Category Archives: browsers

The Tablet Influence


I’ve had my Nook Color Android-powered e-reader for a few weeks, long enough to really get a feel for not only the e-reader experience but a bit of a tablet experience as well.

I have to admit I was initially somewhat dismissive of tablets. My feeling was though they would be useful in many situations, I personally had little use for one. I spend the majority of my time in my truck, where I’m already equipped with an iPod as well as laptop computers. I felt that the iPod had most of the functionality of an iPad, and that since my MackBook Pro was running most of the time when my truck is parked I really wouldn’t have much use for a tablet.

Since having the Nook Color I find myself spending quite a bit more time on it than I initially thought I would. I use the iPod for listening, and I’m using the MacBook for tasks such as recording my own podcast as well as email and iTunes. However, a great deal of the time I find myself using the Nook Color to browse and consume web-based content.

I believe the adoption of tablets is going to change the content that people consume from the Internet. The change isn’t going to be dramatic or overnight, however it does seem to me that if I’m browsing on a tablet I’m much more likely to read certain types of articles and/or news stories that I probably wouldn’t read in a laptop of desktop browser.

In other words, tablets are turning the Internet into the equivalent of a digital book or magazine as opposed to something that is best used sitting at a desk. The effect of this change in consumption psychology is likely to be subtle but relatively substantial over a period of time.

Firefox 4’s First 48 Hours

Firefox 4 was released a few days ago after what seemed like the most Beta versions a product has ever had (12 + the RC I think it was).  It had a lot to live up to since Firefox 3 is the record holder for the software with the most downloads in the first 24 hours – 8,002,530.  Plus, a week earlier, Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 and did some strutting about their more-than-just-respectable 2.35 million.

The Mozilla blog just posted an interesting graphic depicting the numbers surrounding Firefox 4’s first 48 hours of life.  Among the numbers was the surprising fact that the high, but not record, download rate on day one (7.1 million) was surpassed on day 2 (8.75 million).  They also put some perspective on those numbers by pointing out such facts as the 48 hour average was 5,503 downloads per minute and the peak was 10,200 per minute.

If you haven’t yet installed it, then you can visit the Firefox download page and perhaps become part of the next Mozilla graphic.  I think they can rest easy that Ed Bott’s dire prediction can be written off for now – both Firefox 4 and IE9 are solid browsers that have a big place in the market.

Day 2 – A week Using Google Chrome OS

On day 2 I have learned a couple more things about Chrome OS. First, I learned how to save a photo (or any other file) to a “mystery” downloads folder on the CR48. So that is why you are seeing the chrome OS logo in this post. I’m not sure where the storage is on this machine or how much storage there is. I will do some research and find out.

Another thing I wanted to try was recording some audio. I sort of succeeded in that I found an audio recording / editing “app” in what Google now calls the “web store”. The App is called Aviary Audio Editor. I was able to record and then save my recording to the “downloads” area on the CR48. I tried using my usb headset plugged into the CR48’s one USB port. That did not work. I’m not sure if it is supposed to work or if that is something that will be added to Chrome OS in the future. I am going to try Google Talk’s Audio and Video chat and I will see if the headset works for that.

The whole idea of trying to record audio is I want to see if it is possible to podcast from the CR48. I am going to do that experiment Tomorrow using my Sony recorder and see if I can get the CR48 and chrome to download the audio file from the recorder. If that doesn’t work, I will record using the app described above and put an audio post on my personal podcast feed. Wish me luck.

A couple of notes about the CR48 Hardware:

The Keyboard looks like an unlighted version of the Macbook Pro keyboard with a track pad that looks very much like the Mac with no buttons. Those who use multi-touch on the Mac will get used to it very quickly as the same gestures work for scrolling and “right” click. The keyboard is missing the CAPS LOCK key and in it’s place is a search key. Also, there is no Function keys at the top. Instead, there are keys that do specific functions but they are not numbered like the Mac or PC keyboards with F1-F12 or whatever. I do find the track pad gets in the way a bit while typing (Like many laptops and netbooks) but nothing you couldn’t get used to if you use it enough.

So far so good and I will report back on day 3 and if I was able to get a podcast up from the CR48.

Kylo A Browser Made for TV

The Kylo Browser was created by Hillcrest Labs. to be used specifically with large screen TV’s. One of the main problems with traditional browsers like Internet Explorer or Firefox is they are not made for a large screen where the viewer is 10 feet or more away. Their fonts are too small and the icons are hard to hit. The Kylo Browser has large fonts and icons which are easier to see from the couch. It also has an on-screen keyboard, so you don’t have to sit with a keyboard on your lap.

The home screen of the Kylo Browser reminds me of a typical cable guide. The difference is that instead of channels you get the icon for Web sites. Hillcrest Labs also developed the technology behind motion-sensing. They used this technology to create The Loop Pointer which is designed specifically to work with a browser on a TV.  The Loop Pointer has four buttons and a scroll wheel and is design to work in the air. Hillcrest Labs has license the motion-sensing technology to major entertainment manufacture, such as Sony, Kodak, Samsung and more.

Although the Loop Pointer is designed to work with the Kylo, you can use any mouse your want. As the line between the TV and the computer continues to blur, we will probably see more and more browsers and devices like Kylo and the Loop Pointer being developed and sold.

Interview by Andy McCaskey of SDR News.

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Opera Shows Tablet Browser at CES

Opera Software has announced that it will be demonstrating its new web browser for Android-based tablets and netbooks at CES.  Opera is calling it the “first public preview” but there’s no hint of when it will be publicly available, in beta form or otherwise.

“In 2011, tablets are a new must-have. Opera is creating waves with the first public preview of Opera for tablets,” said Christen Krogh, Chief Development Officer, Opera Software. “Opera for tablets brings the same trusted Internet experience to tablets and netbook PCs as users have come to love on their mobile phones and desktops.”

Opera has posted a YouTube video of the Opera browser running on what appears to be  a Samsung Galaxy Tab.  It looks pretty smooth.

Xmarks Officially Announces They Will Stay In Business

I think by now everyone has probably heard that Xmarks will not be going out of business as they had previously announced.  After an outcry from users they relented somewhat and looked into possibly becoming a pay service, as was previously reported here.  Many users, myself included, pledged to pay for the service.

Then there were whisperings of a purchase by another company.  A deal with, Mozilla, and even one with Google were all rumored to be possible.  But, LastPass was ultimately the one to save the great bookmark syncing program.  For those wondering what that would mean to Xmarks’ future the answer came in an emailed announcement this morning.


Thank you for your recent pledge to keep Xmarks alive. After a
near-brush with shutting down, we’re happy to report that
Xmarks has been acquired by LastPass, the leading password and
data manager.

The acquisition means two things for Xmarks users:

1) Xmarks will continue as the same free service that you know
and love.

2) Xmarks now offers a Premium service for $12 per year that
includes the iPhone and Android apps, advanced features, and
priority support.  See for
more information.

We hope that as an Xmarks user who pledged your support to keep
Xmarks alive, you will consider upgrading to Xmarks Premium to
gain access to these features. Your support will not only
ensure our long-term viability, but will also help accelerate
the introduction of new features and service improvements.

To upgrade to Xmarks Premium, visit

We’re excited to continue providing the best data-syncing tools
out there!

The LastPass & Xmarks Teams

This means that Xmarks will continue to operate as it always has, and that’s great news.  It’s possible that the 2 services will eventually be merged in some way, which wouldn’t be a bad thing.  And if you were one of the ones who pledged money to keep them alive then it’s now time to listen what they have said in this email and pluck down the $12 annual fee for the premium service.

Xmarks shutting down? – Well maybe not!

Xmarks (formerly foxmarks) is a bookmark plugin that keeps all of your bookmarks synced up between computers, no matter which of the big 4 browsers you use. (Firefox, IE, Chrome and Safari)  They announced in this blog post, that they were shutting down “ about 90 days”. A bunch of users (Thousands?) were left wondering what we would use after the shutdown. Quite a few comments for that post stated that the users would pay some sort of reasonable amount to keep the service open.

So, a couple of days later, they announced that they were thinking about changing their minds (see this post) The CEO of Xmarks says:

we’re revisiting the idea of Xmarks as a premium service. We’ve set up a Pledgebank page where you can sign up if you’re willing to pay at least $10 a year for Xmarks. No credit card is required, but please only pledge if you are genuinely willing and able to pay

Go to the Pledgebank page here: if you are interested in keeping xmarks going.

I use xmarks to keep all the browsers on all of my computers synced up and it’s the only service that is this easy to use.

Chrome and Firefox now have their own sync services but they don’t work across other browsers like Xmarks does.