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Friday, July 28, 2006

IE7 [Part 2]

Downloading IE7

After some playing, we discovered that IE7 does not work on windows 2000. You can't get the menu bar (file, menu etc) to be at the top of the page. This may sound a silly point but I found it extremely annoying that the menu bar is below the navigation / address bar.

The next problem I discovered (my colleague did, too) was that it plays with your file associations. You will no longer be able to use ftp in Windows Explorer, random files are opened in IE7 instead of the normal program.

When my colleague then tried to uninstall IE7, it got even worse and he was forced to reinstall it just so he could use his machine properly!

Overall, it looks like an old version of Netscape, it just does nothing for me compared to Firefox. The tab browsing does seem very similar to Firefox, which is a good point as well as IE6 plugins working too. I expected that I would need a download a new version of my plugin's (Google and Alexa).

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Downloading IE7

Well, I was on a mission to download the new IE 7. So I thought, hmm, lets go to What I found was unexpected and somewhat amusing.

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Train Surfing

Nomad Digital - Wireless Roaming:
Nomad Digital Rail have launched a system that provides mobile Wireless Local Area Network ('WiFi') services for use on trains. Train passengers can have a reliable and seamless internet connection, without the need for mobile phones, cables or adapters."
And not a minute too soon.

I prefer to travel by train when it's practical - it's an opportunity to catch up with work on the laptop without the interruptions associated with working in the office. If there's one thing that's been bugging me though, it's that I can't get a reliable Internet connection whilst traveling. Surely it can't be that difficult?

Now if someone could please resolve the intermittent mobile coverage too, my life would be complete. Oh, and whilst you're at it - how about Internet access on the plane too?

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Getting Back Into the Habit

It has been decided that Compsoft will offer a .NET course. A different kind of course.

If you've had a look around for courses on .NET, you might find that they are either the really technical, "I Want to be a programmer" or the standard PR hype. Not much use if you just need to understand the fundamentals of what those geeky programmers are going on about.

Compsoft are now designing a course for everyone in between. Calling on my skills as a qualified trainer in Microsoft technologies, I'll be formulating the new course, its purpose to
  • help the delegate understand .NET without becoming a .NET geek
  • explain the technical jargon in plain English
Supported by Mark Tillison, Head of Business and Development and Neil Bostrom, Technical Architect, I hope to deliver an inspired course.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Windows Vista. Erm..

I installed the first beta version of Windows Vista last week, but was disappointed with what I saw.

Personally, I found the interface big and bulky and half of the functionality was unavailable. Specifically, I've been looking forward to seeing the networking interfaces and tools, new firewall and security capabilities but they weren't available.

Initial testing was inconclusive. Not a good start, Microsoft.

Time to get Beta 2...

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Equinox Online Ordering

My first big Equinox project, I have been given the task of creating an online ordering system for Equinox licenses. A slightly daunting task, but a great challenge.

Senior members of staff and I formed a project plan back in April. Since then, I have been developing the system alongside my usual duties, enjoying the steep learning curve.

Somewhat perversely, the system has been developed using Equinox itself, extensively utilising its in-built ESP technology.

Progress is going very well and I am really enjoying coding in Equinox. I hope to finish the project by the end of August; testing and debugging allowing!

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Thursday, July 20, 2006

What a Relief

Last weekend, Compsoft took part in Sport Relief 2006. The aim was to generate over £300 for charity by staff members completing a 1 mile walk / run.

Many of us took part in the race and those who did not, supported us. In total, 11 people took part including Mark Tillison's 6-year-old son.

The extra extra mile!
Certain staff members including myself decided that one mile was just not enough! So we proceeded to run it again! Obelisk Product Manager, Mike Massey managed to come 3rd in the second attempt with an impressive time of 5:19. I managed to knock over 1 minute off my first time with 7:32.

Though no one knows the total amount raised by Compsoft yet, the target of £300 has been exceeded

Well done all!

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Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Microsoft's Internet Explorer takes a serious blow from Mozilla's Firefox browser.

Figures released recently by have shown that Microsoft's Internet Explorer (IE) web browser is finally starting to lose its strangle hold on the internet. Mozilla's Firefox browser has gained 1.14% of global internet usage since May 2006 with IE loosing 2.12% in the same period. Could this be the time for every web developer to start looking forward to developing W3C standard applications without having to worry if the site will look the same in IE?

It seems that Firefox is making significant inroads on some of the biggest internet markets in the world too. In the USA (the biggest single internet market) IE usage has slipped below 80% to 79.8% with Firefox rising to 15.82% of the market share. None too shabby for a product only released a year and a half ago and the trend seems to be being repeated all over the world. In Germany, Firefox is now a serious challenger for market leadership, with 39.02% market share compared with 55.99% for IE.

I'm confident that this trend will continue as well. The new version of IE (7.0) boasts all sorts of things such as tabbed browsing and W3C compliance. However, Firefox already has tabbed browsing and it works much better than the offering in IE 7. Also, the W3C compliance in IE 7 comes with caveats which seem to hark back to the previous version's shortcomings. Not that Firefox is perfect, but it's a vastly superior implementation of the standards!

Now with Firefox 2.0 in beta with a feature list as long as the road to nowhere, I am really looking forward to seeing whether or not Microsoft have the ability to compete with this truly awesome browser.

Just as an aside. This is a very amusing article on the joys of using IE instead of Firefox.

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