We Fix Your Gadgets

FixGadgets is a computer service and support company located in Central New York. We offer support for computer problems and service for computer upgrades. We can be reached any time of the day at 631.680.7844 or fixgadgets@gmail.com

Friday, June 16, 2006

Samsung SyncMaster 19" LCD for $130

This is a Tony The Tiger G-R-R-R-E-A-T deal on a Samsung LCD that I found over at dealbundle, yet another web2.0 company. The LCD sells for $349 at Office Depot but by combining 3 rebates (yes count em' 1, 2, 3) for a combined discount of $220. That means that you get this 19" LCD for the cool price of $130, no questions asked.

You'll have to act quickly though because the offer is only valid until July 1st and with such a great price I can't imagine this will stay in stock for much longer. Between this and the free memory stick I posted earlier I don't know how these companies can make a profit. Oh yeah that's right, they hire cheap child labor overseas, that's how.

Happy shopping!

Thursday, June 15, 2006

512 MB Memory Stick Pro Duo for free

I thought that if I couldn't provide you guys with posts for the next few days the least I could do was tell you about this great deal that's going on a Best Buy and Circuit City.

Go here and get the coupon then get to your local (or not so local) Best Buy or Circuit City as fast as you can. I don't think these memory sticks will last very long. I had to stop at Best Buy to return a router and was able to get the free stick (they only had 3 left at the Best Buy in Ithaca, NY). I'm tempted to go back and buy the rest for my friends.

Best Buy sells the stick for $20, and the coupon is for up to $25 off a 512MB Memory Stick ($20 - $20 = FREE). In a world where nothing is free, I can truthfully say that this memory stick is in every meaning of the word F-R-E-E. It works with the Play Station Portable (PSP), some digital cameras, and hopefully the PS3.

The offer seems legit as the coupon is directly posted on SanDisk's website and it worked for me. The coupon also mentions that it can be used for online purchases (not sure if that's true) and if no,t you can always check the stock of items at Best Buy by going to their website. I hope everyone is able to get their hands on at least one of these!

The Reasons Windows Vista Keeps Getting Delayed

This is an update to a post I wrote not too long ago. An employee at Microsoft working on Vista wrote on his blog about why delays with large software projects are inherent.

The blog entry from the manager of developer teams at Microsoft cites several reasons why Vista has been delayed, among which are "the code is too complicated", "poor organizational decision-making", and "ignorance as to a proper estimation of software schedules".

Maybe this is just another attempt by Microsoft to release press (indirectly) explaining to us why Vista is late. I wonder if he received any money for posting this. Probably not because the original post has now been deleted.

The original post from the manager's site has been pulled down and this might indicate that someone from PR at Microsoft caught wind of it and issued an immediate order to the employee (although the Microsoft blogger claims this isn't so, "This was originally posted a week ago, and yanked of my own volition"). Thanks to wonderful Internet technology, the original page has been mirrored by Digg and can be found here.

Microsoft's projects that Vista will be officially released in January 2006 (here) but we'll have to wait and see if this comes true. Until then, there is the public beta which you can find here.

Not Much Going On Here For The Next Few Days

As the title describes it, there won't be much going on here for the next few days as I will be busy at the office taking care of some big jobs that need to get done. Sorry for the disappointing news and I'll try to check in and post some stuff if I have a few spare minutes.

In the mean time you might consider passing the time by playing some games. The good sport that I am, I rounded up a couple of sites that will keep you busy for at least a few minutes.

If that doesn't do it, you can always take this NERD quiz. I scored a 9, so according to them I'm 'normal'. If anyone scored a 17+ let me know because you should be writing this blog instead of me.

I always enjoy listening to a couple of idiots discuss complex subjects. In this case you'll have to read it but its still just as funny. I think my favorite is the discussion on "Hydrogen as a fuel source".

If reading isn't your thing and you're bored at work then try this video:

Hopefully this all will keep you busy while I'm away. If you still aren't satisfied, send me an email (fixgadgets@gmail.com) and I will find something for you, personally.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

15th Worst Tech Ever - Iomega Zip Drive

I still own a Zip Drive and occasionally use one but the writer's at PC World think that it's one of the worst tech gadgets ever created (number #15 on the list in fact). I disagree and so do a lot of other people. Now you might argue that a Zip drive is antiquated by today's standards but back in the day, the zip drive was accessible and everyone (I knew) had one.

While some people I knew had CD-burners back in the day (mid 90's), the burner was big (the size of a computer) and very expensive. Zip drives were more accessible to the general population and made it very easy to swap large files.

I first heard about this shameful list from Retro Thing, a blog on gadgets from the past. The people who run Retro Thing, Canadians from Western Canada, have also expressed their belief that the Zip Drive was a great gadget.

The Zip Drive was great for me for two reasons:
  1. I archived my work on them
  2. I was able to transfer large files to co-workers

I'm saddened by the fact that the writers at PC World don't share the same love that many of us have had for our Zip Drives and as one commenter pointed out:

"It's interesting that the same author put the Zip drive on the 15 worst
list and also on the 50 greatest tech gadets of the past 50 years. So which is
it to be Dan Tynan? You can't think something is the best and then think it is
also the worst? make up your mind."

All I can say is that what freedom is all about, saying things even when they don't make sense. What gadgets do you guys have a love/hate relationship with?

bk_keywords:external drive, zip drive, cd burner.

MSN's results fed by humans

MSN is hiring you and your friends to hand craft search engine results when a particular query doesn't yield good enough results. According to a job posting on MSN's website, you will be working with approximately 132 other handcrafters (that's what they call them).

I can imagine the MSN Search commercial now. One huge rack server in a white room with lots of lights flashing on the front of it. An MSN tour group enters the room and the guide says, "This is the core of MSN Search". She leads the group around the server so they can get a closer look. One portly man in the back comments, "Its not plugged in!".

The guide calmly responds, "MSN Search doesn't operate on conventional power. MSN results are powered by humans like you and me." She then proceeds to open the 'backdoor' to the server and to our amazement, the inside is filled with many cubicles of people running around like mad to find search results. One person escapes from the server enclosure and the tour guide stomps on them like a bug and tells the rest of the 'hive' to get back to work at which point she closes the door to the server and the commercial fades to black. Words fade up in white with the MSN logo, "MSN Search. Powered by HandCrafters". I would love to see someone spoof this job ad in a commercial.

If you are familiar with 3+ search engines (can one of them be Google?), are well versed in English, and can type more than 149 words/minute you're a perfect match. I certainly can't type 149 words/minute or more, can anybody else reading this? I don't think I'm ready to quit my day job just yet.

AdSense Here, There, Everywhere!

Yaro Starak at Entrepreneur's Journey has written a great article about AdSense invasion on many sites. The issue at hand is how difficult it is getting to distinguish real content from Ad Sponsored content.

The problem with sites is how many ads they include in their content. On top of this, the ads are not located in one place but dispersed over the whole page and even mixed in the main information on the page. The purpose of course is to increase revenue but the question is, a what cost?

Many people see $$$ with AdSense and other Ad networks. Some sites make money by confusing the people browsing into clicking ads they believe to be genuine content. This is great for the publisher's bank account but at what point does the level of frustration get too high and users begin to turn away?

To help support my writing I do place ads on this site. But the only place the ads are located are on the right sidebar of every page. I do not want the content of the site to be garbled by ads. Let me know if you guys have any suggestions or comments regarding them.

The biggest problem Yaro has is that many people searching for a quick buck are building sites with no interest in the content whatsoever. Unfortunately, I don't think the problem will ever fully go away. But mine and Yaro's message to web publishers out there is to make your motivation about the content and not the money. Keep in mind that people are coming to you for information and if poorly done ads can hurt it.

Controversial list on Top 10 Tech-Savvy Rockers

BusinessWeek has published an article online citing the ten most tech-savvy rock stars. While the list has some interesting entries to real question is, is this a marketing ploy to promote these bands and the products they use or does the author really think that endorsing a tech product makes them the most tech savvy.

I wouldn't even begin to knock Bono from U2 as I'm sure that many fans would attack me for it. I'm sure Bono is quite tech savvy, I always enjoy his comments on apple products.

But where do the rest of these people come from? Most of the things that make these people tech savvy are choices made by their managers to bring in additional sources of revenue (by endorsing the products). How did the writer even decide that these people are tech savvy? Did he open the latest issue of People or US weekly and pick some names out?

So in proper fashion I've created my own list of tech-savvy rockers that everyone can contribute to. Here are some contributions people have already made:

If you can, when you submit a name try to give a link to a story as reasoning why that person should be included.

What do Search Engines See?

Working on websites or just surfing them don't you wonder what the search engine sees? Unlike humans, search engines sort information very systematically and how they sort your information on your blog or website is important to how it eventually gets ranked. All of this is part of a major field called Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Many people blog about SEO and there are discussions all over the net on how to best optimize your site to be recognized and ranked by search engines. Part of the difficulty of SEO is understanding how your site is viewed by the spider, the machine that 'crawls' your site.

Thanks to Donna Perry we don't have to wonder anymore. She has created a tool that will crawl your web page and report what it finds. Its very surprising to see your website stripped of all of its formatting. It makes you realize that proper formatting and layout is key to the spider understanding your content. If you have a site of your own, this tool is very useful!

Monster USB Splitter (16+ ports)

Have you run out of USB ports on your computer? This is the gadget for you. From what I can tell the device is a 16 (or more) port USB hub with built-in power supply. I wonder how this guy was able to accomplish this amazing feat?

Regardless, I think its finally time to build my USB flash drive from individual 4GB pen drives. I wonder if there is a way to compile the individual drives into one 64GB drive on my desktop. I'll have to do some research. But you might run into trouble if someone steals one of the pen drives. I guess I'd need to build a lockable clear enclosure as well.

No word on if this item is for sale or even a post on how to build one.

bk_keywords:usb hub, pen drive, flash drive.

The Future of Cell Phones According to Nokia

T3, the world's #1 gadget magazine, is reporting about Nokia's exhibition of futuristic mobile phones by design students at London's Central Saint Martin's College of Art and Design. The Finnish mobile phone manufacturers teamed up with design students to get their opinion on what the next generation of mobile phones should be like (who better to ask then the target demographic who will buying them).

The designs are on public exhibition until June 16th. The ideas range from handsets made from recycled material, phones that double as photo frames, and even a phone that can be setup to perform surveillance (above).

Some of these ideas are very innovative but I doubt we'll be seeing them anytime soon. These designs are projections of possible fifth-generation products which are speculated to be released in 2015, nearly a decade wait time. Now I know that manufacturers like to get our attention early but I don't think I can wait that long to get my hands on one of these.

I think that many manufacturers of electronics are catching on to what the automotive industry has known for years. While we may never see these prototypes released, there are definitely features that will leak their way into modern day phones as the technology to accomplish it emerges.

bk_keywords:mobile phone, cell phone, pda.

Spring cleaning ... joy!

Now I like a tidy blog just like the next person but sometimes I have to pull my own teeth just to get myself to clean things. A while back I added some social bookmarking links to the foot of every post to make it easier for people to track what I'm writing. Well just like too many cooks in the kitchen can spoil the soup, too many social bookmarking links can give everyone a headache.

If you have seen my website before today I had about 20-30 icons below every post that linked to individual bookmarking services. So to give everyone a break, myself included, I have compiled all of the bookmarking service with the exception of the top 4 (Digg, Del.icio.us, Reddit, and Technorati) into a single pull-down menu. The top 4 sites will still have an icon displayed under each post. This should help remove a lot of the clutter and also help the page to load faster. If you think I have missed a service let me know and I'll be glad to add it.

One other feature I have added are post abstracts. From now on, if a post is longer than 2-3 paragraphs it will be abstracted and only a portion will be displayed on the main page. This should also help to improve page load times.

If you have any comments about the changes I have made or think other changes should be made please post a comment below.

Thanks for your patience while I'm cleaning up, I'll be back to posting shortly!

Most useless gadget of the week ... The mouse mouse

No this isn't a type. After finding this latest gadget I have decided to start a new weekly post on the most useless gadget of the week (left).

Tired of your boring old computer mouse?

Do you want to spruce up your computer setup with a unique mouse inspired computer mouse?

Well then this is the gadget for you. The computer mouse is gray and has the face of a mouse painted on it with two pink ears that I'm guessing serve as buttons and a click wheel situated right between them. Best of all, these mice don't use the latest laser/optical technology but instead have a small ball inside like the old style mice. Having a ball based mouse should help make your headshots in CounterStrike or Halo all that more accurate.

Don't worry about not having a free USB port to plug in your mouse because this bad boy (or girl) doesn't use it. Instead the makers opted for the traditional PS/2 connector to be fully backwards compatible.

The best part about this mouse is that you can own it for the low low price of $3.24 (US). Unfortunately, it seems that the vendor is all out of stock currently so you'll have to wait for more until you can order. This is definitely going on my holiday list for must have gadgets.

And while I'm at it I think I'll get the whole set. Yes you read correctly, this isn't a one of a kind mouse. This bad boy belongs to a family of animal inspired mice so if mice aren't your thing, you can buy one that looks like any animal you'd find at the zoo plus more!

The varieties of animal inspired mice range from frogs to pandas to Pikachu to even pigs and donkeys. Don't believe me? See for yourself:

In case you missed the link before, click here to go directly to the vendor that sells these wonderful mice or whatever you call them. That does it for this weeks most useless gadget post. Let me know if you've come across any other really useless gadgets while surfing the net.

[Update: I don't think mice are useless. Mice are very useful. I am using a mouse right now. The design and selling point of the mouse is what I'm pointing out as useless.]

bk_keywords:computer mouse, keyboard, kids toy.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Prevent Shoulder Crick with Shouldercool

Have annoying shoulder pain from spending way too much time on the computer?

Is your computer setup not ergonomic?

Cherycom, a Korean company is offering up something to relieve your crick. The Shouldercool {left) is an ergonomically designed mouse pad and arm rest to alleviate any crick that might develop from using a mouse for extended periods of time.

According to the company, when people stand upright naturally, the palm of the hand turns toward the body. But when people use a mouse, the palm is forced to turn downwards causing a misalignment of the ligament and muscle in the shoulder. When the misalignment is prolonged, it can present itself as a crick or pain.

Cherycom designed the Shouldercool to form a sloped mouse pad unlike traditional flat mouse pads. The tilted mouse pad helps to maintain the natural posture by turning the palm towards the body. Because helping solve a major ergonomic problem isn't enough, the device also includes Gold-plated conductor material to absorb harmful electro-magnetic (EM) waves that are generated by the monitor. The skeptics are still out on this feature.

No word on how much this special mouse pad will set you back and I can't seem to find any information about this company on the net. More pictures of the device are below.

bk_keywords:mouse, mouse pad, keyboard.

Google Sketchup - 3D modeling for FREE!

It seems that we can't go a day without another release from Google. I also can't seem to stop myself from reporting about it. Not too long ago, startup-eating-giant Google acquired yet another company. The company, SketchUp has been offering a dual-platform easy-to-learn 3D modeling program for years. It enables the user to quickly draw almost anything in 3D.

The SketchUp motto is "Dream. Design. Communicate." and is what they hope to accomplish with their software. I remember using this software a few years ago for some computer aided design (CAD) drawings that I needed for a presentation. Back then, the software was only available for a Mac. Now the software is dual-platform so you can sketch 3D on a Mac or PC.

While you can get a 'free' copy of SketchUp, which I'm sure comes with an installation of the Google Toolbar, the free version doesn't come with the full suite of tools that version 5.0 Pro does. The free version - currently in Beta - does allow you to model and explore worlds in 3D. With a few simple tools, it is possible to draw houses, sheds, decks, and other simple projects.

The software is very easy to use and has an amazingly quick learning curve. Drawing a 3D shape is as simple as clicking the desired shape and pushing or pulling it to create the 3D geometry. A quick tutorial on SketchUp can be found here. After you're done drawing, you can export it to Google Earth, post them to the 3D Warehouse, or even print a hard copy.

So the next time you need to do anything, try Google first because their bound to own a software company that does exactly what you need. All joking aside, the SketchUp software is very good and the free version has some sophisticated features you won't be able to find anywhere else.

If you find the need for software that is approved for commercial use, SketchUp Pro 5 is available retail for $495.

Tired of automated phone systems, talk dirty to skip it

Interactive Voice Response (IVR) Systems will send you straight to a customer service rep if you just use a fowl word or two and you skip through all the annoying menus.

This story is according to Yahoo News who reports that many of the IVR systems installed across the nation will forward you directly to a customer service representative when they think you are talking dirty.

What defines talking dirty?
Well first the FCC has compiled a list they call the dirty 7. Examples include pi$$, fu#k, sh!t and some more obscene ones that I can't mention here. Apparently the list originated from comedian George Carlin who recorded a monologue entitled, "Filthy Words". The monologue was aired by a local radio station which the FCC caught whim of and immediate action ensued. Supposedly there are even more dirty words than the original 7 but I don't know anything about them ;).

Tired of pressing 7 to try to speak to a human when you call your cable company?
Well a database service called GetHuman is aiming to alleviate some of the stress you have when calling these big companies. The database has numbers for multiples companies so if verbally flipping off your insurance company doesn't work, try GetHuman.

Does this really work?
A pissed off customer tried to talk dirty and according to him it worked!
After calling a couple phone numbers with IVR systems and not having too much luck (I could have been saying anything, as long as it wasn't on their menu they were confused). But my third try did the trick. The IVR operator gave me a list of options, I said, "F*@#!" and he said: "I think you said you want to talk to a customer service agent. Is this correct?"
So the next time you find yourself in a maze of button pressing trying to get to a human, just remember that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so squeak away!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Top 10 Coolest Travel Gadgets

Whether your traveling for business or leisure, these gadgets should help make your life easier.

What are your favorite gadgets when traveling?

To help save you some time, the TechEBlog has compiled the top 10 coolest travel gadgets list for you.

The top 10 cover must have items like a hat with solar powered fan (for those long days on safari), a cell phone turned projector, a portable washing machine, a $9 MP3 player, and a Beerbelly.

You read correctly, the #2 must have travel gadget is the Beerbelly. Not the kind you get from drinking cases of beer and no exercise, but the kind you can fill with any liquid of your choice (preferably beer) and strap to your belly to conceal it. The Beerbelly holds up to 80 fluid oz. and will keep you hydrated, although if you're a woman you might have to fight off people wondering if your pregnant. The only problem you might have with the Beerbelly is if you already have one (a real beer belly that is).

The #1 coolest travel gadget is the Multifunctional Credit Card (above). Now you might be wondering what exactly 'multifunctional' means. In this gadgets it means a device that is the size of a credit card that can record video, has a built-in program to display discounts, acts as a remote control for any device, offers GPS, and even gaming with network support. That's a lot of features in a very small size, great things do come in small packages. The device even uses biometric fingerprint technology to authorize users. Now you're wondering where you can get this amazing device and I'll direct you to the designer for those questions.

So what are your favorite travel gadgets that you can't live without?

bk_keywords:ipod, blackberry, PDA, cell phone.

Google's Gbuy nears launch

Yet another spoke in the Google release wheel. Google's online payment system, Gbuy, is expected to launch June 28, further pitting the Internet giant against industry titan and rival eBay.

During the initial phase, Gbuy is expected to be free however merchants may eventually be charged 1.5 to 2 percent per-transaction as a fee for the service. This fee is slightly less than eBay and would certainly help to convert Papal users and further increase competition between the two Internet giants.

The system allows Google to gather data when users click on a merchant's Gbuy feature. The consumer is transferred to Google's Gbuy site, where they complete the transaction.

The benefit to Gbuy merchants is the ability to monitor which paid-search results users click on and which ones turn into actual sales. This aspect is especially important to internet advertisers interested in which categories bring the highest return on investment (ROI).

Merchants already involved in Gbuy's beta test are set to launch on June 28th. No further information has been released as to when Gbuy will be available as a public beta.

As someone who has used Paypal in the past, I can say that there is room for improvement. Paypal is by no means a bad service, I currently use it for my girlfriend's online store. There are certainly additional features that Google can bring to the table, that may increase Paypal's need to innovate.

When Gbuy is finally released to the public, I will be waiting to test it out.

Microsoft: Vista Downloads Maxing Out Net

Internet running slow? Well you can thank Microsoft for putting Vista Beta 2 for download on the net. This multi-gigabyte installer for the next-generation Vista operating system is in such high demand that there isn't enough bandwidth to supply it. Microsoft commented that they couldn't provide additional bandwidth for the download without impacting the Internet as a whole.

I wrote about the Vista Beta 2 public release here.

Microsoft is encouraging users to order a DVD copy of the software to help quell download demand for the software. There is also a torrent for the installer to ease the distribution.

You have to wonder whether Microsoft knew that the public release would cause this kind of reaction. Seems that they would have been better off releasing the file as a torrent to start as well as offering the DVD. After the initial demand subsided they could post the file on their site for direct download. Maybe this was all part of Microsoft's plan to make everyone realize how in demand Vista is. Then again maybe Microsoft didn't release Vista as a torrent because many copies of its software is illegally swapped on BitTorrent networks.

Hopefully the demand will subside in the next week and everyone can get back to life as usual.

Spyware explodes as virus writing declines

A survey from the Aladdin eSafe Business Unit reports that spyware has increased by 213 percent last year. This possibly reflects a change by malware programmers to more lucrative forms of programming. The study also shows that Trojans, standalone programs that make certain areas of your computer exposed to other Internet users, increased by 142 percent.

This is in contrast to viruses and worms that grew only by 47 percent over last year. The change of focus to spyware is increasingly important to Internet users as the software exposes critical information from computers. Behind this increase in spyware and trojans is a concentrated effort by criminals to steal identities and data.

An earlier study by Alladin estimated that 15 percent of all spyware are designed to steal passwords and log keystrokes. So what can we do? Some might say the most efficient solution is to stay off the Internet, but for many people that isn't an option.

The only other option is to get smart about spyware and malware. A group of MIT grads in San Francisco have teamed up to create a large database of sites that either have executables with spyware/adware or start spamming you with e-mail once you give them yours. They have integrated the database into extensions for Firefox and Internet Explorer so you can stay somewhat safe while browsing the internet.

McAfee, a popular antivirus and antispyware software manufacturer has performed a study on how safe results from major search engines are. All major search engines returned risky sites in their search results for popular keywords. They found that MSN search had the lowest percentage (3.9%) of dangerous sites while Ask search had the highest (6.1%) (Google was in between with 5.3%).

Some users have offered up their suggestions to avoid being attacked. One user on Digg simply stated:

  1. Don't use IE
  2. Don't put your email places, just because your going to win a free PSP

Two great suggestions that at their essence tells users to be careful of what software they use and to safeguard their private information. While an email is meant for people to contact you, you shouldn't go plastering it everywhere because it may get into the wrong hands.

In addition to changing your behavior, there are some decent tools (AdAware, Spybot, Windows Defender, ...) out there to protect you from spyware and help you remove it. My personal choice is AdAware, one of the first antispyware programs ever released. CNet reviewed and tested antispyware software and ranked number one in overall performance.

Another line of defense is to make sure you have popup blocker enabled on your web browser. Here are tutorials for IE and Firefox. Popup blockers can interfere with the functionality of some sites.

If you're still having trouble with spyware or want to learn more check out Google, just be careful what you click on it might install more spyware.

Delete locked files in Windows ... Why?

There have been some posts on Digg [1][2] about a new utility developed for Windows that allows users to remove restrictions on locked files. We have all encountered the infamous cannot delete folder/file message and are often forced to reboot to solve the problem. Sometimes rebooting doesn't even solve the problem.

Why does this happen? Windows is notorious for many things, excessively locking files being one of them. What really happens is that while reading meta-data in media files, Windows places a lock on the file to prevent a read error. On top of this, some other programs will also place locks on files and sometimes forget to release them when you are done.

What is the purpose of locking? Well, a file is locked specifically when it is being accessed but because of poor programming locks are sometimes forgotten and not reversed. Such a lock will prevent the user from moving, deleting, or sometimes editing the target file or folder.

While locking has prevented users from deleting or moving files in Windows Explorer, it is still possible to delete them the old fashioned way using the DOS command prompt. And when all else fails, programs have been made to allow for easy removal of unwanted locked files.

One such program, Unlocker, integrates with Windows and allows you to easily view the processes that have locked the file (below).

Click unlock all and all of file locks should be released and you should now be able to delete the file. Take note that Unlocker is not the only software out there to help you unlock files. Many of the programs out there are free and reviews of them are abundant. If you're interested in a review of Unlocker take a look at CNet.com.

My biggest concern with this sort of software is that inexperienced users can cause severe damage to Windows by unlocking and then deleting certain files. File locking is good in many cases because deleting a necessary file can cause a program or operating system to crash and possibly render it unrecoverable. If you are unsure about deleting a file, you are better off not deleting it or reading more about it before deleting it.

Ultimately, Operating Systems and programs implement these restrictions to prevent the users from damaging the computer and more often than not file locks are in place properly. If you are having a problem with a locked file, consult a computer technician or an online forum before deleting it.

Browser wars are over ... Firefox has won.

[Update: As was pointed out by others, a war is only won when one side captures the other or one side surrenders. So while Firefox hasn't 'won' it is certainly ahead in my book.]

The Browser Wars was the ongoing battle between Internet Explorer (from the blood-sucking programmers at Microsoft) and everyone else. Everyone else includes a bevy of web browsers from front runner Firefox to Opera, Netscape, and Safari. All of these competitors offer great alternatives to Internet Explorer but have fallen short in adoption due to Explorer's monopoly-like control in most computers that run Windows.

The first major news of Firefox was reported back in October 2004 by Forbes who highlighted the Browser wars as one of their Monday Match ups. At that point, Microsoft had an astounding 95.5% market share while Netscape/Mozilla/Firefox only held a puny 1.8% share. Well the picture doesn't look as pretty for Microsoft anymore. In less than two years, Firefox has been able to turn the Internet Explorer tide and grow its market share to over 25% (more information) while Microsoft's share has shrunken like the nether-region of a weight lifter on steroids.

[Update: These statistics are taken from W3Schools whose audience is predominantly tech. savvy. The current total market share estimate is somewhere around 10% Firefox and 80% IE]

How was Firefox able to achieve unparalleled adoption?
Firefox has done something that no other web browser has come close to doing since the dawn of Internet Explorer. Firefox was able to accomplish this by creating great software and listening to its users about new features and bugs. The other key turning point for Firefox is their ability to meet deadlines, something Redmond giant Microsoft doesn't think is important. Microsoft's next-generation browser IE7 has been released but poor early adoption (1.1%) has made it so most people won't be forced to use it until Window's Vista is officially released. Even then, it isn't clear how fast the adoption will be.

Why is slow adoption of IE7 a problem?
The biggest problem with a slow adoption of IE7 is the effect it will have on web development. IE6 is old by any measure and doesn't support many new developments. This has already caused a huge problem for web developers pushing the envelope. A new feature or innovative design is of no use if only a percentage of the web browsing population can view it. Therefore, developers have struggled for cross-platform compatibility between Internet Explorer, Firefox and all the rest.

While you can go and download IE7 currently (here), the latest revision is Beta 2 and like I said before there hasn't been a major adoption of it. Now if everyone else on the block suddenly started to use it, you can bet gold on the fact that I'd be next in line for the download; I wouldn't want to feel left out. However, what has happened is that Microsoft has fallen asleep at the wheel and Firefox has gained control. I believe that the ONLY reason Microsoft still has a commanding share of the browser market is that it Internet Explorer is the default installed with Windows. Sometimes, people are too lazy to fix these things or don't know any better.

Hugs, NOT bugs!
Internet Explorer has more bugs than the Brazilian Rain Forest and I certainly like hugs more than bugs. Now this isn't to say that Firefox is bug free because no software is but when the majority of the computer savvy population prefers to use a platform its a good idea to follow. I make sure to let everyone know this too, after all its our responsibility to inform the less savvy general public.

Can't we all just get along?
In an age of standards, why can't we all get along? As a web developer I find dealing with compatibility issues time consuming and a waste of time. At a time when everything is being standardized, why can't Firefox and Internet Explorer get together and develop an engine to properly render pages. A big part of this is actually coming true with the Web Standards Project (WaSP) and the Acid2 test. WaSP believes that all next-generation browsers should be able to properly render the test page to ensure cross-platform compatibility.

Now that we've got some form of a standard, all we have to hope for is that everyone decides to comply. Compliance has already been reported by Firefox, Safari, iCab, Konqueror, and Opera 9. Sadly enough, the newest releases of IE7 will not pass the Acid2 test as noted on the IE Weblog.

"In that vein, I've seen a lot of comments asking if we will pass the Acid2 browser test published by the Web Standards Project when IE7 ships. I'll go ahead and relieve the suspense by saying we will not pass this test when IE7 ships."

Maybe at some point Microsoft will catch up to everyone else and comply with the latest standards. Until then, the IE7 development team have noted all of the problems that cause the browser the fail the Acid2 test and have added them to their long list of bugs. On a positive end, the development team noted that they "believe the Web Standards Project and [their] team has a common goal of making the lives of web developers better by improving standards support, and [are] excited that [they're] working together to that end".

Why has Firefox won?
Plain and simple, if Firefox goes with this commercial I caught a glimpse of on Google Video, Microsoft won't stand a chance.

Now I don't think this is a real commercial but I could be wrong. Either way I think it accurately portrays the attitude of Firefox and its competitors. Firefox is a serious browsing platform and I hope many more people learn about it and switch.