Opera 10: Now This is COOL!

October 8, 2009 at 11:42 am (Internet surfing, product review) (, , , )

I finally downloaded Opera 10.00 on my computer. This is a browser like I haven’t seen before. Of course, I am into features and learning about all the bells and whistles, so if you’re the “just download and use it” kind of person, you might be confused about how to get certain things to work or not notice much of a difference from any other browser. Regardless, there are some things you may like about Opera even if all you want is a basic browser.

The download itself is 6.6 MB. This should only take about 25 minutes on a dial-up connection, maybe more if you have a particularly slow one. Either way, definitely not a problem for dial-up. The installation, like most programs, is very simple to do. No worries!

There’s a lot of features that Opera has that are similar to other browsers: tabbed browsing, offering to save passwords, and an interactive address bar that shows suggestions from history, etc. But Opera has gone a step further where other browsers, especially Internet Explorer have not ventured. Here are a few things you won’t find on IE:

  • Transformed Speed Dial—a page of thumbnails to your favorite sites. This is great for big surfers who go to multiple sites frequently. It’s better than a favorites lists! You may have seen this on Chrome and Firefox, but on Chrome, the sites are chosen for you based on your browsing habits. On Firefox, you can only have 9 that you can manually enter. On Opera, you can enter up to 25 websites and load a personalized background picture! The speed dial page appears every time you open a new tab.speed dial with personalized background
  • More Choices Upon Arrival. Instead of just an option of opening to the homepage, or several home pages, like on IE, Opera allows you to reopen the last session, open your home page, or open your Speed Dial page.

  • Interactive tabs. If you like surfing on multiple sites at once, you can really benefit from these features. 1, Hover over each tab to get a small window showing a preview of that page. 2, click and drag under a tab to expand the tabs into small preview windows for all your tabs. 3. Rightexpanded tabs and tab placement click on your tab bar for more tab options, including moving the tabs (or preview windows) to the left, right, or bottom of your browser! Beat that IE! :-)

…and, for dial-up Internet services users (and anyone else who needs to get things done quickly), check out these shortcuts and time-savers!

  • Turbo Mode! Click the little speedometer icon in the lower left corner of the browser to enable the turbo feature. It compresses pictures (it makes them slightly blurrier), allowing webpages to come up much faster than regular mode.
  • Image Options. This feature (located in the bottom right of the browser) lets you choose how images are loaded on the website. You can choose to view no images, cached images, or all images for your protection and for faster browsing. Choosing “no images” is handy for making quick payment online, where you just need the pages to load to complete the transaction and seeing that logo or background images is the least of your concerns.

  • Awesome Search Options. In the address bar, type “g running shoes” and you will be taken to a page of Google search results for the keywords running shoes. What a great way to save time! There are also shortcuts for Amazon, Ebay, Wiki, and more! Check out the preferences for the whole list.

  • Auto-fill Form Entries. This is genius! You can add your name, address, email, and phone numbers in your preferences, and Opera will fill out all those online forms for you! This will save time when signing up for memberships and online shopping.

There are other options that may interest you. This will be a lot to take in if you’ve never used Opera. Be forewarned, other browsers will seem slow, boring, and restrictive after this! :-) Just go to opera.com and click on the green “Download Opera” button to get started! I highly recommend this for dial-up users! While you’re on the website, be sure to read the features listed for Opera browser. It will help you understand how Opera works and enable you to maximize its benefits to you.

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The Browser Debate: Is Internet Explorer the Best?

July 17, 2009 at 2:05 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , )

Assuming you are like the majority of online surfers, you’re probably running a Microsoft Windows operating system and Internet Explorer for your Internet services.

Why do more people use Internet Explorer? One reason could be simply because it’s integrated with the operating system of all Windows computers and is therefore the easiest option—no downloading necessary! It could be that many people don’t even know about the other browsers. Of course, there are a percentage of users that believe IE is simply better than other browsers. Lets see some comparisons:

IE: Biggest and best. Internet Explorer holds the largest market share for Internet browsers. They must be doing something (rather, things) right. Microsoft is clearly an expert in their industry and have a vast amount of resources. They are constantly working to improve their operating systems, software, speed and security. IE8 is now claimed by experts to be the safest browser. It’s new technology has matched or possibly surpassed its rivals in speed, features, and built-in search address bar.

Rebuttal: Microsoft’s large market share is why many people have avoided using Internet Explorer in the past and will continue to do so. Internet Explorer is more likely to be the target of malware and phishing tactics. Hackers can access the largest amount of computer users by attacking Microsoft because more people use thier products than anyone else’s.

IE: Your Windows partner. Internet Explorer is deeply integrated with the Windows operating system. Using a browser that is an integral part of your operating system instead of downloading a browser can be beneficial. Windows automatically downloads (or alerts you to download) updates for the computer to keep your computer fast and safe. This means that people who are less familiar with computers don’t have to worry about installing updates if they use Internet Explorer—their computer can do it for them.

Rebuttal: New versions of Internet Explorer have caused multiple problems for Windows users, including the latest IE8. Some have even said that Internet Explorer is so much a part of Windows that it can almost not even be called a browser. Downloading IE can be more risky than downloading other browsers because of it’s close ties to the Windows operating system. Uninstalling IE8 could harm your computer or other software even further, should you change your mind.

Microsoft usually fixes their newest browser’s bugs soon after it is released, but too late for some. Many computer technicians recommend waiting several months before upgrading to new IE browsers.

IE: Match your personality. The latest version, IE8, has some unique and compelling new features that appeal to varying personalities. You can customize bookmarks, preset search queries, and choose from a growing list of add-ons. The new web slices and accelerators are built in to the browser, unlike Firefox, where they have to be individually downloaded.

Rebuttal: When it comes to features, IE has a record of being late in the game. IE7 was the last browser existing at the time to have tabbed browsing. IE8 finally matches the reliability of tab browsing that Firefox and Chrome feature, like session restore (returning tabs that unexpectedly close) and tab isolation (running processes separately in each tab to avoid crashing the whole window).

IE may have new features built in, but as a result, the download size is more than double that of other browsers. Many advanced computer users would argue that a browser like Firefox with over 6,000 add-ons is much more convenient, as you have the freedom to choose only the features you want. Others would prefer Google Chrome for it’s very simple layout but advanced and accelerated technology.

Perhaps one of the highest debated comparison is speed. Microsoft, Mozilla, and Google, all say their browser is the fastest according to their tests. You will probably just have to try them for yourself and see which browser performs the best with your particular connection speed and surfing habits.

For many reasons, one browser is simply not the best for everyone. If it was, there would be no debate. Thankfully, these browsers are easily accessible to compare for yourself. In fact, having two browsers can be beneficial for comparing features and troubleshooting “page cannot be displayed” errors. When you download a new browser, be sure to read or watch the videos demonstrating that browsers features to get the most out of your surfing experience. You may be surprised what you have been missing.

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Mozilla Firefox: The IE Alternative

July 16, 2009 at 2:17 pm (Internet surfing) (, , , , , , )

Mozilla Firefox is the second most popular web browser for Internet services, next to Microsoft Internet Explorer. Mozilla was one of the first companies to implement tabbed browsing, which is now standard for all Internet browsers. Their browser is free to download and compatible to Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. Firefox is also an open source software, meaning their engineering is available to anyone to be improved or borrowed to make other products. Google’s new browser, Chrome, was based off of multiple Firefox features, and Google openly credits Firefox for their ideas.

There are a variety of features started by Firefox that are now used on other browsers. The “Session restore” feature allows you to go back to the sites you were visiting in the event of Firefox or your computer unexpectedly crashing or closing. Bookmarking, similar to “Favorites”, can be done with one click on the star icon in the address bar to save the current page to view again later.

Firefox also has several unique features: The “Password Manager” offers to remember (or never remember) password information that you are entering on a website. Instead of an intrusive window popping up in the middle of the screen, this feature displays just under the toolbars and can easily ignored if you don’t want to specify how to handle the password information.

Downloading is simple and convenient on Firefox. When you click on a link to download, you will see the Download Manager window, showing the name and progress, as well as the option to pause or cancel the download. Once the download process is complete, just double click the file to open it, instead of trying to find it on your computer.

Firefox may very well be the king of customization with over 6,000 customization options—and counting! These vary from necessary add-ons that help you view certain webpages and applications, to personas and skins tailored to your personality and interests. Here are a few examples:

  • The Minimap Sidebar shows the location of any address by drag and dropping from websites or manually entering an address. You can then get directions with Google, Yahoo, or Live Local. Address are automatically saved for future reference.

  • AnyColor allows you to customize your web browser frame and options window to your favorite color.

  • Speed Dial lets you preset 9 websites of your choice to one-click access them from blank new windows or tabs.

  • Lazarus: Form Recovery saves all the data you type in forms online in the event of a crash. You can simply return to the form, right click, and “recover form” to restore all your information.

Being able to create a browser that is just right for you is easy with Firefox’s many add-ons. For example, the new and improved Internet Explorer 8 has many of the same features, but with Firefox, you can choose only the features that you will use.

Firefox continually looks for ways to make a better browser. The latest version, Firefox 3.5, is faster and safer than previous versions with new technology and better handling of your computer’s memory. It also now has the “Private Browsing” option, like other browsers, which allows you to surf the web without saving any cookies, history, or files on your computer. To read more about the security and speed features, see all the available add-ons, and read more about Firefox 3.5, check out firefox.com.

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