Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Browser Wars 08

Now that Google has released its browser, Chrome, that leaves us 4-5 big players in the browser wars.

1) Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (download)
2) Mozilla’s Firefox (download)
3) Apple’s Safari (download)
4) Opera’s Opera (Weird – their company name is the same as the browser name) (download)
5) Google’s Chrome (download)

Pretty much everyone has used IE, unless you are a main frame unix guy or something, you at least have probably used it to get Windows Updates. I think I started using it around IE3, then IE4, IE5, IE5.5, IE6, now IE7, and actually I am using IE8 Beta2 at work. IE works, but it has been plagued by security vulnerabilities, and stagnated from lack of innovation from the IE4 days till now, where they are finally picking up steam again. Although, you are kind of stuck to Windows if you want to use IE, one of the major factors I don’t use it as my main browser. IE has somewhere between 70% and 80% of the market share, so your site better work in IE. I do say death to IE6 though. MSFT should push IE7 as a mandatory update.

Firefox is multi-platform, a good thing. It also seems to have major releases more often, better auto update support, and of course, extensions, which really extend the browser to something way better than ever imagined. Firefox has security issues sometimes, but they are usually quick to fix, and they are also pushing the competition with every new release.

Safari, oh Safari. I did try to use this as my main browser when I picked up my MacBook Pro, but after about 2 weeks I had to switch to Firefox. It just lacks some key features that make me want to switch back to Firefox, little quirks. It does render fast and nice, and yeah, the iPhone version is much better than PocketIE – its not even a comparison. Safari works now on Windows and Mac, which is also a good thing, cross platform is always nice.

Opera – well, it has 1% or less of the market share, but it just won’t die. I only use it when I need to test a site that has to work on everything, other than that, not much. Seems that stuff renders different in Opera. They have made some strides in features, like mouse gesturing, and other things that other browsers have “stolen” if you will, but I just don’t see Opera being a big contender in the space. It is cross platform which is nice, but it just doesn’t have the steam the other browsers do.

And then the new player, Chrome. Some are saying it already has 1, 2 maybe eve 3% of the market share. I installed it and used it for about a week as my main browser. It uses WebKit, the same rendering engine as Safari, so sites that work in Safari for the most part work in Chrome. (Firefox uses Gecko by the way). Chrome is the fastest out of the bunch, at least from my experience. The new concept of tabs on top is different. The process model is different, where each tab is a process (IE8 Beta2 has this as well), and there are other “new” features in Chrome – most of which are in IE8, FF 3.1, or available as extensions on FF 3.1. It isn’t cross platform yet, but they say it will be in time, fair enough.

So from the list above, you have Firefox and Opera (which is not used by many) being cross platform. Which means, if you want to use Windows flavors 2000, XP, Vista, or Mac 10.4, or 10.5, or many flavors of Linux, Firefox is pretty much the way to go, to get the consistent experience from OS to OS.

Most companies and corporations are STUCK on Internet Explorer 6. This just makes me cringe. At least get to IE7, it has been out for two years, IE8 is coming out next month!!

I see chrome gaining market share, but Google is walking a fine line on privacy it seems, they have already backpeddled a few of their policies since they released Chrome.

Safari is good for Apple users, or someone who wants the “Apple Experience”. I suppose IE gives you the “Microsoft Experience” the best. Chrome will give you the “Google Experience” the best. Firefox just gives you the “Best Experience” 🙂

I would recommend every once in a while switching to a new browser for a week or two, just to keep up with the changes. I guess you should switch not just browsers, but everything if you can (OS, Media Players, etc, etc) – Try It!


Google Maps Street View comes to Madison!


Although, not as exciting as my street view in Portland, I live way back in the apartments in the back. No street passes by it. Although this is pretty cool. Good way to find your way around, or at least not get lost. But remember, Google Maps gets you lost!


Google Apps For Your Domain – Google Talk, Federation, SRV Records, Domain Transfers, DNS

Well, I want my Google Apps (GAFYD) account to be able to use Google Talk with other users (using Federation) besides Gmail and GAFYD (ex: Twitter, Meebo, etc). To do this, you need to add SRV records to your DNS ( – no problem right?

Well, my current hosting (hostmysite) doesn’t allow SRV records, so after going at it with Tech Support the answer was to "switch to another DNS provider". Yikes. My current registar is active-domain, which doesn’t support SRV records either (from what I can tell). GoDaddy does, so I will transfer my domain there. Another no problem, right?

I initiate the transfer from active-domain to GoDaddy, but then read in the FAQ on active-domain I have to manually request to be transferred to get the auth code. Still waiting for that. Then I will have to make sure GoDaddy is set up as active-domain was so my stuff still works. Then, I can finally change GoDaddy to run all the DNS for the domain instead of just pointing to hostmysite’s nameservers.

I tell ya, nothing can be easy. 🙂


iPhone: Google Maps Continuously Crashes

Found this out this weekend, my Google Maps was continuously crashing. I was at the hotel, and the wi-fi for the hotel had the screen where it asks you to accept the ToS, or whatever. I never accepted, but was trying Google Maps on my phone, and it kept crashing. I just had to turn off wi-fi and it worked fine again.

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Product Reviews

Awesome Firefox Extension/Add-on: GooglePreview

I installed this extension: GooglePreview – about a month ago, pretty awesome. When you search Google (or Yahoo) it puts a little thumbnail preview up by each search result. I am so used to it by now that when I search Google without it (say  in IE for example) it just feels weird.

check it out:


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Google Reader: Shared Items – Link Blog

Here is my Google Reader shared items link blog –

The RSS Feed is here:

Check it out if you want to see what I find interesting, mostly going to be BI/Database/Programming posts I find that are useful.

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Geeky/Programming Product Reviews

Trying Out Google Reader

I started reading blogs steady back around 2002-2003, and started my own in 2004. Since I started reading blogs, I have went through the gamut of readers…

First I started with SharpReader for a while, a fat client, that was OK..but a lot of feeds had errors..

I then started using RSS Bandit, which was good, but slow sometimes for the amount of feeds I had.

I then found Newsgator. Most people use Newsgator for just the online reader, but it is so much more. What it really is, is a online store for your feeds (OPML) that you can use between all their different clients, even the newest builds of RSS Bandit support the Newsgator sync framework.

I used Newsgator Inbox for a while, with Outlook, then I used Newsgator Online for a while, I tried their mobile version and Media Center editions, then I tried Feed Demon, which really rocks. And since my feeds are sync’d between all these platforms, when I read one here, it is marked read there, etc. Even on my mac I tried News Net Wire… and now they have an iPhone interface as well.

Since I took the plunge to GAFYD, and I am using Gmail, etc, I decided to try Google Reader….A few WTF’s….

One of the worst things is, I can’t sync my Newsgator feed with Google Reader. This is because Goog Reader has no or a crappy API, and Newsgator doesnt want to do anything to sync with them or whatever, just sucks though..

The other thing I have found, is that feeds don’t update fast enough. I read in the help if a feed doesnt have a lot of subs, then it wont update very often, and other feeds will update about once an hour. I feel sometimes like I am missing some stuff, especially on the weekend where I try to keep my feeds read up to date..

The sharing and starring is good, I will see how that works as I go, as they just added sharing via Google Talk as well..

One thing though to add to all of this is, I can’t use my GAFYD account with google reader, I had to sign up for ANOTHER Google account using my same email/password to kind of mimic it using the same account, just wacked…another weird thing with GAFYD…

Anyways, at this point I don’t see a lot of things that make the bloggers oooh and ahh over Google Reader compared to Newsgator… The trends are nice, but it isnt mind blowing… we will see…

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HowTo: Migrate Hotmail to Gmail or Google Apps for Your Domain

Like I said previously, I just moved to GAFYD, which is the Google Apps version of Gmail. I needed to move my Hotmail (well, actually Windows Live Domain) emails over to gmail. How do you do this? Well there are a few ways….

#1 – Install Windows Live Mail Desktop, add your hotmail account, get all the messages downloaded. Then add your Gmail or GAFYD account using IMAP, then drag the messages over to the Gmail account, works slick.

#2 – Use Outlook – do basically the same thing, but use the Outlook Connector to get your hotmail account into outlook, then drag and drop

#3 – IMAP for Hotmail – if you are like me and used hotmail on your iPhone, using IzyMail, then you already had IMAP set up, you can then use any email client that supports IMAP (read: Thunderbird, or maybe Apple Mail) – then set up your hotmail account using IMAP, set up your Gmail or GAFYD account using IMAP and drag and drop the messages over.

I am sure there are other ways to do this all as well, but this seemed to work for me.

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Product Reviews

Google Docs and Spreadsheets: Impressions

I never really used Google Docs and Spreadsheets up until the last few weeks. Since I got a Mac, and haven’t bothered to load OpenOffice on it or anything, I didn’t have a good way to edit word docs. The other thing is I wanted to collaborate on a few docs, so I figured, let’s try Google Docs.

It is pretty cool the way you can share documents and everyone who has access can work on them, it is also good that you can export to many different formats. It would be nice if there was an “email X format” instead of having to export, then email.

There were a few times though while editing that the cursor just became lost, or you couldn’t add new text or edit text, with no error message or anything, this was confusing. You had to save or close the document, and go back to edit it and it worked again.

I also noticed some formatting discrepancies between Google Docs and when you export to Word, some centering issues, etc. Kind of  a pain, but you shouldn’t have to double check it in word after editing in Google Docs, that kind of defeats the purpose in my opinion.

Overall though it is useful if you don’t have access to Office, and you want to collaborate.

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Woah, Google Maps Street View Comes To Portland…


There is my apartment, mine is on the left, the three windows on the first floor.

Here is a link to the map, I wonder if I am in any of the photos! 🙂


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