Third of Desktops Still On Windows XP

Microsoft Windows LogoThe team at Net Market Share have released their statistics for November and shockingly, over 30% of desktop Internet users are still using Windows XP. The 12-year old OS will lose all support from Microsoft in four month’s time, after which XP machines will not receive any further security updates and will become vulnerable to newly discovered exploits. XP’s market share is dropping, albeit slowly, with about 8% loss in the last year, but it’s clear that there is still going to be a large XP presence on the Internet come April 2014.

Windows 7 desktops make up the bulk of browsers with over 46% and the total for Windows 8.x clocks in at a little under 10%. Windows 8.1 only accounted for 2.6% which isn’t entirely unsurprising given that it was only released in mid-October. Here’s the top 5 desktop OS, courtesy of Net Market Share.

  1. Windows 7: 46.64%
  2. Windows XP: 31.22%
  3. Windows 8: 6.66%
  4. Windows Vista: 3.57%
  5. Windows 8.1: 2.64%

On the tablet and smartphone front, iOS and Android are pretty much the only shows in town, with 55% and 34% respectively. All the other OSes scored less then 5%, with Symbian still showing 3%. Windows Phone is at 0.67% but it is up from 0.50% in October. Blackberry continues to fall, down to 1.65% from 2.55% the previous month.

Here’s the top 5 mobile OS.

  1. iOS: 55.17%
  2. Android: 33.89%
  3. Java ME: 4.49%
  4. Symbian: 3.12%
  5. BlackBerry: 1.65%

If I read the accompanying information, these figures are gathered from approx 160 million visitors per month from Net Market Share’s network of clients and customers so it should be a fair reflection of the real world. There’s more detail here.

Google Chrome Now Available on iOs

Google Chrome As of today Google Chrome browser is now available on iOs devices. Now you can sync your tabs between your computer, any android device you have and your iOs device. So if you open a tab on your Chrome browser on your desktop, it will be available under Other Devices on your mobile device in almost realtime. I did have to refresh the page for the new url to show up. You go from tab to tab by swiping with one finger and the edge of the page. Like any Chrome browser you can search or type in a url from the same search bar. You can also search in incognito mode. Which means it will not show up in your search history. To get to the incognito tab, other devices, bookmarks, find in page and settings just tap on the icon with four lines in the top left hand corner. You can also email a page directly from the browser by tapping the same icon and then email.

The bad news is that on iOs Google Chrome has to use the Uiwebview engine provided by Apple for all third-party browsers instead of the Apple’s Nitro JavaScript engine. According to the critics, this makes the browser slower than it is on comparative Android devices. It will also be slower than the Safari browser on iOs which does have access to the Nitro JavaScript. Also like all third-party browsers on iOs devices you can’t make it your default browser.

I think that most users will not notice the speed differences, after all we are talking about at the most seconds. The biggest strike against the Chrome browser on iOs is it isn’t the default browser. Unfortunately only Apple can fix this problem and they are unlikely to do that.

World Wide Web Turns 19 Today

Okay, that headline is a bit misleading because World Wide Web, or W3, is actually older than 19, but on April 30, 1993 it officially entered open-source.  That was probably the biggest open source project in history and it was instituted by the “father of the internet”, Tim Berners-Lee while working at CERN in Switzerland.

Berners-Lee, in 1989, wrote the original proposal to use hypertext to “link and access information of various kinds as a web of nodes in which the user can browse at will”.  When the project was released to the public domain on this day in 1993 the official document announcing it referred to it as “a global computer networked information system”  It went on to state that “CERN’s intention in this is to further compatibility, common practices, and standards in networking and computer supported collaboration”.

The original browser, simply called “World Wide Web” is still available for download today.  The file size is measured in kilobytes, as opposed to today’s browsers which are many times that size.

Usefulness of Apps

As I continue to live in a world of both Android and iOS apps, I have a few observations. These should serve as lessons for would-be app designers.

The most useful apps are those that take a single to narrow range of tasks that can be accomplished conventionally on a computer browser and squeeze them down into a simple interface that fits into a small touch screen.

Speedtest is a free iPod, iPhone, iPad, iOS app that makes it instantly possible to check Internet connectivity speed. It’s certainly got snazzy graphics, but it’s basic functionality is excellent.

To date, the most useful apps I’ve found revolve around banking, bill-paying and finance. For example, with a few taps on my iPod Touch I can easily log into my local bank’s banking app and check up on the status of checking and saving accounts as well as transfer funds and even pay bills.

I can do the same for credit cards. It’s amazingly simple. Apps such as this are most effective and effecient when common actions taken are quicker, simpler and faster than handling them with a conventional computer and browser. The acid test comes if I reach for the app even though I have an open computer browser in front of me right at my fingertips.

Apps such as these should include all of the primary action-oriented elements present on the main website. If seemingly small elements are left out, it can reduce an app’s usefulness. For example, the iPod/iPhone/iPad/iOS GoDaddy app includes most of the action elements of the GoDaddy.Com website. However, the app neglects to include PayPal as a payment option which ends up forcing me to use the main GoDaddy.Com website anyway – a partial but serious fail.

In short, to make any splash at all, apps must be designed for accomplishing their tasks even better than a conventional computer and browser.

Do you have some apps you believe fall into this category? Let me know in the comments.

My First Look at RockMelt

RockMelt a new browser came out this week to a lot of fan fare from the main stream tech media.Robert Scoble did a good interviews with the creators of the browser which can be found on YouTube. The newest Net@Nite which should be available for download tomorrow (Nov 10, 2010) interviewed the cofounder and they asked some questions about how much personal information the company was caching and their security. Their basic answer was we’re not interested in personal information and they take security serious. Once the episode is available I would recommend watching it. I was lucky to receive a beta-invite yesterday afternoon and have been trying it out since then. There are a couple of things that I really like about Rockmelt, On the right hand side of the browser there is a side bar where you can put your favorite sites and as they update a ticker number goes up. If you click on the icon. A stream comes up showing the latest updates and you can key down through the updates. If you find something you like you simple click on it and the page pops up. If you want to share a site there is an icon at the top to share it on Twitter or Facebook . You can add sites manually or Rockmelt will nudge you if you visit a site a lot to add it. If you search for something and you use the RockMelt search pane a preview of the searches will come up and as you arrow down through them the pages on your browser windows change to the corresponding page. On the left hand side you see your Facebook connections, which you can arrange either by who is online or by your favorite contacts. If the person is online the dot next to their avatar will turn green. If you want to chat with the person you simply click on their avatar and a chat window comes up. If you want to share a link with someone, you can simply drag the link to their avatar and drop it.

There are a couple of negatives about RockMelt, the first is when you open up the browser you have to sign into Facebook. So if you are not into Facebook or Twitter this is definitely not the browser for you. Most extensions available in Chrome will work, however they are still having problems with some extensions like Lastpass and 1password. They are working to fix those problems as they are being reported. The one thing that is a little annoying is when you share something thru the RockMelt sharing app the number indicator on the icon goes up. I don’t really need to know that I just posted something. The browser did crash once today, but came back up right away other then that I haven’t had any technical problem that I am aware of.

So far I do like the browser, the connection to your social site is great and easy to use. I am not sure though how successful this will be in the long run, after all a social browser has been tried before, think Flock. If you already using a browser that you are happy with, is the integrated social media enough to change, I am not sure it is. However if you are into Facebook or Twitter I would recommend trying it. If you are interested in trying RockMelt I do have two invites available.


Firefox 64-bit Needed for Windows7 – NOW

I remember when I decided to move to Firefox over Internet Explorer. IE6 was not cutting it and Mozilla was showing promise. Add to it all the security issues for some projects I was working on and the plugins to test code. I never thought I would move away from Firefox at that point.

Until Windows7 64-bit.

Everyone talked about how Firefox crashed, and in all reality, I didn’t see that problem. That was until I hit 64 bit mode. Firefox is still a 32 bit application, so I expected a few crashes during the inception.

Then the crashes started happening a little more than usual. I would be working – especially on a page that housed Flash – and the system would stop responding. I would restore what I was working on, but the same process would happen again within minutes. Just the other day I had the browser crash 6 times in an hour – halting my work every time.

Add to it the memory it starts to eat up. I pulled up Task Manager and watched how – while I was doing nothing in the program – the system was allocating more memory for it. Now you might think that it was because of Flash or a plugin I had installed, but I turned off all plugins and was on my homepage – which is a page I created with nothing but HTML links.

I decided to look for a 64 bit version of Firefox. One area said they are not even thinking of going 64 – at least not until version 4. I did find the alternate projects to FF 64. I installed a program called “Minefield”, which made me nervous to begin with. Who names a testing platform “Minefield”?

Alas, it wasn’t any better. I had no Adobe flash and it crashed within a few pages.

I don’t get it. It’s the only 32 bit program that crashes on a regular basis. I even tried compatibility mode, but the browser would still stop responding.

The big issue was the memory hog it became. I went to the about:config option to try and find a key that would limit or release memory. There was none that I could find. I might have overlooked it – anything is possible. But as far as I know, nothing to change how it works memory.

I didn’t think this would be a big issue for Mozilla. 64 bit OS has been around for a couple years now, and they have Firefox 64 for Linux and Mac users. But not for PCs

Therefore, for now I am using Chrome on the main system. Since the laptop is still 32 bit Windows XP, Firefox will be the browser of choice on that machine. It doesn’t crash there. I personally don’t like Chrome, but if I had to order the browsers I would use and like, it would be Firefox, Chrome, Opera, IE and then Safari.

Still, I implore Mozilla to get on the 64 Bit kick and get this browser out. I also want you to try and figure out why Firefox eats memory like a high scoring Pac-Man game. I like the plan of going to the ribbon style menu, but if it still causes crashes, I’ll have no choice but to switch off Firefox. After all, I cannot start working in a browser that might stop responding, especially if I am in the middle of writing a blog post.

WebnoteHappy – Strange Name, Great Program

WebnoteHappy_128I’ve been using WebnoteHappy for the Mac for a few weeks and love it. I’m always surfing the Internet researching things and have tried various ways of capturing content on web pages that I visit and want to remember. The common way to do that is with your browser’s bookmark feature. I used that for a while but wasn’t happy with the results. In the Windows world I use a program called Azz Cardfile, that allows me to paste the contents of a web page or a link to the page in what looks like an electronic card file. I can then add notes about the site and click on the link within the card file to go back to the site in my browser. The notes are searchable too.

When I moved over to the Mac world, I missed Azz Cardfile, but I finally found something better from HappyApps.com. WebNoteHappy works with your browser to capture (bookmark) a link to a web page you find interesting. You can then add notes and other information and even search your links and notes and launch the web page in your browser. This program also allows you to create folders to help you organize what you find. You can even create Smart Folders where you set up rules to automatically move items into folders. All the links and notes are stored in a common library and only pointers are stored within the folders so items can reside in multiple folders. As an example, I have a Photographer folder with a Wish List subfolder. I also have Wish List folder under Gadgets and the program allows me to store the same item in both places (if it’s photography related).

WebnotHappy

When you install the program it places a “bookmarklet” in your browser’s toolbar. When you find a web page that you want to remember, just click the “Webnote It” bookmarklet, and it opens up WebNoteHappy and generates an entry. You can then type any notes you want about the site and even add tags.

The program sells for $24.95 USD and you can try it for 30 days before you buy it. There is also a free WebnoteHappy Lite program that works the same way except it doesn’t have folders to organize your bookmarks. The program works with both Firefox and Safari browsers.

I started out with the Lite version and moved up to the paid version because I found the program was a great time-saver for me. When I installed the paid version it found all the items I had saved in the Lite version and I didn’t loose a thing. After I upgraded to the paid version I had a few questions and received very fast response to my questions.

If you use a Mac and want to get a little more organized, give WebnoteHappy or WebnoteHappy Lite a try.

73’s, Tom