Friday, April 17, 2009

Google Chrome browser Can it beat IE and Firefox?

We have been testing the new Google Chrome browser and so far the application has its positives and negatives.

Google now directly competes against Microsoft and Firefox and with the release of its new web browser, Chrome. The browser is a small and fast applications that is not full featured as IE or Firefox, but it makes up for it with its speed. Chrome has received a tremendous amount of press and reviewes and lives up to the hype by creating a whole new idea in web browsing using clever and convenient changes that make browsing the web faster than Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 or Mozilla's Firefox 3.

The software is only available for download for Windows Vista and XP, but Google plans to expand Chrome to Mac and Linux platforms as well. The installation of the Chrome browser is easy and fast and Chrome automatically detects the current web browser you use and prompts you through the process of installation. When you first run the application, Chrome imports your bookmarks, passwords, and settings from Firefox or Internet Explorer. It even can grab username and password data, and it automatically populates those fields for you when you use Chrome for the first time to visit any sites, so startup is a snap.

After running through the installation, Chrome opens and immediately you begin to experience the internet in a new way. Chrome's layout is very simple. You will see a row of tabs that runs along the top, a web address bar, and a bookmarks bar that runs beneath the address bar. A separate recent bookmarks box appears at the right of the screen. No Google Toolbar which is a big miss.

Like all Google products, Chrome has a remarkably minimalist client. There is no full-scale menu bar and no title bar and few distractions. All controls are buried beneath two icons to the right of the address bar. A page icon for managing tabs and using Google Gears to create application like shortcuts from your desktop to a Web site; and a wrench for history, downloads, and other browser options.

You can set your own home page, or you can use the most visited sites page as your starting point. This page provides thumbnail images of your most frequently visited sites, shows recent bookmarks, and supplies a search field for searching your page history. You can change your default search engine. This option is located beneath the wrench icon, under Options . Chrome's design bridges the gap between desktop and the new term "cloud computing." At the touch of a button, Chrome lets you make a desktop, Start menu, or QuickLaunch shortcut to any web page or Web application, blurring the line between what's online and what's inside your PC.

For example, you can create a desktop shortcut for applications like Google Maps. When you create a shortcut for a Web application, Chrome strips all of the toolbars and tabs from the window, leaving you with something that feels much more like a desktop application than like a Web application or page. It needs some work as the lack of forward and back buttons means that if you browse between pages in a saved web application you may find yourself a little confused if you want to go back a page. Chrome does let you right-click to navigate backward, but its an extra step.

Search is an integral part of Chrome; and Google has added some great features to make searching the internet easier. Chrome goes beyond its competition by searching your browser history's page titles as well page content. The history results show the title of the page, as well as a thumbnail representation of the page, but it doesn't show the actual Web page address. The lack of URL information can make it difficult to identify the specific Web page you're going to, especially if the site's title bar description is not specific.

Chrome includes a number of features that appear in other browsers, such as a private browsing mode, tools for web developers to use in viewing and troubleshooting source code, and the ability to restore all tabs from a previous session. Chrome also features tab isolation: If a Web page causes a problem with Chrome and leads to a crash, the crash will affect only the tab displaying the page and not the whole program. Internet Explorer 8 will offer a similar feature, but Chrome takes the idea a step further by adding a task manager that gives the user an idea of how much memory and CPU use a page is eating up, and by allowing you to kill anything that is causing a problem.

Chrome features a bookmarks manager and uses a two-pane layout: The left-hand pane displays folders of bookmarks, and the right-hand pane shows the contents of bookmark folders. A search field is in the upper-right corner of the bookmarks manager window, and results appear as you type.

By default, Chrome will not restore your session; if Chrome crashes, it takes everything with it unless you manually configure the browser to act otherwise. In contrast, Mozilla Firefox and Microsoft Internet Explorer 8 automatically restore your previous session in the event of a failure. Sites visited that run JavaScript and Ajax work fine, but Microsoft's Silverlight does not support Chrome at this time, even though it works with Safari, which uses the same WebKit browser engine as Chrome.

Google has produced an excellent browser that is friendly enough to handle average browsing activities without complicating the tasks, but at the same time is powerful enough to meet the needs of advanced users. I would definately recommend you test drive Chrome and see if it works for you as an alternative, the big bonus is the boost in page load speed.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Samsung to launch Google Android Handsets

Samsung is preparing to introduce several new devices that will use the Google Android code. Samsung confirmed Monday at CTIA that it will roll out its first device based on Google's mobile platform in June. A Samsung spokesperson said that only one handset using Google's Android operating system will hit the market somewhere outside the U.S. and would not "confirm or deny" two possible domestic devices rumored for release later this year. The Samsung spokesperson would not disclose the location of the impending international launch.

In an interview with Forbes magazine, Won Pyo Hong, EVP of product strategy in the company's mobile communication division said "Samsung plans to release several Google Android devices this year" and "Samsung's first Android phone is slated to launch in June outside of the United States".

Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. As of today only one device introduced by T-mobile, HTC and Google runs on the Android platform.

The two other phones will most likely be carried by Sprint and T-Mobile, as they are the only U.S. operators that belong to the Open Handset Alliance. The Open Handset Alliance is a group of 47 technology and mobile companies devoted to commercial deployment of handsets and services using the Google Android platform.

Bloomberg News recently reported that Sprint executives are now considering Android for its product lineup. "We believe in the vision for Android, so we want to see it get bigger and get healthy," said Kevin Packingham, Sprint’s vice president of products and devices. "We can, when the timing’s right, pull the trigger."

Due to operator preferences, the two U.S. Android phones will look "totally different," Hong told Forbes. In contrast, Samsung plans to deliver one Android phone, at least initially, to European consumers. "In Europe, you can launch one common device with several carriers," he noted.

Hong also said, that its carrier partners are content with the timing. "We are launching Android devices later than HTC, but in terms of our commitments with carriers, there is no delay at all."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

AT&T Strike Looms this Weekend

April 2, 2009 - AT&T unions and employees approximately 125,000 workers are poised to walk off the job on Saturday at midnite. AT&T employees are threatening a possible strike for several issues regarding employee wages, retiree benefits and healthcare. A critical issue is the company wants union workers to pay more for healthcare costs.

The workers who may strike are the AT&T call center and service representatives who take your calls about landlines service and wireless phones service would not be affected.
At&T management is preparing for the contingency plans. "We have been planning for the possible strike for some time and we are very prepared," said a company representative.

Communications Workers of America(CWA) workers have recently gone on strike before. It was five years ago, and eventually, they came to an agreement. The latest agreement is set to expire at 11:59 p.m. on Saturday.

A spokesperson with AT&T says it is a competitive market right now and these are tough economic times, but the company is committed to negotiating a contract with good wages and benefits.

Both sides would like to prevent a strike and say a contract extension, while they continue negotiating, is possible.

Unified Instant Message and Chat with Pidgin

We have been using a competent instant messaging application to communicate with of our contacts, customers and colleagues and found that chat is an indispensible tool. After a review of several applications we found one application called Pidgin that was entirely unique which lets you log in to accounts on multiple chat networks simultaneously. This means that you can be chatting with friends on MSN, talking to a friend on Google Talk, and sitting in a Yahoo chat room all at the same time.

Pidgin runs on Windows, Linux, and other UNIX operating systems. Pidgin is compatible with the following chat networks out of the box: AIM, ICQ, Google Talk, Jabber/XMPP, MSN Messenger, Yahoo!, Bonjour, Gadu-Gadu, IRC, Novell GroupWise Messenger, QQ, Lotus Sametime, SILC, SIMPLE, MySpaceIM, and Zephyr.

It can support many more with plugins. Pidgin supports many features of these chat networks, such as file transfers, away messages, buddy icons, custom smilies, and typing notifications. Numerous plugins also extend Pidgin's functionality above and beyond the standard features.
Pidgin integrates with the system tray on Windows, GNOME2, and KDE 3.1.
We were also impressed with the Pidgin-Encryption plugin that encrypts conversations using stored RSA keys, so security isnt compromised.

Pidgin is under constant development as the code is open source and community driven. Releases are usually frequent and driven by user contributions, such as bug reports and patches.

Pidgin is free and contains no ads. The code is licensed under the GNU General Public License. This means you can get Pidgin's underlying code and modify it to suit your needs, as long as you publish the changes you make for everyone to benefit from as well.

So what was impressive and the clincher for our platform, is we communicate with team members in multiple countries, from India, China and Russia, so we needed an application that could support our team members using various languages. Pidgin is translated into 70 different languages, thanks to the generous contributions from volunteer translators.
So after the intensive search, we now have a new tool that can offer some major benefits to our enterprise. Try the Pidgin :)