Hurt Squirrels
If I Had A Garage, I'd Be Cleaning It Out
9/29/2002 3:31 AM
In the past couple weeks, I've undergone a digital renewal. In that time, I've adopted a new e-mail client, browser, FTP client and MP3 encoder. Why all the sudden changes? In part, it's because of all the security issues with Microsoft products I've been reading about lately. I'm pretty careful with what I download and open, but it seems like every other day a new bug is discovered. That, and it's part if my plan to become Microsoft-free. At this point, the only product of their's I use is the operating system itself. If I'd get off my butt and start playing around with Linux like I've been meaning to do for the past two years, my transformation would be complete.

The browser I'm currently using, Opera, is version 6.05. I've been following it since sometime during version 3, but it was never quite to my liking until now. I always knew it had potential and this recent version finally got me to switch. As an extra added bonus, it's a very standards-compliant browser, which will force me to create even better web pages. Although I always try to test out pages in a variety of browsers, my old regular browser was Internet Explorer, which is very forgiving of sloppy code. Using IE all the time would cause me to miss out on all sorts of little quirks in my code that I haven't noticed until now. I'm slowly fixing all those little things.

"But Mark," you say. "I've never noticed anything bad on your pages. What are you talking about?" Ha, I say. You're just being too nice to bring up the problems. However, you probably will have to look long and hard to find any visible changes. In a perfect world, every web page renders exactly the same in each browser. I'm not shooting for "exactly the same;" I'll be happy with "pretty darn close." Most of my sites are pretty darn close, but they could be closer.

And what about the FTP client and the MP3 encoder? They weren't Microsoft products; why the change? Simply because the old ones didn't work as well as I wanted. I knew there had to be something better out there, so I went and found them. It helped that I recently stumbled across WebAttack, a huge repository of various freeware and shareware programs. You don't always need pricey software; there's usually a very nice alternative that is freely available. Check 'em out.

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