Let’s Talk Browsers

Ok: So one of my favorite compliments to this blog was from Logan. I didn’t know that he didn’t know that there were things called feed readers out there that would allow you watch other people’s blogs. After all there’s like 29,100,000 resuls for blog reader on google. I figured that he would have just googled it.

Well, let’s talk about web browsers. My experience this morning with myspace was less than positive. I was able to fix the problem. Two things allowed me to do so. First, I knew that there was a solution, and second I’m using software that empowers the solution.

Thanks to google analytics I can see that most of my blog visitors are using windows:

1. 215 65.15%
2. 83 25.15%
3. 32 9.70%

And most are using Firefox:

1. 232 70.30%
2. 88 26.67%
3. 5 1.52%
4. 4 1.21%
5. 1 0.30%

That’s great! For those 5 of you who are using Safari and the 88 folks using Internet Explorer this blog post is for you.

I’m the guy that likes to take a computer out of the box and performs a series of tweaks to get it working efficiently for whatever the user wants to do with it. Apple likes their computers to do a number of tasks “out of the box.” That’s one reason why the software is integrated so well. It’s part of the company’s mentality.

Microsoft has tried to keep up, but the biggest advantage to windows is it’s miracle. It’s a miracle that you can proprietarily run on operating system on so many diverse types of comptuers. The other advantage to windows is the wide distribution of the software. It’s popularity increases it’s functionality.

Each operating system comes with a browser. A browser is what you use to view web pages. The internet before browsers was really a rather sad affair–but we wont talk about that now. Apple comes with a browser called “Safari,” and Windows has “Internet Explorer.” Internet Explorer has a history of being unsecure, exploitive, and unresponsive to user demands. Safari has fared better in the contests over time.

The current versions of both browsers use something called “tabbed browsing.” They each address the security issues a lot quicker than they used to. In fact some of the issues are addressed proactively.

Why is there a fight over the browsers? Well, there’s money to be made in browsers. Safari has a little box in the upper right hand corner that allows you to search google. Apple gets an estimated $25 million a year for all the times people just decide to ‘look for something.’

Microsoft launced their own search service in 2005. Instead of searching google you search Microsoft’s version of the internet. Most users wont notice the difference. Popular sites are annotated in each search feature. Watch out though. If you launched a website this week, it may take up to 6 weeks before it appears on Windows Live (Blumen Barrettes doesn’t exist there yet). There’s other differences, but the internet is not the same depending on who’s search you’re using. Microsoft gleans the revenue from Windows Live outright.

Did you notice something? Let’s Q&A:

  • Who’s got the most popular Operating System?
  • Microsoft.
  • What’s the way they search?
  • Windows Live.
  • Who makes money off of it?
  • Microsoft.
  • Is their search as powerful as others?
  • NO.
  • Can you change it?
  • Yes, but it takes several steps–not fun.

Remember those adds I was miffed about on my previous post? Microsoft and Apple would have those stay there. Why? Because they have a vested interest in me clicking on ads. When I search using their box I see ads. If I click on those ads, they get money. If I can’t see those ads, I can’t click and they don’t get any money.

The alternative browsers are less glitchy than they used to be. If you’re going simple download firefox. (My parents generation: I’m talking to you.) Firefox is stable, popular, secure, and customizable.

The default search engine is google. But Firefox doesn’t want the money. Download Adblock Plus and get rid of the ads. No one will be mad at you.

There’s other browsers out there as well, but even Chrissy doesn’t read my blogs when they’re this long–so I better stop my rant.

I’m not anti-Microsoft. They have bills to pay as well. They do a great job. I just think that innovation has a foothold in the future of how we do computers. Stop thinking in Microsoft labels and it’s amazing what’s out there. My dad’s started to discover that from his Mac. At some point I hope to get them (and others) thinking beyond the Mac and Microsoft and Google label for things. There’s things in the cauldron bubbling away. Eventually dinner will be served. Firefox is an appetizer. 🙂

Size Matters

Growing up with my dad was an experience, and for every experience there’s a story to tell. Dad has always been a gadget guy.

When it was time to go Christmas shopping I remember going to Toys R Us. It was a big deal for us to be in a store with that many toys. It was a big deal for dad as well.

Dad used to detour to the calculator section (no computers back then). It was only after some prodding that he’d come join the rest of the family at the register. Dad’s always been a gadget guy.

Now from what mom tells me, dad does the same thing with the Mac store. This video is dedicated to the gadget man that’s never grown up.

Dad gets these blogs emailed to him. So if he wants to see the vid he’ll need to click here.

Significant Projects (Post 3)

Have you seen my Mac? Do you remember the days when computers used to be glorified typwriters? That was a few years ago. With each succeeding year it seems the home computer becomes more and more of a multimedia platform. The kids and I often watch internet tv online using one of the computers in the house.
Now, in order for music to play on a computer you’ve got to have some software to tell it to play. There’s lots of options out there. If you have a legitimate version of
Windows then WMP (Windows Media Player) works. If you’ve got a Mac then you’ve got iTunes and Quicktime built into your computer.
Nowadays you can have iTunes on a PC as well as a Mac. Good news! Cross platform applications are being developed for just about everything. There’s one in particular worth watching. It’s a media player called “Songbird.” This thing’s got a few gizmos that will make it better than it’s competition–once it’s finished.
Songbird is a web browser as well as a media player. If you’re using it for the internet and it finds a site that has media–nearly any media–it will tell you and ask if you want to download or play it.
iTunes lets you shop for music on it’s site. Did you ever wonder how much the artist gets when you download a song? It’s like $.02. That’s not a whole lot of the $.99 you just spent on the tune. Where does the rest go? Well iTunes says there’s overhead, and then there’s the production company that gets their share. Songbird is going to change all that. They’ve made it easy for musicians to set up a music store on their own site and under their own terms. You might still spend $.99 on a song, but the artist decides how much of that $.99 goes to what. Sure some o

f it will be spent on hosting the website, but the rest has to go somewhere–like their pocket.

Songbird has glitches at the moment, but it’s an open source community project. Even now you can manage your iPod using the application. It’ll find your iTunes library and move it over to Songbird. You’ll still be able to play songs in iTunes & WMP as well. Eventually I’ll recommend that you all try this. In the meantime I’ll recommend that you keep your eyes open. Ask yourself how you want to view media online. Maybe post a suggestion on their forums. It’s up to you. You get to have it your way–as long as you ask.
This software is currently available in all three of my favorite operating systems Linux, Windows, and Mac. If you’re feeling brave give it a go! I’ve never had it hurt anything–just be a bit glitchy. But hey it’s a “project” for a reason.