Nice Job Wal-Mart

The screenshot below looks like crap. It is Wal-Mart’s entry into the competitive world of on-line video downloads.

Wal-Mart FF Version

It is crap because the screenshot was taken from Firefox. So why is it crap? Well it looks fine in Internet Explorer so in essence it isn’t but it is crap but because the mastermind that wrote the code failed to test it in Firefox makes it crap on more than one level. He or she just isolated about 30% of users. I hope that coder got the boot.

The other thing is that it has been this way for a few days. If I was Wal-Mart I would have fixed it pronto, nope. Double black mark. It is rather ironic is that the user that is going to utilize this service is more than likely an early adopter. Who are early adopters? Usually geeks. What do geeks browse with? Usually Firefox. So potentially they have just isolated a lot more than 30%.

Stupid oversight that could cost them dearly.

Render in IE for Optimal Viewing:

Wal-Mart in IE Screenshot

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Tools to Prevent you “Breaking” Your Blog’s Template

The majority of people unfortunately still insist on using Internet Explorer. There are better browsers out there you know. Different browsers “read” the page that it displays in a unique way. So a page can look totally different in a different browser. Especially where layout and images are concerned. I too rarely “test” my blog and make sure that it is being “read” correctly by each browser. //engtech has created a tool that will do it for you.

//engtec is lazy unmotivated  forgets that IE exists like the rest us us when it comes to testing his blog. He gives a good description as to what can happen to IE when you add images that are to wide, I’ll leave that for you to read. So he created a Greasemonkey script that does all the checking that you need and lets you know when you have done something that will “break” your blog in IE.

As can be expected from //engtech he has some detailed instructions about customizing it to your blog to be able to use the script. It even has pictures. A very useful tool. But you should really be making sure that images fit your space as well, even for Firefox. Re-size an image to fit. If you can not do that then link to a larger image on a separate tab. Or do it in two parts. Badly done images in blogs look cheap and half arsed. But at least we don’t have to worry about IE, nice work //engtech.

For those that do not know Greasemonkey is a Firefox extension that allows you to manipulate the way that a web page is displayed using JavaScript. There are tons of different scripts and applications. Plus you can do what //engtech did and write your own.

I have just noticed that //engtech’s script has no name, does any one have any ideas? ImageAlert, TempAlert, IEisBusted, BlogBrokeGMS…

engtech Blog Screenshot

“Typos” can Lead Disaster for Your PC

The slip of a finger on the keyboard can result in miss-spelling something. That can be bad. Some malicious websites use the fact that typos are common and we can’t spell against us.

Typing an address directly into the address bar is a great way to ensure that you are headed to the correct site. As opposed to clicking a link that you think goes to the right place when in fact it is a rip off of the correct site. It might look the same, but look closer and you might notice some discreet differences to what you remember. Like a slightly different adress or wording of the site. This is called “phishing“. The new version of Firefox, Firefox 2 will have inbuilt protection from these sites. But there are also applications that will help as well.

The whole thing that lead to this post was that I was sending a colleague some links to sites that will help them become more secure, such as anti-spyware and such. I came around to recommending they install an extension called Site Advisor. I went to the site and I noticed that they have posted a video on YouTube that chronicles what can happen at the slip of a finger.

It all starts when a user types “goggle” instead of “google” directly into the address bar… It all goes downhill from there. But let it be a warning to all. If you type an address into the address bar, be careful! In addition to this install Site Advisor it will tell you if the site you are on is bad. The extension also indicates a web sites status in searches, so that you know before you click if something nasty lurks at the other end. I would also strongly recommend using Firefox. Although there is a version of the extension that works with Internet Explorer, found at the same site.

Another great tool is Link Scanner by Exploit Prevention Labs, it checks sites before you visit without finding out the hard way. Something that I do a bit as well is “hovering” over a link without clicking it. Doing this will show the actual link at the bottom left of the browser. I look and see if it is going where the text on the page says it is, or where I expect it to be going. Call me paranoid but I do it. Plus I have been on the ugly end of a zero day virus and it isn’t fun. Tends to make you a bit paranoid.

I always said I would not use video on my blog unless I thought that it was effective in either demonstrating what I was saying or was in some way exceptional this does and is. Scary stuff, glad it was not my PC. I would say “enjoy” but I felt decidedly ill. But cool to watch and see what happens, if happens to you just hose the system, there is no going back, not to the point where I would trust it anyway.

As described by the YouTube User that posted the Video:

“McAfee SiteAdvisor takes a videotaped spin through some dark alleys of the Web. The result? A computer crash worth rubbernecking.

Disclaimer: Exploit Prevention Labs is a current sponsor of The Global Geek Podcast of which I am a host.

Microsoft Internet Explorer Seems More Broken than Ever

IE LogoI know that I rant about the uselessness of Internet Explorer and the virtues of Firefox. That has not changed but it would seem that Internet Explorer is more broken now than it ever has been.

You might be wondering why I have said that. Since my discovery of Firefox I have not used Internet Explorer, for anything. I mean nothing, if a site does not let me view their content in Firefox; I don't bother. Or if I really have to I use the IETab extension for Firefox. So lately I have had cause to test a webpage using Internet Explorer and a few other things, much to my disgust. What I have noticed is that there are so many images, icons, logos, pictures and other elements that just will not load in Internet explorer, they display the box with the red X in the top. The big one being the cool new player we have on the podcast homepage fails to load! When the majority of people surfing the web are doing it in IE that's a big deal!

Is this because the Microsoft boys are concentrating on the up and coming release of Internet Explorer 7 and neglecting this version. Or perhaps it is the fact that the sites that I frequent are sites that "geeks" use and therefore the sites are optimised for Firefox. I just have no clue really. I will say that when I was writing the Global Geek Podcast Homepage, it was much easier to code it for Firefox than Internet Explorer, by a long shot. We are currently doing a rebuild of the site and that continues to be the case. Suffice to say that the site will be optimised for Firefox, yes you will be able to load it in IE but it will not be as pretty.
Having said all that the things that refuse to load in IE are not critical to the site but eh, it is a browser; it is supposed to do it! This is however what we have com to expect from this browser.

So to this just adds to reasons not to use IE, along with the fact that Firefox is a superior browser, both for functionality and form. In addition to the fact that it is highly customisable and is more secure.

Be smart, make the switch.

Firefox Bar

Nick Bradbury says Blog Away on 2.0.0.22 Beta

Had a few responses from the last Blog entry and it would seem that for some reason or another wires were crossed and I

If Nick says it is OK to blog about it then it is. So I am very happy about that. Thanks Nick for reading the blog and I hope that I can review this up and coming release with fairness and we can get some issues ironed out.

So in brief I have installed 2.0.0.22. I am happy to say that it installed fine and without any problems. One of the great things was that all my feeds were already subscribed, which meant that I did not have to import my OPML file to set it it up. That is one feature of synchronization that is excellent. Updating feeds seems to be a little quicker but I don’t know if that is because of the build or just coincidence. At the moment I am only using the basic features to ensure stability and see if there are any problems.

One thing I have found out is that anyone that is getting text that show up like this:

Lowers Temp. by 30° Fahrenheit in just three minutes.

It is not an error in FeedDemon. It is the fact that you are using the Firefox hack to use Firefox in the browser window. I am not sure who wrote the hack but if it was Nick Bradbury I hope it gets fixed, It is stated that this feature is not supported in any version. If however it was the trusty open source community then we need to get some guru to fix it. The alternative of using Internet Explorer for me is not an option, I can put up with a few screwy characters.

My podcasts seem to be working fine and downloading without any problems.

When I know that everything is working fine I will start to “test” some of the things that should have been fixed in this version. I am planing to block access with the firewall. I am also planning to update all the feeds and pull the network cable and see how it handles that. I think it would be interesting to see how it handles a connection being unavailable from start-up. Just as important will be how it re-synchronizes with the NewsGator Server upon reconnect.

So thats for allowing up to blog about this and stay tuned for updates.