Google to drop support for older browsers

On August 1st, Google plans to drop support for older browsers. This is a good thing! Using an older browser makes it much more likely that you’ll get a virus on your machine (at least if you run Windows), or succumb to a nasty javascript attack to steal your passwords (a browser on any OS is vulnerable to that) but old browsers also don’t conform to the most current web standards (HTML5) which forces folks like me to do all sorts of hacks behind the scenes to make things display correctly just for you and slows down the pace of web development for everyone. Forcing people to “get with the program” and upgrade their old software isn’t as onerous as it sounds – most browsers are free and newer versions are generally faster and easier to use. Unless you’re already using Chrome (which auto updates behind the scenes – I’m currently on 11.0.696.77), you should check to make sure that you are using an up to date browser before August 1st so you aren’t caught unaware. Google plans to support only the current version and the prior version of modern browsers, which means after Aug 1 they will only support (read: “work on”) Firefox 4 and Firefox 3.6. Visiting Google in Firefox 3.5 will probably thow some kind of error telling you to get busy and upgrade. If you use Chrome, same thing. If you’re using Internet Explorer, what are you thinking!? Well, you can use whatever you want but you should know that after that time IE7 will no longer work (IE 9 is current version). Its not just Google pushing this either. Microsoft has a Moving the World off IE6 site.

official Google release

Bowman

Thanks to my brother for turning me on to Bowman [original link dead Jan 2009] – a very addictive (and bloody!) way to pass some time that requires flash. As it turns out there is a Bowman2 with a bird hunting mode as well. I was unaware that flash apparently runs on a bunch of console games as well, which means if you can download the game you can play it on your PSP or even your Wii. I don’t have any consoles, but you might.

Bowman 2

Block pop-ups and banner ads

A while back I posted a story here about Mozilla (the web browser). I maintain a small network at work of around 35 PCs [update 2010: this is now 120+ but we’re still using Mozilla, though now it’s Firefox] and we’ve been running along just fine with various flavours of Netscape/Mozilla for years. This is why I am aften baffled when I hear folks complain about pop-ups ads and see advertisements for programs that ofter to block them. This is built right into Mozilla! An additional bonus is that if you put a specially formatted (css) text file in the right place, you can filter out all the annoying banner ads too! Find out how!Assuming you’ve already visited the links from the story linked above and have downloaded and installed a nice new Mozilla, begin by blocking all those unrequested pop-ups: Go to Edit | Preferences | Privacy & Security | Popup Windows and put a check mark next to “Block Unrequested Popup Windows”.

Don’t worry, you can make exceptions for those sites you visit that need to open a new window for full functionality of the site (online banking, etc.). Just click the “Allowed Sites” button next to this check box and enter the web site address to allow popups from.

The quickest way to get going with ad blocking is to visit Gozer.org and copy the latest userContent.css file there into the chrome directory deep inside your mozilla profile. In Windows this is something like C:WindowsApplication DataMozillaProfiles John Smithlm34qgkq.sltchrome. In linux, its in the ~/.mozilla/ directory. In MacOS try ~/Library/Mozilla/Profiles/.

The userContent.css file is just a css (cascading style sheet) which you can edit and craft to block or allow any specific file types that get by the default settings. Some example edits are shown on this site. More info on user profiles in Mozilla can be found here. Customizing Mozilla is the official page and gives a good overview of the process.

Installing Mozilla does NOT break your Internet Explorer installation (All the machines at work have both installed and we have no problems, though I have deftly removed IE shortcuts from everywhere and practically no one knows its still there). Hopefully this stuff will help those folks out there who want a more pleasant browsing experience get one!