Browse Even Quicker (and Safer) with FireFox

Bet you think I’m talking about FireFox, hey? Well, only loosely. I’m going to quickly mention a few things FOR FireFox, but not FF directly. There should be a button on the right of this post, ’bout half way through, my Spread FireFox button, because I love it, and if you don’t already use it, you’re doing yourself a injustice as well as the rest of the world. Because Mozilla want to make the web a better place.

OK, now that you have FireFox, you need to start customizing it. IE, give it a new skin, a new persona (the little fox-head in the bottom right left corner), make it yours! And after all that, get FlashBlock. This blocks any flash based media on any webpage. Like when you visit a new webpage, and you then get to see some lovely adverts eating away at your data, flashing, playing noises and the like.
Easier to just get rid of them. FlashBlock blocks these, and replaces them with a little silver icon and frame to let you know something DOES go there, in case it was something you actually wanted.

Very useful, and easy. Once its installed, it needs no more instructions. Just right click the icon for more options, like to never block again, etc. I’ll keep listing my favourite add-ons in coming months


Why I Love Opera (Mini)

Opera Mini. Just this single app has changed the main purpose of my phone. Most people use their phone for trivial stuff, like phoning someone, to sending messages. Well, not I!

I discovered Opera Mini a few years back, can’t remember how I came across it, but somehow I downloaded it and gave it a try. That’s when the mobile internet revolution happened for me. Opera Mini is for normal cellphones. There is Opera Mobile for smartphones, but I’ve never used it, but I hear it’s good, and there is on available for iPhone.
The simple reason why I love Opera Mini, is that I can now browse the full web, with almost full functionality, just everywhere I go. Previously, if I wanted some info, I would have to navigate through my phones built-in browser. Or just wait until I was at a PC. Usually, I just waited for a PC, as phone browsers are not friendly, look terrible, and suck data so fast you’d think it was getting paid.
No, with Opera, I can very easily Google something, and have it displayed to me in a phone friendly format, while still having the entire web-page at my fingertips. No restriction to the mobile website, you have full access.

I only have my phone on me all the time for that reason. I can access the internet. I facebook through it, twitter via (best client I’ve found), look up movies, hell, I can even run my blog through it!
The only real limitation to Opera is actually the biggest. JavaScript. These days, most websites run a little JavaScript, and as a result, you don’t get the real deal. You do have basic access to the script, what little your phone can handle, but I guess that a Java based mini-web browser just does not have the processing power behind it. Pity, but I don’t think there is an alternative without upgrading you phone to a smartphone.

The latest version of Opera Mini is 5.0 beta 2. It supports tabs, so you can access multiple websites at once, has a password save function, download manager, advanced web-page compression and if you use a PC version of Opera, you can synchronize your bookmarks between your phone and mobile. It also supports almost all modern mobile phones, ie. colour.
Opera sits with only 3 other mobile applications on my phone. GMail, Google Maps, and 2go, an IM client I’ll explain another day. I love my Opera, and once you try it out, you’ll never be stuck in the DVD store, wondering what you should rent. It’s only a quick Google away, on your mobile phone.

Here’s a direct link for your mobile phone HERE

Can Google Buzz Zap the Rest?

     Google has launched a new service called Google Buzz. Think twitter, or the news feed from Facebook, and you got what they trying to do. To be honest, I really think Google has simply jumped on the social train, again. It does have some interesting ideas, but is there enough of a user-base left between the giants?

    Google’s first attempt at social networking was Orkut. If you haven’t heard of it, don’t worry, you aren’t missing anything ground-breaking. Facebook got there first, and you know the people on Facebook. Orkut is MAJOR in Brazil and India, so if you feel you need to better connect with them, Orkut is the way to go.
    Buzz is Google’s second project. It seems like it will operate very similar to twitter, in that its all about what you and your friends have just done, seen, eaten, and where they have done it, seen it, ingested it. It’s the whole micro-blogging trend that seems to be getting much stronger as the walls of privacy and keeping-things-private-because-nobody-cares seem to fall away.
    On the surface, there is nothing that Buzz is doing that twitter or FB is already doing. But the key feature in Buzz is that it is a Google project. It’s biggest card, the Ace in The Hole, is integrating with other Google products and other companies. Imagine you’re in a city you don’t know, looking for a good restaurant. So you go to Google Maps, and it shows a little bubble with one of your friend’s buzz/zap on a local place! Instead of having to google the local restaurants, then looking for reviews, you instead see what a friend had to say about it. Or, simply enable nearby Buzz, and you will get a feed on buzzes/zaps (Is that right? I personally hope for ‘zap’. Heard it here first) in the local area. With pictures even!
    It also integrates into Picasa, flickr and partially twitter. There are others, but those are notable. As yet, it does not do Facebook, which would certainly drive traffic to Buzz. Until then, there is a major problem with breaking into a sector that already has two heavyweights slowly imitating each other. Twitter and Facebook are slowly becoming each other, with most aggressive pushes coming from Facebook. FB is placing a heavy focus on search with the new redesign, and there have been reports that news sites, like CNN
and Mashable, are receiving more traffic from social networking links. Buzz is another canoe in a pool with two yachts already there.
    The Buzz will sit inside your GMail. Like, in there. Just below the inbox. So seeing what’s going on will be natural and convenient. It will also auto-add people that you interact with regularly and recommend popular users to you based on your similarity and shared contacts.
    Well, the advantages for Google Buzz are already here. It is seamlessly integrated into GMail, the best EMail app, integrates to Google Products, supports geo-tagging, and can feed off twitter. Once Facebook is added, we might find Buzz and its ‘zaps’ becoming our central social feed.
    It’s just a pity that most people I know don’t use GMail. A time to switch? GMail does support a full contacts import and redirecting emails? Maybe my next post will be a guide to switch over…