A Tale of Three Browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera

By Jon: First published in Online Currents – (19:10) 1

Ongoing security concerns with Microsoft’s Internet Explorer have led several commentators to suggest that users should switch to another web browser. Is this really necessary, and if so what are the alternatives? In this article I compare Internet Explorer with two rival programs: Mozilla Firefox and the Norwegian browser Opera.

A Brief History (And Mosaic begat…)

The basic functions of a web browsing program are simple: to download files from the Internet, store them on the user’s hard disk and display that content on the user’s screen. Prior to the Web there were many special-purpose programs which allowed this for specific kinds of content, but it was only in 1993 that the development and wide acceptance of HTML as a language for web pages made it possible to write general-purpose browsers. read more

Block that ad!: reducing Web advertising

By Jon: First published in Online Currents 2002 – 17(5): 20-22


There are several types of intrusive Web promotion methods, and an abundance of programs available that claim to be able to stop or limit them. Among the best known and widely used are Pop-Up Stopper, from PanicWare, which disables pop-up windows and Ad-Aware, from [[LavaSoft]], which removes spyware. Both are available in free or paid ‘professional’ versions over the Web. Combined programs and banner ad stoppers are less user-friendly and may cause serious system problems for some users. read more

Buying and selling on eBay

By Jon: First published in Online Currents 2003 – 18(10) 18-19, 24

Metcalfe’s Law of networks applies also to online auctions: their usefulness increases proportionally to the square of the number of their users. Having seen off its rival Yahoo Auctions, eBay is now the only global auction system with an Australian presence. Yahoo Auctions still lingers on in the USA but its numbers look very small beside eBay’s and its demise surely cannot be far away. For the moment at least, eBay is the online auction site of choice. read more