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Jewish World Review
Oct. 27, 2006
/ 5 Mar-Cheshvan, 5767
Internet Explorer, Again
It's the season for new/old releases "Casino Royale" is due in theatres
again, this time as Ian Fleming's original drama, not a comic pastiche
so it should be little surprise that Internet Explorer, Microsoft's
"original" Web browser is appearing in a new form: slayer of Firefox.
Well, if 007 can be reinvented as a blonde, why can't an old software
"dog," as some users would call it, learn a few new tricks? Along with
dressing up the interface to Internet Explorer, or IE as it's widely
known, this new version 7 is said to offer some greater security and
anti-phishing (stet) features designed to help safeguard users against
attempts to steal their personal information and, thus, their identities.
I haven't tried the phishing-protection features just yet, as I try to
stay away from any such sites overall. But the security seems to be good:
I was able to log onto my online banking portal without hassle; ditto for
Google's Gmail service as well as other secure sites. It would appear that
security in IE 7 is good; though time will tell whether hackers and other
nefarious types will succeed in breaking through somehow.
At the same time, IE still works with the Google and AOL toolbars that had
been installed on a previous version. Bookmarks carry over as well, as you
might expect. And the general user interface hasn't changed: the screen
looks a little cleaner, but "Ctrl-L" will still open a window where you
can enter the next Web address you'd like to visit.
One test I made with IE 7 was on a three-year-old computer running an
Intel Pentium III CPU at 1.33 GHz. There are newer and faster machines on
the market, and several are on loan here. But it's nice to see that a
rather new piece of software still ran nicely on an older system.
In operation, IE7 performs well. Its default home page is for services
offered under the "Windows Live" banner, and those services are chiefly
Web based. Some, such as Windows Live Mail are perhaps capable of growing
into full Web services; others, such as news and weather headlines are
more informational. Either way, Microsoft apparently is positioning this
software to take advantage of such services, which only makes sense. Many
software makers are repositioning themselves to deliver "subscriptions" to
programs via the Web, making updates and price increases easier to
But that's cynical, to say the least. Right now, Internet Explorer 7
delivers a satisfying Web experience with what seems to be better security
and ease of use. No number of security features, however, will make up for
common sense, and any Internet user would do well to bring a highly
refined skepticism to their online travels. If an offer sounds too good to
be true, if an "official" looking Web site asks for too much information
(your bank card's personal identification number, or PIN, is one such
example), then you need to run to the hills.
Overall, though, the Internet remains a good place to buy and sell and
research and learn. To do this, you need a good, reliable guide to the
"terra incognita" you might find out there, and Internet Explorer 7 seems
to be such a guide. You can find it at
At the same time, I bring a similar skeptic's eye to Web browsers that I
do to the Web overall, which is why the latest version of Mozilla Firefox
(www.getmozilla.org), is always on my computer, too.
Every weekday JewishWorldReview.com publishes what many in in the media and Washington consider "must-reading". Sign up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.
JWR contributor Mark Kellner has reported on technology for industry newspapers and magazines since 1983, and has been the computer columnist for The Washington Times since 1991.Comment by clicking here.
© 2006, News World Communications, Inc. Reprinted with permission of The Washington Times. Visit the paper at http://www.washingtontimes.com