The Soapbox Papers

The Soapbox Papers is my two-cents worth.

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Location: Beloit, Wisconsin, United States

I am a cross between Tinkerbell and Calamity Jane.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Rule Number Two

Two relatives - both older than I - responded to my entry about my Mozilla installation asking me what in the world is a Mozilla. I guess there are some on my mailing list(s) who are less aware of what is going on in the techie world than I. I will share.

Okay, Mozilla is a browser. A browser is like Internet Explorer (IE), that blue 'e' on the desktop of most computers. IE is a Windows thing. It is not much of a secret that Microsoft (as in Windows, as in IE) has always had a friendly sort of competition with MacIntosh (as in Apple) - Windows being the most popular choice among the business folk, Apple often the choice of artsy folk. Having used both early on in my friendship with computers, I found Apple almost childishly easy, but opted for the more widely used Windows for compatibility. In the past few years, the compatibility problem has all but disappeared, so there really isn't so much difference in the computer world -- or so I thought. There is more than Apples and Oranges.

If one is even loosely associated with techies, one learns that over the years there has been an increasing discontent developing against Windows - against Microsoft in its conglomerate entirety. Windows is expensive, Windows is automatically pre-installed in most PC computer systems one buys off the shelf. Windows has over-run the market with a product that has security breaches (hence the updates) and updates to correct updates. Windows - probably because of its enforced popularity - is also the greatest vehicle for computer threats such as viruses, worms, and other nasties. Windows based programs and websites most often carry spyware - send out 'tracking cookies' that reveal to some source you probably don't know access to your computer activities and other sneaky things.

For this and for many reasons, techies have looked elsewhere. There ARE other operating systems other than Apple and Microsoft. And there is a movement afoot for free software (which isn't really free - someone created it and someone should get paid for it -- but this will be another blog entry at another time) and for getting around the internet (indeed, the universe) without Microsoft products -- such as IE.

Mozilla is one of those options. Mozilla is the product of a bunch of techies sitting around saying, "hmmm... what if..." and seems to be highly regarded in techie circles. It is innovative, and seems to change with the times. Although I am still exploring its features, I see that it is easily adaptable to the needs of its user (more about which as I get more into it.)

The important thing to remember is that there ARE options, and before a computer-interested person wanders into a store and plops down what is still a sizeable stack of currency, one should network among one's friends and acquaintances to find a techie or two and discuss what you want, what you want to do with this computer, and how best to do it. Don't bristle if your techie turns you away from Microsoft. The innovations seem to be coming from outside the conglomerate. You want to be cutting edge with your new computer, don't you? Then remember Rule Number Two:

Thou Shalt Know What is Available

Smokey

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