Now. I love data detectors. It is one of the most unsung and brilliant of Apple’s innovations with OS X. It just works, although I mourn the fact that it’s not spread much beyond a bare implementation in Mail (a very useful one at that though).
Now with the introduction of the iPad data detectors have taken on a whole new form in their beautiful implimentation of the the Mail on the iPad.
Just click and hold on the address details you are given three options:
1. Open in Maps, which finds an address for you in a matter of seconds:
2. Create a New Contact from the information it’s discovered, which leads you to this:
3. Add to an existing contact which brings up a list of your contacts and away you go:
I have over a 1000 contacts in my address book, but even then there are gaps, missing addresses, phone numbers, etc, which I can now easily add from a contact.
Now just the other day I was looking up a business on the internet and needed the telephone number and I was thinking how great it’d be if this were implemented in Safari on the iPad (or on my desktop too!) then I could just add all this information to an existing contact or a new contact pretty much instantaneously…
I’ve only had Google Chrome installed a few weeks, but it is already changing my browsing habits.
The most evident of which is using the url bar to search. This is perhaps the single most natural development of the browser I have experienced in years. It is becoming, however, quite irritating… and you’ve guessed it: I keep on expecting Safari to search using the same method.
I’ve always considered Apple to be the leading light of software minimalism, after all look at the trouble Steve Jobs went to to get rid of the screws on the Macbook Pro or the edge to edge glass on the new iMac (tablet hint anyone?) so I am puzzled that there has been no adaptation of this Chrome method to Safari.
Come on Apple give me a little New Year cheer and adapt Safari now!
I regularly and bitterly complain about the shortcoming of my browsers. As a prolific internet consumer I have grown into the habit of having many windows open, which have in turn many tabs open. At the time of writing I am running the latest build of webkit as my primary browser, if I ask it to quit (the only way you can find out how many windows and tabs you have open) it reports back:
(Notice how webkit is reported as Safari (same in the menu bar (which is extra confusing if you happen to have both open at the same time!))
As it happens I recently restarted my computer so I don’t have Safari 4 also open, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. I’ll tend to keep some things running in Safari 4 just in case webkit crashes (which as it’s a nightly build it does quite often, but less frequently than Safari with this many tabs open). I do however have Firefox open, which it turn has five windows, with forty tabs open.
I also have about half a dozen custom Fluid browsers open at any one time to take care of the custom web services I use on a daily basis such as Google Reader (always over 1000+ articles to read… why oh why), Github (which my brother reliably informs me is the Geeks Facebook), Facebook (for us mere mortals), Pivotal Tracker (for my projects); in fact if I tend to use a service everyday I tend to have a fluid browser for it…
Regular crashes in Safari 4 forced me to try out Webkit nightly builds (which are surprisingly more stable), unlike him I abandoned Firefox as a primary browser a good deal of time ago as I have never found it able to cope with a 100+ tabs Â (which I frequently reach by the end of the day) without it becoming unresponsive or crashing; but still I suffer frequent crashes and all the attenuated irritation.
Like Sal I also initially thought that it was perhaps my older system, and before I upgraded earlier this year to a shiny new MBP (2.4 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 4GB 1067 MHz DDR3 RAM) it was much worse, but to be frank it’s not much better. Since fleeing from Safari 4 to Webkit Nightly I have tended to restart and reload my browser once a day (having it restore all previously open tabs), which has certainly made things better but not perfect.
It seems to me that there is a significant problem with web browsing on this scale. I have tried to use various web services to organise it efficiently from delicious, where I have thousands of bookmarks (once bookmarked never revisited – usually much quicker to just re-google) to google’s own bookmarking service (useless) to activating the full web history storage. Currently I am finding Safari / Webkit’s coverflow history helpful but its not enough.
Personally I think more and more of us are using the web in this prolific way and whilst I agree with Sal that there is definitely something up with our browsers I think that Google and the major browser developers have failed to adapt quickly enough to this changing phenomenon. Or offer us any tools to make it easier…
For example why in OS X.6 can’t I click on the Safari or Webkit icon in the Dock and see a list of sites I currently have open? When I have 20 tabs open in a single window I won’t necessarily remember which one it is, and so I end up cycling away through innumerable tabs. And though I try to keep them organised, being able to move tabs to different windows has helped, it’s certainly laborious.
The bookmarking tools in Safari / Webkit in particular are laughably basic. I use my menu bar bookmarks for bookmarklets such as my current favourites: Smush.it, TinyURL!, Translate into English, Send to Site Sucker, Google Bookmark… and there we go, googling a source url for Smush.it told me there was a wordpress plugin (which I’ll have to install) and now I have another tab open.
There does not seem to be much innovation in this area and I can reassure Sal that he’s not the only one suffering and that there has to be an improvement or progress in these areas soon (or it might just drive me mad!).
We all love browser plugins, it’s one of the reasons that Firefox is so darn popular. But if you prefer the cleaner interface of Safari 4 (as I do) you needn’t miss out from some of these essential improvements to your browsing experience, the most important of which (in MHO) is Click to Flash, your own flash blocker.
Click to Flash is the wunderbar creation of Jonathan ‘Wolf’ Rentzsch of Chicago it’s basic job is to prevent flash from loading until you want it to. Replacing flash files with this nifty clean-looking replacement image:
Which you just click when you want to view the flash file in question. So no more annoying ads, preloading videos, Flash basically, which as I am sure you all appreciate is now a bigger preverbal pain in the butt since it was relegated to a sandboxed status is Snow Tabby.
So download, install and get back to browsing the internet quickly and efficiently, only seeing flash where you want to. Importantly it’s designed to allow sIFR images to load automatically, replace youtube videos with their H.264 equivalent played in quicktime where possible and allows whitelisting of sites where you always want flash to load.
I’m really enjoying this plugin, I hope you will too.