Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Firefox: Remove from Dock

Firefox 3 Beta on Mac OS 10.5 (Leopard) is so horrifically unstable, I finally had to remove it from my Dock.
It makes me sad.  I loved the idea of Firefox, and I'm in debt to the developers in a round-about way as their once-upon-a-time best-of-breed browser helped me become a better web architect.
But now... now I'm seething.   This is a small shop making over $70 Million a year, and their software crashes several times a day.   I just can't take the risk anymore: I find I've been doing things in Firefox half-expecting it'll crash and I'll be able to recover from a page reload.  But that's often not the case, and anyway isn't this supposed to be the Future?  I don't need the Windows 98 flashbacks.
Guys (and Mitchell) - why the hate?  I always loved you, I beta-tested your browsers since pre-1.0, I fought the good fight inside major corporations for your acceptance back when you were poor... and now this-- this rat-faced crashtopia.
On the bright side:
  1. Firebug's Joe Hewitt works for Facebook and is hopefully getting rich, one of the few to deserve it.
  2. Yahoo is hiring a Firebug developer, and this has Job Security written all over it.
  3. Safari is significantly outpacing Firefox in new browser development.
  4. Opera is back from the (comfy Euro-)grave with an interesting JS debugger.
  5. Firefox 2 with Firebug on Windows XP is still stable enough I can do all my WinXP sanity-checking there (except for MSIE of course, for which I need to consult the Quirksmode Oracle every ten seconds).
So now I find myself trying to readjust to Safari as my primary browser, since Firefox is so unreliable.  And I like it fine, but for two things that have always bugged me, and for which I believe I have fixes.
First, I don't like that Safari doesn't tell me the URL of a link I'm about to click on.  I guess Apple must have asked around and found people generally don't care.  But I'm just geek enough to care, so I'm going to make it do that again.
Second, I think Apple made a horrific (and uncharacteristic) usability mistake when they decided that command-1 through command-0 (10) would open the cardinal bookmarks in the current tab, instead of doing what every other power application does and switch among the first 10 tabs.
I already fixed that in Tiger, so it's not a big deal.  But I remain slightly frustrated that Apple still doesn't quite get tabbed browsing.  I'll be sure to post the fixes back here; and Apple, my dear, if you disagree on the tab navigation item then bring it on, I love you but I'll kick your ass on this one.
That's all for now, I have another hour of playing with KeyNote before I can crash in my own right.
The palaver is (temporarily) finished.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Lines on a Plane

It's been almost two years since Snakes on a Plane.  A good, fun, low-mental-energy B movie, and in fact a meta-movie if you know the back story.  At its heart is one very good line, delivered by the inimitable Samuel L. Jackson:  I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!
I saw that one on the big screen and almost immediately had an idea for a fun little web project.  I spent a very long weekend tweaking some fairly complicated CSS to get just the look I wanted; and I made sure at every step that it worked in Firefox and Safari.
I figured I could just conform it to Internet Explorer at the end, with a little help from Quirksmode.  What was I thinking?  When I looked at it in IE, I wanted to cry.  Partly because I realized it would take another whole weekend to make it work, and partly because I was reminded that wed designers still have to worry about that scourge, that rat-faced imbecile of a browser.
Anyway, long story short:  I didn't make any noise about the project because I thought I'd eventually get around to making it work in IE.  But now I don't care: it's a funny little project and Internet Explorer is the devil anyway.  It still seems to work in Safari and Firefox, and is probably broken in Explorer.
The project:
Lines on a Plane - what should Samuel L. Jackson say in the sequel to Snakes on a Plane?
Check it out.  Be funny.