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    mikemikeb
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    If you’re using Internet Explorer or Firefox 2, this Tuesday, June 17, is the day that the Firefox 3 internet browser will be released. It will be available completely free of charge from http://www.firefox.com for PC (Win2000, XP, and Vista), Mac (OS 10.4 “Tiger” and up), and Linux.

    Hey, bub, what’s the big honkin’ deal about that?, you might ask, especially if you use IE 7, which in itself is a pretty nice browser (as long as ten tabs tops are opened). Well, for one, the Firefox team wants to set a Guinness World Record for the most downloads of a software product in 24 hours, and you can help set that record.

    But even beyond the world record attempt, there’s a genuine reason to get your hands on this browser as soon as you can on Tuesday. The Firefox team claims of over 15,000 improvements versus Firefox 2, but here are the eleven most visible in day-to-day usage versus Firefox 2 (and which will match or beat what you’ll find even in IE 7).

    1. Improved page rendering speed (faster than IE 7)
    2. Improved web standards performance (passes the Acid2 web standards test, unlike IE 7 & FF 2)
    3. Significantly improved memory allocation management (which beats IE 7)
    4. Improved security-based visual alerts and management*
    5. Text search in the Location bar#
    6. Full page zoom (just like IE 7)
    7. Improved webpage bookmarking system
    8. Password manager asks if you’re interested in saving a password after a successful log-in
    9. In-line spell check on web forms
    10. Upon closing the browser, option to save tabs that are opened
    11. A new visual style that complements the interface of the specific operating system.

    And as usual with Firefox vs. IE, there are fewer security leaks, and those leaks are patched faster.

    So in the interim, let your friends and family know about Firefox 3, and on Tuesday, remind them to download it.
    ___________________________________________

    * Three major subchanges in this regard:

    The first major subchange is that alerts for things such as phishing attempts are much more prominent on the screen. Secondly, the phishing blocker has been enforced to support virus, trojan horse, and other malware detection.

    In addition, Firefox 3 detects Extended Validation Secure Socket Layer (EV SSL) certificates, to enhance a Web user’s assurance that a website asking for personal information isn’t part of a phishing scheme. When Firefox 3 detects a webpage that is certified via an EV SSL certificate as genuine, the left side of the address bar will turn dark green, and will display text that alternates between a) the operator of the website, b) the company who has verified the site as authentic (usually Verisign, though other providers, like Equifax and GeoTrust — technically one in the same — are also genuine EV SSL providers). A user can click on this green bar at any time to display a security certificate. (More on EV SSL here and here.)

    (Note that not all secure and genuine sites will have an EV SSL certificate. Some genuine sites will continue to use standard SSL certificates for a long time, if not permanently, especially on non-E-commerce sites, resulting in the typical yellow bar and lock icon on the right side. Therefore, for this and other reasons, like an airbag, all of this is intended to be a supplemental protection system. Just like nothing beats always wearing a seatbelt in case of a car crash, there’s no sure substitute for common sense while browsing.

    # This feature has been dubbed the “Awesome Bar” by some Firefox 3 beta testers: Type any text in the area you tend to type a web address, and Firefox will pull up links to all web pages you’ve ever visited that contain that text, as long as your browser history isn’t cleared; clearing the history clears the links.

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