Saturday, March 08, 2003

When I'm 64!
A MacUnderground In-Depth Look at the Newest Safari Beta

Yes, Safari Beta v64 is out, and I'm running it. The latest version features major improvements in tabbed browsing. The previous version was v62, which caused quite a bit of commotion with reports of tabbed browsing. The last public release was v60, which is available from Apple's website.

Here's the deal with v64's innovative look at tabbed browsing:

- Unlike in Chimera/Camino where tabs are centered and forced to move over with each new tab, Safari places tabs from left to right, only adjusting them in order to make room for more tabs.
- Each tab features a little x-in-a-circle, al la search bar, which closes the tab without selecting it.
- Command-clicking a link opens it in a tab, which loads in the background, allowing you to continue viewing your current page (this is a preference that can be changed through the "Debug" menu).
- You can tell if a tab is loading thanks to a Bond-style indicator like the one below the grey Apple at start up.
- When you've opened too many tabs for the tab-bar to handle, arrows appear on the far right that open a drop-down menu containing the rest of your tabs.
- Folders in the Bookmarks Bar feature an "Open in Tabs" option. Clicking this opens all the pages in the folder in one page, each in its own tab.

Sounds great, right? Well, think of v64 as a beta of a beta. Many people have trashed it, reporting major problems. Here's what I've run into so far:

- Some images, particularly at the Iconfactory (go figure) will move with the screen, causing an eyesore as you scroll.
- It crashed once.

In my opinion, it's pretty good, although Apple will want to smooth things over before releasing a public version.

If you're bold enough to go looking for your own copy of Safari v64, do so at your own risk. Here's how I stumbled upon mine:

- Use a file-sharing app. I used the free version of Limewire, mostly because it was already installed.
- Do a Program search (that's what it's called in Limewire) for "Safari." You can try specifying v64, but it generally limits your results too much.
- Once your results come in, scroll through and check program names. Generally, the name "Safari" by itself denotes a publicly available version, like v51 (the original, and buggy, release). Look for something with v64 in it (v62 also features tabs, although not all the features listed above).
- Check the file type. Many crafty people might try to trick you with the wrong type of file. .dmg and .sit are generally good ones. Avoid HTML, .exe, .zip, and so on.
- Check the file size. Avoid anything that isn't between 2,500 and 3,500 KB.
- If the connection speed of the other computer is displayed, keep it in mind. A modem connection can be very slow.
- Download. You may have to keep searching, even after you start downloading. In Limewire, many files will just "Requery Host" forever. It could be a while before you finally download something.
To be sure you have v64, open the app (once it's been unstuffed and/or disc mounted) and check the "About Safari" selection.

If you aren't feeling daring (and I don't blame you), just sit tight. Some reports suggest that a new public release of Safari is about a week off.

Friday, March 07, 2003

When I'm 64!

That's right, after a long night searching away over Limewire, I've managed to get my hands on Safari Beta v64!

I'll have a full report tomorrow, but for now, it's really cool. The tabs are better designed than those of Chimera/Camino, and they look good, too.

If you've managed to get your hands on Safari v64 or v62, but can't access the tabs, here's what you have to do:
1. Close Safari
2. Open Terminal
3. Type: defaults write com.apple.Safari IncludeDebugMenu 1 and hit Return
4. Terminal should not display any message after doing this
5. Close Terminal and open Safari
6. A menu called "Debug" will now be available, you can access tabbed browsing through there

Tabs-o-Plenty!

Apple has completed another version of the Safari Beta, v64. Like the last Safari Beta, v62, v64 is not available to the public. You may recall that the big news with v62 was the addition of tabs, which have reportedly been refined in v64.

Many people are scrambling to try and find a copy of v64, including one intrepid blog author. The real question raised however, is "Why hasn't Apple release a public version of Safari with tabs?!"
Here are the explanations I've put together:

1. v62 was the introduction of tabs, a real beta test of them. Reports say that v64 has really refined the system, making it even better than that of Chimera/Camino (which was just released as version 0.7).
2. Bugs. Plain and simple. One forum post reported black text turning green in v64.
3. While I've seen no report of any Huge Problems, we can't forget the two or three people who had their entire Home directories wiped out by the initial Safari Public Beta.

What's clear here, is that a full Safari Public Beta with tabs is on the way, but for those who just can't wait, there's always Limewire.

Thursday, March 06, 2003

Book Club...

Interesting rumors are afoot today, with Mac OS Rumors posting the vague generalized predictions they're famous for.

According to their latest report, Safari could see tabs in its next Beta release (nobody, like Think Secret, has thought of that!), which should arrive in upcoming weeks (thankfully, they didn't expend precious energy picking a specific week or day!).

But here's the interesting news: iBook updates should arrive in upcoming months! General vagueness at its best! Alright, that isn't really interesting, but what's been learned because of that report is. Mac Rumors reported on MOSR and also revealed that an unknown (thus unreliable) source claims that the updates are much coming much sooner. A post in the related forum thread of unconfirmed reliability went on to say that dealers are selling off current iBook stock, and that Apple isn't filling new orders for them.

The last minor iBook update was late last year, but the last major revision was when the 14" was released. All in all, many people (including myself) believe that new enclosures are on the way (I'm personally hoping for some colors). Beyond that, it looks like they'll stick with the G3 processor, probably the GOBI model Think Secret reported on. The new 'Books will most likely get a wireless tune up, with AirPort Extreme support and optional Bluetooth. The unconfirmed forum post also hints at a 15" model, possibly replacing the 14" one.

Considering that this is the Year of the Laptop, a major iBook revision only seems natural. I'm willing to bet that these will come sooner than we currently think, but if there is a new case design, Apple's doing a good job keeping it under wraps ("come on Blue Dalmatian iBook!").

Tuesday, March 04, 2003

Before I forget, as I am quite forgetful...

Happy Fat Tuesday! Hopefully you enjoyed the day eating fatty foods, or just grabbing a meal at McDonalds like you always do...
Also, seeing as it is almost midnight, Happy Ash Wednesday! Then again, I don't think Ash Wednesday is the sort of holiday where you say something like that...
Anyway, whatever your religion or lack thereof, I wish you well.

It's like a bad episode of the Twilight Zone...

Things couldn't be stranger right about now. MOSR is posting again (strange enough!), LoopRumors is proudly displaying week-old news as its headlines, and Spymac is causing Safari to freeze up for some reason.
Just good ol' fashioned internet hijinks! Even better yet, spell check wants to make the word "hijinks" into "hijacks!"
Well, that would make a more dramatic post...

Today's top rumor:
BuyTunes: Roundup!

Well, despite a suspicious article, Apple did not release anything today, not even new iPods (next Tuesday, really!). That article does however, confirm rumors that Apple is developing a new pay-for music downloading service.

The new system will apparently be integrated into the next version of iTunes (iTunes 4), while Mac Rumors believes will be released next month.
You might recall that many people speculated that Steve Jobs was using an unreleased version of iTunes at MWNY02 that featured some kind of song sharing system. This could very well be it (hell, Steve was using Keynote Betas for all of his presentations last year!).

Relating to today's news was a Mac Poll that found 50 percent of those polled would use an Apple music service at 99 cents per song. Only 21 percent said they wouldn't. About 28 percent were unsure.

This could be a major software score for Apple, and who knows how much else they'll make suing whoever broke the story to the LA Times... Seriously though, what's the deal with this article suddenly revealing an Apple music service, possibly a month before its release?

More Breaking News
BuyTunes (Update)!

Spymac is also reporting on the LA Times big Mac story (I didn't report on Spymac first because I visit it third in my rumor checks).
Spymac's blurb points out that this will obviously feature total OS X integration. They feature the same quote as MacMinute.

With this kind of overwhelming response, it looks like this service is on its way soon (I'm thinking back to the Time article in conjunction with the new iMac, here). Either the LA Times got to publish the very first article on this new service on the day of its release, or somebody's about to get sued by the notorious folks at Apple Legal.

One thing is for sure today: Keep an eye on Apple.com, something just might be coming...

BuyTunes!

This MacMinute article just about confirms the rumors of an upcoming new music downloading service from Apple.

The information comes straight from the LA Times, saying: "The new service was developed by Apple Computer Inc., sources said Monday, and offers users of Macintoshes and iPod portable music players many of the same capabilities that already are available from services previously endorsed by the labels. But the Apple offering won over music executives because it makes buying and downloading music as simple and non-technical as buying a book from Amazon.com."

One thing to consider... While iTunes 3 had hidden iLife features for quite a while, the kind of integration required for a completely new app, like one that would download music, will probably warrant the release of iTunes 4. Although, it's possible there is no new app, and this will be built in to iTunes 4...

Monday, March 03, 2003

Tip-Top Tips!

In OS X, you can move an unselected window easily, and without selecting it!
Just hold the Apple (Command) key while you click on the window you want to move. You can move the window without changing applications!
Also, in iChat you can use this same trick to change your availability status without switching apps.

Just another helpful tip, on a slow rumor day, here at MacUnderground!

Sunday, March 02, 2003

Patent Bonanza!

Mac Rumors is reporting on a new Apple patent for voice recognition hardware. It appears to filter out background noise using a two microphone system. Apple hasn't made any public announcement of such hardware.

For my analysis, here are my thoughts from the Mac Forums thread on the subject (I'd write something new, but I'm in a hurry):

Let's think about OS X for sec.
Speech Recognition serves very little purpose in the system, besides Universal Access. Then there's Inkwell, which serves even less purpose. Apple is testing technology using OS X.

The real question is what are they building up to?

What about a mini-tablet with voice-input as well as native handwriting recognition? Inkwell seems to work well for those who have tried it (I haven't, but the recognition in my eMate works very well, and Inkwell is based on Newton tech), which means Apple could really put it to use.

Just imagine the overall innovation in a device that can read handwriting and dictate speech. If we take other rumors into account, it would be one amazing little gadget.

What's clear here is that Apple is getting ready to "Wow" us. I'm hoping for a Blue Dalmatian blender that switches modes based on voice commands.

"Mix!"