One of the most annoying and challenging aspects of being a computer user is that computers are really not easy to use. Over time we adapt our natural way of movement to the computer’s limitations and learn how to do “ctrla+c” to copy or patiently wait for the computer to boot up or even worse we expect Word to crash while in the midst of revising a long contract.
Computers and in particular the software that powers them are not perfect. However, one of the things you can do to ensure your computer is working at its most optimal level is to upgrade the software.
For example, Microsoft recently released the latest version of Internet Explorer, version 8. This upgrade is free (as in it costs you nothing; there’s no credit card to enter to download it; you won’t get a bill – it’s free). However, many of you will continue to use old versions of Internet Explorer. It’s probably not because you don’t want to use the new version but it’s because you a) don’t think about it b) don’t want to take the time to upgrade.
Upgrading to new software often provides several benefits:
1. The new software is often better than the old software
2. The new software has security enhancements to keep hackers at bay
3. The new software often has usability enhancements that make it easier to use
4. The new software solves bugs in the older software versions
These are just a few reasons to consider upgrading.
In regards to Internet Explorer in particular, there are several enhancements that will make your web browsing much more productive, faster, safer and maybe even enjoyable.
One of the really nice features, which are in fact already in Mozilla FireFox is crash recovery and tab isolation
Tab isolation: If a website or add-on causes a tab to crash in Internet Explorer 8, only that tab is affected. The browser itself remains stable and other tabs remain unaffected, thereby minimizing any disruption to your browsing experience.
Crash recovery: If one or more of your tabs unexpectedly closes or crashes, your tabs are automatically reloaded and you are returned to the site you were on before the crash.
Another innovative feature are text accelerators. Microsoft’s web site reads How many steps does it take with your current browser to map an address, translate a word, or perform other routine tasks online? Until now it was likely a series of cutting and pasting information from one webpage to another. Now there’s a better way. The new Accelerators in Internet Explorer 8 help you quickly perform your everyday browsing tasks without navigating to other websites to get things done. Simply highlight text from any webpage, and then click on the blue Accelerator icon that appears above your selection to obtain driving directions, translate and define words, email content to others, search with ease, and more. For example, with the “Map with Live Maps” Accelerator in Internet Explorer 8, you can get an in-place view of a map displayed directly on the page.
Sounds similar to Google’s gadgets.
Want to read more about it? Check out Walt Mossberg’s (WSJ) take on it here.
Keep in mind: All software upgrades are not perfect. Sometimes you might upgrade your software and find that a feature you liked is no longer there or hiding. Or maybe the upgrade causes conflicts with an existing application.