Amendment to the Bill of Rights

I hereby suggest that my country’s Bill of Rights be amended. If the Bill of Rights is about freedom then there is one amendment seriously lacking (no offense to our forefathers they could not have seen this coming). Freedom of browser, web browser that is. I am not one of those open source fanatics that insists you only use Firefox or Opera but I do insist you allow me the right to choose my browser and have your site work correctly in it.

Gone are the days of only one name in the game. It is time for the web-so-called-masters to wake up. Code to web standards and not only will your site work in the browser of my choice but it can be accessible by all. It isn’t that hard to do. Why on earth would you limit the audience you are trying to reach? Are you that ignorant to think that only Internet Explorer is the only choice out there? Come to the Howard County Library and you’ll find it isn’t even an option. We prefer a much more secure (but not completely invulnerable) Firefox, Flock or Opera. Try convincing all the Mac users out there that use Safari or Firefox on their Macs. If you still think that IE is the only game in town you haven’t been looking lately.

I am completely frustrated by sites that “work best in ….” or “must use Internet Explorer only” (like the Baltimore County web site).   If properly coded your site will work best in ANY BROWSER!  I find it insulting that in this day and age of enlightenment and choice there are still those who think that limiting a site to a browser (or god forbid an operating system) is making the right choice.  Keep on making sites that only work in one browser and I’ll (among others) will keep not using your site.

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Endangered Species

I don’t like to think that another species might be in trouble of surviving on this planet but this time it might be a good thing.  Internet Explorer, all versions, are in serious danger from the latest unpatched security hole.  IE is no longer the only beast of the jungle nor is it the best.  Firefox still has better security and functions much better than IE.  You also have other contenders such as Google’s Chrome (love how if a website for whatever reason crashes your browse it only takes the tab with it not the whole browser), Flock (the social browser), and Opera among others.   Time has come for the ol’ IE to move along to the great browser graveyard in the sky.


Digg!

Windows? I Ain’t Got No Windows!

I don’t need no windows! I don’t have to show you any stinkin’ windows!” to continue to parody what I learned is the one of the most misquoted movie lines from the movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Over the last 3 months or so I’ve been a dual operating system kind of gal.  Not a dual boot but 2 CPU’s with 2 different OS on them.  Considering that we are an open source shop you’d be surprised to learn that I used Windows OS at all.  Because I had to use a client based ILS that only ran on Windows I was stuck.  But with our upcoming migration to Koha, an open source web-based ILS, I’ve been able to switch over to using Ubuntu (like the rest of my co-workers).

At first I found myself swiveling my chair between the Windows PC on my right and the Ubuntu machine in front of me.  Then I realized more and more I wasn’t moving from the machine in front of me.  Other than the times I need to look something up in the ILS client (e.g. customer account) or if I have to use PhotoShop (sorry, haven’t taken time to learn GIMP yet) most of the day my Windows machine stays unused.

I have my beloved Firefox, Thunderbird, Flock, and OpenOffice on the Ubuntu machine.  I have Meebo, Staff Intranet (using Joomla), DeskNow (collaborative email/file sharing/calendar software), FriendFeed, Facebook, Flickr, other Web 2.0 sites and our soon to be new ILS all in the browser of my choice.  I have TwitterFox, web developer toolbar, Stumbleupon toolbar and colorful tabs as some of my Firefox addons.  I’m in heaven on my Ubuntu machine.  Only thing I miss about my Windows machine is I had dual monitors hooked up to it.  Just need to find another monitor and I’ll be set.

What is really amazing is how quickly one can adapt if one has to or wants to.  I honestly could not help someone with an Word/PowerPoint/Excel question if I tried.  I can’t remember the last time I used them.  Ask me how to do it OpenOffice and I can pretty much answer them or at least find out how by going to Solveig Haugland’s great blog, OpenOffice.org Training, Tips and Ideas.  I had a staff member ask me about her home pc which is running on Windows XP and she uses Internet Explorer as her browser.  I haven’t used IE in years!  I was struggling to remember just where something was located on the menu bar.  I could easily tell her how to do it on Firefox.  It is amazing – you get used to what you use.  If I had remained on Windows I would have seen Linux as being a hard thing to convert to – now that I’ve been converted it wasn’t that hard at all to switch.

Do I miss Windows?  No, because the operating system shouldn’t be what’s important.  With more and more being about web-based solutions to issues the concern should be with the browser.  Do I miss Internet Explorer?  Heck No!  Matter of fact I think you do yourself and your customers/users a huge disservice to tie yourself with one operarting system, one browser.  People love choice.  If you are writing for the web you need to adhere to web standards so that your site can work in the browser of my choice (or anyone’s choice).

I can’t wait for the day that I can cut the cord to my Windows machine completely.

Shiney But With Substance

Today Google announced their latest coup d’etat – Chrome. Some have denounced it without even being to download it (this was prior to the Noon PDT launch time). To those I say that’s right up there with judging a book by it’s cover. Some equated Google with Microsoft. To those I say, HUH?! How on earth can you compare a company that is strictly proprietary to one that embraces open source with it’s latest and coolest product? Some have complained because it doesn’t have a plugin for this or that. To those I say time will tell. But if I were a gambling woman I’d put my money on Google.

For me personally, it is my browser of choice on my Windows machine at work. If they had launched it today as Linux compatible it would be my browser of choice at both work and home. I think that is a pretty good endorsement that after 30 minutes of playing with it (what a fast download that imported everything from Firefox for me lickety-split) I decided I could do without my colored tabs in Firefox (and other plugins) or my social networks in Flock.

Why you might ask would I be so willing to give up my favorite 2 browsers for Chrome which is still in beta and does have a few flaws? 2 reasons – open source and the amazing fact that if a site should crash my browser it will now ONLY crash that tab and not the whole browser. That alone is enough to make me switch. But you add to the fact that it’s an open source browser and I’m sold.

I’m sure I’ll run into something that doesn’t work just right but I’m willing to hang in there with Chrome as Google has yet to disappoint me.

Kudos to the gang at Google. They have created the next generation of browsers that everyone will be emulating in weeks, months, years to come.

Edit – and if my opinion of it isn’t enough….there is already a listing of the 7 Really Awesome Things About Chrome

Edit part II – ah, the first real problem arises.  But then every new product has to go through growing pains.  Thanks to Michael Sauers for Digg-ing this.

Flock Me Baby One More Time

Cool news from the folks at Flock – Flock2 is released and it has the Mozilla’s Firefox 3 technology to thank. We liked Flock so much that we’ve added it to our new staff and public computer images. So now folks here will have a choice of Firefox or Flock (and possibly Opera).

I love how Flock keeps track of everything for me and I don’t have to have a tab open for Twitter, a tab opened for Facebook, a tab open for my RSS feeds, a tab opened for YouTube, a tab opened for Pownce…..you get the picture. I use the side bar and then leave the main part of my browser for what I need it to do.

Thank you Flock folks…I’m still in love.

I think I’m in Love

To borrow a line from Eddie Money…I think I’m in love!

Thanks to Librarian in Black posting about PC World’s 100 Best Products for 2008 I’ve discovered a new love. Flock – a social web browser. Now I can log into a Flock-supported social network such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, or Twitter and see all my peeps in a side bar. It allows me to keep track of many social networking sites all in one browser (which is powered by Mozilla – and is available for Linux, Mac and Windows). Flock supports the following sites:

You can also get your RSS feeds available all in one spot but having that along with my social network, favorite media and sites makes this new browser near and dear to this social networking gal’s heart. Now to that I have Flock setup I can go back and read the rest of the 99 top products.