Tag Archive | Internet

Planet broadband, like the US Internet, is getting faster

Second quarter of 2012 represented three good months for planet broadband, particularly for the US which saw big gains in higher broadband speeds. In addition, Japan got faster and more countries are offering more broadband to more people. But there is some bad news as well.

Broadband and mobile Internet speeds are slowly and steadily increasing across the world, according to the latest findings of Akamai’s State of the Internet Report for the second quarter of 2012. The Cambridge, Mass.-based Internet services company collects the data from its vast global network.

Broadband observers should be delighted to note that the U.S. saw a 76 percent year-over-year growth in the number of connections at high broadband levels — speeds greater than 10 Mbps during the quarter. It is not surprising as many U.S. customers are leaving slower DSL connections and are switching to cable or other higher-speed options such as fiber networks.

Some key findings from the report:

  • The global average connection speed increased 13 percent to 3.0 Mbps from the first to second quarters of 2012, continuing a trend of strong growth.
  • South Korea continued to have the highest average connection speed at 14.2 Mbps for the quarter.
  • Japan was second at 10.7 Mbps and Hong Kong was third at 8.9 Mbps.
  • Among top countries ranked by average measured connection speed, Japan experienced largest year-over-year percentage growth (21 percent)
  • Year-over-year trends remained generally positive, with global average connection speeds increasing by 15 percent, including growth in seven out of the top 10 countries.
  • The global average peak connection speed grew 44 percent year over year, including increases of 10 percent or more across all of the top 10 countries.
  • The global average peak connection speed one again showed strong improvement, growing 19 percent in the second quarter to 16.1 Mbps.
  • Worldwide, 126 countries saw increases, six of which grew in excess of 100 percent between the second quarters of 2011 and 2012.  In contrast, only eight countries saw year-over-year declines.

However, it wasn’t all good news:

  • The global high broadband adoption rate declined slightly in the second quarter, losing 1.6 percent.
  • Seven of the top 10 countries also had negative quarter-over-quarter changes, with wildly varying magnitudes of change, ranging from a trivial loss of just 0.6 percent in Latvia (to 26 percent) to a much more concerning decline of 24 percent, seen in both the Netherlands and Belgium (to 17 percent and 14 percent respectively).
  • After moving up in the first quarter of 2012, the global broadband adoption level saw a minor decrease in the second quarter, losing 2.8 percent and declining to 39 percent.

However, U.S. broadband had a great summer:

  • Nine of the top 10 states saw positive quarter-over-quarter changes in average connection speeds, with the largest increase seen in Delaware.
  • Top 10 states saw average connection speeds increase on a year-on-year basis.
  • With 41.6 Mbps, Delaware had the highest average peak connection speed.
  • A total of 37 states and the District of Columbia saw their high broadband (higher than 10 Mbps) adoption levels increase quarter-over-quarter.

In this edition of SOTI, Akamai is introducing a new Mobile Connectivity that includes mobile browser data from Akamai IO for the month of June 2012.

  • The volume of mobile data traffic doubled from the second quarter of 2011 to the second quarter of 2012, and grew 14% between the first and second quarter of 2012.
  • The fastest mobile average connection speed in the second quarter of 2012 was 7.5 Mbps, delivered by a mobile provider in Russia.
  • A UK The fastest mobile average peak connection speed for the quarter came from a provider in the U.K. at 44.4 Mbps.
  • Mobile browser data from Akamai IO for the month of June shows approximately 38 percent of requests on cellular networks came from Android Webkit.  Some 33 percent came from Mobile Safari; and about 4 percent from Blackberry.
  • However, add Wi-Fi, the numbers shift in favor of Mobile Safari, which accounted for an average of approximately 60 percent of requests.  Android Webkit represented about 23 percent. Of course, it shouldn’t surprise since many folks own iPod Touches and iPads that use Wi-Fi for connectivity.

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Shots All Around! The World Wide Web Is Now Old Enough to Drink

Twenty-one years ago, Tim Berners-Lee published the first webpageWeb page, in the parlance the time. This was part of a project Berners-Lee had embarked on while working at CERN, and it really was just a project: a protocol for linking documents via hypertext, one effort among many that researchers and computer scientists were experimenting with in their desire to stay connected.

The web’s roots can be traced back as far as the 1980s, when Berners-Lee developed his hyptertext-based Enquire software at CERN; in 1989, he got the green light from his boss for a side project that that would devise a way to link information and to scale those links. Using a NeXT cube computer — the cutting-edge machine designed by Steve Jobs’s NeXT, Inc. — Berners-Lee put the finishing touches on a protocol that would use hypertext (a concept that had been around since 1963) as the basis of file-sharing on the Internet (which had been around for nearly as long). The point was to make information not only connected, but accessible in its connectivity. To make his protocol workable, Berners-Lee also developed the world’s first browser. And, for that matter, its first server.

On August 6, 1991, Berners-Lee went public with his creation, publishing the web’s first content to the address http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html. The page, in a manner that was both pragmatic and appropriately recursive, featured information about the web, via the web. It also — appropriately — asked its readers for help in its own development. On the page, Berners-Lee described the invention, which he nicknamed W3, as “a wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents.” It contained a linked question for readers: “How can I help?”

Here’s the World Wide Web Consortium’s post-facto recreation of that bare-bones web page — complete, charmingly and prophetically, with a typo. (The double-periods! Awesome.) The image is a screen cap, cut off at the right side for legibility purposes; you can see the full page, and follow its hyperlinks, here.

[optional image description]

The first web page, containing information about the web, on the web (W3.org)

So that’s all to say: Wow, the World Wide Web is 21!

But that’s also to say: Wow, the world wide web is only 21! In human years — in the U.S., at any rate — the web can drive a car. It can vote. It can drink. But it can’t yet rent a car. It can’t yet run for Congress. It probably shouldn’t buy a home or have kids or settle on a career path. It is young, and it is ambitious, and it is sometimes foolish, and it is still figuring things out. And that’s okay — because it has its whole life still ahead of it.

Infographic: A Gargantuan Map Of The Internet

What does the Internet look like? Is it computers or sub aquatic cabling? Is it satellites or code? Is it discrete websites and files, or is it just one branching, undulating cat meme evolving over time?

 

 

Click to enlarge.

To Ruslan Enikeev, the Internet is “nature, sky, space, science, and fractals”–an image he shares on his website, The Internet Map, which uses an association algorithm and a Google Maps front end to show 350,000 sites as their own universe.

“For other people data and math is just numbers and tables, maximum graphs, but I can see more–its inner beauty. I have keen math vision. I can see how data is related in my mind,” Enikeev writes Co.Design. “Unfortunately, you cannot just show what is in your head and I am not an artist to create a picture or poet to write a good song about it. So I started making the Map.”

 

 

It took him over a year, with the help of Russian creative agency Positive Communications. But in the end, Enikeev created a snapshot of the Internet in 2011, when Google and Facebook ruled the roost–a point clear in their sheer enormity, and their position in the center of the universe, serving as an associative glue across the web. You see, all the positioning is “semantically charged,” meaning that related sites are close together.

When you couple this association with the country-specific color-coding, you see that China (yellow) and the US (blue) are in a clash of control of the Internet, with Russia (red) and Japan (purple) hanging around the periphery. Pornography becomes its own galaxy that Enikeev named “pornland,” a multicultural, Benettonian utopia situated between Brazil and Japan. But there’s some real practicality in the visualization beyond pretty pictures and pornographic hot spots. It’s a way to look at cliques and cultures online, to quantify unique visitors between sites.

 

 

“It was not my aim to make the site useful, but still you can use it,” Enikeev explains. “For example, the company where I work ozsale.com.au acquired its competitor buyinvite.com.au recently. You can see on the map that both sites are quite big and they are in different clusters. Buyinvite is close to our main competitor BrandsExclusive.com.au. It means it was very good acquisition because literally we bought customers of our competitor.”

And under that logic, you can see just how much the fierce competition of Google and Facebook plays out. They’re not looking for different customers as much as they’re looking to steal the attention of a shared pool–a pool that basically encompasses everyone already.

How the world’s largest spam botnet was brought down

Eight months ago, the Grum botnet was estimated to be the largest in the world, pumping out a third of the global volume of spam email. But things changed over the following six months as Atif Mushtaq, senior staff scientist at security firm FireEye, noticed an abrupt drop in the number of active command-and-control servers — the network’s nerve centers — and sensed the perfect time to mount an offensive. Thanks to a coordinated, global attack, the infestation shriveled to 20,000 zombies; infected computers awaiting instructions that will never come. TechCrunch takes an informative look at how Grum operated, and how a weakness in its code allowed some determined spam fighters to take it permanently offline.

How To Defeat Your Enemies on the Internet

The internet began as a pure place, free of malice and bad manners. Today, rudeness and horror abound.

From friends you know and people you’ve never met, abuse comes in many forms. Maybe it’s a nasty comment on a Facebook photo. Maybe it’s an insulting tweet. Maybe it’s writing “FUCK U SLUT” on your wall over and over and over again.

So what do you do if someone is being mean to you online? Cry? Sit there and take it? No. You survive. You prevail. Here’s how to beat the bullies.

Take threats seriously

Look, if someone threatens you with physical harm via the internet, go to the police. No matter what. No exceptions.

But if things are less severe…

Take it offline

If your friend is being a jackass on the Internet, try to hash it out off the Internet. As magical as it is, the web just isn’t a good way to express sincerity. Odds are, you two will misunderstand each other online and exacerbate your spat. Just bury the hatchet face to face.

Full size

Tattle on them

It’s easy to talk shit online. And it’s just as easy to whine to the authorities about it. There is shame in telling on people in kindergarten, or in the mafia. But not online. Snitching is just a tool in your belt, not a sign of weakness.

 Twitter doesn’t have a formal policy against being mean. But actual threats, privacy invasion, and spamming are all verboten—as are “abusive” tweets, which is a little nebulous. If you think you’re being abused, not just in the midst of an argument, report the infringing messages here. If Twitter agrees with you, your antagonist will either be warned or suspended.

The same goes for Facebook: Every post can be reported directly to Zuckerberg’s internet police—and luckily for you, victim, FB is much stricter than Twitter. On paper, at least. The Book declares the following for its users:

You will not bully, intimidate, or harass any user.
You will not post content that: is hate speech, threatening, or pornographic; incites violence; or contains nudity or graphic or gratuitous violence.

It’s extremely easy to report stuff you don’t like. If Facebook doesn’t like it either, the transgressor can have posts deleted or be suspended from the service.

Gmail, like email in general, is pretty much still the wild west. So unless you get a subject line stating, “I’m going to strangle you tonight,” you’re pretty much on your own. Google provides an abuse reporting area, but really, a call to the police should be your first move. In a trial, emails are certainly admissible as evidence.

Ignore it

The moral high road isn’t fun, but if it were, it wouldn’t be so moral and high. It might be satisfying to see your foe banned from Facebook or Twitter, but maybe the best satisfaction is not giving them the satisfaction. Harassing tweets? Ignore them. Rude IM? Ignore. Petty Facebook comment? Ignore. The silent treatment is the best way to make a bully bored—and when they’re bored, they’ll move on in search of a better reaction.

Seal yourself off

Block and delete. You probably don’t want something insulting you on your own wall—what are you, a chump? So delete it and block the infringer. If you really want to piss someone off, hide your wall and photos from the bully without blocking them entirely—a nice middle finger, albeit not the most mature move. Create a filter on Gmail that’ll send their email straight to the trash—be sure to let them know first. Block ’em on Twitter. It’ll be like they never existed in the first place.

Fight back

And then, there’s this. The counterattack. This is risky, and perhaps even ill-advised, but a troll can be shocked into submission by the power of your own typing. I’m ugly? No, you’re ugly, and we all know why your parents got divorced. Oh, I’m an idiot because I support [Presidential Candidate]? Here’s an educated, 500 word explanation of how you don’t have your facts straight. Mic drop. Shut up. Posting an embarrassing picture of me on Facebook? Cool! Here’s an album of that time you puked in my basement and fell asleep in it. Maybe I’ll tag your parents in the middle of the puddle.

Is this petty? Yes. Will it potentially make your situation exponentially worse? Yes. But is there a perverse joy in fighting it out online? Of course—it’s in the web’s soul. Just be ready for a long engagement that publicly degrades everyone involved.

Kick his* ass

Neither Gizmodo nor its parent company endorses the use of violence. But, if you’ve been digitally assaulted, and you choose to take the conflict offline as recommended above, there’s an outside chance your civil discussion could escalate. Someone, hypothetically, could get punched in the neck. That can get some results! Caution: Consult a lawyer.

Top-Level Domain Names and the Future of the Internet


The future of the Internet lies in the realm of expansion.
 Just like computers have been, the Internet has been evolving for decades. Years ago, computers took up the entire floors of buildings, and now they occupy our front pocket with more processing power than those ancient dinosaurs. The Internet is becoming a far more sophisticated place as well. With so many different types of websites and businesses out there, the need to expand top-level domain names has finally come upon us.

This current surge in registration for new domain extensions will see as many as 1,000 new domain extensions being approved. By doing this, it will effectively create a gold rush for those eager to compete in the Internet addressing space. There were nearly 2,000 applicants. The cost to even apply for an evaluation fee is $185,000, with an annual fee of $25,000; so you know it’s largely companies, and massive corporate players paying for these new domains.

The pros of better innovation, the increase in brand visibility, and a clearer and more targeted domain for brands will help lead the charge for the ever expanding Internet and its future.

Click here or the graphic below for a full-sized view.

30 Unintentionally Inappropriate Domain Names

1. Itscrap.com

IT Scrap

2. Whorepresents.com

Who Represents?

3. Penisland.net

Pen Island

4. Expertsexchange.com

Experts Exchange

5. Speedofart.com

Speed Of Art

6. Nobjs.org

North Of Boston Jewish Singles

7. Gotahoenorth.com

Go Tahoe North

8. Lesbocages.com

Les Bocages

9. Americanscrapmetal.com

American Scrap Metal

10. Masterbaitonline.com

Master Bait Online

11. Therapistinabox.com

Therapist In a Box

12. Analemma.org

Analemma Society

13. Therapistfinder.com

Therapist Finder

14. Wintersexpress.com

Winters Express

15. Swissbit.ch

Swiss Bit

16. Dicksonweb.com

Dickson Web (now redirected to dicksondata.com)

17. Therapist.com

Therapist

18. Budget.co.ck

Budget Cook Island

19. Mp3shits.com

MP3s Hits

20. Kidsexchange.net

Kids Exchange

21. Choosespain.com

Choose Spain

22. Bendover.com

Ben Dover

23. Bitefartcafe.rs

Bitef Art Cafe

24. Powergenitalia.com

Powergen Italia (accessible only via the Wayback Machine)

25. Cumstore.co.uk

Cumbria Storage Systems (accessible only via the Wayback Machine)

26. Teacherstalking.org

Teachers Talking

27. Ladrape.com

La Drape

28. Childrenswear.co.uk

Children’s Wear

29. Molestationnursery.com

Mole Station Nursery (now redirected to molerivernursery.com)

30. Oldmanshaven.com

Old Man’s Haven

Reader suggestions:

How To Use the Internet to Water Your Plants

Keeping a garden lush all summer is a lot of work. You’re traveling. You’re busy. It’s hot out there. But technology offers the equivalent of a remote control watering can that you control from the couch. Here’s how to wire up your yard to keep it thriving when you can’t get out back to do it yourself.

Irrigation at the most base level is just a series of tubes. They’re channels and pipes that carry water from one location to another. To automate their performance, the key is controlling the valves.

Being the 21st century and all, water valves have evolved beyond the lefty-loosey-righty-tighty hand-turned models that populate most yards. The inclusion of a 24-volt actuator means that the automatic in-line valve offerings from companies like RainBirdOrbit , or Toro will open and close themselves when a charge is applied.

These, however, are designed to work with only basic timer systems. They don’t think for themselves. To do that, you need a control module that can be rigged into a home automation system, which can activate the sprinkler solenoid valves. The EZFlora Sprinkler Controller, for example, is an internet-connected 24v acutator panel that works with both the INSTEON andX10 command systems. When used in conjunction with a Home Automation Gateway, you can control the timing, duration, and other irrigation functions from any web browser.

The home automation route is a solid choice, but it gets expensive. For many people, dropping two bills on a HA Gateway alone just isn’t feasible. It might seem easier, while you travel, to ask a neighbor to come by and grab a hose. Luckily there is another, less expensive option—you can build your own automatic watering system from the ground up.

Guido Socher of Tuxedo Graphics has written a comprehensive walk-through for constructing such a system. It employs PCB boards and a small digital temperature sensor to measure soil humidity and temperature. This data feeds back to a pre-built Ethernet board that the company sells (though you could solder your own if you really wanted to). The Ethernet board can then activate the water—either a small, submersible water pump for indoor plants, or a 24V sprinkler valve for outdoor use. This option is better for more technically-inclined users—there is a fair amount of programming and modding needed to make all these separate parts play nice. But you already did the tough work with your shovels—how hard could it be to tinker with a few circuits?

World’s Third-Largest Spam Botnet Is Knocked Offline for Good

Salutations, My Dearest One: I am writing to you this blog post with joy and happy feelings in my heart, bringing news that will be of great interest and benefit to you. Oh, beloved, there is indeed a special reason for why I have chosen to contact you in this moment of your day, I write to you now because of the urgency of our situation: the world’s third-largest spam botnet was knocked offline, today—for good.

Yup. After a three-day effort, FireEye Malware Intelligence Lab succeeded in bringing down Grum, the malicious, spam botnet that immediately before its demise was ranked behind just Cutwail and Lethic botnets in size—and as recently as January was thought to be themost activespam generator in the world.

Until just days ago, Grum’s servers in Russia, Panama, and the Netherlands were thought to be in control of as many as 100,000 infected “zombie” PCs, bots from which Grum was spewing out a whopping 18 percent of the world’s internet spam. Between Monday and Tuesday, Grums servers in the Netherlands and Panama were brought down, buckling under pressure from the local community and authorities alike, the remain’s of the botnet’s now-crippled infrastructure isolate in Russia.

…Or so the FireEye team thought. After the takedown of the two Dutch servers, six new Grums servers cropped up in Ukraine, a erstwhile safehaven for botnet servers, where the takedown is known to be difficult.

But as of 11:00 PST, Grum was dealt its final blow, a spokesperson told PC Mag.

“FireEye, working with Russian CERT-GIB and Spamhaus, found each of these new CnC servers, took a heavy-handed approach in working with Russian ISPs and domain registrars, and took them down … signaling the full shut down of the botnet.”

Coming as an added bonus is news that spam activity from the world’s largest botnet, Lethic, has declined noticeably since Grum went dark.

The FireEye team has the whole operation documented on their blog. Well worth a read, if you’re in to spam and suspense. [FireEye via PCMag]

 

Dear Web User: Please Upgrade Your Browser

hopping. Social networking. Emailing. Reading. Finding directions. Banking. Researching. Those are some of the most common tasks people perform on the World Wide Web. You’ve probably done all of these things yourself at some point. So if you’re like many people, you probably do these things every single week (and many of them even every day).

This blog you’re reading now, Smashing Magazine, normally publishes content that’s intended for graphic designers, Web designers, and Web developers of varying skill levels. But today, this article is for the rest of you—the non-programmers, the everyday Web users.

We at Smashing Magazine, along with designers and developers worldwide, want you to have the absolute best possible experience on the Web. In fact, in the design and development community, we spend countless hours every week discussing and researching the standards and practices that we know will make your experience on the Web infinitely greater.

But the browser you’re using could be limiting that potential. So please read on, so you can learn how to drastically improve your experience on the Web.

(Smashing’s side note: Have you already bought the brand new Smashing Book #3? The book introduces new practical techniques and a whole new mindset for progressive Web design. Get your book today!)

Your Browser Is Too Old

Everyone that accesses Web pages on a desktop computer uses a Web browser. Without a Web browser you cannot view or interact with websites. How do you personally access websites like Facebook and YouTube? You might commonly use the program that opens when you click the big blue “e” icon on your desktop. Here’s what it looks like:

Internet Explorer Browser Logo
This is the logo for Internet Explorer, a Web browser.

This “e” icon is not a shortcut to a generic “internet” or “Web” program. It is a shortcut to a Web browser made by Microsoft, called “Internet Explorer” (also referred to as “IE”). Over the past 17 years, this browser has been the most popular Web browser. At one time, it was arguably the best browser you could use. But that is not true anymore.

Internet Explorer is currently at version 9, and version 10 is supposed to be officially released some time this year. But most people are not using IE9—most Web users that use Microsoft’s browser are still using a less stable, insecure, slow version of IE (either IE8 or something older).

The truth is, even IE9 (which is a huge improvement over previous versions of Internet Explorer) is not as up-to-date as other browsers. So if you’re still using some version of Internet Explorer, we strongly recommend that you upgrade to a different browser. To help you upgrade, we have some options for you to consider.

But before we introduce those other browsers to you, let’s quickly cover some reasons why older browsers like IE7 and IE8 aren’t as good.

What’s Wrong With Old Browsers?

Old browsers (especially Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, and 8) are less stable, and much more vulnerable to viruses, spyware, malware, and other security issues. Those are obviously big problems to be concerned about—especially for people who shop online. So security alone is a very good reason to upgrade. But there’s more to it than that.

OLD BROWSERS ARE SLOW AND MORE LIKELY TO CRASH

Firstly, old browsers are very slow. Every Web page that loads in a browser has to perform a number of different tasks. One of those tasks is the process of loading different files. These files include images, programming scripts, and other resources that help improve the look and functionality of the website you’re visiting. Old browsers do not perform these tasks with the same speed as new browsers. This makes your experience on the Web considerably slow, and can sometimes cause your browser to crash or freeze.

IE8 not responding message
Browsers like IE8 will freeze and crash more often than newer browsers.

OLD BROWSERS CAN’T DISPLAY MANY NEW WEBSITES

The other problem that old browsers have is that their display capabilities are very limited. For example, in an older browser, in order to show a simple animation, the person creating the website would have to use either an embedded video or Flash file (like those found on YouTube) or else a lot of extra programming code (called JavaScript). In either case, this means that the page will take much longer to load, thus harming your experience on that website.

New browsers support new Web technologies (like HTML5 and CSS3). These languages serve as a foundation for many websites today, and for virtually all new websites and Web apps. But unfortunately, many of these new websites will neither look nor function in the same way in old browsers like IE8.

To demonstrate this problem, take a look at the two images below. These images are screenshots taken from an infographic Web page that covers Rainforest Deforestation. The first image shows the page as it appears in IE8:

A Web page displayed in IE8
A Web page displayed in IE8.

Now look at the same page in a new browser like Chrome, or Firefox:

The same Web page displayed in Google Chrome
The same Web page displayed in Google Chrome.

IE8 has many problems on this page: Many of the graphical elements are not appearing, all the animations are missing, and even some of the text looks misaligned. This is caused by the fact that the page is built with new Web design technologies that old browsers like IE8 don’t support.

New Browser Options

Now that you understand why it’s highly recommended to upgrade an old browser, let’s take a look at what options you have for a new browser, and what strengths these browsers have. Please notice that switching to one of these browsers is free and won’t take more than a couple of minutes.

Google Chrome
In May 2012, according to at least one statistics website, Google Chrome (all versions combined) became the most popular browser in the world (compared to IE, all versions combined). Chrome was first released in 2008, and has a number of advantages over old browsers like IE8.

Google Chrome Logo

Mozilla Firefox
Firefox has been the main competitor to Internet Explorer since the mid-2000′s. Although Google’s Chrome has become more popular in recent years, Firefox is a great browser with many advantages over old browsers.

Mozilla Firefox Logo

Opera
Compared to other browsers, Opera isn’t used as much, but it has been around since the mid-90′s. Opera has always been at the forefront of browser innovation and supports many of the latest technologies and features that make websites faster and more feature-rich.

Opera Logo

Apple’s Safari
This is the same browser that’s commonly used on iPhones and iPads. Safari’s features are very similar to Google’s Chrome, and has been around since 2003.

Safari Logo

Why Are New Browsers Better?

The browsers listed above have a number of advantages over older browsers, including:

  • Far fewer instances of crashing or freezing.
  • Much more secure from virus, malware, and browser hijacking attacks.
  • Much faster page-loading.
  • Larger page-viewing area.
  • A large variety of useful optional plugins and add-ons that add extra features to improve Web browsing.
  • Unlike IE9 and the upcoming IE10, they can be installed on Windows XP.
  • New browsers will automatically update to the latest version, or will notify you to download an update.

ABOUT AUTOMATIC UPDATING

The last point in the list above mentions the fact that new browsers will automatically notify you of an update—this is a good thing. When you have a browser that’s kept up-to-date automatically, you get a number of important benefits in addition to those already mentioned. These include:

  • You’ll rarely, if ever, come across a website that says “your browser cannot view this website”.
  • If any known security vulnerabilities are present, they will be fixed automatically.
  • Every time your browser is upgraded, your browser becomes faster, meaning that the time you spend waiting for pages to load will be minimal.

Old browsers like IE7 and IE8 will not automatically notify you to update, so if you continue to use an old browser, your experience on the Web will become less secure (and less enjoyable as the months go by).

EXTENSIONS AND ADD-ONS

As mentioned in the bullet list above, one of the features of new browsers is the ability to add extensions, plugins, and add-ons. The Chrome Web Store features hundreds of useful extensions, including:

  • Facebook Notifications, which lets you keep up with friends’ activities even when you’re not on Facebook.
  • Add to Amazon Wish List, which lets you add virtually any product from any website to your Amazon wish list.
  • Google Dictionary, which lets you see the definition of any word by simply double-clicking on it.

Chrome Web Store
Extensions in the Chrome Web Store

What about add-ons for Firefox? Well, in addition to extensions similar to those mentioned above for Chrome, some popular and useful choices include:

  • Video DownloadHelper, which lets you easily download and convert video, audio, and photos from YouTube and similar websites.
  • WOT—Safe Surfing, which shows you which websites you can trust, based on millions of users’ experiences.
  • FastestFox, which helps you save time and increase productivity by speeding up repetitive tasks inside the browser.

However, Chrome and Firefox are not the only new browsers that offer these types of extensions and add-ons. You can browse the extensions for Safari and for Opera, if you choose one of those browsers instead.

“All My Bookmarks Are In Internet Explorer!”

Everyone has bookmarks (or “Favorites”, as they’re called in IE) in the browser they use regularly, and it’s a valid concern if you don’t want to switch because all of your bookmarks are in your old browser. But moving your bookmarks from the old browser to the new one is not difficult at all.

For instructions on how to transfer your bookmarks to your new browser, check out the Browsing Better website. When you visit the page, click on the icon for the browser you’re currently using, and follow the instructions from the images that appear.

Exporting Favourites in IE8
You can easily move your bookmarks from IE to your new browser.

“I Won’t Upgrade—I’m Happy With Internet Explorer!”

Even after everything you’ve read above, you might still have reservations about upgrading to a different browser. Well, there’s one final option you may consider. You can keep using Internet Explorer while getting a similar speed and viewing experience as found in Google Chrome by installing an add-on to Internet Explorer called Chrome Frame.

Chrome Frame
Chrome Frame makes Internet Explorer act like a modern browser.

Chrome Frame is an add-on that enables new Web technologies like HTML5 and CSS3 in Internet Explorer versions 6, 7, 8, and 9. As long as the Web page you’re viewing has a specific piece of code in it, you’ll get an experience very similar to Google Chrome—even when using an older version of Internet Explorer.

Installing Chrome Frame is fast, easy, and free. Chrome Frame is completely invisible and will not change anything about the way you access Web pages in Internet Explorer. But it will provide the same speed and viewing experience that Google’s Chrome browser has, without needing to switch browsers. (However, if you’re in a business environment, you might want to contact your system administrator before installing it because some legacy sites might not be displayed properly. — thanks for the note, Jochem Bokkers!)

WHAT ABOUT LOCKED-DOWN SYSTEMS?

If you’re on a system at your place of employment where you’re not able to upgrade or download a new browser, Chrome Frame is a viable option. You don’t need any special administrator privileges to install Chrome Frame, so you can keep using the same version of Internet Explorer, and almost instantly have a far superior browsing experience that’s identical to using the latest version of Google Chrome.

Conclusion

There are countless reasons to upgrade your old browser and start using something new and up-to-date. So trust us when we say that your experience on the Web will be infinitely better if you choose to do this.

Whatever you’re doing on the Web—reading email, shopping, banking, or anything else—a new browser will allow your experience to be safer, faster, and much more beautiful.

(jvb)