By Rob Pegoraro
Sunday, July 26, 2009
QI've used Internet Explorer 6 for many years, but some sites don't seem to look right in that browser now. Would you recommend IE 8?
AYes, you need to dump IE 6. That Microsoft browser was far behind competitors, in terms of utility and security, two years ago when I wrote on my blog that I was done helping readers use it.
Now, some popular sites are starting to make the same move. The news-sharing site Digg announced earlier this month that it would probably stop supporting IE 6 for uses beyond reading news stories and comments. YouTube has been suggesting that IE 6 users upgrade, although a spokesman for the Google subsidiary said they should still be able to view or upload individual videos.
Installing Microsoft's Internet Explorer 8 through Windows' automatic updates can be the simplest upgrade, but some readers have reported that this caused problems on their PCs. The new Mozilla Firefox 3.5 (http://mozilla.com) runs faster and is less likely to conflict with Windows, while on slower machines Opera (http://opera.com) or Google's Chrome (http://google.com/chrome) may be better choices.
If a fossilized IT department limits you to IE 6 at work, you have my condolences. Try running the Portable Edition of Firefox (http://portableapps.com) off a USB flash drive, although plug-ins such as Adobe's Flash Player can be tricky in that case.
I plan to copy some VHS tapes onto DVDs with a combo VHS/DVD recorder. Are any DVD formats better for quality and durability?
Not really. On old players, DVD-R and DVD+R may work better, but on newer hardware the format shouldn't matter. As for durability, the key thing is to take good care of the discs: Store them away from heat, humidity and sunlight.
Rob Pegoraro attempts to untangle computing conundrums and errant electronics each week. Send questions to The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit http://voices.washingtonpost.com/fasterforward for his Faster Forward blog.