Too Cool for Internet Explorer

Tuesday, October 3, 2006

Choosing Sides

I’ve stayed loyal to the Safari web browser from the moment Apple released it. FireFox is a good browser but, until now, it just seemed to lack whatever I needed to jump ship.

There’s no way I could explain what it is, but “it” happened in version 2.0 RC1. My answer to Tom’s question earlier today is that I don’t believe FireFox is “fugly” any longer. Most of what I still don’t like about FireFox is entirely a matter of my having grown accustomed to the way Safari does things—something I can clearly learn to change my mind about. The most recent broken straw was that just a couple days ago, Flash content is 100% broken in Safari. I have no explanation, but I just get empty space wherever a Flash object is supposed to be. I restarted Safari. I restarted the computer. I reinstalled Flash. I completely uninstalled Flash and reinstalled it again. Finally, I applied the OS X 10.4.8 update that was just released and restarted yet again. Nada. Yet, in both FireFox and NetNewsWire, Flash content works just fine.

So, I have a question. I already know the reasons I should consider migrating to FireFox as my primary browser. What I would like to know is what reasons I should consider staying with Safari, because other than having to relearn certain habits, I’m hard-pressed to come up with any reasons to stay. Hit the comments and tell me what you think. Please.

And fair warning, I’ll probably zap any comment that suggests I use Camino instead. Camino is still fugly. And does it even support the plugins that FireFox has?

Update: All is now well, in regard to Flash content in Safari. Brent, in the comments, pointed out that it could be a utility that blocks such content. People install these kinds of blocking tools all the time, then forget they have them. Well, I haven’t forgotten that I am using Saft, but I didn’t realize that I apparently hit the keyboard shortcut to disable animations. So everything is back to order. And since I seldom use the blocking tools, I used Menu Master to eliminate the keyboard shortcuts for those. If I need them, I can still select them via the menu bar.

» Posted by ALBj at 08:10 PM (ET)
Category: Journal


Zapping comments just because they suggest you use Camino is tyrannical and unfair.

Camino is far more Mac-like than Firefox. Even simple Mac behaviour such as moving to the beginning of a address bar when I press up arrow, and moving to the end when I press down arrow.

Whether or not Camino supports Firefox plugins is neither here nor there. Safari doesn’t, either. The fact is that compared to Camino and Safari, Firefox is slow and doesn’t behave like a Mac. That’s a double-killer.

And once they’ve both been running on your system for a while, Camino is always faster than Safari, because Safari doesn’t deal well at all with an aging, overfull set of caches. It’s favicon store has a habit of getting so bloated and inefficient that the browser takes longer and longer to startup every day.

On balance, for consistently fast browsing with proper Mac interface, Camino wins, despite you not liking its looks. (What is wrong with them, anyway?)

» Posted by DB
October 3, 2006 09:18 PM

I have been switching back and forth between safari and firefox (which a use at work in windows) and finally switched to opera 9 (both mac and windows versions are great - fast, render great, and ability to easily block content (per site by doing simple right click) is very useful (I don’t think other browsers support this?)

» Posted by tg
October 3, 2006 09:32 PM

DB - :-) I think the notion of tongue in cheek didn’t quite get through. No, I don’t intend to actually go through with killing pro-Camino comments. And while I can’t argue for or against that Camino sports the most Mac-ish look, all I know is that I really don’t care for it.

You’re right, however, about FireFox’s speed. As I’ve been using it a bit tonight, I can definitely see that there are times where it just seems to drag compared to Safari.

Thanks for your thoughts!

TG - Opera is yet another browser I may have to take a look at.

» Posted by Lee Bennett
October 3, 2006 10:20 PM

To enable Flash, go to the QuickTime pane of System Preferences, click on the “Advanced” tab, and put a checkmark in the box labeled “Enable Flash”.

» Posted by brotherStefan
October 3, 2006 10:47 PM

Stefan - Hmm, nope. Okay, that checkbox _was_ off, but I turned it on and restarted Safari. Still no dice.

» Posted by Lee Bennett
October 4, 2006 12:00 AM

Actually, this is not a good time to switch over to FireFox.

According to an article on CNet ( ) hackers have found some critical “supposedly impossible to fix” vulnerabilities in the way FireFox handles javascript. They claim to have an exploit(s), and all versions of FireFox are affected, including the Mac OS X and Linux versions.

Might want to stick with Safari for alittle while longer until they clear that up.

Additionally, I am using Safari on 10.4.8 and have had no probelms with Flash content.

» Posted by Kirk
October 4, 2006 01:10 AM

DB, even if Lee wasn’t kidding—sarcasm is *so* hard to get across in type alone—there is still no reason for him to submit to your whining should you choose to cross him regarding his comments policy.

This is not a mob-rules democracy. This is not a constitutional republic. At best, this is a benevolent dictatorship. Lee pays for this site, Lee gets to do whatever he wants to with it. (Provided it doesn’t violate the terms of service with his hosting company, that is. ;-)

To the topic at hand, I keep meaning to install a version of Firefox to test, but never seem to get around to it. The combination of Safari and Camino does everything I want. One browser is apparently not enough for me: I use Camino for some online interactions, notably Flickr, while Safari bears the brunt of my web excursions.

Like Kirk, I’ve not had any problems with Flash in Safari, and I’m on 10.4.8 as well.

» Posted by chris
October 4, 2006 02:01 AM

I had the same problems with Safari and had to resort to running Safari through rosetta (tick box in get info on intel macs)

Flash worked ok, but I didn’t like running Safari in this sub-par way.

So, I downloaded webkit - the safari nightly build and it works fine, give it a try

» Posted by hurtle
October 4, 2006 07:30 AM

Are you sure you aren’t running one of the ad-blocking hacks for Safari such as PithHelmet or SafariBlock? These tend to wreak all kinds of havoc with Safari if their data gets corrupted, and its easy to forget we have these things installed.

» Posted by Brent S
October 4, 2006 09:02 AM

Chris is right. sarcasm *is* very hard to convey in type. This is something of which I’ve endeavored to remember, but perhaps failed a bit, this time. I’ve also had to bend over backwards to smooth things over with friends and colleagues who didn’t properly pick up on my being tongue-in-cheek. I’ve gotta learn to be more of a straight shooter when I’m only typing and not speaking.

Hurtle - I was thinking the 10.4.8 update would include some change to Safari and fix the problem, but it didn’t. I’ll give that nightly build a try when I get home tonight.

Brent - whoah, I am really wondering if you may have just solved it for me…I’ll definitely check this before doing the nightly build attempt. I am, indeed, running Saft and I see that there’s not only an option to skip plug-in items, it even has a keyboard shortcut—one that I can even imagine myself accidentally typing. Keep your fingers crossed!

» Posted by Lee Bennett
October 4, 2006 09:18 AM

Sorry, due to comment spam abuse, new comments on this entry are closed until I find time to upgrade Movable Type and enable registration and moderation.