Tag Archives: web-browser

How to Convince Someone to Switch Web Browsers

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Someone in the live chat room recently asked how they can convince a relative to stop using Internet Explorer. The answer is that you really can’t – and you shouldn’t. They use what they use because they like it. It’s a matter of personal preference, folks. How would you like it if someone told you you need to stop using Chrome, Firefox or Safari? You’d not be a very happy camper.

If they aren’t happy and are looking for suggestions, then go ahead and give them your ideas. When you try to convince someone to change – whether it’s Web browsers or even religions – you’re superimposing your experiences onto them. You’re forcing your own opinions and perspectives on someone’s life.

If they’re using IE for all the wrong reasons (such as using a very old version), that’s a bad reason. Explain to them why it may not be safe. It may work well and look good to them, but it isn’t safe. Tell them the dangers, and help them understand why they should upgrade or look at a different browser.

If you are going to insist on trying to get someone to change, don’t simply say something is better or faster. You will never win them over. Point out specific features you feel they would appreciate and need that they cannot get in the browser they are using now. The same can hold true if you are talking about phones, gadgets or computers.

Show them something they will be able to do outside of the limitations of what they have now. Ask them what they want their browser (or anything) to do, then show them what fits best with their needs – even if it is Internet Explorer.

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Safari 5


This update contains new features including:

  • Safari Reader: Click on the new Reader icon to view articles on the web in a single, clutter-free page.
  • Improved Performance: Safari 5 executes JavaScript up to 25% faster than Safari 4. Better page caching and DNS prefetching speed up browsing.
  • Bing Search Option: New Bing search option for Safari’s Search Field, in addition to Google and Yahoo!.
  • Improved HTML5 support: Safari supports over a dozen new HTML5 features, including Geolocation, full screen for HTML5 video, closed captions for HTML5 video, new sectioning elements (article, aside, footer, header, hgroup, nav and section), HTML5 AJAX History, EventSource, WebSocket, HTML5 draggable attribute, HTML5 forms validation, and HTML5 Ruby.
  • Safari Developer Tools: A new Timeline Panel in the Web Inspector shows how Safari interacts with a website and identifies areas for optimization. New keyboard shortcuts make it faster to switch between panels.

Other improvements include:

  • Smarter Address Field: The Smart Address Field can now match text against the titles of webpages in History and Bookmarks, as well as any part of their URL.
  • Tabs Setting: Automatically open new webpages in tabs instead of in separate windows.
  • Hardware Acceleration for Windows: Use the power of the computer’s graphics processor to smoothly display media and effects on PC as well as Mac.
  • Search History with Date: A new date indicator in Full History Search shows when webpages were viewed.
  • Top Sites/History Button: Switch easily between Top Sites and Full History Search with a new button that appears at the top of each view.
  • Private Browsing Icon: A “Private” icon appears in the Smart Address Field when Private Browsing is on. Click on the icon to turn off Private Browsing.
  • DNS Prefetching: Safari looks up the addresses of links on webpages and can load those pages faster.
  • Improved Page Caching: Safari can add additional types of webpages to the cache so they load quickly.
  • XSS Auditor: Safari can filter potentially malicious scripts used in cross-site scripting (XSS) attacks.
  • Improved JavaScript Support: Safari allows web applications that use JavaScript Object Notation (JSON) to run faster and more securely.

For more information about fixes that improve performance, stability and compatibility, please see: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4134

For information on the security content of this update, please visit:http://support.apple.com/kb/HT1222

How to Change the Skins in Firefox (Personas!)

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Yes, I’ve recorded thousands of videos for YouTube over the years. I’m considering changing some things up soon, including wearing a Fez hat! The Fez is just so cool. Maybe I’ll add an 8-bit tie or some LED suspenders. I could always don a grunge tee and sweatpants. I enjoy changing up the way things look at times, don’t you? But, I digress. This video is about making things look different in your web browser – specifically Firefox!

Firefox Personas asks: What will your browser wear today?. Personas are lightweight, easy-to-install and easy-to-change “skins” for your Firefox web browser. You can easily switch between Personas with just a few clicks. There are hundreds of Personas to choose from, with more added every day. You can even create your own and share it with other people all over the world. How cool would it be to know that hundreds of Firefox users wanted to dress just like you? Okay – perhaps that’s a tad creepy. But still… it’s kind of cool. Right?

Personas is simple to use, and free! It takes less than 60 seconds to make your browsing experience something completely new and different! Once you install the plugin, just click the tiny fox icon at the bottom left of your browser screen and get started! Presto! Your browser now looks as slick and sexy as you only wish you could.

You change your clothes and look every day – why not change your browser’s, as well?

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What’s a Browser User-Agent String?

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A Browser User-Agent is information that your browser passes along to websites when you visit any particular web page. It’s benign information – mostly about the browser itself to help optimize your experience. There are tons of different web browsers available to use, and each of them has their own unique user-agent string.

When you visit a Web page, your browser sends the user-agent string to the server hosting the site that you are visiting. This string indicates which browser you are using, its version number, and details about your system, such as operating system and version. The Web server can use this information to provide content that is tailored for your specific browser.

The easiest way for you to analyze your own user-agent string is to visit the UserAgentString web site. As soon as you go to the site, you’ll see that your information is displayed on the page, such as the browser and operating system you are using. You can also analyze it on the page – learning what each part means.

This information is being passed along, whether you knew it or not. Other information is being passed along, as well – such as whether javascript is turned on. None of these things are something that should be hidden, or covered up. It’s a good thing for developers to be able to see this information, so that they can make sure their site is working properly for your particular browser.

Trying out this site won’t help you figure out what browser may be the fastest, but it will give you information about the browsers that you may not have known.

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Google Chrome for Mac OS X

Apparently, Google Chrome Will Have Extensions by May. That’s great news for those of you on Windows – even if you’re not running Google Chrome as your default browser, it’s only getting more powerful (and a viable alternative to either Firefox or Internet Explorer).

However, Google Chrome has yet to ship for Mac OS X. There’s half-assed efforts that allow you to run Chrome through a virtual machine, but there’s no way I’d ever do that with any browser (nor would I recommend that course of action).

There’s a sign up page for the first Chrome beta, but look how long it took Google to port Picasa to Mac OS X? Some people have pointed me to Stainless, but I find its UI less-than-impressive. Not to say that Google Chrome for Windows would win any awards, but… the feature set is rather tough to beat.

Until then, I suppose I’ll stick with WebKit nightlies (in the hopes that they’ll adopt a few of the smarter features from Chrome at some point in the future). I asked my Twitter followers what they thought, and the responses were certainly mixed:

roehmholdt: I’ve been asking that question since day one of Chrome.

about 2 hours ago

kalisurfer: we don’t need another sticking browser from google. we already have firefox

about 2 hours ago

chrisgrayson: Google Chrome… without a version for the Mac, I had forgotten it existed.

about 2 hours ago

dkemper: Ah, er, OS X version? Aah, er, shortly. Yes, very soon.

about 2 hours ago

MarkBancks: Maybe OS X will be one of the new extensions ….

about 2 hours ago

chrisutley: Who cares, Chris? Do we really need another browser? Everybody get behind #Firefox and crush IE once and for all.

about 2 hours ago

Fazi14: on the google website they are working on a Mac OS X version.

about 2 hours ago

Xtel: Do you know if there will be one for delicious?

about 2 hours ago

BenWillis: I totally agree, a large portion of the early adoption crowd are mac users, what is google thinking!

about 2 hours ago

jackwilson: RT @chrispirillo: “Google Chrome Will Have Extensions by May.” And when the hell are we going to see a version for Mac OS X?

about 2 hours ago

djbruce: google is already so mac friendly. why would they want to push out safari?

about 2 hours ago

walkinpp: Yeah, I think they need a Mac Version and Linux would be good too

about 2 hours ago

Outsanity: In 2021

about 2 hours ago

jacobovillegas: RT “Google Chrome Will Have Extensions by May.” And when the hell are we going to see a version for Mac OS X?

about 2 hours ago

r0b: I’d like to know when as well. I refuse to run Chrome in VMWare Unity Mode.

about 2 hours ago

pepetideo: you can use the crossover google chrome version for mac… It is not very fast but it works ok

about 2 hours ago

ScottEO: a year later than everyone else for OS X. The usual

about 2 hours ago

jkneen: what is this Mac OSX thing? 😉

about 2 hours ago

jakeludington: you have Google Chrome for OS X, it’s called Safari 😉

about 2 hours ago

ghigliotty: amen! I love it on the pc but work on a mac. Come on googalinos .

about 2 hours ago

clcradio: I am thinking, if Chrome has extensions, no reason why the browser couldn’t be worked in OSX – sounds crazy, I know.

about 2 hours ago

MacTheMan: “Google Chrome Will Have Extensions by May.” And when the hell are we going to see a version for Mac OS X? (via @chrispirillo)

about 2 hours ago

trapline91: There working on bringing it to mac….http://www.google.com/chrome/intl/en/mac.html

about an hour ago

robpickering: Agree with @chrisutley, yawn. Don’t care if they never make it.

about an hour ago

Mat_Lane: I know it’s getting past a joke. I want Chrome now! It will deffo be my main browser when its here for Mac

about an hour ago

ekas93: LOL

about 51 minutes ago

pajamasceo: Yeah really. We need Chrome for the Mac pronto. Are you listening Google?

about 23 minutes ago

Are you using Google Chrome – or am I the only one who really wants to see it running on Mac OS X?

Can you Paint Graphics in your Web Browser?

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I’m still struggling to find an image editor that I can really fall in love with. I’ve tried pretty much everything out there. I want it to be powerful, but simple at the same time. In some cases, all I need is a quick and easy way of doing one thing, and may not have software installed. I could use… Microsoft Paint. What? Nah, not gonna happen. I’m just not good with it, and need something better when creating an image. What do you use when you need to create or draw something? I’m talking simple… not Photoshop Elements. I’m still looking for something I’ll probably never find.

Until I find one that truly floats my boat, I’ll be usingSumoPaint. My friend David sent this along to me. You know I love web-based apps that are useful, and this one definitely is. SumoPaint gives you simple but powerful tools for creating and/or editing images right in your browser. You don’t even have to sign up for an account. There’s nothing to install, of course. You can then save your images to your computer, or to your SumoPaint account if you chose to register one. There are tons of tools included. You can select, move, smudge or blur. You can add text. You can zoom in and out, flip the canvas and so much more.

Thanks, David, for passing this along. It will definitely stay in my bookmarks. I’d love to see something like this inside an Adobe Air application, for sure.

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Ten Reasons to Try Safari 3.1

Safari 3.1 is out. I’ve been using Safari 3.x as my default Web browser for the past few weeks, and aside from a few client quirks (I’m not necessarily thrilled about its tab or window management) it’s been working quite well. In fact, so well that I have no issue in recommending that regular folks use it as their default Web browser… on Windows or Mac OS X.

  1. It’s Fast. Very fast. Very, very, very fast.
  2. No Toolbars. Some might find this a reason not to like Safari, but it’s one of the reasons I love it. The UI is uncluttered – and if my dad used it as his default browser, I wouldn’t have to worry about him installing 5x useless toolbars. Sorry, but I believe the Web browser toolbar is well past its prime.
  3. Compatibility. I’ve only been on a few Web sites that did not work well in Safari, and that’s largely because the Web development team made it impossible to do (not because WebKit is a slouch).
  4. Password Management. I love that I DON’T have to strike a key combo or click a field to AutoFill it before my stored login credentials show up – they just show up automatically like I’d expect them to. Moreover, I can manage all my passwords easily through Keychain.
  5. Made to Help Undo Mistakes. The “Reopen All Windows from Last Session” feature is something that all browsers should come with. No doubt.
  6. URL Path Navigation. Let’s say you’re viewing this particular article on the Web (the permalink for it, at least). In Safari, you can right-click the title in the Title Bar of the window and navigate up through the path on my Web site. Try it – you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it, or previously had to rely on the Google toolbar to give that feature to you in Firefox or IE.
  7. Perfect Amount of Plugins. I’ve only had a few issues with pages that require additional software to run properly (related to Web developers believing that Flip4Mac is the only way for OS X users to view Windows Media files, when in fact we can use either VLC or mplayer). Silverlight works well, Rhapsody works well, and I can watch all episodes of Lost as well as anybody else. I don’t feel I’m missing anything.
  8. Web Inspector. I love this tool. It comes with Safari, and will let you know exactly what might be wrong with a Web page. So, instead of telling someone that “something” is broken and telling them to fix it, you can tell them EXACTLY what’s broken. It’s an amazing Web development tool to boot. Check out the “Network” option in it to see how long it took for EACH PAGE ELEMENT to load. Geeky awesome!!!
  9. History Management. I’m a visual learner, and I most appreciate that Safari shows you a site’s favicon next to the page’s title in History. So much easier to navigate – especially when you know the site’s favicon over anything else.
  10. Search Results SnapBack. Let’s say you click on a result in your default search engine and navigate 20 pages deep into it. You can instantly snap back to your original query by tapping a key combo. Genius.

In terms of JavaScript performance, you just can’t beat Safari or WebKit on any platform – and in a day and age where every other Web site is AJAX’ed out the wazoo, JS perf is paramount.

Firefox 3 is going to give Safari a run for its money – even though I don’t think it’ll ever run half as fast as Safari does (IMHO). The good news is that you can have more than one Web browser on your system at one time, and if you’ve been curious about Safari… there’s no time like the present to try it. It’s available for free for either Windows or Mac OS X. Unless you’re on Linux, you have no excuses (even then, I’d suggest downloading the latest stable build of the core from WebKit.org).

What Web browser do you use, and why? Have you tried Safari before now – did you like it? Am I off my rocker to recommend it to tech neophytes and power users alike?

Speed up Firefox

Mitch Bartlett from our chat room gave me a few “about:config” tweaks to help speed up Firefox, but I’d be interested in learning what y’all have experienced with these settings…

  • content.interrupt.parsing – true
  • content.max.tokenizing.time – 2250000
  • content.notify.interval – 750000
  • content.notify.ontimer – true
  • content.switch.threshold – 750000
  • nglayout.initialpaint.delay – 0
  • network.http.max-connections – 48
  • network.http.max-connections-per-server – 16
  • network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-proxy – 16
  • network.http.max-persistent-connections-per-server – 8
  • browser.cache.memory.capacity – 65536

Favorite Firefox Add-on?

Nathan Havemann has a favorite Firefox add-on. What’s yours?

Been watching for awhile now, and I would like to recommend a handy little app provided by Firefox Add-ons.

This nifty little Firefox add-on is called “mouse gestures“. It’s an add-on that I can’t live without, and it has simplified my life on the web tremendously. That being said, you may have heard about it, may be using it, or you might despise it (or you might not even be using Firefox), but never the less, some of your viewers might find it helpful. How it works is you input commands into your Firefox browser through simple mouse gestures.

For example, if one were to open a new tab, all one would need to do is hold in the right mouse button(the right mouse button must be held down when making a gesture simply to avoid accidental gestures), then quickly swipe the mouse upwards, inserting a command, and a new tab will open for you. At first it seems tedious and slow, but after a few minutes of use it becomes a fast way to input browser commands (its function is similar to hot keys, but in my experience at least, it has proven to be slightly more efficient).

Some additional gestures include right clicking a link, flicking the mouse upwards, causing that link to open for you in a new tab. Also, one could either swipe the mouse to the left or the right when holding in the right mouse button to either browse a page left or right respectively. The gestures listed previously is just a small sampling of the gestures which are available, listed simply due to their “most commonly used” status.

I encourage that you try it out and see for yourself what a great timesaver it is (even though you use hot keys), if that is not the case I am sure someone out there who do not use hot keys would find it useful.

Maxthon 2.0 Problems

Maxthon 2.0 is out of beta, and I still feel that it has a long row to hoe before it’s anywhere near as stable or configurable as Maxthon 1.x was for me. There are a few frustrations that keep me from recommending it over earlier versions. I’m confident these issues can be addressed quickly, but it really shows how Maxthon needs a VERY strong English developer working inside the code (cleaning up grammar, wording, features, etc.).

  • SHIFT+CTRL+Tab dosen’t work.
  • Seems to be a massive visual delay in tab switching when you use F2 or F3 to switch between them quickly.
  • Tab bar view doesn’t work nearly as well as it did in Maxthon 2.x, despite the various settings I’ve tried. I can’t get the widths to remain constant – and even when I have Multiline Tabs enabled, it stretches the actual tab width and keeps the title of the Tab at a fixed length as defined by the settings.
  • The bright yellow color for secure URLs in the address bar is headache-inducing, and not configurable in any manner.
  • I have launched Maxthon 2.0 several times, only to have it randomly ask me to enter my login credentials – not having remembered them from earlier sessions, or having cleared them and forcing me to re-enter them before I can start browsing again. This is a great concept if it works – but it seems not to be working.
  • I’ve had my toolbar icons and settings randomly reset order on several occasions. This is more than mildly frustrating.
  • I went to customize my toolbar again today, only to have the application lock up and flash between the settings window and the browser window almost indefinitely before letting me control the settings dialog again (a minute later). Couldn’t decide which one it wanted me to focus on somehow.
  • The new form fill manager is an improvement, fundamentally – but there’s virtually no management tool to port over and pare down my exhaustive list of forms and logins. This causes the entire browser to freeze for seconds whenever I store new login information. This is more than mildly annoying.
  • Settings dialogs for most of my plugins don’t seem to work?
  • Some advanced settings are still not working, as they’re greyed out in the options panel.
  • Super MSA is an amazing feature – but you can’t enable it automatically, but only on a site-by-site basis. This is a half-baked feature, and one they should be pushing to finish.
  • There needs to be a universal style sheet for sidebar plugins – because most of these plugin developers can’t design to save their lives. Contrast this with the elegance of the Maxthon Setup Center (a beautiful experience).
  • The Float Button setting seems not to work as advertised. Which is to say, it doesn’t work. The old Floating plugin (community plugin) was far better behaved.
  • The inline “Find” applet is woefully inadequate compared to its established predecessors (community plugins) from Maxthon 1.x.
  • I really shouldn’t see Chinese content on the Maxthon plugins site… it’s a HUGE turnoff, and is going to lose you more people to Firefox. I can’t read Chinese, and the plugins are far less useful to me if there’s no English equivalent (or they’re language neutral).
  • The skinning engine may have improved, but much like the Firefox community, there are few usable designs. I’m less perturbed about this, as the new default Maxthon UI is pretty slick (overall, as a shell).
  • Tab shortcut doesn’t work between the address bar and the search bar. You have to rely on another keyboard shortcut (takes relearning rather than intuition).
  • Right-click and scroll wheel do not show open tabs like they did in 1.x.
  • CTRL+Q is a nice feature, but too slow to load thumbnails if you have a lot of tabs open.
  • You can’t close tabs from the same site.
  • I was merely restarting Maxthon from its icon and before the window showed up: “An error has occurred. Please send the bug report to us after browser restart. Fault address: 005075B3 01:001065B3 C:Program FilesMaxthon2Maxthon.exe.” I have no idea what this means, or why this happened. This has happened 3x in the past hour.
  • Launching an empty browser (no start page, not even about:blank) seems to have window (UI) artifacts in the lower left and upper right corners of the window.
  • Launching an empty browser (no start page, not even about:blank) shows “fav: Query Version OK.RemoteVersion 3,LocalVersion 3” in the status bar. I have no idea what this means or why it’s showing up.
  • Sidebar management is really wonky, as new sidebars don’t stack inline with existing sidebars if the sidebar is not already open. Instead, the user has to drag the new sidebar around until it docks and merges with the existing sidebar plugins list. Moreover, there’s no easy way of cleaning up the icons in some of these plugins (another major downfall when allowing developers to create anything without adhering to some set of standards or design elements).
  • You can’t change tab switching behavior – CTRL+Tab should toggle between the two most recently viewed tabs.
  • There’s (that I can find).
  • The “Plugins Optinos” tab is not dynamic, so you must refresh the window after new plugins are loaded. Moreover, there are no sort options (Date, Author, Type, Alphabetical, etc.).
  • You can’t uninstall or disable a plugin by clicking on its icon.
  • When opening a new tab, either blank or a URL, it seems as though the current tab’s contents slide slightly downward and to the right before the new tab fully loads. It’s a visual side effect that seems to be a flaw.
  • Favicon loading is problematic again – which was a bug filed for 1.x, but has returned with a vengeance in 2.0. Instead of adhering to the favicon defined by the current page, Maxthon 2.0 trumps it and pulls the root icon (if one is even defined there). This is a gross oversight.
  • Open all links in selection while performing Super Drag & Drop is still not functioning.
  • I keep coming back to the bugs in the Tab bar, but it’s really starting to annoy me. Instead of a solid positioning of tabs (1st tab is always in one position), it flips lines of tabs (in Multiline mode), much like you would expect it to do if you were using a Settings dialog. However, I’m not expecting this here – and I’m certainly not wanting this.
  • In writing this list, my toolbar formatting has decided to reset itself once again (and I have to go in and re-add the tab management buttons that I had previously placed and right-aligned).
  • Auto-Fit Tabs setting does not adhere to my Minimum width setting, and (again) causes usability problems when many tabs are open at one time. Seems they’re trying to make tab management easier, but have bungled the process.
  • Despite setting Maxthon 2 as my default browser, some links (clicked from utilities like mIRC) are opening in Maxthon 1.
  • In a browser that has an empty start page (and no other tabs open), new pages open on a new tab rather than the first (blank, empty) tab.

They have quite a few things to work on here, and I don’t know where their priorities happen to lie – or how many developers they have actively working on these issues. Not sure if they’re short-staffed, or seemingly don’t understand that these problems take away from the overall experience in what they’ve assembled in a browser.

I will make myself available to any and every Maxthon core or plugin developer to help make this a better experience for everyone.