Archive for the 'Internet' Category

Browser Updates

February 25, 2009  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

There are two pieces of browser news from this week. First, one of my old favorites, OmniWeb, was released as freeware yesterday. I am a big OmniWeb fan, but I honestly have been finding myself using mostly Firefox and Safari. This is mostly due to the constant stream of new features being added to the latter two browsers. Still, competition is good. And I hope that the freeware label doesn’t keep the skilled developers at the Omni Group from making OmniWeb even better.

The second piece of news is the release of the Safari 4 beta. There are lots of changes in this release, including a new tabs paradigm and a new Top Sites page. I won’t say the “c” word (“copied”), but both features are very reminiscent of Google Chrome. I downloaded Safari 4 yesterday and have been using it ever since. Its fast, and I like the new Top Sites page (pretty and functional). I’m not sold on the new tabs, though. I like them in theory, but a few quirks keep me from being sold entirely. The small font size in the title bar is distracting. I have been using Mac OS X for a long time now and I am used to the title bar font being a particular size. The smaller size may be necessary to fit in the tab titles, but it puts me off.

My real problem, though, is how it’s now possible to accidentally switch tabs when switching windows. Before, I could click anywhere on the title bar to bring a Safari window to the front. Now, if I click on one of the other tabs, the window comes to the front but the tab changes. So the area I have to click on is smaller. It’s something of a small ergonomic disaster for me. Thankfully, this problem can be fixed without changing the tab paradigm. All Apple needs to do is put in an option allowing clicks on a background Safari window to no longer change tabs. Then I would be happy.

Chrome No Longer Under Wraps

September 2, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

One of the biggest surprises of the summer has to be Chrome, the open source web browser from Google. Chrome for Windows was released today, with versions for Mac and Linux coming later. Google put together a web comic describing their rationale behind Chrome and its major features (its also available as a Google Book).

The best way I can describe Chrome is to say that it’s designed for web applications, in contrast with other browsers which were designed primarily for web pages. Because of its architecture (described in quite a bit of detail in the comic), Chrome should be more stable and responsive when one tab or window gets a bit unruly.

I have downloaded and installed Chrome – a process which was surprisingly quick – but haven’t had a chance to put it through its paces. The few sites I did visit loaded quickly and everything seemed quite crisp. I look forward to the Mac version of Chrome.

Top 10 Firefox 3 Features

May 21, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

There is a nice article over at Lifehacker on the top 10 Firefox 3 features. I still use an army of browsers at home, but I have been warming up to Firefox 3 (which I use almost exclusively at work). I can’t wait until some of these new Firefox features make it into Camino (I hope!).

Mac Browser Lineup, Part Deux

March 31, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Not to be outdone by Mac Law Students’ excellent article, Macworld today posted their own Mac Browser Roundup. It’s light on lawyerly details, but it covers the basics quite well. I still run with my own mix of Safari, OmniWeb, and Firefox (3.0 beta) for reasons that are beyond explanation.

Lexis and Westlaw Mac Browser Lineup

March 22, 2008  (Jeffrey Kabbe)

Mac Law Students posted a nice review today of the current state of the Mac browser field. The focus of the review is how nicely each of the eight browsers reviewed plays with LexisNexis and Westlaw. Safari 3.1 seems to be the best of the bunch (which isn’t surprising given the effort put in to making Safari standards-compliant). Really, though, none of the browsers did poorly. It’s obvious that both Lexis and Westlaw are designing their sites now with more than just the Windows / Internet Explorer world in mind.

I like (and dislike) a variety of things about Lexis and Westlaw. During law school I primarily used Lexis because Westlaw has historically not played well with tabs. Westlaw’s frame interface throws a wrench into my use of tabs. Invariably, I would click on a Westlaw link in the current tab and nothing would happen – or so it would seem. What actually happened was that a page somewhere on one of my other tabs had been replaced because Westlaw decided that particular tab had the window the page should be loaded in.

One reason I do like running Westlaw on a Mac browser is that Westlaw prints and downloads work better. I am not sure if it’s a bug or a feature, but if I switch to another application while doing a Westlaw print in Internet Explorer (on Windows XP), the Westlaw popup window closes and the print stops. The same thing happens if I switch applications during a download. It’s irritating that Westlaw forces me to sit there and watch, unable to do any other work on the computer, while it’s building the pages. Westlaw doesn’t do this on any of the Mac browsers I tried. For some reason I haven’t tried Westlaw on Firefox for Windows. Does anyone know if Firefox for Windows has this “feature”?

One omission from the review is Firefox 3.0. The Firefox team recently released Firefox 3.0 Beta 4, and I haven’t encountered any problems with it (unlike with Beta 2). Firefox 3.0 is getting close enough to an “everyday browser” that it should probably have been included.