Category Archives: User Agents

Browsers, search engines and other user agents


Many people didn’t believe Senator Ted Stevens when he said that the Internet was a series of tubes. Well now, thanks to Google, there is proof that he was right! In Google Chrome, if you have it, visit about:internets. This provides a graphical illustration of the internet which looks very much like a series of tubes to me.

It appears to based upon the Windows 3D Pipes screensaver. It uses the mixed joints, but I’m not sure if it also includes the teapots, like the real screensaver. If you see one, let me know.

Google Chrome

The rumours have been going around the web for years about the possibility of the Google browser, with some rather wild speculation about what exactly it would be like. John Rhodes seems to be one of the earliest to float the idea of the Google Client in September 2001, and in August 2004, based on Google’s relationship with Mozilla at the time, Kottke predicted a Mozilla-based Google browser.

In February this year, it was reported that Google had assembled a team to work on on a WebKit based browser, then known as GBrowser. Now just over 7 months later, all the rumours and predictions have finally been realised. Google Blogoscoped announced and leaked a comic book entitled Google Chrome earlier today describing many of the innovative features developed for the new browser. Shortly afterwards, the official Google blog admitted that it was mistakenly released a day early.

It should be noted that the concept also includes a few ideas based on features in other browsers, such as Opera’s Speed Dial, and both Firefox and Opera’s address bar (a.k.a. Awesome bar), called omnibox.

The comic was drawn and created by Scott McCloud and has been released under a Creative Commons by-nc-nd 2.5 licence. The comic has currently been taken down due to server load (it’s up again), but I have published a copy of the whole comic here for you to see it, if you haven’t already. You can also download a tarball of all the images.

Internet Explorer 8 Beta 2

A few days ago, the 2nd beta of IE8 was released. Although I haven’t had much time to play with it and find out what it does and doesn’t support, I have come across a few bugs with it.

But one of the big problems we still have with IE is the inability to run several versions side by side. The one solution continually offered by Microsoft is the ability to download virtual machines, which are set to expire after a limited amount of time. The problem with this is that you still need a separate virtual machine for each version of IE you want to run, and after they expire, you need to get a new one.

Anyway, I have a found an even better solution. One that lets me run IE6, IE7, IE8b1 and IE8b2 side by side, all within the same copy of Windows XP, which I also have running in a single virtual machine on Mac OS X. I don’t have time to elaborate on the solution now, but I will try to do so over the next few days. For now, here’s a screenshot showing them all running together, with each demonstrating how badly they fail Acid 3.