More OS 9 Browser Observations

IE renders most of the MT interface wonderfully, and — shockingly enough — renders the blog properly. (Actually, I think I knew that. Now if I could just figure out why iCab doesn’t.)

But IE doesn’t work with MT-Blacklist. Specifically, it can’t pass any comments to de-spam to the plugin from the comment interface, probably because IE uses a horrid, broken Javascript implementation. Fortunately, iCab can deal with MT-Blacklist quite nicely, if you can find your way around the scattered (stupid broken CSS in iCab!) interface.

I can’t believe I never noticed this about iCab’s history feature before, and I think something must have changed, because its behaviour now annoys me to no end. The way iCab does its type-ahead/predictive history thing defies explanation, so you’ll have to grab a copy and try it for yourself after using it to browse for a day. The way IE (and Camino, incidentally, and, IIRC, Safari) handle this is about a thousand times more useful.

Boy, I sure love iCab’s tabs and ability to block popups, though. IE certainly fails miserably at providing both those features.

Both of them have pretty atrocious support for putting the window focus back where it was when you leave the window. For example — and this is one of the things I absolutely adore about Camino, though I didn’t even realise it was different until now — when I’m editing a blog entry and I want to copy-n-paste a URL from another tab/window/application into the entry, Camino is smart enough to bring the focus back to the text field where I’m doing my editing when I switch back to the tab/the window/Camino.

Neither iCab nor IE does this (well, OK, IE does it when switching back to IE from another application), which ends up making my editing terribly inefficient. I have to move my right hand off the keyboard, pick up the mouse, click in the text field to bring the focus there, and then move my hand back to the keyboard, where I can continue typing. If I’m pasting in more than one or two URLs, this gets very tiresome.

A general observation: with as much complaining as people do (or did; I haven’t heard this one in a while) about how OS X wastes screen space, I have to say that these thick window borders on OS 9 are really driving me crazy. See, not only am I stuck with the ass-end of the Macintosh browser spectrum, but I’m doing it on an Apple Multiple Scan 15, which works (barely) at 1024x768. I have the browser windows on both IE and iCab expanded to nearly full screen and they’re still too small. And yes, that extra 10-20 pixels I could get from taking away those bloody borders would help me. So would the extra 40-50 pixels of height I could gain if IE’s toolbars could be customised as much as Camino’s. iCab is better in this department, and the built-in Google search is great (though, for the record, I still prefer Camino’s ability to type ‘g [search string]’ in the URL field). I’m stuck relying on a now-kludgy-feeling JavaScript-based bookmark in IE.

posted by Chris on 13 December 2004 at 0424 in computing


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Comment by Uncle Asad

(Nothing like commenting on old blog entries…<g>)

FYI, you can configure iCab to use g [search string] in the URL field either by control-clicking the search field or by adding the key to the existing entry in the Internet Seach Sites section of the prefs. That’s how I have mine set up (and w for wikipedia and f for babelfish fr-en…).

BTW, if you’re not a registered user, you might not know that the first beta is out with incredible new CSS support. Michael Tsai posted some screenshots at

Almost polished enough for me to say goodbye to Camino and return to being a one-browser surfer….

posted at 0424 on 13 December 2004

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