All about web browsers – watch the engines and writing tips

Let’s talk about web browsers – shall we?

Let’s start with a simple exercise, shall we? I assume you are running Internet Explorer on Windows. Perhaps you want to use another browser. Maybe you want a complimentary browser or two. Just type in “web browsers” into Google and see what comes up in page 1.

Ready? Go! Here’s what you get:

Internet Explorer Mobile Logo
Image via Wikipedia

Why use a browser other than Internet Explorer?

The answer might surprise you! A few years ago, back when I was more of a technology ignoramus, a strange thing occurred. Someone sent a virus via email attachment. Like a newbie, I opened up.

Big time mess! I could surf the web to find a solution. But I couldn’t download a fix via IE. Luckily I had FireFox installed. While the virus attacked IE, it left FireFox alone.

The new Internet Explorer 9 is pretty slick! They took some lessons on tab structure from FireFox, Google Chrome, etc.

FireFox 4

This is a very cool version of FireFox. In the 3X and earlier incarnations, a strange thing happened. If I closed FireFox, I could still find it running in Microsoft task manager. It was soaking up CPU time by the truckload. I had to cancel FireFox in task manager. FireFox 4 seems to have fixed that issue.

But another issue surfaced with FireFox 4. I run Norton Identify Safe from Comcast. It used to work – not any more. A few Google searches later revealed the reason. Norton hasn’t created an upgrade for FireFox 4. The forum searches showed May 2011 as a projected fix date. Since I get the Norton security via Comcast, any upgrades could be much later.

There is a FireFox extension as a password fix. It’s called LastPass password manager. I’m assuming it’s reputable, as they have about 3 million downloads.

Apple Safari icon
Image via Wikipedia

Asian browser market

This market escaped my attention. It took me typing “web browsers” into Google and reviewing page 1 results. That’s when I discovered Maxthon and Lunascape. Maxthon comes out of China and Lunascape comes from Japan. They claim to have multiple browser engines.

When I click on Maxthon, the home page is Maxthon Home Page. Included is the weather for my current area. These two Asian browsers are cool and worth investigating.

Then there’s Opera from Sweden. I believe it’s still a great browser. Of the two Asian browsers, I prefer the Chinese Maxthon over the Japanese Lunascape. So I won’t install Lunascape.

Web Browsing Engines

We know that Microsoft embeds IE in all its operating systems. When major corporations like Google and Apple create browsers, it’s time to look at their offerings. They have more resources to throw at them.

Let’s take a look at the Wiki web browser engine comparison at List of Web Browsers. Please note that Internet Explorer runs on the Trident shell, Mozilla FireFox uses the Gecko-based, while Apple Safari and Google Chrome are WebKit based.

The browser Lunascape allows you to switch between the Trident, Gecko and WebKit engines. I would prefer to know what browsers have an embedded engine and just launch that browser. If I want a Trident engine, I’ll launch Internet Explorer. Similarly, if I want a Gecko engine, I’ll launch FireFox.

What amazes me is that Google Chrome and Apple Safari both use the same WebKit engine. I don’t see the need for both browsers, so I’ll stick with Google Chrome. There’s an interesting statement from Lunascape. When I installed it and clicked on the WebKit engine, it warned me that many sites don’t display well with it.

Microsoft, o que vem por aí?
Image by Daniel F. Pigatto via Flickr

Opera is on another engine entirely – it’s a Presto-based engine. So Opera can stay with me.

Maxthon is both WebKit and Trident based – which is an interesting hybrid.

Social Media

Flock is a web browser-based upon the WebKit engine. Webkit is an open sourced project found at Webkit. I find it interesting that both Google and Apple based their browsers upon open source. They earn some brownie points in my book.

So what do I run?

I like to keep a diverse mix of browser engines, so I run the following (i.e. in addition to Internet Explorer):

Let’s indulge some writing tips I shared this week:

An example of a hidden image that only appears...
Image via Wikipedia

To a former scientist – now writer – commenting that writing is a lonely profession

Let me first congratulate you on leaving a career as a PhD biochemist to become a writer. It reminds me of Kelly James-Enger (i.e. see books on Amazon) leaving a law career to become a writer. Or William Sydney Porter leaving the confines of prison boredom to become a writer.

This profession is lonely. It’s probably the reason some famous writers (i.e. even Nobel prize winners) indulge in large quantities of alcohol.

I’m glad you mentioned superheros. I’m eagerly awaiting this summer for DC Green Lantern and Marvel Thor movies. I identify more with the Hancock movie starring Will Smith. If I were a superhero, I’ll probably fumble things just as badly.

Yup! Superheros can’t do it alone. Which is why Hancock needed the PR agent who discovered him. Good stuff today. I love the fact you join stuff from you science background into your writing.

Firefly Jumbo - Orbiter Add-on
Image by FlyingSinger via Flickr

To a blog owner who removed his key contract writer

You can think of the blog like the Star Ship Enterprise.  Thing of YYY as one of the crew members.  I’m Scotty of  Engineering.  I keep the ship running and working.  You are Captain Kirk and XXX  is first officer Spock.  The ship can either stay docked or explore strange and new worlds.  As the Captain, it is up to you to explore strange and new worlds.

As you pilot the ship, the different alien races might not want to be presented with AAA.  You might need to teach them first how to play BBB properly.  Remember – as the ship’s captain, you are also the ambassador for everyone we contact.

I’ll ensure the ship’s engineering is sound and up to speed.  But you are the captain and need to pilot the ship.  Just insure that the aliens we contact are receptive to your first contact messages.


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