I’m really sorry that many readers returned disappointed last week with no column in sight. I’ve been quite ill and could barely open my eyes. Much less even look at a monitor screen to pen this usual drivel. A side-effect of falling ill is further delays in migrating my column archives to this site.
Once a upon a time not so long ago, I used to be a Maxthon (and even before than a MyIE2) lover. Simply put because I got the greater web reach of Internet Explorer’s rendering engine with almost all the benefits afforded by Firefox and Opera web browsers. The unfortunate but true fact of web site development is an overwhelming number of site developers test with, and develop for Internet Explorer alone. And of all the browsers available today, IE remains king of the heap. Pox, warts ‘n all.
However I stopped using Maxthon, and focused on lots of Firefox until build 1.0.7 which I notice is not as fast as its predecessors. Probably on account of all that extra security layered on. During this Firefox loving phase Maxthon was stumbling from one update to the next. And suffered from minor but numerous bugs that would randomly cause it to grab and hold on to system resources. Lockup. Slow down. Freeze intermittently. And be a general pain in the wrong place.
But today I find Maxthon, especially in its most recent version 1.5.x versions a great all-around tool that’s 95% on target. With its security features enabled Maxthon’s more secure than IE itself! Besides offering inline search, an RSS feed reader, and multi-tabbed windows, it also includes excellent pop-up blocking. That can be “taught” which sites to black- or white list. Included is web ad blocking than when activated replaces blocked ads with what else but ‘[Blocked Ads]’. It also blocks the float ads now common to web sites after the rise of pop-up blocking software, web dialogs (those pop-up boxes asking if you want to take a survey) and ActiveX.
Of course, blocking ActiveX controls means not being able to really enjoy features of sites like Microsoft, its companion Microsoft Network (MSN). And Yahoo. That’s correct folks! And no, I ain’t been smoking funny weeds. The new Yahoo Mail uses an ActiveX control whenever you visit their site using Internet Explorer. I discovered this for a fact while checking my mail the other day using Maxthon. By some quirk, Maxthon was running in full-secured mode. And I’m looking at the content of my Inbox when up pops Maxthon’s blue Infobar that an ActiveX control has been blocked!
And yes, I continue to use Opera Web Browser for surfing warez, Torrent and other sites that require you to view the ads if you want to view the site. But may contain scripts and objects harmful to my computer’s well being and/or my mental health. Opera is the safest browser. Even safer than Firefox. To use in such instances. It also has an incredibly fast rendering engine.
And I’m sure you are wondering what’s the 5% more needed to make Maxthon the best of the rest? Simply put it would be a great way, either an included feature, or activated via a plug-in, to capture and organize web pages. Firefox has an amazing extension called ScrapBook. And capturing a page is really no special deal. Because the page content is present in the browser cache where its formed as its received from the originating web server. Before the site is presented for your viewing.
Do I hear someone from the back saying that you can save page content or the whole page easily in Maxthon? I know you can. But you sure can’t annotate page contents. Or add highlights. Or search speedily through a collection of saved content using keyword and/or filters. Now if there was a Scrapbook-style extension (Bloodchen, Tara you listening?) I’d use Maxthon all the time. Instead of switching between three browsers. Because whenever I want to save a page content in Maxthon for later reference. I can open the Text Collector and drag ‘n drop the highlighted content to save a text note. I can do the same in Opera (save web content to a text note). Or I could use Firefox with the Scrapbook extension installed and save the entire page for future reference.
Next week I’ll look at some of the new BitTorrent clients available. But for now here’s TCP Optimizer 2.0.2, a free Windows program with a simple yet intuitive interface for tuning and optimizing Windows IP settings. It helps you find the best MTU and RWIN values, test latency and tweak broadband-related registry parameters. I use this tool on every new computer setup to optimize IP throughput and ICMP response times. Why don’t you too?
That’s it for now. Stay Safe and we’ll meet again next week.