On Screen

FTLComm - Tisdale - Wednesday, December 11, 2002

My first web browser was "Mosiac" but many of its developers left the company and started their own upstart operation and soon came out with a much better product that became the standard for six years. Netscape was definitely better but as time went along its developers began adding a lot of features including e-mail and web page development software so that Netscape Communicator became about three years ago a giant in terms of its size and capability but with that came a problem with performance.

Netscape was purchased by America Online, the massive subsiduary of Time Warner Communications and the last four versions of the web browser have been nothing but trouble.

When Apple Computers was in its tense management stage in 1996 it found an ally in Microsoft and began bundling the new Internet Explore by Microsoft in its operating system. Though it included Netscape for several years Explorer clearly was better. Though it was larger than it should be it was faster and most Macintosh users gravitated to this web browser.

Meanwhile in the Microsoft windows world the American Justice Department began taking action against Microsoft for Microsoft being Microsoft. The company has from its very beginnings built a sales advantage into all of its software and because of its huge market share it was able to break most rules set out in the computer software industry related to standards. For this reason I have never been a fan of Internet Explorer. One of the nasty things about Microsoft has been the repeated invasion of your privacy and simple open door policy its software has presented to the rest of the world allowing your name, email address and IP to be free to almost every web site you visit.

Recently I have found the miserable nature of Internet Explorer surfacing once more as its preferences keep resetting to default. This often happens several times a week.

I got so fed up with the Microsoft thing I used and still use an experimental piece of software made in Germany that was designed to work in conjunction with the Apple Macintosh operating system, called
iCab. Because it was less than a megabyte (Explorer is between nine and fifteen megabytes) and its small use of memory when running I found iCab ideal for downloading and testing web pages. However it never fully lived up to the flexibility of the various plug-ins and for that reason was somewhat limiting.

Now there are several alternatives coming out that will challenge Internet Explorer's domination of the browser world. No matter what operating system you are using you are well advised to ditch Netscape of whatever vinta
ge you happen to have. Their connection with AOL will continue to see them even more than Microsoft riding their own commerce into your computer with every time you use that software.

Today I had my second look at
Opera. The first shot I had at it several months ago was not successful but this newest version is very nice. I definitely recommend that you take a look at it. So far I have found it is slightly faster in several ways than Internet Explorer and web pages come out looking great on it without Microsoft fooling around with its own things in HTML (the code for making web pages, Hyper-text mark-up language) It has some nice features like the inclusion of sound response that are nice clues that something has taken place. But over all it is much smaller and its speed is something you notice. Windows and Macintosh versions are available to download.

Now for something completely different

Kevin McIntyre is always digging around and yesterday he came up with a link to a sight dealing with "What would Jesus Drive." Fascinating stuff and I thought you might find it interesting.

A Saskatoon company,
CyberSell, is attempting to make a go of the e-commerce world and their site, though ugly as most things made on a PC, has some interesting features and you might find it useful.

I just may be you were not aware of a find and busy site created by Steven Serenelli,
City Lights News which gives a monthly breakdown of events in the Prince Alberta area. This is really a useful web site.

What's for Christmas

CD burners have been around a long time the one I use was purchased in 1996 but it has only been in this last year that computer manufacturers have begun including them in new machines and they are pretty well standard equipment. Many people with older equipment are buying USB or Firewire external burners and they are proving to be one of the most important peripheries we have seen in computer technology in some years.

The single most valuable thing about a CD burner is being able to back up your data, which is without a doubt the most valuable stuff you have that is computer related. Worth far more than the hardware and software and only second to the skills you have developed.

The other aspect of the CD burner is using it to
replicate or create audio CDs. Last Christmas I created music collections that I thought suited each member of my family. This year I find that many people are doing this and though time consuming it will produce something that is genuine treasure.

For Mac users get a hold of
Toast or Toast lite, or if you are using OSX then iTunes will do the trick. In the PC world there are a number of excellent pieces of software I saw a shareware package just sizzling CDs off today.


Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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