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What Features Does IE7 Need?

Ed Bott makes the point that, without tab-after-crash recovery, IE7 just can’t compare to the next version of Firefox (or Opera, which has had it for a while). This feature, which Firefox calls Session Restore, is where the browser remembers what tabs you have open and, if it crashes or the computer does, will restore all of them as they were the next time you open the browser. This is the feature I rely on more than any other, because it allows me to keep open tens (and sometimes hundreds) of tabs as items to take care of later on.

Opera’s feature is truly amazing (I don’t know the particulars of Firefox’s implementation), since it never fails to save the tabs, but, more importantly, it even remembers the Back and Forwards buttons for every single tab. Internet Explorer 7 could really use something like that, and it would make the browser far more enticing.

This of course begs the question: What other features would you like to see in IE7. I’d love the session recovery, and can’t use any browser that doesn’t feature it, but I’d also like to be able to position the tab on the side. With a widescreen, most webpages don’t handle the extra width better, so the tab bar makes great use of that screen real estate. I do that in Opera, and it allows me to use a ton of tabs without them becoming difficult. In IE7, I feel uneasy when I go above four or five tabs.

Another Opera feature I can’t live without, that I’d love in IE7, is its back button cache, which, when you hit Back, restores the previous page as it was, with form fields filled in and dynamic content where it was, instead of just blindly reloading the page. This is essential, for example, when Bloglines accidentally open something in its own tab, and I risk losing all the items I hadn’t read yet. Only Opera saves everything for me.

What else could IE7 use? Better RSS handling, for sure. Feel free to express yourself in the comments.

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Firefox, Internet Explorer, Applications, General | 8 comments

Gates And Ballmer Get Raises, Smaller Bonuses

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates and CEO Steve Ballmer both got slight raises in their salaries, up $16,667 to $616,667, but saw their yearly bonuses cut from $400,000 to $350,000. What does it all mean? Nothing, since both are mega-billionaires. This is what we call an “empty gesture”.

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate, General | no comments

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Band Uses Microsoft Sam As Lead Singer

This is hilarious: A band on MySpace is using Microsoft Sam, the system voice that sounds like Stephen Hawking’s computer voice, as their lead singer. The lyrics by MS Sam & The Good Little Christian Boys aren’t that clean, but the concept is great.
(via Prep Blog > Digg)

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Humor, General | no comments

Microsoft Stock Completes Recovery

Microsoft stock recovery.png

Back on April 28, Microsoft issued its quarterly earnings report, and Wall Street did not like what it heard, that MS was planning on spending huge amounts of money to combat Google. The stock plummeted over three dollars in one day, losing untold billions of dollars in market capitalization. Now, there is good news: the stock has finally recovered. Microsoft stock currently stands at $27.85, 60 cents higher than it did on April 27, after four months of steady and slow gains.

The fact is, Microsoft’s stock fell because its investors didn’t believe in the company, and bolted at the idea of anything bold and competitive. The stock has recovered for one of two reasons: Either they believe that Microsoft is not going to compete as planned with Google, or those investors are gone, and Microsoft has a stronger investor base. Either way, I’m glad to see the stock on its way back up. The next milestone: The 52-week high of $28.38, and eventually getting the stock back into the mid-$30s.

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Corporate, General | no comments

Microsoft Fixes Vista Maximized Windows

For some strange reason, if you maximized a windows in Vista, it always displayed the exact same black titlebar. The reasoning had to have something to do with making the title bar a lot smaller and out of the way than in previous versions (which I like), but also makes it inconsistent with your color system (which I don’t like). Actually, the real reason is to make the title bar match the black taskbar, which is kind of silly reasoning, but I see where they’re coming from.

Anyway, Microsoft’s Shell Revealed blog announces the final version will have a bit of a compromise: The title bar will be a mix of the user’s chosen color, and a bit of dark black, so bright colors will still be noticeable. They have some screenshots of what this’ll look like here. Sounds fair, although it would be even more effective if you could change the color of the taskbar as well. I get that Microsoft has some big ideas on UI design, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t let users be as stupid as they want to be.

After all, a lack of choice is a Mac feature.

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | no comments

Vista Kill Switch: Only For Shoplifters

The Washington Post reported that Microsoft is taking Windows Genuine Advantage a little further, sending Vista into a reduced functionality mode within 30 days of being detected as illegitimate. Under that scenario, basically the only program that would work would be the web browser, and will shut down after an hour of use.

Amazingly, this is unpopular at Slashdot. Microsoft’s move, which only disables copies of Windows it determines to be stolen, is somehow “Microsoft screws its customers” (you aren’t a customer if you didn’t buy it), it “could possibly create some serious backlash” among “large corporations” (really? Did Ford and Chase and all the other big companies start using a keygen?), it “prevent me from accessing **MY** data” (stop accessing **MICROSOFT’S** operating system without paying for it). Far more posters, to be honest, seem to think it isn’t a big deal, because they are confident they can crack it.

The fact is, it has been real easy to crack Windows for over a decade, and many of us have loved that. If Microsoft is successful at making an untouchable OS (and I’m not convinced they will), it will make lives harder for those who just download Windows when they build a new computer. It will force them to actually walk into a store and plunk down $200-300 for a real copy. Sorry. Boo hoo.

At least if WGA reports a problem, all you have to do is call a phone number and prove your copy is the real thing. This usually involves saying, “Oh, I changed a key part in my computer”, and while it can be annoying and time-consuming, I have yet to hear of numbers of people with legitimate copies getting locked out. Opponents tend to talk about how evil and non-working WGA is, but if so, where are the customers with problems? It hasn’t happened yet.

Microsoft has at least fixed the real problem: Not getting a reinstall disk from the manufacturer. Since Vista only needs the product key to reinstall properly, you can borrow a copy from a friend, or probably even download it off a torrent site, and still install it legally. All you need is a sticker that came with your computer, rather than paying Dell seven bucks for the DVD.

October 5th, 2006 Posted by Nathan Weinberg | Vista, Windows, General | one comment