Thursday, February 02, 2006

State of the Internet Union

(42) State of the Internet Union

The internet has reached out and complicated matters yet again.

For the sake of relative simplicity, we omit Apple and its variations because most of us don’t have Macs.

When MSFT first issued windows, we all had to use its browser, “Internet Explorer.”

Fairly straightforward and relatively easy to learn.

But along came Netscape to complicate things.

Now there were two browsers.

Recently, we have downloaded Firefox, which is way easier than either of the other two.

So, three choices.

Any major differences?

Not really. You click on something and get something back. They’re all pretty much the same, they’re all relatively easy to use and they all get the same results, basically sales pitches which are the backbone of the “internet backbone.”

So which to use?

Well, the two newer ones make it easier to put up bunches of screens at the same time so you can “toggle” among them. Kind of like channel surfing on TV.

But then you have to “manage” what they call “tabs,” or you’ll find yourself with so many screens you won’t know what’s what, even though they’re labeled.

You can find yourself with 15 or 20 open “tabs” on Firefox or Netscape and if you want to get out of all of them, your computer asks you “are you sure you want to close 20 tabs?” Who can be sure of that? It’s nerve wracking.

Okay, so you tame the tab infestation, let us say, and figure you’ve beat the house.

Not so fast, junior.

Everyone comes up with “new” versions.

And each of them “borrows” “innovations” from the other.

At some point, explorer will have tabs, or something like them.

But Netscape and Firefox aren’t sitting still either.

The new version of the latter (1.5) contains added bells to ring and whistles to blow.

And so does the new version of the former (8.1.)

This is confusing.

They’ve added a “Security Center” to Netscape. It nags you with an annoying little notice that something or other is not up to date or not working… things you never heard of.

You’ve lived without this “feature” for a long time and figure you can keep living without it. But there’s no apparent “tool” (don’t you love how Virtual Reality has borrowed terms from the real world?) to make it go away. There it sits, blinking red at you day and night.

Maybe it’ll just fade into the background, eventually. Probably not.

So the internet has three major (and several minor) ways of being browsed. Kind of like a country with multiple states or provinces.

And do these guys get along?

Sort of. It could be worse. They could tell us, for example, that we are suspended from use for “X” days because we were caught using a competitor’s browser.

Oh, please, your honor, I only used Firefox because it was the first icon on my desktop. Or: Oh, please, your honor, I only used Netscape because I wanted to see if I could open 55 tabs at the same time, and still look at the spy-cams on the new “Weather Bug” feature.

It could get messy.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own, but you're welcome to them.™

©wjr 2006

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