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How Much Competition Can The Market Bear?

Netscape vs Mozilla vs Firefox vs Opera vs Internet Explorer

Tuesday, February 01, 2005 by Zoomba | Discussion: Industry

Later this month, Netscape (AOL) will be releasing a beta version of their latest browser version� Netscape 8. This time though the browser has a rather odd parentage. Let�s look at the overall progression of the Netscape browser line. Each item is based on the item before it.

NCSA Mosaic -> Netscape 1-7 -> Mozilla -> Firefox -> Netscape 8

So now, by that train of logic, Netscape is loosely based on itself rather than being a direct evolution from previous versions.

Netscape, Mozilla and Firefox are all competing against Microsoft for market share in the web browser arena. IE rules supreme here through a combination of shady business moves by MS, and sheer incompetence by Netscape. The browser wars were declared over and dead years ago, no one can really argue who won. However, now we have a revival of that old competition, though it�s not quite as close as it used to be. Firefox right now represents the best threat to IE, taking up roughly 20% of the pie (MS still holds about 70%, and various versions of Netscape, Mozilla and Opera make up the remaining 10ish%). So you�d think Microsoft might be feeling a bit uncomfortable, that maybe they�d be rethinking their IE strategy, right? Well, probably not.

Most computer users don�t really care what the name of the program is that lets them check CNN.Com, or access their bank information online. To many, the web browser is just another feature of the Operating System itself, not a separate application that they could find a replacement for (issues of IE being built into Windows notwithstanding). To the average user, a computer is a black box that just has to work and they�ll take whatever is thrown at them by default.

Let�s say that the above population is steady at about 60% of all computer users (it�s likely higher, but we�ll go with that number). So that�s over half of all surfers who will always use Internet Explorer. That leaves 40% to be given to a competitor. Now, even 40%, while not quite half, is a respectable chunk and can provide some real power to whoever makes the browser that sucks up that share. Even at 40%, a competitor could give Microsoft a bit to worry about and would likely spur them on to better their own product. Even though the tables are slanted, you still have the recipe for good, healthy competition.

As things are going though, even if IE drops to 60%, or hell even 50%, we�ll never see any real competition. The reason is the other side of the line is too busy trying to edge out each other. Netscape is going after the AOL crowd� Mozilla is trying to act as a technology platform, and Firefox is just doing its own thing and is somehow gathering popularity. They�re taking the market and fragmenting it severely. Netscape has the brand recognition that the other two could only dream of, yet it�s the browser whose horrible design decisions were what finally tipped the scale towards Microsoft. Mozilla is trying to be the end-all-be-all tool and tech platform� it�s a beast of a browser. Firefox is just trying to take what Mozilla is doing, strip out all the crap, and build something that just flat-out works without being bogged down by bloat. Problem is that while they all technically work together, they�re trying to undermine and outdo one another.

There�s a lot to say for limited product choice in some cases. Yes, greater choice in a lot of cases means greater competition. In computing though that doesn�t hold true, because the consumer doesn�t know enough to be able to pick the �better� product. Mac OSX is a better product in terms of technology, security, ease of use and all that. For the average user, it even has all the software you need. But it�s not even making a dent in the market share of Windows. Certain distros of Linux are making huge strides in terms of usability, but aside from in the tech geek arena (where quality does matter), it�s not really touching Windows on the desktop. The better product doesn�t always win in this arena. You win through being quickly recognizable. You achieve that by being one of the two or three dominant providers in a given area.

With such an entrenched user base for IE, having four or five competitors isn�t going to do much to dislodge MS�s stranglehold on the market. The Mozilla camp (since they�re all the same core technology) needs to realize that there is a lot more to gain by banding together under one browser and using their resources to push that, instead of putting out a whole bunch of different products that are only incrementally different and ultimately lose out to MS just because they have the single largest chunk and no one else can come close.

Sadly, until the tech community as a whole realizes that it�s not us geeks who choose the successful technologies but Mom and Pop Smith who can�t even program their VCRs, we won�t see anyone come close to challenging Microsoft in any market.

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 23, Email

Ok, so I forgot one globe.

Saturday, January 29, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 23 (Email)

    After all my talk about being done with the globes I realized that I forgot one, and one of the most important icons at that: The Email icon. For some time now I have been using the convention of an envelope and a globe for email. I am quite sick of it, but it is the most easily understood symbol and probably the most popular so we will go with it again here.
 
Step 1:

First we copy our Internet icon and remove the cord and plug.
Step 2:

I decided to keep the bottom cord of the Internet icon so I move it back, I also offset the globe to the left of my Guide box.
Now with a Rectangle and the Mesh tool I block in our envelope.

Step 3:

I place a few more mesh rectangles over my envelope to make doing the details easier.
 
Step 4:

I go though the new shapes with the mesh tool and mold them into the envelopes folds and flap.

Step 5:

Once I am happy with the envelope I use the same Reflection technique we have been using and give the envelope a reflection.
Step 6:

I quickly pull a drop shadow off the cord and give the envelope some texture with the Interactive Transparency tool.
Finished Icon Image




Click here to download the finished icon.
 

Ok, now I am done with the globes. Really this time I mean it... I think... Later this weekend: CorelDRAW For Skinners, Part 3.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15, Icon # 16, Icon #17, Icon #18, Icon # 19, Icon #20, Icon # 21, Icon # 22.

CorelDRAW for Skinners.
Part 1: Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101
Part 2: Drop Shadows 101 & Reflections 101

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-day, Icon # 22, Sharing Overlay.

Sick and tired of Globes.

Friday, January 28, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 22 (Sharing Overlay)

    We have had enough of globes for awhile, but we have a lot of non-glamorous icons to create if we are planning on completing a full icon pack. One of the icons that always seems to be a problem is the Sharing Overlay. The thing you have to keep in mind with this one is where it is going to be used. We have established a convention with this pack of using cables to represent network connections, so I am going to go with that for our Overlay, something similar to what we have used in the Network Computer icon.
 
Step 1:

First thing I do is mock up the general shape of our overlay. I place it on top the existing folder icon, to make sure it fits.
Step 2:

Now since what is shared the most are folders and drives, I make sure it looks ok overlaying the Hard Drive icon as well.

Step 3:

Now I copy over the Network Computer Cable just to use as a guideline for our new cable.
I use the Mesh Tool and a Rectangle to start molding our new cable.
 
Step 4:

To save a bit of work I copy the join I used in the Network Computer Cable and tweak its size, making it useful for our new cable.
Then I create another cable with the mesh tool.

Step 5:

Now using some circles and Radial fills I make my "Plug" that will connect to the icon that we are overlaying.

Step 6:

Now I pull a shadow off our cord, and using the Interactive Transparency tool I fade out the edges of the cables and shadows.
Step 7:

Last step is to place these overlays over the folder and drive icons to see how they look.

Finished Icon Image



Click here to download the finished icon.

 

Tomorrow I will try and do something a bit more exiting. Also check in for the next installment of CorelDRAW for skinners.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15, Icon # 16, Icon #17, Icon #18, Icon # 19, Icon #20, Icon # 21.

CorelDRAW for Skinners.
Part 1: Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101
Part 2: Drop Shadows 101 & Reflections 101

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 21, Network Computer.

Just about done with the network icons.

Thursday, January 27, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 21 (Network Computer)

    This should be the the last of the Network related icons for now. Most people never see this icon, but I always feel bad if I don't include all the supported icons. It is also nice to have since people use it  for a lot of other things.
 
Step 1:

First we copy our My Computer icon.

Step 2:

Now I take our image of Earth from the other night and crop it down a bit.

Step 3:

Using the Bitmap Perspective effect I give it a bit of a taper, and Crop it down to fit in our monitor as our screen image.

 
Step 4:

Now that I have our bitmap in place I give it some Gloss.

Step 5:

Using some rectangles and the Mesh Fill tool I draw in a cord below the monitor.

Step 6:

I using some more rectangles and the Mesh Fill tool, I draw in some graphics that will be my cable joins.

Step 7:

With the Mesh Fill tool I sculpt our Cable joins to look more metal.

Step 8

I finish up the cord with the Mesh Tool, and make a drop shadow off the cord. I also use the Interactive Transparency tool to fade out the edges of the bitmap and shadow.

Finished Icon Image.





Click here to download the finished icon.

 

Now I am sure everyone is sick of Network Icons for awhile, so tomorrow I am going to do something different. Tune in then to find out what.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15, Icon # 16, Icon #17, Icon #18, Icon # 19, Icon #20.

CorelDRAW for Skinners.
Part 1: Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101
Part 2: Drop Shadows 101 & Reflections 101

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 20, Web Folder.

Twenty Icon down, forty or so to go.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 20 (Web Folder)

    As we move down though the Network related icons, we come to the Web Folder. I want this folder to meet some of the standards that we set with the My Music folder, so here we go.
 
Step 1:

First we copy the Open Folder icon.

Step 2:

Now we simply copy the globe and cord from our My Network Computer icon.

Step 3:

We place them together to get the basics of our folder.

 
Step 4:

Now I take the HTML File from earlier and remove the glare and the color band from it. Group it, and using the Perspective tool make look like it is sitting in the folder. I also place it behind the front of the folder.

Step 5:

Now using the Gloss techniques we have been using, I add a new glare that fits a bit better than the old one.

Step 6:

Now using the mesh tool I tweak our existing cord to make it look like it is going behind the folder.

Step 7:

Now the changes I made to the Cord have left me with a shadow that is not correct, so I quickly crop it down to look right, again using the Node Edit tool.

Step 8

I copy the globe and convert it to a bitmap, Crop it and make it 60% Transparent and offset it a bit to get a little reflection on our folder front.

Finished Icon Image.





Click here to download the finished icon.

 

Now we have once more set the standards for our our folders, and we have a style to match from here on out. Also we have cemented the convention of using the cord to unite all of our Internet related icons to the "world"

Tomorrow we will wrap up the Network icons with the Network Computer icon.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15, Icon # 16, Icon #17, Icon #18, Icon # 19.

CorelDRAW for Skinners.
Part 1: Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101
Part 2: Drop Shadows 101 & Reflections 101

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 19, My Network

Once more we find new homes for the icons we have done already.

Tuesday, January 25, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 19 (My Network)

    Now we move on to our My Network icon. I would like to think of some really cleaver convention for this, but I have not had any luck so far. What I, and most other icon makers seam to do, is a computer with a globe or two computers together. Since we have a neat looking globe I figured we go with it one more time.
 
Step 1:

We will get started by copying our My Computer icon, and shrinking it down about 80%.

Step 2:

Now we Copy our Internet icon over, and shrink it down and place to the lower right of our guide box. I also delete the cord and  its shadow.

Step 3:

Now I make a new cord, leaving our plug on the globe and running off behind the Computer. I do this with the Mesh Fill tool.

 
Step 4:

I pull a shadow off the new cord, and break it apart. Then I crop it down to make sure it looks right, using the Node Edit tool.

Finished Icon Image.






Click here to download the finished icon.

 

This is an important icon, though it was pretty simple to make. Tomorrow we will move on to the Web folder.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15, Icon # 16, Icon #17, Icon #18.

CorelDRAW for Skinners.
Part 1: Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101.
Part 2: Drop Shadows 101 & Reflections 101

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 18, Network Drive - Offline

A few more tweeks and we have one more Icon.

Monday, January 24, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 18 (Network Drive - Offline)

    Today's icon is pretty much the same as yesterdays icon but with some tweaks. I almost included it with yesterdays icon, but there is a bit more work to it than I had thought, so I decided it was worthy of its own day.
Step 1:

First thing we do is copy our Network Drive icon from yesterday.

Step 2:

I move the cord out of the way, and Convert the globe to one bitmap. Then I make it slightly Transparent. I will tweak this later.

Step 3:

Now I move my globe out of the way, and with the Mesh tool I add some length to the cord, and bring it around to the back of the drive.

 
Step 4:

With my Mesh Tool I polish up the cord and pull a drop shadow off of it. I want the cord to look like it is missing the globe.

Step 5

I Crop and Fade the shadow and cord so they do not run out of our guide box. I move our globe back in position and adjust the Transparency until I can see the cord through it. I bring back our plug from the other icon and make its center blue instead of red.


Finished Icon Image.




Click here to download the finished icon.

 

That finishes up the Default Hard Drive icons in our pack. We still might do some more as bonus icons, but that will be later.
Tomorrow the My Network icon.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15, Icon # 16, Icon #17.

CorelDRAW for Skinners
Part 1: Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101.
Part 2: Drop Shadows 101 & Reflections 101

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 17, Network Drive.

let us get started on our Network Icons.

Sunday, January 23, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 17 (Network Drive)

    Over the next few days I should have some pretty simple icons. I want to knock out most of the Internet or Network related icons in one fell swoop, so here we go.
 
Step 1:

The first thing we need to make our Network Drive is the Hard Drive icon we already made.  Copy it, take away the cord, and size it down about 80%.

Step 2:

Now we Copy the globe from our Internet icon, size it down, and remove the cord from it as well.

Step 3:

Now we put them together.

 
Step 4:

We need to trick out the cord a bit and make it a bit larger.

Step 5

I give the cord a little shadow then break it apart and crop it down to fit a bit better with the Node Edit tool.


Finished Icon Image.




Click here to download the finished icon.

 

Tomorrow we will do the Network Drive (Offline) icon.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15, Icon # 16.

CorelDRAW for Skinners
Part 1: Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101.
Part 2: Drop Shadows 101 & Reflections 101

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com

CorelDRAW For Skinners, Part 2.

Drop Shadows & Reflections

Saturday, January 22, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Tutorials

 CorelDRAW for Skinners. Part 2: Drop Shadows & Reflections.
 
  I have gotten a lot of positive feedback from last weeks CorelDRAW for Skinners and a lot of requests for more videos, so this week we have 2 more. I will try and cover all requests as time allows. This week I am covering the two most asked for techniques that I am using in the Icon-A-Day icons, Reflections & Drop shadows.  Both these videos ran a bit longer than I wanted, but they cover all the basics, and should allow for a better understanding of some of what is being done it the written tutorials. 

This weeks videos:
   Dropshadows 101
   Reflections 101
Stay tuned for more; I will try and get 2 more in next weekend. Requests encouraged, and appreciated.
 
Video # 3: Drop Shadows 101

Video #4: Reflections


Other CorelDRAW for Skinners video tutorials.
CorelDRAW for Skinners Part 1, Mesh Tool 101 & Gloss 101.
Don't forget to check out the Icon-A-Day tutorials and icons at mormegil.wincustomize.com.
 

Icon-A-Day, Icon # 16, HTML File.

Now we start on the Network Icons.

Saturday, January 22, 2005 by mormegil | Discussion: Icons

Icon 16 (HTML File)

    Now that we have the Internet icon, Icon # 15, we can use it to help us several of the icons in the pack.
 
Step 1:

First thing we do is copy our TXT file, to use as a template. I remove the Text and Reflection, as they will be replaced in the new icon.

Step 2:

Now we copy the Globe icon, shrink it down to about 70% - also I remove the cord - I am going to make a new one for this icon.

Step 3:

Now using the mesh fill I quickly take two rectangles and make new cords out of them.


 
Step 4:

The trick to doing the cord is to set all the nodes to "Smooth", this will round it and do a lot of the work for us. I will cover this in the next Mesh Fill Tool Video.

Step 5

Now we copy our globe, Crop it, and give it some Transparency for the reflection on the file.


Step 6:

Now using standard Rectangles and Text I mock up a more HTML looking text for out file.
Once I like what I have I copy it and make our reflection.

Step #7

Now I move all of our elements back together. And make sure it all looks good together.


Finished Icon Image.





Click here to download the finished icon.

 

Over the next few days we shall do all the Internet Related icons, so check back in soon.

Read the other Icon-A-Day Articles: Icon # 1, Icon # 2, Icon #3, Icon # 4, Icon #5, Icon # 6, Icon # 7, Icon # 8, Icon # 9, Icon #10, Icon # 11. Icon 12 & 13, Icon # 14, Icon # 15.

CorelDRAW for Skinners videos: Mesh Fill 101, Gloss 101.

And don't forget to check for all the Icon-A-Day icons as they get made, in the Miscellaneous Icons Gallery at Wincustomize.com




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