Internet Explorer drops below 50% of Web usage

Even by the most generous estimates, Microsoft’s Internet Explorer is used by barely 50% of Internet users worldwide, meaning that we are approaching or even past the point where most people aren’t using the browser. It’s been a shocking decline from the mid-1990s when as many as 95% of people were on IE. But the big story now isn’t Microsoft’s losses, but rather that it’s Google picking up much of the slack.

It’s important to note that the methods used to create browser market share figures vary from source to source. Most involve using website traffic logs which record the browser used by each visitor to a site. Some of the leading market share figure reports come from web analysis companies who get data from hundreds of thousands of clients, making a reasonably representative sample of the entire web, but this can vary. Still, even while the figures vary (and most sources already have Microsoft below 50%), the pattern is consistent.

For the second half of last decade, it looked as if the company’s main challenge would come from Mozilla’s Firefox browser, but Firefox’s market share has largely flatlined for the past couple of years. Instead it’s Google’s Chrome that is on the ascendance, with its market share almost trebling in three years and the browser taking the number two spot in some measures.

Why the trend? Well, in Microsoft’s case the fact that it’s the default option has finally come back to bite it. Simply put, while more and more people are experimenting with alternative browsers, few people switch to Internet Explorer. Meanwhile Microsoft’s in-built advantage of being the default option on most computers (which was the subject of a European Commission investigation that’s led to users being actively offered a choice of browser while installing Windows) is becoming less significant as more and more people use smartphones and tablet devices.

As for Chrome picking up the slack, that’s largely because of two main advantages from a “sandbox” system that means each open tab is treated as if it were a separate application. That means that if there’s a problem with one tab, the others continue to work without slowdowns or crashes; meanwhile any infected webpages are ring-fenced so that they can’t damage the rest of the computer.

Perhaps even more amazingly, there are even predictions Chrome will take the number one slot by June 2012. That’s based on the simple logic of taking the growth or decline of each browser across the first half of 2011 and working on the basis that market shares will continue to grow at the same rate.

Whether that’s really going to happen on such a timescale is a little more debatable. Many of the people who’ve switched to Chrome are “early adopters” who are more prepared to try out new things, while those remaining on Internet Explorer may be much more wary of changing. That’s likely to mean Chrome’s growth rate inevitable slows down.

That said, the pattern is clearly there and not only does it seem conceivable Internet Explorer will one day lose its crowd, but Chrome seems by far the most likely successor to the top spot.

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Safari for Mac and PC: fast and elegant

While Internet Explorer may hold the top browsing seat in the Windows environment, it’s not the only browser choice available.  The browser wars may or may not be over, and choices now abound. If you’re looking for an alternative for your Windows platform, or have made a switch to OS X, then you’re going to want to take a look at Apple’s Safari browser. It’s one of the best browsers around, and like most, it’s free.

While many web browsers may seem similar, Safari sets itself apart. OS X has multi-touch gesturing built in, and Safari fully supports it.  With Safari and OS X you can tap, scroll, and swipe your way around the web. With two fingers on the trackpad, you can swipe to go back and forth between web pages. They slide in and out of the Safari window as you swipe. Safari supports an easy way to zoom in and out of a particular part of a web page.  Double-tap any area with two fingers to magnify it, then tap again to return to the original size. You can also pinch with your thumb and index finger to zoom in and out more precisely. You can also scroll up or down with two fingers, making use of your scrolling’s momentum makes Safari browsing experience even more natural.

Safari’s security features also make surfing more secure, protecting your privacy.  To keep your surfing habits to yourself, Safari offers Private Browsing. Simply turn it on, and Safari stops keeping track of your web history, and storing your searches, cookies, and the data in any online forms you fill out. Greater control can be found in Safari’s preferences.

Safari is a great browsing alternative, and offers a great deal of features and functionality. The only down side that I’ve seen is that not all features are available to Windows users, though it is the default browser on all Apple Mac systems. On the Windows side, its security features and speed make it a worthy choice in replacement, or in addition to, any other browser you may currently use.

Download Safari for Windows | Download Safari for Mac

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Create multimedia shows for distribution on optical media, online or multimedia players

Creating multimedia shows isn’t always the easiest thing to do.  Pulling together stills, video and appropriate audio at the right points can often be difficult.  Many professional styled tools are often challenging to use and make the process that much more problematic. Thankfully, Aquasoft’s Slideshow Ultimate 7 takes care of that, making the task easy to complete. It’s a multimedia show development tool for Windows.

Aquasoft’s Slideshow Ultimate 7 allows you to quickly design impressive multimedia shows for DVD’s, YouTube, your iPod, and other multimedia players. With it, you can combine photos, videos, and music with its large palette of special effects to create dramatic results. After your show is created, it’s easy to play it on your television, computer, or projector. If portable media is more your style, you can always burn your show as either a video or a self-executing file or to CD/DVD with Slideshow Ultimate 7′s integrated burning software. You can also export HD-level video in either AVI or WMV format.

Download AquaSoft SlideShow Ultimate

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Make free audio and video phone calls with Skype

I live in Chicago, IL. My family lives in Houston, TX. My wife’s family lives in Scottsdale, AZ. We have three children and unfortunately, they don’t get to see their grandparents much. Before my father passed away earlier this year, he wanted to spend as much face time with his grandchildren as possible. Thankfully, we had Skype to fill the void. It’s the premier, consumer voice over IP (VoIP) calling solution available for Mac and Windows.

There are a couple different consumer video calling solutions on the market today. Many of them come with either the web cam you buy. Some, like Apple’s FaceTime and iChat are proprietary. However, Skype is the one that most everyone thinks of and reaches for when you’re looking to share special moments with long distance loved ones.

Whether you want to share a special event, that new outfit, some stunning scenery, or the results of the big game, Skype allows you to share all this and more with Jetson’s style video calling. You’ll never miss out on the moments that matter most, regardless of the reason you’re apart – a business trip, vacations, etc.

Skype provides a way for small to medium sized businesses to collaborate and save on travel. As long as the call is between two points, Skype won’t hit you for the cost of the call, but they also include business plans with better connections that better facilitate the sharing of ideas, meeting of new team members, etc., effectively minimizing the cost and time of unnecessary business travel.

The latest version of Skype also includes support for HD audio and video. Providing everyone on the call has an HD quality webcam, you can see the video call in HD. However, you’ll need to understand that video of just about any quality, HD most notably, takes up a lot of bandwidth. HD video is likely best sent and received through a wired, vs. wireless connection to your home or office network. If you’re experiencing audio sync or video quality issues, then you will likely need to check your network connection and make any necessary adjustments.

Download Skype

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Catch all of your favorite videos and convert them to almost any format with aTube Catcher

Did you ever want to download a video from YouTube, Vimeo or Metacafe? Maybe you have found numerous programs that give you a way to do this, but most of them only provide an FLV file which you’ll have to convert (with another software) to a suitable video format for your computer or mobile device. To do this with ease and completly free, let me recommend you aTube Catcher.

aTube Catcher is a simple but powerful freeware that can download videos from social web sites such as YouTube, MySpace, Metacafe, Yahoo, Vimeo, etc. and convert them into a wide range of audio and video formats. aTube Catcher can also burn in DVD your videos and it has a built-in Screen Recorder to capture whatever you may see on your screen.

The installation is simple and straightforward but at a certain moment it will ask you whether you wish to install a third party software or not. I personally have chosen not to. Once done, simply copy and paste a URL of a video from YouTube (or any other supported social media web site) into aTube Catcher, select the location where you want it to be saved, set the output format and press Download. That’s all, aTube Catcher will take care of the rest.

aTube Catcher can also burn your downloaded videos to DVD , without having to use any other program. There are just a few steps: select your DVD recorder, type a title for the disc, add the files (you can drag them to the box) and then just click ‘Burn DVD’ to start the burning process. As a plus, in case you don’t want to record the DVD right away, you can create an ISO image and burn it later.

Moreover, aTube Catcher has a screen recorder and the audio recorder. This enables you to record all the things that happen in a specific section of your screen (you can select a custom area or a specific frame) using many customization options and to record audio (from your speakers, microphone or line in).

aTube Catcher is an excellent tool for downloading online movies, converting videos (to all the major formats or those supported by mobile devices), recording the screen, creating DVDs, downloading MP3′s – all this flawlessly integrated in a simple application with an easy-to-use use interface and lots of features – I highly recommend this program.

Download aTube Catcher

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Apple releases iTunes 10.5

Yesterday Apple released the latest version of iTunes before the grand release of the iCloud service and iOS 5. Being used more as a multimedia platform, it was obvious that Apple will prepare iTunes to support the Cloud technology and the latest iOS. Now iTunes is the component that ties the iCloud service where you can store your music and TV purchases and your iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, iPod touch). This means that each purchase will be automatically shared to your computer or portable device.

Besides the iCloud service, iTunes can share your purchases with all your portable devices through your Wi-Fi network at any time. This means no additional costs in case you are at home and you have a proper Wi-Fi network.  Another important feature is that now previous purchases can be downloaded again at no costs if the products are still available in the iTunes Store.

The most notable addition in the latest iTunes is the Ping social network for music addicts. You can now follow your favorite artists and friends and discover what music they are listening to. Thanks to Ping you can also stay in touch with the latest news and updates from your friends and beloved artists. Share your thoughts on any song you have purchased from the iTunes service and all your connections from the Ping network will see them.

Besides the social network music-orientated content, Ping brings also TV show rentals for only $99. The new Apple TV hasn’t been forgotten, therefore Ping comes with direct support for this service and with a slight revision to the user interface.

iTunes remains the core of the multimedia content for the Mac users and for anyone that posses an iOS portable device.

download iTunes 10.5 for Windows | download iTunes 10.5 for Mac

 

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Keep your computer clean with Comodo System Cleaner

When it comes to system cleaners, CCleaner is one of the most popular. However, that doesn’t mean there is no other software with this purpose which is less popular, but with great features. Meet Comodo System Cleaner - a free package of useful cleaning utilities: Registry Cleaner, Disk Cleaner, and Privacy Cleaner.

The registry cleaner has the purpose of removing any corrupted or unnecessary Windows registry entries. The disk cleaner has the purpose to clean out any system junk files, duplicate files and needless archives. The privacy cleaner has the purpose to protect your privacy by removing all traces containing private data from your system. Talking about what’s different in this program, the data Shredder has the purpose to permanently remove files, partitions or entire disk data and the Force Delete will let you delete any locked files or registry entries.

Apart from the default tools that any decent application with this purpose should have (as mentioned above) Comodo System Cleaner has some nice built-in tools that kept my attention: Force Delete and Shredder. Also, an interesting feature that I’ve found in Comodo is ‘Active Clean’. When this option is enabled, Comodo System Cleaner will scan your system in real-time to identify and delete invalid, corrupt and redundant files when they are created.

Download Comodo System Cleaner

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Get rid of malware with the latest version of Emsisoft Anti-Malware

Most PCs are connected to the Internet and networks, making easier the spread of viruses, trojans, spyware, rootkits, worms and other malicious programs. They can get into your computer in a number of ways, including via your web browser, e-mail, or in a bundle with a software that you download from the Internet.

The best way to protect yourself is with a virus or malware scanner. Emsisoft Anti-Malware (previously known as a-squared Free) is a program that can be a good choice to scan and remove malicious software from your PC. The new version comes with great improvements and completely re-written dual scan engine for multi-core optimizations which brings a huge speed improvement on average, with the same things being scanned. Also, the false positive handling was improved too and now with the latest version, there is a caching system which makes the scanning faster with every scan.

Also, the user interface has been simplified for better usability and there are lots of usability improvements all around. You can now set missed scheduled scans to run on next program startup and desired actions to be taken on scan completion can be set before the scan now, too. Another important change refers to the licensing system. User accounts are no longer required and it was switched to a simple key-based system.

If you decide to Emsisoft Anti-Malware, you’ll get the full version including all protection features for 30+3 days for free. However, after that period of time, the software switches to a limited freeware scanner mode that allows you to scan and clean your PC whenever you want, but does not include real time protection.

Download Emsisoft Anti-Malware

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