mental notes

It’s been one big weekend, ill on Friday, stag do on saturday and then a picnic in the park on sunday. In between all that I ended up in Waterstones even though I am not supposed to be buying any more books at present. I have at least 6 waiting for me in a pile at home! On top of all that, having ready plenty of books involving the Roman Empire, whether historical or fictional, I had attempted to stop myself reading anymore and make myself diversify to other geographies and histories (which I have been doing with reasonable success 🙂 ) Anyhow, the first book that caught my attention? Romanitis – a book about the Roman Empire as if it had made it through to the present day. The optimist in me made it sound interestinh – it could go either way with that starting point – complete arbritary tripe or as I say.. interesting. The title of course is rather poor I think, though I cannot think of a better one, and maybe that is why I did not succumb to the urge to buy it 🙂

Onto the main reason for this post – whilst I was in Waterstones, I thought that a really good usage for my blog would be to leave off the cuff comments and thoughts to myself – so I was thinking I need to look up Romanitis when I get back in front of a computer, but of course I always forget all the various qs surrounding the initial thought itself. With a decent network and phone that is easily achievable in this day and age – except I happen to be on 3, the 3rd generation mobile network here in the UK which is decidedly backwards. You only have access to their walled garden, no external access at all and get this – they give you a three branded email address which you can use and then charge you a price per message read and sent. Why can they just not use the data usage pricing model that everyone else uses? Is it that difficult?

firefox vs ie

I just wrote a huge post on Firefox losing share to IE – only for IE to crash on me – someone is trying to tell me something..

The Register is reporting that Firefox has gone from 8.71% down to 8.07%, the majority of which has gone to IE. Thats a change of 7% which some would say is a significant change. Time of course will clarify if this is a blip or not. There are a few opinions out there as to why this is happening. NetApplications thinks it due to Mozilla’s decision to launch a commercial arm and The Register’s opionion (?) that other theories could include an end to the “honeymoon factor” and recent security problems tarnishing Firefox’s image as a more secure alternative to IE.

Whilst I think these will have had some effect on the change, I think it has happened because Firefox is not quite there yet. I have used it on and off several times since its launch (3 times so far to be precise). Each time my experimentation lasts longer and usage increases. The last time was for 6 months and it even became my main browser for 4 of those 6. I quit only a month ago and when you see my pros and cons you will understand why:

Pros:
1. Mouse gestures – When you accidentally use a feature from Firefox in IE, you know the feature is a winner. Whilst I eventually found mouse gestures for IE, it is not as cleanly implemented as in Firefox or as powerful (itself an addon of course).
2. Addons themselves are much easier to find and implement than in IE. A simple click from the menu and you can see them – in IE you have to search through google. If there is a good central resource it should be linked to inside the browser.
3. Tabbed browsing – for some this is the be all and end all of browsing. I never cared about it before, and after the 6 months usage I started to get used to it. For me its a change in style and I’m not there yet so I don’t care enough right now.
4. Speed of browsing – some sites seemed faster – was it just me?
5. Firefox does seem like there are endless possibilities due to its addons, the power available to Greasemonkey users is huge (I am sure it is very insecure as well..) – it would be nice to have more UK specific content but then IE (and MSN) is much worse for this.
6. The themes are nice, not critical though 🙂

Cons:
1. This is the big one – I download a lot of Excel spreadsheets and pdfs – everytime it opens an empty Firefox window – why?! There was an addon to remove them – it didnt work 🙁
2. Not all sites look right and some just don’t work. I know this is not Firefox’s fault as the sites did not meet standard X or Y but as a user I just don’t care. There are 2 ways to look at this, either the developer should have tested it in Firefox and fixed it (almost certainly they didnt and now there is no budget) or Firefox should have a module that makes things just work. Microsoft in the past has been good at this when they have had little market share – support the big guy. They did it for Exchange, Lotus 1-2-3, Wordperfect, UNIX to name the ones I remember. Sure its hard, but over time Firefox would gain share. I know there is the “always open in IE” addon – its a hassle though 🙂
3. Startup speed has slowed down over time – when I first started I swear Firefox opened quicker than IE – its significantly slower now – 3-5s slower – enough to annoy!
4. Rich Media content just does not work properly – sometimes it does, sometimes it doesnt..

If the first 3 issues are fixed, I’d switch back in a sec!

Separate to all this of course are the issues surrounding security. I am sure the recent issues with security inside Firefox has caused some of the shift back, I wonder how many people have been aware of the issues though – outside of the geeks, how many people are aware of the Firefox security glitches? Are all the people leaving geeks? The next few months will tell all I should think.

Fingers crossed for the next browser versions….

Update: Could the drop be due to all the IE 7 beta testers out there – surely there’s not that many people who think its stable enough to use yet???

technorati to be sold?

The rumour on Scoble (who in turn read it on BL’s blog) is that Technorati is being sold to a large search engine company. It has allegedly come from a venture capitalist who is "heavily invested" in the blogosphere. So who could it be? The companies that obviously come immediately to mind are Microsoft, Google, Yahoo, AOL and Ask Jeeves seeing as they are the big boys in search. Microsoft are out I think as I seem to remember reading Microsoft were not looking at any big company purchases currently. Also, you would think Scoble would have heard of it internally and therefore would not comment on his blog. Ask Jeeves have just bought Bloglines so I think it is highly unlikely they would go and buy Technorati… Yahoo is a possibility but having just bought Alibaba.com for a cool $1bn it makes it slightly less likely. I cannot think of a reason to rule them out though. AOL have little to nothing in the blogging space right now and they use Google for their search capabilities currently. They do rely heavily on content so there could be a fit, but the content they rely on tends in the past to be from partners at least over here in the UK. I do not know enough about AOL in the states to guess whether it could be them. I have to say I hope not, I generally do not seem to get on with AOL’s online products and I obviously do not want them to make Technorati available to AOL subscribers only 😉 Google obviously has Blogger and it would certainly compliment this, they also do not have an aggregator of blogs that I am aware of and obviously have the cash.. Who else? Maybe Amazon as a curved ball to extend their search capabilities, though I would be surprised if it was them. News corp have been talking up their internet strategy lately but this doesnt fit right with the company. Does it help News Corp? They were linked to the purchase of a search engine company but as you can see from the link, I think this was their purchase of Intermix Media Inc. As for whether Technorati should be sold – well they could do with expanding. Localised versions of technorati would be very useful and interesting. Podcasting could be integrated of course. I am unaware of their current funding levels and of course the founders may just want to move on.. Between Yahoo and Google, its a difficult choice. I dislike the way Yahoo integrates its products though several are good on their own. Google’s Blogger is too simplified for my liking but the majority of their products are easy to use and seem to "just work" 🙂 I think I would prefer Technorati to get more funding and expand independently but I doubt they have the ability to stay independent indefinitely.