Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, October 10, 2021

Granted, with constant security shortcomings that culminated in a Federal government warning against its regular use, Internet Explorer’s name is currently mud. Does that mean Microsoft’s domination of the browser market is kaput?

Internet pioneer Marc Andreessen thinks the stage is set for that, which gives the notion credence with many within the tech community. Some even offer some anecdotal evidence:

In September, technology maven Jason Calacanis noted that in doing log file reports for tech site Engadget.com, he found that the site’s audience put Firefox in the No. 2 spot, with only 53 percent using IE. Most estimates of IE dominance put IE use closer to 95 percent.

Of course, with evidence like this, you get the feeling that the anti-IE/pro-Firefox voices are clutching at straws. IE is “only” at 53 percent? Among visitors to a fairly hard-core techie blog? Given the geeky audience, I’d expect Firefox to be the top referring browser, by a longshot. That IE still dominates among this group tells me that the user movement away from Microsoft’s browser is exaggerated. If those most intimately familiar with the tech issues behind browsers aren’t defecting en masse, then I don’t expect to see it on a mass-audience scale.

Fortunately, the analysts provide some clarity:

“The war is over, and Microsoft is the winner — no question,” Yankee Group analyst Tony White told NewsFactor. “Netscape is number two, but IE is still clearly the leader, and is expected to be for quite some time.”

A prediction that Opera or Firefox can surpass IE is just “insane,” said White, who added that user numbers are consistently tweaked and presented as fact by those who prefer non-IE browsers.

“There’s a lot of bogus information online from people who have a vested interest in seeing browsers like Opera succeed,” White noted. “But saying IE is being knocked from the top spot doesn’t make it true.”

In fact, Andreessen’s entire premise is a good example of how groupthink tunnel vision can lead to broader assumptions that are fundamentally false. A tiny blip of increase in Firefox usage is quickly exaggerated as a building trend, and suddenly techies are declaring the end of IE’s reign.

In fact, that perception is fed by a very narrow set of inputs: Lots of developer sites and blogs are touting a “switch to Firefox” grassroots campaign, hardcore Web users are adopting the Mozilla browser, and some blogs are even configuring themselves to be non-IE optimized. All this creates a buzz, but it blinds them to how limited this movement really is.

The fact remains that IE is bundled onto practically every mass-market computer out there, and as long as that’s the case, it’s going to be the predominant browser, hands down. To the average user, IE is the default program for accessing all Web sites. It doesn’t occur to them that there should be an alternative way to do that, any more than there should be an alternative for, say, their keyboard. Installing another browser, that won’t let them use some of their everyday bookmarks (like many bank and ecommerce sites) correctly, doesn’t make an awful lot of sense.

As exciting as the prospect of renewed competition in the browser market is, it’s not going to happen. As long as Windows is the king of PC operating systems, Microsoft will be calling the shots on the browser that comes with it, and by default that will be IE. Without a pre-installed spot on desktops, Firefox, Opera and other browsers will continue to be limited-scope fringe pursuits. Even alternate browser developments by big players like AOL and Google are iffy propositions because of this barrier.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/10/2021 08:50pm
Category: Internet
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This weekend is my give-or-take 10-year college reunion. It’s “give-or-take” because I actually graduated from Eckerd in 1993, so it’s eleven years; but because of some cockamanie “clustering” system the alumni association uses, it’s anyone’s guess as to when they actually get around to a particular class. In fact, I believe my class was pretty much overlooked for this year until a few people complained, at which point we were included after the fact.

Is that a negative enough intro?

I haven’t registered for anything. I live about 15 minutes away from campus, so it’s not a big deal for me to just drop in. And I would absolutely love to meet up with some classmates who I haven’t seen since graduation. Even others, with whom I’ve been in sporadic contact over the years, will be here. It would be great to get together over drinks or dinner or something.

Unfortunately, the timing’s not great for me. This is the thick of my busy season at work, so I just haven’t had much time or energy to devote to this (along with several other things). I can certainly get away for some meet-and-greets, but fishing trips and other extended forays are out of the question.

If nothing else, I’ll hit an informal reunion get-together at Woody’s Waterfront on St. Pete Beach, this Thursday at 6PM (if any alum are reading, consider this your invitation). That’s about the right kind of atmosphere: Right on the water, knocking back a few, and casually catching up.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sun 10/10/2021 11:41am
Category: Florida Livin'
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