- Currently Listening to:
- Creedence Clearwater Revival — Lookin’ Out My Back Door
Like I imagine the majority of those users who migrated from a Windows PC to a Mac, Firefox has been my primary browser for the last five years (since Firefox 0.8 came out in February 2004). It’s so long ago now in web years that it’s hard to remember, but on Windows, back in those dark days, there really weren’t any options beyond the standard Internet Explorer 6 install.
Microsoft had lost interest in maintaining their browser, having secured 90% of the browser market. For web designers, this was a disaster. When Firefox emerged it was almost instantly better than IE in every regard, so it was an obvious choice. Nowadays, the three most advanced browsers — Firefox, Chrome and Safari — each have many strengths on which to recommend them.
When Safari 4 was released as a public beta in February, I decided to give it a try for a week. You all thought I was mad, many of you requested to be transferred to another peanut factory, but I’m still using it here two months later.
Safari’s main strengths are speed and stability. If you’re a tinkerer, a Firefox install has a Windows XP-style half-life, after which its performance continuously degrades and it becomes significantly more prone to crashing. I tried opening the Safari feature page in my new copy of Safari and my many years-old Firefox, and the difference in performance ellicited an honest-to-God laugh-out-loud. That almost never happens! (I should say that I’m open to the idea that I am wholly responsible for Firefox’s poor performance by loading my profile with too many extensions and customisations. One badly-written extension or Greasemonkey script and the browser can begin to drag.)
Safari is ahead of the game in other ways too though. Full-text search of your history with rendered thumbnails of each page is a killer feature. These are indexed by Spotlight as well and can be searched from apps like Launchbar. The Chrome-style new tab screen is excellent for keeping track of pages that change over the course of the day. The lack of a progress bar when loading a page is a very interesting departure which I find myself liking more as time goes on. The new tab bar does take some getting used to, and has been discussed at quite marvelous length elsewhere. I would favour one of the proposed mockups which give more space to the window controls.
There were two things about my Firefox setup that I did really miss when switching: keyword search from the location bar, and delicious integration. In Firefox you can just type directly into the location bar and it will do a Google search. Even better than that is using keywords to search specific sites — “wp Bell pepper” to open a Wikipedia page for example.
Safari can’t do any of that out of the box, but there is a SIMBL plugin that manages this very nicely, called Keywurl. Delicious support is provided by the Delicious Safari extension, which does the job admirably. Boom.
- Predictions 2011 - John Battelle's Searchblog
- Daring Fireball Linked List: Skating to Where the Puck Is Going to Be
But “too focused on their own prior success” pretty much sounds like the opposite of Steve Jobs. His greatest gift to the company, I suspect, is that his enthusiasm is always on the Next Big Thing, no matter how big the Last Big Thing was.
- Daring Fireball: Emotional Rescue
- Four Insiders Charged With Revealing Product Plans of Apple, Dell, and Others - Mac Rumors
- Mobile Opportunity: What's really wrong with BlackBerry (and what to do about it)
Adding adjacent categories. Settling down the installed base is not enough. It's an enormous task, but all it'll do is stabilize the business. It won't produce the growth that investors expect. To get that, RIM needs to eventually add new types of product that expand its market.
Apple is a master at this process. When Steve Jobs came back, Apple had only the Macintosh. It refreshed that product line, securing the customer base. Then it added the iPod, iPhone, and iPad. Each of them targeted Apple's core market of creative, entertainment-loving people, and each of them leveraged Apple's existing software and hardware. This overlap made the new products relatively inexpensive to develop and market -- they could be sold to the same sorts of people, through the same channels, and they reused a lot of technology. Each new product line also tended to drag a few more customers back to the earlier products, so they reinforced each other.
- Macworld What's with the Mac doomsayers? | Operating Systems
- Daring Fireball: Apple's Pricing Advantage
The best example of Apple’s price advantage, though, is the iPod Touch. I would love to buy a $229 Android device that’s the equivalent of the iPod Touch — i.e., something pretty much just like a high-end Android phone but without the phone (and without the contract). Three years and 30 or 40 million iPod Touch sales later, there remains no such Android device. I suspect the main reason is that no other handset maker can afford to make one. (I also suspect that the relatively low price of the iPod Touch suggests that Apple could afford to charge much less for unsubsidized iPhones.)
- YouTube - Back To The Mac in 104 seconds: Amazing..Phenomenal...Great....Awesome....!
- Apple Outsider » Java on Mac OS X
And there’s the rub. Every hour of talent spent on Java is an hour not spent on the next Core Animation; the next Mission Control; the next iPhone. Apple is a consumer-focused company, and the Mac a consumer-focused product. They invested a lot early on in making Java on the desktop viable. It just hasn’t happened. I’m not particularly happy or sad about it, but desktop Java is over.
John Gruber notes that this could conveniently make it harder for Mac owners to develop for Android. I don’t think that had anything to do with the decision. This was a long time coming. Java, like Flash, is a ball and chain for a company that loathes external dependency. And you just can’t argue that client-side Java is important to the internet experience like you can with Flash.
- Lachlan's Rambling: Java and the Mac
The reason isn't that complicated: Apple no longer needs Java. If you make a list of what Steve Jobs sees as the critical objectives for Apple, it becomes immediately obvious that maintaining a Mac port of Java is not helping to advance any of them. Of course, neither does maintaining, say, Apple's port of Python. But Python takes very little effort to port and maintain. The Java port requires a team of engineers permanently dedicated to it. Also, the huge success of iOS has given Apple the confidence that their approach to working with third-party developers is working out great for everyone. The prospect of Java developers and applications abandoning the Mac is no longer remotely scary for them. Apple have decided they'd rather pay the costs of dropping Java than keep maintaining it.