In some ways, Opera is the Rodney Dangerfield of browsers. Both have their rabid followers, and both struggle to gain respect from the mainstream audience. That's where the similarities end, and where Opera really distinguishes itself is in being relevant still today (apologies for the gut punch, Dangerfield fans). Opera Software's next big browser release -- Opera 12 -- is now available as an alpha build, and with it another major development.
Longtime Maximum PC readers might remember former Associate Editor David Murphy stuffing a shopping cart full of PC parts into a cardboard enclosure in order to save some nickels in our $500 PC Build Off challenge. Obvious safety hazards notwithstanding, Murphy's pauper path to PCtopia is still an option, or you could forgo a night at the movies and apply that money you would have spent on an ultra cheap chassis like BitFenix's new Merc series.
Chrome has brought plenty of amazing new innovations to the table since its introduction less than three years ago, but one feature of Google’s flagship browser caught all the established players off guard, their ability to iterate at an unbelievable pace. Some simply accuse them of being too liberal with version numbers, but either way you look at it in less than 30 months Google has gone from a beta release, all the way to version 12, with no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
In a bid to accelerate the Firefox development process, Mozilla introduced a new update channel called Aurora last month. Shorter release cycles mean that Mozilla has absolutely no time to bask in the glory of Firefox 4’s success. In fact, Mozilla has begun two-timing (for lack of a better metaphor) Firefox 5 and Firefox 6. The latter is now available in the Aurora update channel, the browser vendor announced Friday.
Alright, geeks--this week's feature Chrome extension is calling out your name. While most net-savvy individuals can always surf on over to Google to run most any calculations they need to run (quick: 12 cups is how much of a gallon!), there's an easier way to go about solving the answers to life's tougher mathematical issues. In fact, you can do it straight from your Chrome browser without having to surf on over to a secondary page.
The genius behind this functionality is a little extension called Chromey Calculator. Don't let the cute alliteration fool you--this little wonder is akin to packing Einstein's brain into a tiny little button next to your address bar. Clicking on said button pulls up a little pop-up window with a simple, console-style prompt. Type in a common equation you need solved (1+1), and the extension will spit out an answer in a running field that keeps track of the last few commands you've entered. Not only does this beat the one-equation, one-answer style of Windows' default calculator program, but Chromey Calculator also taps into the power of the Web to fuel more complex commands.
Click the jump to get the gritty, super-user details!
With Firefox 3.5 not long out of the oven, Mozilla has already cooked up the first developer milestone of its next browser release, Firefox 3.6 Alpha 1, now available for download.
"Unlike the year that passed between Firefox 3 and Firefox 3.5, we expect that this 3.6 release will be released in a small number of months," Mozilla evangelist Chris Blizzard said in a blog post.
Following its rapid release schedule, eager Ubuntu fans need only wait until April 23rd for the next release of the open-source Linux distro. In the meantime, if a little over a month is just too long to wait, you can take a sneak peek at Ubuntu 9.04, Jaunty Jackalope, currently in alpha form.
The just released Jaunty Jackalope Alpha 6 is the fifth alpha release of Ubuntu 9.04 and includes several new features, along with a handful of known bugs. Among the former is a new X.Org server, version 1.6, better font-size optimization tailored to your monitor rather than defaulting to 96 dpi, new style for notifications and notification preferences, a new Linux kernel (2.6.28-8.26), and support for the new ext4 file system.
Keep in mind that as an alpha release, you should expect instability. Known issues include the disabling of the "encrypted home directory" option, video driver problems with the XServer, mis-reporting of proper font sizes resulting in abnormally small or large fonts, CTRL-ALT-Backspace is disabled, and users of Intel's i846 or i865 video chipsets receive an error message stating "Fatal server error: Couldn't bind memory for BO front buffer."
Anyone who may have thought the death of Netscape would signal the end of the browser wars, boy were they mistaken. In fact, it could be argued that it was at that point it all began. It didn't take long for Mozilla's Firefox to emerge from Netscape Navigator's ashes, and over time, Firefox would win over enthusiasts with a potent combination of speed, security, and an unprecedented level of customization.
But what started as a two-man battle is quickly growing into all-out warfare. Prepare to be overwhelmed by an onslaught of new browser releases in the coming months as Microsoft, Mozilla, Apple, Opera Software, and Google all vie to provide your vehicle for navigating the web. Each one brings something new to the table, whether it be blazing fast performance or a unique feature-set. Don't worry if you haven't been paying attention - we jump in the trenches with whole lot of them and get to know each one on a personal basis.
Hit the jump to find out everything there is to know about the browsers of today and tomorrow!
What will the next version of Microsoft Office look like? Leaked screenshots of an alpha version recently released to testers suggest that, in short, ribbon menus rule. However, the Office 14 ribbon menus seem to have been influenced by the ribbon menu used in some of Windows 7's accessories, rather than being simply a rehash of Office 2007's version.
How long before we'll have a release version? According to alpha testers cited at Neowin.net, Microsoft is looking at a 2009 release and - you guessed it - the suite might be called Office System 2009. However, with the Microsoft roadmap unearthed earlier this month showing "2009" and "12-31-2009" for release dates, maybe it's too early to worry about the name.
Before the most recent version of Ubuntu (8.10, Intrepid Ibex) was even released, founder Mark Shuttleworth was already looking ahead by introducing The Jaunty Jackalope, or what will later be known as version 9.04. That was just over two months ago, and now eager Linux users can take a peek at what the upcoming release has in store by downloading the distro in Alpha 1 form.
In continuing to bring Linux to the mainstream, Shuttleworth listedsome specific goals it hopes to meet with Jaunty. Chief among them is improving the distro's boot time, both in standard cases and "when it is being tailored to a specific device." But speed isn't the only improvement he hopes to make in 9.04. The new distro will also look to have tighter integration between web services and desktop applications.
Ubuntu users hoping to get a first look at Jaunty Jackalope can download the Alpha 1 release now, although developer Colin Watson warns that the pre-release isn't intended for anyone needing a stable system.
"This is the very first roughly working set of images off the production line, and they haven't all been tested, so you should expect some bugs," Watson wrote in the release announcement. "Prominent among these are that some of the images are oversized and can only be tested using a DVD or a virtual machine, and that the desktop CD isn't ready yet!"
The next major Alpha release is scheduled for December 18th, followed by additional pre-releases until the final version debuts on April 23.