Tag: Browsers

Time to stop using Safari?

Oh dear, Dr. Macenstein is reporting that Safari is a resource hog – using up to 76% more resources than Firefox.

According to Dr. Macenstien Safari grabs resources from the system even when idle in the background:

It seems to me that a background application, especially one that should not really be doing anything all that processor-intensive even when in the foreground, should not hog system resources the way Safari apparently does. If Firefox can play nice, why not Safari?

My default browser on the Mac is Flock and my next most used browser is Firefox (with typically 35+ tabs open). After that I use Camino and Safari in that order so this doesn’t affect me to much.

Anyone who is a heavy Safari user might want to look closely at this article and think about using an alternative browser.

How to advertise to me

Advertising any product to me is becoming more and more difficult. It is not just me, there is a growing number of people who are discovering ways to skip ads almost completely in their daily lives.

In my own case, I honestly can’t remember the last time I bought a newspaper but it would be years ago. I prefer to get all my news online.

I use the Firefox plugin Adblock to ensure I don’t see most ads online (see below)

This is the ENN site viewed without the Adblock plugin
Site viewed without Adblock

This is the same ENN site viewed using the Adblock plugin
Site viewed with Adblock

I used to listen to quite a bit of radio when I was on the road. Now however, I fill my iPod with podcasts before setting off on any journey and listen to those instead. This means that I am listening to content of my selection, relevant to my work, and I am not at the whim of whatever presenter happens to be on the radio.

I watch a decreasing amount of television. The TV I do watch tends to be DVDs or movie channels with no ads. I’d potentially watch a little more TV if I had Sky+ (similar to Tivo) but it is waaaaaaay too expensive.

And yes, before anyone says it, I do see the irony of posting this on a site who’s hosting is being paid for by Google ads!

So if you were an advertiser, trying to get your brand/message through to me (and people like me), how would you go about it?

IE7 add-ons

Via Rob Burke, I saw a blog post on the IE blog listing add-ons which are available for IE7 and pointing out a site listing over 400 add-ons.

It is cool that there are now add-ons for IE7 which now give me functionality similar to that I already have in Firefox 2 (in many cases added with add-ons as well).

Unfortunately I couldn’t find an equivalent to my all-time favourite Firefox plugin, AdBlock and even more disconcerting is the fact that many of the IE plugins are commercial (i.e. not free!). Why would people pay for plugins for IE7 when similar plugins are available free for Firefox? Is it simply ignorance?

Internet Explorer 7 has been released

Internet Explorer 7 (IE7) has been released according to Dean Hachamovitch on the the IE7 blog. It is now available for download here.

IE7 will be rolled out via a critical Windows update in the coming weeks which, as I have mentioned previously, will become a support nightmare. For this version it would make a huge amount of sense to have an IE6 look and feel (skin) as the default look with an option to change.

via Scoble

Firefox 2.0 rc2 GB keeps crashing

I downloaded the latest Firefox rc2 this morning. Being based in Ireland I downloaded the English (British) version for my Mac because there is an inbuilt spell checker and I didn’t want all my spelling flagged as incorrect by a US spell checker!

Why is spell checking important in a browser? Well, I write all my blog posts and comments in the browser so having an inbuilt spell checker is, to my mind, invaluable.

However, when I fired it up, it froze on startup! I restarted it and it got going this time. However, it froze twice more, necessitating a force quit and a re-start of the browser. To add insult to injury, the spell checker isn’t available in the English (British) version of Firefox!

I have now downloaded the US version and it appears, so far, to be more stable. Oh, and the spell checker works in this version but it marks colour as a mis-spelling 🙁

Yes, I know I can teach it the spellings but I was hoping to avoid having to do this.

Microsoft! Open Source Internet Explorer

I mentioned previously John C. Dvorak’s PC Magazine article where he calls on Microsoft to abandon development of Internet Explorer because:

All of Microsoft’s Internet-era public-relations and legal problems (in some way or another) stem from Internet Explorer.

He advised them to:

pull the browser out of the OS and discontinue all IE development immediately…. Then, Microsoft can worry about security issues that are OS-only in nature, rather than problems compounded by Internet Explorer.

I was thinking about that article again recently and John is absolutely correct to say that most of Microsoft’s negative image is due to internet Explorer (and how they abused their monopoly to gain it market share).

However, while I think it is extremely unlikely that Microsoft will abandon Internet Explorer, an even better idea might be for them to Open Source Internet Explorer. Think about it. It isn’t like they’d lose any revenue – they already give Internet Explorer away.

If Internet Explorer were Open Source, security holes would be found and patched far quicker. A developer community would quickly emerge and Add-ins/extensions would suddenly abound.

Of course, this would all be very beneficial to Microsoft’s image as well.

In order to do this, they’d also have to de-couple it from the Operating System, but they should have done that years ago anyway.

IE7 + Automatic Update = support nightmare!

The Internet Explorer development team blog is reporting that they are going to distribute Internet Explorer 7 as a high priority update via Automatic Updates. The release date has been set as “the fourth quarter of this year”!

While this might, at first glance, seem a little heavy handed Microsoft have some safeguards built into the system.

  • Automatic Update (AU) will notify users when IE7 is ready to install and show a welcome screen that presents choices to “Installâ€?, “Don’t Installâ€?, or “Ask Me Laterâ€?. Choosing the Ask Me Later option means you won’t be prompted to install it by AU subsequently
  • Also, if you do install it, you can uninstall it by using Add/Remove Programs in the Control Panel. This will roll you back to IE6
  • Users who have AU turned off will not be notified and
  • it will also be available for download via the Windows Update or Microsoft Update sites
  • installing will not change your choice of default browser – this is important because for people who don’t want to use Internet Explorer, but who run Windows based machines, IE6 still has many security issues which are addressed by IE7. Installing IE7 should address these issues but not force the user to use IE7.

For IE7 to work on your PC you will need to be authenticated using the controversial Windows Genuine Advantage tool.

This all seems straightforward enough until you consider someone like my father. My father is in his 70s. He browses the ‘Net daily. If presented with the option to install a security update, he has been trained to click accept (without trying to comprehend what specifically it is patching). If he accepts this and suddenly his browser experience changes (sites that used to render properly no longer work) he’ll be completely confused. He wouldn’t know how to uninstall.

I can see lots of support lines lighting up in “the fourth quarter of this year”!

Firefox 2 Beta 1 review

Mozilla announced yesterday the release of the latest beta version of Firefox – Firefox 2 Beta 1.

I downloaded a copy to try it out. As always on the Mac, install was the extremely straightforward drag and drop.

On launching, Firefox checked my extensions and disabled almost all of them (except Adblock – phew!). It then checked for updates to my extensions (found none) and promptly crashed!

Firefox 2 Beta 1 crashing on launch

Not very confidence inspiring.

I launched it again and this time it stayed running!

According to the launch notes, this version of Firefox 2 Beta 1 is supposed to have:

  • Built in Phishing Protection
  • Search suggestions now appear with search history in the search box for Google, Yahoo! and Answers.com
  • Changes to tabbed browsing behavior
  • Ability to re-open accidentally closed tabs
  • Better support for previewing and subscribing to web feeds
  • Inline spell checking in text boxes
  • Search plugin manager for removing and re-ordering search engines
  • New microsummaries feature for bookmarks
  • Automatic restoration of your browsing session if there is a crash
  • New combined and improved Add-Ons manager for extensions and themes
  • New Windows installer based on Nullsoft Scriptable Install System
  • Support for JavaScript 1.7
  • Support for client-side session and persistent storage
  • Extended search plugin format
  • Updates to the extension system to provide enhanced security and to allow for easier localization of extensions
  • Support for SVG text using svg:textPath

Amongst my favourite features in this list are the the ability to re-open an accidentally closed tab and the built-in spell check. The ability to re-open tabs is accessible by right-clicking on any tab or by choosing the Recently Closed Tabs command under the History menu.

The built-in spell check means I now have no excuse for all the mis-spellings in my blog posts!

Firefox' built-in spell check

As well as checking words, you can add words to the dictionary so they won’t be flagged as mis-spellings in future and in time it will be possible to change the language away from the default US-English. If you attempt to change languages currently it tells you that this command hasn’t been hooked up yet but that alternative dictionaries can be downloaded from the Thunderbird Localised Dictionaries site. While these dictionaries can indeed be downloaded, they are not available for selection after being installed, even after a re-start. More work needs to be done here I think.

Overall, the beta version seems to perform quite well despite the few glitches mentioned above. It even seems marginally faster than Firefox 1.5 but this could simply be because most of the extensions are disabled!

Flock browser review

I have been using Flock since it was first released last year and I have been impressed at its progress (if a little frustrated at it’s rate of progress!).

I like the seamless implementation of social media like Del.icio.us and Flickr into Flock. In fact, it was Flock which got me into using Del.icio.us. Flock was even my default browser for a while (at any one time I have Flock, Safari, Firefox and Camino running simultaneously). I stopped using Flock as my default browser however, because of its patchy support for the minimum set of extensions I want to use (SessionSaver, FlashBlock and AdBlock).

The latest version of Flock launched last week and I thought I’d give it a whirl. I heard the developers discussing the photo uploader on the TalkCrunch podcast and it sounded interesting so I have been playing with that particularly (see screenshot below).

Flock image uploader

The Flock photo uploader is fantastic! There’s no other word for it. It is simplicity itself – drag an image to the photo topbar and the uploader opens ready to upload the image.

I was previously using a plugin for iPhoto to upload my images to my Flickr account but it was very clunky. It frequently hung in the middle of image uploading and there was no way to associate photos with a Flickr set. That had to be done manually after uploading. This is all a thing of the past thanks to the Flock uploader.

As well as uploading to Flickr the Flock uploader allows you to upload to PhotoBucket. Now if only they’d implement uploading to Zooomr, I’d be able to upload to my Zoomr account from within Flock as well!

Microsoft to start supporting Firefox?

I write posts here with boring regularity on Microsoft’s latest releases. They all follow a similar pattern – “I have just heard that Microsoft have just released [insert product name here] unfortunately it doesn’t work in Firefox/Mac”.

Now, however, I have acquired an unlikely ally in Robert Scoble – Microsoft’s chief blogger! Robert said in a post yesterday

if you want the most passionate people in society to use your stuff, you must support Firefox…. I won’t link (or say anything nice) to any Windows Live service that doesn’t support Firefox.

If the Microsoft development teams take note and start to release products with Firefox support, this will mean far better products, reviews and PR for Microsoft.

What will I have to complain about though!

I see Damien and Dennis Howlett have responded to Robert’s post as well.