Let’s lead off with a Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3. For once Microsoft has been listening to the enormous amount of feedback they have received since Beta was release a month plus ago. Besides the inevitable ‘under the hood’ improvements and bug fixes. IE 7 Beta 3 now supports drag ‘n drop Tab reordering quite like Firefox 2 and Opera 9. You can save multiple open Tabs into a Tab Group. And when you open it the tab order is identical to their positions on save. However the Quick Tab view remains a static rendering of open Tabs. You can’t save it instead.
The IE7 Beta 3 interface too has been improved. And reinstates some features dropped during Microsoft’s Usability testing before the public Beta. Raised like Lazarus (from the dead) is the Read Mail button. This links to whatever is defined as IE7’s default Mail program. The default is Hotmail. Outlook if installed. Outlook Express and for some reason Opera. I presume IE7 Beta 3 would let me load Opera and open its M2 Mail and News client.
You know if Microsoft really wanted to prove to Google that this browser didn’t try to lock in users to a specific site. They should consider allowing the Read Mail function to map to GMail. After all you can add Google as a custom search engine. So why not GMail (or Yahoo Mail)?
Another significant improvement is to the zoom feature. Now when you zoom into a web page, the view offers both horizontal and vertical toolbars. In the previous Beta 2, all you go was a vertical scroll bar that made it quite difficult to view a zoomed page. Other changes include tweaks to the interface. The icons have been slimmed down. With some already displaying Vista-like effects, shadows and rounding. I especially like the new navigation buttons. As well as the new Add to Favorite button. But what I still don’t like is the confusion about the drop-down feature to navigate backwards. Some usability guru in the interests of limiting screen real estate use. Decided that the drop-down list is common to navigation in both directions! I’m sure most users, many of whom will not have read this IE& Beta (and other) reviews will be quite confused.
What I really like is IE7 Beta 3 clear type which appears enabled by default for web pages visited. Clear Type is also enabled on Office 2007 Beta 2 components.
IE7 Beta 3 is available for Windows XP SP2 and for Windows Server 2003 SP 1. The browser is not available for Windows 2000 and earlier versions. And no even with workaround its impossible to install.
And as mentioned in an earlier post on IE7 Beta 2. You need to uninstall any previous Betas before you can install IE7 Beta 3. The entire process is quite tedious. First uninstall the older Beta. Reboot your system. Then install the new Beta 3. Again reboot your system.
I’ve said it before. And I’ll say it again. The Internet is a remarkable compendium of interesting information. And for the thousands (or is that millions?) of users who don’t use a legal copy of Windows XP/2003. So far the Windows Genuine Activation has been a stumbling block.
If you are willing to spend a bit of time and energy, you can locate and download a torrent of a cracked version of Microsoft Defender Beta 2. There are also numerous workarounds and cracks to resolve Microsoft’s recently-launched Windows Genuine Advantage alert system. And faced with all that (potentially) damaging publicity, even Microsoft has issued a simple way to disable the function.
A blogger has detailed exactly how to resolve the Validation stumbling block when installing IE7 Betas. While the instructions are for Beta 2. There’s no reason why they shouldn’t work for Beta 3.
Another recent Microsoft Beta is Windows Media Player 11. For which a pre-cracked download is also available. Although I’ve used Windows Media 11 (genuine), I’m not very impressed by the software. Which in spite of its redesigned, quite minimalist interface, is still bloatware. Especially when compared to XMPlay that supports Winamp plugs and can play back from within compressed archive files!
Also new this week is an updated GreatNews 1.0 Beta (Build 370). That adds new features like Drag/Drop feed subscriptions from IE, FireFox and the GreatNews reading pane. You can also mark a feed page as Read (previously you could only marka specific feed as read). And the RSS detector has been enhanced to display feed titles as well. Many language packs have been updated with new packs for Arabic and Basque added. The new Build 370 also fixes several bugs. I recommend GreatNews as the best stand alone RSS client available on the Web. It requires neither the .Net Framework to be installed. Nor does it need to be an extension of an existing application (Sage in Firefox, IE7 RSS Feeds. Or Outlook 2007 Beta 2 RSS Feeds that actually piggyback on IE7).
And in closing, as a Firefox or Thunderbird user, you must have the excellent (and free) Moz Backup program installed. This utility can backup your Mozilla Firefox, Thunderbird, SeaMonkey, Mozilla Suite and Netscape profiles. There’s no learning curve. And the software allows you to backup (and later restore) bookmarks, mail, contacts, history, extensions and cache. Another great link for Firefox users is the site listing 200+ extremely useful Firefox extensions that save time and effort.
That’s it for the week. Stay Safe. And we’ll catch up again real soon.