Posts about windows

Twhirl is now my favourite desktop twitter app

I’ve fallen in love with twhirl, a cool AIR-based twitter application that does best at organizing the Twitter experience.

#

Safari 3 for Windows

Safari LogoDuring the World Wide Developer Conference last week, Apple officially announced the availability of Safari 3 beta for the Windows operating system. It seems that the Mozilla’s prediction which I posted at the beginning of this year came true. With the release of Safari for the Windows mainstream, this marks the beginning of yet another browser war. I decided to download a copy to test and see how it compares to Internet Explorer 6 and Firefox 2 on my machine.

When I first launched Safari 3 on Windows, I was amazed to see the amount of effort that went into making the experience as similar as possible to that on the Mac OS X. Even the browser was skinned to look like the Mac OS X Safari but I find that it looked a little too dark and dull on Windows. I was also surprised to find that the browser window can only be resized from the bottom right corner of the window. The typeface is also not as sharp as compared to that on the Mac OS X.

broken text formattingApart from the interface design, I also ran into a few keyboard issues and page rendering problems. On Firefox, I’m able to rotate through tabs by using Ctrl + Tab and Ctrl + Shift + Tab. On Safari, this key doesn’t work and instead, one has to use Ctrl + Shift + [ and Ctrl + Shift + ]. I’m not sure if this would be a permanent feature or if the keyboard mappings can be configured in the final version but I certainly hope the developers will look into this. I also encountered some issues such as being logged out after posting an entry in Movable Type as well as the HTML formatting buttons not appearing in Movable Type. Besides this, Safari lacked a few other features such as selection of the entire URL in the address bar as well as a keyboard shortcut to the address bar.

Though there are many flaws in the browser itself, there are also plus points. One of the things that I observed through using Safari is that the start up time is faster and it renders pages faster. On average, it takes about 1.6 seconds to complete loading a page as compared to 5.2 seconds in Firefox and 5.9 seconds in Internet Explorer respectively. You can take a look at the bar chart that I’ve created.

browser load time comparison

RSS featureSafari has also incorporated a built-in RSS viewer which I personally like it very much. It displays every headline and article summary right in the browser window and allows one to adjust the article length, sort-by style as well as filter the contents based on a time line. The search feature is also refreshing as Safari makes it really easy to spot the matches highlights by dimming the current page and showing the currently selected match with a hard-to-miss orange background.

Overall, it is a good browser especially for the unique features it offers. It is also useful for web developers to test their design without the need to get a Mac. For now, I’ll probably stay with Firefox until Apple decides to release the final version of Safari.

#

Context menu hacks

Feeling irritated by applications which adds an entry to the Windows context menu without permission? Or the amount of unnecessary menu item that displays when you right click the start menu button? I was figuring out how to remove these items from the context menu when I came across this link which proved to be useful.

This hack involves editing the registry and it is strongly recommended that you make a backup copy of your registry before commencing. To keep things short, here’s a list of registry entry involved:

  1. HKCR \*\shellex\contextmenuhandlers
  2. HKCR\AllFileSystemObjects\shellex\ contextmenuhandlers
  3. HKCR\Folder\shellex\contextmenuhandlers
  4. HKCR\Directory\shellex\contextmenuhandlers
  5. HKCR\ \shellex\contextmenuhandlers
  6. HKCR\Directory\Background\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers

Where HKCR refers to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT.

To start off, determine which item you want to remove from the context menu. For me, I wanted to get rid of certain items from the start menu right click context menu. Thus, I would navigate to the key HKCR\Folder\shellex\contextmenuhandlers & HKCR\Directory\shellex\contextmenuhandlers respectively. You would have to look through the list of keys and delete the entire key once you’ve located the right one.

With this, you would now have a clean and slick context menu.

#

Windows live messenger

Microsoft finally released the final version of Windows Live Messenger today. My first impression when I heard about it was that it is related to the infamous Windows Messenger that came with Windows XP. However, after reading from various websites, it turned out that Microsoft is simply renaming the product and moving away from MSN Messenger. Most of the other Microsoft products that will be released in the near future will come under the “Live” idea.

You must be wondering what’s so great about it that I decided to make the switch. As compared to MSN Messenger 7.5, Windows Live Messenger has better memory management. On my 2.4 GHz computer with 1GB of RAM, it utilised about 32MB and this was further reduced to 1.8MB when minimized to tray! Next, it has built in nickname and contact editor that enables me to better organize and rename my contacts — without the need for a third-party plug-in. What’s more, I heard from my colleague that the changes made to the contact list (including renaming of the contacts) are saved to the messenger server. This means that I will not have to stare at a few unfamiliar contacts nickname and trying to “match make” the email address with the contact nickname when you access Messenger on public terminals. I’ve yet to try it personally but I think it’s a cool feature!

Having said so many good things about the new messenger, there are downside. One of it is that the messenger team have not worked on improving the chat logging feature. I actually had to rely on the Messenger Plus! Live plug-in to keep my logs organized and secured. Next, once you have decided to rename your contacts, there’s no way to view their original nicknames. Previously, I was still able to view my contact’s original nickname by simply moving my mouse cursor over their names. Apart from the above, there are many other features which I do not really utilize. Overall, I would give it a grade of 4 out of 5, mainly for better interface design and improved memory management.

#