bill-shockDear Reader,

I wound up switching from an unrestricted Internet Provider to a restricted plan because I needed a better connection.   For the first time I encountered datashock.   Once I called up my provider and increased my data for the month, I had to figure out which device was the guilty party and how to manage my errant devices.  For those of you who don’t know data-saving tactics, here is a brief run-down:

  1. Close all your apps. If they are left running in the background they will use data while you are not watching.
  2. For a machine running Windows 8, you can set your metered data settings. Tutorial available here.
  3. Windows 8 also has a built-in function to show estimated data use.  Pull up your networks in the charm bar, right click your network and show data use :Screenshot (19)
  4. For Mac users, its a bit more elusive.  Groovin’ on apps wrote a great post here.
  5. There are a couple free apps in the Apple store Mac users can download to monitor data usage including Onavo:

Screenshot (20)

  1. Make sure apps are not updating automatically if possible.
  2. Video streaming of any kind is your worst enemy.
  3. Make good use of public networks if possible.  Now is the time for a coffee shop or restaurant with free wifi.   The price of the meal is less than your data plan.

Happy surfing!


Dear Reader,

Never Mind The Bullets!   It’s an old, comic book style story / game taking advantage of all the latest and greatest graphic capabilities on the Web using Ineternet Explorer 9.  “The story unfolds at LongHorn Gush, a quiet town troubled by a band of outlaws that call themselves «The Red Bandanas». However, with the arrival of the famous Bill «One Shot» Collins things are about to change…”[1]

I have quite a few browsers loaded on my laptop so I decided to test the work to see if IE9 was really superior as the folks at Microsoft claimed.  First, I cleared the browsers of any cookies and history to optomize and make the challenge fair.

The story loaded quickly and ran great on IE9 – no suprise there.

I also have Safari on my pc – that usually outperforms most other browsers.   In this case the story loaded much more slowly.   It ran fine for a few frames then I had parts of characters while it slowed down to reload.

Next, I tried Chrome – my default browser of choice for oh so many reasons.  Once again, the story loaded much more slowly than in IE9; however, it seemed ok after that.   It just didn’t look quite as good as in IE9 – it looked more flat and uninteresting.

Then, I went with Firefox.  As with the other browsers, the page loaded noticeably slower.  It also scrolled across the story much slower than the other browsers and it was slightly jumpy.  I lost parts of the story and couldn’t continue reading it.

Here is your challenge –  much to my surprise the folks at Microsoft have revamped IE9 like you wouldn’t believe!   Check out this story / game in your favorite browser of choice and compare it with IE9.    Microsoft said that they were the only ones up to current Web Standards and able to access all the new features.   See if they’re right!




Dear Reader,

Last week on Monday, I posted a puzzle — identify the web browser by the screen shot I took… before I answer the question… lets look at this:

First… Firefox!   Sleek design, great developer tools… fast… most people swear by Firefox as the best browser out there… can it be outdone?  At least one blogger thinks so HERE

Now… Google Chrome!   Customizable sleek design… compatible with the tour de force of cloud computing — Google, GMail … not as strong on developer tools… fast browsing .. can it be outdone?

Now… up and coming…. RockMelt… Similar to GoogleChrome in design – sleek… working on being compatible with everything… no developer tools yet… fast browsing… yet with an added punch!   Social networking while you are at it — complete connectivity to Facebook and the ability to interact real-time sharing and IM….   Still in Beta version…

… And finally, the web browser from last week….   Drum Roll HERE

IE9 !  Yes, that’s right — Internet Explorer from Microsoft.   New, sleek design that matches Windows 7 and Vista Aero.   After seeing it in action at Microsoft’s District office in Waltham, I decided to give it a test drive.   Does it deliver?

I found the old, cludgy browing to be a thing of the past.  It was moving fast.  Developer tools?   They are there and in spades creating a great rival for Firefox’s Firebug for those of you developers.   I’d check it out if you have the inclination… any drawbacks?

The bitter battle between Microsoft and Google became evident when I couldn’t open a document from a link.   It was a Google Doc and I got a page error.   I opened Google Chrome and had no problem.

Made me feel like an innocent bystander caught in a crossfire.   My word of advice to the big guys — drop the egos and bury the hatchet and work with us developers.   I don’t care who did who wrong first.  I just want to get my work done.

It reminds me of a moment out of Star Trek — yes, the original Star Trek and I am a nerd.   Spock had romanced the Romulan leader during war to win a victory.  The Federation was seeking the mystery of the cloaking device.

“You realise that very soon we will learn to penetrate the cloaking device you stole… Military secrets are the most fleeting of all.”[1]

In time, competing companies will learn to penetrate the technical secrets of the competing companies. Perhaps, like military secrets, technical secrets are the most fleeting of all.

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Dear Reader,

Can you guess the Web Browser in these pictures?   The top one is just a simple display at   The next one is utilizing the features to do webpage development on an ad I run on Craigslist.

I’ll be taking emails and comments for a couple days.   Emails to: or

Dear Reader,

In our web-based world, the most important application is the Web Browser.   Browsers abound: Chrome, Firefox, and Internet Explorer are the top ones right now including Apple’s Safari.  Some dead browsers include Netscape Navigator.   I recently posted a blog about a completely different browser, RockMelt — possibly the harbinger of the third browser war?

Most people know that IE is slow and cludgy and almost any browser beats it.

Microsoft has just released IE9 — it works only with Windows 7 or Vista.  However, it is being downloaded 27 times per second. [4]

I have not yet tried IE9.   My browser of choice is generally Chrome or Safari for Windows and sometimes Firefox if I am developing a web application.  I keep IE on my machine for those odd times when some application will only work with IE.

Here’s the download site for the new version of IE for those of you who want to try it: DOWNLOAD