Category Archives: Browsers

WebGL Bookcase – Another Google Experiment

Have you noticed that companies are playing with new interfaces for presenting library collections? Here’s another that uses the Google Books API and is based on 3D – the WebGL Bookcase. It only works in Google Chrome for me, but if you don’t have it, this video shows you how it works.



Eye-Tracking Software

If you work with website design, then you have heard of eye-tracking software. It provides you with, among other things, heat maps:

Software that allows you to really identify where people are looking on your website is relatively expensive. However, Texas Tech University now has a product at a much more reasonable price.

Called Grinbath’s EyeGuide, it was invented at Texas Tech and currently sells for $1,500.

“We needed eye tracking in our lab because of client demand,” said Dr. Brian Still, CEO of Grinbath and the current director of Tech’s Usability Research Lab. “Many of the current eye tracking devices, although very good, are far too expensive for many out there. I just couldn’t choose buying one of those over paying a graduate assistant.

“So we made EyeGuide™. Initially it served as a solution just for us, but as we worked with it and improved it, we realized that it offered a viable solution for others like us who research users or build products, design advertising, or engage in other activities that could benefit from eye tracking research.”

Full URLs in Firefox

If you keep up with Firefox updates, then you may have noticed that the full URL is no longer shown. For most people, this may not be a problem, but for those of us that are more technically inclined, we like to see it all.

The change is the removal of the protocol section of the URL. So, instead of seeing:

we see:

To change it back, you can use “about:config.” CNET has directions — it’s quick and easy!

Teach Parents Tech

A few Google staffers considered what their lives are like when they go home for the holidays. Basically, they do tech support for their friends and families . . . a lot!  🙂

Thinking that they could not be the only ones that do this, they created a set of videos on very basic topics — each running about a minute or less. Did I say basic? That’s exactly what I mean. Here are a few:

  • Copy & paste
  • Make text bigger or smaller
  • Upgrade your browser
  • Create an email signature
  • Attach a file to an email message

These are great videos that could easily be used in a library environment. Short, simple, and to the point! See what you think!

Checking Your Browser for HTML5 Compliance

Before you do this, remember that HTML5 is not yet a standard. However, many of the current browsers and particularly those that are being designed now, are supporting bits and pieces of HTML5.

That said, do you want to see how well your current browser supports the next HTML standard? Go to “The HTML5 Test” and find out.

Although this will change, a perfect score is 300 right now. The details concerning the test are at the bottom of the resulting web page.  Here’s how my browsers fared – all on Windows 7:

  • Safari 5.0.1 – 207 + 7 bonus points
  • Opera 10.61 – 159 + 7 bonus points
  • Firefox 3.6.8 — 139 + 4 bonus points
  • Internet Explorer 8.0.7600.16385CO – 27 points

You can easily see how far IE has to go, but in their defense, they are working HTML5 into version 9, not retrofitting it into version 8.

HTML5 Compliance for Safari

XXX Domain Passed

ICANN, the organization that coordinates the domain name system, has considered creating a “xxx” top-level domain for many years. Each time, they have denied the request. All that changed in June.

They agreed that “xxx” should become a top-level domain, similar to “com,” “gov,” and “edu.” However, it’s not yet a certainty; there are a few more hoops it has to jump through.

If it does pass, this domain will not be required for adult entertainment sites, but optional.

The details from ICANN.

[from CNN]

Fonts for Science & Engineering

It’s taken 15 years, but the Scientific and Technical Information Exchange has created Version 1.0 of STIX Fonts — a comprehensive font set that serves the scientific and engineering community. They are provided royalty-free to anyone who wishes to use them.

If you are interested, the font set can be downloaded and installed.

Microsoft Destroying IE6

Internet Explorer 6Believe it or not, there is a person at Microsoft whose job it is to destroy Internet Explorer 6! Who is this? The head of the Internet Explorer business group.

Because of it’s tie to Windows XP, Internet Explorer 6 is the second most used browser globally. Some businesses still use IE6 because they developed software based on it; XP is still used on old hardware, much of which goes to third world countries.

Microsoft has said that it will work with companies to move legacy applications off IE6. If you are in this position, please contact Microsoft to take them up on this offer!

FYI — Microsoft Australia ran a campaign comparing IE6 to drinking milk 9 years old!

[from PC Pro]

Funeral for IE6

A web design group in Denver, Colorado, hosted a funeral for Internet Explorer 6 on March 4, 2010. The death of the browser on March 1st was brought about as a “result of a workplace injury sustained at the headquarters of Google, Inc;” they ended support of IE6 for Google Docs and Google Sites; soon after, YouTube joined this group.

The announcement of the funeral resulted in over 1,000 RSVPs and a page of remembrances. Microsoft sent flowers.

FYI – It looks to me like Microsoft will support IE6 through 2013, when they stop supporting Windows XP SP3. I’d be glad to be proven wrong on this.

[from Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

HTML 5 . . .

. . . is not yet a standard.  However, it might be helpful to take a look at some of the changes that may be coming.  The World Wide Web Consortium has posted a document which includes just the changes from HTML version 4 to version 5.  It’s not very long, but provided a few surprises for me:

  • This standard will be not considered finished until there are at least two complete implementations of it.  This will be nice, as we’ll have a couple of browsers to check others against.
  • Although authors will have to abide by the HTML 5 standard, user agents (browser manufacturers) will also have to support older versions of HTML.  This has always been done, but it is nice to have it stated in the standard.  The result?  No more deprecated features.
  • You will be able to use either HTML or XHTML.
  • The DOCTYPE will no longer have to provide the URL for a DTD.  All you need is:  <DOCTYPE html> and it switches to standards mode.  XHTML documents do not need a DOCTYPE, as they are already in standards mode.
  • We will have elements for header, footer, and nav.
  • Audio and video elements will work from the page, as each browser should have codecs within them; no more plug-ins.
  • These elements should not be used anymore — basefont, big, center, font, s, strike, tt, u — no surprise here.
  • frame, frameset, and no frames are also not in HTML 5 because of usability and accessibility issues.
  • The longdesc attribute on img is no longer supported.  I’m wondering if there is a replacement for this or not.
  • No presentation attributes allowed — use CSS!
  • Cool APIs that will allow you to do interesting things on your web pages:
    • audio and video (as mentioned above)
    • enables offline Web applications
    • drag and drop

There is a lot more to see, but be aware that because HTML 5 is not a done deal yet, none of these are final.  Keep watching!