If there were slowlanes.

Today is Internet Slowdown.  If you are visiting my site on September 10th, you may have seen a pop up telling you that this is how long this site “could” have loaded.

Cable companies want to throttle, or slow down certain sites that are in competition with their own business, or to make you pay more to “un-throttle” them.

Don’t let them do it.

Visit Battle for the Net’s site and sign up to join in the fight, and find out more.

What is Chrome and where did it come from?

I am asked from time to time to look at client or friend’s computer and “clean it up” as it has slowed down and they don’t understand what all those icons on their desktop are. Often, they will have numerous different browsers such as Chrome and Firefox, as well as their standard Internet Explorer and they have no idea how they got there, or what they are for.

downloading programsHow they got there

Whenever you install a program from the internet or update a program, it is important to read all the windows that come up during the process. It is often here that you get these programs installed onto your computer. They aren’t viruses and aren’t harmful, but if you didn’t ask for them, it is a bit daunting to wonder how this strange stuff ended up on your computer. Imagine if “stuff” just started appearing in your home when you went to the grocery store, without you actually asking for it!  Not free nice stuff, just more clutter.  That’s often how people feel about it.  And it makes me laugh as they always claim that they didn’t put it there.

When you install an update or a program you are often given the option to do a Standard or a Custom installation. And they usually recommend the Custom unless you are an advanced user. Don’t be put off. It isn’t complicated and most of the options you can just accept (and click NEXT), but this is where you can often cancel these extra sneaky programs. Just take a good look at each window as it advances through the stages. Often those added programs are included with a little box that you need to untick in order to avoid it downloading.

What they are

Often the programs are different browsers. Browsers are programs that allow you to, well, browse the web. The most known one for PC computers is Internet Explorer, but Mozilla Firefox is quite popular now. For Macs it was Safari, but you can download that for Windows now as well. But Google has come out with Chrome. Then there is MaxthonRockmelt  (no, I don’t know where they get these names from either), SeaMonkey, and Opera.

Reasons to choose something different from IE

I first started using Firefox because of the increasing threat of viruses that targeted that browser, and shared files in your computer that made it easier for it to infect more of your whole computer. A program that was separate from the Microsoft operating system was a good idea. Plus, previous versions of IE were just awful at letting me choose how a web page printed, while I could often get the whole page or a page and a quarter to print on one sheet. Each of these browsers work in basically the same way but have different features that you may like better than another. Chrome claims to load faster, has an integrated address bar and search engine (which means if you type in a word in the address bar, and it isn’t a domain it will search for websites and has more space for the screen itself rather than the various tabs and buttons.)

All of these are free, easy to download and if you don’t like them, you can delete them again from your computer. Just know that when they ask the question “would you like “X” to be your default browser?” say no. If you say yes and end up not liking it, every time you click on a link in an email or other linked document it will open this new browser rather than your standard one.

Now you know where those “stray” programs came from.

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