Why not use Internet Explorer or Netscape?
No one seems to notice that Microsoft is about to corner the market on the web. Every operating system, Macintosh or Windows, will now come with Microsoft's "Internet Explorer" browser (MSIE) embedded and difficult to get around. Most sites are " upgrading" to "enhanced" capabilities. These "enhancements" like video streaming and real-time audio come with a hidden price- your privacy. That's why there's none of it on this site. These "enhanced" browsers send "cookies" into your computer while you use them. "Cookies" search your hard drive gathering information and report back to the makers of the browser. This is the internet silently reaching back through the phone line into your home, your computer and your personal information. For the moment, you can "turn off" the cookies- if you are even aware of them, but no one expects an "off switch" to be included if "enhanced" browsers become the exclusive way to access the web.
Similarly, no one expects for future "enhanced browsers" to continue to be free once they become the only way to read information on the net. Beware of any site that makes you download a special browser just to view it. Of course, if every web page is heavily coded (enhanced) you will need to buy faster more expensive modems or spend a long time downloading all the useless art and advertisements just to read the page. Meanwhile, they are searching your hard drive.
Everyone is on board with Microsoft, Mac and Windows operating systems, America Online, even servers are beginning to use Microsoft software- after all, most of their customers are using proprietary Microsoft software.
What does this mean to you? It means that by the time the great majority of people reach the Internet the Microsoft monopoly will control their internet access and the price of their access by controlling the software every step of the way. Add to that that they will be able to not only read your hard drive looking for unlicensed Microsoft software- as they already do- but also they will be able to change the software on your computer remotely, as America Online does now.
The web was given to the world for free and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications continues to provide MOSAIC browsers for free (http://www.ncsa.uiuc.edu/SDG/Software/WinMosaic/HomePage.html ) while web designers are charging fortunes to "enhance" sites to make them less available to us. They do not load text-only pages, they do not even load "alt" values. So, if you don't have an "enhanced" browser you just don't get in the site.
We have 2 chances to keep the web free:
The Consumer Project on Technology (http://www.essential.org/cpt/) is gathering email signatures to accompany their brief to the U.S. Department of Justice. If you want to keep the web free and stop the Microsoft monopoly, please sign their petition!
Thanks for asking. You and visitors since July 17, 1998