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Mozilla mania and the mother of all upgrades

webwatch

You know how it is when you have been using something regularly - after a few weeks you stop noticing its virtues and you start thinking of it as simply the way things are. So when the daily Wired magazine news feed (subscribe free at www. wired. com ) reported that readers were enraged at a recent piece about Mozilla, I realised how comfortable I had got with this alternative to Internet Explorer (IE).

Its big conceptual difference is that you download plug-ins to make a slim, fast, basic application do more interesting things.

As Wired readers have vigorously pointed out, some of these are crucial, such as the ad blocker, 'AdBlock', and 'Flashblock', which blocks ads made with Flash but gives you a button to turn them on. Then there is 'Tab Extensions', which allows you to open new pages in the same browser window and switch between them. Other recommended plug-ins are 'Super Drag&Go', 'Mouse Gestures', 'Stumbleupon' for searching, and a lot more, some of which, I have to say, are a tad obscure. I guess there is the danger that overloading Mozilla with plug-ins would make it as dull as IE.

But, hey-ho. You can find the plug-ins at http: //update. mozilla. org/extensions.

A few notes from the tech world: it is said that Intel will be dropping its processor prices quite dramatically in a month or two, so maybe hang on for that office kit upgrade. And, on the general topic of upgrade, it might be wise to hang on a bit longer until motherboards have caught up with the new PCI Express bus; with the Serial ATA data bus; and with the new, very fast processors such as the Athlon 64. When you have waited, say six months, for all this to become mainstream, you will find you can't use any of your existing kit: memory chips; hard and optical drives; graphics, network and sound cards; and, since there is a big move to very small motherboards using the new BTX layout, the very cases containing the computer's works. Progress.

sutherland. lyall@btinternet. com

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