On Maxthon

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TechCrunch published an article yesteray about Maxthon browser. It strongly recommended Maxthon as an alternative to Firefox and Opera. Daily Om also reported recently that Maxthon crossed 50 Million Downloads. So what are Maxthon’s strong points that make it popular?

Firstly, the features it offers. Tabbed browsing and built in RSS reader have become the standards of any web browser after Firefox’s success. Maxthon has these, and more. Tabbed browsing is a lot easier in Maxthon. Tabs can be given a “Sticky” short name to page titles, so that when having something like 20 tabs open at a time, one doesn’t have to fish out too much. Tabs can be aligned too.
Also, Maxthon requires fewer Extensions than Firefox. Built in Flash support, right click enabled almost everywhere, a customizable Utility manager on the toolbar for easy access of frequently used Computer utilities such as Notepad, URL aliases – something that can be done in Firefox by installing an extra extension to use a short URL. Most of the features require no extensions to be installed.

But many of the ready to use features make it look clumsy as opposed to the sleek elegance of Firefox, which is, by the way, a lot faster than Maxthon. Also, in terms of Searching within the browser, Firefox is a lot less painful to use – albeit it requires a few extensions such as “Context Search” to be installed. Also, Mozilla’s Mycroft Plug-in site provides more plug-ins that can be installed for searching within the website – apart from the standard Google, Yahoo, Amazon search, one can include BitTorrent, Answers.com and many other reference websites. Maxthon supports Wikipedia and IMDb, in addition to Google Search. Not much, really.

Atleast as far as browsers are concerned, more doesn’t mean better. A lot of features that Maxthon comes packed with are not useful really. This is why I disagree with the TechCrunch article. Firefox’s idea of “Provide some really useful features as a basic package, and let the users download extensions if they want more” is great because the requirements of each user vary. This article provides insight into various browsers. But there is no “the best browser”; Firefox 1.5 has its share of flaws (or “The Dark Side” as the above mentioned article refers)

Really, the browser wars will never end.

Passionate blogs on Zoho Writer

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Some bloggers go so far out as to making our intro about the product in our home page pretty rudimentary. Take the Tech2All blog for example. In a blog post titled ‘Zoho Writer – Virtual Online Word Processing‘, there are a lot many screenshots with explanations that new users trying out Zoho Writer should see. Extensive overviews can also be read at Shadows in Motion & Andy Atkinson’s post at the ‘Pain in the Tech‘ blog.

And here’s something interesting. When someone asks us about how thay can post to their WordPress powered blog from Zoho Writer, all we do is point to this ‘Post to WordPress Blogs using Zoho Writer‘ post at BLOGISEVERYTHING.

Google Pages

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Google’s AJAX powered Web-Page builder is here. Perhaps the web alternative to Microsoft Frontpage in its Beta, or an AJAX powered Yahoo Geocities, understandably it’s not quite there yet. Upto 100 MB of Free Hosting, this seems to be an early April Fool’s Day present from Google. Fully powered by AJAX and feature rich, the interface is easy to use and folks who wish to build Web pages needn’t suffer from HTML Handicap anymore. Strike one. Now, back to speculating what else could they possibly release on April 1st.

Crash

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Mozilla Firefox has two extensions called Crash Recovery and Session Saver, which is quite handy when there are about ten tabs open and the browser unexpectedly crashes. While most of the web-services offer an Autosave/Recover feature, it’s a sorry state to see a part of the work being swallowed as a result of the crash. In case of most Blog service providers, in accordance with Murphy’s laws of Cyberspace, always while posting long blog posts, the browser somehow would stop responding. The recovery tool will restore a text, that is short by several paragraphs than the last version prior to the crash. It would be brilliant to have a recovery tool that recovers till the last typed sentence, if that isn’t asking too much.

Beyond the spam filter

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While providing an invitation to someone about a web-service (such as a Gmail invitation) most of the times, that e-mail is marked as spam and one has to log in to the spam folder and fish out the message. There isn’t a solution to this problem. So far, I didn’t experience the problem with Zoho Writer – for there are more files shared by and with me rather than stand alone documents, which goes on to say how people are making full use of the Online Word-processing potential. But this article points out that a similar problem was encountered while sharing a document with Zoho Writer.

The solutions that the article suggests aren’t perfect (as pointed out in the article itself.) The article suggests

(a) Using the sender’s e-mail and make the invitation more personal

(b) Sending out an e-mail first explaining what this is all about first.

The text of Gmail invitation is customizable, making it more personal than a generic text, yet it gets marked as spam. However it is always helpful to have a more personal invitation. The text of the invitation would be a lot better if it was in the following format:

“You have been invited by [sender's name/e-mail] to view/edit (as the case may be – read only/read write) the document created using Zoho Writer. Zoho Writer is an Online Wordprocessor that you can use to create, edit, share and publish documents. To know more about Zoho Writer click here (supplemented by a link to blog posts about Zoho Writer)”

For someone who isn’t used to the idea of Online Word-processors, Office 2.0 and Sharing, it can all be very confusing. While I send out invitations, I send a separate e-mail first, explaining the process before sending out an e-mail invitation. The simplest solution will be to have a customizable message field within Zoho Writer itself, where a user can type in the text about what sharing is, prior to sharing it with a technically disinclined friend.

Then again, the problem of the e-mail getting marked as spam isn’t solved by merely personalizing the invitation text. (I get lot of personalized Spam, so to speak :) ) This calls for an understanding of how spam filters work so that this issue can be fixed at least partially. This also calls for intelligent spam filters (and not merely “powerful” spam filter), that can distinguish between genuine e-mails from other third party websites and spam.

Doodles galore at gapingvoid

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Logging into Bloglines today what do I see but the number 36 next to gapingvoid! Clicked on the link thinking it’s the usual Bloglines bug of getting older/read items only to find it is otherwise. Hugh’s on a catooning spree (thanks to his new M-Tablet PC) for the last 24 hours & I liked the following doodles.