It’s not a huge surprise, with all the major web browsers adding their own bookmark sync services, but Xmarks (formerly Foxmarks) is shutting down in January.

I figure I’ll just use Firefox Sync, Chrome sync, Opera Link, etc. to share bookmarks between the desktop and laptop, but what I really liked Xmarks for was its ability to sync different browsers together. I’m always switching between Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari (and occasionally IE when I’m on a Windows box) and it’s nice to have them all on the same set of bookmarks.

I guess it’s back to periodically exporting from my main browser and importing in the secondary ones, unless I find a tool or find the time to read up on the bookmarks formats and write one.

Update: Xmarks lives!

As the first major web browser to reach a double-digit version, Opera has been testing out alpha releases of version 10 for months now. One of the early problems they encountered was bad browser detection scripts that only looked at the first digit of a version number and decided that Opera 10 was actually Opera 1, and therefore too old to handle modern web pages.

After extensive testing, they’ve concluded that the best way to work around this is to pretend to be Version 9.80. From now on, all versions of Opera will identify themselves as “Opera/9.80” with the real version appearing later in the user-agent string.

For example:

Opera/9.80 (Macintosh; Intel Mac OS X; U; en) Presto/2.2.15 Version/10.00

This is similar to the way all Gecko-based browsers identify themselves as Mozilla/5.0, then list the real browser name and version number later on, which makes me wonder why they didn’t just stick with that increasingly irrelevant prefix — though I suppose any scripts looking specifically for Opera versions might have still picked up Opera/10 later on in the ID.

It’ll be some time before Firefox or Safari runs into this issue, but with Internet Explorer 8 in wide release, you have to wonder…what will Microsoft do when they get to IE 10?

Origin of Opera: Comic StripHard to believe Opera has been around for 15 years. It’s only 14 since its first release, but 15 years ago two programmers started the project that became the Opera web browser.

I’ve been using Opera off and on for about 10 years. I think it was 1999 when a classmate showed me Opera 3.6, and how fast and small it was. (This was back when the installer fit on a floppy disk — and back when that actually made a difference.) I’ve followed it as they expanded from Windows onto Mac and Linux, onto high-end cell phones with Opera Mobile, and finally onto every Java-capable phone with Opera Mini. I’ve watched as they went from trialware to ad-supported to freeware business models. And while the desktop browser is no longer the speed demon it used to be, it’s been a consistent innovator in terms of both browser features and web capabilities.

So I’d just like to say: Happy 15th birthday, Opera! Just think, in a year, you’ll be old enough to drive!*

Happy 15th Brithday, Opera!

*In California, anyway. I think in Norway the driving age is 18.

IE7Microsoft released Internet Explorer 8 yesterday, for Windows XP and Vista. So if you’re still running IE6, or someone you know is, it’s once again time to think about upgrading — or switching. (Assuming, of course, that you’re not locked in by corporate policy or another piece of software.)

  • IE6 is now two versions behind the current release.
  • IE6 is almost 8 years old (it was released in 2001).
  • IE6 is lacking in many capabilities that all other modern web browsers have, in web technology, in security, and in features you can use.

You can read a review at Wired, a write-up from the IE team, or a summary of technical changes from WaSP.

Of course, Internet Explorer isn’t the only option out there. There’s Opera, Firefox, Chrome and a host of other alternative browsers that are worth checking out.

If you’re still running Windows 2000 or some other old version of Windows that can’t run IE7 or IE8, I’d absolutely recommend Firefox or Opera. Either will be much better than IE6, both will run on Windows 2000, and Opera will even run on Windows Me and Windows 98 (but you really ought to move to something more current than Windows Me.)

Opera Chrome Firefox

Just a quick note: I finally got around to updating the Alternative Browser Alliance website. Not the full rewrite that I was planning to do two months ago, but at least it’s now current on things like Google Chrome, Firebug, Dragonfly, etc.

I’ve also released that site under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license, which should simplify matters for translations.

Finally, as a compromise between a full blog and little notes on the home page, I added another Twitter account, AltBrowser, where I’ll post not just site updates but random bits of news, comments, tips, etc. related to the topic.  I don’t have time to maintain yet another blog.  And I’m not convinced the net needs one.

I still hope to do that major rewrite, but this should bring it mostly up-to-date.