Friday Four: Germans vs. IE, Verizon Thinks You’re Dumb, New Twitter, and Government Made Easy */?> Friday Four: Germans vs. IE, Verizon Thinks You’re Dumb, New Twitter, and Government Made Easy

Posted by · September 21, 2012 11:21 am

We know that you already know the iPhone 5 is in Apple superfans hot little hands today, so we’d like to do you a favor and share some news other than how they are convincing themselves how great it is, and that Apple iOS Maps sucks.

Internet explorer

Image: Microsoft

A few days ago, the German government told their citizens to stop using Internet Explorer. Has the user experience gotten that bad? Not quite- there are a number of security holes that Microsoft has yet to patch up. One researcher said he discovered a reason to believe that hackers were trying to infiltrate defense contractors, according to the country’s Federal Office for Information Security (BSI).

Microsoft’s advice? “Make sure antivirus is up to date.” Obviously they aren’t going to tell users to try different browsers; anyone who is reading this already knows once you go non-IE, you never go back. I can’t imagine our government would ever do anything to alienate Bill Gates, so we will take the honor of telling you- be careful using IE right now, folks.

This week, Congress released a search engine geared towards helping people find information about legislation. is still in beta, but is meant to replace the current search, THOMAS, which was developed in only three weeks and launched in 1995. The search tool is also optimized for mobile and makes info available to other engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing, whereas THOMAS’s outdated functionality did not. The user-friendly engine capitalizes on the intuition cultivated by the other search giants- one search bar for all data.  Just in time for election season, it might actually get used by citizens other than law students or high-schoolers cramming for their AP Government tests.

Smartphones are getting smarter, but mobile plans from big carriers are getting dumber. At an investor conference today, Verizon’s CFO Fran Shammo told the audience that the mobile company has been successful in gaining new customers with their “Share Everything” data plan now that unlimited is unavailable. Their triumph stems from a sales tactic of explaining to customers that mobile users don’t have a realistic concept of how much data they actually need.

“Unlimited is just a word, it doesn’t really mean anything,” he said. “That whole unlimited thing I think is going by the wayside.”

So now that you have your amazing new iPhone with a bigger screen, don’t be planning to watch any streaming videos from Netflix or listening to iHeartRadio during your workout. You’ll be paying overage charges by next week.

Twitter profiles got a new look this week, featuring a header image similar to Facebook’s “cover” picture, and a display of photos on the sidebar. Once you set your header image, it places the text of your profile info on top of that image.Twiter CEO Dick Costolo visited The Today Show to announce the changes, along with a new iPad app. Pro tip: use an image with the correct size dimensions to avoid a blurry, stretched or pixilated appearance. The dimensions should be 1200x600px to achieve the best look on your page.

I remember a time when everyone started migrating to Twitter and Facebook for their lack of over-customizability, a la MySpace.  At least the microblogger got the name right- Facebook annoyingly has the masses believing they are on the front page of a whole magazine about themselves. Least of all does it actually cover up anything.