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Archive for July, 2009

Firefox to reach a billion downloads soon — probably tomorrow

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Mozilla Firefox is about to reach a billion downloads, and will probably hit the milestone tomorrow. According to the unofficial Firefox Guestimator, Firefox is going to reach the billion download mark at around 11:49 UTC (7:49 AM Eastern), although the exact time will depend on download activity in Europe and Asia. Right now the download counter stands at 999,024,648.

Reaching 1,000,000,000 downloads has never been accomplished by any non-bundled browser, and really is, in my opinion, a historic event. I’m getting up at 5:30 or 6:00 tomorrow to see the SpreadFirefox download counter reach 1,000,000,000. Mozilla will also launch a website, OneBillionPlusYou.com, showcasing photos of people in Firefox gear in front of landmarks.

Categories: Web Browsers

Adobe Flash vulnerability a huge threat

July 24, 2009 Leave a comment

Researchers at Symantec reported that they had discovered a previously unknown vulnerability in Adobe Flash, which allows hackers to attack via a malicious PDF file. It is crucial for your safety and security that you take this threat seriously.

The effects of this could be huge. Nearly 1 billion Internet users have Adobe Flash Player. And let’s assume that each one owns a computer worth $400. That’s $400 billion of computers at risk.

Adobe has more information on their blog here.

Categories: Plugins

New Yahoo! Homepage: Likes and dislikes

July 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Yahoo! launched the newest version of its homepage on Tuesday, which included several major theme, layout, and interface changes.

The page is not yet the default for users, but is available via a link at the top of the page offering a switch to the newer version. (For now), you can easily switch back to the old theme by clicking on “Return to classic Yahoo.com” under “About Yahoo!” at the bottom of the screen.

https://i2.wp.com/cache0.techcrunch.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/07/yh1.jpg

Overall, I think the final version of the new site is overall an improvement, but with a few negative aspects.

Color scheme

Yahoo! replaced their red logo with a purple version, while leaving their logo on their services red. We have yet to see if this is just a change for the homepage, or a change for the rest of the network.

Third party applications

This was perhaps the biggest change with the new homepage. Yahoo! opened the door to third parties such as Facebook, MySpace, eBay, and even Google and AOL to develop applications for the new homepage, available under “My Favorites”.

Registered users can edit which apps are shown. They include BBC World News, Discovery News, Flickr (well, I guess Yahoo! owns that), Forbes.com, Gmail, HowStuffWorks, MarketWatch, New York Times, NPR, People, Salon.com, TIME.com, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Wired.

Personally, I like the fact that third party apps are available. After all, how many people only visit Yahoo.com on a daily basis? Not very many. Hopefully they’ll add more. I’m hoping for WordPress, Twitter, and Google Docs.

New Layout

The new layout is slightly cleaner than the old layout. To me, that’s not good. I don’t go for minimalist. I like it when things are a little crowded (just look at the right side of this blog).

But now that I think about it, I rarely used the things they did remove (Inside Yahoo! features, “marketplace” AKA ads). The only thing that I miss is the personal manager (Mail, Messenger, Puzzles, Weather, Events, and Horoscopes). However, these features can be added back via “My Favorites”.

Overall, I think the upgrade was a good choice. With the new scheme, layout, and interface. I didn’t even mention that several pages are now available where “Featured” used to be.

[WG Announcement] We’re on Twitter now!

July 22, 2009 Leave a comment

As I’m writing this, Website Graveyard (websiteg) has 6 followers on Twitter. That’s right. Website Graveyard is now available on Twitter at twitter.com/websiteg.

We’re using a service called TwitterFeed, which will automatically post the title and a summary of our posts to Twitter. So far, the Bit.ly link in our first tweeted post has received 3 clicks.

In addition to summaries of posts, we’ll also post micro updates, (like “Website Y just launched — visit Website Graveyard for more info available soon”) followed by full posts, as well as just thoughts and “micro insights”.

Hope to see you on Twitter!

Spen B

Categories: WG Announcements

Major web browsers: JavaScript, web standards compatibility, and memory usage tested

July 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Introduction

More and more people are getting their content through netbooks, or smaller, less powerful laptops. We wanted to see what browsers the average user of a netbook would want to use, as well as adding an element that was not computer-dependent.

The goal of this test is to rank web browsers with our new experimental formula, WG1, factoring in javascript processing, web standards support, and memory usage.

What’s being tested

This test focuses on three aspects of web browsers:

The following browsers were tested:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 8.0.6001.18702IC
  • Mozilla Firefox 3.5.1
  • Apple Safari 4.0 (530.17)
  • Opera 9.64
  • Google Chrome 2.0.172.37

Testing environment

These tests were conducted on an ASUS EeePC 900HD.

The formula

When composing the formula, we ran in to the fact that with the results from the SunSpider test, and memory usage, the lower number the better. So, we inverted this by taking a number just higher than the highest (aka worst) score, and then subtracting results from that.

Our final formula came down to:

(24,000 – total milliseconds in the javascript test) + (Acid3 test score) + (200 – RAM used with 5 tabs open in megabytes) = final score

Test Results > JavaScript tests by SunSpider

Ranked from lowest to highest (lower is better)

  1. Google Chrome – 3,364 ms
  2. Apple Safari – 3,710 ms
  3. Mozilla Firefox – 4,658 ms
  4. Opera – 16,784
  5. Microsoft Internet Explorer – 23,219

MillisecondsToCompleteJavaScriptTest

Test results > Acid3 Test

Ranked from highest to lowest (higher is better)

  1. Tie: Apple Safari – 100/100 | Google Chrome – 100/100
  2. Mozilla Firefox – 93/100
  3. Opera – 85/100
  4. Microsoft Internet Explorer – 20

Acid3TestScores

Test results > Memory usage

Total Memory usage of browsers with 5 tabs open (google.com, yahoo.com, youtube.com, facebook.com, bing.com). This also factors in all processes for multi-process browsers.

Ranked from lowest to highest (lower is better)

  1. Opera – 69 MB
  2. Mozilla Firefox – 83.5 MB
  3. Google Chrome – 90.7 MB
  4. Microsoft Internet Explorer – 173.5 MB
  5. Apple Safari – 196.4 MB

Test results: overall

Browsers listed by total score.

Google Chrome – 225,551,480 points

(24,000 – 3,364 = 20,636) * 100 * (200 – 90.7 = 109.3) = 225,551,480

Mozilla Firefox – 209,560,899 points

(24,000 – 4658 = 19342) * 93 * (200 – 83.5 = 116.5) = 209,560,899

Opera – 80,350,160 points

(24,000 – 16,784 = 7,216) * 85 * (200 – 69 = 131) = 80,350,160

Apple Safari – 7,304,400 points

(24,000 – 3,710 = 20,290) * 100 * (200 – 196.4 = 3.6) = 7,304,400

Microsoft Internet Explorer – 413,930 points

(24,000 – 23,219 = 781) * 20 * (200 – 173.5 = 26.5) = 413,930

TotalBrowserScoreUsingFormula

Conclusion

Our formula greatly emphasized each aspect, making it virtually impossible for a browser to get a bad score on one part, and great scores on the other two (as in Safari’s case).

Internet Explorer scored badly in all three categories, causing its score to be a mere one 544th of Chrome’s.

Now, our formula may need some fine tuning, and in the future we hope to add aspects. But as of right now, Google Chrome holds the #1 position, but barely.

Categories: Web Browsers

Watch the original coverage of the moon landing

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

Kottke.org has made the original broadcast of the moon landing available, just as it had aired 40 years ago. Coverage starts at 4:10 PM Eastern (1:10 Pacific), but the moon walk isn’t until later.

Watch it here.

https://i2.wp.com/kottkegae.appspot.com/images/apollo-tv-poster.jpg

Categories: Science

Encarta has 2 months to live

July 17, 2009 Leave a comment

https://i0.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/7/7e/Encarta.png/150px-Encarta.png

The Microsoft Encarta Encyclopedia, published since 1993, will be discontinued on October 31, along with the online version.

Sure, I rarely use Encarta, but it will still be hard to see it go. However, my computer came with a free 1-year trial of the Encarta Plus software, which I assume will still work for the entire year, but will only be updated for the next 2 months. After that, I’ll probably use my desktop version of Britannica for offline reference.

But lets look on the bright side: We’ll still have all of these reference sources online:

  • Wikipedia
  • Infoplease
  • CultureGrams
  • Britannica
  • Reference.com
  • HowStuffWorks
  • Bartleby

…and more (you can search an extensive list at one of our sister sites, ReferenceSearch).

So who killed Encarta? Although Microsoft avoided admitting it, Wikipedia. From their website:

Encarta has been a popular product around the world for many years. However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed. People today seek and consume information in considerably different ways than in years past. As part of Microsoft’s goal to deliver the most effective and engaging resources for today’s consumer, it has made the decision to exit the Encarta business.

“However, the category of traditional encyclopedias and reference material has changed” most likely means that more people are going to user-generated (wiki-based) reference sources. And what is the most popular wiki-based source, as well as the most popular reference source overall? Wikipedia, which despite criticism, is amazingly pretty reliable (I would honestly trust a Wikipedia page on a major topic more than a book on it). Last month, Wikipedia received nearly 63 million unique visitors. And this is in the summer, when Wikipedia’s relative traffic decreases significantly (showing how many students use it).

So long, Encarta. I’m going to finally activate my Encarta Plus account, although I’ll probably have to get a Windows Live ID and email address which I’ll never use.

Categories: Reference