Jumat, 26 September 2008

Manage Debtors And Creditors To Improve Liquidity

Sales turnover and net profits may follow a rollercoaster pattern familiar to most business but when the cash flow dries up the game is over. Urgent attention to the management of working capital can provide every business with the cash resources to
exploit its potential Most businesses will experience periods of lower sales and times when losses may be incurred as expenses exceed sales income. The situation is recoverable by producing higher sales and reducing costs and expenses. A business that runs out of cash resources is dead in the water. Debtors and sales income management

The objective is to obtain payment from customers as fast as possible improving cash flow and minimising the risk of bad debts and not being paid at all. Payment terms offered to customers should be clearly stated and fixed as standard accounting figures according to the amount of funding the business is prepared to offer its clients. Because that is exactly what credit terms to customers is, free cash funding in exchange for eventual sales income.

Consideration should be given to using a cash discount system to encourage sales invoices to be paid faster. In some businesses it would be appropriate to obtain up front deposits and scheduled payments. Review this practise to obtain a greater proportion of payments faster to improve liquidity.

New customers should be subjected to a strict credit check. All new customers where credit check details are not available should be invoiced by the accounting function on a pro forma basis. Any businesses who fail to meet the highest credit score
required should remain on a pro forma invoice basis.

The credit control function needs consideration from the first step of issuing customers with a sales invoice, producing customer statements of the debt owed and a set procedure of credit control letters and telephone follow ups that actually
achieve the end result of getting the cash in. An essential process in the credit control procedure would be to ensure the accountant or bookkeeper always issues sales invoices and customer statements promptly.

Incorporate into the terms of trade a set of rules to invoke interest payments for late payment and late payment debt recovery costs. In the UK the Late Payment of Commercial Debts (Interest) Act 1998 sets out the statutory rights of business
to claim interest and costs.
Read More..

How To Write A Successful Business Plan

Whether you are planning to start a brand-new business, expand an existing company, or get financing for a business venture, you will need to write a business plan. A business plan not only lends your business a sense of credibility, but also helps
you to cover all your bases, increasing your chances of success.

Although writing a business plan can be a lengthy, intimidating project, it is not necessarily difficult. Here is an overview of how to write a successful business plan.

What to Include in Your Business Plan Your business plan needs to demonstrate that you have thoroughly considered all aspects of running your business. To that end, the standard business plan has nine major sections, covering everything from your business’s mission statement to a detailed financial analysis.

Executive Summary
The first – and most important – section of your business plan is the executive summary. This section is so important that it should literally be the first thing the reader sees – even before the table of contents! However, it should also be written last, as you’ll have a better understanding of the overall message of your business plan after you’ve researched and written the other sections.

One of the most important parts of the executive summary is the mission statement. The mission statement is only three or four sentences long, but it should pack the most punch out of everything else in your business plan: Those four sentences are
responsible for not only defining your business, but also capturing the interest of your reader. The rest of your executive summary should fill in the important details that the mission statement glosses over. For instance, your executive summary should include a short history of the business, including founder profiles and start date; a
current snapshot, listing locations, numbers of employees, and products or services offered; and a summary of future plans and goals.

This section is a candidate for a bulleted format, which allows you to list main points in a manner that is easy to scan. Avoid using too much detail – remember, this section is a summary. A page or two is usually sufficient for an executive
summary.

Market Analysis
The next section of your business plan focuses on market analysis. In order to show that your business has a reasonable chance for success, you will need to thoroughly research the industry and the market you intend to sell to. No bank or investor is going to back a doomed venture, so this section is sure to fall under especially close scrutiny if you are looking for financing.

Your market analysis should describe your industry, including the size, growth rate, and trends that could affect the industry. This section should also describe your target market – that is, the type or group of customers that your company intends to serve. The description of your target market should include detail such as:
• Distinguishing characteristics
• The needs your company or product line will meet
• What media and/or marketing methods you’ll use to reach them
• What percentage of your target market you expect to be able to wrest away from your competitors
Read More..

How to Successfully Navigate Your Business through an Economic Downturn

An economic downturn is a phase of the business cycle in which the economy as a whole is in decline.This phase basically marks the end of the period of growth in the business cycle. Economic downturns are characterized by decreased levels of
consumer purchases (especially of durable goods) and, subsequently, reduced levels of production by businesses.

While economic downturns are admittedly difficult, and are formidable obstacles to small businesses that are trying to survive and grow, an economic downturn can open up opportunities. A well-managed company can realize the opportunity to gain
market share by taking customers away from their competitors. Resourceful entrepreneurs capture the available opportunities, from an economic downturn, by developing alternate methods of doing business that were never implemented during a prior growth period.

The challenge of successfully navigating your business through an economic downturn lies in the realignment of your business with current economic realities. pecifically, you, as the business owner, need to renew a focus on your core clients/customers, reduce your operating expenses, conserve cash, and manage more proactively, rather than reactively, is paramount.

Here are best practices that will help you to successfully navigate your business through an economic downturn:
Goals:
The primary goal of any business owner is to survive the current economic downturn and to develop a leaner, more cost-effective and more efficient operation. The secondary goal is to grow the business even during this current economic downturn.
Objectives:
• Conserve cash.
• Protect assets.
• Reduce costs.
• Improve efficiencies.
• Grow customer base.
Read More..

Selasa, 23 September 2008

Remote Blog or Self Hosted Blog?


So you’ve decided to blog, but aren’t sure whether you should host the blog yourself or sign up for a free service like blogger.com. It’s a dilemma that many bloggers face. There are pros and cons to both, which makes the decision difficult for many. Neither is perfect, and neither is for everyone. Fortunately, you should be able to make the best decision for you if you are armed with adequate knowledge of both. In this newsletter, we’ll go over services like blogger.com and others, plus software that allows you to host your own blog. We’ll also go over the pros and cons of each. After reading this, you will know which is best for you.

Who offers free blog hosting?

Many sites offer free blog hosting. Among them are Forumer, Blogger, BlogEasy, Aeonity, BlogThing and Blogates. A quick search for “free blog” on Google reveals many possibilities.

What software can I use to host my own blog?

Like free blog hosting, there are many possibilities for software that makes hosting your own blog easy. Most of them are free to use. These include:

WordPress(the most popular software)
Apache Roller
Blosxom
Geeklog
Textpattern
LifeType

There is also blog software which you can purchase for use on your site. These include:
Community Server
Movable Type
Radio UserLand

One negative about using software and hosting your own blog is that the process can often times be complicated. You have to download the software and install it to your server, which doesn’t always go easily. It’s particularly hard for those who don’t have a lot of experience installing things on servers.

Why should I remotely host my blog at a place like Blogger?
Places like Blogger allow you to host your blog there. It’s a good option for many people.

The Pros
• It’s easy to set up and maintain a blog. You don’t have to go through the trouble of installing software and configuring it to work on your server. All you have to do is sign up for an account and start posting.
• It’s friendly for beginning bloggers. Sites that host blogs offer good tutorials on how to make your blog postings, so that even someone who is completely new to the concept of blogging can do it easily.
• Most blog hosting sites are completely free to use. There is no need to pay for things like a domain name and hosting.
• Monetizing your blog is easy. Rather than having to manually put HTML/Javascript codes on your blog to manually set up things like AdSense and Pay Per Click advertising, you can select an option on most blog hosting sites that does much of the work for you.

The Cons
• You don’t have as many options to customize your blog. Remotely hosted blogs are admittedly somewhat limited in terms of what you can actually do on them. You have to stick with what is provided to you in terms of look and features.
• The URL you get is always yourname.BLOGSITE.com. You don’t get to have a custom domain name like YOURNAME.com. This can possibly hurt traffic to your blog.
• Blogs hosted on free blog sites don’t look as professional as self hosted blogs.

Why should I self-host my blog?

The Pros
• You have more options and more flexibility. You are able to tweak the blog to your liking.
• Your URL is your address for your blog. Rather than having go to where your blog is hosted to read it, they can read it right from your site.
• The ability to make your blog look professional. Blogs that are hosted on sites of their own tend to look a lot better than those hosted on free sites.
• More space for your blog. Free blog sites usually place a restriction on how much space you have for things like photos and music. By hosting your own blog, you are able to use as much space as you need.

The Cons
• There are sometimes problems with setting up blog software to run on your site and server. If you aren’t experienced when it comes to working with mySQL, the process will be hard.
• Updates aren’t as easy to post.
• You have to manually set up programs to monetize your blog. However, if you are good with HTML/Javascript, this shouldn’t be too hard.
• You have to pay for your own hosting and domain

As you can see, there are pros and cons to both. Which should you choose? Well, it depends on who you are and what you intend to use your blog for. If you intend to use it for business, then a self-hosted blog is the best idea. If it’s a personal blog, then a free hosted blog will probably be fine for you.

Closely examine all of the pros and cons mentioned above. That way, you’ll be able to make the best decision for you!
Read More..

How to Clean the Registry


In the beginning Windows' registry consisted of two files totalling around 5mb in size. Today it consists of at least 12 files with the Software file itself being 30mb or bigger in size. As the size of the registry has exploded, so has the trash and clutter in it. It may seem like a daunting task, but cleaning the registry properly can fix system problems, speed your computer up, and make it run more efficiently.

I have spent many years developing and refining thousands of procedures to do just that. I could share these methods of hunting down the trash with you and let you find them and delete them by hand, but if you were to sit down at your computer right now and work nonstop, you would still be busy with them a week from now when the next issue of Ray's Computer Tips arrives. By then your registry would have new clutter and you would have to start all over again.

To make registry cleaning easier on everyone, I wrote a program called RegVac Registry Cleaner (http://regvac.com/regvac.htm) to perform those procedures. It has been so successful that several companies have asked me to model their registry cleaners after RegVac and even more have copied processes that first debutted in RegVac.

The first place RegVac cleans is the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT section (the Classes Vac in RegVac does this). This section contains settings for the classes of Windows. Think of a huge box full of snakes and you will get an idea of how complicated and interwoven it is. It is so complicated that many registry cleaners bypass it or simply perform surface scans of it. RegVac uses over a hundred processes to follow each tentacle of each class deep into this area and make sure that they abide by the rules.

Next RegVac validates the entries in 22 lists with 7 different methods (the FilesList Vac does this). This is a minor part of RegVac but the bulk of most other registry cleaners even though they usually do not clean all 22 lists.

Another part of RegVac, the Software Vac, which is unique to RegVac, finds old software sections in the registry and provides a way to remove that software's entire branch. Other registry cleaners only remove a few entries in this area often leaving huge portions of the registry that do nothing but take up space and get in the way.

Even more trash can be discovered in hundreds of stashes used to store data you will never use. Most registry cleaners do not even touch these. The Stash Vac lists these stashes and lets you go through and select which ones to empty out. Please use caution when using the Stash Vac because some of the items listed there may be important. For example, one folder in the Stash Vac lists places where data for international keyboards are stored. You probably will never use the data for Bulgarian keyboards, so you can remove it, but if you live in the US you may experience problems after removing the United States 101 keyboard. The items that you can safely remove are usually obvious.

Last but not least, when cleaning the registry, you should look for broken links to files on the computer (this is what the Bad Link Vac does). If a file is referenced in the registry but it does not exist on your hard drive, that is a good indicator that something is wrong. Many programmers start out writing a registry cleaner thinking all it has to do is check for these broken links and remove them. In fact, that is all many registry cleaners do.

Even though that is all they do, they often don't do it correctly. If you check the results of such scans, you will find out that many of the broken links are really good links. I spent several months refining this part of RegVac so that as far as I know it is 100% accurate. Despite this, please realize that some software enter broken links in the registry and require them to be there in order for them to run. RegVac skips the ones it knows about, but you still need to be careful with this part of RegVac.

RegVac has six more tools that clean even more areas: the Add/Remove Editor, the System Config Utility, the OpenWith Editor, the AutoComplete Editor, the Junk Keys Editor, and Registry Backup, Pack, and Restore.

Many of you already use RegVac but if you don't, you can downloaded a free 30 day trial of RegVac at http://regvac.com/regvacz.exe. For more information about RegVac Registry Cleaner go to http://regvac.com/regvac.htm. If you like RegVac, you can purchase it for only $29.95. All future updates are free.

Keep the Windows registry clean and running smoothly with RegVac Registry Cleaner.
Read More..

A Guide on RSS Tool


RSS is an abbreviation that has evolved into the following, depending on their versions:

• RDF Site Summary (also known as RSS 0.9; the first version of RSS)
• Rich Site Summary (also known as RSS 0.91; a prototype)
• Really Simple Syndication (also known as RSS 2.0)

Today, RSS stands for 'Really Simple Syndication', and it has the following 7 existing formats or versions:
• 0.90
• 0.91
• 0.92
• 0.93
• 0.94
• 1.0
• 2.0

RSS tools refer to a group of file formats that are designed to share headlines and other web content (this may be a summary or simply 1 to 2 lines of the article), links to the full versions of the content (the full article or post), and even file attachments such as multimedia files. All of these data is delivered in the form of an XML file (XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language), which has the following common names:
• RSS feed
• Webfeed
• RSS stream
• RSS channel


They are typically shown on web pages as an orange rectangle that usually has the letters XML or RSS in it.

RSS feeds can be used to deliver any kind of information. Some of these 'feeds' include:
• Blogs feed - each blog entry is summarized as a feed item. This makes blog posts easier to scan, enabling 'visitors' to zoom in on their items of interest.
• Article feed - this alerts readers whenever there are new articles and web contents available.
• Forum feed - this allows users to receive forum posts and latest discussion topics.
• Schedule feed - this allows users (such as schools, clubs, and other organizations) to broadcast events and announce schedule changes or meeting agendas.
• Discounts or Special feed - this is used to enable users (such as retail and online stores) to 'deliver' latest specials and discounted offers.
• Ego or News Monitoring - this enables users to receive 'filtered' headlines or news that are based on a specific phrase or keyword.
• Industry-specific feed - used by technical professionals in order to market, promote, or communicate with current (and prospective) customers and clients within their specific industries.

RSS feeds enable people to track numerous blogs and news sources at the same time. To produce an RSS feed, all you need is the content or the article that you want to publicize and a validated RSS text file. Once your text file is registered at various aggregators (or 'news readers'), any external site can then capture and display your RSS feed, automatically updating them whenever you update your RSS file.

RSS tools are useful for sites that add or modify their contents on a regular basis. They are especially used for 'web syndication' or activities that involve regular updates and/or publications, such as the following:
• News websites - as used by major news organizations such as Reuters, CNN, and the BBC.
• Marketing
• Bug reports
• Personal weblogs

There are many benefits to using RSS feeds. Aside from being a great supplemental communication method that streamlines the communication needs of various sectors, RSS tools and feeds can also have tremendous benefits in your business, particularly in the field of internet marketing.

RSS tools and feeds provide Internet users with a free (or cheap) and easy advertising or online marketing opportunity for their businesses. Below are some of the RSS features that can help make your internet marketing strategies more effective.

1. Ease in content distribution services. With RSS, your business can be captured and displayed by virtually any external site, giving you an easy way to 'spread out' and advertise them.

2. Ease in regular content updates. With RSS, web contents concerning your business can now be automatically updated on a daily (and even hourly) basis. Internet users will be able to experience 'real time' updates as information in your own file (such as new products and other business-related releases) is changed and modified simultaneously with that of the RSS feeds that people are subscribed to.

3. Custom-made content services. With RSS, visitors can have personalized content services, allowing them total control of the flow and type of information that they receive. Depending on their interests and needs, visitors can subscribe to only those contents that they are looking for (such as real estate or job listings).

4. Increase in (and targeted) traffic. With RSS, traffic will be directed to your site as readers of your content summary (or 1 to 2 lines of your article) who find them interesting are 'forced' to click on a link back to your site.

These are just several of the many things that you can do with RSS. The possibilities are endless, and they are all aimed at providing you with an effective internet marketing strategy for your business.

In the mean time, Good Luck on your journey to success…

OR if you would like to succeed immediately to create financial freedom working only 4 hours a week, check out www.secrets2internetfortunes.com.

AND for a Limited Time, you will also receive a FREE copy of a limited number of the amazing 60 page eBook “52 Highly Profitable Instant Online Business Ideas That You Can Steal As Your Own And Start Today On A Very Tight Budget!”, which is jam packed with so many ideas you can use to instantly create an automated income for life! That’s my GIFT to You as a way of saying thank you for reading my articles.
Read More..

Symantec Norton Antibot The Latest In Norton Computer Protection Software

It seems like every other month a new “program” comes along to make our lives that much easier. For example, first we could bookmark favorites, and then RSS feed them, and then came widgets and now “bots” which are robots that do a lot of our computer work for us in the background. Examples of friendly bots are weather bots, game playing bots, instant messaging and my favorites are those on AOL Instant Messenger which do all kinds of functions for me like shop, find movie times and even give updates on the Wall Street Journal.

Unfortunately not all bots were created “equal.” Some are friendly and some are not. The ones that are not friendly can be a form of malware that allows control of your computer to be released, providing hackers with the opportunity to access your information and spread harmful bots to others. This type of computer virus can then be used to spread spam and commit various types of identity theft and other online fraud.

So with new threats to our computers and information, new methods of protection are required. One of the oldest and most well known software protection designers has recently released a new protection program, Symantec Norton AntiBot. This is a software product designed to prevent the hijacking of one’s personal computer by bots and uses the bots on design programs against them, to located and destroy them.

Many people already employ some form of protection on their personal computer, such as increasing the protection level from internet information to “high.” But these cannot detect some of the most recent bot programs and may not be the most efficient means of information protection, especially with the Internet being used more and more frequently for online shopping, ticket purchases, travel and other “high risk” activities.

A more effective method of detecting and eliminating threats caused by bots is to install software designed specifically to detect, destroy and prevent bots from having access to your computer. With Symantec Norton AntiBot software, protection against bots is enhanced several times and the threat of bot attack is greatly diminished. It’s program protects against bots by blocking bots from entering your computer through downloads and e-mail attachments (two of the common ways bots enter a personal computer), checking for any unusual behavior on your personal computer and eliminating it, and detecting malicious bot software at all levels; keeping your personal, financial and credit card information safe and stopping identify theft before it can occur.

Because bots operate in the background and are not detectable by antivirus or antispyware programs, many computer users are completely unaware that their personal computer has become infected. Many problems caused by bots go undetected until it is too late. Warning signs that your computer may have been accessed include: slowness of computer speed and unusual or irrelevant error messages. However, many times com these symptoms are sporadic and computer users will take little notice. Many people will continue to use their personal computer, unaware that bots have hijacked their personal computer and are slowly at work; looking for credit card numbers, passwords, and logon information which can be used for identity theft and in committing other types of online crime. This program scans your personal computer on a continuous basis, closing the gaps that could allow bots to infect your personal computer and better ensuring that bots do not invade and gain control.

The use of Symantec Norton AntiBot to determine what a harmful or useful bot and allows you to continue using those bots you love and have come to depend on for information and services. It can be used in addition to several other antivirus and antispyware programs. Its compatibility is not limited to only Norton products.

The cost of this software is $29.95 for one year of service. It was awarded PC Magazine’s Editor’s Choice Award (2007) and underwent rigorous testing which included using AntiBot on computers with existing threats as well as allowing threats to try to access the computer after installation.

With the growing threat of identity theft and credit card fraud Symantec Norton AntiBot offers an additional level of protection needed to combat the threat of bots and prevent them from turning one’s personal computer into a robotic that turns into an instrument of destruction to both your personal and financial well-being.
Read More..

The Battle of the Browsers – The History and the Future of Internet Browsers



With Internet Explorer 8 now available, can Microsoft hope to retain market dominance over fierce open source rivals such as Mozilla's Firefox or the feature packed Opera web browser. Can history give us a clue to what the future of web browsers/browsing might hold? How did Netscape Navigator go from having a dominant 89.36% market share of all web browsers in 1996 and yet only 3.76% by mid 1999?

Let us take a journey that will begin long before even the intellectual conception of Internet Explorer, that will glance at its long defeated rivals, examine the current browsers available and will end with a prediction of what the future of browsing will offer us – and which browser(s) will still be around to offer it.

People often think that Internet Explorer has been the dominant web browser since the golden age of the internet began. Well for a very long time now it has indeed been the most popular browser and at times been almost totally unrivalled. This was mainly a result of it being packaged free with Microsoft Windows, in what some would later call a brutal monopolisation attempt by Microsoft. The last few years however have heralded the arrival of new, possibly superior browsers. Mozilla's Firefox has been particularly successful at chipping away at Explorers market dominance. So where did it all begin, and why were Microsoft ever allowed to have a hundred percent market dominance?

Origins

The truth is they never did have total dominance, but at times they have come very close. Microsoft actually entered the Browser Battle quite late on. Infact a man named Neil Larson is credited to be one of the originators of internet browsers, when in 1977 he created a program – The TRS-80 - that allowed browsing between “sites” via hypertext jumps. This was a DOS program and the basis of much to come. Slowly other browsers powered by DOS and inspired by the TRS 80 were developed. Unfortunately they were often constricted by the limitations of the still fairly young internet itself.

In 1988, Peter Scott and Earle Fogel created a simple, fast browser called Hytelnet, which by 1990 offered users instant logon and access to the online catalogues of over five thousand libraries around the world – an exhilarating taste of what the internet, and web browsers, would soon be able to offer.

In 1989 the original World Wide Web was born. Using a NeXTcube computer, Tim Berners-Lee created a web browser that would change how people used the internet forever. He called his browser the WorldWideWeb(http://www., which is still likely to sound familiar to internet users today. It was a windowed browser capable of displaying simple style sheet, capable of editing sites and able to download and open any file type supported by the NeXTcube.

In 1993 the first popular graphical browser was released. Its name was Mosaic and it was created by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina. Mosaic could be run on both Unix, and very importantly, on the highly popular Microsoft Windows operating system (incidentally it could also be used on Amiga and Apple computers). It was the first browser on Windows that could display graphics/pictures on a page where there was also textual content. It is often cited as being responsible for triggering the internet boom due to it making the internet bearable for the masses. (It should be noted that the web browser Cello was the first browser to be used on Windows – but it was non graphical and made very little impact compared to Mosaic).

The Browser Wars - Netscape Navigator versus Internet Explorer

Mosaic's decline began almost as soon as Netscape Navigator was released (1994). Netscape Navigator was a browser created by Marc Andreessen, one of the men behind Mosaic and co-founder of Netscape Communications Corporation. Netscape was unrivalled in terms of features and usability at the time. For example, one major change from previous browsers was that it allowed surfers to see parts of a website before the whole site was downloaded. This meant that people did not have to wait for minutes simply to see if the site they were loading was the actual one the were after, whilst also allowing them to read information on the site as the rest of it downloaded. By 1996 Netscape had almost 90% market dominance, as shown below.

Market Share Comparisons of Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer from 1996 to 1998

..................................Netscape.......IE
October 1998.............64%...........32.2%
April       1998............70%...........22.7%
October 1997............59.67%......15.13%
April       1997............81.13%......12.13%
October 1996............80.45%......12.18%
April       1996............89.36%.......3.76%

In these two years Netscape clearly dominated the internet browser market, but a new browser named Internet Explorer was quickly gaining ground on it.

Microsoft released their own browser (ironically based on the earlier Mosaic browser which was created by one of the men now running Netscape), clearly worried about Netscape's dominance. It was not so much the worry that it would have a 100% market share of internet browsers on their Windows operating system, but more the worry that browsers would soon be capable of running all types programs on them. That would mean foregoing the need for an actual operating system, or at the most only a very basic one would be needed. This in turn would mean Netscape would soon be able to dictate terms to Microsoft, and Microsoft were not going to let that happen easily. Thus in August 1995, Internet Explorer was released.

By 1999 Internet explorer had captured an 89.03% market share, whilst Netscape was down to 10.47%. How could Internet Explorer make this much ground in just two years? Well this was down to two things really. The first, and by far the most important was that Microsoft bundled Internet Explorer in with every new copy of Windows, and as Windows was used by about 90% of the computer using population it clearly gave them a huge advantage. Internet Explorer had one other ace it held over Netscape – it was much better. Netscape Navigator was stagnant and had been for some time. The only new features it ever seemed to introduce were often perceived by the public as beneficial for Netscape's parent company rather than Netscape's user base. (i.e., features that would help it monopolise the market). Explorer, on the other hand, was given much attention by Microsoft. Regular updates and excellent usability plus a hundred million dollar investment would prove too much for Netscape Explorer.

2000 – 2005

These years were fairly quiet in the Battle of the Browsers. It seemed as if Internet Explorer had won the war and that nobody could even hope to compete with it. In 2002/2003 it had attained about 95% of the market share – about the time of IE 5/6. With over 1000 people working on it and millions of dollars being poured in, few people had the resources to compete. Then again, who wanted to compete? It was clearly a volatile market, and besides that everybody was content with Internet Explorer. Or were they? Some people saw faults with IE – security issues, incompatibility issues or simply bad programming. Not only that, it was being shoved down peoples throats. There was almost no competition to keep it in line or to turn to as an alternative. Something had to change. The only people with the ability and the power to compete with Microsoft took matters into their own hands.

Netscape was now supported by AOL. A few years prior, just after they had lost the Browser Wars to Microsoft, they had released the coding for Netscape into the public domain. This meant anybody could develop their own browser using the Netscape skeleton. And people did. Epiphany, Galeon and Camino, amongst others, were born out of Netscape's ashes. However the two most popular newcomers were called Mozilla and Firefox.

Mozilla was originally an open sourced project aimed to improve the Netscape browser. Eventually it was released as Netscape Navigator 7 and then 8. Later it was released as Mozilla 1.0.

Mozilla was almost an early version on another open source browser, Firefox. With it being an open source the public were able to contribute to it - adding in what features it needed, the programming it required and the support it deserved. The problems people saw in Internet Explorer were being fixed by members of the open sourced browser community via Firefox. For instance, the many security issues IE 6 had were almost entirely fixed in the very first release of Firefox. Microsoft had another fight on their hands.

2005 – Present

Firefox was the browser that grew and grew in these years. Every year capturing an even larger market share percentage than before. More user friendly than most of its rivals along with high security levels and arguably more intelligent programming helped its popularity. With such a large programming community behind it, updates have always been regular and add on programs/features are often released. It prides itself on being the peoples browser. It currently has a 28.38% market share.

Apple computers have had their own browser since the mid 1990's – Safari - complete with its own problems, such as (until recently) the inability to run Java scripts. However most Apple users seemed happy with it and a version capable of running on Windows has been released. It has had no major competitor on Apple Macs, and as such has largely been out of the Browser Wars. It currently holds a 2.54% market share and is slowly increasing.

Internet Explorer's market share has dropped from over 90% to around 75%, and is falling. It will be interesting to see what Microsoft will attempt to regain such a high market share.

Opera currently holds 1.07%.

Mozilla itself only has a 0.6% market share these days.

The Future of Web Browsing

Web browsers come and go. It is the nature of technology (if such a term can be used), to supplant inferior software in very short periods of time. It is almost impossible for a single company to stay ahead of the competition for long. Microsoft have the advantage of being able to release IE with any Windows using PC. That covers over 90% of the market. They also have the advantage of unprecedented resources. They can compete how they wish for as long as they wish. So there is no counting IE out of the future of web browsing.

Safari is in a similar position, being easily the most popular Mac web browser. Its long term survival is dependant upon Apple and the sale of their computers.

These are the only two browsers that are almost guaranteed another five years of life, at least. Firefox may seem like another candidate, but the public is fickle, and one bad release, or if it seriously lags behind the new Internet Explorer 8 for long, could easily see its popularity quickly descend into virtual oblivion.

However, it seems likely community driven browsers, such as Mozilla and Firefox, will be the only types of browser capable of competing with the wealthy internet arm of Microsoft in the near future.

As for web browsing itself, will it change any time soon? Well it already has for some online communities. For example, if you want to buy clothes you could try entering an online 'world' creating an online virtual You to go from 'shop to shop' with, looking at products and trying/buying what you see. Some 'worlds' allow you to recreate yourself accurately including weight and height and then try on things apparel such as jeans to give you an idea of how you would look in that particular item.

Will 'worlds' like this destroy normal web browsers such as IE ? - It seems unlikely. Traditional web browsers provide such freedom and ease of access that it is hard to see any other alternative taking over. However they are part of the new, 'thinking out of the box' wave of alternatives that some people will find attractive, and really who knows what the future will bring.
Read More..