Computers & Internet

Job Security

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Netscape Six

I don’t know exactly when, but Netscape has recently released the much anticipated Netscape 6.0. I went to Netscape Dowload, and it said I was using IE 5.0 and that I could “Upgrade to Netscape 6” (or Netscape 4.whatever). IMHO, releasing it was a big mistake because there are a ton of bugs and usability issues. I downloaded it this morning, played with it for 10 minutes and found the following problems:

  • The complete download was approx. 24.9 MB. That is huge!
  • Right clicking in many important places does not do anything.
  • I had a ton of trouble trying to set up a proxy server (in all fairness, it was a microsoft server and I can’t get it to work on older versions of Netscape either.)
  • In fiddling with the Proxy settings, I was manually entering sites to bypass the proxy server and everytime I pressed the right arrow key to move the curser, the radio buttons also switched around. That was very disconcerting, but you’d probably have to see it in action to see what I’m talking about…
  • I didn’t seem to get any errors if I typed in an incorrect URL. It simply stayed on the same screen. That’s even more annoying than the generic “404 File not found” message..

Since I couldn’t get the proxy working, I couldn’t really test all the new features, many of which seem really cool. I’m particularly interested in seeing how well Netscape’s mail client handles AOL email addresses and IMs, but then, my 10 minute trial on the browser doesn’t give me much hope. Now don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to this release, but I think they rushed to put out an incomplete product, and it is a little frustrating. There are a lot of things that are really great about Netscape 6, but I think I’m gonna wait until they stabilize it a little more and work out the bugs before I really start using it…

The Unspeakable Horrors of Flash

Usability “expert” Jacob Nielsen recently published Flash: 99% Bad, an arcticle that reminds me of Dack’s Flash Is Evil article published over a year ago. Dack has also done an informal Usability Test pitting HTML vs Flash. Go and read about the unspeakable horrors of Flash. Then read Kottke’s response to the Flash Usability Challenge in which he makes several good points about Flash and its good uses.

In my opinion, there are two types of sites that can work with Flash:

Personal sites – Visitors to a personal site are not as goal oriented as they normally would be (at, say, an e-tailer for example). Flash won’t necissarily make a personal site better, I just think its more acceptable on a personal page where I’m not looking to perform any specific tasks. Flash software isn’t very cheap either, making it less viable to a personal site developer.

Graphic Design sites – Graphic Designers all but need Flash so that they can show… well, their designs. Flash offers a good compression for the kind of graphics and animation that a Graphic Design site would entail. Again, Flash makes their site less usable, but it is acceptable since it is showcasing what they are selling (graphic design).

Amazon

What happened at amazon.com? It seems that they are attempting to rid themselves of excess images on their “welcome” page (and they reduced the number of nested tables as well). The page is now down to 63,972 bytes total; thats down from 97,779 bytes at mid-summer. The page is still bloated and it needs some more work, but its a step in the right direction. I’m not sure it actually happened.

I have eaten this brain, and I want to chat about it.

This is an interesting parody of Amazon.com aimed towards Zombies who would like to choose from a wide array of brains to eat “because some brains are just naturally better, juicier, and formerly smarter than others.” Some people have too much time on their hands. Now, if you’ll excuse me, Oprah’s brain just arrived in the mail. Mmmm, celebrity brain… ahhhgglaaaahhhggg…