A Prague Opera

And so it begins… On the circuitous route from the outskirts of Europe to the centre, going from Oslo through Linköping and Wrocław, Opera has finally reached Prague. …

December 12 was the day we were connected to the Internet, January 2 the first day of regular work, and the first employee that wasn’t an Oslo transplant, but January 31 was really the date when we had arrived. And the place we arrived at was the New Town Brewery (and pub), as has been told elsewhere. As usual the Mozilla guys have the best circulation, but the people from Opera český got in some shots as well (you might have to sharpen up your Czech for some of these links, a dictionary might help, but there is a far-out one in English as well).

The first story actually came from France, telling the Mac world about the new Bohemian Opera. Locally Jon did a few interviews, like this one (again do not click on this link if you suffer from an irrational fear of the Czech language).

Time didn’t stop on January 31. In fact eventually we were evicted when we had drunk up all the beer and the waiters wanted to go home. The next day I bought the fresh new issue of Chip magazine that had the four browser logos on the cover, due to their test of the very newest browsers (FF3 alpha 8, Safari 3 beta, IE7, and Opera 9.5 beta). The teaser said “one amazing, three disappointing”. That in itself caught my interest. Browsers in general don’t get much attention these days, and when they do there is one browser that regularly disappoint. And sure, IE ended up at the bottom position in the test, but just as clearly Opera went to the top. I could translate some of it, but am too lazy to do that, at least for now. The final score was Opera: 93/99/100/72, Firefox: 78/96/66/60, Safari: 68/70/45/77, and IE: 55/59/53/51, for overall/security/functionality/performance respectively.

The only sour note was that they used iBench5 for performance testing making us slowest in web rendering, the only test we didn’t do best (actually IE used slightly less memory on startup than Opera, the only test IE did best, but that is in part due to IE/Windows integration so it is somewhat cheating, but of course since you already have Windows if you use IE it is the real situation). Likewise Safari 3 is a fast browser, but it takes unfair advantage of the test suite. What is a fast and what is not is actually hard to measure, and is a topic of its own.

Yesterday also meant one more employee in the Prague crew, our second Slovak. All Slovaks are named Jozef from what I can determine, I am not sure if that applies to the girls as well. In Oslo there may be a new employee every few days, but here growing from 6 people to 7 is a big deal.

Today I am going to set up a My Opera group, PROWAS. It is not directly related to the Prague office as such, but if there hadn’t been an office this group would not exist. PROWAS, or the address my.opera.com/prowas is kind of a pun, if admittedly a very weak one. It doesn’t work in English. First you have to ditch the .com, this is non-profit, but it still begs the question “My Opera pro was WHAT?”. It is supposed to be read in Czech, which also fails due to the alien letter W.

The letter test: Norwegians, Swedes, Czechs, and Slovaks almost never use W, while Poles rarely use V for what to them all is the same sound. To separate Norwegian/Swedish from Czech/Slovak look for vowels. If you find any it is probably not Czech or Slovak. Separating Norwegian from Swedish is harder, but Norwegian uses Æ and Ø while Swedish uses Ä and Ö. Likewise Czech uses Ř while Slovak just like Swedish uses Ä, but since Ä is a vowel you won’t see it anyway. You can see it in the Opera office locations as well, but in a perfect world Oslo would be Øslø and Praha would be Přaha, or even better Přh.

Where was I? Oh yes, PROWAS. “Pro vás” means “For you” so “My Opera for you” is very droll, isn’t it? The ‘w’ for ‘v’ substitution has precedents as well, the Plzeň brewery did it on their beer mats to show that they too were on the WWW. Maybe not the height of wit, but what is good enough for the brewing industry is good enough for me. As shown above we are not living in a perfect world, so what use would be a perfect word? It all makes sense in the end, just not perfect sense.

So what is this PROWAS about? Why don’t you click and see? Or better yet, show up at the Cofferie A Piece of Talk this Thursday? Or any Thursday really, as long as it happens to be the first in the month.

And oh yes, mooore bloood!

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  1. All Slovaks are named Jozef from what I can determineI’m not quite sure if it’s related (:beer:), but here is one of the greatest hits here in Poland recently (even Polish subtitles were added).

  2. Thanks for the differentiation of the languages. As someone who’s grown up in the United States, I rarely see anything besides English and Spanish. I can say “hey, that’s French” or “that’s German”, but when it comes to central European languages, they all look the same to me. So thanks.


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