Up To My Ass In Alligators

Don’t you love slaughtering them alligators? All that prime hide turned into bags and shoes and designer luggage. If we believe the advertisements, that is. But environmentalists don’t diss me for cruelty. Blame the person who coined the expression When you’re up to your ass in alligators, there’s no time to remember you’re there to drain the swamp!

First and foremost in software updates this week is Microsoft Internet Explorer 7. Along with an all-new Microsoft favicon. Or perhaps that’s been there for a while and I never noticed the change. I’m certainly getting all woolly-headed in me old age 🙂

IE7’s available in 32-bit (Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 SP1) and 64-bit (Windows XP, Windows Server 2003) editions. But as mentioned earlier, Windows 2000 and older version users have been shut out from this upgrade on rather specious security grounds. If you don’t use Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 or Windows Vista, Microsoft comes across as suggesting you stick to Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox or Opera! Of course you could download an IE-wrapper application like Maxthon 2 or AvantBrowser 11 but you will still use the IE6 rendering engine with all its flaws including poor transparent PNG support. ActiveX (which in hindsight isn’t all that bad). And indifferent CSS element handling.

There’s little new between the IE7 Beta3 and RC1 builds and the final version. For those who missed out on the IE7 Beta/RC release excitement, read my post Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 Previewed. As well as Internet Explorer 7 Beta 3 Rocks Better and Internet Explorer 7 RC 1 Released (August 28, 2006).

IE7 Final improved QuickView closes tabs tooBetween the last Release Candidate and this final version I found three significant changes. On first run when you are prompted to customize your setting, ClearType is enabled by default (recommended setting). On an LCD or high-resolution CRT (glass) monitor, the difference is noticeable. Second, the QuickView feature lets you to click a thumbnail to jump to the open tab or close it. The third updates the Add Search Providers interface. You can now add custom site searches using the open search XML standard. The embedded dialog box prompts you to run a search on your favored site for TEST (case-sensitive), then paste the resulting URL into the provider input box, name the search then click the Install button. I tested the feature by defining a custom search for my eMusings blog site

IE7 Custom Search
< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ? >
< OpenSearchDescription xmlns="http://a9.com/-/spec/opensearch/1.1/" >
< ShortName >EMusings< /ShortName >
< Description >EMusings provider< /Description >
< InputEncoding >UTF-8< /InputEncoding >
< Url type="text/html" template="http://www.emusings.info/index.php?s={searchTerms}&submit=Search+eMusings" / >
< /OpenSearchDescription >

With IE7 there’s no real need to use wrappers like Maxthon or AvantBrowser. Unless you want advanced popup blocking as IE7’s blocker is not very discerning nor can its settings be customized. And while numerous browser extenders are available, too many are shareware. Microsoft has also compiled a list of IEBlog recommended add-ins for IE7 that coincidentally include many Microsoft free applications!

But as an expert user, I find the integrated Phishing detector is real drag! When enabled, it slows down browsing while it checks each URL entered against what appears to be a Microsoft-held repository. I wonder why this feature can’t download updateable lists of fake sites and refer to them locally? It shouldn’t be all that difficult to program in considering many other Windows components are refreshed monthly.

Another missing browsing enhancement is the URL shortcut function available on Firefox introduced way back by MyIE2 and improved on by Maxthon). Where you use Ctrl+Enter to prefix http://www and suffix .com to a site name (feature introduced in IE6). But Shift+Enter for a .net and Ctrl+Shift+Enter for .org (both available in Firefox and Maxthon) as still AWOL for IE7. I’m not sure how usable the Linux KDE Konqueror browser feature to add http://www. to typed URLs is a true browsing enhancement. But I still wish it was available as a custom option.

That’s it for this week. Next time I will look over the new Opera 9.01 Beta with integrated Phishing detection. As well as the neat free WinPatrol system monitor that I find more effective than Microsoft AntiSpyware. Until then, Stay Safe!

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