Browsers – TipsFor.us http://tipsfor.us Tech Tips, Reviews, Tutorials, Occasional Rants Fri, 21 Mar 2014 05:03:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8 Quick Tip – Stop Firefox from Remembering Downloads http://tipsfor.us/2008/12/16/quick-tip-stop-firefox-from-remembering-downloads/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/12/16/quick-tip-stop-firefox-from-remembering-downloads/#comments Tue, 16 Dec 2008 13:00:23 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=1299 Continue reading Quick Tip – Stop Firefox from Remembering Downloads ]]> This one is by no means difficult, but I often forget about it. I see no reason why Firefox should remember what I download, and it bugs me to see a huge list of previously downloaded files whenever I open the Firefox Download window.

Disabling this feature is simple. Just go to Tools → Options, and switch to the Privacy tab.

Un-check the box next to Remember what I’ve downloaded. Problem solved.

While we’re on the subject, you can also suppress the Downloads window from showing at all when you start a new download. Just switch back to the Main tab and un-check the box next to Show the Downloads window when downloading a file.

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Create Your Own Desktop Webapps with Fluid (Mac OS X) http://tipsfor.us/2008/12/05/create-your-own-desktop-webapps-with-fluid-mac-os-x/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/12/05/create-your-own-desktop-webapps-with-fluid-mac-os-x/#comments Fri, 05 Dec 2008 13:00:47 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=1154 Continue reading Create Your Own Desktop Webapps with Fluid (Mac OS X) ]]> This is neat. How would you like the ability to create your own standalone webapps on your Mac OS X desktop? In other words, what if you could turn any website into a Mac desktop application?

Fluid can do just that.

Download Fluid – requires OS 10.5 or later

In seconds, Fluid can take a given website – such as Gmail, Google Docs, Facebook, eBay, YouTube, or whatever you want – and package it into its own Site Specific Browser (SSB). The SSBs can then run as complete and independent Cocoa applications, complete with their own dock icons and menu bars! Fluid SSBs are based on Safari’s WebKit rendering engine.

Creating the Application

Creating your own SSB is simple: just launch Fluid and fill in the URL and the name of the App you wish to create.

Choose a place to save your new App (defaults to Applications). If you wish to attach a picture for the Dock icon, you may do so. Otherwise, Fluid will grab the site’s favicon.

Note: two good places to hunt for Fluid App icons are here and here.

Here is my new Gmail SSB. Notice the application name and the custom icon in the Dock.

That’s all there is to it. In this example, Gmail runs as its own self-contained browser App on my desktop. Pretty slick.

Run as a Menu Item

With a few extra clicks, you can turn any Fluid App into a Menu item. Just look under the Application name in the menu and click on Convert to MenuExtra SSB.

The App will disappear from the Dock and relaunch as a Menu item.

Because Fluid Apps are based on WebKit, you can even browse sites using Cover Flow. Neat!

Fluid may seem like a novelty, but if there is a website that you tend to leave open most of the time, Fluid can come in handy. Because it’s self-contained, you don’t have to worry about a random browser crash taking down all your open sites.

Speaking of novelty, here’s a link where you can download your very own TipsFor.us desktop application! Yes, that’s right, it will undoubtedly be your least-commonly used Fluid app, perhaps used once before it’s relegated to its rightful place in the Trash!

Fluid itself requires Mac OS 10.5 or greater, but I see no reason why the Apps it creates won’t run on 10.4 or earlier. I’ve upgraded to 10.5, but if someone could verify or disprove me by testing that TipsFor.us App in the above paragraph, I would appreciate it.

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Backup and Restore Your Firefox Profile with MozBackup http://tipsfor.us/2008/12/03/backup-and-restore-your-firefox-profile-with-mozbackup/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/12/03/backup-and-restore-your-firefox-profile-with-mozbackup/#comments Wed, 03 Dec 2008 16:50:56 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=1062 Continue reading Backup and Restore Your Firefox Profile with MozBackup ]]> If you frequently hop around between various Windows-based computers, you might find it handy to keep the same Firefox profile with all your custom settings, extensions, and other info. One easy way to backup and restore your Firefox profile is with MozBackup.

Note: MozBackup also works with Thunderbird, Flock, Sunbird, SeaMonkey, and other Mozilla software.

The MozBackup download comes in both an executable and Zip (standalone) format. I prefer the Zip since you can just pop it onto a Flash drive and carry it with you.

Back Up Your Profile

First, launch the MozBackup wizard. Choose the operation type (Backup versus Restore) and select the desired Mozilla application.

Next, highlight the profile you wish to save. Unless you have created custom profiles, default is the only choice. Be sure to take a look at the Save backup to directory location at the bottom.

At this point you can set a password if you wish. I highly recommend that you do so, especially if you keep saved passwords in your Firefox profile. If those fell into the wrong hands….

Next, choose all the profile details that you want MozBackup to save.

Click Next, and voila! Your backup has been created. Just stick the saved file on a USB flash drive or upload it to some online storage.

Restore Your Profile

Now that your Firefox profile is saved, let’s restore it to another computer, shall we? Launch the MozBackup utility on the new computer, but this time choose Restore a profile as the operation type.

As before, select the desired profile to restore into, and then browse to find your backup file that you created.

Next, select the desired components to restore and tell it to overwrite existing files in the profile.

And away it goes!

And that completes your restore. The next time you launch Firefox, your profile on the new computer should contain all the same extensions, bookmarks, passwords, and other components that you selected.

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Suspicious Download? Scan for Viruses Before You Download with Dr.Web http://tipsfor.us/2008/10/16/suspicious-download-scan-for-viruses-before-you-download-with-drweb/ Thu, 16 Oct 2008 17:51:51 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=663 Continue reading Suspicious Download? Scan for Viruses Before You Download with Dr.Web ]]> If you ever find yourself downloading potentially harmful files, or if you just want an extra layer of protection against suspicious downloads, you owe it to yourself to check out Link Checker, a FREE browser add-on by Dr.Web.

What is it? Link Checker is a browser extension that allows you to scan files before you download by integrating itself into the right-click menu. Let’s see it in action.

Usage

Here I am about to download the 7-Zip file archiving utility. I’m pretty sure it’s clean, but let’s make sure.

Right-click the file to download
Right-click the file to download

Notice the Scan with Dr.Web option in the right-click contextual menu. When I choose that option, the file in question will be scanned on Dr.Web’s servers with the latest definition files.

And here is the verdict. It’s clean! No surprise.

Dr.Web says - Clean!
Dr.Web says - Clean!

Just for kicks, let’s try it on a known infected file – the EICAR anti-virus test file. No, this isn’t a real virus, but it should show up as one for testing purposes. Here we go.

Dr.Web says - Infected!

Boom! If this were a file I really wanted to download, Dr.Web would give me second thoughts.

While Dr.Web Link Checker is handy, just remember that it’s not a substitute for proper anti-virus software. As an added layer of security, it’s worthwhile.

One quick caveat – Link Checker will only scan files smaller than 12 MB. Anything larger will cause an error.

Firefox

Link Checker for Firefox and Mozilla

Internet Explorer

Link Checker for MS Internet Explorer

Opera

Link Check for Opera (requires manual configuration)

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When Chrome Crashes – Aw, Snap! Screenshot http://tipsfor.us/2008/09/24/when-chrome-crashes-aw-snap-screenshot/ Wed, 24 Sep 2008 15:45:55 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=588 Continue reading When Chrome Crashes – Aw, Snap! Screenshot ]]> Just thought I’d share this – I had a tab get stuck in Google Chrome recently, and when it crashed, this is the error message it displayed:

Aw, Snap, indeed! Hilarious. It’s reminiscent of the infamous “Sad Mac” face from Old World Macintosh computers.

As well as the dreaded “Sad iPod” face that you hope to never see:

Somehow, this touch of humor makes me care a little less that my browser just crashed and burned! 🙂

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Easily Find a Forgotten Password in Firefox, Opera, or Google Chrome http://tipsfor.us/2008/09/05/easily-find-a-forgotten-password-in-firefox-opera-or-google-chrome/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/09/05/easily-find-a-forgotten-password-in-firefox-opera-or-google-chrome/#comments Fri, 05 Sep 2008 16:29:46 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=417 Continue reading Easily Find a Forgotten Password in Firefox, Opera, or Google Chrome ]]> Do you occasionally forget your passwords? Sure you do, unless you use the exact same login information for every website (terrible idea!). Most browsers today feature the ability to remember passwords, and while we try to remember all of them, sometimes we need a little help.This tutorial will show you how to find saved passwords in Firefox, Opera, and Google Chrome.

Firefox 3

Go to the Tools menu → then choose Options from the drop-down list. Select the Security tab → then click the Saved Passwords button.

To see your passwords, just click the Show Passwords button. That’s it! Note: In the screenshot above, I blanked the Usernames for security reasons.

Opera

Finding passwords in the Opera browser is slightly more complicated, but not impossible. Passwords in Opera are handled by the excellent Wand utility, but navigating to the Tools menu → Advanced → Wand Passwords only yields information about the sites, not the passwords themselves.

Fear not. Viewing the passwords only takes an extra step. We need to add a Power Button to Opera. Browse to this page on the Opera Wiki and click the Read Wand button. Click OK to install the button, which will show up in the Appearance menu under Buttons → My buttons.

Drag the Read Wand button wherever you like in the Opera panels. I stuck mine next to the Home button.

Now, visit a site that has a saved password. Use the Wand to fill in the login information (as usual), but click the Stop button (or just press Esc) immediately. All you have to do now is simply press the Read Wand button to display the password. Voila!

Google Chrome

In the new Google Chrome browser (see review), viewing passwords is easy. Just click the Wrench icon to the right of the address bar → then choose Options from the drop-down list. Select the Minor Tweaks tab → then click Show saved passwords.

As with Firefox, just click Show Password in order to see the password for the selected site.

A quick note about security: while having your browser remember your passwords can be convenient, it is not the most secure way to store login information, as anyone who sits at your computer can potentially have access to ALL your stored passwords.

If you rely upon your browser to store this information, PLEASE be sure to password-protect your operating system login. Also consider setting a screensaver password so that no one can sit at your computer while it’s unattended and access your information.

I should also mention that Firefox has the ability to set a Master password (Tools → Options → Security) that adds another layer of security to your stored information. It certainly doesn’t hurt to use it.

Personally, instead of having my browser store my information, I rely upon the open-source KeePass password manager. In a word, KeePass rules, and I have an upcoming article on using KeePass to manage your login life.

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Google Chrome Browser – Get the Java Plug-in Working http://tipsfor.us/2008/09/02/google-chrome-browser-get-the-java-plug-in-working/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/09/02/google-chrome-browser-get-the-java-plug-in-working/#comments Wed, 03 Sep 2008 03:14:03 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=400 Continue reading Google Chrome Browser – Get the Java Plug-in Working ]]> As it stands now, Google Chrome is a pretty nice browser (see my review), but the Java plug-in doesn’t currently work. However, there’s an easy fix.

Google Chrome requires Java 6, update 10, which is currently in Beta. Please see this page in the Chrome Help Center.

If you want, you can also skip straight to the appropriate download on the Java site.

Once installed, you should have access to all the Java games and utilities that your heart desires!

Hope this helps someone.

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Chrome – A Shiny New Browser from Google http://tipsfor.us/2008/09/02/chrome-a-shiny-new-browser-from-google/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/09/02/chrome-a-shiny-new-browser-from-google/#comments Tue, 02 Sep 2008 23:47:31 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/?p=389 Continue reading Chrome – A Shiny New Browser from Google ]]> Today, Google launched Chrome, their venture into the realm of web browsers. Still in BETA, Chrome promises to make the Web faster, safer, and easier. Will it, actually? Furthermore, is it worth using over IE, Opera, or the mighty Firefox? It’s far too early to tell for sure, but Chrome does have a lot of potential. Let’s take a quick look at some of its features.

Note: Chrome is currently only available for Windows XP/Vista. Mac and Linux versions are forthcoming.

User Interface

First things first, Google Chrome’s user interface takes a different approach than most browsers. Upon launch, the first thing you notice is an organization of thumbnails based on your most frequently-visited pages. Nice!

Despite the name, there’s not much to Chrome. In fact, it’s rather transparent and minimal. There are no menus, no home button (you can enable it in the Options), and only one bar (an integration of the address bar and search bar).

The bookmarks and other options are accessible (via drop-down) on the right side, next to and below the address bar.

Another surprise is that the tabs sit atop the address bar, rather than below it like most browsers. I like it, but it will take some getting used to.

Main Features

One of the highlights of Google Chrome is the ability to go Incognito. This is akin to Private Browsing in Safari – no cookies, history, or anything remains while in Incognito mode. You can easily enable it through the drop-down menu next to the address bar.

Unfortunately, it spawns an entirely new window, not just a new Incognito tab. Oh well, there’s always room for improvement. Incognito mode is intended for uses such as online banking and shopping for secret gifts, though in reality, most people will likely just use it for browsing pornography.

On to other issues – one major change is in the handling of tabs. In Chrome, each tab is an individual process, independent of the browser as a whole. What this means is that you can kill individual tabs without having a misbehaving tab crash the entire browser. Anyone who has ever visited a site that took down the full browser should jump for joy at this prospect. If it works correctly, it will be a major boon that other browsers should incorporate.

Try it now: launch Chrome, and right-click in the title bar area (very top of the browser). It should launch the Task Manager, allowing you to kill individual tabs if needed.

Importing

In case you are wondering, yes, Chrome will import your information from other browsers, such as IE and Firefox (no Opera yet). I chose the Firefox import and found all my bookmarks, history, and saved passwords readily available.

Other

Not all is well in the land of Chrome, however. Considering its BETA status, this is to be expected. For starters, I’ve had some trouble with sites that are heavily dependent on Java (such as ADrive). Some sites may have compatibility issues with Chrome as well. As an example, Amazon’s Askville doesn’t seem to care for Chrome yet.

Still, we must remember that Chrome is in its infancy. Issues like these will improve.

All-in-all, I like Google Chrome. It’s a welcome addition to the browsing world, and since it is open-source, I hope to see it positively affect its competitors. Giants such as Firefox, Opera, and IE, though they still dominate the field, could stand to learn a thing or two from the upstart Chrome.

For me, I will likely stay true to Firefox for now, but I look forward to watching Chrome mature.

Learn more about Google Chrome (including videos) at its official site.

Have you subscribed to our RSS feed yet? You should!

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The Most Important Firefox Plugins You Will Ever Need. (A Series.) http://tipsfor.us/2008/04/11/the-most-important-firefox-plugins-you-will-ever-need-a-series/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/04/11/the-most-important-firefox-plugins-you-will-ever-need-a-series/#comments Sat, 12 Apr 2008 00:15:05 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/2008/04/11/the-most-important-firefox-plugins-you-will-ever-need-a-series/ Continue reading The Most Important Firefox Plugins You Will Ever Need. (A Series.) ]]> #1 NoScript – http://www.noscript.net/

noscript-logo.pngI have to personally recommend that you never go to untrusted websites without this plugin. It’s as important as your antivirus software is on your PC. What it does is immediately assume that all websites are malicious and out to cause harm. You then, on a case to case basis, decide which “scripts” are allowed to be executed. Scripts are (in an overly simplified way) pieces of computer code that run automatically to generate a predetermined effect.

This sounds more complex than it is. When you browse over to Youtube, and that little video that is embedded in the website begins to play, that is a script being activated. So why are scripts bad? Well, if you can’t see the predetermined outcome, then you never know what command was executed. The worst of these commands could capture and record your keystrokes (example: when you enter your credit card number and address) and send them to the type of person you would never want to have them. Now that is a rare, complex, and incredibly extreme example. Now remember, the last thing I want to do is cause Hype-Paranoia like computer viruses on the evening news.

So how do I use it? Well, if you have never installed an Add-on for FireFox, it’s pretty easy. All you have to do is head on over to the firefox customize website (opens in a new window) and click the big [Add to Firefox] button on any add-on you want. I am now going to assume that (if you want it) NoScript is now installed in your FireFox. When you navigate to a new site, you will see a bar appear at the bottom:

firefox_noscript1

In order to see how much content has been blocked, click the little button in the bottom corner: (I’m using PCLinuxOS with a night theme, so your screen colors may be different).

firefox_noscript2

Only allow content that you know. For example, if you are on Youtube and one of your options is to allow Youtube, and you trust them, go ahead and do it (This will allow your video to play). If you see something else listed that you do not recognize (like ytimg.com) you probably do not want to enable it.

Remember, however, that there are a lot of positive scripts out there. When you click on a pull down menu to jump to another part of a website:

firefox_noscript3

a script must be run in order for that link to function. If you stumble across that problem (or any like it), check and see what scripts are enabled. It may take a little extra effort at the beginning, but eventually you will grow used to it. It will become a “safety inconvenience” (like traffic lights), subtly in our way but incredibly necessary.

The main criticism this plug-in receives is that it updates too often. It is true that it will update virtually every day. Some people view this as the plugin trying to make you feel like it is more active and more important than you think it is. In reality, it is just proof of its solid team of programmers making sure it is up-to-date.

But don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.

Links referenced:

The Firefox Browser (One of the best browsers you can find [and it’s free])

Firefox’s Addon Repository (Shop around for themes, addons, and plugins)

The Noscript Plugin Page (You can get this add-on from their page or the Firefox repo)

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Review of Safari 3 for Windows http://tipsfor.us/2008/03/25/review-of-safari-3-for-windows/ http://tipsfor.us/2008/03/25/review-of-safari-3-for-windows/#comments Wed, 26 Mar 2008 05:49:52 +0000 http://www.tipsfor.us/2008/03/25/review-of-safari-3-for-windows/ Continue reading Review of Safari 3 for Windows ]]> safari_windows_screenshot.png

So Apple went on its second major foray into the world of Microsoft with its release of Safari for Windows (the first being iTunes). I’m not necessarily a connoisseur of browsers when I’m at work just trying to get things done, but right off the bat I noticed the slick implementation of Apple’s signature Aqua-style graphics. Apple didn’t settle for Microsoft’s standard clunky window buttons, and they even put in their own window scroller and check-boxes, so in my opinion, browsing the web on Windows never looked so good. In fact, in my work-crazed stupor, Apple’s faithful rendition of the Mac version of Safari easily lulled me into a blissful fantasy-world where I was working from home on my Mac… that mirage only lasted so long, though, because Windows keeps stealing my focus, its Desktop search feature can’t find its own ass with both hands, un-closed pop-ups from any application gum up the *entire* desktop (instead of just the parent application), and my soundcard driver went on the lam again. Oh, Windows, if I could kick you in the nuts… but I digress.

Safari 3 seems to work fine on the web sites I’ve been hitting for the past couple days. For example, the new Yahoo mail is not officially supported, but it seems to be fully functional with Safari 3. Likewise, I was able to run my WordPress control panel without any major issues.With most Ajax-heavy sites, basic functionality is usually there for any browser, but things around the fringes may start breaking, so I’m not terribly surprised that Safari 3 has had some trouble here… in CSS and Ajax is where the browser-specific demons lie.On another Ajax site, I did notice some broken functionality when using Safari 3, so you know those demons are out there to haunt web developers, which brings me to the crux of this review: now I have ANOTHER browser to test when coding (and IE was already a huge pain in the ass).

Safari MOSTLY follows the same rendering as Firefox, with some quirky caveats… the biggest is probably Safari’s stricter interpretation of Javascript: Safari does not tolerate the use of reserved words as Javascript variable names. Firefox does. Safari’s implementation is probably more correct (just ask any coder), but the reality is that some Javascript won’t execute in Safari. I’ve read some of the documents about how the Gecko engine should behave when handling floated elements as they come into contact with cleared items, and I became convinced that BOTH Safari and Firefox were rendering incorrectly according to w3c standards (I’ll leave IE out of that discussion entirely… except you Steve Ballmer… my shoes… need to meet your nuts). At least Safari 3 finally correctly handles the label tags for forms.The preferences are tucked away under the Edit menu. It’s a bit traumatizing not to have an application menu if you’re coming from the Mac version, but that’s more sensible than Microsoft’s ridiculous time-sucking habit of having menu items for “Customize…” and “Options…” Really…can anyone remember which is which?

Myths Debunked

  • Contrary to some inflammatory posts, the RSS reader CAN BE CONFIGURED. It is nearly identical to the Mac version, which is nice if you’re someone like me who doesn’t take the time to tweak out a separate feed reader.
  • Some other reviews of Safari 3 for Windows have reported it crashing or having really slow load times when visiting certain web sites (e.g. Microsoft.com), but I have yet to experience any of this… I mean, Windows already has a fairly high amount of background noise in this area – Firefox and IE crash on a pretty regular basis, so if this type of thing happens in Safari, I would tend to point my suspicions at the operating system. I mean, seriously… my XP machine can’t even crash without crashing. Sudo kill -9 anyone?

It’s no surprise that Apple is taking some serious flak regarding Safari’s “superior” rendering times. They gotta expect that the first thing any tech-head is going to do is to try and replicate the boastful test results, and of course some of the results are going to be proven “questionable” or dead-wrong. But hey, if you want the scientific details of how it actually performs, talk to the developers and scientists – don’t be thumping the copy of the latest ad. Check out Wired.com for some independent testing.

The only real difference I’ve noticed at a functional level is that Safari’s security seems to be tighter than IE or Firefox. We have an https page at work for an internal CRUD web app. Safari would not load it because we were using our own SSL certificate. I know our implementation of the cert is wrong, but we just hadn’t gotten around to fixing it because IE and Firefox only complained; Safari flat out refused. I guess that’s the correct thing to do, but it’s a pain.

I have to object to how Apple “distributed” Safari 3 in a decidedly “Microsoft” fashion… they bundled it on to the latest iTunes release, which has generated some warranted criticism from the CEO of Mozilla (Jobs… do you need a kick too?). But hey, we’re in the Bush-Cheney era, so go ahead and push the limits and take your chances with the law – the courts might slap your wrists in a couple years if they ever get around to it.

apple_safari_update.png

What would make me melt is if Safari got a plugin like Firebug. That little guy has saved my life as a web developer too many times to count.

Nicest Features:

— Clean Aqua style interface faithfully rendered on Windows.

— Much faster performance. I have no scientific data here, and I refuse to drink the Firefox Kool-Aid. I think IE is a pitiful attempt at a browser from a company with the resources that Microsoft has, but it’s actually Firefox that’s the biggest memory hog on my system (sorry lil’ Fire-dudes). When Firefox attempts to cache the state of every single page, my XP machine slows to a crawl, even with 2gb of memory. Safari has behaved nicely for the past 2 days with just as many tabs open, so they must be doing something better than Firefox.

Biggest Gripes:

People have flamed Safari for not having tabs enabled by default…

but maybe this was corrected, because when I installed, the tabs were enabled. Firefox didn’t have them enabled by default either for while, but it’s been a while since I’ve installed it.

Safari gives you no search box choices beyond Google and Yahoo. Hey, Apple faithfully recreated this too! Oh wait… on the Mac version you ONLY get Google… WTF? Anyhow, there are a couple ways to hack Safari’s Google search limitation on OS X (including a search-box plug-in), so presumably someone will crack this nut for Windows too. Makes you wonder what kind of weird marketing agreements are in place for the software to have that arbitrary restriction.

Editing pages in WordPress, an Ajax CMS, worked, but it had a few surprises. Safari took the liberty of injecting some formatting code into my post:

<span class=”Apple-style-span” style=”font-family: arial; font-size: 12px; line-height: 15px”>

I *hate* stuff like that. This reminds me of the little Paper-Clip guy in Microsoft Office (may he too get kicked in the groin). I don’t mind that type of functionality so long as it’s off by default.

Conclusion:

Safari 3 is not an amazing piece of software, but it may offer the home-sick Mac folks some solace. At best it’s a working browser with features comparable to Firefox for the average user; at worst it’s yet another browser for developers to consider while designing cross-platform web pages. Meh… whatever.

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