February 28, 2009


Some­times I for­get how great Everything2 can be.

posted by Andrew

February 27, 2009

Safari 4 Hidden preferences

SwedishCampGround.com has a funky list of Safari 4’s hid­den prefs such as restor­ing the old tab posi­tion. Haven’t tried them yet.

posted by Andrew


  • Why does Adobe Read­er 9 come with AIR? Mmm, pro­lif­er­a­tion. Unin­stalled immediately.
  • Why do so many installers assume I’m will­ing to grant them net access? What exact­ly are you doing? BTW, I love VLC’s approach to this: a mes­sage from the devs say­ing they hate apps con­nect­ing to the net auto­mat­i­cal­ly too.
  • Why do apps ignore my pref­er­ence for stan­dard antialias­ing? This includes IE8 (which has an ‘always use Cleartype for HTML’ option buried in Advanced options), Acro­bat Adobe Read­er and the MS Live installer.
  • Sil­verlight install requests. I hate monop­o­lies too, but I’m not encour­ag­ing anoth­er pro­pri­etary plu­g­in just to break it.
  • Google Update’s strange install loca­tion + check­ing for updates every 10 min­utes. At least it uses the task sched­uler, but the apps seems to run two copies at once at 7MB RAM a pop.
  • c:\documents and settings\<username>\my documents\updater . What is this dir? Why is it always recre­at­ed empty?

Begin­ning to sound like the old guys from the Mup­pets

posted by Andrew

February 25, 2009

Safari 4

Some lovin’ and hatin’ for the Safari 4 beta today. This is just a cur­so­ry inspec­tion from con­sumer and devel­op­er angles:

  • Nice visu­als on the top sites & book­marks fea­tures. Lim­it­ed long-last­ing appeal for essen­tial­ly a glam­our fea­ture though, and it was­n’t imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent how to edit the top sites, where they were stored, and how they came to get in my brows­er (I had the same data cus­tomi­sa­tion issues with Flock a while back). Oper­a’s Speed­Di­al feels much more user-friend­ly at this stage.
  • Tab place­ment is hor­ren­dous on Win­dows; at least Chrome’s tabs make a pass at being in the brows­er win­dow’s con­tent area. Stop screw­ing with inter­face con­ven­tions — treat­ing some tab mouse events as the app title bar is con­tex­tu­al­ly con­fus­ing (dou­ble-click, drag­ging). Please stop inno­vat­ing things that don’t need innovation.
  • Each Safari release reminds me how good Webkit’s ren­der­er is. Awe­some.
  • Thanks for leav­ing the abil­i­ty to chose alter­nate font ren­der­ing in — I thought this might be on the chop­ping block. I hate XP’s ren­der­ing of gener­ic web type­faces. Switch­ing between the default and alter­nate actu­al­ly exposed the cause of the head­er posi­tion­ing bug on my Test Design 26 page, heh.
  • Please imple­ment mid­dle-click tab close.

I was sur­prised to see CSS Ani­ma­tions and CSS Effects men­tioned on the Fea­tures page — these are Apple CSS specs that (as far as I know) are still exposed in Webkit with the ‑webkit- pre­fix. The CSS Work­ing Group site lists these mod­ules as an upcom­ing work­ing draft (unlinked but avail­able on the w3c dev serv­er). Are they mature enough for use out­side of an closed, inter­nal ecosys­tem? I must admit that I empathise with any­one who tries to get specs through the W3C process.

Speak­ing of specs in progress, I was delight­ed to see the Safari site’s writ­ten in HTML5 (yes I’m a hyp­ocrit for advo­cat­ing unfin­ished specs here and ques­tion­ing them above, but HTML5 is much more mature). IE demands sac­ri­fice, so the page includes

<script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8">

to make non-exis­tent tags be treat­ed as both non-void and styleable. The Safari start­up page actu­al­ly uses the <video> and <audio> tags too, and it sure was freaky to see video with­out Flash installed.

[Update: eek, the page isn’t valid HTML5. <sec­tion>, <head­er>, <foot­er> and <nav> are mis­used. For the <foot­er> links they’d be bet­ter off using a par­ent UL instead of <h3>s. Not sure what’s trig­ger­ing the <script> error though.]

posted by Andrew

February 22, 2009

HTML 5 Reality

Great quote from Ian Hick­son dur­ing the dis­cus­sion on Rob Sayre’s reduced-scope spec:

> You’re the dic­ta­tor. Am I read­ing the WHATWG process wrong?

Appar­ent­ly. A dic­ta­tor, by def­i­n­i­tion, has total pow­er. I have near­ly no pow­er; I am con­trained by lega­cy con­tent, by the whims of imple­men­ta­tors, by ratio­nal and log­i­cal argu­ment, by the needs of authors and users, and by research.

On anoth­er note, Anne van Kesteren links to an awe­some CSS thread which pro­vides much oppor­tu­ni­ty for facepalm­ing to any prag­ma­tists reading.

posted by Andrew

February 20, 2009

The IE6 resistance

(Clean­ing up an unfin­ished-post queue, for those won­der­ing. This one’s a lit­tle skimpy but sta­tis­tics are always fun.)

A while back I held a small work­shop at TAFE on brows­er usage and the impor­tance of ver­i­fy­ing designs in mul­ti­ple browsers. Lucky I don’t get sick of com­plain­ing about IE6; even now, sev­en years after its release, mar­ket share keeps it on our test­ing matrix:

  • IE6: ~36%
  • IE7: ~32%
  • Fire­fox: ~19%
  • Safari: ~3%
  • Opera: ~2%

(Stats tal­lied from sev­er­al pub­lic sources late last year)

Of course these stats are a rough aver­age from sev­er­al sources wide­ly vary­ing demo­graph­ics (and the num­bers don’t even add up to 100%).

One of the few seri­ous ben­e­fits of MS’s Vista push is IE6 being errad­i­cat­ed in its wake. XP’s lat­est ser­vice pack still does­n’t include IE7 though — they must be fac­ing off with a lot of cor­po­rate intranet admins whose busi­ness soft­ware still depends on IE6 Javascript bugs.

Curi­ous­ly, Microsoft will be ‘push­ing’ IE8 to Vista and XP via OEM chan­nels (think Dell) as an option­al com­po­nent. Maybe web devs should start peti­tion­ing OEMs to enable it by default? Imag­ine writ­ing only one stylesheet per website.

posted by Andrew