Skyfire (video), the latest mobile browsing upstart, has been touted as faster, cleaner, and smarter than its competitors, and that's before it was released in private beta. It's easy to praise an app when it's first being demoed, and another story when users and reviewers can get their hands on a living specimen. Frankly, the hype is overblown. While Skyfire has its perks--very nice ones--it hasn't won the competition yet.
Microsoft will shortly make available the test version of Internet Explorer 8, which is set for final release in the first half of this year.
The Web site ActiveWin on Monday published the contents of a beta invitation, which said Microsoft is nearing a launch date for Internet Explorer 8 Beta 1, which will be available for download and testing.
According to the Internet Explorer blog, the next version of Microsoft's Web browser is set for release in the first half of the year.
Microsoft executives are expected to reveal further details about the browser's features at the … Read more
Sometime last night, Firefox downloads crossed the 500 million threshold.
It's an arbitrary but interesting milestone for the open-source Web browser, whose development is overseen by Mozilla but that's also developed and extended by a large number of outside programmers. In September 2007, Firefox crossed the 400 million download mark, indicating an average rate a bit shy of 20 million per month at present.
According to the Spread Firefox site, there had been 500,168,448 downloads as of 6:15 a.m. PST. About 12 hours earlier, there had been more than 499,900,000.
Firefox has … Read more
Browsers just naturally seem to slow down over time. Maybe it's because the add-ons start to accumulate, or because you forget to clear their cache and perform other standard maintenance via Windows Disk Cleanup app. But there are also some simple settings changes you can make to keep Internet Explorer and Firefox running at top speed.
Increase the number of simultaneous connections in Internet Explorer: This tip has been around for a while, but if you haven't implemented it yet, you can see a real boost to your browsing speed. It entails a Registry edit, so create a … Read more
PageOnce is a very new take on an old idea. Take your standard widget-based feed reader such as Pageflakes or Netvibes and replace its blog and RSS feed widgets with financial tracking tools to let you keep an eye on bank accounts, credit card transactions, and various bills. It promises to offer you all the things you love about accessing your private personal information, while presenting it like you're scoping out your favorite feeds about gadgets and odd news.
One of PageOnce's best features is that it's very fast, and makes it easy to get going. There's a directory of pre-existing services to choose from, and if you come across one that's not listed you can send in a request for it to be added. I very easily found my bank, phone provider, and various credit card accounts. It also let me add things such as my Facebook news feed, Netflix queue, and mileage number from my airline--something I don't really need to check on a daily basis, but why not add it, right?
Like the service's namesake would suggest, all this action takes place on one page, but you can also cycle through the six major categories (finance, shopping, e-mail, etc.) as you would using self-created tabs on other customizable start pages. The added benefit of going to each of these specialized pages is that the widgets are larger and contain their entire set of data instead of just a brief overview. This was especially useful for my cellular phone bill, which offered up a forecast of how many minutes I was on track to using by the end of the billing cycle, something my carrier doesn't even offer on its billing pages. On the other hand, you can't reorder what's on any of the pages, which is incredibly useful, and will hopefully be added in later versions.
My one reservation with using services like this, and others that deal with financial data (see Mint and Wesabe) are that they just freak me out. There's just something about giving a third party service so much of my personal financial information, that it doesn't matter how secure it is, or how much the data is anonymized on the way there. That said, PageOnce uses a variety of bank-level security measures to keep your data safe including high-level encryption, SSL, firewalls, and vulnerability tests from third party security consulting agencies.
The service is currently in private beta, although we've got 500 invites that have been made available to Webware readers. You can get yours by going here.
[Thanks to Webware reader Kyle for the tip]… Read more
Read It Later is a Firefox extension that should appeal to anybody trying to minimize bookmark and open tab clutter. As you peruse links sent from friends and RSS feeds that deposit little nuggets of truth that you just don't have time for right now, Read It Later gives you a one-click option for saving the links and keeping track of which ones have been read.
When you restart Firefox after loading the extension, it will automatically prompt you to install the two Toolbar buttons that are used to control the extension and manage your reading list. Users can also control adding bookmarks to their reading list via the context menu, the Bookmarks menu itself, or with hotkeys, making access to your daily detritus fast and painless.
Surfing the Web on a cell phone screen can be the laggy, draggy pits, but companies like Zumobi want to make it a rush. The announcement of Zumobi's first full release (for Windows Mobile 5 and 6) brings the Microsoft-birthed, now Microsoft-partnered platform for delivering mobile content closer to the dream.
I've been following Zumobi's young career for some time and happily, its character is catching up to its glitz. Version 1.0 corrects many of the beta's more glaring errors, including major functionality potholes that are now mostly paved over.
For the uninitiated, Zumobi is a grid of 16 thumbnails that users access by zooming into a quadrant and then zooming in again to an often-customizable "tile," each of which is populated by the content partner and updated several times a day. For instance, Amazon's tile operates a portable-book store that also links to Amazon's mobile site. AP News, MTV, Epicurious, and Flickr are other well-known brands.… Read more
Valentine's Day saw a sweet gadget arrive at Webware HQ: The Chumby. It's a little touch-screen Web appliance that can display a changing lineup of personalized widgets for you: Clocks, photo galleries, Twitter feeds, and so on.
The Chumby gets its data over Wi-Fi, and you control what widgets it displays on the Chumby.com site. Setup is a snap (unless your Wi-Fi access point requires a Web-based log-in, in which case forget it), and the site makes choosing widgets easy.
I quickly set up my Chumby at home to display the time, local weather forecast, the minutes … Read more
Mozilla has released a third beta version of Firefox 3, bringing about 1,300 changes to the widely used open-source Web browser.
Firefox 3 Beta 3 should be more stable, perform faster, use memory more efficiently, and fit in better on various operating systems than its predecessors, Mozilla said.
Having tried the new version out for a while this morning, my top impression hasn't changed since beta 2: the best thing about the new version is faster performance. Pages load faster.