IE9 public beta now available

ie9LogoYou can now download a new version of Internet Explorer.

IE9, in public beta, is a departure for Microsoft. The browser works well on our test machine and we like the increase in display acreage available through having a leaner and fitter top of page architecture.

You can ‘pin’ sites to the taskbar, which load your favourites directly into the browser – without having to wait for the browser software or the location of a bookmark.

The Microsoft pitch on their IE9 pages offers more technical detail of how the site is built for HMTL5 and and how it seeks to compete with other modern browsers.

However, the test pages which show of this leaner, meaner version of a cousin to IE8 all refer to how the sites are best viewed in IE9.

Is this not a step backwards? Has the drive for the spread of new web standards not been about ensuring that all web content displays well – regardless of where you choose to get your browser? (Opera, Firefox, Safari, Chrome or Internet Explorer).

Give IE9 a try here and see what you think.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Flying back in time

flightPictureThere are some things you just have to write about.

For me the return of Microsoft Flight Simulator is one of them. Dreams of earlier days sitting at my wheezing desktop, landing my plane at a California airstrip, as the hard drive and the machine RAM spluttered like the propellor.

It’s going to return, it’s called Flight and you can see the campaign vision here.

Get your goggles and gloves ready, this time we are in high-def plasma and high speed broadband.

Microsoft, I can hardly wait!

Microsoft Web Office – now live

wordOnlinePicMicrosoft have gone live with their new free online versions of  Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote.

You can access them thorugh your Windows Live desktop after signing in. The files are stored on your linked SkyDrive account and enable you to recall, share or edit files just as if they were on your laptop or PC.


The suite available offers a reduced set of functions from the full set of facilities available in Office 2010, but still includes enough to make creating documents a useful online experience.

We were pleased to see OneNote included. This is a powerful information management and note taking, action list driven tool and is a useful compliment to the other online services available.

Microsoft with Windows Live accounts, the revamped Hotmail and this new suite now offers a useful and intuitive package.

We think the road-warriors on our team will definitely be using it.

You can find our Third Sector Web home page here.

Can you handle a Zettabyte?

Researchers for the company Cisco have recently published their forecasts on how web traffic will look in the immediate future.

Their findings indicate that all global web traffic will soon exceed half a zettabyte in just four years.

Cisco determine that web traffic will double every two years until 2012. This means that the internet will be 75 times larger in 2012 that it was in 2002.

Cisco also find that web video is an enormous driver for growth in traffic, both now and in the near future. This growth, in the conjoined ‘image and sound’ context of the web will create surprising web usage and reaction.

They don’t know, but it will have massive impact – perhaps more clearly put?

You can read the executive summary of the Cisco findings here.

The numbers related to internet usage and take-up continue to grow. Use the links here to find out what an exabyte or zettabyte is – we didn’t know either.

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Experiments in Chrome

Developing a fractal generatorRyan Alexander has developed a fractal zoomer, a generator in Chrome, using the latest HTML5 and Canvas technologies.

If you use a up to date browser with a fast java engine like Opera, Mozilla Firefox 3.6, Google Chrome or Safari 4 you can see Ryan’s browser based fractal generator here.

Falling into a fractal is fascinating – mixing art, science and technology.

Fractal was a term coined in the 1970’s by Benoit Mandelbrot, but an understanding of the recursive process that underlies their generation began with the work of mathematician Gottfried Liebniz in the 17th century.

Mostly we click and search with our browsers, but they will soon be able to do so much more.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Google Docs extended and improved

Google have recently updated the features in Google Docs. Making collaboration easier and more effective, as well as adding a number of individual features in response to user requests.

Docs now has margin rulers and much easier image placement properties. In spreadsheets you can now drag and drop whole columns of data.

This movie gives you more detail into the new Google Docs functionality.

You can find more details of Google Docs development on the Google Docs blog. You can now collaborate with up to 50 people at once on one document and see the changes in the document in real time.

Google have added the latest java script developments into their product, offering faster and more effective ‘cloud’ documents.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Lessons in iPad

applesrefreshpicApple have just released a set of illustrative tutorials that are designed to show you how slick and intuitive it is to use your forthcoming iPad.

We don’t care what the nay-sayers are up to – we think the iPad is an innovative and user friendly way to get web information. We did feature a test run for the iPad in a recent blog entry.

It isn’t designed to be a mass data engine, a gigantic generator of codes and complex graphics. It isn’t meant replace, at the moment, all the kit that is sitting on your desk at present.

Writing this piece we are facing three screens, two printers and assorted speakers, cables and external storage devices.

But if you want a fast, portable web reader with communication facilities then the iPad will, if you are like us, be a key purchase for us this year.

There are alternatives available already – like the Archos 9 netbook – a small, slick mobile solution. But does it have the wow factor that Apple offer?

You will probably need the Safari browser to get the best from your iPad tutorial experience. You can get it here.

The movies can be found here.

You can visit the home page of Third Sector Web here.

Crocodoc – share and save

crocPicSimple collaboration – with Crocodoc you can upload documents in Word, PowerPoint or pdf, as well as open web page snapshots, in order to mark them up, annotate and draw on them and save them again as a pdf download.

Each item you open in Crocodoc is allocated a unique web address, which you can share with colleagues, clients or friends – so that you can work together on the material.

The ability to store you document on the Crocodoc server means that you can return to your archived work in progress if you wish.

The killer element for us though, is the ability to download a pdf version of the completed revised document.

This is simple, elegant collaboration – for free.

You do need to sign up for a free account to save your document. An enterprise version of Crocodoc is available.

You can find the home page of Third Sector Web here.

The future according to Microsoft

Craig Mundie is the Chief Research and Strategy Officer for Microsoft. His job is to envision and explain how changes in software and hardware will have an effect on the computer user in the coming decades.

Use the Microsoft News link below to access the film archive and see a short film by Mundie which explains some of the key concepts in Microsoft future thinking. Not only will  ‘cloud computing’ become more powerful and accessible, but the development of what Microsoft call natural user interfaces’ will dramatically affect present day users.

Our laptops and devices will also go on getting more powerful and, Mundie argues, enable the creation of ‘personal assistants’. Where our devices can render support and services in the way that a human support worker can offer at present.

Games and flat screen touch technology will also offer a paradigm shift in how we look at, interrogate and sort information.

Mundie’s film is good on featuring practical application change that will be recognisable to the computer user of today.

You can find the Third Sector Web home page here.

Apple reaches 25th birthday


Apple reaches a quarter of a century of design, development and product innovation. The video above is the original Apple Mac advertisement from 1984. Not a keyboard in sight.

We have traditionally argued that we cleave to a PC based work environment because so many of our clients use Microsoft and Windows products.

Recent debate in the office has made us realise how redundant this argument is now. Macs have synchronicity with Windows and clearly, in our creative output as a business, being Mac based would be no drawback to efficiency.

We are rethinking our position this year as we review our technology needs for 2009.

Apple continue to be news makers, perhaps too strongly for their iPod and iPhone creations, whereas their core computing experience clearly and quietly goes from strength to strength. You seem not to hear such a debate about the failings of Mac OS, as opposed to WIndows Vista’s faltering or the hype surrounding the forthcoming Windows 7.

Apple as a company continue to be cutting edge, despite their principals being in their 50’s. (We think there’s still hope then for small outfits like Thirdsectorweb, where our team contribution is generated by practitioners from their early twenties to their fifties too).

Wired Magazine have recently published a great timeline review of Apple product history. There’s also a great graphic of the timeline too. Worth checking out if you are interested in seeing a great visual capture of Mac history.

You can find the latest Mac products on the Apple pages here.

You can find the Wired Magazine article here.

Our Third Sector Web home page is here.