On Monday Apple Inc. released the Beta version of the next major version of Safari at the opening keynote of WWDC '07 (2007 Worldwide Developers Conference). Apple released versions for Mac OS 10.4.x, Mac OS 10.5, Windows XP and Windows Vista. Since my primary system is Mac OS 10.4.9, I only downloaded this version for review and my impressions below are only based on this version.

Before I start I want to give everyone a little background. Last week when a vulnerability was found in both Internet Explorer and Firefox I switch back to Safari 2. It had been almost 4 years since I use Safari as my primary browser, and I was surprised to find that Safari felt faster than FireFox 2 (my previous primary browser). Now with Safari 3, it is even faster. Of course this is non-scientific and it is based on real life usage of it for a week.

I operate an online retail business, Vinko's Treasures, and the backend system for my operation is completely web based. So I noticed the speed improvements right away only after a few days.

In Safari 3 I did not find too many new features or features that are better than FireFox. Most of the new features in Safari 3 are just catch up features to the default (without any 3rd party Extensions) FireFox 2. These being:

  • Inline search: rather than having a dialog that pops up for the user to enter the search term. Safari 3 now displays a thin bar ("Search Bar") at top of the browser just below the Tab Bar or Bookmark Bar; depending on what you have visible. After the results are found, Safari will dim the entire page and highlights the found terms on the page. 

    Safari 3 Search



  • Movable Tabs: you can now drag the Tabs back and forth. Rearranging them in any order you like.

    Movable Tabs



The new feature I found so far, is what the user can do with Tabs. They can take a tab like the one above on the right and open it in a new window. This can be accomplished by performing a Control + Click (or right click) on the Tab Label, which brings up a contextual menu. From here you then choose the menu item "Move Tab to New Window".

The "Mac" way of doing the same thing is just to drag the Tab out of the Tab Bar and let go, like you would with icons on the Dock or Finder Sidebar. Unlike these other User Interface elements, doing so here will cause a miniature version of the Tab window content to show for a second, then a new browser window with the Tab window content will open.

As with Expose activation, holding down the Shift key will cause the animation of this behaviour to be in slow motion.

Tab in New Window

All in all I am fairy happy with Safari 3. It did install a new WebKit so some of the Widget I use in Dashboard no longer works, but that is expected for a "Beta" classification application.

Due to my work, I do use Mail, Dashboard and Safari 18 hours a day. So far I have encountered no crashes; knock on wood.

Finally our Windows user friends can have yet another full (W3C) Standards compliant browser to choose from: among the likes of Firefox and Opera. With Microsoft admitting their mistakes in Internet Explorer over the years and finally began their own compliance to the W3C Standards with the release of IE 7. May be the lazy web developers (specifically ones in the Financial and Real Estate industries), who still code their web sites only for Windows version of Internet Explorer will finally start to recode their web sites with W3C Standards compliance.

One can only hope that this is an indication of a bright new beginning.

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AuthorVinko

Being a long time Mac user (23 years) and Macintosh software developer (10 years), I can vouch for most of Scott's comments and findings. One thing that many people forget when they compare the cost and speed of a computer is the whole package of what you get when you purchase a computer. What do I mean by this? Please allow me to elaborate.

For the cost, there are the long term cost of maintenance required for your computer. Whether this is for personal use or at a corporate environment. There is the cost of upgrading the software you use regularly as a result of one or more other software you use, which requires you to upgrade. Please allow me to elaborate further on this point.

It is often the case, from experience, while using a computer operating in the Microsoft Windows operating system (OS), if one vendor; may that be Microsoft or one of the other third party upgrade their software, it is often the case that these changes will affect other installed software. Causing these software to misbehave, to a point that these other software vendors will come out with their own upgrades to remedy the problem(s). Depending on the extent of the changes, you can imagine this can easily become a never ending circle of upgrades that end users will have to endure. Unfortunately, this scenario is most evident with Microsoft itself.

I am not saying that the above is always the case, but it is the result of a hands-off approach by Microsoft on third party Windows developers. In such a manner that third party developers will develop their software in almost whatever way they like, and without enough disclosure by Microsoft, these third party developers will not know how to develop their software in such a way to survive the longevity of version upgrades of the Windows OS, and compatibilities with other third party software the users may have running on their computers.

On the other hand, Apple Inc. has a very close hands-on approach on how third party developers create their software for the Macintosh OS. Apple has volumes of manuals explaining to developers how third party software should behave and how to implement every conceivable user interface elements in their software. Most importantly, Apple will guarantee these third party software to work across OS versions as long as the third party developers follow Apple's directions on software development.

This molded Macintosh users into very demanding end users on third party software. Over the years I had seen software companies come and go in a very short period (three to six months), just because they do not follow Apple's directions in creating their software.

Now addressing the other point in comparing computers of different OS; the "speed of the computers". People often compares computers by their technical specifications. Yes, this are valid criterions for computers running the same OS, but when you comparing computers running different OSs; like ones that run Windows OS and Macintosh OS, these criterions are just one part of the criterions in your comparison process. Before I dive into what I mean, I like to bring up the old physic formula: Power = Work / Time.

The power of a computer can be measured the same way. The amount of work achieved over a given amount of time. That is the true power of a computing.

As there are so many factors that affect the speed or power of a particular computer for a given individual, it is not fair or valid to simply compare the

  • processor brand/type and speed
  • video card brand and speed
  • amount of memory or RAM
  • size of hard drive

Hopefully after reading this you will see computers differently especially ones that run Windows OS, Mac OS or Linux.

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AuthorVinko
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WinMac

You can now run Windows XP on a Macintel. The solution was found with the contest that started it all 3 months ago. It ended with two individuals calling themselves "blanka" and "narf2006" winning the final jackpot of USD13,854.00.

The full instructions can be found at the Contest site's How To page.

[Update - 2006.03.23] there is also an excellent video steping through the instructions at UneasySilence

There is also a new instruction where one can create the Windows XP On Macintosh Boot CD on a Macintosh without using a computer that runs Windows.

In this experiment I used an Intel iMac to create the Boot CD.

If you are going to follow my foot steps, there are much details in the Fink install that may not be obvious from following the instructions. The currently tested version of Fink on the Intel Mac is 0.24.12, and the "mkisofs" package is not available in the "stable" branch of the Fink install.

At the moment I am still investigating the "mkisofs" issue. One possibility is that the "mkisofs" package is in the "unstable" branch of the Fink release. If this is the case we must modify the "/sw/etc/fink.conf" file so that "unstable/main" and "unstable/crypto" in the TREE parameter. This will get Fink to look in the "unstable" tree for package's source.

If you do not have a Windows XP Pro SP2 install CD but just a regular Windows XP Pro install CD, then you will need to create what Microsoft calls a "Slipstream" CD.

When the above are completed we can go back to the OnMac instructions and create the Windows XP On Macintosh Boot CD.

My first attempt to create the Boot CD failed. When attempting to use the created CD to begin the Windows XP installation, the system claims that the CD is not a valid El-Torito formated disk. II plan to try again, and when I have more information, I will announce it here. Please stay tune.

Note: Please remember that downloading the instructions and associate files is legal, but the jury is still out as to whether modifying the Windows XP install CD is legal, so be careful of the Microsoft police.

About 3 years ago Apple Computers began an advertising campaign and section of their web site; "Switch" dedicated to the Windows users who recently switched to the Macintosh platform, or as Apple puts it "seen the light". The just of the campaign was just to share the stories and experience of prior Windows users who recently switched to the Macintosh platform. With PDAs there had been a similar migration, but from Palm OS to Windows Pocket PC, but the stories and experience is not as favorable for Microsoft.

I recently was speaking to one such PDA user who switched from a Palm device to a HP iPaq. One important thing is that this individual had been a happy Palm user for many years and the only reason she is using an iPaq is because her previous Palm died on her, and her (non-technical) boyfriend decided to buy her a replacement, but bought her in stead a HP iPaq.

For a layman average PDA user, the iPaq and more specifically the Windows Pocket PC is not as easy to use and more complex compared to the Palm OS. After a few months use of the iPaq she is now fallen back to use Post-It Notes. It got to a point where she has Post-It Notes stuck to the back of the iPaq. Now that is ironic. Unfortunately, I did not have a camera with me otherwise I would have a picture of it here.

This individual has decided that she will purchase a new Palm device very soon.

So as you can see forcing people to switch is not the right approach. Apple and Steve Jobs had the right idea. Steve always thought that his company has good products and they will just speak for itself. So he and his company just concentrate on developing amazing revolutionary products.