Technology


What Browser Do You Use and Why?

questionmarkJudging from the comments and email I've received in response to my declaration that I actually like thestar.com's redesign, it seems a bunch of you have issues loading the site in Internet Explorer.

Below are visitors to this site over the past 30 days, broken out by web browser. As you'll see, about half of you are using Internet Explorer. That's less than the global average, but I suspect there's a correlation between those who use Firefox, Safari and Chrome and those who frequent blogs.

browsers

I have three web browsers installed on the laptop I'm writing this entry on. IE, Google Chrome and Firefox. I find Chrome to be super fast, but my go-to browser remains Firefox because I rely so heavily on the add-ons. I only use IE, and I use it via a Firefox add-on, when I absolutely have to.

What web browser do you use and why?

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Now I Get Google Wave...

googleI've had a few days with Google Wave and it's not the most intuitive tool. It's actually pretty complex.

To be honest, I'm still trying to wrap my feeble brain around the possiblities. The key to Google Wave's success is going to be widespread adoption, as its true power is best felt via mass collaboration.

As I struggle to break it in without many friends or colleagues using it, I'm grateful for this video that does an exceptional job of demonstrating Google Waves true potential.

If you liked this video, you may also like:

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Free SaaS I Use Daily

SAASIt's a busy Thursday, but I've got a couple of minutes so I'm going to tell you about a few web-based services I use on a daily basis. All of these can be used for free.

I'm going to skip services like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube or Linked In and stick with more SaaS-type services.

Google Analytics
I manage several websites, and track metrics for each of them. Google opened up GA to the public in the summer of 2006 and now I'm wondering how I ever survived without it. I used to pay actual money for sites that did a worse job than GA and GA is complete free.

If you manage web sites, or even a single site, you've got to implement GA.

Flickr
Flickr is the only site I pay for that is strictly for personal use. I host all my photos on Flickr, and even a bunch of videos. Flickr is free but you're limited, so power users will want to get the pro version. It's worth it.

bit.ly
On Twitter, I use shortened URLs, due to the 140 character tweet limit. bit.ly enables me to track click-thrus via Twitter. I can see which tweets get the most traction and which go viral. Conversely, you learn pretty quickly which tweets nobody gives a shit about.

meebo
Instant messaging is the new email. Haven't you heard? I use meebo.com to do all my instant messaging in the browser. You simultaneously login to Yahoo!, Gchat, MSN, Facebook and more.

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My Invitation to Google Wave

googleGoogle sent me my invitation to preview Google Wave. Wave is Google's shot at what email would look like today if it hadn't been invented yet.

Here's Stephanie and Greg explaining the features of Google Wave.

Google Wave looks cool and all, but it's a bit boring if you have no contacts. I need some Google Wave contacts.

If you're using Google Wave, let me know.

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My Rogers Phone Doesn't Work in an Elevator

phoneFor the past couple of years I've seen that Rogers ad where the guy is able to continue a conversation on his cell while riding the elevator. The one schlub's call gets dropped while the cool guy keeps talking... You know the ad.

I have a Blackberry with service from Rogers and my calls don't survive elevator rides. Those Rogers ads are big fat lies.

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Making Peace with the W3C in the YouTube Age

w3cYears ago, in the pre-YouTube era, I was pretty stubborn with my HTML and CSS. It simply had to validate with the W3C or I wouldn't publish it. Here's an entry I wrote exactly six years ago today.

I'm proud to declare that all pages within torontomike.com conform to the W3C XHTML 1.0 standard. That means these web pages are now full-fledged XML documents, which can be validated using any XML parser. Go ahead and click that XHTML 1.0 logo to the left and see for yourself.

The Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) used for torontomike.com have also been validated by the W3C's CSS2 standard. You're welcome to click that CSS logo to the left for proof. Impressed?

In a previous blog entry (see August 25, 2003 / 16:03 EST), I ranted and raved about my attempts to validate my HTML 4.01 code for torontomike.com. HTML 4.01 was the standard before XHTML 1.0. The future, it seems, is XML and since XHTML is XML-based, and ultimately designed to work in conjunction with XML-based user agents, it was really the only way to go as I saw it. I promise future blog entries will be slightly less boring.

That was then, this is now. Although I still hand-code my XHTML and CSS, and I always do my best to write well-formed, valid code that would make the W3C proud, I no longer care if I validate. That's because I know I can't validate and blog in the YouTube age.

Every time I embed a video from YouTube, I'm simply copying down their code. Their code is totally invalid. There are several errors:

  • reference to entity "fs" for which no system identifier could be generated
  • reference to entity "feature" for which no system identifier could be generated
  • reference to entity "hl" for which no system identifier could be generated
  • reference to entity "color1" for which no system identifier could be generated
  • reference to entity "color2" for which no system identifier could be generated
  • general entity "feature" not defined and no default entity
  • many, many more

There are also several warnings. The W3C rejects YouTube's embed code as invalid, but the browsers don't seem to care. If it displays properly and works, does it really matter if it validates?

The answer, I've decided, is no. It no longer matters if your XHTML and CSS validates with the W3C because, at the end of the day, you're the only person who gives a shit.

I've made my peace with the W3C in this YouTube age. I'm invalid, and that's okay.

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When Gmail Goes Down

GoogleI started using Gmail over five years ago. My work email resolves in Gmail, making it an integral part of my personal and professional life.

I love Gmail as an email client. The filters, the labels, the conversations, the integrated chat, it's served me well for half a decade.

All is well, until Gmail goes down. It's down right now. I'm paralysed.

gmail

I have one simple question for the hive mind. What email client do you use?

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Eat-Man for the Commodore Pet

infoWe never owned a Commodore Pet, but my dad would bring it home from work on selective weekends. That made the Commodore Pet the first computer I ever enjoyed.

One of my favourite games was Eat-Man. I just Googled the crap out of "Eat-Man" and there's surprisingly nothing out there. Eat-Man was Pac-Man without the high-end graphics. Essentially, the character Eat-Man was the < character and he gobbled up -'s in a Pac-Man like maze. I can't remember what character the ghosts were, but they might have been o's or *'s.

Pac-Man was all the rage in the early 80s but I was tearing it up with Eat-Man.

Press play on tape one!

PET

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Tech Support Cheat Sheet

mouseI'm the local computer expert. I think when you know html and css and webmaster stuff, there's a general assumption you're a computer expert. My wife is always pimping me out to her friends who have PC issues, and I'm forever supporting the family with their computer ailments.

Here's a webcomic from xkcd that's pretty spot on. Now you can be a computer expert, too!

tech_support_cheat_sheet

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Clickfree Transformer for iPod - Product Review

ipodThe folks at Clickfree asked me if I'd review a product they're launching on August 10th and I said, "sure". It's a Transformer for my iPod that promises to "backup your computer to unused storage space on your iPod or iPhone".

I got the little transformer device, plugged it into my USB slot and plugged my iPod in it. Instantly, it coughed up the following screen.

clickfree

It's really dummy-proof. If you have room on your iPod, Clickfree will make great use of it. But, my favourite feature of this device is promoted as a "bonus feature". That's like burying the lead. This thing actually copies music from your iPod to your computer. That's right, if your music is stuck on your iPod, this sucker will set it free and copy it back down to your Windows Vista, Windows XP or Windows 2000 PC.

clickfree2

The Clickfree folks, who are out of Richmond Hill, tell me you can also backup playlists on your iPod and not just the music. I needed this sucker about three months ago.

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