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Flock 1.1

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

As the world wide web grows bigger and bigger, internet browsers have become more essential wares than any other software on the planet. Every computer nowadays has an internet browser but most browsers that come with the OS are somewhat basic and doesn't really live up to the end user's needs.

Thats why internet browsers like Firefox became very popular, they have most of what the user needs and more over one can adjust the look and content of the browser by using add-ons.

Many companies have developed internet browsers, this made the browsers market very competitive in terms of design, compatibility and reliability. Today I bring you a very famous browser, some of you might not know it but this little application made it to the #1 on the web browsers most downloaded list on CNET in 2007 and just #9 on CNET's Best Downloads of 2007 list. This little software is called Flock and today I bring you the stable 1.1 version.

When first running the application some people will note the similarities between Flock and Firefox, that's because Flock is actually based on Firefox as the developers thought it would be useful to build thier browser using a successful open source application rather than coding a software from scratch. If you are a Firefox user you'll see that all the menus are similar to those in Firefox even the options window is the same. The only difference that one might notice is that the "Bookmarks" menu have been changed to an all IE compatible "Favorites", and when I say compatible I mean just the name, while all the bookmarks management is done using the Firefox bookmarks organizer. I guess this was done because most IE users gets confused at first when switching to Mozilla's powerful browser, they spend to much time trying to figure out how to add a web address to thier "Favorites" menu, believe me it happens and a lot.

The GUI is colorful thanks to the all new Flock Toolbar, and some other useful buttons like the feed subscriber and media streaming locater buttons that lets you easily manage your feeds while the latter one takes you directly to wherever there is a video playing on the site you're on.

flock GUI

Another useful tool is the Media Minibar, this gathers information from popular media sites, Flicker, Photobucket, Youtube and others. You can use this to see all the newly uploaded videos and pictures on these sites and lets you access them with ease eliminating the agony of browsing and searching through infinite databases.

Bloggers can also enjoy the additional tool that's called The Blog Editor, this little add-on will let you manage your blog posts whether you are using Blogger, Myspace, Wordpress or another blogging host. It comes with a good selection of blog hosts but sadly if your host isn't there you can't add it. But it lists some of the most used blogging hosts out there.

When it comes to browsing, Flock is just similar to Firefox. Obviously the developers didn't change a bit about how the software handles web pages, it's all the same nothing has been added to the browsing experience and nothing has been removed. This might be one of the downsides of Flock as it handles web pages just the same as Firefox, even the download manager is kept the same. One might expect that since they kept all the options and menus the same.

I have used Flock for 3 days now and unfortunately it has crashed more than once. Of course when it comes to softwares, first impressions don't count and Flock is no exception. When I first started Flock I didn't notice the similarities between it and Firefox, well not at first as I was stunned by the way the application looked. But all this fascination was blown away because Flock crashed just after 10 minutes.

This is what happened on my first day with Flock.

I wasn't going to let this stand in my way so I started it once again. This time I thought instead of browsing let's check the features that this tool has. At first I started with the Blog Editor. To tell you the truth it looked nice and I thought that it would be useful to write my posts there but something felt just wrong, I didn't know what it is at first but I sensed something missing. After writing a post there I decided to align my text and BAAAM!!! no text alignment buttons, well nothing is perfect I guess. So I just used my HTML skills and aligned the text. No big deal.

Next I started playing videos using the Media bar, now that is something useful to some but to me it was a disaster. See I have a limitation on daily internet usage and since I live with my family we have like 5 computers and 500 MBs of DL/UL limit per day, that makes it a mean 100 MBs per user and when it comes to videos this limit is just too small. When I started the Media bar it just looked good and it was luring my to play those videos I don't know why but I guess it's something to do with all the fade-in and out effects that are used to display the cliparts of the videos.

Flock is a good addition to your applications list, it has some good features but sadly it doesn't stand out. If you are a Firefox user, you don't need to switch to Flock as everything feels and looks the same. No experience is gained from Flock because even the features that it provides, one can find them as add-ons for Firefox. For example, one might use Deepest Sender, which I'm using to write this post, on Firefox and it works just the same if not even better than Flock's Blog Editor, and it even has alignment buttons. Nearly all of Mozilla's Firefox add-ons works on Flock, so if you're planning on switching you can do so with ease.

Flock 1.1 can be downloaded from Here.



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