Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lifetrack (Soundtrack of My Life)

Because I have the time to tonight, I have decided to put together part one of what I like to call my Lifetrack, which is a soundtrack of songs to my life, that describe me, or are important to me. Songs that I listened to while growing up, that give me strong memories, and helped me through times, or are just fun to jam to.

Song One: Life Is A Highway by Rascall Flatts
This is the ultimate pick me up song. It's really hard to be depressed when listening to this song. It's a reminder that no matter what happens, there is always more to explore in life. It is a classic "highway song" that's great to drive to and a great joy to listen to and just have fun with.

Song Two: Little Bitty by Alan Jackson
This is another pick me up song, but is also a strong reminder that you dont have to be a hotshot to have a great life. As Alan puts it, it's alright to be Little Bitty. A great song to listen to when you think you're life is just average and doesn't mean much. You'll be surprised as it grabs you by it's upbeat tempo and meaningful lyrics.

Song Three: Everywhere by Michelle Branch
This song has a lot of history with me. When I first became softer and in search of someone that I could fall in love with, this song blasted it's way onto the radio. It also began my (musical) obsession with the singer-songwriter Michelle Branch. This song always takes me back to the times of my first serious crushes, and the trying and (usually failing) to win over girls that I was infatuated in. Not only does it remind me of being young, but it also contains very powerful musical arrangements and lyrics, with the cute voice of Michelle.

Song Four: Punk Rock 101 by Bowling For Soup
There are a lot of songs by this band that I absolutely fell in love with, and I'm sure this wont be the only song throughout the different parts. Bowling For Soup was the happy version of pop rock (unlike many left to be un-named others). They are the reason I went to the Warped Tour for the first time. This song in particular struck me around the time Chris, Adam, and I were all best friends; in fact is was Chris that introduced me to BFS. We used to say that we would end up at the Warped Tour; Chris / Adam skateboarding, and me playing guitar in a band similar to BFS. Cheers to that!

Song Five: Stuck With Me by Green Day
Green Day, along with Blink-182, was some of the first rock music I really got in to. And it's hard not to, Green Day is unique. They have simple yet addicting riffs and hooks, along with real, *usually* intelligent lyrics that are easy to relate to. Like Bowling For Soup, expect to see more of them as the list goes on. This particular song comes from my favorite album of theirs, Insomniac, which represented a darker side to their lyrics and sound. This song is a strong reminder of early to mid high school years, as I was always listening to them in the hallways and on the busses. I loved the lyrics because they are easily relatable, and on many occasions explains exactly how I feel. Also, many of the lyrics describe my current position at work (such as "Throw me in the gutter cause it's alright; Take it from my dignity and waste it 'til it's dead" are two good examples.

Song Six: Revolution by Authority Zero
A song that takes me back to the times where I first started to listen to samples of "punk rock" music, such as Authority Zero, Anti-Flag, Bad Religion, etc. This song is extremely moving, and really brings up one good point (or idea? I dont know how to put it): If you want a Revolution, You've gotta make a difference on your own. Want A Revolution? Stand Up, Stand Out, And Make It Known! Not only does it talk about really making a difference instead of just talking about it, it also points out some of the fears that many have in making known they want a difference ("To make a move could devestation" and "Yet it could be my last big mistake").

Dont forget to come back for the next couple of parts in my Lifetrack! Hope some of you also start your own!

Intro and Web Browser Shake Up

First of all, I just want to thank you for reading my first ever post in my new blog. This blog will be a mostly free of structure expression of anything going through my mind. Anything on here may be informative, like a tutorial or explanation, argument, views, thoughts, or intros.

Or it could be a completely pointless post. Cheers! For today:

Web browsers: they are used for everything today. Surfing the web, reading the news, checking internet based email, viewing and sharing photos, interacting in social sites, purchases, banking; you name it, it can probably do it.

Since 2004, a new major player came out into the browser market that not only showed the world that as the internet evolves, the browser must too, and make money to boot. That web browser is known as Mozilla Firefox. It was the first browser to challenge the dominance of Microsoft's Internet Explorer since the original browser wars in the 1990's (Internet Explorer vs. Netscape). It proved that dominance in a market can be swayed over time if that dominance allows decay in innovation. While alternatives existed at the time, many were proprietary or paid alternatives, to access something that many used to gain information and software for free, it's hard to sell someone a tool where one exists for free.

So with Firefox came tabbed browsing to the web, along with improved (but not perfect) support for standards, and a more lean and stable program than it's rival, at the same cost: zero. In three years, the browser surpassed 400 million downloads, claiming nearly 25 percent of the browser usage market in Europe (including some countries with over a 45 percent market share) and also became one of the most profitable browsers in existance, due to it's deal with Google about including search by default in the top right bar and being the default homepage of Firefox installations.

So why is it now that Firefox is starting to slow down? Several reasons; one of course is that there is now much fiercer competition on the horizon. You have Internet Explorer 7 recently coming out, Opera which has been released for free, Apple releasing Safari for Windows, and many specialty browsers (which are often more mods of Internet Explorer) that are included with Internet Providers software installation (such as AT&T's web browser, Earthlink's, and of course AOL). For me this has been the largest reason why my usage of Firefox has dwindled slightly, I have begun to move over to Opera.

It has also become a victim of it's own success, in that in each new release, the browser is beginning to embed new features permenantly into the browser, causing the browser to become a fatter cousin of it's former self (that started as a lean alternative).

In it's defense, Firefox has the most configurable interface and functionality of any browser on the planet, far surpassing it's main rival of Internet Explorer and contempary smaller competitors such as Opera and Safari. Due in large part to it's commited base of developers (in result of being an Open Source application), if you'd like the browser to do something, more than likely you can find an add-on that does it.

Competition is good, and it is sure heating up in the browser market. Firefox is still nipping at it's rivals heels for marketshare to be sure, but at a slower pace. It is still a great browser, and the best introduction to alternatives out there, but they need to decide whether they want to be an all in one with features (such as Opera) or an alternative leaner browser with good support and standards with *optional* add-ons. Or maybe just a powerful marketing hand.