Tagged: Safari

Web browser choices have never been better for Mac users

Popular Mac Browsers

Some of the most popular browsers from Mozilla, Google, Apple, and others

When Apple first released Mac OS X a decade ago, Mac users had little choice in web browsers. There was Microsoft Explorer, and Netscape Navigator, and… well, that was it. Soon after we were treated to a few more options, but nothing like we have today.

With Safari shipping on every Mac, and the world-wide popularity of Mozilla’s Firefox, you would think there wouldn’t be much room for competition in the web browser market. But the options have actually never been better for Mac users. (more…)

Firefox 4 leads Mac browsers in battery life

Web browser effects on battery life

Firefox 4 is the best battery life browser for Mac users

Microsoft has released a fairly extensive study of browser use on laptop computers and the effects on battery life. Not surprisingly, IE 9 comes out in the lead overall. As far as Mac browsers go, Firefox 4 takes the crown, followed by Chrome and Safari. Opera brings up the rear in the study.

I’m not sure about the usefulness of the information, as your use of the browser is only one aspect in terms of how long your MacBook’s battery lasts. And how many people use enough Watts of power just surfing the web? But the information provided is interesting nonetheless.

Web developers and designers: How fast does your page load?

loads.in

loads.in is a great site to test your web page load speed

In a day and age where a good majority of web surfers have high-speed Internet, web developers and designers still must concern themselves with page loading speed. Javascript, JQuery, Java, Flash, and large images can slow the load time of any given page. The best way to test the speed of your web pages is to use an off-site app to test it.

Loads.in is a great site to do just that. You simply type in the URL of your web page and wait a few seconds for the test to run. Once completed, a display of average load times is provided. From there, you can select cities in various countries from a list and retest your page. Additionally, you can choose to use IE, Safari, Chrome, or Firefox to run the test.

Countdown to IE6 extinction: Even Microsoft wants it!

Microsoft is behind the IE6 countdown site, which endeavors to let the world know just how many (or few, as the case is) IE6 users are still out there – which currently stands at a mere 12 percent of the web browsing population.

IE6 use worldwide

IE6 users account for less than 3 percent of U.S. browsers

As a web designer or developer, you’re probably sick and tired of working around the fact that your company wants IE6 compatibility with their website. But my question to you is, WHY do you continue to do it?

Unless your primary audience lives in China (34.5 percent) or South Korea (24.8 percent), you have little reason to care about IE6 users – which are probably people who don’t care about your site to begin with. In fact, half of that 12 percent can probably be attributed to servers or computers not actively used by humans.

Here in the U.S., less than 3 percent of the web browsing population uses IE6, and you can safely assume that those people probably are on dial-up connections, or do little surfing to begin with. After all, wouldn’t you grow tired of seeing all the “sorry, this doohicky site won’t work with IE6” error messages and just click that upgrade button eventually if you had a nice speedy cable connection? There’s most likely a reason they aren’t upgrading.

Just stop worrying about IE6 users and move on. The web browsing public is much more savvy today than they were just a few years ago. If they’re truly interested in your site, they WILL upgrade their browser.

To help encourage browser upgrades, the IE6 Countdown site even offers a simple HTML code you can place in the header of your HTML that pops up a banner encouraging an IE6 visitor to upgrade.

Add Twitter capability to Safari with Ostrich extension

By now it should be no secret that you can add extensions to Apple’s Safari web browser. One new extension allows you to read and send Tweets with the click of a button.

Ostrich is accessed through a button in your browser bar which drops down an overlay window containing Tweets from your Twitter stream. The icon also notifies you of the number of unread Tweets with a red badge.

Ostrich for Safari

Ostrich adds Tweeting to Safari with the click of a button

One of the few features of Ostrich is the ability to automatically add a link to the page you’re currently on to a new Tweet, which you access by clicking the plus button in the upper right corner. And that’s what brings me to the single problem I have with this extension. When you click that plus button, a new window is spawned with a tiny text entry box; a royal pain in the behind, if you ask me. To be fair, the Ostrich feedback page does indicate that the developer is working on adding text input without spawning a new window.

Ostrich isn’t for everyone. Twitter power-users will want to avoid it due to it’s simplistic interface and lack of extra features. But if you’re only the occasional Tweeter, or you own a Macbook with a smaller screen and are trying to save screen space, Ostrich might fit the bill.

Where to get Safari 5 extensions

Safari

With Safari 5 offering the ability to add features via extensions, but a central extension site hosted by Apple still not available, you might be wondering where to find some great extensions to expand your Safari web experience.

You could spend an afternoon Googling for them, or you could visit the following sites, which already offer links to numerous great extensions.

Safari Extensions Tumblr blog – Jonas Wisser has set out to list every available Safari extension he comes across. The site lists links and screenshots for the extensions. Generally speaking, this is the first site you’ll want to check.

PimpMySafari – This site has been around for a long time, but with the release of Safari 5 and a new site owner, it’s taken on new life. Unlike the previously mentioned blog, PimpMySafari promises to feature only the best extensions as determined by Scott Jangro. The site also features plugins and other ways to pimp out Safari.

Reddit Extension list – Some dude over at Reddit has composed a list of great extensions. I’m not sure how long the list will remain useful.

Safari Extensions list – Mac OS X Tips (a UK site) has put together a small but useful list as well. Be sure to check this site out for other useful Mac OS X tips!

Apple will soon offer a list on their site of “approved” extensions, but until such time, these sites offer plenty of useful add-ons for Safari users.

Web browsers on the Mac: They all suck, except for Chrome

Google ChromeWith the recent update to Opera 10.5 for Mac OS X, I decided it was time to take a look at all the major Web browsers for Mac OS X.

I’ve been using Google Chrome (developer builds, not the betas) for quite some time now, and made it my default browser within hours of installing it. Nevertheless, I’m going to remain unbiased in thoughts.

Below is my extremely thorough review and expert advice for which Web browser you should use in Mac OS X.

Chrome (most recent dev build or beta version)

Uber fast to launch. Smokin’ fast browsing speed. Compatibility is nearly perfect, but there are a few sites it doesn’t work with. Expansion via extensions is pretty good, and getting better every week. Frequent updates and improvements make it more fun to work with lately. The clean interface coupled with the speed make this my favorite, and you should use this as your main browser!
Download: Release Version | Beta Version | Developer Build

Safari 4.0.5

Looks great. Quite speedy. Completely lacks any usefulness beyond just surfing pages randomly. With no expansion opportunity beyond a few really crappy plugins, it’s feature-starved. Make it your backup browser though.
Download: Release Version

Firefox 3.63.

Looks clunky. Works clunky. Takes forever and 6 months to launch. It’s fast, but not as fast as Safari. The only real redeeming thing about it is the obnoxious amount of add-ons you can install to do virtually anything – which unfortunately makes it look and work even more clunky. Don’t bother with it unless you’re a geek and want all the extra add-ons.
Download: Release Version | Beta Version

Opera 10.52

Interface lacks polish. Just configuring all the options and preferences can take weeks. Speed ain’t all that. Buggy. It basically sucks and you shouldn’t even bother trying it.
Download: Shipping Version

The Rest of them

They all suck, don’t bother.
Download: Really, don’t bother.

Mac Web Browsers: Are We There Yet?

Mac Web browsersLong-time Mac users probably remember the day when Microsoft Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator were the only games in town. With Mac OS 9 and the early days of Mac OS X, IE was the lean, mean, speed-machine; while Navigator was continuing its fast slide to irrelevance. But with OS X’s Unix underpinnings, and its sleek new GUI, it wasn’t long until developers started porting old browsers, or releasing all new ones to run on Apple’s shiny new OS. One of the earliest non-MS/Mozilla browsers was OmniWeb. It was easily faster than most anything out there, had a slick interface, and boasted features few other browsers offered at the time, such as tabs on the side, per-site preferences, built-in ad-blocking, and more. Due to Microsoft’s barely-an-effort port of IE to OS X, and Netscape Navigator suffering from never-ending software bloat, the time was right for other vendors to make their move. OmniWeb’s popularity exploded, and with it came a (welcome) blistering onslaught of Web browsers available for the Mac. (more…)

View your iPhoto library on a 3D wall

iPhoto is perfectly capable of displaying your photos as a slideshow or one at a time. But you’re limited to a flat display that doesn’t exactly “wow” anyone. With one simple download, you can view your iPhoto collection on a visually stunning 3D wall, right in your web browser. In my mini-review at The Apple Blog, I show you how you can avoid launching iPhoto to view your photos, including events, albums and the full collection using Cooliris, a plugin for Safari and Firefox. This is one of those plugins that is so utterly sexy, you can’t help but install it, even if you only use it once in a great while.

Safari 4 Top Sites vs. Firefox Fast Dial extension

The recently released Safari 4 introduced a new feature called Top Sites which places thumbnails of your most recently visited sites in a tab for easy clicking. Firefox has had a similar feature for quite some time in the form of an extension called FastDial. So which one is more useful? Obviously, it depends on which browser you use. Here’s a quick comparison of each. (more…)