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Windows 8 sneak peek – what bloggers have failed to show you

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Windows 8 leaks

Windows 8 has had some details and screenshots leaked that give us some great insight into how the new operating system (OS) will work. And it is impressive. What strikes us the most is that it’s not just two or three tweaks or new colors with a new version number slapped on it, the infrastructure has changed considerably.

We are most impressed that the new OS will make your desktop operate more like a smartphone whereas in the past, the opposite has been sought. The two are finally blending in a really sexy way.

Smartphone-like tiles

Technologist Paul Therrot said, “Windows 8’s worst-kept secret, perhaps, is that it will include a Windows Phone-inspired, Metro-like, tiles-based user interface as an alternative to the more mainstream Aero and Aero Lite (formerly Aero Basic) UIs. Aimed at small, touch-based devices like tablets and phones, this new UI, called Immersive, is also one of Windows 8’s most locked-down features. And in the recently leaked builds, it’s proven impossible, so far, to unlock.”

Immersive Internet Explorer

The version of Internet Explorer that is said to be released with Windows 8 will look and act like Windows Phone’s mobile browser but will use the desktop IE renderer, so for example, you’ll see your history in square full color thumbnails in new tabs.

Thurrot said, “Currently, this application–which, oddly enough, is not currently implemented as a Windows Phone-style AppX application package like some other new Windows 8 apps–operates only at 640 x 480, and cannot be resized. It’s likely that this application is designed to run full screen only and that the limitations we’re currently seeing are because we’re running outside of its intended native Immersive environment.”

Native PDF reader

Rather than relying on Adobe or Nitro, Windows 8 will include its own PDF reader called “Modern Reader” and we have to say that it’s pretty sexy. It’s fully functional with the traditional zoom in/out, but the way it lays out is more intuitive.

New login inspired by Windows Phone 7

The new login page is very similar to the Windows Phone 7 lock screen and appears that you can change the background image while the time, date and power management icons remain as they are placed. We love the giant typography and the modern look, it’s a huge step up from tradition.

Mysterious ribbons, the most controversial move

Windows 8 will put into place more ribbons which is the new navigation feature you’ve already seen in Microsoft Office instead of the endless navigation bar menu dropdowns, offering most commonly used options first and up front. Some tech blogs are focusing on this feature which we believe is less newsworthy than the above points, but we won’t waste much energy on ribbons as internally, no final decision has been made to implement this feature and there is a lot of infighting about it, so it might not make the cut.

The takeaway:

What you should know is that Windows 8 is conforming to smartphone user interface which is a huge move for such a traditional, mature company. With the rise of the Android OS, Microsoft has to come up with a way to regain some of their marketshare in mobile and this could just be the very way to do it- a crossover OS.

What do you think of the sneak peek of what we’ve shown you above?

Browsers

Facebook Messenger for Firefox launched, browsing gets social

Facebook Messenger for Firefox is now live, and users can interact with Facebook while visiting any website or page that can be browsed in Firefox, saving steps and truly integrating social into browsing.

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facebook messenger for firefox

Facebook Messenger for Firefox users

As a means of integrating social into Firefox users’ experience, Facebook Messenger has launched as part of the browser, built on a new Social API for the web, and because roughly 20 percent of all time spent online is on social networks, Firefox has sought to organically make that a part of their browser. Users need to update to the latest Firefox, then click “Turn On” on the Facebook Messenger for Firefox Page, and Facebook chat and updates pop up right in the sidebar of Firefox.

Here’s how it works:
[pl_video type=”youtube” id=”pSGoS8VkOFE”]

Marrying social with browsing

As shown in the video above, when the feature is enabled, you’ll get a social sidebar which includes Facebook updates and chat, and you can like new comments, tag photos, and get notifications for messages, friend requests and more, turning Firefox into a little Facebooking machine.

The company says the integration is the beginning of making the browser more social, adding that more support for other features and multiple providers is on the way.

“Mozilla is a non-profit organization with a mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web,” the company said in a statement, “and we can’t wait to see what cool Web experiences developers will build on our Social API. We want to build a social standard for the Web to give developers more opportunities and users more choice, much like we did with our work on OpenSearch. Imagine using the Firefox sidebar, toolbar buttons and even an AwesomeBar button for news, music, finances, email, group projects and more.”

When users do not wish to be available, Facebook Messenger can be disabled altogether, or simply “hide” the sidebar which will put it away and stop notifications so you can focus.

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Browsers

Google chrome keeps getting faster and faster

When people get frustrated with the speed of their internet, they often blame their service provider, but the culprit could be an outdated web browser. Google Chrome continues to get faster and faster over time, while others appear to be degrading.

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google chrome

Not all browsers are created equal

How do you decide which browser to use? Do you use Internet Explorer because it’s what you’ve always used? How about Firefox? Do you use it because it’s potentially the most common and your contacts have recommended it? Or, do you use Chrome because it’s new and fresh? There are other browsers, but these are some of the main ones. The truth is that all browsers are not created equal. Which browser you choose ultimately depends on what you want out of it.

Let’s take a quick look at Chrome, namely its speed. According to the Google Chrome Blog, one of Chrome’s core principles is speed. As such, Google tests and improves Chrome’s speed regularly. And regularly for Google means every six weeks. They liken it to a car mechanic who comes to replace your engine every six weeks. However, it seems as though Chrome is simply enhanced every six weeks, not completely replaced.

google chrome speed

How Chrome is increasing its speed

One way that Chrome continues to increase speed is to diminish and severely lessen wait times, including waiting for the browser to start up and waiting for a dialog box to completely open and load. Chrome has also enabled tests to automatically detect when there is a code issue that slows or may slow it down, both in the long term and in the short term.

Chrome measures speed and overall performance through Octane scores, which “is a JavaScript benchmark [they] designed to measure performance of real-world applications on the modern web.” Compared to last year, Chrome reports seeing a 26% increase from last year’s score. And they promise to continue increasing the speed and maintaining and improving stability, as both are key to Chrome’s success.

When it comes to browsers, you definitely have options. But, if you want speed and precision, it looks like Chrome might be a great option. They’ve already made great progress and improvements, but the best part is that they promise to continue making progress. Just because they are fast today doesn’t mean they aren’t striving to be even faster tomorrow, making Chrome a great browser for both your professional and personal lives.

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Browsers

Privacyfix: browser extension shows who’s tracking you, what to do about it

Everyone knows that by the mere act of using the web, we are all leaking information like a sieve, but Privacyfix shows you where the leaks are and how to fix them.

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privacyfix web privacy tool

privacyfix web privacy tool

Do you really know who is tracking you online?

Online privacy. It’s a major issue that can be confusing, frustrating, and very violating. You already know that you can adjust your privacy settings on sites like Google, Twitter, and Facebook, but do you know which changes will affect which information on your account? The more concerning question is do you know which sites are tracking you and storing your information? Well, there’s a free solution – Privacyfix, a Chrome and Firefox extension.

In order to keep yourself and your private information protected and secure and still be able to use your favorite sites, it’s crucial that you understand every site’s privacy settings. Just a few tweaks here and there can fortify your browsing experience and give you peace of mind. The truth is, most of the sites you probably visit track you one way or another. Some want to see what you’re searching for and which sites you’re visiting and others will use targeted ads based on content in your sent and received emails. These sites make ample money off of your information, and it’s time to take back the control.

Privacyfix goes one step further

Privacyfix will show you what information is being tracked and which site is doing the tracking. But Privacyfix takes it one step further. It will actually provide you with a detailed list of which privacy settings you need to update to protect certain types of information. Privacyfix gives you the information you need to make the right privacy changes. These sites shouldn’t be given access and permission to track you by default. But, unfortunately, that’s how it usually works. You can put an immediate stop to it by simply using this free extension for either Firefox or Chrome.

Our modern times have shown us that some people are unworried and completely open to sharing every detail of their private lives with a world of strangers. And, let’s be honest; this is incredibly dangerous, no matter if you’re using it for personal or professional purposes. Information is king, but there should be some separation between your professional life and your home life with your loved ones. Too much of your information out in the open can lead to more trouble than it’s worth.

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