Archive | January 2014

Momondo’s city guides for iPad let you find things to do based on your mood

Travel 520x245 Momondos city guides for iPad let you find things to do based on your mood

Travel metasearch engine Momondo has launched a new standalone iPad app for travelers, making it easy to find things to do based on so-called ‘moods’.

How it works

Currently available for Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, London, New York, Paris and Rome – with more cities en route – Momondo Places features seven individual downloadable guides, which means this can be used offline.

Photo 20 01 2014 14 58 43 730x547 Momondos city guides for iPad let you find things to do based on your mood

Each city defaults to ‘everything’, which covers more than 200 things-to-do for each city. You can flip the guide like a book, skip to specific chapters or search manually.

Photo 20 01 2014 15 00 18 730x547 Momondos city guides for iPad let you find things to do based on your mood

But the centrepiece of Momondo Places are the six moods it lets you search by.

Now, I’d be more inclined to call these category-filters than moods per se – it’s not ‘happy’, ‘sad’, ‘energetic’ etc. It’s ‘Social’, ‘Fancy’, ‘Cultural’, ‘Local’, ‘Family’ and ‘Romantic’, but nonetheless it’s a super-easy way of honing in on the kinds of things you’re looking for.

Photo 20 01 2014 15 00 44 730x547 Momondos city guides for iPad let you find things to do based on your mood

For example, when you apply the ‘Family’ mood, the guide automatically only includes the activities and places it things are suited to this. And you can see everything plotted out on a map too, letting you tap on each site to see more details.

Photo 20 01 2014 15 01 43 730x547 Momondos city guides for iPad let you find things to do based on your mood

Yes, Momondo Places is ultimately an extra marketing arm for the company’s existing flight search engine service, but it’s a nicely designed, useful app that should go down well with travelers. And it’s free, too.

That said, Momondo will need to ramp up the available number of cities, something that is currently in the works, and also make this available for iPhones and Android devices too.

Momondo Places | App Store

So you’ve got a great domain name: Here’s how to protect it from scammers

scam thief 520x245 So youve got a great domain name: Heres how to protect it from scammers

Social security, drivers license, PIN and… domain names? Who would have thought, say 20 years ago, that a defining name, marked with at least two periods and three W’s would be defining characteristic of our digital profiles?

A good domain name can clearly describe who and what something is in a few characters; be it a business, organization, government, or personal blog, an owned domain name is an essential DNA building block to branding, SEO and digital presence.

Domain names have gotten more creative (or complicated, depending on how you look at it) over the past few years. The king of the domains, .com, in the past few year has been challenged by vanity URLs.

With links shortened in vanity fashion to market a company, it’s more important than ever to secure (and never let go!) of domains that could be associated with you main company site. For example, type in http://tnw.to in your search bar and thenextweb.com still comes up.

This opens the door for marketing from the beginning with simple cosmetic alterations on a domain theme. In the quest for obtaining and maintaining the optimal domain name, the stakes can be high – leaving buyers vulnerable to scams.

Take a moment to learn what to watch out for and how to protect yourself against the domain demons.

Registrar switcheroo

Domain name scams can come at you from multiple angles. The two main types of scams, as identified by the Office of Fair Trading in the UK, are registration and renewal scams.

Domain registration scams, also known as domain slamming, happens when the domain name registrar attempts to deceive the owner into transferring their domain over to them from their current registrar.

Example of Domain Slamming phishing email by Network Solutions 730x529 So youve got a great domain name: Heres how to protect it from scammers

An unsolicited domain slamming email from Network Solutions / Wikipedia.org

The non-profit Internet Corporation for Assigned Names andNumbers (ICANN) is the governing body of keeping the Internet operational and stable by providing tech maintenance of DNS root registries and managing net protocol numbers.

ICANN introduced the safety measure of domain locking, also known as registrar-lock, in 2004. When you set the lock it prevents accidental modifications, such as transfers, from happening.

Some domains run on “EPP” code. If you as the domain owner hold the eight character authorization code required to transfer, you must willingly supply it to a domain registrar to transfer.

This extra step requires you to mindfully acknowledge what company you are transferring to. Keep you codes close!

Forget-me-not

Not as common, but sometimes the scammer, or problem, is someone you know or something you forgot. President and CEO of Workbox, Inc., Eric Weidner, has been working on the Web for the past 17 years. He’s noticed some common problems his clients have been forced to deal with.

“The most common challenge my clients have faced is losing logins to their domain name registrar service account, or having logins withheld by a disgruntled employee or subcontractor,” Weidner said. “Retrieving a lost login can be a real nuisance, and people only seem to realize they don’t have them when they need them most!”

Keep logins to your domain name registrar account information updated, safe and only shared between a few people. Always have the information distributed to more than one person in case something happens to the person or their job.

Protect thy name

Another common scam in world of domains is coming out of Asia, mainly from China. The registrar will send a company president or CEO a notification that another company is attempting to purchase domains featuring signature elements of the brand in question.

Additionally, the registrat will claim they saved the day and ethically halted the bulk registration in order for the domain owner to have a chance to purchase the domains instead. The scammer will usually put a one-to-two-week limit on the “hold.”

It’s a ploy that leverages pressure and fear of domain squatters within the company head or domain owner. When the scam goes through, it’s usually the owner attempting to protect the trademark of a company, individual or product.

Arm yourself against this scam by acknowledging that these domains in question often have different top-level domains (TLDs) such as .cn or .in instead of .com. If your company does have business or interest in Asia, take charge and register your domain with a country-specific TLD upfront.

If you are hit with an email that does look like a scam, contact your main domain name registrar that you trust. They will help you move forward with the appropriate, economical actions.

“None of my clients have been scammed to my knowledge,” Weidner said. “But, quite a few have asked me about emails that were clearly scams, and I told them to ignore them.”

Attention to detail

In the next few months, we will begin to see additional generic top-level domains (gTLDs) being registered and used in the mainstream. For example, instead of .com we will see .shop and .Chicago – and potentially other brand-centric ones like .walmart and .msnbc.

With more options for domain variation, there are also unique opportunities for scams. Say you own a website with a country code specific TLD, sampledomain.nz. Another common scam you might experience is an company taking your international domain and pitch you for renewal on one similar, such as sampledomain.info.nz.

The best defense against this is to know what domain you want and read any notifications worthy of attention closely for small details. Mark an alert on your calendar when your owned domain is in need of renewal. This way, any notifications outside of this will be noted as false.

Money back not guaranteed

If you do fall victim to a domain scam, there is no guarantee you can get your money back – whether it’s a $4.50 transfer charge or hundreds of dollars in TLD domain purchases.

Elusive scammers, false names and domain registrars based overseas make it difficult for legal action to proceed. You should file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission if this happens. This friendly, animated video explains how!

Basics bytes

We leave you with some last notes on how to secure your domain from common scams.

1. Irrelevant information, wrong information, misspellings and inconsistencies should be a red flag that the correspondence in question about your domain name is likely a scam.

2. If you do not recognize the person or company who sent the correspondence concerning your domain name, you should likely delete immediately and flag as spam in your inbox.

3. Check the URL details of the registrant (the part after the @) who contacted you on Whois.com. Likely the registry date will have been a couple days prior. The scammer will use this URL and name for a short time before discarding for a new one to avoid getting caught or leaving a trail.

4. Whois.com will also tell you the real expiration date of your domain. Confirm that this matches the number of years you paid for.

5. Scroll to the bottom of this European Domain Centre site and utilize their directory. Check any questionable emails against their current list, the copy and paste the identified spammer email address into your email “block” list.

6. Weidner’s parting words on the subject were, “If you get an email or call that seems at all fishy, ask someone you trust with experience building and hosting websites. Also, be sure you know who your registrar is and that you have access to the login.”

Stay safe out there!

Top image credit: Shutterstock/jesadaphorn

European Commission accepts Penguin’s proposals to scrap Apple ebook agency agreements

154977547 520x245 European Commission accepts Penguins proposals to scrap Apple ebook agency agreements

The European Commission has accepted book publisher Penguin’s proposals to scrap all of its existing ebook agency agreements – including its deal with Apple, most importantly – and refrain from adopting any similar partnerships for the next five years.

Penguin, along with competitors Simon & Schuster, Harper Collins, Hachette, Holtzbrinck, were all criticized for working with Apple and damaging the European ebook market by switching to an agency model.

This allowed the publisher, rather than the retailer, to set the sticker price seen by consumers in digital storefronts. Given that Apple takes a 30 percent cut of each sale regardless, this suited both the publishers and iBookstore vendor just fine. It also prevented other retailers, such as Amazon or Google, from undercutting these prices.

It differs from the wholesale model, whereby retailers are able to negotiate with publishers for the general rights to an ebook and then sell it at whatever price they like. The European Commission has concluded that Apple may have been trying to control ebook prices – a breach of antitrust rules in the European Union.

Under the new agreement, a two year “cooling-off” period will be instigated, by which all retailers will be able to discount Penguin ebook titles as they see fit.

The book publisher is also banned from using the so-called Most Favored Nation (MFN) clause – which meant publishers had to price ebooks on Apple’s services at least as low as the cheapest price offered by any other retailer – in all necessary renegotiations.

Joaqu n Almunia, Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy, said: “After our decision of December 2012, the commitments are now legally binding on Apple and all five publishers including Penguin, restoring a competitive environment in the market for ebooks”.

A similar antitrust case in the United States came to a close in May this year when Pearson, Penguin’s parent publisher, confirmed it would pay $75 million in consumer damages. A US federal judge has since ruled that Apple truly did conspire to raise the price of ebooks across the market.

Apple has since confirmed that it plans to appeal the decision. “Apple did not conspire to fix ebook pricing and we will continue to fight against these false accusations,” company spokesman Tom Neumayr said. “When we introduced the iBookstore in 2010, we gave customers more choice, injecting much needed innovation and competition into the market, breaking Amazon’s monopolistic grip on the publishing industry.

“We’ve done nothing wrong and we will appeal the judge’s decision.”

Image Credit: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Geeksphone’s Peak+ Firefox OS smartphone looks to capitalize on consumer interest, rather than developers’

Mountain Peaks 520x245 Geeksphones Peak+ Firefox OS smartphone looks to capitalize on consumer interest, rather than developers

Spanish mobile startup Geeksphone has started selling a new version of the Firefox OS-based Peak, called the Peak+, which is aimed at consumers, rather than developers as earlier models were.

The device was announced on Thursday and will set back wannabe Firefox OS device owners 149 (excluding taxes) to add their name to the day one pre-order list.

The first handsets are set to start rolling out in mid-September, although if you wait until then to buy one the price will likely be higher as the company is touting the 149 deal as a time-limited offer, though it wasn’t saying exactly what the full price will be when they go on sale from September 15.

peak fullbody 730x517 Geeksphones Peak+ Firefox OS smartphone looks to capitalize on consumer interest, rather than developers

Key specs include a dual-core 1.2GHz processor, 4.3-inch qHD screen, 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a 2-megapixel on the front for video calls or ‘selfies’. It also has 1GB of RAM to keep it all ticking along, pretty much the only under-the-bonnet spec change .

Things aren’t so hot on the storage side of things, with only 4GB on board, but it does have a microSD slot for cards up to 32GB and also includes 25GB of online cloud storage, delivered through a deal with fiabee.

The device follows the release of the Keon and Peak handsets a little earlier in the year, both of which run the open source, HTML 5-based Firefox OS.

However, while both devices sold out of the online store very quickly, they were in fact intended for developers that wanted to start building and testing apps for devices using the platform before the first retail handsets made it to market.

In announcing the Peak+, Geeksphone has recognized that consumers also want to see what all the fuss is about with the new platform, but not compromise on consumer-friendly features like a decent camera or processor, or in this case a slight jump in RAM.

While the specs might not scream high-end (they’re not), Firefox OS is primarily aimed at emerging markets and there are very few handsets available. For a mid-range handset, it’s essentially the best-specced Firefox OS handset you can order today.

Update: After publishing this, a Mozilla spokesman got in touch with the following message:

“Today, Geeksphone announced the pre-sale of a new device based on Boot to Gecko technology. We want to clarify that this new phone that was announced is based on Boot to Gecko technology with pre-release software, but is not a certified or supported Firefox OS device.”

Well, that clears that up then.

Featured Image Credit – Getty Images

Stick around: Loopcam brings giant face stickers to its animated GIF app

Emoticon 520x245 Stick around: Loopcam brings giant face stickers to its animated GIF app

Earlier this year, Japan-based mobile messaging company Line raised more than a few eyebrows when it revealed that it made $17 million from selling stickers during the first quarter of 2013 alone. The likes of Path, Facebook and Viber use stickers too.

Now, stickers, if you didn’t already know, are large-scale emoticons which are used primarily during instant messaging (IM) chats. But as with anything in life, the only limitations are those imposed by your own imagination.

With that in mind, we introduce you to Loopcam’s latest update, as it looks to capitalize on the growing popularity of stickers around the world.

Loopcam, in a nutshell, is an iOS app that lets users create and share animated GIFs. With version 2.3 that’s hitting the App Store today, however, you can now superimpose stickers across a visage using automatic face-detection technology.

a11 730x484 Stick around: Loopcam brings giant face stickers to its animated GIF app

So now, in addition to capturing a series of frames stopmotion-style to create a shareable animation, you can make it look truly silly to boot.

“Being in the center of a highly competitive space drives us to push the boundaries with every step we take,” explains Loopcam CEO Tor Rauden K llstigen. “Learning from the widespread popularity of selfies, our engineers developed an entirely new way to express feelings.”

Loopcam 2.3 is live now.

Loopcam | App Store

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock

Algoriddim launches djay 2, a complete overhaul to its praised DJing app for iOS

djay iPad Photo 1 520x245 Algoriddim launches djay 2, a complete overhaul to its praised DJing app for iOS

Following (but not replacing) the popular iOS app djay, creator Algoriddim has announced the launch of djay 2, a heavily upgraded DJing app that brings new polish and enhancements to its predecessor.

djay earned itself praise amongst both professionals and novices, and according to Algoriddim, djay 2 almost didn’t happen because its creators didn’t want to disrupt this balance.

The app brings in tons of new features, including a refreshed interface, a new music library, a built-in sampler, enhanced waveforms, improved performance mode and audio analysis, and improved external hardware support.

For its first week in the app store, djay 2 is available on iPad for $4.99 and iPhone for $0.99. After a week, the prices will bump up to $9.99 and $1.99 respectively. Check it out via the link below:

djay 2 for iPhone | iPad

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service

Indian operator Reliance puts messaging app Nimbuzz and Facebook hard keys on $42 phone

nimbuzz21 520x245 Indian operator Reliance puts messaging app Nimbuzz and Facebook hard keys on $42 phone

Nimbuzz is responding to increasing smartphone adoption in India after it jointly unveiled the first phone that sports a quick-access hard key to its mobile messaging service.

The phone is manufactured by Chinese firm Haier, but will be branded and sold by operator Reliance from Friday. The Reliance CG300, as it is called, is targeted at the mass market and will retail for just INR 2,499 ($42). That’s down to the fact it is powered by the J2ME platform rather than a more expensive platform like Android, though we understand that the price could drop below $40 in the future.

The BlackBerry-looking phone is fairly unremarkable. It includes a QWERTY keyboard, dual-SIM option and dedicated buttons that load Nimbuzz, which has 25 million of its 150 million registered users in India, and Facebook when pressed.

However, at a price point that nearly anyone can afford, Nimbuzz CEO Vikas Saxena is optimistic that the phone can rival entry-level Android devices (which are priced upwards of $100) to appeal to feature phone owners keen to upgrade, as well as smartphones owners intrigued by a dedicated messaging phone.

While Facebook is also present on the phone, Saxena says that social networks offer “a different experience” to dedicated messages services like Nimbuzz, and he doesn’t anticipate being overshadowed.

The hard key is not a new feature – HTC put a Facebook button on two devices back in 2011 with little success, while Nokia’s $72 Asha 210 has a WhatsApp button – but Saxena believes it will become a more common sight as messaging apps continue to replace the SMS experience for many.

Indeed, he says Nimbuzz is working on other devices with hard keys, although he declines to provide further detail. The aim is to provide a more engaging experience for existing users and battle rivals to drive new user signups.

India’s mobile messaging space is heating up with competitors. Japan-headquartered Line launched a local campaign this month, joining China’s WeChat and local services like BSB-backed Hike and Nimbuzz. WhatsApp, which has 250 million monthly active users worldwide, leads the pack in India.

The CG300 is the latest move that Nimbuzz has made to strengthen its relationship with carriers. In recent months the company has inked terms with Mobilink in Pakistan, Hutch in Sri Lanka and Aircel in India; Saxena says the company has partnered with eight telecom firms in India in total.

Saxena believes the device has the potential to sell “millions” of units, but it will remain an India only initiative.

“Like carriers embracing messaging apps, we’re experimenting with ideas to see what kind of retention and engagement ratio we can drive,” he explains. “The idea is to remove any friction and make the service easy to access.”

The device is Reliance branded and, though the operator is preparing a dedicated data plan to accompany it, it will work on any mobile network across the country.

nimbuzz2 730x434 Indian operator Reliance puts messaging app Nimbuzz and Facebook hard keys on $42 phone

Images via Nimbuzz

BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the ‘$14bn’ lost by credit card users to hidden-fees and errors

CreditCards 520x245 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

Launched in the US back in April 2010, BillGuard sells itself as the world’s first ‘people-powered antivirus system for bills’.

In a nutshell, BillGuard’s predictive algorithms alert users of unexpected charges such as hidden fees, billing errors, scams and fraud on credit card bills. It also issues alerts when a similar dubious charge has been flagged by other users, or receives a complaint elsewhere on the Web. As such, the ‘BillGuard brain’ becomes more accurate over time.

However, BillGuard has thus far been a Web-based entity – until today, that is.

The iPhone app was actually soft-launched back in March as a beta test to garner feedback, but was subsequently pulled from the App Store a few weeks ago when the beta-phase came to a close. From today though, the BillGuard app is live for anyone in the US.

How it works

When you first launch the app you’ll be prompted to log-in, or set up an account if you don’t already have one. You’ll also need to include a 4-digit passcode.

a14 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

b12 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

Next, you’ll need to choose which cards and accounts you want to integrate if you’re setting things up for the first time.

Bear in mind this is a US-only service, and works with the likes of Chase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and so on. Though you can also add your American Express, PayPal and Amazon cards too. It supports 5,000 different accounts in total.

c13 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

d11 220x330 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

You can see a basic at-a-glance overview of all your connected cards, including balances and total amount spent.

edashboard 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

f3 Sidebar With Multiple Cards 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

Push notifications tell you whenever a transaction is made on one of your accounts, and you can dig deeper to see exactly what it was and, indeed, whether it’s kosher.

The ‘smart inbox’ lets you swipe through charges in an email-style interface, while you can also contact merchants directly through the app to resolve disputes.

g1 App Notification 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

h7 SmartSwipe Feature 220x390 BillGuard launches for iPhone to combat the $14bn lost by credit card users to hidden fees and errors

BillGuard says it’s looking to combat the billions of dollars lost by American cardholders each year to so-called grey charges – basically deceptive or otherwise unexpected charges.

Indeed, to coincide with today’s launch, BillGuard is also releasing an industry report on grey charges, claiming that American cardholders were hit with $14.3 billion in deceptive or unexpected charges in 2012. The most prominent type of grey charge is “free-to-paid”, for example when a consumer takes receipt of goods for a free trial period, but then is automatically charged a fee if they don’t return it within a specified timeframe.

BillGuard is a pretty ingenious idea for sure, insofar as users essentially help each other by flagging rogue charges, which help others recognize anything awry with their own accounts. When a charge is repeatedly disputed across the board, it is prioritized for all cardholders who can review it themselves.

“We have built the largest crowdsourced transaction monitoring community in the world,” says BillGuard co-founder and CTO Raphael Ouzan.

“As consumers ourselves, we realized early on that bill checking for most people is a long arduous task that most would prefer to avoid,” he continues. “So we set out to develop a tool that would make bill checking fast, fun and exceptionally effective, with a little help from some very sophisticated algorithms and millions of fellow cardholders.”

We’re told that BillGuard has eked out more than $50m in grey charges so far and, as you’d expect, they’re keen to get everyone on board. “Our data shows that if every American cardholder used the BillGuard iPhone app, the total annual savings in grey charges could top $7 billion,” adds Ouzan.

BillGuard actually added support for Apple’s Passbook application last year, before it even had an iOS app. So this has been a long-time coming.

Pricing

While BillGuard does have a free tier, the premium price for the full service costs $45/year, or $4.99/month, which gives access to more than two cards. Though, as part of the launch campaign, they’re offering premium access for a one-time fee of $9.99 until the end of August.

BillGuard for iOS is available to download now. And we’re told an Android version is currently in the works, with an expected launch some time in Q4.

BillGuard | App Store

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Service

Feature Image Credit – Thinkstock

The UK’s Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

4oD 520x245 The UKs Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

If you’re a fan of Channel 4 in the UK and Ireland, you’ll like the latest update to 4OD.

Both the iOS and Android version of the catch-up TV service now lets users download content to watch on their device up to 30 days after the initial broadcast, with a further seven days offered to watch the content.

This brings the service in line with BBC iPlayer which introduced similar functionality last year, though for now that remains restricted to iOS.

The upshot of all this, as you may have guessed, is that you’ll be able to download shows from Channel 4 and watch anywhere – including when you go abroad on holiday, or any Internet blackspot.

You’ll now see a little download icon next to each programme, but it’s worth noting that you’ll only be able to download a show over WiFi.

4odiphone The UKs Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

An additional update has been introduced for the iOS version in the form of Collections, which are essentially editorial compilations linking programmes together by theme or subject matter.

4odipad The UKs Channel 4 updates its 4OD app on Android and iOS with downloads for offline playback

Channel 4 only launched the native Android app back in February this year, so it’s nice to see it getting the 30-day download window at the same time as its iOS counterpart, even if it has to wait for the additional Collections feature.

The refreshed apps are available to download now.

4OD – Google Play | App Store

Disclosure: This article contains an affiliate link. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question. For more information, please see our Terms of Servic

Microsoft releases IE11 Developer Preview for Windows 7 with updated F12 tools and Modern.IE site

92142700 520x245 Microsoft releases IE11 Developer Preview for Windows 7 with updated F12 tools and Modern.IE site

Microsoft today released its developer preview version of Internet Explorer 11 (IE11) for those devices running its Windows 7 operating system. In doing so, the company seeks to show developers that apps produced for its latest browser will work across many different devices while also showing that its browser is very scalable.

While Microsoft touts IE11 s ability to offer improved browser performance such as faster page load times and new standards support for websites, this release also include a completely revamped F12 developer tools.

Opening IE11 to more people

IE11 first hit the scene at a reveal during the company’s Build conference in San Francisco. Until today, it was only available with Windows 8.1 – and only to those users who feel the risk to upgrade is worth checking out the upgraded OS. The latest version of Microsoft’s browser is billed as a platform to help create “the best experience on the Web” and the company states that browsers are no longer a simple commodity – rather, they’re key platform differentiators.

The IE11 developer preview for Windows 7 is the first time Microsoft is opening up the browser to a large audience, hopefully recognizing that there are many consumers that don’t have Windows 8 installed. Those that install IE11 will receive all of the performance, security, and “under-the-hood” changes highlighted at Build.

Microsoft tells us how great IE11 is

We’ll save you the promotional information about how good Microsoft thinks IE11 is, but in short, the company touts that the browser is the first one to integrate the W3C Resource Priorities standard, which helps to determine what should be loaded first, thereby reducing load times.

Additionally, it supports HTML5 link prefetching and pre-syncing, processes that provide a measure of predictability the browser can use to anticipate where the user wants to go next.

With this release, in order to show how powerful and adaptable IE11 is, Microsoft has revamped its in-browser developer suite of tools. Available since IE8, the F12 toolset gives developers the ability to diagnose and optimize their apps quickly and efficiently. With today’s preview version, Microsoft has added three new tools to help streamline project build times and increase its efficiencies:

IE11 Dev Preview F12 Tools 730x548 Microsoft releases IE11 Developer Preview for Windows 7 with updated F12 tools and Modern.IE site

  • User interface responsiveness and memory profiling: Developers can now look at a website and understand where pain points are in the UI, including if there’s a lag in responsiveness. It can detect where the issue is occurring and give the area to help developers make the necessary adjustments.
  • Live DOM Explorer and CSS inspection tools: A feature that lets developers iteratively understand how IE is laying out and rendering web apps.
  • Emulation tool: F12 now gives developers the ability to look at their site/app as it would appear on a variety of screen sizes, platforms, and devices – all without needing to leave the browser.

Updates to Modern.IE

On top of the the availability of IE11 s developer preview, Microsoft is updating its Modern.IE website, the suite of free tools developers can use to help them spend “more time innovating and less time testing.” These tools are a tad bit different than what developers would receive with F12.

modern.IE Updates 730x507 Microsoft releases IE11 Developer Preview for Windows 7 with updated F12 tools and Modern.IE site

Prior to today, Modern.IE offered three tools to help developers, including a ‘wizard’ to scan sites for problematic coding practices, three months of free virtual testing through BrowserStack, and an editorialized selection of best practices.

Today, the site is receiving several enhancements, including a 25 percent discount on the purchase of Parallels Desktop 8 virtualization for Mac software. The site’s virtual machine offering now includes IE11 testing on Windows 8.1 and Windows 7 and the screenshot tool has moved to be open source – its code can be downloaded off of GitHub today.

Microsoft IE11 developer preview for Windows 7

Photo credit: Oli Scarff/Getty Images

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