Archive for the 'Browsers' Category

Still Using IE? Just Try These:

I realise that i haven’t done a post in a little while so i thought I’d get back into it with this one. I’m going to have a little look at the web browsers that are out there right now and see some of the benefits and faults they offer. And no, I’m not just going to whine on about how Firefox rules all (even though it does). Anyway, lets get on with it.


Yup, I’m going to get the big one out of the way with first. Anyone who ever thought “Hey, you know what? IE sucks so much that there must be something better out there” knows what an achievement Firefox is. The best part of Firefox for me is not the browser itself, but the huge extensions library that it comes with. Firefox would be nothing with out its add-ons allowing the user to completely revolutionise not only the looks a

nd style of  Firefox but its entire functionality. As i type these words, about 3 extensions are currently helping to build it quicker and easier than anything that could be achieved in any other browsers.

Apart from the extensions, there are multiple features that put Firefox a notch above the rest. For one thing its one of the safest browsers out there, far more secure than Internet Explorer. In the year since i discovered Firefox, i have not had one virus infect my PC, as compared with the many, many infections achieved thanks to IE.

Another reason for choosing Firefox it is one of the quickest browsers out there on the web, i pretty well has the competition beat on speed. The only browser I’ve found that beats it is Midori which is only available for Linux, so for everyone else go for Firefox.

Get Firefox

Image via Wikipedia


Flock is the lesser known cousin to Firefox. Boasting similar characteristics to Firefox and even sharing the extensions library (it has its own until a few months ago when the projects were merged). There is a big and very useful difference to it. Flock prides itself on being the “social web browser”. For any of you out there who love social networks as much as i do, you will find this one a real treat.

Flock is all about integration into social networks straight from your web browser. At the moment flock currently supplies integration tools with sites such as Digg, Twitter, Pownce, Picasa, Facebook, Myspace, Delicious, Youtube and more. Flock also has a built in blog editor with support for most major blogging platforms as well as mail connections. There is also an inbuilt photo up loader for supported photo accounts.

Personally, i really like flock, and it would most likely be my second choice to Firefox, but for some reason i find that i tend to stick with Firefox due to its simplicity. Because its built on the Mozilla platform, flock shares many of the same features as Firefox, but for those of you who like a lot of integration, then flock is highly recommended.

Get Flock

Google Chrome

Google Chrome
Image via Wikipedia

A few months back Google decided that it would get in on the web browser scene with its own web browser. The first thing i thought when i heard about it was oh no, here’s another condemned to fail Google experiment that will be crushed by the likes of Firefox in a few months. But while not exactly conquering the browser-verse, i has enjoyed more success that i was expecting.

The best thing about Google Chrome has to be simplicity, while the previous two browsers have lots of shiny bells and whistles in the form of add-ons etc. Chrome has the exact opposite, while still managing to be a pretty effective tool. The interface is minimalistic and scarce. It loads up and its basically screen and address bar, not much else. There is however one feature that a lot of people like which other browsers don’t have: the incognito window. Going to the menu in Chrome and you have an option to “Open a new incognito window”. This will bring up a new window very much like any other, but will allow you to pursue anonymous browsing across the web without running through an external site, giving integration others don’t have.

I think Chrome is a remarkably good attempt from Google and with a little continued improvement, Chrome could grow up to be a very good little browser. I would definitely recommend for those whom want simplicity and functionality.

Get Chrome


Opera has been around for a little while now, but that doesn’t mean that its in anyway out dated. I don’t tend to use it too much, but there are a few things that i like about it. Firstly, there’s the way that it handles tabs, which i think is better than any other browser on the net, the best part being that it has a “closed tabs” function that allows you to re open recent closed tabs rather than trail through your history, this is something that i have to have an add-on for in Firefox. The second feature is its speed dial start-up, something which has also been turned into a Firefox add-on and I’m pretty sure Chrome nicked it for there start-up as well. Basically speed dial allows you to set up your 9 favorite sites and you can just press and number to access that site in a button click. The final feature is its in-built mail accounts, much like the one mentioned in Flock.

Get Opera


Anyone who has an Iphone or Itouch will know what Safari is. Its the standard Mac browser as well(you wouldn’t guess it’s made by Apple?. To be honest with you this is a pretty good choice for anyone who wants something a bit like Internet explorer, but doesn’t want anything too far off. It’s a lot faster than IE, but as for features it really doesn’t differ that much, and its not nearly as simplistic as Google Chrome, but it certainly makes for a nice middle ground. But if your looking for something a bit more exciting I’d suggest you try elsewhere.

Get Safari

So thats it, i eurgh all you Internet Explorer users to go out and give something else a try! Whats your favorite browser? Have i missed one? Leave some feedback…

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Zemanta: Making Blogging Easier

While having a quick look around the Mozilla add-ons site the other day, i stumbled across a new a very useful little extension for Firefox that is helping me write this very blog post just a little bit easier.

Zemanta gives you suggestions for tags, links photos etc. for your blog post from right inside your blog dashboard. Currently im using it within the WordPress dashboard.


This is exactly the kind of integration that i love. It’s feature rich, displaying related articles down the side, links that are auto inserted with just the click of a mouse into my post, tags auto generated and related images appearing next to my post editor. In fact the related images are filtered to take out any copyrighted images (very useful).

This saves plenty of time previously wasted on searching through Google for all that i wanted. Another good thing is that it auto-inserts a “Re-Blog” icon into the bottom of posts to allow fellow readers to blog articles to there own blog.

Zemanta also provides an API for developers to intergrate there service into there own projects.

You can get Zemanta here.

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4 Tools For Big Internet Releases

So, there’s a big program release coming up and you want to be first in on the action? You want to try and beat the rest to get to the file before the servers get clogged and you get the infamous “Server to busy”. Well here is my suggestion of tools and tips to get you through.

Update Scanner (Firefox Extension)

First off there are quite a few extensions for Firefox in this article so if you don’t have Firefox I’d suggest you get it because its one of the best browsers out there.

Update scanner is a a Firefox extension that allows you to monitor web pages while browsing the web for any changes that might occur. You can set the scanner to check for updates for a time bracket anywhere between 5 minutes and 1 hour. You can also select how big of a change you want to monitor, from very minor changes (just a few words) to very large changes (a whole paragraph).

This is one of my favorite Firefox extensions as its very flexible in its uses. When I used to use Digg a lot a while back I used this to keep me up to date with high priority sites like My most recent use though was to help catch my copy of Windows 7 beta a week or so back. Its pretty simple but very functional, a real essential.

Update scanner is available for install here.

Reload Every (Firefox Extension)

Again another extension for Firefox is reload every. Basically it adds a bit more functionality to your refresh button. You can set it reload the page you looking at at intervals of 5 seconds to up to 15 minutes, with the ability to add custom intervals.

This tool is great for reloading pages which are a bit swamped on the servers or as a alternative to update scanner. It’s also very useful elsewhere, like eBay for the final few minutes of a auction.

Reload every is available to install here

Tweet Scan

As a wrote in an earlier post, some of the most up to date information on what is happening in the world can be found by monitoring twitter. Just look at the Hudson incident last week and how news spread across the internet is about 10 minutes of the plane going down.


Now how about harnessing the awesome power of twitter to help you in your hour of need when servers are crashing around you and all routes seem blocked? Tweet Scan does exactly that. Just type in the keyword that you want to monitor tweets for and it gives you a real time display of what people are tweeting about your keyword.

This is such as useful tools as information on the quality of the servers, to direct file links, and to useful articles being published across the net. Never underestimate the power of twitter.

Visit Tweet Scan here.

Google Reader

Google reader is another one of my essential tools for use of monitoring blogs across the internet in one place for an sign of what I’m after. Blogs are the best place to find the some real informative information, but there are sometimes a little late in the day as it takes time to write a post. The information is a lot more reliable than that of the twitter community so blogs are still worth monitoring, and Google reader is one of the best online readers I’ve found, but there are many more. I personally prefer Google reader because of some of the many Greasemonkey extensions that are available for it which make life just a little bit easier.

Here are some here scripts for Google reader

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Diigo: the new Delicious?

Ever since I started using Firefox as my main web browser i had constantly used Delicious bookmarks add-on for keeping track of my important pages.

That was until a few weeks ago when I read about Diigo. Diigo in many respects is very much like Delicious, boasting many of the same features of “social bookmarking”. I have, however, come to realise that there is much more to Diigo than Delicious.

Firstly, and may be being superficial here, but i prefer the websites user interface much better than delicious. That may just be my opinion, but i just feel that the interface is a lot smoother and more easy on the eye that Delicious.

The next thing i like about Diigo over Delicious is the integration into Firefox is much better than. Numerous times have i loaded up Firefox to find that i have to sign-in to Delicious, when it should be auto-saved. But i have never had any problems of this kind with Diigo.

I also like the tool bar a lot better than Delicious. With Diigo you get a proper tool bar to work with rather than just three little buttons. With this tool bar you get most of the functionality that you would expect (ie. bookmark, visit the site, sidebar bookmark search, friends bookmarks etc.) but you also get a lot more.

There are options when you bookmark a page to “read later”, there’s an option to “Send to” where you can post to a blog, twitter and Facebook as well as regular e-mail. Another feature that i particularly love is the two folders names “Unread” and “Recent” which allow quick access to my latest bookmarks. Something which saves an awful lot of time instead of rummaging through the sidebar.

Finally, one of my favorite features as a student is that Diigo includes the functionality to highlight contents of a web page and add annotations to content, a life saver when doing research.

I was once a big fan of Delicious but i am now fully turned to Diigo by the shear multitude of features and the way it still manages to remain simple and easy to use. If your a Delicious user i would certainly recommend trying Diigo instead.

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