Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Firefox 4 and the Amazon Cloud

Two fairly substantial developments occurred in the tech world this past week. The first one up is the release of Firefox 4. Things have really heated up in the Browser Wars since the days of Internet Explorer vs. Netscape. These days, there are many more real options for the user, including Firefox, Chrome, Safari, and Opera (as well as some more obscure choices). Firefox, in fact, had begun to really lag behind the latest golden child of browsing--Google Chrome. With the update to 4, it's back to being competitive again (although since Google is continually updating Chrome--instead of being tied to a strict release schedule--it's hard to believe Firefox won't begin lagging behind again soon). What does the update bring? Faster browsing speed, for one thing. To be clear, updating won't suddenly make your internet feel twice as fast, but it will help it feel a bit zippier. It also has better support for the underlying building blocks of the web: HTML5, CSS3, etc. It should be less resource-hoggy, too. Basically, if you're using Firefox, upgrading to 4 is a definite must. If you've given up on Firefox because it had begun to seem outdated, it's worth giving it another look. I'm still sticking with Chrome, but it's good to have a nice backup with Firefox again.

The second development occurred in the cloud--you know: that great, big nebulous online data storage that lives somewhere in the ether. In other words, instead of storing files on your physical computer, you store them on the computers of a company--whether it's email on Google's gmail service, or with an actual backup company like Mozy. The web has been buzzing with rumors that Apple or Google would launch a full-blown cloud service, letting iPhone, iPad and Android users access their movies and music through an online storage site. Well, look who went and beat them both to the punch? Amazon launched its Cloud Drive service: 5GB of free online storage available with your Amazon account. You can stream from it to an Android phone or a computer--but not any of Apples mobile devices. That's quite a bit of online storage for free, and although I haven't used it yet, it seems pretty solid. My only wish is that all of these companies would stop bickering and start playing nice with each other, but the odds of that happening seem slim to none right now. Such is life.

In any case, check out those two services, and if you have any questions, stop by and ask. I'll be here!

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