Adblock Plus, an open-source content-filtering and ad blocking plugin for all major browsers, today announced a new feature for Facebook users: the ability to turn off read receipts. In short, you can now prevent Facebook from telling senders you saw their messages. VentureBeat has the full scoop.
If you’re like me and find Flash to be an annoyance with its constant crashing, slowing down your browsing, security risks, and ramping-up of your Mac’s cooling fans when in use, you’ll no doubt want to turn off/remove Flash from your Mac. If you use Firefox or Safari, you simply have to remove the System Preference Pane item by right-clicking the icon and choosing to remove it.
If you’re using Google’s Chrome browser, it’s a bit more difficult. That’s because Google includes Flash as part of the browser itself. Thankfully, they’ve included it as a plug-in which can be turned off.
Type about:plugins in the URL bar and hit Return/Enter. A list of the plug-ins you have installed is displayed. Note that these are plug-ins, not extensions you install from the Chrome Store. Find the Adobe Flash Player plugin in the list and tick the Disable checkbox. After restarting Chrome, Flash will be off.
The downside is that Flash will be re-enabled the next time Google updates Chrome, which is quite often. You can download Flash blocker extensions, but I prefer to completely remove it and save myself the overhead of having yet another extension installed.
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. Read more “Web browser choices have never been better for Mac users”
If you’re a Firefox browser user, you’ll be happy to know that while they haven’t officially announced it, Firefox 4 for the Mac is already available for download.
Google has dropped the robotic chrome icon in favor of a new, flattened and more balanced icon for their Chrome browser. The open source version of Chrome, Chromium, got the refresh last week, and now the Developer Builds now sport the new look.
The new logo should work it’s way down into the beta and stable release version soon. While I had nothing against the old icon, the new version is definitely more recognizable in the OS X Dock. The only problem I see with it now is that it looks too much like Google Picasa.
Apparently Adobe is toying with the idea of producing a Photoshop file viewing app for Apple’s iPad. John Nack is asking on his Adobe blog if users would like to take it a step further as well, by allowing the user to manipulate layers, and more. Adobe is definitely in development for tablet devices, as evidenced by this report from MacRumors.
Two nifty looking iPhone apps caught my attention this past week, both from RPA Technology. The first, Mobile Mouse Pro turns your iPhone into a wireless controller for your Mac. The combo desktop andiPhone app costs only $1.99 and looks to be uber cool. If you don’t require full control of your Mac, you can use the free Mobile Remote, which allows you to control a variety of audio and video apps on your Mac.
From the same company, Photo Keys offers iPhone users a companion tool to Adobe Photoshop on the desktop. Photo Keys puts the entire Photoshop toolbar, as well as many useful shortcuts right at your fingertips. Photo keys costs $2.99.
Bookmark Syncing with Xmarks:
Xmarks started out as a free extension for Firefox that allowed you to Sync your bookmarks between computers. Its popularity grew quickly, and soon there were versions available for Safari and Google Chrome as well. It was fantastic to be able to keep all my browsers on all my computers (Mac and PC) in sync. But just as soon as its popularity was exploding, they suddenly announced they were shutting down for financial reasons. Apparently, things have changed. According to reports, Xmarks has found a buyer and will make a lot of users very happy.
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
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
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
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.
Long-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. Read more “Mac Web Browsers: Are We There Yet?”
Google released a Mac version of their Chrome browser yesterday. The alpha version offers little features, and virtually nothing in the way of customizing yet, thus the alpha version. A public beta is coming soon, but in the meantime you can grab this first release of Google Chrome for Mac for testing purposes from the Chromium Blog. It’s wicked-fast!
With all the technology improvements to the Web over the last several years, it’s hard to believe that the Web is still in its infancy. Despite popular belief, Mosaic (later changed to Netscape Navigator) was not the first Web browser. Mosaic was released in 1993 and was simply the first popular one used by the general public. The first Web browser, known as WorldWideWeb (see screenshot below), was invented by Tim Berners-Lee in February 1991, the same guy who invented HTTP (hypertext transfer protocol) in 1989. WorldWideWeb, later renamed Nexus, ran on the NeXTSTEP platform, which of course was formed by Apple’s Steve Jobs. Berners-Lee developed the software on his NeXTcube while working for CERN. The original code still resides on that NeXTcube in the CERN museum. Unfortunately, we’ll never get to see that code, because the computer is a historical artifact. While we were still using technology like Gopher, FTP, Usenet and various text-based BBS systems to access the Web (prior to the WWW), large corporations jumped on the bandwagon early. The oldest registered domain name was SYMBOLICS.com, registered in March of 1985. It didn’t take long for other companies to catch on. In 1986, Xerox became the 7th domain registered, followed by HP (#9), IBM & Sun (#11), Intel (#13), AT&T (#15), Boeing (#26), Adobe (#42), Tandy (#50), and Unisys (#50). On February 19, 1987, Apple Computer registered Apple.com (#64). As is typical, Microsoft followed the leader and finally registered Microsoft.com in May of 1991. For a list of the 100 oldest registered .com domain names, click here.
On a recent new install of OSX, I noticed that when surfing the Web in Safari or Firefox that when I hit the tab key, every button in the toolbar, on the page and every text box was highlighted. This was different than what I was used to seeing, which was only the text fields such as the Location bar (address box) and text fields being highlighted. It took me a while to figure out why all the active controls were being highlighted. A visit to OSX System Preferences>Keyboard and Mouse Preferences>Keyboard Shortcuts got me on the right track. As seen in the graphic above, you have two options. The first option titled Text boxes and lists only seems like the obvious choice to select if you only want to tab to text input fields. However, my results were just the opposite, every time I hit tab the buttons in the browser bar and on the page were highlighted. By selecting the second option, All controls, I got what I wanted which was just tabbing to text fields. Perhaps I have a ghost in the system, but if you’re having the same problem, you may want to take a look at this workaround.