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Andy IhnatkoIhnatko's Tiger Report: Safari

by - April 29th, 2005

 

 

The new Safari is nice. But I was hoping for a lot more.

When Safari was first released it was competing against third-party commercial browsers like OmniWeb (which are nice, but have this radical and insane idea where you're apparently meant to pay for a web browser) and, of course, Microsoft Internet Explorer. Which was hardly a fair fight. It's as though the title of Quarterback was a hereditary title, given each year to the eldest male offspring of the team owner. And then one year, the kid was told to put down the stamp collection and suit up, because he won't be getting his salary unless he can stand up to a blitz from the front line of the 2003-4 New England Patriots.

I mean, you almost felt sorry for poor Explorer. But it's a different world today. Explorer is a non-entity and the competition is now Firefox.

Safari's main new feature is RSS support. And clearly, it implements site summaries with a lot more finesse than Firefox. I think it says more about Firefox's shortcomings than it does about mine when I say that I used it for months before I was even aware it had RSS features. When a site summary for an open webpage is available, a tinnnny little orange icon appears in the lower-right corner of the window. Inexplicably, it is the same symbol that most software uses to indicate the presence of a WiFi signal. Click it, and you see sort of hammy little list of articles in a sidebar.

In Safari, you click an obvious RSS button and there's a big, Spotlightable list of articles. Good. Ten points to Safari. But barring a few tweaks, that's really it. I still envy Firefox's customizable search field, and dagnabbit, Safari is still the one web browser I use on any platform that needs regular Tending To. Inevitably, there comes a moment when I sigh and wonder aloud if my twin G4-processors have been replaced the 1 MHz 6502 that ran my old Apple II+. Because somehow, waiting seven minutes for Safari to close one window and open another somehow seems unacceptable.

It's easy enough to clean Safari up but the point is that I shouldn't really have to, you know?

So. Safari. We have to call this one a Parity Release. On balance, Safari's caught up to FireFox but it's lost an opportunity to surpass it. Pity.

Ihnatko's Tiger Report

digs the Mac, and has been writing about the Mac for longer than most of us could tell the difference between a bite of Apple Sauce from a byte of Apple code. You can read his monthly column at Macworld magazine, and his blog at the Colossal Waste of Bandwidth.

Andy's latest book is The Mac OS X Tiger Book (US$16.49 - Amazon).

You can send your comments directly to Andy, or you can also post your comments below.

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