Wednesday, April 14, 2004

All quiet on the anti-trust front

Wednesday, April 14, 2004

If there's one thing Microsoft excel at, it's using anti-competitive measures to muscle rival software vendors out of the market. Despite finding themselves up in court facing anti-trust charges on numerous occasions, Bill and his cronies still get away with bundling Internet Explorer with Windows, and this is the only reason it is the most widely used web browser in the world. It breaks W3C conventions, draws malicious web bugs, spyware and adware like a magnet and leaves itself wide open to hackers hoping to exploit its many security flaws. News flash just in: there's nothing to say you have to use IE even if it is difficult (yet not impossible) to eradicate from your system.

Luckily there are far more advanced, faster and secure browsers available. Opera greatly enhances the web surfing experience through the implementation of mouse gestures, and boasts a very sprightly rendering engine and a small footprint. My personal favourite, however, is Firefox, not least because I admire its free and open source roots.

Firefox is especially attractive to impatient people like me since it supports tabbed browsing. Rather than opening a single browser window and waiting for each new page to load inside it, I'll open 10 at once and flit back and forth between them. While one page loads in the background I'll be reading another one that has already finished downloading. Firefox opens them all within a single interface, differentiating between them using tabs, keeping your taskbar free from clutter. These tabs are neatly lined up along the top of the browser and can be stabbed with your pointer at any time to frantically hop from one page to the next. In effect you can simultaneously browse as many web pages as your trusty PC can handle - umpteen times more than IE could cope with considering how slender and robust Firefox is. An added bonus is that since all your web pages are safely caged inside a single window, should your boss walk into your office at an inopportune moment, you only have one minimize button to push instead of ten or twenty - in effect you can quickly hide all your windows in one swift lunge. Not that I would encourage you to use company time irresponsibly - that would be wrong on so many levels.

It's your computer and your web browser so don't let self-serving web masters bully you into viewing something you don't want to see. Firefox helps you claw back control through the use of its highly polished 'Annoyance Eliminator' features. You can prevent web sites from changing your status bar text, moving or resizing windows without your permission and most importantly of all, opening pop-ups!

What are you waiting for? Dare to be different!

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