Monday, 31 January 2011

Microsoft Do It Again

Once again the inferiority of Microsoft's flagship browser is spotlighted as the company issue a "critical" warning over a newly-discovered flaw in Internet Explorer on every version of Windows.

Although the flaw aparently resides in the Windows system it only affects IE due to the way the browser handles web pages and documents. Microsoft stated that the flaw would allow malware to be installed silently from simply clicking a link in the browser - this could be a serious threat to those who are less Net-savvy than the rest of us and don't know how to tell a suspicious link from a friendly one.

The malware associated with the flaw is the usual - taking control of a user's machine to get them to downoad even more malware; malware designed to steal passwords and other details etc.

MS have not been able to fix the flaw but have issued a patch to prevent easy expoitation. If you're stupid enough to use IE then I suggest you download it here.

If you wish to then read the announcement here

My advice is, as always, to download an alternative browser. And lock up yo' wife - 'cos they rapin' evrybody out there!

Sunday, 23 January 2011

So...why exactly are Macs good for editing?

Nearly every single time I hear/read a Mac vs PC argument the Mac party refers to Macs being good at “creative stuff” such as image manipulation and video/sound editing. What astounds me is that a lot of PC users seem OK with Macheads (different to a Mac User, who will generally shut the hell up about using a Mac and get on with his or her life) making this argument. PC users need to stand up for themselves.

For this article I'm going to set aside any prejudices I have towards either Apple or Microsoft, OS X and Windows. For the purposes of the argument I will also be defining a PC as a computer running a version of Microsoft Windows – simply because that's what Macheads seem to think a PC is. I'll also disregard the fact a Mac is just a brand of computer much like a Dell or an Acer. 

Macs are good at editing due to having software such as Photoshop, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Premiere and Flash available for them. Adobe products are industry-standard and are capable of producing extremely professional quality work. 

The same software is available for Windows. I'll go out on a limb and assume that most of the time when a user is referring to the professional editing software available for Mac they are referring to Adobe products. Love it or hate it you can't deny that Adobe products are amazing at doing what they do (personally I'd choose The GIMP any day but this is unbiased). However they work identically on a PC and a Mac so there's really no difference is there?

Be that as it may sometimes a Machead isn't referring to professional level editing but rather how a Mac allows the home user to be more creative with software such as iMovie and GarageBand. Which leads me to my next point. 

iMovie is made of pure magical awesome and MovieMaker is absolutely dire. Garageband can make even the most tonedeaf band sound like Metallica and Microsoft have Sound Recorder. 

MovieMaker is free. Ok it's not going to make the next blockbuster but if you simply wish to string together clips of your first-born into something your parents know how to play on a DVD player then it's more than capable. Apart from all of the crashes. 

Having never really experienced GarageBand I'll not embarrass myself by saying something that is completely and utterly wrong. I'll just point out how a copy of iMovie is only included with iLife and costs $49.00. To be fair that's not a lot for what the software apears to offer but considering MovieMaker is free then I believe that claiming a Mac is better for editing due to iMovie is just absurd. I also spotted these reviews for iLife 11 on the Apple website whilst doing research

That's just what's visible on the front of the reviews section. I didn't bother to delve much deeper. Notice how there are complaints listed at the top of both the Most Recent and the Most Helpful reviews.

A Mac “just works” with things such as Digital Cameras and related equipment. Also Firewire. 

I actually nearly agree with this one. I still don't fully understand how Windows needs to install a driver for every damn memory pen it has plugged in whilst OS X and Linux mount them without complaint (providing they have FAT and NTFS-3g installed). 

My counterpoint to Firewire being amazing at everything though is that USB 3.0 is faster and Apple dropped the Firewire port from their Macs. Hahaha.

So...where'd this rumour come from?
My best guess is to say that Photoshop used to be exclusive to the Mac and was originally developed for the platform. It was ported to Windows in Version 2.5 I believe (If anyone has any contradicting knowledge post it in a comment and I'll edit the post) but for some reason the association with Macs has stuck. Go figure. 

My humble opinion
Here's my input. The only reason I can think of that would make a Mac better for editing is that the UNIX-like nature of OS X would lead to less system crashes than a Windows system. However if anything goes wrong with a single piece of your hardware (e.g. a video card) then you're having to ship the damned thing off to Apple for repairs. At least with a PC you can swap out individual components cheaply.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Micro-Update: Firefox Most Used Browser In Europe

Well it's official. StatCounter have just released figures that state that Mozilla Firefox is the most commonly used browser in Europe - just trumping Microsoft's IE.

Using code embedded in over 3 million sites the web analysts collected info from roughly 15 billion monthly hits and discovered Firefox holds 38.11% of Market share in Europe. Wahey!!!

This share is very closely followed by Internet Explorer's 37.52%. Google Chrome has nearly trebled its share from last December to 14.58% (up from 5.06% in 2009).

This symbolic victory for Firefox, and by proxy Open-Source software, is in large part due to the allegations of the browser lottery system in European Windows 7 systems which requires the system to ask the user which browser they would like to use.

Internationally, however, it looks like MS is still on top. Time for a graph. (Screenshot from W3C counter)

International adoption of alternative browsers appears to be slower than in Europe but those figures look nice and reasonable to me.