IE7Pro Saves Internet Explorer 7

I’ve switched from Firefox to Internet Explorer 7. Oh the horror! It’s true, and it was one simple thing that got me to switch, IE7Pro. IE7Pro is an add-on to Internet Explorer 7 that adds all the features Firefox has that made me a Firefox user. I’ve been getting frustrated with Firefox recently. After a browser window was open for a while, performance would become extremely sluggish. The Mozilla Foundation may like to keep to the line that the ‘memory leak’ is actually a feature, but it’s just not acceptable to me when a browser is eating up 500MB+ of memory.

I’ll briefly go over some of the features that have been added to IE7 that has made browsing pretty much as it was in Firefox, minus the performance issues:

  • Ad-blocking. This is probably the biggest reason I didn’t use IE7 in the past, but IE7Pro has a very customizable filter for blocking advertisements.
  • Flash-blocking. Again, many ads are flash-based nowadays, and the flash-block capability is very handy.
  • Search-as-you-type. This does away with IE7’s default pop-up seach box that doesn’t start searching until you hit the search button and implements something that looks very much like Firefox’s search.
  • In-line spell checking. Pretty useful for blogging and posting on forums. It also supports adding user-defined words.
  • Session saver. Saves sessions. It prompts the user to select which tabs to open if tabs were open when the previous browser session was terminated.
  • Undo closed tabs. Accidentally closed a tab? This is a great feature.
  • Mouse Gestures. Instead of need to rely on browser buttons, you can do all your navigation with some fancy mouse-work.

IE7Pro is extremely customizable. Mouse gestures can be customized, as can various keyboard shortcuts. The advertisement filter is easily added to or removed from and search engine aliases can be created, just as in Firefox (for example, type ‘g ie7pro’ to search for ie7pro with Google).

If you’re disgruntled with Firefox’s issues or are restricted in some way by corporate machines perhaps, give IE7Pro a whirl. It’ll make browsing much more convenient.

Finally Some Competition

I purchased my current video card, a 7900GTO 512MB, around a year ago when NVIDIA started clearing stock after the GeForce 8 series launch. As a rebadged and lower binned 7900GTX, it was a hell of a steal at under $300CAD. Since the launch of the 8 series, NVIDIA hasn’t faced much competition in the retail graphics market. ATI’s (or should I say AMD) R600, aka HD2900 was only able to keep up with the 8800GTS 640MB, assuming anti-aliasing wasn’t enabled. Due to the lack of competition both in terms of performance pricing from AMD, the price of the ‘performance mid-range’ 8800GTS didn’t fall more than 20% since that launch a year ago. For the computer industry, that’s hellishly little depreciation.

Which is why I’m happy that NVIDIA and AMD are doing their fall refreshes, but not of their top end. The performance mid range ($200-300) which has been severely neglected by both companies is getting an influx of cards. NVIDIA’s recent launch of the G92 based 8800GT will slot in around $200 for a 256MB version and around $250 for the 512MB version. Those prices are supposed to drop even lower, but with the sky-high demand and poor supply, price gouging has occurred, sending the prices up towards $300. Even still, less than $300 for a card that mostly outperforms the 8800GTS 640MB, which was recently priced around the $400CAD mark is quite an achievement.

On November 19th, AMD is expected to launch a slew of products, including Phenom processors (K10 for the desktop) as well as RV670-based HD3850 and HD3870 video cards. One of the headline features is the inclusion of DX10.1 and Shader Model 4.1 support. Whether these features will be used in upcoming games remains to be seen, but you can be certain AMD will tout its advantage of the 8800GT that doesn’t have support for anything newer than DX10. The cards should slot in from ~$180 to $240. Hopefully this launch will bring down some of the gouging on the 8800GTs. It remains to be seen how these cards will perform in comparison to the 8800GT as well as the outgoing HD2900’s.

I’ve put in a pre-order for an EVGA 8800GT Superclocked, but with supply so scarce, I doubt I’ll get it much before (if before at all) the November 19th launch by AMD. I’m sort of hoping it won’t be back in stock until some leaked performance numbers for the RV670 creeps out. That way, I’ll have a chance to cancel and order the HD3870 is it’s good, or otherwise still be in line for an 8800GT that will eventually be mine. And what good timing with all these new games coming out (Crysis, UT3, Gears of War for PC).

Some Business

I enrolled in what I hope to be first of many business classes at Wilfred Laurier University. Unlike most courses taken over a co-op semester, enrollment in BUS121W, Functional Areas of an Organization, was quite painless. I started filling out a course override form, but after reading this website regarding business courses at WLU, I contacted one of the people responsible for cross-enrollment for the School of Business and Economics at WLU. One email and I was in the class for next semester.

I was initially wary of the cost for a single class – for an engineering student, it happens to be to the tune of around $800. However, a quick tax calculation showed that I’d not be paying anywhere near face value in the end. Since I have two work semesters and only one study semester in 2008, I’ll end up paying a fair amount of taxes. By taking a course in each of my work terms, I become eligible for the part time student tax deduction of something around $150 per month. Plus, taking into account my tuition expenses of ~2x$800 for the two courses, and I’m looking at nearly $3000 in tax deductions. Using a combined federal and provincial tax rate of 21% or so, that works out to ~$630 in tax refunds. I’m almost getting a ‘free’ course if you look at it that way. Spending around $400 for a course is much easier to swallow. Plus, I really want to expand my business and economic knowledge beyond some basic accounting in MSCI261 and economics from ECON102.

I thought this might be interesting for anyone who’s considered taking a course during the work term. I hadn’t thought about it like this before.