Dec 23, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
There, I said it.
If Microsoft were to switch from their proprietary “Trident” rendering engine to an open source solution such as WebKit or Mozilla’s Gecko, it would do far more than simply save designers headaches.
It would save Microsoft money and development time, net them some publicity, and vastly improve their web browser? What’s not to like?
What is WebKit? It’s an open source HTML rendering engine that powers Google Chrome, Apple Safari, the iPhone’s MobileSafari, and just about any Mac OS X application that displays web pages.
Internet Explorer could at long last become reasonably standards compliant, and Microsoft would be able to put their resources towards improving their browser’s user interface, rather than wasting time reinventing the wheel.
Maybe it’s just wishful thinking, but there is no reason it couldn’t be done.
Dec 9, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
The Mac version of Google’s Chrome web browser has arrived as a beta. The search giant has deemed it stable enough for the general public’s consumption, but a few features are still under development. One notable feature missing is the bookmark manager.
I’ve tried it out. It’s every bit as snappy as the Windows version, and it looks great. The default theme matches Apple’s Cocoa UI, dispensing with the Windows version’s bright blue color, and you can change the theme to something more creative if you like that sort of thing.
The best thing, in my opinion: Chrome, no matter the OS, uses the same WebKit framework as Apple’s Safari browser, so Chrome isn’t going to burden designers with more testing.
Dec 1, 2009 by Matt | Posted in General
Remember TechCrunch’s internet tablet, the CrunchPad? It sounded like an interesting product, and it wasn’t too far away from being being a reality. And then it all came crashing down.
Bizarrely, we were being notified that we were no longer involved with the project. Our project. Chandra said that based on pressure from his shareholders he had decided to move forward and sell the device directly through Fusion Garage, without our involvement.
Err, what? This is the equivalent of Foxconn, who build the iPhone, notifiying Apple a couple of days before launch that they’d be moving ahead and selling the iPhone directly without any involvement from Apple.
TechCrunch is currently pursuing means of litigation against Fusion Garage, but the project is, for all intents and purposes, dead. The intellectual property behind the device is owned jointly between the companies, and TechCrunch owns the trademark “CrunchPad” outright.
Aug 31, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
Do you use OpenDNS?
I have for awhile, since my ISP’s DNS servers can be kind of flaky sometimes. The one thing I don’t like about the service is how it hijacks mistyped domains and I’m Feeling Lucky searches that Firefox would usually redirect to the site I’m looking for, sending me to an OpenDNS search page with some ads on it. Sure, it helps support the service, but as a Firefox power user, the added time-waste is frustrating.
Luckily there’s a solution. The Feeling Lucky Fixer extension for Firefox restores the functionality to the browser, allowing you to simply type a website’s name (e.g. “imdb”) into your URL bar and wind up in the right place. Huzzah!
Aug 7, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Design
Don’t want to go all-out with a separate mobile mini-site, but you still want your site to be accessible on phones and PDAs? You can just add a new stylesheet intended only for mobile browsers, in which you can reformat the page to render acceptably on a wide range of handheld web browsing devices.
<link rel="stylesheet" href="style.css" type="text/css" media="Screen" />
<link rel="stylesheet" href="mobile.css" type="text/css" media="handheld" />
By linking a stylesheet with a media of “handheld,” you tell mobile browsers to remove any of the preceding styles. You can then apply some new styles within, taking care to avoid explicitly setting widths or anything that might foul-up mobile browsers.
It’s a little bit more complicated than that in reality, but not too much so. You can find a full how-to over at Perishable Press: The 5-Minute CSS Mobile Makeover.
Jun 17, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
Apple announced last Friday that Safari 4 has been downloaded over 11 million times in the first three days since it left beta.
CUPERTINO, California—June 12, 2009—Apple® today announced that more than 11 million copies of Safari® 4 have been downloaded in the first three days of its release, including more than six million downloads of Safari for Windows.
More than half of the downloads were from Windows users. Isn’t that interesting? And no, they were not pushed through some sort of automatic update. I had to manually download the new version of Safari for my MacBook, and it’s not yet on either of the Windows-based machines that I administrate.
In contrast, Google Chrome nearly had 2 million US downloads in it’s first week (no word of the full numbers), and Firefox 3 had over 18 million.
Jun 9, 2009 by Matt | Posted in General
TechCrunch has “just about nailed down the final design” for their long-awaited “CrunchPad,” the popular tech blog’s first foray into the consumer hardware arena.
The CrunchPad is to be an internet tablet running a version of Linux and a Webkit-based browser, controlled by a 12-inch multi-touch display. The device is sort of a “giant iPod Touch” that boots directly into a web browser. In this age of internet connectivity and “cloud” web services, you don’t need to carry an entire computer around with you everywhere.
Continue reading →
Apr 22, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
SitePoint is celebrating the fact that Internet Explorer 8 has been added to Windows’ automatic updater. This means that a lot more people will be upgrading. Home users are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to using outmoded browsers, and this should get a very large percentage of those remaining to upgrade. (Enterprises may block the upgrade so as to not break poorly-built intranet applications that only work in IE6.)
Blogger James Edwards of SitePoint estimates that in twelve months or so Internet Explorer 6 should no longer be used by enough people to bother supporting, and has assembled a list of ten things that the end of IE6 will enable the web development community to do. My top three are 24-bit transparent PNGs, throw away 90% of CSS hacks, and make full use of min-width and max-width.
10 Cool Things We’ll Be Able To Do Once IE6 Is Dead [SitePoint]
Apr 17, 2009 by Matt | Posted in Software & Scripts
Microsoft has added Internet Explorer 8 to Windows’ Automatic Update, and marked it as a high-priority update.
Starting on or about the third week of April, users still running IE6 or IE7 on Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows Server 2003, or Windows Server 2008 will get will get a notification through Automatic Update about IE8. This rollout will start with a narrow audience and expand over time to the entire user base. On Windows XP and Server 2003, the update will be High-Priority. On Windows Vista and Server 2008 it will be Important.
This means IE6 should be taking another big hit as more people are prompted to upgrade. Users are given an option to decline the update, but I think we can count on a large percentage of people accepting the install. IT departments will have the ability to prevent the update from being rolled-out over a network.
Hopefully this will encourage home users (who have no reason to not upgrade) to install a marginally better browser.
Apr 1, 2009 by Matt | Posted in General
Mozilla has announced that Firefox will be coming to the iPhone soon, this summer if there are no major delays.
Apple has been working with Mozilla to bring the app to the platform in a way acceptable to both parties. It will land in the App Store as a free application.
P.S. April Fools!