Hardware Mozilla Software

New Laptop

I’ve now had about about 48hrs with the new laptop. Just a few thoughts (in no paticular order):

On the plus side

  • Well built as typical of IBM. Nothing if squeaky, flimsy. It feels very solid, despite being so thin.
  • The 9 Cell battery sticks out the back a little (about an inch). And provides longer battery life over standard 6 cell. No big deal and more battery life.
  • ATI Radeon X300 Graphics Chipset (64MB) is much better than the 3200 ATI Radeon 7500 I had.
  • DVD±RW hasn’t been tested yet. I should get some DVD media (anyone have brand preference?)
  • Fingerprint reader is so 007. Very cool way to log in. Now nobody sees you typing your password.
  • Intel 802.11a/b/g card works fine. Not sure why so many people swap them out for IBM cards. As I see it right now, it’s working perfectly.

On the questionable (not really much here)

  • Fan Noise – this is the biggest complaint I’ve heard about the T43. The fan does seem to be a little louder than it should, but I don’t think it’s a deal breaker. Mine will likely cool a bit when more RAM arrives and my paging file doesn’t cause my hard drive to spin for hours on end.
  • Rescue and Recovery for backup purposes (imaging) isn’t that good. It’s really slow, and doesn’t seem to like incrimental backups. I’m going to order Acronis True Image to do the job instead.
  • PATA->SATA bridge causes many normal ATA drives to produce errors with the IBM BIOS. Ideally IBM would have just used SATA already, or stuck with ATA, but this bridge means great drives like the 7k100 won’t work, at least not yet (fingers crossed they release new ones with upgraded firmware).
  • No 2nd bay for extra hard drive. I’ d have to swap between the DVD/CD drive and another drive
  • No web navigation keys. I got used to having them.

So there’s really not much to improve on. The biggest would be the fan noise, and getting backups to be quick and smooth. Both aren’t that big of a deal. Fan noise I can deal with (my old laptop I think was louder), and the backups will be done with other software.

I’ve also decided to abandon Sygate as my software firewall, and move to Kerio (which is going to be unsupported soon). I really run these only because it’s a laptop, and not always on my clean firewalled network. Anyone have a recommendation for a good (free) firewall on Windows that doesn’t suck (read: no zonealarm). How could it have gone this long without an open source contender? Kerio doesn’t seem to bad, but I don’t like that it’s approaching End of Life.

Oh yea, Opera fans [read: anyone who doesn’t like IE, including Firefox fans] will be interested in this (if they haven’t found this yet). If you boot this system, and press Access IBM you go into an emergency partition on your hard drive (apparantly powered by a scaled down Windows NT or 2000 with a bunch of utilities. One option is to browse the web. On closer examination, they use Opera, not IE (info on the feature found here search for “Get help, by being connected”).

Funny Mozilla Software

Ad Free Opera

According to

For one day only, you can get an ad-free version of Opera. Simply e-mail to obtain a registration code. This offer is valid from 12 a.m. Tuesday, August 30 to 12 a.m. Wednesday, August 31 2005 (PDT).

Now is a great time to fire off that email, it’s a great offer for a really good browser. There’s a rumor Mozilla will follow by providing a similar offer for an ad-free browser withing a given time period. It will be something you don’t want to miss.

Ok, Firefox is always ad free. But seriously, give it a go. Opera is a really good browser, especially for low end computers that don’t have much CPU. It’s fast and standards compliant.


Firefox Marketshare

I enjoy this topic a bit. Please don’t take this as science, or fact. This is purely speculation and discussion about market share. The topic itself is rather complex. You can view it from the mathematical/statistical point of view, or from the business/marketing point of view. Both have a very different (yet similar) angle on the topic and view things a bit differently. Because of my interest in the business angle, I’ll lean slightly more towards that.

First the facts (from Infoworld discussing the NetApplications data):

Firefox’s share shrunk to 8.07 percent from 8.71 percent in June, while IE grew its market slice to 87.20 percent in July from 86.56 percent last month.

…He pointed out that Apple Computer’s Safari browser grew most, increasing its market share 2.13 percent from 1.93 percent. America Online’s Netscape, which once ruled this market, slid a bit to 1.50 percent from 1.55 percent. Opera Software ASA’s Opera came in fifth with a 0.49 percent market share.

OK, well using that data, and filling in the blanks (we’ll assume Opera stayed the same, and “Other” being the remaining users) we can come up with a nice table of data:

Browser June July Diff
Firefox 8.71% 8.07% -0.64%
IE 86.56% 87.2% 0.64%
Opera 0.49% 0.49% 0%
Safari 1.93% 2.13% 0.2%
Other 2.31% 2.11% -0.2%
Total (fact) 97.2% 97.89%  
Total (stat) 100% 100%  

Some Graphs

The point of the below graphs is to illustrate how much this really means in the grand scheme of things (from what we can tell based on the available data). As you’ll see, there’s almost no difference. Simply because were talking about a little more than a half of a percent. With IE still holding over 85%, a fraction of a percent is pretty meaningless to them. It’s not like they had a big gain.

Graph 1
Graph 2
Graph 3

Also in the article:

I’m really anxious to see what happens in the month of August – Dan Shapero,’s Chief Operating Officer

I’m not. I’d be more interested in September and October. August won’t really say much about anything. If it goes back up, it’s not very reflective. If it goes down further, it’s still not reflective. There are several reasons for this:

  • August is a vacation month – Simply put, lots of people are on vacation, and away from their computers. This is especially true for students, and younger adults. This is important as this demographic is key to Firefox 1.0 success. If you look around, some of the best marketing for Firefox took place via grassroots efforts like Blogs and such. It’s obvious the net slows down a bit in August. Everything from websites to online forums seem to slow down a bit as people take some time off (this blog is a perfect example if you look at posts per month).
  • Factor of 1.5 – that’s right. Firefox 1.5 isn’t to far off, and you know what that means? Yup, the lull before upgrade season. Growth will slow thanks to people saying “I heard it’s coming soon, I’ll just wait”. Then of course you have corporate deployments who don’t want to bother with a version that will be outdated soon. If I were them I wouldn’t really push 1.0 at this point either. I’d hold until 1.5 is released, then deploy that.
  • Marketing Slowdown – yea, that’s the big one. Why? Because of the above two reasons. SpreadFirefox is in a bit of a transition right now.

So why the drop?

It’s hard to say for certain, but I’d guess at least part of it is simply the fence leaning. What does that mean? Well with anything, there are people who jump on board (if your reading this blog using Firefox, you likely fit in this category), and people who stay on their side of the fence (you IE people). Then there is the small percentage who don’t quite know where to go. They try things out, and go back to the side they came from (IE). This is a normal part of software transitioning. Remember back when Mac OS X 10.0 came out? We all had classic running in the background about 95% of the time? A few even stuck with classic (while having OS X installed). Then as we got more adjusted, Classic was running less and less. Until it became a rare situation (I only use it for SimCity 2000 these days), and occasionally Microsoft Office, since I haven’t convinced my student budget to purchase Office for Mac OS X (I use AppleWorks when on the Mac most of the time).

So if September and/or October looks sour, it’s over?

No. Not really. Take a look at Netcraft’s excellent survey of web server’s and you’ll see various places where you could have assumed that Apache would be turning sour, when in fact, it goes right on back.

Abandon ship?

Ha! Never.

Predict the next jump?

Oh how tempting that is. I will say this. I expect shortly after 1.5, there will be jump in users, a larger trend will take place among corporate users thanks to some enhancements, and just “not being 1.0” (many companies have policies against anything that’s “.0” simply because they view it as new and buggy). So I expect more corporate adoption. The problem with corporate adoption is that it can be a slow process (QA can take months). So that jump may start 3 weeks out from 1.5’s release, but may not be fully realized for a few months after.

Bottom Line

Hype. That’s really it. There was a lot of hype about Firefox taking over the web. That was good (in a way), but this is the downside of that. Now browser stats are all the rage. A year ago almost nobody cared about them. Now it seems everyone does. Firefox isn’t about a monopoly or fighting one. It’s about providing choice and innovation. That’s what it does. Firefox grows when it innovates and the rest of the industry doesn’t. Perhaps that’s really what browser stats gauge? Market share is a measure of browser innovation and users acceptance (or disappointment). Yep, there’s that word again (“user”). It’s about the “user”, not the browser. Remember that. Blake has said this before. So yes, the statistical drop between June and July is pretty meaningless regardless of how you look at it.

Internet Mozilla


I said over a year ago Firefox should support BitTorrent. Opera now has support. No it wouldn’t support piracy, or any of the other silly comments people have given over the past year about why it shouldn’t be supported. Launching yet another app to download a file is silly. If Firefox dropped FTP support (because it too is just another protocol, and doesn’t relate to web browsing). There would be a boat load of complaints. It’s not a kitchen sink. It’s a usable protocol. What people do with it is up to them. There are many legitimate BitTorrent uses. Linux distro’s use it for example. So do some gaming sites (those giant demo’s). The protocol isn’t illegal by any means. Just some individuals misuse of the protocol. The web is used for illegal purposes all the time, it doesn’t mean Firefox encourages it.

I’m a fan of the protocol. The problem is that it’s still to complex for average joe. Current clients are awkward and slow (while better than previous generations). Why do I need another program to download a file? And for those currently using BitTorrent, imagine the benefits of 60 Million users with BitTorrent capable browsers who can easily participate in torrents.

I still believe it’s a good idea. Congrats to Opera for realizing the benefit of the protocol and realizing the end user can benefit from it. That’s what software is about: benefiting the end user.


Are you plugged in?

Well apparently Mozilla Foundation, Apple, Macromedia, Opera and Sun Microsystems are plugging in to new plugins.

Great news. A step towards the next generation of plugins. As much as we hate them, they are a way of life on the web. Might as well make them good.