What is lacking in today’s web browsers

With everything happening in today’s browser market one can’t wonder why all players seem to be missing one major hitpoint with all their attempts to gain market share. In my opinion there is one large component that is being missed by browsers today and it should be reasonable easy to develop. What I’m talking about is cross-platform, cloud-based integration. I’ll explain as I go.

Firstly let me make my point by explaining my current browser setup. At home I run a Mac and at work I use a PC. On both I have Firefox as my browser of choice, but due to the necessity of my work CRM I also use Internet Explorer 6/7 on both. I use several plugins to try and sync as best I can between the computers, but inevitably it’s all just a fix. Okay, so now I will try and make my point.

Google released Chrome today which has some interesting features. Tighter integration to applications is great, but is it enough to win the browser war? Better security is always a good thing, but in a market where most computer users don’t even know which anti-virus they’re running, does it really matter? In fact, most of the features are aimed at techies and not the people who actually need enhanced functionality from an out-of-the-box browser.

Imagine a browser that worked like this… You launch the application and you’re greeted with a login screen. You enter a username and password and the browser works it’s magic; it downloads your bookmarks, it loads your plugins, it downloads your saved passwords, it downloads your form information, and it also loads your history.

Now imagine the same thing can happen on any computer you’re using, with the same features and plugins, even if you’ve never used that computer before. Simple huh? How easy would your life be, honestly?

So many plugins have tried to make this happen, but it’s never truly been seamless and it’s never been 100%, especially when it turns to cross-platform. This would be, as Tolkien would say, “One Browser to rule them all, One Browser to bind them!” Think about it.

Shift Happens

Yesterday at work I had the pleasure of sitting with the managing director and various interested parties at work to discuss the future of technology. One of the really interesting parts of this discussion was the fact that I was constantly able to speak of the technical aspects and our MD would always bring that back to business realities.

During the meeting we watched an amazing video called Shift Happens and also Shift Happens 2.0 which raised a lot of interesting points about globalisation. The video is very US-centric, but realising the implications on Australia is honestly quite eye opening.

If you haven’t seen these videos already, I strongly suggest watching them. If you’re in a business that is potentially effected by the statements, I even more strongly recommend considering what this means to you and how this will effect your life. Because it will effect your life.

In a world of outsourcing, our lives change daily and the effects of growing economies such as India and China are effecting our lives all the time.

Ask yourself…

  • Can I be replaced by someone overseas?
  • Am I costing my company money, or making my company money?
  • Are there necessarily advantages of having me sit in my seat in Sydney?

Hallowed Internet, digital be thy name… make me famous!

Over time people have become famous for a lot of different things. Stella Liebeck was immortalized for all-time and given her own, albeit tongue-in cheek, Stella Awards, based on the ridiculous lawsuit she took out against the McDonald’s giant.

But these days with the internet anyone can be famous, even if it’s just for a day. There are an almost limitless number of ways you can make yourself famous on the internet. Majority of those ways involve making a loser out of yourself on YouTube, or getting in trouble over some poorly thought out MySpace photos, but it’s all fame nonetheless.

Wil Wheaton is/was quite famous from his blog on being a post-childstar. Maddox made himself very famous by abusing people who in most cases deserved it and some cases didn’t. Creating a bit of a ruck at a senator’s speech’s made Andrew Meyer famous for a short time. Even Paris Hilton managed some time in the light when her sex video “accidently” found it’s way onto video and file sharing networks.

And off the internet I have even less time for Big Brother throw-back, Ryan “Fitzy” Fitzgerald, who’s barely intelligible and definitely not funny commentary of Big Brother are only aided by the severe lack of both personality and intelligence of co-host Bree Amer. And please don’t get me started on the acting career of ex-BB housemate Blair McDonough or the singing meager careers of people like Australian Idol winners Casey Donovan and Kate DeAraugo.

I could literally go on forever over the shitty ways people have become famous, but what makes my mind boggle is how Chris Crocker is now allegedly going to become famous because of his internet video clip title LEAVE BRITNEY ALONE!

“Like… Double-Ya Tee Eff, mate?”

To be perfectly honest, as much as I’ve loved all the internet bagging of this complete joke, even that is a little too much attention for this absolute drama queen effort.

Personaly I would like to see the fat kid who sang Numa Numa make it big as the next poster child for Subway. I am thinking that MTV spends loads of money to get him thin, put’s him in Britney’s dancing crew to make her shitty efforts of entertainment seem slightly less dull by comparison, and follows him across the country as they terrorise children and crash cars.

In fact, here is my list of 5 internet “almosts” who should be made famous before Chris Crocker even gets a look-in:

  • Ask a Ninja – just funny, perhaps he could do commercial appearances?
  • Star Wars Kid – heavily ridiculed after his internet embarrassment, give the kid a break and perhaps a Wilson golf club endoursment.
  • Justin of justin.tv – already part-famous, but now completely overlooked for Justine Ezarik. Give the guy a break, he invented that little wheel!
  • Anyone who blogs regularly about blogging.
  • Anyone with a pulse and an internet presence.

I mean, seriously, is there no one else we can give a little leg-up to except the internet Freak of the Month September, 2007? Is the talent pool of America, and the greater world for that matter, really so low that we have to resort to such desperate measures as making this token-loser some kind of “new kid on the block” at MTV?

Apparently everyone gets 15 minutes of fame, but surely this Queer Eye reject has already had his. I hope I get mine by doing something really cool, however I know that I will probably get my name on the board for a few lousy moments for growing a large turnip or a bizarre incident involving a midget. But I can tell you what it won’t involve: me, ponsing about on YouTube, crying for a has-been superstar, and making an absolute twat of myself.

James Blunt’s “music” is actually popular somewhere?

James Blunt's "music" is actually popular somewhere? by http://www.flickr.com/people/bananasontoast/ on flickr.com

James Blunt’s "music" is actually popular somewhere?, originally uploaded by Mitch Malone on flickr.com.

Some may remember the post I wrote called James Blunt Sucks. In fact, if you ever read here, you should definitely remember it because it caused a hell of a ruck.

Anyway, after not having heard much from James Blunt in a little while except for a murmur of an album, I looked at my favourite news site this morning and noticed that “songs from James Blunt’s 2005 debut album Back to Bedlam are the most popular at weddings and funerals.”

Wow, I totally eat my words about any horrible thing I’ve ever said about James. Wait, no I don’t, this just goes to prove two points.

  1. James Blunt’s music is most appropriate for already depressing occasions.
  2. Brides are hormonal and know jack shit about music, and still have too much control over weddings. Grooms, stand up for your right to have testicles.

James Blunt – please put yourself out of my misery.

deviantFART

Okay, firstly I am well aware that the deviantART administration will, most likely out of spite, take away my membership as a senior member of their website, but this must be said.

It was a long time ago that I first noticed deviantART on the interweb. In fact, as of writing this post, it was 3 Years and 154 Days ago. At the time I was doing freelance design work and wanted a space that I could post some of my photography.

Now let’s make one thing clear, I pretty much suck as bad as anyone on that site, but don’t shoot me. The thing that kept me around wasn’t the warm comments from every user on the site and it wasn’t the fact that was popular, it was because it was just an easy way to do something I wanted to do.

Later I became an administration on dAmn, then latest still I had to leave the administration because I didn’t have enough time to give to what they were doing. No hard feelings, it’s just something that happens.

Last night I wanted to upload some photos to their website that I had taken recently. Now, these weren’t any better than the crap I’ve always uploaded, but I was proud of these photos and wanted them displayed.

Nothing could have prepared me for the ass-ache of uploading these photos.

At a guess I would say that it took me 5 minutes to work out the process. I consider myself very geeky tech-savvy and I can’t remember the last time it took me 5 minutes to do anything on a computer.

Clearly, the term “usability” has completely escaped the guys at deviantART.

Then, the mother of all, the absolute crowning glory, the mother of all… adCast

When I was a regular member and user it was not uncommon for people to abuse the site, spam the hell out of it just to get clicks to their page. But now for just a few dollars, you can get 500 pageviews. That’s right kids, don’t spam, just pay. We here at deviantART know how hard it is to fit in and be cooler than the other deviantART members, now just steal a credit card.

Okay, so I am sure the administrators/owners/site-thiefs don’t really want to see kids stealing, but I have never been more appalled by how commercial deviantART has become until tonight.

I am sure °jark can barely believe what he sees when he goes to a site he poured his absolute heart into for such a long time.

Mitch. Disgusted. Over and out.

Employers Choice to Ban

Before I begin I would like to make the following statement: I completely support the employers to choose which websites and activities are banned within the work place and I believe that as an employee of said workplace, you should adhere to these guidelines. This being said, the rules don’t apply to me, so leave me alone while I have a little rant.

My colleague who sits opposite me fields calls from his on-again off-again girlfriend several times a day, is nagged by her for a whole bunch of unimportant stuff, hangs up and complains to me. This equates to, approximately, an hour to an hour and a half of his day, every day. Not only this, but the same colleague has several lunch’s, spends significant time singing to himself and generally being unproductive.

Another colleague of mine is a heavy caffeine addict. She makes several cups a day, coupled this with numerous visits to Starbucks, plus the additional time spent at the thermos collecting hot water and chatting. She also has a boyfriend who likes to phone a few times a day. I know this, because when I get coffee she is always there and tells me so.

I raise these two points not as issues, but I think they illustrate that there are only so many hours that an employee can be productive. I think if you spend 10 – 12 hours a day in your office space working, there come periods in your day that to maintain your productivity, and sanity, you just need a break.

Until three weeks ago I would occasionally log on to Facebook and check messages once a day, which usually takes around 10 minutes, I’m not a very popular, and I’d do this once a day. Also, I may log on to MSN via meebo.com once or twice a day to arrange my evening with my girlfriend/friends and/or catch up with a few friends from back hom.

Now thanks to my good friends down at MimeSweeper I no longer have either. You see, as a business decision my company has decided to block these websites due to the fact that it’s a time wasting sites and it promotes a lack of productivity.

I tend to think the fact that during my 10 – 12 hours a day, the fact my mind wanders for an hour a day is pretty insignificant, especially since I don’t even break for lunch. Is it impossible to fathom that these websites are a pretty minor distraction in the work place and that letting staff send the occasional message to plan their weekend/evening, rather then letting them worry about it, could actually be more productive?

Consider it.

(Not So) Good News Week

Every lunch time I log on to the Sydney Morning Herald and read a few articles, just to make sure I am keeping in touch. I do CNN a few times a week, but SMH is a daily ritual for me. Today when I logged on these were the top articles:

Apart from the article about the guy eating the Corgi, which is mildly humorous in a really sick way, this isn’t exactly loaded with good news. It’s not exactly inspiring to read these headlines when you log on to the website.

Is this just a sign of “good news doesn’t sell” or is it the gauge of the kind of world we live in these days? And personally, if I read one more “Technology” news article that focuses on Microsoft or Google I will go over the edge, that isn’t technology news it’s snippets from two companies!

Browser Hijacking

Slashdot posted an interesting article about a guy who is being sued for publishing a commonly known workaround for the Javascript that disables the right clicking inside a website.

I’m no legal expert and wouldn’t be able to comment on the implications, but personally I find this kind of Javascript invasive to a persons home computer to take control of their browser. If questions must be raised, it should be as to why companies are still allowed effectively hijack controls on their users/customers computers.

You know what really grinds my gears…

One thing I really hate about people (read: YOU) is the etiquette at pedestrian crossings. The world is in chaos people and only you can stop it. Nothing pisses me off more than standing waiting for the Red “don’t walk” sign to turn into the Green “you’ve got 2 seconds, move it” sign, and someone walks up and presses the button.

What makes the person think I didn’t hit the button already? And not only do they hit it once, they hit it a few times to make their point heard. I’m sure as they approach the crossing they casually think to themselves, ‘just in case this guy (who seems to look like he is in a hurry) thought he might stand at the lights for an hour, I am going to press the button…. 8 times!’

The next time you approach the lights and there are 5 people standing there. Yes YOU, I know YOU do it! Don’t press the button. Seriously, don’t do it. It’s been pressed a million times this week and 31 times in the last minute. The sign knows there are people waiting, it knows you’re in a hurry to get your latte and 3 sushi rolls for lunch while booking in a hair appointment for your boyfriend, Brent. It knows!

Show some patience kids!

No Junk Mail

Spam is a funny thing in a day like today, it makes one wonder about the point. With spam filtration so paranoid that when I send a photo to a friend via e-mail it gets sent to their hotmail spambox, how spammers hope for their e-mail to be read really makes one wonder. I receive, on average, around 100-200 spam e-mails a week to my G-Mail account and approximately 1% actually make it to my inbox. With statistics like that I honestly wonder why spammers bother and what kind of possible success they hope to receive from it.

This morning I looked in my spambox and checked that nothing important had been caught and noticed the trends happening in trying to get the spam e-mails received by the recipient. Things such as “Re:” at the beginning of the e-mail would probably work on a bad spam-protection system, but G-Mail is obviously smart enough to know that the originating e-mail wasn’t sent, so therefor a reply would be impossible.

The next trend I notice was a little dash of l33t-sp34k (elite speak). Obviously no one wants an e-mail about “viagra” but “v1agra” could possibly get through some low level spam scripts. The obvious flaw with this is the fact that most people don’t understand l33t-sp34k and therefor wouldn’t read the e-mail.

Dear Spammer,

No one cares. Take the hint.

Love always,
Mitch

Just a quick question for anyone who comments: Just hot long has it been since you opened a spam e-mail by accident and then you were stupid enough to click a link? Have you ever?