This week Kirsten seems to be receiving more mail at my house than I am. And I live here. It is true, of course, that having become rather too caught up in, and exhausted by, work I have been neglecting contact with friends. Striving to rectify that this week, I have been online a lot more despite the urge to spend every waking minute gathering rare mushrooms in Tamriel —testament to Oblivion’s level of immersion is not the fact you can do this, but rather the fact that you want to. My box-time has been limited by the fact my sister seems just as enthralled by it as I, so it seems only brotherly to share. Conversely Kirsten’s abandonment of Moto GP had more to do with the fact it wouldn’t let her win than a genuine dislike of the game.
With the eventual release of the all new Messenger Plus! Live last month, I have finally been able to upgrade permanently to Windows Live Messenger for general usage. Powerful additions like tabbed messaging made it essential for my day-to-day requirements. The new version ports all of the old functionality to Microsoft’s latest, rebranded release, along with several new features like HTML chat logging which makes old conversations highly readable when revisited. On the Live Messenger side, I notice many welcome changes from the beta such as a subtler colour scheme and the removal of the pointless rollover system that wasted a vast amount of space in the contacts list. The standard list might look less snazzy but is far more usable. Welcome tweaks include the ability to swiftly search for a contact, very useful for those with long address books. As always I recommend the Mess Patch for tweaking the client’s visual interface (and stripping away those unsightly ads).
With IE7 hitting its third beta release I decided the code was probably stable enough for me to test out without my preconceptions clouding judgment. I must admit I am impressed with the results. A sleek new interface maximises the viewing area, though the disappearance of the menu bar will likely be jarring at first. Disappointinly little progress has been made in CSS support, and it still miserably fails the Acid2 test. Speedwise it works fine and I have encountered no stability issues at all. However, despite its advances, I have found the Firefox’s customisability means I have come to rely on power features like mouse gestures and the ability to drag and drop links to the point where I find it difficult to browse without. So it is unlikely to draw back many Firefox users (despite better memory management) but by tightening speed and security will make it far more difficult to convince people to switch to alternative browsers in the first place. It also suggests that the next milestone release of Firefox may be more of a disappointment with Internet Explorer rapidly making up lost ground.
14 July 2006 at 1:24 am
Failing the Acid2 test seems irrelevant to me. I think people care much more about the general buginess of CSS support (for which IE 6 is shocking), to me it’s more important to fix the 95% of issues that hurt a lot of people than to fix the 5% of arbitrary strange corners of the standards. Acid2 is poor at testing this.
So Internet Explorer can’t pass compliance to a badly designed standard from a standards committee who seem to have decided that rather than wait for the usual 5 or 6 versions before their language degraded into the cesspit of a general purpose programming langauge, have attempted to go for 2.1 versions instead and have produced something which is horrible in almost every way. Though to be honest, they weren’t exactly passed a very nice set of things to start with.
Next time, will someone hit Firefox for not complying to the Windows programming guidelines? Far more serious to my eyes.
Mouse gestures are integrated into IE 7 for Vista (on a tablet anyhow).
Hopefully Firefox are going to take a short sharp lesson than marketting isn’t enough. I actually now consider it to be more risky than IE 7, which as far as I’m aware currently only has one, probably non-exploitable, vulnerability know, despite intensive attacks.
Time will tell, I’m hoping to spend some time breaking browsers soon.
Competition is good, it’s good to see the 800 pound gorrilla has rejoined the fight. 🙂
14 July 2006 at 1:41 am
I wholeheartedly agree. While I remain a Firefox fan, I am glad to see Microsoft rejoining the fray and you are quite correct that Vista’s advances also highlight Firefox’s (different) shortcomings with greater clarity. One can only hope this will spur the team to get them fixed.
I must confess not to have closely followed the v2.0 changelog but with the removal of certain intended feature additions, I strongly hope the time is being put into improvements to the underlying code. With OSS that’s inevitably what is neglected because it’s just not cool or interesting.