inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #0 of 110: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Wed 15 Jun 05 10:13
    
We're delighted to introduce our next guest, Scott Granneman. Scott is an
author, educator, and consultant based out of St. Louis, Missouri. His new
book, "Don't Click on the Blue E!: Switching to Firefox," offers a multitude 
of useful tips and techniques on getting the most of the Firefox browser.

Loren Rosen leads the conversation with Scott. Loren is a software developer
by trade and a mathematician by training. He's been a WELL member for a bit
more than a year.

Welcome, Scott and Loren!
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #1 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Thu 16 Jun 05 09:03
    
It's great to be here. I've heard wonderful things about the WELL for
years, & I'm eager to experience it for myself!
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #2 of 110: Loren Rosen (loren-rosen) Thu 16 Jun 05 16:50
    
I'd like to start by asking: why a book on switching to Firefox? Seems
like lots of people have made the change without a book.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #3 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Thu 16 Jun 05 22:39
    
Hey, Loren (I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and we say "hey" here) -
thanks for the question. It's a good one.

It's certainly true that many folks have switched to Firefox without a
book. I did, for instance. :) When O'Reilly asked me to write the
book, they had an audience in mind: people that need a little guidance
installing, configuring, and using a web browser as rich as Ff. But I
also saw it as an opportunity to let people of all technical skill
levels learn something interesting about Ff.

I teach classes in web design & development, and have been for years,
and I early on started encouraging my students to use Mozilla, and when
Ff came out in a relatively stable release, I started encouraging them
to use that browser as well. In other words, I'd been using - and
reading about, and teaching other people about - Ff for quite some time
when I was asked to write Don't Click on the Blue E. I wanted to write
a book that newbies would find really useful, but at the same time I
wanted technically advanced users to learn something as well. 

After all, switching isn't just about downloading an installer,
clicking Next Next Next Next, importing settings from IE, and then
using the browser. It's about all the extra goodies that make Ff
special: the themes & extensions, for instance, and the better
security, functionality, and features. In particular, I'm very proud of
the first chapter of the book, a historical overview of the Web and
web browsers that helps explain why IE is the mess it is, why Firefox
offers a lot of hope for web users, and why the Web is the way it is
today. 

So yes, Loren, my book is not absolutely, completely necessary in the
scheme of things, but I wrote it so that anyone interested in Ff - from
newbie to expert - will learn something useful, interesting, and fun
about the best web browser on the planet.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #4 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Fri 17 Jun 05 11:38
    
Hey, Loren (I live in St. Louis, Missouri, and we say "hey" here) -
thanks for the question. It's a good one.

It's certainly true that many folks have switched to Firefox without a
book. I did, for instance. :) When O'Reilly asked me to write the
book, they had an audience in mind: people that need a little guidance
installing, configuring, and using a web browser as rich as Ff. But I
also saw it as an opportunity to let people of all technical skill
levels learn something interesting about Ff.

I teach classes in web design & development, and have been for years,
and I early on started encouraging my students to use Mozilla, and when
Ff came out in a relatively stable release, I started encouraging them
to use that browser as well. In other words, I'd been using - and
reading about, and teaching other people about - Ff for quite some time
when I was asked to write Don't Click on the Blue E. I wanted to write
a book that newbies would find really useful, but at the same time I
wanted technically advanced users to learn something as well. 

After all, switching isn't just about downloading an installer,
clicking Next Next Next Next, importing settings from IE, and then
using the browser. It's about all the extra goodies that make Ff
special: the themes & extensions, for instance, and the better
security, functionality, and features. In particular, I'm very proud of
the first chapter of the book, a historical overview of the Web and
web browsers that helps explain why IE is the mess it is, why Firefox
offers a lot of hope for web users, and why the Web is the way it is
today. 

So yes, Loren, my book is not absolutely, completely necessary in the
scheme of things, but I wrote it so that anyone interested in Ff - from
newbie to expert - will learn something useful, interesting, and fun
about the best web browser on the planet.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #5 of 110: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 17 Jun 05 12:18
    
(NOTE: Offsite readers who have questions or comments can have them added to
this thread by emailing them to <inkwell-hosts@well.com> )
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #6 of 110: Cynthia Dyer-Bennet (cdb) Fri 17 Jun 05 12:23
    

heh, looks like you got bit by the double-posting bug, Scott. It usually
happens when somebody uses the back button, thinks their post didn't
appear in the thread, then hits the "post" button again. It's sort of
a rite of initiation to do that around here, don't worry 'bout it.

  ******************


What are the biggest difficulties facing people who switch from IE to
Firefox, Scott?
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #7 of 110: AwwWWW! Now my head's not taped to the TV! (tinymonster) Fri 17 Jun 05 12:34
    
(Glad the double-posting isn't a Firefox problem!)
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #8 of 110: Public persona (jmcarlin) Fri 17 Jun 05 12:37
    

I'll add to that question. I've been using firefox for quite a while but
the java plugin is terrible. I have crashes, hangs and the processor
pegged at 100% usage after a bit when I access a java site, most typically
http://www.pogo.com for my game fix. No matter how bad the code, the JVM
should not get wedged like that.  And this has been true with several java
versions. 

So I'd like to know what java version you recommend for firefox users?
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #9 of 110: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Fri 17 Jun 05 12:42
    
I'm curious about the logistics of the book -- who asked you to write
it? did you get an agent? how were you approached, and why? etc. 

and to the extent that you feel like sharing, work for hire?
royalties? etc.

<computer book writer
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #10 of 110: Tom Howard (tom) Fri 17 Jun 05 13:55
    
Hey, Scott.  Welcome to the Well.

I've been happily using Fire* since .7, but made the mistake of trying
to install it on regular users' machines before the stable release. 
It was a little discouraging and almost impossible to support.  (I'm
responsible for about 30-40 machines scattered throughout the
Northeast, so I need some, just some, stability.)  

During this time since "Firebird", Microsoft has certainly advanced
dramatically with their web updates and overall security responses, so
it's hard to justify changing over a bunch of people to Ff; keeping
that and MS/IE both updated.

I personally use about 3 machines at the same time and they all have
Firefox as their main web browser.  But, IE is there, available all the
time and one extension I use fairly regularly is the "view this page
in IE."

There are features of Ff that I can no longer live without -- I hardly
know how to act in IE when I can't use right-click-T to open a new
tab!

Ah, well.  I look forward to finishing the book and I look forward to
Ff keeping MS on it's toes.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #11 of 110: Idea Hamster On Speed (randomize27) Fri 17 Jun 05 15:17
    
I'm using Firefox on a friends machine. I'll have to get 2 copies of
this, one for each of us.

I've found it very useful and nicer than Explorer.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #12 of 110: Gail Williams (gail) Fri 17 Jun 05 15:22
    
What a timely book.  Looks to be a useful conversation!

On my mac I can just fly with FF. However, at work on my PC I seem to have 
to keep the blue E around for getting microsoft security updates... I think!
Am I mistaken about that?
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #13 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Sat 18 Jun 05 00:07
    
Gail, unfortunately, you're right. MSFT made sure that using Windows
Update *requires* ActiveX controls, which therefore *requires* IE.
There's really no great technical reason for doing so - I mean, sure,
it makes things easier for MSFT, but they didn't *have* to do it that
way ... except that it forces you and everyone else using Windows who
wants to manually update their PC to use IE.

Of course, if you use Automatic Updates, you don't need to actually
use IE ... except when your bank or another site that has decided to
only support proprietary IE features requires you to use it. I find
that hilarious: that a bank, which would presumably care a lot about
your security, requires its users to use the most insecure web browser
available today!

I tell people to use Ff all they want, but install the "IE View"
extension. If you hit a page that requires IE, just right-click, chooes
"View with Internet Explorer", and the extension opens the page in IE
while leaving Ff running. When you've finished with IE, close it & go
back to using Ff. Nice!
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #14 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Sat 18 Jun 05 00:17
    
Sharon, I do have an agent (whom I thank in my acknowledgements, since
she is great!), and she contacted O'Reilly for me. She has my
constantly-updated CV, & she knows my interests: open source. I also
wrote a piece for SecurityFocus (where I have a regular columnist gig)
titled "Time to Dump Internet Explorer"
<http://www.securityfocus.com/columnists/249> that came out about a
week before the really serious security problems with IE surfaced last
summer (although it's very rare, it's still nice being prescient). In
that column, I castigated IE & recommended that security pro's start
pushing ordinary users to try out Ff.

O'Reilly was looking for someone to write a book about Ff, and my
agent knew that I loved it and also preferred to write about open
source, so I was a natural fit. I hit it off with my editor at O'R (a
great guy), and we were off to the races.

As far as money, I received an advanced & royalties. My agent gets her
cut, of course, which she greatly deserves. I'm not getting rich, by
any means - with all the hours I put in, it didn't work out to much
more than minimum wage, but it was a blast writing the book, and it
taught me a lot about the entire writing process.

And it certainly has made work on my second book (almost finished!) on
Knoppix for Wiley & Sons easier, and with my 3rd book on the horizon
(still being negotiated) the process gets easier all the time. It's
still a tremendous amount of work, but I'm learning what to expect -
from myself, my editors, my publishers, and other involved in the whole
book writin' biz.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #15 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Sat 18 Jun 05 00:25
    
jmcarlin, I'm sorry to hear you're having problems with Java. However,
I'm not sure it's the fault of Ff. Java is just a pain. It solves a
lot of problems, and my web hosting company using it to provide a
cross-platform, cross-browser WYSIWYG for our users, but it's still
problematic at times, no matter what browser you're using.

We recommend the latest Sun version of Java (1.5.something). MSFT
really isn't in the Java biz any longer, and Sun's is the version
straight from the mothership, as it were. However, what you might want
to do is completely reinstall Java first, or at least purge the applet
cache. For instructions about that, see
http://fxtrade.oanda.com/help/clear_cache.shtml. 

I hope that helps.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #16 of 110: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 18 Jun 05 05:55
    
thanks. I was curious because a number of my computer journalism
friends just don't do books any more, saying it's not really
financially worth it.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #17 of 110: J Matisse Enzer (matisse) Sat 18 Jun 05 09:35
    
It probably isn't unless you have a big hit. Computer books are almost by
definition non-mass-market to begin with.

I know that for me having written a computer book does help my resume as a
consultant but it would very hard if not impossible for me to put an accurate
dollar figure on how much it has helped.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #18 of 110: Public persona (jmcarlin) Sat 18 Jun 05 09:40
    

> http://fxtrade.oanda.com/help/clear_cache.shtml. 
That's a great hint. I'm off to try it. 

A word about O'Reilly: Writing one of their books is an honor. The quality
and readability is very high. I'll buy one of their books without
hesitating whereas I want to see a review for other publishers.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #19 of 110: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Sat 18 Jun 05 10:01
    
What animal did you get?
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #20 of 110: beneath the blue suburban skies (aud) Sat 18 Jun 05 11:21
    
i've been enjoying this book, for a way different reason than I thought I
would.

originally thought it would  be a good tool for me when I'm switching people
over to FF (like my Dad. my boss, everyone in his family whose machines I
have to deal with...) but i'm finding all these advanced things for myself
to play with. i'm not all the way through yet, but have found all sorts of
little things i just hadn't had to time to figure out for myself...
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #21 of 110: Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Sat 18 Jun 05 11:24
    
I second that.

I read the book as soon as it arrived, and now must refresh my memory
for this discussion -- but I remember being surprised at how much new
information there was for me, little tricks & tips I did not know
about.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #22 of 110: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Sat 18 Jun 05 12:44
    
Great to have you with us Scott and congratulations on your book...I'm
a big proponent of manuals (old dog from the RTFM school). I've been
using Firefox since Beta and love it, but also have the occassional
problem with Java...that link and your tips were just the ticket.
Thanks for all you are doing for the communities on the NET.
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #23 of 110: Tom Howard (tom) Sat 18 Jun 05 12:52
    
Heh!  The oanda site is where I go for my daily Euro quotes!

So.  What about what MS has done since last summer with trying to
secure their products, particularly IE?
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #24 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Sat 18 Jun 05 13:32
    
OK, Cynthia, let's tackle your question: "What are the biggest
difficulties facing people who switch from IE to Firefox?"

Ff developers worked hard to make sure that it would be as painless as
possible to switch from IE to Ff. During installation, you're asked if
you want to import your bookmarks, cookies, settings, and so on. The
browser itself is very similar to IE, with similar buttons, toolbars,
and menus.

But, it's not an exact copy, & that will freak out some users that are
more rigid, that aren't very computer savvy & learn a particular UI
but don't learn the larger concepts behind that UI. Of course, those
same folks find OpenOffice.org difficult to switch to as well, even
though it's very similar to MSFT Office.

I don't think most users that are somewhat comfortable with computers
will find Ff that difficult to switch to. In fact, if they're at all
willing to delve into Ff, they'll find a wealth of cool features,
themes, and extensions that are far superior to anything that IE has to
offer (wow - do I sound like a partisan? Guilty as charged!).
  
inkwell.vue.247 : Scott Granneman, "DON'T CLICK ON THE BLUE E!"
permalink #25 of 110: Scott Granneman (scottgranneman) Sat 18 Jun 05 13:49
    
Sharon, I make a bit of money writing books, but my reason for writing
isn't the money (although that's nice). I'm an educator at heart - I
taught high school English for 7 years, and now I teach at Washington
University in St. Louis and Webster University. I derive enormous
pleasure from sharing (& learning) knowledge with as many people as
possible. My book is the summation of a lot of my knowledge about Ff (&
about the web), & I hope that people learn something from it. I hate
computer boks that don't teach me anything new, and I was determined
that my book wouldn't be one of them. So my desire to be an educator
outweighs my desire to be a wealthy computer book author (as if!).
  

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