Posts tagged with "safari"
That silly story that Internet Explorer users have lower IQs than others may have obviously been a hoax, but even comical exaggerations need a kernel of truth to them to be funny, however small such a kernel is. A microkernel, if you will.
I see your Linux, raise you a Mach
For those who haven't seen the story, a report recently surfaced and went viral that Internet Explorer users have a lower IQ than those who use competing browsers. Opera users were graphed as being the most intelligent, and IE6 users the least.
The story had all the hallmarks of a successful viral campaign. The story exploited existing preconceptions about people who refuse to move to newer versions of IE or to more standard compliant browsers, and successfully played on the anger and frustration web designers and developers feel when having to bend over backwards to accommodate Microsoft's browsers. All the story needed to be perfect was a couple of quotes from a mental healthcare professional working in Minnesota.
Wasn't Alexander Downer from Mayo?
As you probably did too, I didn't buy the story from the start, but it did get me thinking. We all know IQ is as effective at gauging intelligence as the BMI is at calculating your health (Adolphe Quetelet would probably have endorsed Atkins), but what does browser use say about the person using it?
Since IBM handed Microsoft their monopoly in the early 1990s, and since Microsoft decided to illegally leverage their clout to drive browser competitors out of business, most internet users accessed sites through a flavour of Internet Explorer. That's now changing, on three fronts:
- Since Firefox (arguably) ignited the second browser wars and Microsoft realised they were no longer able to rest on their laurels and stifle the growth of online applications that posed a competitive threat to their expensive desktop software, most technically advanced users have jumped ship to Gecko and Webkit.
- Windows, the system that Microsoft used to move people to IE, is under threat on the consumer desktop. The profitable, high end market has been secured by Apple now, and technically advanced users run flavours of [GNU/]Linux. Neither of these platforms run IE natively; at least not any more!
- In the mobile space, the fleeting dominance Windows Mobile and Pocket Internet Explorer had is also over, and their efforts to break out of this rut are largely being ignored in the face of iOS and Android devices.
The slip is the dip
For all but the most die hard Microsoft fans, it's pretty obvious to us what's happening here. With the high end and tech savvy markets slipping away from them, users of Internet Explorer now mostly consists of those for whom the blue e is "the internet" because it happened to come with their cut throat priced beige box, or for those who have no choice on their business machines.
While Microsoft's sudden change of heart with regards to standards has convinced a few to move back, for others its too little, too late. It's hard to find a nerd now not running either Firefox or Chrome, and to a lesser extent Safari and Opera. Web stats on many high profile technical sites are all being reported as favouring these browsers. Not to put too fine a point on this, but those who claim otherwise are ignorant of this, wilfully or otherwise.
What browser a person uses now says nothing about their IQ, but its a safe bet it speaks to their technical proficiency (knowing of alternative browsers, running [GNU/]Linux) or income (Apple hardware), something advertisers might be very interested in.
More than ever before I'm asked why I haven't moved to Chrome, as if it's just the default option and anything else requires an immediate justification. Hey, it's religion and atheism all over again! Anyway here's a pretty table thingy showing why I still use The Firefox.
|Cookie whitelist||plugin||possible||--||--||built in|
|URL blacklist||plugin||yes ||yes ||built in||yes |
|XSS, clickjacking block||plugin||--||--||--||--|
|Debian cert blacklist||plugin||--||--||--||--|
|MD5 cert blocking||plugin||--||--||--||--|
|Sidebar tabs||plugin||--||plugin||built in||--|
|Mac||sort of ||yes||yes||yes||low priority |
I'm not pretending this post isn't biased in favour of Firefox, but as I said they're the features I find important. If other browsers got similar functionality, I would consider using them. If you can see any mistakes in the table or have something to add, feel free to leave a comment and I'll add/fix it :).
Footer note thingys
 I used to use the Firefox plugin, but now I just edit the system-wide hosts file which benefits any internet aware application.
 Firefox is a native, real Mac application (aka no XQuartz) but it uses XUL over Cocoa for parts of the interface and it really shows. It also doesn't have anywhere near the integration (keychains, etc.) that Camino and Safari can boast.
 Chrome is a Windows app first, Linux and Mac app second.
Macslocum over at O'Reilly Answers is asking people to submit their favourite browser plugins and extensions. No prizes for guessing which one I chose!
First Macslocum's recommendations:
Firebug (Firefox) -- I can't believe this thing is free. It's hands-down the best HTML/CSS testing tool I've ever used. It's also incredibly handy when I can't remember my own CSS naming conventions.
ClickToFlash (Safari) -- This automatically disables any Flash-based elements. But unlike strict ad blockers, ClickToFlash gives you the option of activating Flash on a piece-by-piece basis. So if you want to watch a movie on a web page but you don't want to see the Flash ads, just click the movie element and that Flash-based part of the page will load.
How about you? Which plugins/extensions do you use?
For what it's worth, I also highly recommend ClickToFlash to all my Mac friends using Safari, it improves performance and reliability so much it's as if you've just shoved an extra few gigs of memory into your system for free.
My predicable answer
As I've enumerated here many times, I can't use a browser without NoScript anymore, I feel as though I'm in a car without seat bealts, a war zone without a bulletproof vest or a conference without pants when I don't have it. How people think they can be responsible internet users without such software in 2010 baffles me more than... attending a conference without pants. I suppose some people wear business skirts, just not me, surprising though that may sound. Chuck Peddle wears pants, I can tell you that much. And he invented the 6502 for heaven's sake!
If you haven't seen my other posts on this subject, I also talk about my other favourite Firefox plugins in these posts: More Firefox extensions and Firefox extensions. I put way too much effort into those pages! Of all the extensions, most are security related.
Hehe Safari 4.0.4... I suppose if it doesn't download properly you get a 404 error? HA!
Moving on, I just finished downloading the new Safari 4.0.4 release. Reviewed in one sentence: its one slick, fast browser. As I said on MacRumors though (and was promptly ignored) there's still one huge reason why I can't use it.
Each new release of Safari makes it even harder to be a Firefox user, and 4.0.4 is no exception I'll tell you that. Its beautiful and fast even on my 32bit Core Duo MBP.
Unless there is a Safari extension/plugin that does offer that functionality that I'm not aware of, granted it's been a while since I've really checked.
I suppose vendor lock-in comes in many forms.
Whenever Mozilla has released an update for the Firefox 3.0 series recently they've advised us on the Welcome screen and in popups that we should consider moving up to the Firefox 3.5 series, but as far as I know the welcome screen for their latest Firefox 3.0.14 update is the first where they imply sticking with the 3.0 series may be a security risk.
The problem is, for many of us Firefox 3.5 just isn't stable enough for daily use. I've upgraded to each of the 3.5 revisions and downgraded back to the 3.0 series in frustration every time I get one of those insipid "Well this is embarrassing!" crash dialog boxes. I've been dismissed by many people as being a fringe case, but a quick Google search will return plenty of people having similar problems, as well as all the feedback I've got from previous posts here. I've also been blamed for using extensions (a feature of Firefox I was unaware I was not supposed to use) but even uninstalling all extensions and only having one tab open results in the same errors.
If the 3.5 series isn't brought up to a minimum reliability standard before the 3.0 series is retired, I don't have a choice but to leave it for something else. I've started looking into alternatives, but alas I've been spoilt by Firefox for so long it's tough.
I'm in the process of working on a grid to compare these features with Camino, Opera, Safari, Chromium and Links (for fun!) which I hope to have up soon (for Mac, Linux and BSD). If you have any suggestions in the meantime, I'd really appreciate them :).
Things I need
- blanket Flash cookie disabling (a SERIOUS new privacy problem)
- simple to access cookie whitelisting
- Flash and HTML5
- MD5 root certificate warnings
Things I'd like
- advertisement blocking
- ability to list tabs on the side of windows
- grilled cheese sandwich and/or jaffle iron
Because of some poorly formed intranet pages, I was only able to view them in Safari this morning for some reason. Because I already had that browser open I started opening several tabs and going to news sites etc. I clicked on one link and the above error message appeared after a few second long delay where the browser seemed to have completely crashed. Needless to say, it scared the heck out of me!
People have told me I'm paranoid, but this little episode shows there really is value in doing this. If Adobe hadn't included this check, personal information could have been transmitted to a third party. In fact, I used a web browser even as late as last year that didn't include any of these security and privacy features, so for how long was I loading Flash files that could transmit information without my knowledge? I'd rather not think about it.
I talked about the Firefox privacy and security extensions I use in a previous post this month.
Aww shucks :(
While I prefer to use Firefox and Camino on my MacBook Pro and iBook G3, my sister still prefers Safari on her pretty white MacBook because she says its faster and looks better. I'm under the impression Sharon in Singapore uses all three in different capacities too (I think!). Each to their own, right? ^_^
Well this morning I finally got around to installing a new hard drive in her MacBook and installed Mac OS X Leopard fresh for her. While searching for the usual plugins she uses for Safari I came across one that looked so interesting and useful I was about ready to go onto my own Macs and install it myself: GlimmerBlocker.
GlimmerBlocker is an advertisement filtering system that uses a proxy server on your Mac, which means it filters ads on every application you launch (very cool) and as a bonus it doesn't need to hack anything to work (it's not a haxie to use the Mac lingo).
While it seemed like a great idea, upon installing it on Elke's MacBook and my MacBook Pro (my iBook couldn't use it because it has Mac OS X Tiger), the internet connections on each machine failed and we were presented with the cryptic error message shown above upon entering our System Preferences screens.
As it turns out, when the application activated itself it changed the proxy settings on the machines automatically, so when it failed it blocked any internet network requests. By doing so, it seems it also blocked its own attempts to connect to its own server to download the appropriate files. A Catch 22 perhaps? I'm not Bill Kurtis.
The only way to get internet back on our Macs was to uninstall this plugin and restart Mac OS X. Fortunately the GlimmerBlocker folks had good instructions on how to do so on their Trac wiki.
It's a shame, the premise for GlimmerBlocker was intruiging and the features looked promising. Perhaps the next release will work, but I'm somewhat nervous about trying again considering it failed so verbosely on two seperate machines.
The only downside to the new MobileSafari is the permanent Google search box stealing space from the main web address bar. It's not so bad in landscape mode.
The iPhone 2.2 update really has made this device I'm typing on now even more of a pleasure to use. Aside from the downright bizarre new layout for MobileSafari's toolbar, all the new features such as Google Street View (amazing), the podcast downloader (even if you are limited to 10MiB on a phone network connection) and a few helpful tweaks to the home button and to enable/disable auto correction are right on the money. You can listen to Rubenerd Show 257 to hear more about my experiences with the 2.2 update.
None of the features though are what I was most excited about, I was exited about what this update fixed.
At the risk of invoking Murphy's Law and forever jinxing this device, I can say that one of the primary advertised fixes bundled in the iPhone 2.2 update has worked. Since updating I've been able to use MobileSafari to browse all sorts of pages without it crashing at all. It has done wonders for my sanity.
As I mentioned in a previous post (Only problem so far with the iPhone: MobileSafari) before the iPhone 2.2 update MobileSafari would incessantly crash without warning, and it seemed to be getting worse. While it seemed to crash for no apparent reason sometimes, more often it would struggle with rendering larger pages or pages that used HTML forms or Ajax. Curiously it was the only iPhone application that ever crashed on me, and that includes all the third party apps I downloaded from the app store!
As I relegate more duties from my mammoth MacBook Pro to my iPhone, I'm finding myself using more tabs (or whatever they're called in this case) in MobileSafari to multitask. The relief I feel now that I can be confident MobileSafari won't crap out on me is overwhelming.
Thank you Apple for fixing this, it's a fantastic Yule present! Now if you folks could just allow another browser access to this device... say, oh I don't know... Opera then you've got my birthday covered too.
Sent from my iPhone
Freak weather in Australia (torrential storms in Brisbane, fluctuating temperatures in Adelaide, snow in Victoria a week before summer!); my cheesy slogan from primary school; my dad's plant designs in Pinkenba; the iPhone and iPod Touch 2.2 update (still no copy/paste, the amazing street view feature, the new weird MobileSafari layout); Toronto, Adelaide and Dublin; the IntoYourHead show; and utopian science fiction writers!
UPDATE: I referred to the CEO of Microsoft as Steve Jobs not Steve Ballmer! The blasphemy! Please forgive me!