my current Firefox install (2.x.x) with the "Fasterfox" extension. But I may not be making a fair comparison, as I'm a creature of habit and much of the persistent imagery and such in the sites I'm visiting is probably in the Firefox cache, while it's all new territory to Chrome.

I was hoping that Chrome would be optimized for some Google-specific stuff. Especially gmail. I've been using the previous user interface because the new one loads slowly and some stuff (chat, for example) doesn't work (and it's gone from the previous interface). No dice. Same problems here as in Firefox.

I do like the "feel" of Chrome. It's not visually fussy. Very much a utilitarian toolbox rather than a friggin' full wall pegboard covered with wild stuff. I haven't really zipped it around the ol' proprietary media track, Javascript weirdness, etc. in a hard way yet, but Flash video doesn't seem to be a problem and my JavaScript-enabled Haloscan commenting and such work just fine.

I'll use Chrome as I have time to over the next few days and update this article if there's anything really newsworthy going on with it. I'll be interested to see how quickly theme and extension communities pop up, and what they can make the thing do.

[Brief addendum: Naturally, 18 of the last 20 visits to this blog are from Google searches on terms like "Chrome," "install," "error" and "timeout." Short term SEO tip: Blog on new stuff from Google as soon as it comes out - TLK]

[Brief addendum #2: Aha! There is a "stop loading" button. It appears on the little teat hanging off the right end of the address bar when pages are loading - TLK]



1. Cable upgrade, including Intarweb, is scheduled for the 16th.

2. Fresh out of RC, so Coke will have to do.

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