Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are You Using a Modern Web Browser? You Should

It probably shouldn't but it does surprise me how many school network administrators insist on locking their staff and students into using outdated web browsers. I realize that it can be a pain to push out updates to a large network of computers and that sometimes the programs you use don't keep up with browser updates (Infinite Campus doesn't work with Firefox 4 yet), still the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.

Why you should update your browser.
As Microsoft itself announced last month, there are many security risks associated with using an outdated browser like Internet Explorer 6. To encourage people to move away from IE6 Microsoft launched IE6 Countdown to encourage people to update their browsers. Security issues isn't a problem limited to IE6. Older versions of other browsers like Firefox are also more susceptible to security threats.

Access to new features of new websites. Programmers launching new sites and services aren't designing their products for old browsers. If you're forcing teachers and students to use outdated browsers you're possibly preventing them from taking advantage of new educational resources.

How you can determine what browser you're using.
There is a simple way to determine what browser you're using; visit WhatBrowser.org. What Browser is a Google site that detects what browser you're using and displays that information right on the page in front of you.

What is a web browser?
Google explains the answer in the video below.

Can't see the video because YouTube is blocked where you're reading this? Wikipedia has an explanation of web browsers too.