This past weekend I upgraded my browser to Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) by Microsoft. This upgrade is only available for legitimate owners of Microsoft Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. Some of the new features that I like in the new IE7 are tabbed browsing, a customizable search box on the right side of the address bar, and a shrink-to-fit feature for printing wide webpages. In Internet Explorer 6 (IE6), many webpages had to be rotated (or the right side was cut off), and thus wasted lots of paper.
But, what I like the best about the new IE7 browser is the ability to read RSS feeds (i.e. XML) directly. For example. The URL of the RSS feed for this blog is
pfstock.blogspot.com/rss.xml. This usually appears as gibberish in older browsers, but is formatted quite nicely in IE7. It includes all of the links, and if the blog is broken out into categories, you can filter posts by category. I think that this will be most useful when reading blogs that choose to load down their site with advertising. I am not opposed to ads, since I have a few on my own site. However, when a site has ads on the top, left column, right column, in-between posts, and so on, it gets a little out of hand...
I have noted a couple of issues with IE7 that will affect PF bloggers. In Blogger, there is a preview function on the "edit posts" page that lets you view a post without going into the editor. This doesn't work in IE7. And at pfblogs.org, clicking on "all" underneath "Today's active weblogs" will open a search panel on the left side that contains a list of all available blogs. This doesn't work in IE7, as it will open the list in a new window. There are various other websites that I've seen where parts of the text or images are cropped off, or don't display the same as they did in IE6. In the some cases, there are parts of the webpage that you can't read.
In a twist of irony, there isn't a way to run IE7 and IE6 on same computer. This will force me to install a competing browser, Firefox, on my machine in order to view the websites that are "broken" in IE7. This is probably not Microsoft's original intent.
On a related topic, I recently installed a Site Meter on this blog. This is basically a web counter that keeps track of a few different statistics including browser share. For this blog, a slim majority of the readers use Internet Explorer, with IE7 representing about 5%. (I expect that percentage to grow in the future.) About a third of the readers use the Firefox browser. (But I think that most of this fraction is actually one reader who visits frequently.) The rest use miscellaneous other browsers like Safari, Opera, Netscape, and Mozilla.
If you are curious, I have kept the statistics on my Site Meter public. Just scroll down to the very bottom of this page and click on the Site Meter icon.