They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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From the Front Lines of the Browser Wars

Firefox 1.0.4

Just upgraded my Firefox browser on one machine -- so far the upgrade went painlessly. All the settings from the previous version remain. Why is this remarkable? Because we're dealing with software, and I cannot tell you how many times upgrades have raised holy hell on my machines.

I noted on the Firefox 1.0 Release Notes web page that they have a question about what other browsers do you use and why?

A reasonable question, but one for which we can thank the Great Warring Factions for creating for us.

A Browser For Every Web Site

Out of the box, so to speak, Firefox 1.0.1 preformed pretty damned good. However, it is no surprise that it can't do everything for me.

For one, there are Microsoft applications and Microsoft websites which conveniently don't recognize other browsers. Sometimes you can fake it and sometimes you just let MS be MS. (The good news is that I can tell Zone Alarm not to give IE access to the web on its own -- hee-hee.) Then there are programs which drank Redmond's Kool-Aid and use IE as their interface driver. The big offender here is TurboTax -- a really nice tax program with really abusive installers which don't "ask" some really useful questions before it starts taking apart "your" machine to suit its purposes.

Netscape 7 To The Rescue

Installing the leaner Firefox hasn't allowed me to remove Netscape 7, my previous main browser. Yet. There are some websites, which if I try to copy a block of text with the mouse, the selection in Firefox won't cross some box boundaries, making a simple cut-and-paste into a cut-and-paste-and-repeat-times-N process. Really boring. And some others, where it will cross box boundaries on the screen, you end up with lots of extra blank lines and spaces, making the paste copy look funny. So I sometimes just fire up both Netscape and Firefox at the same time and use both. Having half-a-gig or more of memory helps, but geesh...

In The Land Of Dinosaurs

At work I have an application which runs Oracle products. They seem to be in a snit with several people. It doesn't like Windows XP, claiming it isn't secure enough. (okay -- but then it LIKES Windows 98?) It doesn't like IE 6, because it wants to use Java and MS and the Java people in a snit. And it doesn't recognize either Firefox or Netscape 7. So I am dropping back to Netscape 4.79, which I think it'll be happier with.

Good thing I'm into Dinosaur Computing with antiques. But what about all the poor people who just buy a box at the store and have no idea what's going on? I keep saying, we've advanced computers by now into the 1919 automobile era -- you can actually drive from point A to point B, but not across the continent without making it a Big Deal. (grin)

A Good Word (Almost) For Internet Explorer

"What?" you cry, "Dr. Phil has gone over to the Dark Side?"

No -- just the small side. I have issues with IE, especially IE 5.5 and IE 6, and don't even get me started about the cruel hoax which is the IE 7 vaporware project, and this is not the posting where I light into ActiveX... yuck.

However, I have used over the years some of the small handheld and palmtop computers, now called PDAs. (Just as I've owned Blazers and Suburbans from when they were light trucks and not SUVs.) And I have to say that over revisions to Microsoft Windows CE --> Microsoft Windows CE Professional --> Microsoft Windows PocketPC --> Microsoft Windows Mobile 2003 Second Edition, that Microsoft's Pocket Internet Explorer has really grown up nicely.

I'm sure it has bugs, and you're never far from finding the little reset button once a day, but I am impressed at just how much you can accomplish (and read in tiny little displayed web pages -- grin). I've even read and updated here on LiveJournal. And a number of sites recognize Pocket IE for what it is, so for example Google will default to a minimalist screen version.

Anyway, it's just as well that this works, because there aren't a lot of alternatives. Downloading and installing onto a WinCE device works okay, but it's boring and not fun. A friend of mine told me that there's an Opera for Windows Mobile, but it's a preview of 7.60b and only works on one kind of smart-phone, not PocketPC machines yet.

For the life of me I'm not sure why I want my cell phone to do everything else in the world, too.


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