Guinness record attempt – Firefox Download Day 2008

Which browser do you use? I used to ask this question to gauge how savvy the class was that I was dealing with.

Well, the big, blue E still dominates:

Firefox attractiveness to many was speed, performance, customisability, plugins and what not. It was the low hanging fruit in the internet education of my many, clueless friends. At the very least, they grasped the idea that this firefox thing held the promise of speed, tabbed browsing, a popup blocker and an in-built google search bar. Once I got them through understanding what a browser was, that is (“ooh, the blue E thing?”), they were on their way to and a liberation that allowed a better appreciation of the WWW.

Even Ladybug become the Firefox Police at her workplace, refusing to do problem solving on her colleagues PCs unless they had Firefox already fired up and running!

Firefox made it easy for evangelists with that getfirefox URL. They even setup as the base of operations. What impressed me also was the trawling of blogs to recruit like minded souls. I have quite alot of Firefox entries in my old blog which we fun to read, especially the 2004 entries, but see this one from July 2005 – “Reaching the Firefox grassroots – how and why Asa Dotlzer wrote.

Over the years, Firefox has steadily chipped away and now stands at a 18.41% share as of May 2008.

Asa Dotzler just explained in TUAW that Firefox Download Day on 17th June 2008 “isn’t about “updates” [but] .. about user-initiated sofware downloads from the Web” – i.e. its about enthusiasts clicking download because they want Firefox 3.

I love the Firefox 3 betas and am looking forward to final release on the 17th of June 2008. I did all the groupie things like join the Facebook group, pledged to download and tell my friends.

Why the enthusiasm? Well I still remember the pain of using IE on a laptop (admittedly not recently). Also, as a multiple browser user, I use Camino and Safari regularly on my Mac, in addition to minor use of Opera, OmniWeb, etc. My use tends to reflect enjoyment and efficiency and right now the Firefox 3 beta is often coming out tops. Even though I am not a power user and hardly use plugins, it has become my default on the MacBook Pro, for a variety of reasons.

So I can hawk it to friends without a worry. An have them do a fun thing like “Set a Guinness World Record and Enjoy a Better Web”.

Rediscovering bikely

Like my Portable Apps foray yesterday on a HP Vista laptop, a return after a long hiatus (about two years) to is exciting. The many updates and the improvements in Google Earth/Maps and Bikely have make it a simple and quick tool with which to add and share cycling [and running] routes with.

Take a look at the first route I plotted. It gets off the roads ontp low pedestrian-traffic pavements and cuts through a couple of underpasses as well:

I tagged the map, and provided a description. but still have to add notes to certain individual points. Annotation and descriptions are very important – it requires time but it enhances the value of the route beyond a simple plot.

Since my Cycling in Singapore kakis still get comments and queries about our old maps/project pages that litter the internet, I posted a note about our route mapping efforts in 2004: for cycling routes.

The post is also a reflection of the sudden onset of accessible tools in just the past few years. My ecology students at least should be familiar with some of these tools, and I am thinking about incorporating some use of these into next semester’s lessons or assignments.