Safari 3 Beta for Windows

Last time when I was reviewing new releases of Windows Web browsers, I was hoping I could get my hands on a Mac—or at least the money to buy one—so I could review Safari as well. But, I don’t think I would be drooling for it any sooner. I was browsing my Live Bookmarks when I saw a post from WaSP announcing the release of Safari 3 Public Beta for Mac and Windows. Yes, you heard it right … Safari’s new public beta is made for Windows as well!

I don’t think I’d be switching from Mozilla Firefox, though, especially now that Firefox 3 is nearing its release. Besides, common shortcuts I use with Firefox don’t work with Safari such as tab switching [Ctrl+Tab], open new tab [Double-click on Tab Bar], and maybe many more[1] that it has to have some getting used to. But, as a Web developer, it sure is very convenient to have four major browsers—Mozilla Firefox, Opera, Apple Safari, and Windows Internet Explorer—on a single box for cross-browser testing.

Contrary to what Yuga said, I think Safari is fast. It loaded my home page’s Extended Live Archives and some other DOM scripts lag-free. But, the startup isn’t as fast as Opera’s still.

So if you will, you could download Safari 3 Public Beta from Apple.

  1. ^ I’ve only been using it for just about 30 minutes.

On Linksys WRT54GC v2.0

I think this is the first time I will be reviewing a hardware component. I am just happy that I could again share my Internet connection between my desktop and notebook. I have borrowed a router from my uncle before, but he already took it back for use on their home. I’ve only used [that] one router other than the WRT54GC that I currently am using.

Since the bigger WRT54G has dual antennas, it has an expectable wider signal range[1] than the compact with only one.[2] It provides a high speed Wi-Fi connection of [close to, if not] 54 Mbps with the notebook and the access point approximately 15 meters away from each other,[3] while the compact could only provide approximately 11–24 Mbps under the same conditions even though the Windows XP Wireless Network Connection manager usually reports Very Good signal strength.

That may be a good compensation for its bulkiness, but I have had problems with the Linksys WRT54G when using the BitTorrent protocol.[4] As answered in the µTorrent FAQ, this router[5] has severe problems with P2P applications using a lot of connections. Also answered on the above linked FAQ entry is a fix, which includes installing one of two third-party firmwares. Remember that the router wasn’t mine in the first place. Besides, installing and/or upgrading firmware risks the router being bricked, and add to that the fact the software recommended was made by hardware hackers and wasn’t official.[6]

Linksys WRT54GC v2.0

I have been trying to borrow the router from my uncle again, but he came to our house with a Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 instead. Of course, I was surprised, but I still do not know if he will give me this one or sell it to me.[7] I’ve installed it immediately, and I’ve been testing it using µTorrent with a huge download task and several seeding tasks for three days almost continuously already.

The only problem I’ve had with the Compact Wireless-G Broadband Router is its Static DHCP feature, which should take care of Static IP addresses without configuring the client manually. I really want to utilize the said feature for Port Forwarding since I use BitTorrent and it has to have an open port for incoming connections. The problem is that whenever I place my computer on the list of clients with static IPs, and change the DHCP IP range to something excluding the static IPs, it still gives the client an IP within the DHCP range and not the listed static IP.

With the hopes of having no slowdowns like the experience I’ve had during the WRT54G period, I’ve searched for responses from WRT54GC users on various fora. Thankfully, I’ve found no significant problem other than users trying to get the version 2.0 external antenna to be replaced by a High Gain Antenna. But I still haven’t encountered an unambiguous response to one question[8] I would have asked myself, so I stopped searching and continued testing. Through the past three days of downloading 6 GiB of data, I’ve encountered minor slowdowns more possibly linked to an ISP issue rather than a router issue. The last two afternoons were probably the best evidences I could offer regarding the performance of this product—the download speed reached 85 kB/s[9] when I was connected to a nearby peer. Therefore, no signs of slowdowns due to high amount of connections were exhibited—a sickness, I may say, about the stock WRT54G/GL/GS.

Other features of the Linksys WRT54GC includes [among others]:

  • Compact and portable design: approximately 4″×4″×1″.
  • 4-port wired Ethernet switch; Wireless Access Point for 802.11b/g devices.
  • High security with WPA/WPA2 Personal, Wireless MAC address filter, SPI firewall.

Disclaimer: The above Linksys WRT54GC v2.0 photo was taken from the official product information page without permission.

Update note: Photo from the official Linksys Web site was taken down and replaced with my own shot of the router to avoid copyright issues.

Footnotes:

  1. ^ Our neighbor two houses away across the street claimed to have received my SSID broadcast.
  2. ^ The C in WRT54GC stands for compact; version 1.0 of the compact has no built-in external antenna, only an internal one—I am using a version 2.0.
  3. ^ With concrete and wooden walls, and everything else in between.
  4. ^ And when I say, using, I mean always.
  5. ^ Along with similar routers, WRT54GL and —GS.
  6. ^ But, responses to the alternative firmwares were mostly positive.
  7. ^ I really, really hope for the former.
  8. ^ The question of how it would perform on a lot of connections.
  9. ^ I’m on a 384 kbps connection [as advertised], so my theoretical maximum download speed is 46.875 kB/s.

The Second Browser War Round 2

Upgrade to Firefox 2 Now! Though Windows Internet Explorer 7 came out earlier than Mozilla Firefox 2 for about a couple of weeks, I could not help but to announce that my favorite Web browser just released its second major update. But do not forget Opera 9 as it offers a faster and lighter browser for someone who would just want to surf the Web.

The browser wars have just stepped up to the next level. For now, here are some comparisons with my own opinions and rankings:

Web Standards Compliance

  1. Firefox 2 and Opera 9

    Though Opera 9 has been the only browser on the Windows platform to pass the WaSP Acid2 test, Firefox 2 is the only browser to ever support JavaScript 1.7. Both have considerable support for Web standards on XHTML and CSS under most circumstances (as Acid2 tests for uncommonly used standards support).

  2. Internet Explorer 7

    They say that they have improved support for standards on Internet Explorer 7 but when I test sites that break on Internet Explorer 6, they still break on version 7. Besides, support for the proper XHTML media type, application/xhtml+xml, would cause Internet Explorer 7 (as well as earlier versions) to look for an external application that supports it.

back to article top | table of contents

Customizability

  1. Firefox 2

    With so many user-contributed addons, from Web development tools, custom toolbars and multimedia entertainment addons to usability, accessibility and Web services integration tools, the possibilities are endless.

  2. Internet Explorer 7

    The only thing that I think would work on Internet Explorer 7 is the ability to add custom toolbars which are usually from search engine and portal companies such as Google and Yahoo!

  3. Opera 9

    I really do not know how we could customize Opera though its suite of applications such as a good download manager, mail/newsgroups and BitTorrent clients all in a lightweight package contribute to its popularity.

back to article top | table of contents

Security

  1. Firefox 2 and Opera 9

    I haven’t researched much about the security differences of both these browsers, but I know since the majority of users are using Internet Explorer (with the automatic update to 7 on the start of November) they are more likely to be targetted that way. Both have good popup blockers and Firefox 2 has a phishing checker.

  2. Internet Explorer 7

    Still is the most widely used (or will be with automatic updates) browser and the most vulnerable to attacks. Though the integration with Windows has been cut off, support for ActiveX controls remains as an opt-in feature. It’s much better than Internet Explorer 6 though. It has a popup blocker and it has (currently) a better phishing checker than Firefox 2 has, according to some site. (I can’t seem to find the link right now, to be posted as an edit later.)

back to article top | table of contents

Page Load

  1. Firefox 2 and Opera 9

    Based on my experience, both of these browsers load pages faster than Internet Explorer 7 though I still haven’t compared them to one another.

  2. Internet Explorer 7

    Even with Internet Explorer 6, whenever I switch from Firefox to Internet Explorer (for Web page layout rendering), the latter would load a page slower. I think the phishing checker of Internet Explorer 7 made it worse as it always waits for it to finish (and it’s not that fast) before starting to load a page.

back to article top | table of contents

System Performance

  1. Opera 9

    Loads up on your system much faster than Firefox 2 though I still haven’t compared it to Internet Explorer 7 for they are both perceivably fast to load on my system.

  2. Internet Explorer 7

    Loads up faster than Firefox 2 though the Scobleizer says that it consumes more memory than Firefox 2 without even finishing to load the same pages Firefox 2 has. The Lifehacker also published another comparison.

  3. Firefox 2

    Loads for the longest time compared to the other two but the said reason for this is the different language used to render its chrome to provide support for its themes/skins. It also receives criticisms for high memory usage.

back to article top | table of contents

Interface

  1. Firefox 2

    Cleanest and simplest interface [but with elegant looking buttons] to get you started surfing right away. Just lacks the default new tab button to familiarize new users with tabbed browsing though it can be added with toolbar customization. It’s skinnable as well.

  2. Opera 9

    Feels very much like a standard Web browser interface [as with Firefox 2 and Internet Explorer 6] though some search boxes are more suitable for Web shoppers rather than the average Web surfer or Web developer. It also offers color schemes to suit every user’s taste.

  3. Internet Explorer 7

    Very compact, works without a menu bar, but just plain confusing with a very far stop and refresh button especially when you are used to Internet Explorer 6—users could be more familiar with Firefox 2 and/or Opera 9 this way.

back to article top | table of contents

Other Features

  1. Firefox 2 and Opera 9

    I could not seem to summarize them all, just take a look at the Mozilla Firefox 2 features page and the Opera 9 features page.

  2. Internet Explorer 7

    It features many things that makes it better compared to Internet Explorer 6 than to Firefox 2 and Opera 9 since both the latter browsers offer these features new to Internet Explorer 7. The complete list can be found on the Internet Explorer 7 features page.

back to article top | table of contents

3-day Seminar at Cardona, Rizal

School has obviously been busy—I haven’t posted anything in a while. Managing time for school, work, friends and family have been really challenging. And, during this past weekend, I didn’t actually have any weekend at all. We went to the Leadership Training Seminar of the Engineering Student Council in Kuhala Bay Resort where most officers of different organizations from the Faculty of Engineering, including us ESC committee heads and assistant heads, have been invited.

The first day was somehow more talk and less play, and our team, the yellow orange group, wasn’t winning anything significant from the games. Then came the 2nd day where the whole afternoon was spent on the Amazing Race which lasted until dark. After eating dinner that night, all nine groups plus the hosts (ESC Executive Board) performed in the Cultural Night for some entertainment. The Cultural Night was where every team should perform anything entertaining may it be singing, acting or dancing. Our team was picked to be the last one to perform and that was already 1 am. We expected everyone to be bored since the activities prior to that one really made us tired and sleepy. We even thought what we planned was corny but we still pushed through to the performing it. Ate Joyce sang, while three others danced and all others did a skit after Kuya Dennis introduced us. To our surprise, while we were performing, everyone was laughing hard and one judge even commented that they have, saved the best for last. We won 200 points for that, which placed our team in third overall during the third day awarding ceremonies.

I could really say that the place was great except of course when the rain accumulated in the roof of the building where we stayed and soaked the roof with water then dripped everywhere, which flooded our room. Good thing I placed my bag and things on the bed and not on the floor saving me of my clothing.

I can’t find my infrared adapter for my desktop [maybe Ate Lei took it] thus I still could not transfer my photos from my phone—I will as soon as I could get it.

As for the things I’ve learned during the 3-day seminar: I’ve learned that I could be a good comedy actor having a role of someone who is sleepy like the one I’ve portrayed during the Cultural Night. I’ve been commended a lot of times as Bitoy—and I haven’t got any problem about that. 😛