Tech + Lifestyle

games, gear, and googleplexes (joke)

Browser Wars

So: we’ve got lots and lots of new browser upgrades. That’s always fun, right? Except when it’s not. My experiences with Safari 4.0, the latest Firefox 3.5, and Opera 10 beta 1 have been something of a mixed bag. Far be it for me to pretend any sort of expertise in this area, but it seems as though some of what’s been promised hasn’t lived up to expectations. Diving in:

Safari 4.0 does the Speed Dial - Apple style.

Safari 4.0 does the Speed Dial - Apple style.

Safari 4.0: Like all the other updates, this one is supposed to be faster. That’s all well and good, only I can’t tell any difference. That’s partially because I’m constantly dealing with subpar internet access, but partly because the speed enhancements are on such minute and insignificant little bits that most users can’t tell. Souping up the use of bandwidth-intensive resources is good, but right now I’d rather them give me some killer features or add-ons for the browser. That brings me to my next point. Safari has incorporated a Top Sites page that comes up if you don’t have a home page or whenever you open a new tab. It’s basically a copy of Opera’s Speed Dial, but all shiny and more visually attractive. It works well enough, though I’m not such a big fan of how it sorts through my browsing and automatically adds stuff. That’s great, unless you don’t want people seeing what you do. I’d like to keep my 4chan activity to myself, thanks very much, nasty den of iniquity that it is.

On the left? Lies and falsehoods. On the right? Beautiful truth.

On the left? Lies and falsehoods. On the right? Beautiful truth.

Opera 10 beta 1: I’m sure there were more improvements than this, but my main takeaway from the new beta is this: it’s supposed to use new compression technology to make slow connections faster. I got really excited when I read about that – I’m basically the perfect candidate for it, what with blazing through the interwebs at just under the speed of dial-up at my Chinese university. The verdict? I can’t tell a difference, and at some points it actually felt slower than Firefox or Safari. Maybe technically it’s better, but like Safari’s vaunted improvements I just can’t feel the difference. On a much, much more positive note, the ability to resize tabs and show real-time thumbnails of the webpages is absolutely amazing. It’s a great feature and I’m wondering why nobody has ever incorporated it before.

Firefox 3.5.whatever: I signed up for the Firefox beta testing team out of some sort of misguided belief that I’d be getting cool new features ahead of everyone else. I think mostly they’re having us test bug and stability fixes. Also? I’m not exactly a good beta tester, because I can try out pages at a rate of about one every seven minutes. That’s not exactly what I would describe as a serious contribution.

Let’s see… IE8 is a huge improvement, blah, blah, blah, but Microsoft doesn’t deem it necessary or worthwhile to make OS-X and Linux versions of their browser. Granted, I don’t actually know of anyone that would use such a thing, but it makes them seem a bit arrogant from my perspective. Chrome is technically available for OS-X right now, but it’s in scary-alpha-mode at the moment, and I draw the line at testing something that I know without a doubt will have serious flaws or limitations (cue the mockery from Zach).


June 18, 2009 - Posted by | Tech | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. I recently came across this video about IE 8. I found it humerous. Explains features in a funny…though strange way. My favorite part was the villans….

    Comment by amy o | June 19, 2009 | Reply

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