Friday, May 12, 2006

Hold Off On The IE 7 Beta

I installed the beta for Internet Explorer 7 a little while ago. While some things are definitely better, over all it has stability and incompatibility issues and I would hold off on installing it.

First the good.

IE finally has tabs. Finally! This is really useful. You can open up all of your news items or Google searches in separate tabs and easily navigate between them. Unfortunately you still can't rearrange them like you can in Firefox.

They added a search box into the same line as the address bar. Now you can easily search from Google, Wikipedia, Amazon or whatever search engine you want.

The Ctrl-F search in page box now opens up in the upper left corner, so it doesn't get in the way.

For keyboard shortcuts, David Pogue of the NY Times has a nice writeup and there is also the IE Blog. I love the ctrl-click to open a link in a new tab. Ctrl-E to do a search is nice too.

Now the bad.

The first thing I ran into was the type font looked bold and blurry. Hurt my eyes to read it. Turns out it is ClearType and it is supposed to make the text easier to read. This blog explains the reasoning (if you can call it that) behind turning on ClearType in IE 7. But, as the commenters point out, if ClearType is so good, why not turn it on for all of Windows? Why make a separate setting just for IE? And if you are doing this, why not allow people who thinks it really sucks an easy way to turn it off?

Turning it off is a huge pain. See Important Tip #13 on this page. You have to go into the registry and create a new key. Great work Microsoft developers!

It kept crashing when I opened up new tabs. I read the release notes and found this:

Google Desktop--Installing the Google desktop crashes Internet Explorer 7 when opening new tabs. The workaround for this issue is to disable web indexing on the Google desktop, or to keep the blank tab splash page in place.
So, you can't use Google desktop to track your surfing with this version. Or it could have been this:
Navigating Between Open Tabs Hangs IE7 Beta 2 - Internet Explorer 7 Beta 2 sometimes hangs when navigating between open tabs, such as gmail and Yahoo mail. To work around this problem, use the Phishing Filter option under the Tools menu to disable the phishing filter. Only use this workaround when you encounter sites that are hanging; reenable the phishing filter as soon as you return to browsing sites that do not hang.
So I turned the phishing filter off too.

Even after doing this, IE crashes on me every once in a while. Usually when I have lots of tabs open. Don't know what the deal is with that, but it sucks.

All the icons are fatter and rounder now. I call it the bubble world look. I am totally anal about this, but I want my toolbars to be as thin as possible so I can have more space on my screen to view the actual content. Every millimeter is a big deal. And the bars are way too fat if you ask me. Put 'em on a diet Microsoft. I was checking out laptops, and they are all wide screen monitors now. After displaying all the bars on the top and bottom of the screen, you get like 3 lines of browsing. Don't get this at all.

I also found the Google Bar had some cool features like spell checking and Translation that no longer work with IE 7.

Yahoo Mail Beta doesn't work with IE 7, but they promise to get it working by the end of the month. On the NY Times site, the buttons for single page view or print don't show up in IE 7. Lots of other little things on other sites don't work quite right either like the spell check window on

I was going to praise it because it finally allows the little icons (favicon.ico) to show up when you are browsing a site and when you save bookmarks. But they found a way to screw this up too. The icons will show up for a while on your bookmarks, but then mysteriously go away after a while, and when you go back to the site, sometimes they show back up and sometimes they don't. And then sometimes a bookmark will get the wrong icon from some other site. This seems so simple to implement, don't know how the Microsoft developers can keep screwing this one up.

You might think I would let Microsoft know about this stuff. But there too Microsoft screwed up. Instead of just having a feedback form to fill out, or an email address, they do all this crazy stuff that requires a Passport login in order to leave feedback. Hopefully someone is leaving feedback, so all this stuff is worked out before they release this sucker.

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