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MIT student blogger Laura N. '09

Take THAT, Microsoft by Laura N. '09

Firefox rules.

Like you might have read on some of the other blogs, the EA Telethon was last night, which is always a lot of fun. I was in class until 9 PM, so I only made a couple of phone calls, but I really enjoyed talking to you guys. The night was particularly entertaining when we started sharing stories about phone calls last year to freshmen we know and love now. It was pretty funny when I looked at the sign-in sheet and saw the name of someone I knew from the blogs but had never actually met in real life. So I asked Marisa, one of the Admissions Counselors (recent MIT grads who serve on the admissions committee) where he was. He heard me calling his name and we finally were able to introduce ourselves to each other.

“Are you Dember?”
“Yeah, hi, you’re Laura, right?”
“Oh my God, I’ve known you for like a year and we’ve never actually met.”
“I know, you called me at the telethon last year.”

And so the admissions cycle comes full circle. =)

In other news….

Mystery Hunt was awesome. Like, really awesome. My story went like this:

Mystery Hunt began at noon on Friday when I was still in New Jersey. A couple of hours after that I got on a train to Boston, then took the subway. I got to campus around midnight. On the way back to my dorm I stopped at my team’s (Death From Above) headquarters for awhile, duffel bag in hand. Seven hours of puzzling later, I made it back to my room. I took a four hour nap, found something to eat and made it back to my team headquarters around 2 PM Saturday. The coin was found twelve hours later, but since the Hunt Headquarters stayed open until 3 PM Sunday, a (very small) subset of my team decided to stick around anyway.

(The way Mystery Hunt works is that the first team to find the hidden coin wins- which means they have the privilege of writing next year’s Hunt. Normally, that means someone finds the coin and the Hunt is over. This year, the Hunt organizers kept their HQ open for several more hours so that other dedicated teams who weren’t able to win were still able to actually complete the Hunt, which is a rather impressive task.)

In effect, this basically means that the Hunt was mostly over and the few remaining members of my team had no chance of finishing on our own anyway, but I elected to stay awake for 36 straight hours just for the sake of doing puzzles in sleep-deprived delirium.

I distinctly remember asking myself around 4 AM (as I was looking up Sanskrit as well as Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphs for this puzzle…yeah, if you read the solution just wait until you see how far off the mark we were…) “What in the hell am I doing here?” It was a beautifully absurd MIT moment.

Of course, not everyone is as insane as I am. Plenty of them went to sleep once there was no discernible reason to continue, and there are some who even think Mystery Hunt is a waste of time. But I’m personally proud of the hours of my life spent researching obscure languages, sorting by DVD region codes, asking people about different types of tea, seeking out World of Warcraft experts, and carefully assembling little diamond-shaped paper cut-outs in a complex word pattern.

For those of you who are interested, you can find the entire 2007 Hunt here.

As for the real point of my entry, which is referenced in the title, I’d just like to say that according to this web analysis of the Hunt web page, 78.59% of puzzle hunters use Firefox (to IE’s 12.83%).

I’m not sure why, but that statistic makes me inexplicably happy. =)

18 responses to “Take THAT, Microsoft”

  1. turnef says:

    I love and use firefox all the time! I especially like its tabs (which I think ie started to have), the little funny window that shows the downloads, and the sound it makes when I try to search something that’s not on the page. smile ) I heard about firefox when I was in the US. (It is less common in eastern Europe.) My school’s system is missing a lot by not having firefox :(

  2. Amjad says:

    YEAH actually IE is awful
    and the irony is that i’m obliged to use it now

  3. Sh1fty says:

    i used to use firefox(since 0.96 i think) but i transfered to opera after 1.5 raspberry firefox was great in the begining but they stardet to make dumb mistakes that they didn’t do earlier. also, opera has all plugins so you don’t have to download them separately raspberry i use it on both windows and linux(slackware) and i “use” lynks on freebsd :D ie is a nightmare for both users and web designers and it should be banned :D
    turnef, where are you from?

  4. Jonathan says:

    Especially on Mac (which I use), Firefox 2.0 was just awful. It’d crash constantly, and Camino (which is basically Firefox with a few changes) wasn’t much better. So I switched to Opera, and I’ve never been more satisfied.

  5. Adam S. says:

    Firefox is awesome! Open source, in general, is awesome. IE is horrible, in my opinion. Opera is a good browser, but I don’t really like things that I can’t take apart and tinker with if I want. grin

    Go Firefox!

  6. Anonymous says:

    speaking of macs, what about safari?

  7. Anonymous says:

    I actually know an MIT-affiliated Dember…it has to be the same one. How many can there be?

  8. Grant says:

    IE is devil spawn. Although XKCD (and Microsh*t) would have you think otherwise…

  9. I think this has been covered already, but… Firefox is awesome.

    I adore the extensibility, the (relative) stability, and, most importantly, the fact that it actually complies with (most) Web standards. Getting IE to display certain things properly can be a pain, as Microsoft seems content to interpret the standards in whatever way suits their fancy… which means that in many cases a clean, neatly-structured document with a well-thought-out stylesheet that displays fine on real browsers has to be desecrated with various hacks and even *shudder* conditional blocks in order for our IE-using “friends” to see it as it was intended to be seen…
    Just my two cents.*

    * Value of insight subject to market fluctuations and other factors.

  10. Daniel says:

    Well put, Greg! Glad you qualified your statement, or I would have been inclined to negotiate the value of your input – penny for your thoughts?

  11. Anonymous says:

    “Well put, Greg! Glad you qualified your statement, or I would have been inclined to negotiate the value of your input – penny for your thoughts?”

    If you can figure out a cost-effective means of transporting a single penny over any significant distance, sure!

    Where are you located? One cent will move you about 500 feet in a modern automobile…
    Throw it really hard, perhaps?

  12. theresa says:

    hey anonymous – I’m with you on safari — my only gripe is that I can’ttype in an address while its loading the current page — blech. oh well … I’m stuck with IE otherwise…

  13. Daniel says:

    Heh, I’m located in the middle of the Arabian Gulf, on a floating 500-foot piece of steel. So throwing a penny from here to anywhere would require some effort. =(

    I can definitely find a cost-effective means of transferring one cent into Greg’s posession, but I did say “penny”, so I’m afraid I didn’t leave myself many options. Maybe we should bring our idioms up to date with technology?

  14. Anonymous says:

    hey……I’m using IE and I think its awesome. Dunno why you guys think its not good.

  15. Sol says:

    Actually, if I remember correctly, it was me you were asking that at 4am in the morning. I didn’t have a good answer then, and I don’t have a good answer now.
    That reminds me – on the third line on the top chalkboard, the second word from the left needs to be capitalized. Word number #32. No, not that one. That one. Now could you go ahead and read off every word whose number is one less than a perfect cube? That’d be great. wink

  16. james says:

    You can trasfer a penny to him by Paypal wink.

  17. Well Firefox is rock. Once, I tried to setup a ruby GUI tool, by SEVA software…. And changed the environment variables in the system. Soon my fascination on that SEVA product blasted to bits, and I uninstalled it, and forgot to clear the environ vars.

    Then, my IZARC started missfiring (IZARC is the free expander of almost all type of compressed files, zip, 7z, tar-gz………….. whatever is available publicly). I reinstalled IZARC 8 times, but all in vain.

    Then I decided to download a fresh copy. I started firefox and lo! it showed that I forgot to correct the environ vars, now everything works as well……………..

    I LOVE YOU ….. Do you love me firefox?

    2*a * (1 + cos(t*n))*cos(t) = x
    2*a * (1 + cos(t*n))*sin(t) = y

    I ain’t left handed….. And though not the most beautiful one, it works wink

  18. linuxgoober says:

    Firefox Rocks!! Who cares about the rest, oh, and what competitors?