September 2003   

Vol. 5, No. 9


Are you surfing in black and white?

Remember black and white television? It was great at the time, but now it's seriously behind the times. Metaphorically, you may be surfing in black and white, if your web browser is outdated.

About a third of the visitors to PQ Systems' websites have outdated web browsers, half of which are more than four years old. It's true that they work, but they are definitely not giving the best picture.

Certainly, many organizations have valid reasons for not updating their browsers. A company may have made an older browser version the company standard; perhaps you fear an upgrade will cause a conflict with other applications; or maybe you just like the look and feel of your browser's interface. But there are also some very good reasons for updating:

1. The most important reason for updating your browser is that security flaws in older browsers may allow malicious websites to read or damage files on your computer, steal your passwords, or infect your computer with viruses. Because newer browsers fix known security flaws, updating your browser will reduce the risk.

2. Outdated browsers have more bugs. Bug fixes are often why there is a newer version.

3. Newer browsers support new web capabilities that improve speed, navigation, and appearance.

4. Newer browsers are standards-compliant. In early versions, both Netscape and Internet Explorer followed their own paths in supporting HTML. In some cases, different HTML tags were needed to display pages properly, regardless of the browser. Newer browsers support the HTML and CSS standards set forth by the World Wide Web Consortium (www.w3c.org), which develops and promotes standard technologies for the web.

5. If you use Netscape or Internet Explorer, browser updates are free. If you are a registered Opera user, upgrades are $15.

How old is your browser?

While you may know exactly how old your browser is, the following table gives version release dates. Check your version against these dates to determine whether you have the latest release or not.

Netscape

1.0 Dec 1994

2.0 Mar 1996

3.0 Aug 1996

4.0 Jun 1997

4.5 Oct 1998

4.7 Sep 1999

6.0   Nov 2000

7.0 Aug 2002

IE Windows

1.0 Aug 1995

2.0 Nov 1995

3.0 Aug 1996

4.0 Oct 1997

5.0 Mar 1999

5.5 Jul 2000

6.0 Oct 2001

IE Macintosh

2.0 Apr 1996

3.0 Jan1997

4.0 Jan 1998

4.5 Jan 1999

5.0 Mar 2000

Opera

2.1 Dec 1996

3.0 Dec 1997

3.5 Nov 1998

4.0 Jun 2000

5.0 Dec 2000

6.0 Nov 2001

7.0 Jan 2003

 

If you find that your browser is indeed outdated, it's easy to address the problem. To upgrade, you can go to an appropriate website, such as the following:

Netscape upgrade: http://channels.netscape.com/ns/browsers/download.jsp

Internet Explorer for Windows upgrade: http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/details.aspx?
FamilyID=1e1550cb-5e5d-48f5-b02b-20b602228de6&displaylang=en

Internet Explorer for MacIntosh upgrade: http://www.microsoft.com/mac/downloads.aspx#IE

Opera upgrade: https://secure.bmtmicro.com/opera/upgrade-opera.html

Just as when you bought your first color television, you may find that an upgraded browser will bring you into a whole new world.


Copyright 2003 PQ Systems.

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