Reviews Technology

Yahoo! Answers

Yahoo! Answers

Heard of Google Answers? Well, it IS somewhat obscure but you may have noticed it when Google Search fails to turn up any search results for a particular term. In this you ask a question, set a price and a deadline, and the question is answered by a Google Researcher. Period. But the interface is pretty boring, true to Google’s style and the whole concept of paying for answers doesn’t sound very inviting.

Enter Yahoo! Answers (still in beta stage) which plans to change all that. The interface is much more colorful and cheery, just the thing you want after tearing your hair strands apart after not being able to find out what you are searching for. Its a free service right now, and is community-focused. Users ask a question, and it gets answered by other users. After a period of time the answer facility closes and users vote for the best answer. The answer getting the highest vote wins and the question is said to be ‘resolved’.

The site is divided into far more categories than Google’s service and also has subcategories, so you can quickly get to the questions you want. Ask your own question or discover answers to already answered ones.

The Y! Answers community is a pretty active one and the answers are pretty accurate and relevant (as far as I have noticed). Soon, it will also offer cash to users with the best answer, but you need a Yahoo! Publisher Network Account for that.

Also, an innovative concept here is points and levels. Each time you vote, answers, ask or simply visit Y! Answers, you get points. After certain threshold points, you get promoted to the next level. As you advance through different levels, you get awards like a special thank-you, get featured on the main page, etc.

What I like about Y! Answers is that it doesn’t try to be too serious like Google Answers, it maintains a cheery mood throughout yet inspires enough confidence in the users to trust the answers. All the questions are not serious, some are definitely fun.

So if you have a question that’s been vexing you in your sleep, go ahead and get it answered!

Reviews Technology

Mozilla Firefox 1.5 released! – Mozilla Firefox 1.5 review

Download Mozilla Firefox 1.5 now!

My rating of Mozilla Firefox: *****

Wow, after much waiting, testing of release candidates and beta versions (in which I too did my rightful part) Mozilla Firefox 1.5 is finally out! This calls for some celebration for sure!

Also, it now has a different website, Sure, the site still exists, but they shifting away from it. Also, now has a new section, ‘Firefox Flicks’, a user experiences section. Hope all this blitzkrieg helps in defeating bad ol’ Internet Explorer.

Most casual observers won’t find much of a difference from Firefox 1.0.x, except maybe that pages load faster and ‘smoother’, not the hiccuping type that was seen earlier. Also, one delightful change I found was that the cursor behaves more ‘properly’ while typing in text-boxes – earlier it was pretty much an oaf; now its more ‘smoother’ and shows up properly while writing. Check out the difference yourself, you’ll understand.

Frankly, casual users may be lulled into believing that there’s not much of a change, why upgrade etc. etc. but believe me, the Firefox rendering engine is MUCH MORE secure this time round and beats the hell out of Internet Explorer. One cool feature in this Firefox 1.5 is auto-updates. Earlier, upgrading was a frustrating experience – download a complete new version and then install it; pretty crude way do things, actually. Not anymore, Firefox 1.5’s update feature is now more like antivirus updates (just to explain, guys, no offence to Mozilla), it won’t download the whole thing, just the new bits. Net result – faster updates = larger number of secure Mozilla Firefox browsers.

The other ‘major’ change has been the interface. Not much if you scratch just the surface, but better laid-out option when you go to the ‘Options’ tab. Not surprisingly, new options in ‘Options’ tab have been added, especially better privacy control. Clearing histories, caches, cookies, downloads, etc. is no more a chore, ‘Clear Private Data’ in ‘Tools’ menu is all you need to do.

That said, there could be some minor problems. You’ll probably have to upgrade to newer versions of your addons, Firefox will do this for you when you install. Also, it will disable incompatible addons (till the time a compatible one comes out), and it will automatically check and tell you when that is available. However, no need to hit the PANIC button yet, because everything (except some skins) are working fine. These include Google Toolbar, Yahoo! Toolbar, Great Quizzard Toolbar, FoxyTunes, Forecastfox, Google Send to Phone, Google Suggest, Mouse Gestures, etc. (use the Google Search box for more on any of these). Since these are the ones used generally, most shouldn’t have a problem. I don’t expect many others to be incompatible.

The Help pages are better in Firefox 1.5, with the section for Internet Explorer users being updated. It’s much more streamlined now, easier to find answers, and better ones at that.

Now, I have a tiny, little complaint about Mozilla Firefox 1.5. I was much elated when I discovered that two weeks ago, Yahoo! Mail had enabled ‘Color and Graphics’ option while composing mails for Firefox users. Unfortunately, that functionality is lost in v1.5, but I hope this will get rectified soon. Actually, this has to be done by Yahoo! not Mozilla, so actually, it isn’t Firefox’s fault.

Mozilla Firefox 1.5 has finally risen to the challenge. Earlier, it was somewhat of a geek phenomenon. I believe that chenges have made this verison more user-friendly. So what are YOU waiting for; download Mozilla Firefox 1.5 NOW and REDEFINE YOUR BROWSING EXPERIENCE.

Download Mozilla Firefox 1.5 now!
Mozilla Firefox 1.5 screenshots

New ‘Options’ tab

Better privacy control

Better help pages

About Mozilla Firefox 1.5

Mozilla Firefox 1.5 credits