The recently released Firefox 4 is a big improvement over previous versions of the popular Web browser, but you can still teach it plenty of tricks.
Stories by Preston Gralla
If you have a small network at your business or at home, you need help -- and lots of it. For your home network, you are by default the network administrator. You may also be the de facto network administrator at work, in addition to the other job titles you could claim. And if you are the acknowledged network administrator, you probably have little or no backup staff.
It's been a long wait for Firefox 4; it was nearly two years ago that Firefox 3.5 was released. A lot has changed in the browser world since then. But though the wait has been a long one, it has paid off for those with patience: Firefox 4 is a winner.
The past year has been a remarkable one for smartphones, with the meteoric rise of Google's Android OS, the restart of Microsoft's mobile strategy with its much-ballyhooed release of Windows Phone 7 and the continuing success of Apple's iPhone, buoyed by its new availability to Verizon subscribers. Never has there been so much choice in the smartphone market. As a result, hype and overstatement have been the order of the day.
Throw away what you think you know about Internet Explorer -- because the just-released IE9 will turn it all on its ear. Think IE is sluggish? Think again, because according to SunSpider tests, it rivals or beats the speed demons Chrome and Opera. Believe that IE sports a tired-looking interface? No longer --- it now has the same type of stripped-down look that Chrome originated, and that the latest version of Firefox uses as well.
Some downloadable software is so good that you just have to grab it. Unfortunately, often you have to pay for it after you try it out. But every once in a while, a must-have program is totally free. Such indispensable, no-cost programs are the hardest kind to find.
Microsoft's recent deal with Nokia will put Windows Phone 7 on millions of Nokia mobile phones around the world. Microsoft in turn will shower billions of dollars on Nokia in marketing, engineering and other costs. The companies hope that together, they can make inroads into the mobile market that has increasingly become dominated by Apple's iPhone and Google's Android.
The Norton Mobile Utilities beta for Android is a useful but somewhat buggy suite of free tools that any self-respecting Android geek will want to download and test. To a certain extent, it's a proof of concept, because Symantec has not yet decided whether the app will ever become a full-blown product and, if it does, whether it will be free or for pay. Still, it's well worth the download.
Why was Eric Schmidt suddenly demoted as Google's CEO? There are as many opinions as there are analysts, but I think the reason is clear: Google is worried that it's suffering from Microsoft syndrome, and thinks having Schmidt step aside may be the cure.
With every passing month, Google Chrome is becoming increasingly popular. Fans laud its lean, stripped-down interface, and its fast browsing. They also appreciate the free extensions that give Chrome the ability to do all kinds of nifty things.
Android phones are remarkable devices, and essentially are full-blown computers that fit in your hand. In lots of ways, they work well with your PC -- but not in all ways. One of the biggest issues is Android's handling of bookmarks and browser information. Your Android browser doesn't talk to your PC browser, and vice versa. If you find a Web page on your PC that you want to save as a bookmark, it won't be saved to your Android browser. Chrome to Phone is a nifty, free workaround.
Like everyone else on the Internet, you likely use one or more of Google's many services, from search to Gmail to Google Calendar to Google Docs. And like plenty of other people, you probably have wished that these services could do even more, or that you could make them run exactly the way you wanted.
If you're an iPhone user, you'll find the just-released iOS 4.2 a solid, mildly useful new system update. There's nothing earth-shaking here, and nothing as significant as the multitasking features and folders that iOS 4.2 adds to the iPad.
Steve Ballmer has sold more than 49 million shares of Microsoft stock worth $1.3 billion in the past several days, and plans to sell a total of 75 million shares by year's end. Does he know something we don't?
If you're looking for an excellent, free mail client, you'll do well to install Windows Live Mail 2011. This newest version of Microsoft's free e-mail client has been significantly upgraded over the previous version, and now includes a host of new features, including a calendar pane and Microsoft Office's Ribbon interface. It doesn't include all the bells and whistles of Microsoft Outlook, such as tasks and a full-blown calendar, but given that it's free, Windows Live Mail is well worth the download.
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