Sunday, May 30, 2010

Firefox 3.6.4 Beta Build 6 .. and a Correction

A few days ago, a post appeared here that Firefox 3.6.4 had gone final (and it certainly appeared to many of us that it had).

So much for perception but I did promise an update.

It appears that anyone that had the Firefox 'Lorentz' beta loaded was upgraded to Firefox 3.6.4 beta ... despite that fact that the beta tag did not appear on the upgrade screen.

If all of that isn't confusing enough, if you haven't already read it here or elsewhere, an updated beta of Firefox 3.6.4 IS available for testers and developers here.  Note: This is now Build 6 and was released just 2 days ago and ... well .... It's pretty slick!

More information can be found on the Firefox Developer News Page here.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

DoubleClick Ad Planner Adds New Features - Top 1000

Overshadowed by the news today that Google finally acquired AdMob, was the fact that Google's other 'major' advertising acquisition, DoubleClick, has updated their ad buyer targeting software ...  DoubleClick Ad Planner.

In an e-mail to users, The DoubleClick Ad Planner team introduced new features including the 'Ad Planner 1000 list', Exporting Google Content Network Placements to Adwords and a feature actually rolled out in April, Ad Planner 'Lists'.

You can sign up for an Ad Planner account or check out the FAQs here or visit the help forum here.

It's a must view for media buyers (large and small) that haven't used the product before.

Curious what the 1000 top sites are?  A static page is here.

Update May 27 7:20 PM ET : Barry Schwartz has an excellent piece at Search Engine Land referencing the just released AdWords blog announcement and more.

Facebook - Yes, Again

There comes a time when blogging about a specific subject gets a little old.

This time, it's different ... and still important.

Over the past few weeks, many of us have written numerous posts about Facebook and the backlash (at least in the 'tech world') over the social network's privacy changes and ambitions.

On Wednesday, Facebook introduced their upgraded privacy page.

I'm writing this post because I feel strongly the more of us that do, the better the chance that people will find out about these important changes, and motivate them to re-visit their privacy settings (or remind them to).

There are many opinions on this roll-out.  You can read more than a few on Techmeme here.

Here's a brief overview.

1) I visited my own page and noticed more than a few 'open' areas that I thought I had made 'Friends Only'.  Conclusion: The default hasn't changed. It's still opt out rather than opt in.

2) It IS positively easier to tweak your settings using the new privacy page.  IE:  Want private?  Just zip through the pages and set everything to 'Friends Only'.

3) It's still hard for some to find.  Facebook should put a prominent link 'Privacy Settings and Information' where all users will notice it (and keep it there).

Overall, a huge improvement.

Will people actually do it?

I still doubt it.


Google Crisis Response - Oil Spill

As the Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico continues to reach astronomical proportions with no clear end in sight, you'd be hard pressed to find anyone that isn't upset that, to date, nobody has been able to stop it.

It's not just a Louisiana problem.  It's not just a U.S. problem.  It's an international problem.

It's not a time for pointing fingers.

It's not a time for politics.

It's a time for action.

While some may consider it pointless, others will no doubt see it as a step from a company that touches us all.

Google has announced an Oil Spill Response Page.

In concert with PBS, a list of resources along with a link to PBS's YouTube Channel creating a forum for anyone to contribute ideas.

Will it help?

It certainly can't hurt.

You can find the page here.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Significant Update to Google Chrome (for Everyone)

This familiar icon that's been popping up in other browsers could very well now be true.  Not only for PC users but for Mac and Linux users as well.

Google announced a short time ago that version 5.0.375.55 has been released as a stable release for all three operating systems.

We took a brief spin of both the PC (Win 7) and Linux (Mint) versions and ... ugh ... wow! (Yep, it works :)

Initial impressions seem to be that performance ranks right up there with Version 6 (released in the developer channel recently).

Extensions, Bookmarks, Browser Preferences, HTML 5 features including geolocation APIs, APP Cache, web sockets, file drag and drop and more are all now on-board.

Links to a variety of Chrome (and Chromium project) blogs with much more information can be found in the latest post to the Google Chrome Blog here.

UPDATE:  May 25, 2010 - 12:45 ET Well that didn't take long.  More has now been posted (including a video) to the Official (Main) Google Blog here ... along with this classically Google cool cartoon ...

Shhhh! Mozilla Quietly Rolls Out Firefox 3.6.4 Final

You won't find it on the Mozilla download page (yet) but users, at least here in the US, are reporting an update notification (and apparent full upgrade) to the latest stable version of Firefox ... Version 3.6.4

If you want to check if it's available to you, simply click on 'Help' at the top of the browser then 'Check for Updates'.  The rest of the process is automatic.

Most recently available as Firefox 3.6.4 build 4 , the latest version sports numerous improvements in stability and security ... and improved Mac compatibility.

Update 10 PM ET - May 25 2010 There was some 'controversy' with this post as to it's accuracy.  It is now confirmed (at least with those using Windows 7 in some areas) that an upgrade is rolling out to users of both Firefox 3.6.4 and 3.6.3.  More info as it becomes available.

Windows 7 XP Mode - Complete with IE6 .... Huh?

Back here, I touched on the fact that Windows 7 XP mode for Windows 7 is now available to registered users and no longer requires hardware (CPU visualization) support ... but does require 'reasonable' system resources.

There are some excellent features with this implementation, specifically the ability to launch and run programs in an XP based window and / or full screen directly from the Windows 7 start menu without any coding.

Literally an instant virtual desktop which absolutely comes in handy.

In essence, Microsoft is giving Windows 7 users a copy of Virtual PC 2007 and a copy of Windows XP Professional.

But .... and this can't be by design ???!! ....

The copy of XP provided is original and 'virgin' .. meaning .... if you go to Windows Update from within the XP window (screen), you're going to find over 50 updates (Yes, you read that right). Depending on your broadband speed and the amount of ram your system has allocated to the virtual machine (by default), you may be in for a few hours of updating.

Somehow this doesn't seem realistic, especially since many sites (Hulu, Google Reader ....) no longer support IE6 with more being added each day.

Despite the fact that tens of thousands of corporate embedded PCs are still running IE6 (Yes, you read that right), the old browser is, for most uses, is dead out of the box.  Microsoft would most likely agree.

I went through the curve.  One of the 'suggested' updates is IE8 and you can add Firefox or Chrome with no problem. I'm even launching a copy of Ubuntu 10.04 for Windows using it :)

The bottom line.  If you have the ram and a relatively recent CPU ... it's worth the install but go through the updates first ...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Zuckerberg Responds to Facebook Critics in WP Monday

Monday's Washington Post (released a little early online) has a column written by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg addressing the ongoing privacy concerns that have deluged the online social network in waves over the past few months.

High profile bloggers have literally closed their accounts and debates have raged across the technology blogs over Facebook's recent changes and 'control over your own information'.

Many, close to both new and old Facebook employees, have defended the company saying that some of the people working there wouldn't allow the company to keep heading in the direction that many have perceived it was.

The piece came just hours after Zuckerberg gave permission to blogger Robert Scoble to reproduce an e-mail saying essentially the same thing in different words.

Apparently, Facebook is now listening (if they haven't been all along).

What will change? How fast?

We'll see.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Google Doodle is Functional ! (Updated)

It's probably a safe bet to say that most of us missed the fact that Google's latest front page 'doodle' is functional!

Many of us noticed the PacMan commemorative land on Google's front page yesterday.

This morning, I happened to have the speakers on .... and noticed the 'insert coin' button.

Ugh ... it works.

Well here goes another couple of HOURS.

..... and you guys thought Farmville was fun ....

Update: Due to the overwhelming response to Google's 30th Anniversary PAC-MAN Doodle, Google VP Marissa Mayer today announced on the Official Google Blog that the PAC-MAN page is being made available permanently at !

Just great stuff.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Google Is Missing a Huge Audience

Over the past months (and years), Google has introduced TONS of new products.

Those of us that read the tech news each day (or more likely visit Techmeme a couple of times a day for a quick take) have seen those announcements, along with those from competitors.

So many 'products', in fact, that you pretty much need a scorecard to keep tract of what the Internet seach giant is up to next.

So, I revisited my very simple Facebook theory and have a very (very) simple suggestion for Google.



Sure, Google has their own platform for that.  It's huge ...

... but it's not enough.

Just do the Jay Leno thing, walk down the street and ask anyone (who's not in tech) what Google is ... or better yet ... to name just five Google products.

A vast majority of people will answer 'What you type in to', 'A Search Place', 'The Internet', and for the more active crowd 'A Search Engine'.

Absurd?  Try it.

I'm NOT implying that people are dumb (at all).  What I'm saying is that MOST people spend a little time on the Internet (and you can bet some of that time is on Facebook - revolution or not), and more time watching TV or listening to the radio (whether they own an iPod or not).

To the best of my recollection, Google has run ONE (very expensive) TV ad.  It hit a huge audience, was pretty cruddy and in all honestly, was probably a waste of stockholders money.

Google even has the tools to target audiences.  More importantly, so-called mainstream advertising is CHEAP by any measure right now.  National, local and even ... ugh ... newspapers??!!

Really ... People still read them.

So every time Google introduces a Beta, all of us 'early adopter' types jump in.  We're part of Google's unpaid evangelist program (as you would be for Twitter, Facebook, Apple or anyone else if you wrote about them).

Google 2010.

Competitive products with Microsoft and yes, Apple (and many others).

Microsoft and Apple advertise in the 'old world' of advertising ... a lot.

Google has numerous refined products that work just fine.  The only one that is just beginning to reach a reasonable broad acceptance level is Gmail.  In many cases, it's not about the cool, built-in features, it's more about people wanting to be cool and part of the 'Google thing'.

That may be old to us but it's very real.

So, I respectfully submit to Mountainview.  It's not just about the code.  It's not just about the whiz kids from Stanford or pacifying Wall Street.

It's about marketing.  Clever marketing.

Google ..... You're overdue.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Microsoft Launches Site to Explain the New Hotmail

It's been in the headlines for a while.

Microsoft's Hotmail is about to go through a pretty radical change.

As with Facebook and so many other changes, my guess is that most users will find out which the switch is pulled.

Some will like it. Some won't.

Most won't because as much as we like to think we're not, MOST people are highly resistant to change.

Microsoft has launched an interactive preview page for those interested in learning more.

The campaign is call 'the New Busy' and the website can be found here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Finally - Faster Code for Google Analytics!

Recently, Google announced that page speed would be one of the factors built in to their ranking algorithm (The code that Google uses to decide how high your website or blog appears in their search results).

Somewhat ironically, one of the things that has been slowing things down (at times) has been Google's own analytics code, which is used by a huge base of large and small websites.

In reality, the amount of websites that 'load the code' each day (each minute?) is enormous and some credit goes to Google for most keeping the program alive and well ... and pretty fast .... most of the time, but there have been complaints.

Google Analytics is getting faster.

Announced today, the embedded code is changing to a new 'asynchronous tracking code' (that came out of beta just last week). It's available now ..... and Google is urging website owners to switch as soon as possible.

More information and instructions on changing your site (and making rendering a little quicker!) can be found here.

Google Turns Up the Volume on Google Wave (Updated)

When Google Wave was first introduced, the clammering (begging?) for an 'invite' was at a fever pitch for well over a week.

It was a classic Google Preview launch with all the buzz and mystery that surrounded it but it seemed like anyone and everyone that had anything to do with tech wanted 'in'.

I made a few posts to Friendfeed and Twitter offering invites and the list just kept growing as Google kept increasing my invites.  One interesting note was a request from an ex-Googler (I guess he wasn't invited to the 'party' ?! :).

This morning, the Official Google Enterprise Blog announced that Wave is now open to everyone, essentially adding a collaboration tool to Google Apps (while continuing to round out the Google interconnected ecosystem).

Want to try Wave?  All you need is a Google Apps Account. You can log in here.

The video posted this morning by Wave team is embedded below.

Update (Correction) - May 19,2010 12:30 PM ET As posted a short time ago on the Google Wave blog, it appears that Wave is now available to anyone with a Google log-in (This could get interesting).  Have one?
Try logging in to Wave here ... and here's another video from that post:

Update 2 - 1 PM ET - Google's Matt Cutts has embedded a live wave from Google I/O (with a link to Gina Trapani literally liveblogging the event, Danny Sullivan and others). Google's Adam Lasnik has posted some I/O wave links to Google Buzz as well.

Verizon Updates V Cast Media Manager Software

Verizon Wireless has updated their PC-based V Cast Music Manager software to enable compatibility with more phones.

The update is generally MUCH faster, and now supports the Droid, Motorola Devour, Drois Eris, Droid Incredible by HTC and many more.

(Note: Some phones are not yet listed on the Verizon Wireless website which is just being updated).

The free software, produced for Verizon by Smith Micro has been available for some time but only  supported Verizon's '3G multimedia' offerings. Many smartphones are now being included.

Features include import from Windows Media Player and iTunes, integrated access to Verizon's Media Store, image editing, CD ripping and burning, and more.

Important: Some phones will need an in-store update (even if they are OTA-compatible) in order to connect with the software.  Other phones should be checked at a store for the latest software updates - Numerous LG and other phones have updates that are available, solve many problem,s and were simply too large to deliver via OTA.

The original Media Manager page appears to be down as of this writing, or is being moved here.  Despite the latest recommendations, this version seems to run fine on Windows 7 Professional.

A Google search should bring you information on whether or not your phone has new software (store-only) available.  While you will find numerous updaters on manufacturers' websites, you run the chance of bricking your phone.  Most Verizon stores have the latest updates within 2-4 weeks of release.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Windows 7 Updates You Won't Find in Windows Update

There have been a variety of improvements and enhancements to Windows 7 since Microsoft's latest operating system went final and made it's appearance on store shelves.

Not all of them are obvious.  Factually, many are not in Windows Update.

Contrary to early speculation that 'XP mode' would be available to all in 'Service Pack 1', it arrived about 5 weeks ago as 3 separate downloads.

Be sure to check the system resources but you don't need hardware support or a special CPU anymore.

It's available in 3 download steps and works great using virtualization to deliver a Windows XP desktop when needed or desired.  More information can be found here.

Not actually part of Windows 7 but marketed heavily to users, the Windows Live suite of programs (Windows Live Mail, Windows Movie Maker, Family Safety, etc .... ) has gone through numerous upgrades. Some of them are significant.  One even effected a Microsoft Webcam I had.

The only way you'll see these improvements is to freshly download the suite or portions of it here.  The installer recognizes the libraries etc., that need to be updated, asks first ... then overwrites them.

Most obvious to me, but maybe not to some, were the occasional updates being delivered automatically (but separately) to the Windows Media Center.

Opening the Media Center this evening I not only noticed new features and new content but a freshened menu that now plays the current program translucently behind the menu (IE: You can channel surf with the video running in the same window background .... pretty neat :).

HD channels delivered full screen video on my laptop excellently (on a local 5 GB Internet connection) with no problem at all.  I haven't visited Media Center frequently enough, but that seems to be an improvement in buffering.

With Netflix, CBS, Rev 3 (Tekzilla) and more on-board (NCIS anyone?? :) .... a few more content deals and there's no doubt the PC version of Media Center could be (or already is) a viable competitor to iTunes (in some ways) and / or the recently enhanced Hulu.

If you haven't opened Windows Media Center recently, give it a try.

Overall, there's no doubt that if you're running a licensed copy of Windows 7, the improvements continue rolling out ...... whether it's compatibility, productivity or entertainment.

Technet and MSDN blogs getting update

Sometime this evening, comments will be turned off across all of Microsoft's MSDN and Technet blogs, as they all go through a simultaneous planned platform update.

They are not expected to return until May 24th.

The update was made know on May 10th on Sean Jenkins blog which all describes the changes that Microsoft is implementing.

I suppose the big question is ...

..... Will there be Facebook Like buttons?

(I couldn't resist ....)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Google Chrome and Firefox both Update for Developers

Yesterday, I posted a brief tweet about the latest update to Google's Chrome Web Browser.

Released in the 'dev channel', Chrome has now reached Version 6 and is not only quick, but VERY stable so far (on tests using several PCs al running Windows 7 Professional).

The update had been expected for well over a month but went live somewhat quietly on Thursday.

Recent reports show that Chrome is continuing to grow market share against Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Mozilla's Firefox and Apple's Safari (among others).

Earlier today, Firefox released what could be considered a significant update in their Beta channel .. now .... Firefox 3.6.4 Build 4.

The release comes just 11 days after the most recent 'Build 3'.

The new release addresses potential crashes when using plug-ins such as Apple Quicktime, Adobe Flash, and Microsoft Silverlight.  Numerous other stability and security fixes were added as well.

While the 'stable' version of Firefox remains at 3.6.3 on the main Firefox download page, it appears Mozilla is addressing ongoing concerns, not only about Firefox (and crashing on some systems) but also plug-in worries in general, (possibly even challenging Apple's outright refusal to incorporate Adobe Flash ?!).

Note: No response to numerous e-mails for comment earlier today.

Beta testers can find the new Firefox 3.6.4 Beta Build 4 for Linux, Mac OS X, and Windows in a variety of languages just posted here.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Facebook Meeting Could Be Just In Time

In recent weeks, I've been watching the Facebook 'privacy saga' continue, as the tech media and others continue to takes sides over Facebook's rapid switch from a somewhat 'closed' network to one that any search engine could index.

I wrote one post expressing what I found discussing it with others.

In recent weeks, I raised the subject of social media policies.  Many of us work under them.  Some are very strict.  Others simple .... yet potent.

I have no issue with social media policies.  Done right, it's a smart move by many companies.

So what's new?

In recent weeks, many companies have been re-visiting their social media policies, and, factually, many (more) are now outright blocking Facebook.  In many of these cases, I have to agree.  Segmented blocking by employees that shouldn't be surfing at work makes sense to me.  Facebook, by its very nature, could be an outright distraction.

The buzz around all of this could be enough to push companies that now permit cellphones to ban them as well.

Facebook needs to slow down and/or provide very visible notification (and simple instructions) to users on how to share ... and more importantly ... not to share .... depending on one's situation.

If you were using Friendfeed, you knew your stuff was public (or you had very simple controls to block it).

Applying Friendfeed-like logic to Facebook was wrong.  Even the bounce-to-the-top news feed change was confusing to many ... if not most users.

So, as some high-profile bloggers are closing their Facebook accounts while others are embracing the 'open' and explaining why it doesn't bother them, I for one am anxiously looking forward to what comes out of tomorrow's meeting.

Corporations and Governments around the world, I'm sure, are watching as well.

Apple Market Cap Closes In On Microsoft!

Apple is on a run.

Not only with the introduction (and mania) of the iPad, but it's stock is going wild.

A quick trip to Google Finance this morning delivered this picture (click to enlarge):

According to Wall Street, as of mid-day today, Apple's market cap was, by any measure, within shooting distance of Microsoft.  Shades of the 1980's ?

Market Cap is supposed to be a measure of a company's worth .... as determined by the markets.

Then again ... many of us remember when AOL got so huge they were able to acquire Time-Warner (possibly one of the worst corporate mergers in history).

Regardless, it is a fascinating chart.

Even if you don't trade, taking a look at P/E (price vs earnings), company debt, and particularly net profit of all of these companies.

An interesting and still unfolding story.

IBM's market cap exceeds Google today.  Adobe is trading at 51 times earnings (Buyout anyone??). 

Only two of the tech leaders show zero debt .... Google and Apple.

I know who I'm betting on towards the FOURTH quarter.  I'm (very) curious who you are.

Feel free to chime in here, on Twitter, Friendfeed, Google Buzz or wherever you like.

The hyper-change in Tech continues!  Just amazing stuff.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Conan Does Google (Video)

For those of you who missed it on the Internet, Conan O'Brien made a stop at the Googleplex on Wednesday.

He was interviewed on stage (sort of :) by Google VP of Engineering Vic Gundotra.

If you're a Conan fan (like I am), you'll enjoy this.

The video is embedded below.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Google Turns Up the Buzz on ... ugh ... Buzz!

Google Buzz raised more than a few eyebrows when it launched a few months ago within the company's popular e-mail service Gmail.

The product introduction took many surprise as a micro-blogging service built within an e-mail service seemed scary to some and even proved to be a bit touchy in the beginning, to which Google very quickly responded, to their credit.

In my experience over the past few years, Google has been more responsive directly to users than any other major tech firm.  They actively solicit ideas and comments from users and many 'Googlers' directly interact with a variety of platforms including Buzz, Twitter, Facebook and more.

This very well could be a part of the company's success to date.

Just after the launch, the Buzz team went so far as to set-up their own account on Buzz and Dewitt Clinton and others post thoughts almost daily to the service (with comments open).

Matt Cutts, Adam Lasnik, Rick Klau and numerous others can be found 'buzzing' (and also tweeting) on any given day.  Google VP Marissa Mayer has also been answering tweets, although not quite as often, on both Buzz and Twitter. There are many others.

The point is that Google really does want to know what YOU think.  You don't have to be 'net famous' or be a resident of Silicon Valley.  In fact, all it takes is a visit to Google Product Ideas if you want to suggest something to Mountainview.

Earlier today, after numerous tweaks to Google Buzz to continue to improve the product (and put the privacy fears at bay), the Buzz team added more features (and value), some as a direct result of user input.

1) You can now comment by e-mail, using almost any e-mail product or service.

2) It's now possible to view entire photos albums from Picasa Web Albums or Flickr within Buzz (pretty neat!).

What becomes apparent, at least to me, is that Google is now taking a two-prong approach to their audience.

The company, for the most part up until this past year, derived most of it's audience by indexing others content and very typically leading you off one of their services (most notably Google Search) to another spot on the Internet.  With numerous projects now in place, many of which are 'talking' to each other, Google is also embracing the more traditional web experience by keeping you logged in and 'on site'.

In reality, Google makes most of their money by taking you somewhere else (via Adsense or DoubleClick) and puts a huge amount of resources into relevant indexing of the Internet.  That huge task continues.

On the other hand, there's no doubt that Google would much rather have you logged-in and 'hanging out' within a 'Google ecosystem', while promoting their partners and other products, than losing YOUR online time to services that seem to be out to change to way you use the Internet.

Did someone say Facebook?

What does matter is that Google is trying numerous ways to grow (and maintain) their audience, monitoring the results, and most importantly, consistently reaching out to everyone, directly and indirectly.  A quality that, I think differentiates the company from Microsoft and others.

Your thoughts, here or off-site on Buzz, Twitter, Friendfeed, Facebook or wherever are always welcome.

Have a GREAT weekend!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Google Wave Updates Extension Interface

Earlier today, the big news from Mountainview was a new look for several of the most-visited Google pages including the main search page, the news page, and more.

A few minutes ago, Google announced an enhancement to Google Wave making extensions more visible, searchable, and easier to use.

Google made a big splash with Wave (ugh ...) with their now infamous 'invite only' mysterious introduction promo, but many have since abandoned the service (while others have continued to participate and/or watch it's progress).

The problem?  As with many other web-based offerings, and despite a decent user interface, it wasn't out-of-the-box simple to embrace.

..... despite the fact that it offered a variety of very, very useful features (Can anyone say Friendfeed?).

You had to take the time to 'learn' the service and discover it's intricacies.  In today's times, that could spell sudden death for a start-up service, Google-branded or not.

A few moments ago, the Wave team announced that they are making it easier to discover and use the many extensions for Wave that have been developed both internally and by developers.

It's also a graphical one-step process to start a new wave:

Have an idea for an extension?  You can submit it here.

More information on the latest Google Wave improvements can be found in the post by David Byttow of the Google Wave Team here.

Internet Explorer Preview 9 Shows Improvement

Earlier today a friend was kind enough to post my thoughts here on the just released Internet Explorer 9 Preview 2.

As many of you know, I take a lot of pride in what appears here and the previous post needs to be revisited.

A short time ago, I re-tested Microsoft's preview on a box with significantly more system resources.

In many ways, it IS impressive and certainly a step in the right direction.  I honestly missed some of the features on the first run, and it is, in some ways, already actually better than IE8.

Some thoughts for all of us to ponder ...

1) Do we want to revisit the IE / Netscape standards wars ... ?  I think not.
2) Is Adobe's Flash dead?  No chance.
3) Will Google's Chrome continue to grab market share? For now, positively.
4) Is Firefox headed for trouble?  Doubtful.  Should Google pull their funding (which is also doubtful), someone will move right in ... IE: Microsoft, maybe IBM or even another company that absolutely nobody expects (Think Mass-Media?? ... Comcast??).

The convergence is here.  Some will use their game consoles .. others PCs or Macs ... and still others, iPads, Mobile, and other devices.  All will output to small, medium or large screens depending on the purpose and/or entertainment.  The Internet will drive them but client software will remain alive and well ... for a long time.

The biggest threat to all of this is website spam and hackers.  A coordinated effort to help thwart attacks on the Internet and derail malware, by the entire industry (or as the case may be ... industries) is needed NOW.

The players need to work together, in harmony, to retain the sanctity of the Internet.  Here in the US ... and around the world.


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Microsoft Fires at Direct Shot - at Google

Yesterday, we highlighted an enhanced version of Google's Chrome Browser available in the beta channel.

As mentioned, the release came just one day after statistics were released that Internet Explorer was losing market share ... not to Firefox ... but to Chrome.

A few things to consider.

1) If you visit Google's home page in IE and/or you have any Google programs loaded on your computer, there's a very good chance you're going to see an invite to try Chrome :

2) The recent EU - Microsoft settlement is now clearly giving users a choice in many countries.

3) Chrome is lightweight to begin with, which very simply means it should launch and run faster on older PC's with limited system resources (and there is no version of IE for the Linux audience. Small, yet potent).

The increase in Chrome usage probably was expected.

With all of that to be considered, this morning, Microsoft released the second preview of their next generation browser, IE9.  It's a simple preview, the Flickr search is cool ... but not much else ... yet?

The complete explanation can be found here.  The download is here.

Our previous post is here.  Does this graph look familiar??

If nothing else, one thing has become clearer than ever during 2010 so far.

Despite partnerships in some areas ... Microsoft, Apple, Google, and yes Facebook are at war (in a big way) and at a pace that we haven't seen in tech .... ever.

It'll be great for the consumer.  It remains to be seen how great it'll be for the companies' bottom lines.

Updated March 5, 2010 6 PM ET

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 Updates - Gets Even Better (Oh .. and its Free)

There are probably 5 or 6 freeware programs that I've written about more than any others over the past years. is one of them.

As I was loading a free copy of Windows 7 today, I downloaded a variety of programs and noticed that had upgraded once again, adding features and solving a few problems.

It's notable that they are also following Microsoft in the way of support.  Windows XP SP2 is out with this version but XP SP3 as well as Windows 7 are supported.

Microsoft originally funded the program and it continues to be maintained by a group of the alumni that started it (although it is noteworthy that they have monetized the website with ads .... guess donations were down ?!).

Regardless, this absolute free, and at least for now, spyware and adware-free gem is a lot closer to Photoshop that it is to Microsoft Paint, even the new version of Paint built in to Windows 7 (which isn't shabby :).

I test drove it earlier in the week and found the latest version (3.5.5) 'nice' as expected in both XP3 and Windows 7.

You can grab a copy here.

New Chrome Beta 5 Rocks the Clock

A couple of hours ago, Google announced a new version of their Google Chrome web browser.

It was released today released in the 'beta channel'.

For those that haven't yet discovered Chrome, it's available in 3 flavors ...stable, beta and also a developer version.

This time, it's a huge leap.

Just one day after several major tech blogs reported that Chrome has made more headway into taking market share from Microsoft's Internet Explorer, this new release adds the benchmark 'Version 5' signifying a major upgrade.

It's mostly about speed and standards .... and for the first time, released simultaneously for Windows, Mac and Linux.  Actually, it's a LOT about speed:

The graphs tell the story for V8 and SunSpider .... but there's more.

Perhaps, one very loud signal in this release is initial integration and autodates of Adobe's Flash Player, a format which last week Steve Jobs completely dismissed for use in the iPhone or iPad (again), this time followed by some similar comments from Microsoft.

(I suppose it's worth noting here that while supporting HTML5 and it's proposed codecs for video, Google has spend a lot of work with Adobe to make Flash files easier to index (IE: SEO), an ongoing project for quite some time).

It doesn't stop there.  The new version (which is being used to write this post and so far looks great in both Windows 7 and XP3), includes bookmark sync, numerous HTML5 additions, GeoLocation APIs, web sockets, drag and drop capabilities and more.

You can find out more in the video below, visit the Google Chrome blog here ... or just go ahead and download it here. (Note:  Windows 7 user may find they have to offload their current install of Chrome first).

It's just impressive.  Period.