Thursday, March 19, 2009

Microsoft: Internet Explorer 8 released today

TODAY Microsoft released IE 8 (Internet Explorer 8), the newest incarnation of this web browser. Many in the genealogy community are reporting this, but Ol’ Myrt here has spent time reading her techie blogs for clues about the advisability of upgrading. Remember that I prefer Mozilla’s FireFox, except for viewing images, where IE is the browser of choice. ZDNet is one place Ol’ Myrt turns to when I want to read professional yet independent opinions about mainstream software, operating systems and the like. The following three posts are from my favorite ZDNet Blog:

See Ed Bott’s comments which read in part “Earlier today, Microsoft released the final version of Internet Explorer 8 for public download. Many of the reviews I’ve read so far have focused on raw speed (page rendering and Javascript execution, in particular). The subject of performance isn’t nearly as cut and dried as those benchmark results would suggest, however. One factor they don’t measure, for example, is browsing efficiency. Page load time is irrelevant if you can translate a paragraph of text or see a list of search results without having to open a separate page. I’ve been using IE8 and FireFox daily (occasionally dabbling with Google’s Chrome as well) for several months, as it wound its way through beta versions to a release candidate and finally to... ” View article IE8 focuses on usability.

See also Zack Whittaker: “The next generation of Internet Explorer, once the leading web browser in the world, has just been updated to version 8 and released at Mix 2009. While many will rejoice at the new browser; updated features, porn mode, tab recovery and better web standards, the last one has been a controversy from day one. The web standards debate has sparked mass protest and anger from thousands, if not tens of thousands of people. To break it down simply, previous versions such as Internet Explorer 6 and 7 have not had web standards compatibility installed, and most web developers optimise their websites for IE6, IE7 and Firefox - the three main web browsers used on the market - and are customised...” View article IE8 released at Mix; will it cripple the web-user experience?

One issue that has kept people from using IE is the reproted vulnerability to hackers, and traditional thought pointed to Mac computers as impervious to challengers. Yet, Jason D. O’Grady reports “Charlie Miller came to Vancouver's CanSecWest security conference to defend his title in the PWN 2 OWN hacking contest. Last year Miller took home the MacBook Air and a $10,000 cash prize Thursday after breaking into the machine. This year Miller's MO was the same, bring the target MacBook to its knees and pocket $10k (and the MacBook). Zero Day's Ryan Naraine explains that the details of the exploit aren't being released: TippingPoint’s Zero Day Initiative has acquired the exclusive rights to the vulnerability and coordinate the disclosure and patch release process with Apple. Technical details of the vulnerability will not be released until a patch is ready. Miller boasted “It took a couple of seconds. They clicked on the... ” View article MacBook and Safari succumb to hackers.

So if the bad guys can now hack Macs, I guess the best defense is a continuously-updated, comprehensive anti-virus software that includes robust anti-spam, firewall and internet security.

As for the IE8 upgrade, Ol’ Myrt here is holding off for at least a month and graciously allowing everyone else to suffer through the growing pains of a new Microsoft product.

Happy family tree climbing!
Myrt :)
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