Minor Rendering Differences In FireFox Beta 5

I haven’t been paying the new beta’s of Firefox 4 too much attention (except to note that beta 5 has hardware acceleration turned on by default) as I’ve become a solid Chrome user, but I have noticed some minor differences in how it renders pages when compared to the current stable release of Firefox 3.6.9.

One simple example of this is the layout of the “subscribe buttons” in the sidebar of this site.

As you can see from the image below the buttons are where they are supposed to be in 3.6.9 but spill over in beta 5.

Firefox 4 differences

With the exception of Firefox 4 Beta 5 the sidebar displays properly in all other browsers. I’ve checked this against IE8, Chrome, Opera, Firefox 3.6.9 and Firefox 4 Beta 5 on both XP and Windows 7.

I hope this small issue is not indicative of larger issues ahead in terms of layouts and rendering in Firefox 4.

Browsers, OS, Mobile, Resolution – The Top 10 Of Everything

I’m sure you’ve all heard me boasting lately (probably to the point of wanting to stab me in the eye with your pen) about how happy we’ve been with the traffic that our fledgling humor site, Daily Shite is getting.

Daily Shite is a very interesting site to me, not just because I own it, but because it is an ” every man” site. Our demographics and audience are not the tech crowd. Nor are they of any one particular niche. We’re a bit of everything for everybody, something which has come about by the fact that we don’t post anything with a  visual over roughly PG 13. In other words, no T&A, so you can browse at work, or school or with your girlfriend and not worry ;)

This universal appeal makes the statistics gathered by tools such as Google Analytics (which is where all the stats in this post come from) incredibly interesting because it gives a more real world view of browser and OS usage than looking at the statistics for this blog or TechCrunch would. Niches tend to be skewed one way or the other and Daily Shite manages to avoid all that.

Anyway, the graphs below are based on our Google Analytics for the past 30 days (February 5th 2010 – March 7th 2010) and cover 1,427,403 unique visits (not page views, that’s a far higher number but useless here, all we want is actual user statistics).

The Top 10 Browsers:

Top 10 Browsers February 2010

Firefox is way out in the lead with a massive 74.77%

The big surprise here is that Chrome (11.28% of traffic) is seriously outpacing Internet Explorer (7.72%). Another surprise is that IE only makes up less than 8% of our traffic.

The break down of IE usage is also interesting with almost 72% using Internet Explorer 8 and just 3% still back on the archaic IE6.

Internet Explorer by Version

The Top 10 Operating Systems:

Top Ten Operating Systems February 2010

Does Linux matter anymore?

No surprise that Windows in the big leader here. I am surprised to see Mac OS at nearly 23% and I’m also wondering how long it will be before iPhone and iPod (and iPad) start to eclipse Linux.

Vista is the dominant Microsoft OS at the moment with at over 40% but a big surprise is the Windows 7 adoption which is already making up over 24% of our windows based users. I expect to see both XP and Vista numbers decline over time as Win 7 adoption continues.

Windows by OS Version

Top Ten Browser & Operating System Combinations

Browsers and Operating Sytstem Combinations

Firefox is the browser of choice

Mac users must not like Safari all that much. Firefox is getting more than 4 times the love than Safari does on it’s native system and Chrome is making decent inroads with 1.27%. Of little surprise however, is that regardless of what operating system you use, Firefox is the browser of choice.

I thought that in 2010 Java support would be almost ubiquitous, however 8.62% or 123,001 or our visitors didn’t have Java support enabled.  This can’t be accounted for by mobile visits because mobile traffic only made up 0.56% of our visits ( a number which we are definitely working to improve.).

Java Support

Over 8% of users don't have Java enabled

Top 10 Mobile Operating Systems

Top 10 Mobile Devices

iPhone and iPod dominate

No real surprises here as the iPhone and iPod dominate with over 78% of the traffic combined. Android puts in a good showing at almost 12% and I wonder if it’s not time to say “bye bye” to PalmOS?

Top 10 Screen Resolutions

Screen Resolutions

1024x768 isn't going away any time soon

While these numbers probably aren’t that interesting to most folks, to developers they are key as we get some idea of what kind of screen real estate we have to play with and what kind of resolutions we need to be targeting.

The most telling resolutions here are the dominant 1280×800, which is probably due to laptop owners and people who purchased early TFT’s, and 1024×768 which is still in use by over 9% of our visitors so I don’t think developers will be able to drop support for that resolution anytime soon.

So, that’s out roundup based on the past 30 days of traffic and 1,427,403 unique visits according to Google Analytics.

There’s a lot of interesting information to be gleaned from this and I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface. I’ll do another post like this in a month or two in order to see how the landscape has changed and what we can learn from it.

Opera, the whiney spoilt kid that only a mother could love

ht_shock_060727_ssv The numbers speak for themselves.

Microsoft are due to defend their IE policies to the European Commission after Opera lodged complaints about Microsoft’s IE bundling policies with Windows.

Opera (you know them, they’re the guys with the web browser that nobody’s heard of except for them lodging antitrust complaints) are simply being a bunch of whiney little bastards.

Their argument that Microsoft bundling IE with Windows hurts consumer choice is quite simply the wailing of an untalented spoilt brat who hasn’t been picked for the football team.

Lets be clear here. Anybody who has any idea how to use a PC is capable of downloading and installing a new browser. Don’t believe me? Just go look at the statistics of browser usage. Firefox is the dominant browser and doesn’t come pre-installed on a windows machine.

Further to that, forcing naive first time users to choose between browsers that they’ve never heard of is more damaging to the user experience that not giving them a choice. You may as well be asking most of them to touch their assholes with their elbows. They won’t have a clue how to do it, but will eventually end up installing any browser out of sheer frustration.

Regardless of Opera’s charges against Microsoft, am I the only one who thinks that government should stay the hell away from telling companies like Microsoft what they can and can’t bundle with their operating systems as along a it’s possible to install alternative software afterward?

They wouldn’t get away with this in the hardware world. If Panasonic wanted Sony (or vice versa) to offer all it’s stereos with the choice of a Panasonic CD player, do you think it would happen?

Finally, lets look at the statistics again. Firefox had 46.5% of the market in March, that’s more than all versions of IE combined. Opera had 2.3% percent.

I do believe that the people at Opera should take note of that.

Instead of wasting time, energy and money to force Microsoft give them market share, maybe they should get their thumbs out of their asses and deliver a killer browser that wins market share because it rocks.

Firefox did it, Google is doing it with Chrome! Why can’t you?

(Photo by Jill Greenberg)

Chrome beat Opera – IE is next!! No really, it’s true I tells ya!

Chrome-11-logo So everybody (including me) is talking about Google Chrome.

Yeah, great big woop!

It’s simply yet another browser with a number of cool features which the big boys will rip off duplicate over time.

To anyone who truly thinks Chrome will beat Internet Explorer for market share over time. Get your head out of your backside. I respectfully disagree with that assessment.

Until Apple start making machines that are not just for the pretentious who like to live in walled gardens within the realms of affordability for the average person with a brain that equates value to expenditure, Linux becomes intuitive and friendly enough that ordinary people other than those with no social/sex lives and the social skills of a dead gnat like my grandmother can use it, and until Microsoft stops making operating systems and shipping IE (keep smoking that shit if you believe that’s going to happen because Elvis is still buying Taco’s. No really he is!), is that EVER going to happen!!

Lots of sites are reporting really high Chrome adoption rates at the moment. Some, such as Profy, are even as high as 18.99%.

Here’s the thing that most people are missing when they are talking about Google Chrome usage levels:

The people who are using Chrome are the same people who are using Firefox, Opera and the other browsers of the early adopter crowd. In other words it’s us, you and me!

That’s right, it’s the early adopters, like you dear readers, who are using Chrome and we’re all doing it just to check it out and see what it’s like.

Some sites such as Profy and The Inquistr are reporting this, for others it is conveniently or unintentionally ignored in their zealousness to report of the next “cool thing” or the next IE killer!

Will we stick with it? Probably a few of us will, but most of us will eventually return to our usual everyday browser until Chrome becomes more feature complete.

Look at it this way, can you honestly tell me that people who use Firefox are going to live without their extensions? Will users of other browsers willingly abandon all their plugins and widgets? I’d bet my left nut against it!

The only real place Chrome will steal market share from (for any considerable length of time) is Firefox, Opera and the like. IE will be safe on it’s throne.

Just look at the usage statistics for this blog according to Google Analytics.

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The only browser, of any significance, that Chrome has more share than is Opera and to be honest I expect Opera to claw that right back as soon as the Chrome feeding frenzy has died down!

Oddly enough the stats for this blog are almost exactly on the button when it comes to the usage stats as being reported by Net Applications as they track global Chrome usage.

(Image no longer available)

What I really want to see is the usage stats from some non tech site, which are frequented mainly by the “average user” who hasn’t got a clue what an extension is and thinks that a script is only for plays and films.

Then we will get a real idea of just how “hot” Chrome is in the real world, which is the world beyond the early adopter tech blogosphere.

Update: 07 September 2008:

Updated the post to remove the unintended implication that sites such as Profy and The Inquisitr had failed to mention that Google Chrome usages levels were so high due to early adopter testing.

Irishblogs voting is messed up

irish-blogs I signed up for IrishBlogs yesterday and added their little button to my sidebar.

My reasons for doing so are two fold. Firstly because I am an Irish blogger (even if I am far removed from my homeland) and second because I though it may give me a a little more exposure with regards to my fellow Irish men and women.

Irishblogs as a site is one hell of a mess. With their directory existing on a different domain to their voting site and everything semi-important scattered across subdomains which are not easy to navigate around.

Still, I like the concept of having a place where Irish blogs from all over the world are aggregated and voted for.

Us paddies and biddies have to stick together you know ;-) (wondering how they stop plastic paddies from registering?).

With regards to the voting I must send a plea out to whoever put the site together because the only appear to be allowing one vote per I.P. address.

This sucks.

Okay before getting any further into this let me stress, I’m not specifically targeting or bashing Irishblogs here. They’re just my example. This affects many hundreds of blog community voting sites.

For example yesterday I was telling my mates, they’re Danish bloggers (everybody can’t be perfect) about it and they said they’d go vote for me.

Great I thought, until a few minutes later they rang me back and said that after one of them had voted non of the others were allowed to.

They had all received a message saying that they had already voted.

This sucks.

The problem of course is that they were all behind the one IP address.

There has to be a better way of discerning who can and can’t vote. Typically users behind any kind of shared internet connection, be it corporate, school or an internet cafe, all appear to be behind the same IP.

So, if you work in a location where there are other bloggers, after one of them have voted for you none of the others can, unless they go through a proxy but that’s too much effort just to cast a vote.

So how about filtering by MAC address, or by placing a cookie within the browser which identifies the browser as one that has already voted.

No method is fool proof. MAC address’s can be spoofed and a single user could use multiple browsers. (although I believe the effort required to regularly spoof the numbers is far beyond the potential benefit).

Yet, filtering by IP can lead to a situation where multiple genuine users cannot vote because somebody else in that school or organization has already voted.

Let’s be honest a heck of a lot of people blog from their schools or colleges internet connection or even from their public library. Every time I’m down in the library here in Næstved there are at least 10 – 20 people sitting around with their laptops having coffee and chatting about internet stuff.

If they want to vote for each other, they can’t.

I understand the issue that their will always be some unscrupulous git that ruins there party for everyone, however their has to be a better way than filtering by IP.

Oh. Before I go, If you’d like to vote for O’Flaherty on IrishBlogs just click this link :)

Ad Blocking Hypocrites

I was just chatting on instant messenger with a good friend of mine who was shocked to discover that I ran ads on my blog.

She’d been running an ad blocker in Firefox and (like AdBlock Plus) and had forgot all about it (she’s since turned it off).

I obviously gave her a slagging off for using an ad blocker as we’d only recently been talking about various advertising options on her site.

This got me thinking about how many people actually use Ad blockers, and how many of those users are hypocritical enough to knowingly use then while running advertising on their own blogs?

I’m sure there are many who do this, but what is the motivation?

I know that removing the ads from other sites can provide a smoother and less intrusive browsing experience, but when these ads are many bloggers only source of revenue from the blogs what makes you think that you have the right to come and read their content  without their advertising.

If you don’t want to see their ads read the content in an RSS reader, if the publisher allows you to do so.

Even worse, what make some people think that they can block others ads, yet expect others to view theirs?

I do not and will not run an ad blocker when browsing the web.

I run ads on my blogs and on Bloomer and expect that when I visit a persons site it should be displayed as they intended it.

If you visit my site you see the advertising that I run. It’s that simple and that’s how my site is supposed to be displayed. 

My RSS feeds are advertising free and serve a purpose. The purpose is to allow readers to consume the content in the hope that they’ll click through to the site and hopefully click on some advertising.

I wish there was someway that I could detect browsers with ad blockers installed and deny them access to my site.

After all, you can already get my content for free via RSS so why rob me of any potential income from advertising by using an Ad blocker?

Tabbing Productivity

thinks that claiming that tabbed browsing increases productivity is a fallacy (read his post before continuing):

In the browser bitch slapping that started between the browser fanatics one of the main lines used was that Firefox made the user more productive because of the tabbed browsing ability.

Of course productivity is important so anything that accomplishes this is worth trying; but to suggest that tabbed browsing makes one more production in nothing short of a fallacy. Sure tabs are cool, tabs are neat and yes they make browsing easier and create less clutter on your desktop but that is about it.

Now Steve, you’ve shot yourself in the foot here because in the above paragraph you clearly state that tabs make browsing easier. If it makes it easier, it follows that it should be more productive right?

I think the point is that tabs do not increase productivity as much as the could. But saying that they don’t increase productivity at all is the major fallacy.

Okay, before this post sound like I’m bashing Steve, let me first say that I’m not. A lot of his post is actually a good starting point for thinking about how tabs can be improved to make them more efficient and increase our productivity.

After all, the main purpose of tabs is to increase the available screen real estate by reducing the number of open windows.

You can, as Steve suggests, add another monitor and have two windows open and increase your productivity without tabs.

But what happens when you want 3 things open, or 7 or 17? You can’t very well add a monitor for each and tabs go along way to making navigation between the multiple sites a whole lot easier. Not to mention that many people will lack the income to purchase a second monitor or have the desk space to accommodate it.

But is there a way to make tabs more efficient? Steve suggests we should:

be able to tile your different tabs, you’d be able to select which ones to tile and then independently zoom in each of them.

I like that idea! I don’t know if there are extensions available for that can do that or not, but I’m sure someone could knock one up.

Also how about the ability to title your tabs. This could be very hand if you have multiple tabs open from a single site for a lengthy period of time.

What would you folks like to see implemented across all browsers to make tabs more productive for us?

NOTE: Before I wrote this I had already posted a reply on Steve’s blog.