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Mailbag: Firefox vs. IE...Again, Cloudy Computing, More

Readers talk browsers -- specifically, why Firefox trumps IE, and whether Netscape died a natural death:

I don't know what you don't like about Firefox. I find it fast, intuitive, extensible and easy to use. Granted, I've been in on this session since 1982; I've seen EVERY version of IE. I've seen everything that IE can possibly do and I am not happy with IE. I only use IE because of some Web sites, like the educational system's Web site. Otherwise, I do everything else in Firefox.

If I had to choose just one feature of Firefox that I rely on most, it's the infinite zoom feature.

Netscape definetely died. Take a look at Firefox (well, it's free). It's still gaining momentum over IE, and now Chrome is doing its part. If Netscape would've offered a very compelling reason to stick with it, it would be alive. But I'm sure it would be as freeware.

I think Microsoft did a good job (even tough, unconsciously) in making the market for the Web browsers at no cost. I don't think paying for such a piece of software would've improved the security and quality.


John isn't sure how, exactly, the movement toward cloud computing is going to help him save energy:

Let see if I am getting this right: If I use the cloud instead of my own datacenter, I can save energy? As I see it, the datacenter I use, either Microsoft's or my own, may or may not be energy-efficient. I do not see how the location has anything to do with how much energy it uses. Try this: If I use my home computer, which is bloated because it is running Vista, and buy a cloud service to handle my checkbook, correspondence and record keeping, according to your theory I would save energy. I don't understand how that can be true.

This reminds me of the fellow who is going to save energy by charging his cell phone from the car. No, that isn't free energy; the car's engine has to run a tiny bit harder to charge the phone. It isn't much, but it is the same amount as you would draw from the wall outlet at home. Charging where you get it is a trade, and not necessarily an improvement. It depends on all the factors involved. Maybe if I buy one of China's $99 laptops instead of my home desktop with 2GB et al., that might save me some energy. But it is not because the laptop is battery-powered -- it is because it might, just might, use less power to do its work.

Speaking of cheap laptops, Marc thinks that no matter how inexpensive they get, Linux laptops won't catch on in the States:

In the U.S., low-cost PCs are extremely attractive to cost-conscious segments. But in the end, American consumers are needed to drive costs down. In the end, no matter how much you drive down costs with low-power, Linux-based systems, user demand is the key and consumers (at least in the USA) ask for Windows. Why? Well, lots of Web sites are dependent upon IE (Firefox just won't cut it). Commercial products, be they for personal productivity, multimedia or gaming, overwhelmingly are available for Windows and, sometimes, Macintosh. Not much commercial software is available for Linux. The fact that most Linux software is free just doesn't help when the consumer cannot shop of those Linux choices at their favorite retailer.

This new Chinese laptop might do well in European and Asian markets, but without the ability to run Widows applications or view IE-centric Web sites, don't expect it to take hold in the USA.

And Chris, who was in Las Vegas during 9/11, shares his memories of the aftermath:

A day or so after the tragedy, all gaming stopped for one minute at noon to remember the victims. All major attractions were closed (such as the Stratosphere rides and headliner acts), since they were considered potential targets. The oversized electronic hotel signs had patriotic messages such as "God bless America" instead of the usual advertising. The Fitzgerald casino downtown changed its marquee to read, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this week's tragedies." It is probably the only time they've ever had a prayer on their marquee. Every sports book was shut down; instead, their mammoth screens displayed the news channels.

Friday, Sept. 14, the hotels minimized all exterior lighting, including turning off marquees and decorative lighting, to memorialize Tuesday's events. In addition, for 10 minutes, they turned off ALL exterior lighting. We were in a cab, and it was as if the entire strip simply disappeared. It was an unbelievable sight, or rather a lack thereof!

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Posted by Doug Barney on September 17, 2008 at 11:52 AM