Does Opera outperform iPhone's Safari browser?

The problem with statistics is that it's too easy to jigger data down to numbers that prove in the end how quickly the exercise can resemble art as much as science. Take the latest stats regarding Opera's mobile performance, for instance. StatCounter's Tuesday graph showed proof of Opera's climb above the iPhone's Safari browser for the month of May.

Yet the claim that "Opera took 24.6 percent of the worldwide market compared to 22.3 percent for iPhone" is quickly followed by the admission that one only needs to calculate page views … Read more

Categorical data, manga style

These days I don't have much time for reading. More accurately, I don't make much time for reading as XBL and P90X take up any extra time I may have. This year, however, I vowed to read two books per month. Having only completed three so far, I'm a bit behind.

So imagine my disappointment surprise when Crave Senior Editor Leslie Katz barges steps lightly into my office and forces politely suggests that I write a blog on a couple of books she'd just received. Seriously, how could I say no to that?

So, yes. I didn't seek out the "The Manga Guide to Electricity" and "The Manga Guide to Statistics" myself, but I'm thankful they were forced down my throat came across my desk.

So far, I've only read through the first few pages of "Electricity" and the first chapter of "Statistics." Based on my limited exposure, I'm impressed by the $19.95 books' ability to inspire me to want to want learn more about two subjects I previously had little to no interest in. Kinda like having the hots for a Trekker in high school inspired me to learn Klingon. Or at least try.

The books are part of a series of manga guides by No Starch Press, a publisher of geek entertainment. Each book tells a story in the manga (Japanese comic book) style of a young girl being educated about the book's subject. If you've ever seen anime or manga you'll know what to expect here: huge eyes, gaping mouths, and of course, young girls in schoolgirl outfits. The art, however, never gets what I would call racy.

The real strength of the art is in its simple, clean lines that assist in the very pragmatic approach to teaching. … Read more

No surprise here: Oprah appearance huge for Twitter

Twitter's much-publicized appearance on Oprah Winfrey's talk show last week did a real number for the microblogging tool's traffic, a report from Hitwise indicates.

On April 17, the day of the show--when CEO Evan Williams appeared on-air and Winfrey herself began Twittering--a whopping 37 percent of visits to the home page were new visitors. That's a high number even for the fast-growing Twitter. Keep in mind that many avid Twitter users rarely even visit the home page, instead relying on desktop- or mobile-based third-party applications, so the jump might not look quite as drastic … Read more

Social networks, blogs more popular than e-mail

Interesting new data from Nielsen Online says "member communities" (e.g., social networks and blogs have become more popular than e-mail.

While the data does not show a dramatic difference between member communities and e-mail use, in terms of percentage points, it does reflect an impact that social communication is having on the way we work and communicate.

Of course, the other side of the equation is finding out how the sample data was taken and if it's based only on consumer data. Nonetheless, it shows that information is moving online, not getting stuck in e-mail boxes. … Read more

Nielsen: Twitter's growing really, really, really, really fast

A small new survey from Nielsen about the five fastest growing "member community destinations" in the U.S. reveals what we all kind of knew already: Twitter is at the top. From February 2008 to February 2009, it clocked in at a whopping 1,382 percent growth rate. That's to be expected, considering the amount of press the still-without-a-business-model microblogging service has gotten in recent months.

In third place is Facebook, with 228 percent growth year-over-year according to Nielsen. That's not terribly surprising, as Facebook is still growing in the U.S. but not quite as … Read more

Three-in-one Web browsing with Lunascape

If there is one battle that continues to rage, it's the war for browser supremacy.

While exact market share figures change on a daily basis (and vary widely from site to site), Microsoft's Internet Explorer commands about 65 percent of the market, Mozilla's Firefox about 20 percent, Apple's Safari about 8 percent, and Google's Chrome about 2 percent.

There are three main rendering engines:

Trident, from Internet Explorer, is used by many applications on the Microsoft Windows platform to render HTML, including the minibrowsers in Winamp and RealPlayer. Gecko, Mozilla's open-source rendering engine, is used by a variety of products derived from the Mozilla code base, including the Firefox Web browser. WebKit, originally from Konquerer, and currently best-known as powering Apple's Safari and Google's Chrome Web browsers.

Different engines mean that developers (and users) are still forced to contend with Web sites that are designed with one specific browser in mind. This often means a lack of functionality or a flat-out inability to use a site with the wrong browser.

Lunascape, (currently Windows-only) is a triple-engine browser that has a new take on the "browser wars." Launched in November 2008, Lunascape continues to push the envelope with its latest beta. In addition to improving the core triple-engine technology, new features include toolbar shrinking, appropriate for Netbook users who require low CPU usage. With this update, Lunascape claims to have the fastest JavaScript execution, according to the SunSpider JavaScript test. … Read more

Facebook hits 175 million user mark

A little more than a month after announcing it had 150 million active users, Facebook has reached 175 million active users--the statistic the social-networking site prefers to use, rather than registered accounts overall.

Dave Morin, who runs Facebook's application platform team, announced the milestone Friday evening on his Twitter/FriendFeed. Facebook reached 150 million just more than two months after reaching 120 million and about four months after reaching 100 million.

While Facebook got its start at Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., in 2004, most of this recent growth is coming from outside the U.S.

"This includes … Read more

Pew analyzes the Twitterati, or not

When is a Twitter user not a Twitter user? Well, according to a new study from Pew Internet, "Twitter user" is a broad definition.

The research firm released a study this week in which the results indicated that in December, "11% of online American adults said they used a service like Twitter or another service that allowed them to share updates about themselves or to see the updates of others." Wow! Twitter sure is catching on!

But then you read the fine print: The catch here is that "update your status" is also a … Read more

Whee! New numbers on social network usage

The blogosphere simply loves to slurp up social-networking traffic stats, and on Monday we got a nice tasty serving of them with some new numbers from for the month of January. The results? Facebook is in the lead, with about 68 million unique visitors, well ahead of MySpace's 58 million. (The two are pegged at 1.1 billion and 810 million page views, respectively.)

This may be the first survey we've seen that puts Facebook ahead of the News Corp.-owned MySpace in U.S. traffic. It also puts Twitter as the third-biggest social-media site in … Read more

Facebook now twice as big as MySpace? Oh boy

The blogosphere's love affair with Facebook-MySpace traffic wars just won't stop.

On Thursday, TechCrunch posted new statistics from ComScore that show Facebook now pulling in nearly twice as many unique visitors worldwide as its News Corp.-owned competitor.

About 222 million people visited Facebook worldwide in December (keep in mind that the social network pegs its active user count somewhere just north of 150 million these days) versus 125 million people for MySpace.

This comes less than two weeks after other ComScore statistics indicated that not only was MySpace still bigger in the U.S., it was way … Read more