IE Still the Dominant Browser

In case you needed any reminders, our favorite browser is still Internet Explorer, according to Net Applications Inc., a marketing company that tracks visitors to approximately 40,000 Web sites.

Net Applications reports that in December, IE commanded a 76 percent share of browser visits, with Mozilla's Firefox in second place at 17 percent. Apple's Safari was third with almost 6 percent followed by Netscape (now at the end of its life) and Opera, each with less than 1 percent.

While the browser may seem like a utility -- we just assume it works and don't pay much attention to it -- I still occasionally get IE crashes and incorrect page rendering. I keep Firefox on my systems for just such occasions.

Which browser do you use? Do you have any issues that cause you to switch browsers? Send your browser tales to me at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Macworld Expo This Week
Unlike Microsoft, which spreads its new product announcements throughout the year, the blockbuster introductions from Apple typically come during the Macworld Expo conference and trade show, being held this week in San Francisco. This was the same venue that brought us the first look at the iPhone a year ago.

Today, Steve Jobs will stand in front of the assembled crowd in his usual black turtleneck sweater and jeans and make the announcement that will likely drive sales for the company in the coming year. While most acknowledge that he'll have a difficult time matching the buzz of the iPhone, speculation is that this year's announcement will concern a family of ultra-thin MacBooks.

Because of the company's design achievements and its sense of the dramatic, Apple has been leading the way in defining the future at the junction of IT and consumer electronics. Forward-thinking IT professionals would do well to take notice.

Have you been to a recent Macworld? Are there any innovations you expect to see move from the show floor to the IT stable? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

IBM Tops Patent Assignees for 2007
For the 15th year in a row, IBM leads the list of the year's patent assignees, having been awarded 3,148 patents for 2007, according to an analysis done by IFI Patent Intelligence.

Samsung Electronics came in second with 2,725 patents awarded, while Intel (with 1,865 patents) and Microsoft (with 1,637) were fifth and sixth, respectively. No other primarily software companies were ranked in the top 25. Hewlett-Packard was 10th with 1,470 patents.

Interestingly, a total of 157,284 patents were awarded in 2007. However, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office notes that there's still a backlog of 1,112,517 patent applications pending at the end of the year. At this rate, it may take a while to get through that list.

Are patents still relevant in this day and age, or do they simply kill innovation? Do you want to see a change in the patent process? Send your thoughts to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

VMware Moves Into Application Virtualization
VMware today announced the acquisition of Thinstall, a privately held company headquartered in San Francisco that's a leader in application virtualization.

Application virtualization refers to the ability to virtualize individual applications running on an operating system. This technology makes it possible to keep the OS relatively clean, while also enabling the installation and execution of multiple versions of an application. Application virtualization can also be used to make applications available to individual users on demand.

I looked at the Thinstall solution, productized by LANDesk, along with the Altiris (now a part of Symantec) Software Virtualization Solution in the September 2007 issue of Redmond magazine. While both worked well, my take was that Altiris SVS, available free for personal use, was more elegant and mature.

Have you tried application virtualization yet? What's your take? Let me know at pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

Mailbag: IM Troubles
MSN has been dubbed 2007's "most-hacked" instant messaging client by Facetime Communications. One reader shares his experience with IM security -- or lack thereof:

I don't like IM products full stop. The problem with the MS offering is that not only does it install with Outlook Express, it is opened by Outlook Express when you start that application. I solved that problem by renaming the IM application using the theory that Outlook Express cannot open what it cannot find and have been free of that little application ever since.

A friend of mine was the victim of a malware attack probably due to MSN Messenger or an online gaming site, called Medici. It killed the AV scanner and also locked the user out of the control panel. I finally found two entries starting it in the registry.
-Allan

Got something to add? Let us have it! Leave a comment below or send an e-mail to pvarhol@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Peter Varhol is the executive editor, reviews of Redmond magazine and has more than 20 years of experience as a software developer, software product manager and technology writer. He has graduate degrees in computer science and mathematics, and has taught both subjects at the university level.

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