Category Archives: Tech issues

What is a browser?

I just remembered this video today. It’s a great look at what people think a browser is. It’s incredible how many people confuse a browser with a search engine.

Now that the browser ballot has come into effect in the EU, will this lead people to be more educated about what a browser is? The browser ballot page has no information as to what a browser is and what it is for. As the video shows, many people are ignorant on the subject. Choosing a good browser is not something easy for those that have no idea what this is.

What would you do to increase awareness on web browsers and other important Internet technologies most users ignore?

My Opera Rant

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Oh, Opera… You are the browser that standardized tabbed browsing, new tab pages, browser synching, and so many more innovative features. You are one of the fastest and most standards-compliant browsers. You are the browser that pushes development of other browsers forward. Yet you can barely break 2% market adoption. Why is that? Why, for a browser first launched 8 years before Firefox and only one year after Internet Explorer?

Opera, you don’t need to sue Microsoft to gain market share. Firefox, a browser just 6 years old, has reached 20+%. Chrome, which is less than two years old, is pushing on 6%. You might say, “But Google has funds for marketing!” But what about Mozilla? Firefox is the second largest browser, and it is made and managed by a company a third of the size of Opera Software.

Opera, your desktop business model doesn’t work. If you need the EU to force users into changing browsers so you can gain market share, you’re doing it wrong. You need to expand your user base not only by creating great new features, which you do all the time, but also by advertising them. Your main weakness, Opera, is that nobody knows about you.

On its launch day, Firefox posted a full-page ad in the New York Times. Both Chrome and Firefox have launched TV and viral ad campaigns like Spread Firefox and Firefox Flicks. Google has advertised Chrome in its most prominent products like YouTube.

Firefox arrived at a time when everybody was starting to get sick of IE. You never took advantage of that. Chrome arrived at a time when everybody was starting to get sick of Firefox. You didn’t take advantage of that either. Yet, when the EU says that Microsoft has to do advertising for you, you quickly whip up a shiny new version and thank the EU for tripling your downloads.

I’m disappointed, Opera, that such a good browser has such a little market share because you refuse to do real advertising. Let’s hope this new surge is market share the browser ballot might bring will change the way you look at the market and your users.

Three Facebook wall features Twitter should have

Twitter is growing faster every day as a new player in the social media field, an area already heavily occupied with big players like Facebook. Twitter has one big thing to its advantage: its simplicity. Twitter is public by default and is extremely simple to use: just say what’s happening in 140 characters or less. However, Twitter is lacking some key features other social networking sites, notably Facebook, have had for a long time now. Here are the three I think are most important for Twitter to implement.

Easier importing items from external feeds

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Facebook has a feature that lets you import external feeds from YouTube, Google Reader, Digg, and more directly into your wall, without using any third party apps. This is also the main feature of another service, FriendFeed, which is now owned by Facebook, and Google’s new Buzz. This way, your online activity from other sites is easily imported.

With Twitter, the only way to achieve this is by using third party services like Twitterfeed, which, although powerful, are by no means easy for a new user. Twitter needs a way to show your activity in other sites as easily as entering your user name of the external site, just like Facebook.

Inline comments and responses

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Following a Twitter conversation is almost impossible. @replies work, but keeping track of a conversation with multiple people quickly becomes a chore. Facebook, however, allows inline comments to host a centralized conversation on a topic. This way, people can comment on the post, answer questions, and share their thoughts on the topic very easily. Buzz and FriendFeed also have this feature.

Posted links preview

imageThis is not only more convenient, but also safer than just putting a shortenned link at the end of the post. Before clicking on the link, the user has information on the name of the page and a small snippet of its content. If the posted story is a photo, Facebook will show a thumbnail. If it is a video, Facebook will allow you to play it inline. This can also lead to better safety online as knowing where the link goes may reduce phishing scams.

 

So that’s my take on the features Twitter should implement to mature more as a social network. Do you agree or disagree? What new features would you like in Twitter? Leave a comment!

How to remove all hyperlinks from a Word document

Sometimes it is useful to copy web content into Word. Maybe you want to print only a part of the webpage, or just copy a quote or two. However, more often than not, your document ends up looking like this:

imageFull of ugly blue hyperlinks! This is especially annoying when you want to print the document and don’t want to use any color ink. You could right-click on each hyperlink and remove it manually, but this is tedious when there are many hyperlinks in the pasted text.

Thankfully, Word has a feature to remove all hyperlinks in a selected area. Select the whole document (Ctrl+A) or just the portion you want hyperlinks removed from, and press Ctrl+Shift+F9.

imageNow your document is hyperlink-less and clean.

Got any tips of your own for making Word easier to use? Leave a comment!