Follow up to "Operating a Computer is like Operating a Car"

After getting said laptop from Dad and fixing, couple of things to note.

1. “System Tool” infection is wicked, but fixable: best fix here

2. Try try try to remove access to IE. But you can’t completely. But you can do this. Create an htm file somewhere on the C drive, and edit to say something in size 20 font like “Dad, don’t use IE, use Google Chrome” and link to Google Chrome path on the machine. Set it as the homepage (file://c:blah.htm)

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!

Browser Wars: Handling a Phishing Site

The other day, I got an email from US Bank saying I need to login to their site and change my password, funny though, I don’t bank at US Bank. What’s the deal? A “phishing” attempt was made!

Phishing, according to Wikipedia, is: In computing, phishing is a criminal activity using social engineering techniques.[1] Phishers attempt to fraudulently acquire sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords and credit card details, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication. eBay and PayPal are two of the most targeted companies, and online banks are also common targets. Phishing is typically carried out by email or instant messaging,[2] and often directs users to give details at a website, although phone contact has been used as well.[3] Attempts to deal with the growing number of reported phishing incidents include legislation, user training, and technical measures.

Woah, ok, long definition. What it means is someone tries to pass themselves off as someone else to jack your passwords.

Anyway’s, since I rarely get phishing emails, I decided to test out how Firefox 2.0 and Internet Explorer 7 (On Vista) compare as far as their phishing filters.

firefox_phish ie_phish

As you can see from the screenshots, Firefox on the left, Internet Explorer on the right.

Firefox puts a gray shade over the webpage, and pops a balloon up saying :”Suspected Web Forgery”. You can ignore, or get the hell out, which brings you to your homepage. You can clearly see in the address bar that the URL Address is not US bank at all, clearly a hoax. You can also report the site as not a phishing site if by some chance it isn’t.

Internet Explorer makes the address bar “red”, I am assuming meaning “stop!” It actually then displays an error message saying that it is a phishing site and gives a brief overview of the meaning of a phishing site. Two options. “Click here to close” (with a green shield, meaning, go, good) and “Continue to this website (not recommended)” with a red shield, stop, bad. Also they display the URL again in the page contents, and allow you to report it as not a phishing site as well.

Which one is the winner here? Hard to say. I think I like Microsoft’s implementation better, for a few reasons. First, they don’t show the actual image of the site like Firefox. Unsuspecting or unfamiliar users might see that US Bank site the way Firefox displays it and say, hey! that looks like it, so it must be OK. Where on IE, they get the error message, say WTF and close out. I like the red address bar on IE as well, and when you are on some sites (ex: Paypal) it is green, which is good as well. One place where Firefox might be better is in the terminology. They call it a “web forgery” where Microsoft calls it a “phishing website”, but to be true to what it really is, Microsoft is correct.

In any event both browsers are doing good in handling fake websites and making sure the users know they are about to get hoodwinked. A year or two ago, people would just blindly hit these sites and put in their username/password, and be taken to the cleaners.

IE7 – Adding Default Search Provider Through the Windows Registry

So, IE7 – cool right, new search bar and everything. And you can go here and add new search providers. You can also use what Microsoft gives you and do it this way. But alas, what if you want to add it without user intervention? Remotely over a network maybe? Or you just want to do it programatically the way any good geek would. You hit up the registry of course!

1. Create a GUID – use vs2003 or vs2005, or something
example = {AC854C16-CA1E-43f1-8513-0D2F36C726ED}

2. create a reg file

3. edit contents of reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchScopes]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftInternet ExplorerSearchScopes{AC854C16-CA1E-43f1-8513-0D2F36C726ED}]
“DisplayName”=”What you Want as a Display Name”

4. run it 🙂

IE7 – Wish List

I have been using IE7 lately, and here is what I wish it had.

1) Warning on closing browser with more than one tab open.
2) Option to open every link in any program into a new tab

Not much – but big things.

One thing I wish IE had in general was an easier to use API to add extensions and add ons.

To make BHO’s, you need to hook onto IE and all that. I wish there was a more “managed” way to do it.