Tuesday, January 19, 2010

No to Internet Explorer

Ever have a tough time trying to convince your friends and family to abandon IE (Internet Explorer)? Well now the French and German government is recommending their citizen to switch to non-IE browser. Apparently IE6 has a major vulnerability in which "Internet Explorer can be caused to allow remote code execution." In fact the same vulnerability exists in IE7 and IE8 too.

If there is a time to switch to other browsers, anytime now would be good. I have been using Firefox for some time now, and have no regrets switching over. I've also tried out the other alternatives like Google Chrome, Opera and Safari. In fact all of them perform much better than IE. In terms of speed of loading a webpage, I find they are much faster by 5 to 10 seconds. And that's a lot of waiting time wasted if you are browsing many web pages.

However majority of the users are still relying on good old IE. Using my analytics on my website, most visitors are still dropping by my website using IE. Figure at about 50-70% of them still use IE for browsing.

Why the resistance? Perhaps resistance to change is the factor. Majority of the people are not really technical savvy and to switch over from say IE to Firefox would be a struggle for them.

Heck, even my dad struggled a lot when he was using Windows 2000, and when he switched over to Windows Vista, it took him a long time to finally settle down with it. And now Windows 7 is out and naturally he is resistant to change the operating system. And my dad is considered not too bad, if it was my dad-in-law, switching on the computer is a struggle for him (he didn't even know he has to switch on both the LCD display and the computer too! And he complained to me that his computer was not working!).

So as far as Internet Explorer goes, it will still dominate the browser market for a long time to come despite its shortcomings and despite the fact that there are better browsers like Firefox, Opera, or Chrome.

Here's something from Sitepoint about "IE must die", heh heh:

Here's a tasty bit of schadenfreude for all of you troopers in the "Internet Explorer Must Die" Army: in the wake of the attacks on Google, the German, French, and Australian governments have all advised us to stop using Internet Explorer. Microsoft's Security Advisory points out that a vulnerability can be found in versions 6, 7, and 8, and recommends that you update to IE8 as soon as you can in order to take advantage of DEP -- Data Execution Protection. On the Microsoft Security Response Center's blog, you'll find videos explaining DEP and how it can help you.

It's important to remember, though, that any browser could be introducing undiscovered bugs and vulnerabilities right now. If you make the switch to another browser, it's important to always keep an eye out for updates, patches, and critical issues that could affect you.

Many of our readers and community members have long wanted an end to IE for good, and you'll find that exact sentiment in the majority of the responses posted about it on our Facebook page. Of course, many of these people had already abandoned Internet Explorer long ago in favor of other browsers, though some of you might be trapped on Internet Explorer at work. If you're in an IE-only workplace, what are your IT staff doing about this concern? We're curious here at SitePoint HQ, and we'd love to know how this issue may be affecting you. Drop us a line!
- Raena Jackson Armitage

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Wordpress Websites

Wordpress is one of the most popular software app. You can find many Wordpress websites just about anywhere. Even I myself am using Wordpress for my blogging and website creation. It is very versatile.

If you want to build a free website using Wordpress, you can get one at Wordpress.com and sign up for an account there. However using a free website in Wordpress.com may not be the best option. Ok, ok, I should be supporting Wordpress, after all they do provide free download of their software to be installed into your paid hosted website.

And for those who don't want to pay for anything and still like to use Wordpress as their blogging platform, they can build a free website by signing up with them.

But as your needs grow, you will find the free offering is not as versatile as say Google's Blogger/Blogspot in that you can't place any advertisement into your Wordpress blog account. However Wordpress do provide some premium offering to increase your requirement. It took me a while to finally find out the price. Wordpress did not display their premium pricing publicly and I only found out about the pricing after deciding to explore their free Wordpress blog by signing up.

The premium offering can be cost effective as you are just picking up what you want as your needs grow. However in the long run if you are adding up each premium offering, you may end up paying a lot more than just going straight into a paid hosting with a Wordpress installation.

Wordpress premium rates

All the offerings are on a per year basis. And if your needs is not a lot, perhaps you just need to add a domain and Custom CSS that comes to about $29.94 per year.

And that was just what my friend did. He got a domain from GoDaddy and pointed it to Wordpress.com and used the mapping functionality which cost $9.97 and bought the Custom CSS for $14.97 so that he could modify the them to include some Google Adsense in his Wordpress blog.

Unfortunately that was not to be. It didn't work. The Adsense wouldn't come out. Originally the free Wordpress.com will not allow you to paste any Adsense or any Javascript from any affiliate. And the addition of the Custom CSS still do not allow any Javascript to work either and I didn't see any offering in their upgrade that allow for adding any Adsense or other affiliate codes.

So he has just plunk in his money for nothing. Although there is a refund policy of 30 days, but I think he may have exceeded the days after trying it for some time.

So in the end, I advise him to get a paid web hosting. There are many cheap and good web hosting companies around to choose from. It is not always that you need a lot of bandwidth and storage space. So a simple and cheap web hosting account might be all that you need as you are starting out. You can always upgrade later if you need more space and bandwidth transfer.

There are always some pitfalls when trying to build a free website. But if your needs are simple, free is good. But if your website ambition is to blog to promote yourself and your work, it might be better to go for a paid hosting. The upgrade offering from Wordpress.com just didn't suit my friends requirement. And if you planning to go for free now, and then thought perhaps later you want to upgrade to expand your website functionality then you need to think carefully about what you want to do with your website.

If it will tie in with your work and business later. Then don't try to build a free website. Go straight to building one with a paid web hosting company.

And of course if you want to really succeed in building a website, try Sitesell Site Build It. They have the best tools for creating a successful website. And of course, it cost a mint, but it is worth every penny. Scrimping initially won't get you far in the long run. Better to jump headlong into it if you know the direction you are heading.