Archive for browser

Sorry Google, Chrome has been vindicated!

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , , on Sunday, 22 November 2009 by Deems

Last week I ranted on about Google’s Chrome browser hanging my laptop and after non-use of Chrome the problem went away. Well, it seems that I had spoken too soon. The very next day my laptop hung again, and I had not used Chrome since before I wrote the blog post.

So, frustrated with the hanging, I did a little more digging and found out that there was a known problem with one of Microsoft’s Windows updates, MS09-065 (969947), which caused hanging of the OS (with mouse movement still working) for users with Nvidia and ATI video cards. Now, I know, it’s an XP problem but the update applies to Vista as well so I thought it might be exhibiting the same problems with Vista so I removed that update as well as the Nvidia driver update and re-applied the Nvidia driver update again.

It was a short-lived experience, as the problem returned.

So, I gave in and restored my laptop back to it’s clean, factory-install version of Vista and began rebuilding it again. Many, many long hours later and about 1.7GB of various windows updates later, it seems I have a usable laptop once again.

And yes, this post is being written and posted using Google Chrome, again my browser of choice!

Google Chrome – Brand Minus

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , , on Wednesday, 18 November 2009 by Deems

For a long time now, actually since the very first release of Google Chrome, I’ve been an ambassador for how cool a browser it is and that it’s been my browser of choice ever since they released it. That is up until today when I realised Google Chrome has been the culprit of my Vista OS hanging (note, no BSOD). At first I thought it might have been a Windows Update or one of my other applications, however it always happened while I had Google Chrome also open.

Now, for over a year now I’ve never had any bad experiences with using Google Chrome (either with Windows XP or with Windows Vista). For the last couple of days I’ve explicity NOT used Google Chrome  and lo and behold, I no longer have to hard reboot my laptop anymore. And it seems I’m not alone – nor is it a recent occurance as others have had similar problems.

I guess I’ll have to monitor the news and forums feeds for a resolution before I used Google Chrome again – I sure am going to miss it until then!

Happy Birthday Google Chrome

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , on Thursday, 3 September 2009 by Deems

It seems to be a week for birthdays this week. First the Internet turned 40, and now the Google Chrome browser, which I’ve blogged about a number of times already, is a year old. I raved about it when it was just released and today it’s still my default browser of choice, at home and at work.

The team at Lifehacker have put together a nice little roadmap of the last year from Google Chrome’s release to the public and where it stands today.

Happy Birthday, Google Chrome!

Review: Browsershots

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , , , , on Friday, 29 May 2009 by Deems

BrowserShots-Logo

As a web developer I’m almost always tasked with ensuring that websites and web applications I build not only work but look good in the popular browsers for the target platform. Sometimes you may get a client with some obscure version of a browser (not necessarily Internet Explorer, Firefox or Chrome) and you don’t have that platform available to test it locally to try and replicate the issue and hopefully fix it.

browsershots-search

Along comes Browsershots – a website with a very simple front-end. Type in the address to the page you wish to view (obviously needs to be hosted online already and not a password protected site) and select as many or as few browsers (and platofmrs) to test, whether or not JavaScript and/or Flash is required or not (even which version must be avaialble) and even screen resolutions and colour depths. Click the button, and sit back.

browsershots-browsers

browsershots-options

Through what I’m assuming are multiple virtual machines on their servers which are instructed to browse to the site you requested and then a screenshot is taken of that browser and added to your screenshot queue.

It will notify you of the progress, whether or not the browser screenshot will be available or approxiamtely how long it will be before your screenshot is queued and taken.

browsershots-queuedetails

The site even allows you to download all the screenshots in a single ZIP file – how handy is that.

I’m definitely bookmarking this site for my next browser-compatibility issue resolution!

Google Chrome, the need for speed!

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , , on Thursday, 21 May 2009 by Deems

Back in September last year I told you about Google entering the browser wars with their own web browser, Chrome.  Then next day, I gave you my first impressions. If my job didn’t require me to develop web sites in Internet Explorer and Firefox I’d have long since set Chrome as my default browser. Although, for my own day-to day use I almost exclusively use Chrome as my browser of choice.

Today, Google have announced and released the latest stable version of Chrome.

stable-google-chrome-about

Some of the improvements and new features include:

Improved New Tab Page: The most requested feature from users was the ability to remove thumbnails from the New Tab page. Now you can finally hide that embarrassing gossip blog from the Most Visited

Ha, ha, I was wondering when this would be implemented – not that I have to worry about this but still a nice added feature. Watch the video later in this post to see how this works. I find this new tab page very useful for quickly getting back to pages I use frequently.

Full Screen Mode: If you’ve ever given a presentation or watched a large video using Google Chrome, you might have wished you could use every last pixel on your screen for the content. Now you can hide the title bar and the rest of the browser window by hitting F11 or selecting the option in the Tools menu.

Although I don’t use this often, at times I’ve found myself needing to maximize the window and this will now come in handy – in the beginning I often found myself looking for this feature since being used to it in IE and FF.

Form Autofill: Filling out your information in forms over and over again can be tedious. Form autofill helps by showing information you’ve previously entered into the same form fields automatically. If at any point you want to clear out your information, that’s easy to do from the Tools menu.

This is actually something I’ve often found very useful when filling in forms over and over again while testing – or similarly named fields on various websites (like your name, email address).

Increased Stability: Google Chrome is more stable than ever–we have fixed over 300 bugs that caused crashes since launch.

I’ve only ever experience one or two crashes while using Chrome but they’ve been isolated incidents and always only a plug-in or tab crashing.

Increased Speed: Making the web faster continues to be our main area of focus. Thanks to a new version of WebKit and an update to our JavaScript engine, V8, interactive web pages will run even faster. We’ve also made sure that JavaScript keeps running fast even when you have lots of tabs open. Try opening a bunch of web applications and then running your favorite benchmark. You can read more about V8 in our JavaScript scalability post on the Chromium blog. - source Google Chrome Blog

I’m going to see in the next few days/weeks whether this improvement is more apparent.

You can take a look at some other Chrome-related posts here. Are you not using Google Chrome yet? Why not? Go and download it now and try it out for yourself.

Internet Explorer 8 unleashed!

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , on Thursday, 19 March 2009 by Deems

Microsoft finally (today) made the release version of Internet Explorer 8 available to the public. It seems Microsoft has taken a page out of Google’s book (don’t they always) with regard to browser performance and functionality. 

According to Microsoft the new browser is faster and more user-friendly. Some of the features included to help you are as follows:

  • Quickly access a street map by highlighting an address and using an Accelerator such as Microsoft Live Search Maps effectively taking a 7 step process to getting a map from an address to simply 2 clicks.

    ie8-address-map

  • New and improved powerful search bar makes searching for and comparing products so much easier – without leaving the current browser window or tab.ie8-smart-address-bar  
  • Multi-tasking stability – now when a web page causes the browser to hang/crash only that tab is affected, not the whole browser – no more losing work or your train of thought. Should the browser crash it will automatically recover the previous tabs and sessions upon restarting. 
     
  • Internet Explorer 8 now remembers your recently opened tabs so that you can quickly re-open them and go back to a previously visited page.

    ie8-reopen-tabs

  • Just like Google Chrome’s Incognito browsing mode, Internet Explorer 8 has a new InPrivate mode which acts in the same way keeping your browsing in that session private by not storing cookies, cache items or browsing history for that session.
     
  • Again (starting a trend here) just like Google Chrome warning you of a website that is potentially unsafe, Internet Explorer 8 will attempt to do the same – making your web surfing so much safer. ie8-unsafe-site 
  • Compatibility mode for browsing websites, that aren’t geared up yet for Internet Explorer 8, using the Internet Explorer 7 rendering engine instead.ie8-compat-mode
  • A new feature is tab-grouping which makes related tabs have the same look so that you can easily switch between related tabs, or close them at once. And closing one tab from a group will switch you to another tab from the same group so that you stay within the same context you were in. 

For those of us already using Google Chrome, most of this will be something you’re used to, yet not accustomed to from Internet Explorer.  Remember that this is the first release version of Internet Explorer 8 so there may be a few teething problems, as always, expect a patch or two or a service pack in the not too distant future.

I’ve not tried IE8 for myself yet but early reports are that it’s not as fast as they claim – will that have an effect on its two-third market share? Read more at TechCrunch.

Download IE8 now for yourself.

Google Chrome officially out of beta!

Posted in General, Technology with tags , , , , , on Thursday, 11 December 2008 by Deems

I guess I need to eat my words. Only yesterday I told you about Google Chrome being ready to come out of Beta, but I wasn’t sure as to when it would happen (since GMail’s been in Beta for over 4 years).

Well time for me to have a helping of my own words – Google Chrome is officially out of Beta. My previous version was 0.4.154.29 and the new official version is 1.0.154.36.

We have removed the beta label as our goals for stability and performance have been met but our work is far from done. We are working to add some common browser features such as form autofill and RSS support in the near future. We are also developing an extensions platform along with support for Mac and Linux.

100 days for a beta – not bad, good going Google. [via Lifehacker]

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