I am going to share with you might thoughts on the relationship between the Internet and human rights.
Imagine what it would be like if every day, a cloaked figure followed you around, observing your every action and taking notes. It would be a bit creepy wouldn’t it, not to mention the privacy issues.
Back in 2011, I wrote a post asking whether everyone should be entitled to use the Internet and whether in fact it should be a human right. Founder of Facebook Mark Zuckerberg believes that it should be; make your own decision as to whether this is only because he wants more business for his site.
So, imagine what it would be like with Mark Zuckerberg following you around all day, taking notes on what you do, invading your privacy… hold on, if you are on Facebook, he kind of does.
See how I linked that. 😉
I am no stranger to complaining about Facebook, but it isn’t the only culprit, Google is also a huge threat to online privacy. It stores all information it collects about you for at least 18 months. Why? In the words of Hungry Beast, because “Google wants to know who you are, where you are and what you like, so it can target ads at you.” Check out Hungry Beast’s video to scare yourself.
“No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.”
This post was going to be entitled “Why you should stop using Internet Explorer” however I didn’t think that was a strong enough title, so I changed it to the direct instruction you see above this text: Stop using Internet Explorer.
You have a choice. You can use Google, Bing, Yahoo! or Ask. You can buy Windows, Mac OS, Chrome OS or Ubuntu. You can go with Apple, Samsung, Sony or RIM.
Although Google dominate the search market, there are still many other search engines out there. Microsoft dominate the computer market, but you can still choose from a [reasonable] selection of other, popular operating systems. You could argue that Samsung now dominate the global smartphone market, but there are still many other companies you can go to to get a smartphone.
You also have a choice as to what browser you use. The internet is arguably now the main function for any computer, so surely you should devote some time then to choosing which browser is right for you?
If you have tried more than three different browsers before, for a considerable length of time and have after weighing up all the pros and cons of each, have chosen your favourite, well done you. If you haven’t, read on.
If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE), stop. Okay, well you can finish reading the article, but then stop using it. A simple instruction, which could do wonders for your internet experience.
Reasons To Not Use IE
There are many reasons not to use IE. Here is a list of what I think are the strongest arguments against the heavy, slow and outdated browser.
Lack of Security
IE seems to constantly be in the news for its security issues. Much of the malware out there on the internet is only made possible by bugs and holes in Internet Explorer! Need proof? Check out this section of IE’s Wikipedia page.
In recent years Microsoft have been really working on making Internet Explorer faster, and IE 9 is much faster than IE 6 or 7 were; granted. That said, it is still much slower than the competition. For example, loading Technology Bloggers from cold (hard refresh) in Firefox, Chrome and Safari took 3 seconds, Opera took 4, while Internet Explorer took 7 seconds.
Lack of Features
Without a doubt, for features, add-ons and extensions, Firefox and Chrome are miles out in front. Safari and Opera also have a reasonable number of things you can add to your browser to customise/improve it, but Internet Explorer has only really started to embrace such features since IE 8. Apart from toolbars, Flash, Adobe Reader etc. IE 6 didn’t really do add-ons.
How IE rendered the same code (our social buttons) on three separate page loads – neither is correct.
Take a look at the three images to the right.
Each of the images is a different variation of the social buttons on our sidebar that IE rendered. The screen size remained the same, and the loads were seconds apart.
IE managed to render three completely different versions of the same code. How does that work?
In the first image it didn’t even attempt to load the social buttons before declaring it was finished. It took a better shot in the second image, whilst in the third image it didn’t bother loading Twitter and threw Google+ to the bottom. Why?
Upon loading the blog in Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera, I saw the exact same result. Each browser displayed them as they are meant to be displayed, every time – Internet Expolorer didn’t.
Lack of Compatibility with Modern Code
Code is advancing all the time, and a good browser will keep up to date with changes, and make sure it is able to interpret and display modern CSS, HTML, PHP etc.
When the blog snows at Christmas, IE doesn’t show that, IE also doesn’t like the ‘modern’ code which makes our search box work, or the code we use to add shadows to text.
Lack of Compatibility with Older Operating Systems
IE 9 doesn’t work with Windows XP, or any Mac OS or Linux system. Only Vista, 7 and 8 support IE 9. IE 10 only works with Windows 7 and Windows 8. According to StatCounter, in the last 6 months, 26.55% of all computer users used XP, whilst 7.13% used Vista and 7.46% use MacOSX – that’s 41.14% of the market that Microsoft are isolating straight away, and Windows 7 and 8 don’t even own all of the 58.86% share of the market that is left!
Microsoft have recently undergone a quite extensive advertising campaign for IE, to try and shake off its bad reputation. They state how ‘lightning fast’ it is compared to how it used to be, which I can’t dispute. What they don’t however say is how it compares to Chrome or Opera. They also try to reassure users that it is now secure, although that is still debatable!
The internet is full of ads. There is no escaping that fact that despite it being a free web, the word ‘free’ probably means you will have to put up with an awful lot of adverts. People who work online have to make a living, and ads is one of the most popular ways to do so – fair enough.
Sometimes you have to accept that we need ads to help keep so many free services on the internet running; information on blogs, free emails, forums and search engines just to name a few.
Many people believe that the ads are there, and that is the way it is going to stay. Useless information will get in your way when you are looking for useful content, but that is not entirely correct.
Advertisers advertise, ultimately because they want to boost their or their business or organisations income. Advertisements may drive sales, increase donations, raise awareness, promote a brand, offer freebies, or do a whole number of other things.
Most consumers (that’s people like you and me) think that adverts are an inconvenience, but need they be?
Advertisers are now getting clever, cookies are being used to track what you look at online, and are then used to present you with ads that are relevant to you, which you might actually find interesting.
Many people may find that a daunting prospect. Advertisers are collecting information about me in order to try to ‘improve my ad experience’ and at the end of the day get me to spend more money. Is that right?
The Digital Advertising Alliance have founded a site called Your AdChoices, which gives you information about the choices you have about the adverts that you see whilst browsing the internet.
Would you rather the ads that you see online were relevant to you, or random? Now, for the first time, you have the ability to choose.
Hundreds of advertising hosts now use AdChoices, to let you personalise the way you view the web. Google, AOL, Adobe, Disney, Kraft, Microsoft, News Corp and Yahoo are just some of the big names that participate in the AdChoices scheme.
Here is an extract from the AdChoices website:
“The Advertising Option Icon gives you transparency and control for
Find out when information about your online interests is being gathered or used to customize the Web ads you see.
Choose whether to continue to allow this type of advertising.”
Still not understanding the concept? See if watching this video helps.
So you have a choice. You can choose to receive personalised ads, which could potentially improve your browsing experience, or you could choose to opt out. Your choice.
Sometimes, Technology Bloggers writers will choose to display an AdSense Ad in there articles. These all have the AdChoices button on them. I rarely add one, but for your interest, look below. Can you see the ‘i’?
What will you do, opt out or stay in? Do you think it is good that we are now offered personalised ads, or is it an invasion of privacy?
With regard to personalised ads I am undecided, but am slowly warming to the idea.