Thursday, August 28, 2008

Greetings From the Holyland

It's that time of the year - another trip to Israel. This time, it's for a good reason - my best friends' wedding (congratulations to Yaniv and Einat - finally one wedding where I was on both the groom's and the bride's sides smile).

Next week I'm heading out to Rome for a week of personal vacation and I'm debating myself whether I should leave my laptop at home for once. On the one hand, it's addictive and may keep me staring at a plastic box, rather than experience one of the most beautiful cities on Earth. On the other hand, it would allow for better planning, tickets purchase, maps review and contact with the outside world. I'll let you know my decision next week (that is, if I blog from Rome, it means I caved in and packed my laptop sad).

While here at my parents' place, I have a limited internet access (mostly relying on the "kindness" of neighbors with open hotspots wink). But that didn't stop me from downloading the latest beta of IE8 and playing with it.

Earlier this year I've reviewed Beta 1. Much has changed in terms of stability and compatibility with existing web sites. A new feature called "InPrivate" allows private browsing, where nothing of your browsing experience (cookies, downloads, history etc.) is left behind on the machine when you close the window - very useful if you value your privacy when browsing from a public computer. It's very similar to what Sandboxie does for you.

You can find out more about the new features available in IE8, such as colored tabs, web slices and accelerators (formerly known as 'activities' in beta 1), on the official IE8 blog, and download it here. Scroll down and select a different Windows OS, if needed.
Remember: this is still a beta - do not install on your main machine, unless you know what you're doing. Also, if you have beta 1 installed, uninstall it first.

Frankly, I haven't seen any new exciting features. It looks like IE8 will catch up to Firefox 3, but not surpass it. This browser shows no creativity, ingenuity or leap of imagination. The fact that it remains closed-source means it will never enjoy the wealth of add-ons available for Firefox and will always lag behind.

On the same token, FF 3 is not such a great leap compared to version 2. I'm still waiting for the next generation of browsers - one that would break away from the familiar, overused "white window + home + back + favorites" paradigm.

Other than that, I'm reviewing a very interesting Microsoft presentation on debugging and post-mortem techniques in VS2008. My favorite slide so far simply says:

Binaries + Symbols + Sources = biggrin
And yes, the biggrin is on the original slide smile.

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