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Saturday, May 21, 2005


What to Use and When

You run a small business. You use a spreadsheet application to keep track of everything. Windows is expensive. Sort of, but is it a necessary piece of software, when there are free alternatives? Yes. As a small business owner, you probably have an employee who knows, to some degree, how to fix Windows when it breaks (and it will). Unless you run a tech oriented small business, it's doubtful you have an employee who can fix a linux problem. Not sure why I decided to write about that, but oh well. Whatever. Hope I could help someone.

Friday, May 20, 2005


Read This, It's Important!

My God, I remember why I could never like Netscape, or AOL for that matter. Always way too dumbed down. My first experience with N8 today was unpleasant, to say the least. Got to the download page, and it reminded me that the End User License Agreement (EULA), was not only important, but that third party software could be, like, cancerous or something. Honestly, I didn't read it, I never read those things. Boring boilerplate, unless it's from Microsoft, then I read the EULA very carefully. Ok now, the "Netscape Browser Installer" is up and running. Great, this again. Why could they never just give me the full file as an executable? Instead, they give me this dinky little 300 kb file that tells their server that my computer wants netscape. Wonderful. Then they want me to use their weather service, and Real...buffering...Player. That ain't gonna fly, I'm very capable of using google and winamp. Thanks anyway.

HOLY SHIT! They have a guide book. Everything I need to learn how to block pop ups with Netscape 8! Hot damn, this is the best thing ever. Ugh. Oh sweet jesus, it's like a slow firefox, and the old fox is pretty slow when it comes to launching. Oh boy, this is going to be fun. I need another beer (yes, it's early...)

Ok, I'm back. Not only does it feel like Firefox, it pretty much is FF. Built off of 1.0.3, I see. The interface is big, like, Opera 7 big. That's quite a turn off for me, but I realize that there are a lot of people who have been waiting patiently for the day when Netscape came back. Admittedly, it does have a few nice features, but They don't have to be the huge icons on the personal bar. Oh well, I'll browse around with it for a few pages, seems like it blocks pop ups ok. Not sure if it has the pop under bug that FF has, because I can't seem to recreate it on the sites I normally go to. No matter. My suggestion is, as always, Opera, with Firefox at a not so close second. Use Internet Exploerer for Windows updates (unless of course you have a pirated copy of windows, like someone I know...), and use N8 whenever you feel like using Firefox with what looks like the old Netscape. That's pretty much it.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Time for Another (Browser) War

Opera has made the first move of the year in Browser War part II. As many will recall, a few years ago Netscape, Internet Explorer, and several other less influential web browsers enaged in what is now known as the "Browser Wars". From the Guardian,

By 1997, you might remember, the internet had finally caught on. At the time, the most popular web browser was Netscape Navigator. It had 72% of the market, compared to Internet Explorer 3's 18%. But then, in the October of that year, came IE4. It was much better than Navigator, and - in an action that would later see Microsoft prosecuted for antitrust violations - came with a business plan that sought to destroy the relatively tiny Netscape. This it did: by the next year, with the launch of Windows 98 and IE coming free and preinstalled, Netscape was in deep trouble. Eventually bought out by AOL, it saw its market share plummet. Today, just over 94% of all web users are working with IE.

With the fall of Netscape, and the rise of Firefox (a more appropriate name would have been Phoenix, but that's a whole different story, as FF was originally called this), Internet Explorer has risen as the leader of the pack. But late last year, IE has been challenged. Not just by Firefox, but by Opera. Opera has always been known as that "third browser no one uses". Actually, upon Opera 8's release Tuesday April 19, a Slashdot user mentioned that the release would only affect a few dozen people.

In early November, Firefox 1.0 was released to much fanfare. It reached its one millionth download in less than 100 hours, proving that internet users were ready for something new. The security issues in Internet Explorer were finally being exposed as the threat they were, and with IE slow to move in updating (aside from a few "hotfixes"), Microsoft's product was dead in the water. And then Opera did the unexpected, it cleaned up its version 7, added a few more features, and released it as Opera 8. Firefox made headlines when it reached 1 million downloads in 100 hours, Opera barely registered as newsworthy when it reached over 1 million in 96 hours.

There are three schools of thought these days when it comes to browsers, and Microsoft has the distinct advantage. Some believe that a browser ought to be packaged with the operating system, as this is the simplest for the average user. Others believe that a secure browser with "limitless" exstensibility is the way to go, a completely personalized web experience. And some, like me, prefer a browser that is preconfigured with many of those "extensions", and is a full internet suite (meaning that it includes a mail client, a chat client, among other features). There are drawbacks to all three, and obviously the consumer must decide which is worth their time and/or money.

Internet Explorer, being fully integrated into Windows has many security problems, and the fixes are coming too few, too late. We might have a beta test version of IE7, but it's uncertain what will be fixed, especially as it seems Microsoft is focusing more on aesthetic improvements, rather than security and usability improvements. Tabbed browsing is going to be nice, but honestly, what does it help? And, will it only be cosmetic like Firefox's, with all the resource hungry faults? No way to say until this summer. If you're using XP, that is. XP service pack 2, actually. There may be a version for Windows 2000, but don't bet on it. Now if you want to upgrade Internet Explorer, you will have to purchase a new Operating System. At $200 a pop, is it really worth it?

Firefox is, to be quite honest, much better than Internet Explorer. Unfortunately, it doesn't do much more than Internet Exploerer. Of course, there are extensions, which are kind of interesting. The problems I've had with extensions, though, are more than I'd rather write about. As they are not written by the Firefox development team (at least, not the majority), you have a severe quality problem. Granted, since it's all free, the fact that it exists is a bit of an anomoly in and of itself. Now, I'm not one to knock Open Source, though I do dislike some of the Open Source zealots, and I do believe that Firefox is one of the highest standard Open Source projects ever. But there are flaws. More and more people are complaining that spyware is now able to infect Firefox, although I'm sure the developers are going to fix it within reasonable time. But give it a try, over at , it may not be the best (in my opinion), but I do use is from time to time. I can't criticize a product without fully using it, that's just dishonest.

Then you have us "full internet suite" types. Now, if you were to look at my browser, you'd see what is entirely important to me. I have a clock next to my address bar, because to me, that is a very logical place, and I'm terrible with time, especially when I'm on the computer. I don't like wearing a watch while I type, and having to look all the way down to the right corner of my monitor every few minutes is very disruptive. Also, when it comes to email, my main means of correspondence, you'll see that I have all the tools I need to use email right next to the clock. With the click of a button, I can check my mail, or send an email. I don't like animated pictures, or flash, so I have them disabled, yet whenever I come to a site which I'll need one or both of these features ('s photoshop contests, for example), I can hit F12, pull up a menu, and turn them on. And the security is to die for. I don't have spyware problems, I have never gotten an email virus, and it is always obvious when I'm on a secure page. And, finally, I like what my friends call "brain surgeon" mode. All of my pages come up at 90% zoom. And here's the innovative part, it doesn't just zoom text, but all the images also. A feature to die for. It's worth $40, it has everything Firefox has (through extensions) already implemented and fully integrated. I'd say give it a try, you might be glad you did. Even if their "mascot" is a bit silly.

Download Opera

I'm not a geek

Ok, yeah, I am. Going to see Star Wars in a few hours. I don't even like Star Wars anymore, but it's like a geek alpha male thing, you gotta see it opening night, like it or not.

I'm going to start writing more about browsers, and software in general, and how it applies to both business and personal life. Stuff like what is the most cost effective for a company and such. I used to think about politics a lot. Actually, I used to eat, drink, and breathe politics. But, this whole political climate is so messed up right now (seriously, that is all I'm going to say about that), that I'm kind of turned off of politics for now. Hopefully, when everything becomes reasonable again (fat chance, I know), I'll start giving it more thought, and hence more posts. But not right now. Lately, software is becoming my new politics, as I'm sure you can tell by my past posts. Well, all of that is still very dear to me, so that's what we're going to cover.

Now where did I leave that ticket...

Monday, May 16, 2005


Better Branding

I'm going through an identity crisis. Perhaps you are too, if you run a blog. I ask myself, "what's in a name". Blogs. That's right, this horrible horrible name we've given ourselves just isn't cutting it any more. I am not a blogger, but I'm not a journalist, either. Not many people in the "blogosphere" are journalists, for that matter. What we are is a group of independent opinion columnists. We trade ideas freely, while in search of others' thoughts. This is not my journal where I talk about the day to day goings on of Andrew. No, this is where I tell all of you what I think about certain issues, trends, and everything in between. Sure, sometimes I get personal, but this isn't a Web Log. This is something more.

I am an Indie Op/Ed. Free of any editor, with the ability to focus on any subject at my whim, not some newspaper's.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


Carnival of the Capitalists

This week's Carnival of the Capitalists is going to be a great one, judging by the submissions. Sadly, due to personal reasons and finals I haven't been updating my site all that often. This is going to be the kick start that I need. But enough about me, this is about the wonderful business minded individuals all throughout the blogosphere. They've worked hard and should be proud of their work, go ahead and visit them. You'll be glad you did.

James Archer at Strange Brand has an insigtful post on the different types of leadership. No longer is it about who leads and who follows.

Joseph DePalma at Joseph's Marketing Blog writes about the importance of customer retention. Impressive figures to suggest that, conservatively speaking, a 5% increase in retention could translate into 20% increased profits. Tie Up Your Customers.

Indiblog of 2004 winner Gautam Ghosh at Gautam Ghosh on Management explains what has influenced his philosophy on knowledge and learning. Or, as the title says, Defining Knowledge as Competence.

Joseph Weisenthal at The Stalwart explores how the growing market for camera phones will affect the digital camera market. The Digital Camera Market and Kodak.

Blue at DSS Hubris presents Outsourcing and National Security

Jeff Cornwall at The Entrepreneurial Mind writes on the state of the modern entertainment industry and its marketing techniques. New Age in Music, Media and Entertainment

Jim Logan over at JSLogan asks if you'd rather have great marketing or a great product.

Shamalama has a post at Common Folk Using Common Sense discusses Social Security in simple terms. Check it out here.

Skip Angel, who always seems to have Random Thoughts from a CTO writes on how a leader can influence an organization through their words and actions.

Josh Cohen asks if there's any use in advertizing to a demographic you already hold. Josh takes a look at some of the marketing strategies used.

Jonathan Dingel, who writes at Exploit the Worker, evaluates the merits of CAFTA. His conclusion is that those who support free trade ought to oppose the agreement.

Barry Welford at The Other Bloke's Blog presents Business Blogging Brings Internet Visibility

Pamela at Atlas Shrugged presents Confessions of an ex-Diehard Liberal New Yorker

Ironman at Political Calculations asks: What to do in the interview from Hell?

Dan Morgan at NoSpeedBumps presents Major Reforms: RSA+HSA+EFT

Sandeep Srinivasa over at DAturn ponders the importance of the exchange rate and what can countries do to deal with disasters dependent on this factor.

Tim Worstall explains the minimum wage

Michael Higgins at Chocolate and Gold Coins writes about leveraging charity. He describes how to use charity to move the government out of public spending.

Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture explains how the RIAA uses faulty mathematics to exaggerate the harm of P2P networks.

Rob at Business Pundit asks "what is the purpose of business" and looks at the way Peter Drucker would answer the question

Jill Fallon at Estate Legacy Vaults writes that in an era of networked marketing, businesses must prepare for asymetrical warfare.

Ankesh Kothari at Marketing eYe gives some great advice, from an unlikely source.

VoluntaryXChange has a post one what effect the Wendy's fiasco will have on Annie Ayala (the finger in the chili woman).

Michael Kantor at Half Sigma doubts the assumption that stocks out perform Social Security

Patri Friedman at Catallarchy helps tie together risk, selection bias, poker, and mutual fund investing.

Wayne Hurlbert of Blog Business World writes about the importance of keyword density when it comes to search engine optimization.

Joe Kristan over at Roth & Company Tax Update has a post about how a tax protester comes across disasterous results, in a post titled Futureman Pleads Guilty to Tax Evasion.

Martin Lindeskog at EGO takes a look at Kodak, Hasseblad, and other players on the market.

Anita Campbell at Small Business Trends writes about how the economy is slowing down and small businesses are less optimistic.

Mike Pechar, who writes at Interested-Participant looks in depth at disaster aid mismanegement and fraud.

Mr. Parx at Midget Monkey Pirate Clown presents Midget Monkey Pirate Clown in a battle of wits with the NYT (great read, absurd name).

Gordon Smith of The Conglomerate comments on Carl Icahn's victory in obtaining a seat on the Blockbuster Board of Directors and muses on the meme of hedge funds taking up the torch of replacing inefficient management from the LBO firms of the 1980s. You can find it here.

McGehee writes about the impact of Barnes and Noble on locally owned bookstores.

Mad Anthony looks at why he thinks gas prices are much more price-inelastic than many people think.

Mike Landfair of Mover Mike writes about a cheap new energy source, Pebble Bed Modular Reactors.

Stever Conover at The Skeptical Optimist asks how we should assess past presidents' influence on our nation's economic growth.

John Dmohowski, who writes at Drakeview, posted the importance of venture financing, technical and scientific talent, and a history of entrepreneurship to Israeli GDP growth.

Warren Meyer of Coyote Blog questions if he's working for himself, or for some government entity.

Brian Gongol posts that too much "sustainability" can hurt the environment.

Peter Caputa, at PC4Media, looks at how the web is intermediating the ad and media industries. Read more here. And try to look below the banner. I know it's hard, but I was able to. :)

Will Pate writes about how Skype is destroying other IM networks.

Well, that's it for this week. It's been fun, and not quite as time consuming as I thought it would be. I'd like to thank everyone who's submitted this week, and remind you all that next week's Carnival will be held over at Ideologic LLC. And if you're not a regular here (which won't be too much of a surprise, you can tell me you've never heard of me), drop by from time to time. I know it's been a while, but hosting the Carnival has been great medicine. And now I have some free time, so I can fit more posting.

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