Tag Archives: Internet Explorer

Easily Pin Your Websites in Internet Explorer 9

If you are on Windows 7, Internet Explorer 9 allows you to pin a website to the Windows taskbar, and access the website pages directly without having to open Internet Explorer first. The unmatched visibility on users’ desktops results in increased traffic for a website. This also gives an app-like feel to the website or web app.

To pin a website, just grab the tab and drag it down to your taskbar. Apart from the one-click access, a pinned site also allows you to right-click on the icon to get a list that directs you to particular content on the site. Some pinned sites can also notify you that content has changed on the site. While pinned Facebook alerts you of the Facebook notifications for your account, pinned Hotmail notifies with a number corresponding to the new email in your inbox.

ie9-pinned-site

Microsoft has now launched a new service Pin My Website to encourage website owners to add the pinned site functionality to their websites. The site provides an online wizard to guide you to few steps that would give you a code snippet that you can use on your website to take advantage of this function. Microsoft claims that pinned sites gain traffic, and these steps take an average of only 36 seconds to complete!

In the first of a total of four steps, all you need to provide is your contact details and basic site information like site’s name and URL. You will also need to provide an icon for your main site.

PinMyWebsite - Basic Site information

Jump List items act as entry points into the website even when the browser is not running. The next step requires you to list the commonly used destinations and tasks that apply to the whole site.

PinMyWebsite - Jump list tasks

A dynamic Jump List can contain items that will automatically change over time, to give access to periodically updated information like news updates. To use this feature, your site must expose an RSS feed with the items that you want to show on the Jump List.

PinMyWebsite - Jump List tasks and Notifications

The last optional step enables you to add a pinning notification bar on the  top of your webpages. This bar prompts IE9 users to pin your site.

PinMyWebsite - Drag-and-drop site pinning bar

Once you complete the four steps, you can generate the code to use on your site and allow IE9 users on Windows 7 to pin your site to their taskbar.

IE Team Sends Mozilla a Cake Again for Firefox 5 Launch

The web browser teams at Mozilla, Microsoft, Google and might definitely hate each other secretly, but there are times when all of these come together to set standards or further the future of the web.

Microsoft and Mozilla have had a love hate relationship for a while now. After all, was the web browser which turned the browser industry on its head and gave the dominant Internet Explorer a run for it’s money.

IE Congratulates Mozilla for Firefox 5 Launch Cake

Lot has changed since then, but one thing continues to remain common including Microsoft sending cakes with the IE logo to Mozilla on a product launch. The last time I remember them sending a cake was for the launch of Firefox 3, and with the launch of Firefox 5 today they have repeated the act.

The cake had a similar message from the earlier one which said:

Congratulations on Shipping! Love, the IE Team

The image was posted by @damons, who is the VP of Engineering at Mozilla. This definitely makes for some good rivalry. Here is wishing the Mozilla team a great launch and look forward to some exciting new features in Firefox 6 and beyond.

Microsoft Gets Slammed for Its Hypocritical Stance on WebGL

Last week, I reported that Microsoft won’t be supporting WebGL in Internet Explorer due to security concerns. WebGL is a cross-platform 3D graphics API for the web that enables web applications running in the browser to do all sorts of cool stuff. Currently all the major browser vendors apart from Microsoft (i.e. Mozilla, Google, Opera, and Apple) actively support the WebGL initiative. Microsoft gave a pretty detailed technical explanation of their issues with WebGL, which led me to remark that Microsoft might be doing the right thing for a change. However, I might have been too hasty in giving the software giant, which has built a reputation of not willing to play nice, the clean chit.

One of the things I have long criticized tech-giants like Microsoft and Apple for is hypocrisy. As it turns out, the latest WebGL vs. Microsoft incident is another glowing example of the same. The biggest problem with Microsoft’s criticism of WebGL was first highlighted by Opera Software’s HÃ¥vard K. Moen and later elaborated upon by Google’s Gregg Tavares.


Microsoft: Criticizes something WebGL is doing. Does the exact same thing with Silverlight. Sigh.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

It appears that Microsoft’s security consciousness magically vanishes as soon as it moves away from WebGL, with which it has clear conflicts of interests. WebGL is based on OpenGL, which is the main competitor of Microsoft’s DirectX. Adobe’s Flash and Microsoft’s own Silverlight suffers from many of the same drawbacks highlighted by Microsoft. However, Microsoft has no qualms about allowing these plug-ins to work on Internet Explorer. Tavares, who has been working on Chrome’s GPU acceleration and WebGL features, is understandably furious.

The latest FUD is Microsoft’s claim that they won’t support WebGL because it’s insecure. They might have a little more credibility if they weren’t promoting a technology, Silverlight 5, that provides the EXACT SAME FEATURES with all the same issues. They can’t have it both ways. Either it’s possible to make this tech safe or else it’s not. If it is possible to make it safe in Silverlight 5 then it’s also just as possible in WebGL. If it’s not possible to make it safe Microsoft would have to come out and say (1) They are removing GPU access from Silverlight 5. (2) They are banning Unity3D from running in IE since it also provides access to the EXACT SAME FEATURES. (3) They are banning Flash 11 from running in IE since it also provides access to the EXACT SAME FEATURES.

He also alleges that the research done by ContextIS into the security vulnerabilities present in WebGL was sponsored by Microsoft. If that is true, then this won’t be the first time that Microsoft has done something like this. However, at the very least, the results presented by ContextIS aren’t manipulated like the ones by NSS labs.

Tavares also tackled the main objections raised by Microsoft. One of the objections was related to denial of service, wherein a malicious process can prevent other processes from accessing the services of the GPU by asking the GPU to process something that takes too long.

The simplest solution is to time how long the GPU is taking to execute each task. If it’s taking too long reset the GPU and kill the page that issued the command. Microsoft Windows is one of the only OSes that currently provides this solution. They should be proud of this. They can basically claim the best place to run WebGL is on Windows. The Khronos group is working to bring similar functionality to other OSes as fast as possible and it may already be available in some drivers.
…
Of course it’s completely unacceptable if your machine gets DOSed. My only point is (1) there are fixes, Windows already support them and they are coming soon to other OSes. (2) it’s not has (sic) bad as your machine getting owned. In fact most likely very soon now, if a page takes too long on the GPU it will be marked bad by the browser. If you try to visit it again you’ll be warned. Similarly using techniques like Safe Browsingwe can warn you in advance while we work on providing the real fixes in all OSes.

The other point raised by Microsoft was that WebGL provides low-level hardware access in a way that is overly permissive. Bugs present in the graphics driver can create serious security issues. Tavares suggests that sandboxing coupled with a multi-process architecture can go a long way towards solving these issues. Google currently parallelizes all WebGL calls. Before anything is passed to the GPU, Chrome performs strict validation and even tries to work around several known GPU driver bugs.

Undoubtedly, the current status of WebGL is far from ideal. However, it’s still a work in progress, and the Khronos group is still busy tying up all the loose ends. One thing that is for certain is that WebGL is essential for cross-platform, cutting-edge, next-gen web applications that will blur the line between native and web applications.

Microsoft Disses WebGL, Calls It Harmful

WebGLWebGL is a cross-platform 3D graphics API for the web that is being adopted by the likes of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera in order to usher in next-gen graphics intensive web applications. However, one major browser vendor has decided to distance itself from the pack, and has announced that it won’t be supporting WebGL. No points for guessing who that browser vendor is. It is none other than Microsoft.

Microsoft has a terrible track record when it comes to adopting new standards. They have been trying to turn a new leaf, but there have been several missteps along the way. They also happen to be the folks behind DirectX, the main competitor of OpenGL, which forms the basis for WebGL. So, its not all that surprising that Microsoft has decided to diss WebGL. However, before the knives come out, Microsoft might actually be right for a change.

Microsoft’s objection is based on the fact that WebGL, in spite of claims to the contrary by the Khronos Group, isn’t really secure. Microsoft explained the technicalities behind its objections in a fair amount of detail in its TechNet blog post. The three main points raised by Microsoft are:

  1. WebGL provides low-level hardware access in a way that is overly permissive.
  2. Even security procedures put in place can be circumvented due to the presence of vulnerabilities in the graphics driver. The onus for ensuring security will fall on the driver manufacturers and not on the browser or operating system vendor. Users rarely update their hardware drivers; and even the manufactures themselves aren’t accustomed to releasing frequent and quick security updates.
  3. Modern operating systems and graphics infrastructure were never designed to fully defend against attacker-supplied shaders and geometry. It might become possible for hackers to crash and reboot systems at will by supplying malformed data.

Microsoft believes that WebGL will likely become an ongoing source of hard-to-fix vulnerabilities, and this is a concern that has been raised before by third parties. WebGL is an exciting piece of technology. It is also something that is required to push the boundaries of what can be done within a web app. Microsoft might be playing spoil sport; however, with the current design flaws in WebGL, Microsoft’s stance also makes a lot of sense. Let’s hope that the Khronos Group will manage to find a way to assuage the concerns surrounding WebGL.

WordPress.com Bids Goodbye to Internet Explorer 6

internet_explorer6_logoWordPress.com has finally joined the Kill Internet Explorerbandwagon.

I don’t remember when was the last time I used Internet Explorer 6, which is surely the most ugly browser built till date. If you read blogs, keep an eye on emerging technologies and trends, chances are that you hate Internet Explorer 6 as much as we do. On the flip side, if you’re reading this page from a never to upgradecomputer running Windows 98 or Windows XP, there is a high chance that you’re using Internet Explorer 6.

In recent months, a lot of sites (e.g YouTube) have been dropping support for Internet Explorer 6. The fact of the matter is that IE6’s rendering engine is half blind and it’s such a pain for developers and designers to fix browser compatibility of their websites, just because a portion of their users are still on IE6 and god knows whether they will upgrade to Windows 7 or use a different browser anytime soon.

WordPress.com has recently announced that they are ending support for Internet Explorer 6 with their slight redesign and performance improvements implemented on WordPress.com’s dashboard. The blogging platform says that it has required increasingly complex code trickery to make WordPress.com’s backend work in Internet Explorer 6, which does not support current web standards.

If you try to login to your blog’s administration area using Internet explorer 6, WordPress.com will let you in. It’s just that the features will appear broken and all the links won’t work the way they used to work before. Oh and you will also see a big red alert box, begging you to upgrade Internet Explorer 6 to it’s latest version.

wordpress-internet-explorer6

Additionally, WordPress.com has introduced some new features as well as dropping older ones. The new dashboard loads faster and feels better, distracting icons are gone while a new distraction free write post panel being introduced.

According to the data from Microsoft’s own IE6 countdown website, 11.4% of web users are still using Internet Explorer 6, the highest user density being recorded near China, South Korea and Japan. The following chart shows a brief usage graph of IE6 from around the world:

ie6-usage-graph

 

It’s good to see more and more websites joining hands to drop support for Internet Explorer 6.   This helps everyone if you consider the bigger picture users can enjoy all the rich features of a modern browser while the devs can sleep well and avoid coding nightmares.

Internet Explorer 9 Being Rolled Out Through Windows 7 Update

Microsoft released Internet Explorer 9 to the world last month to much fanfare and millions of downloads. However, the rollout was only done through direct downloads for users.

Internet Explorer 9

However, not each and every user has upgraded to the latest browser from Microsoft and they do have a way to get it out; through Automatic Updates. Microsoft has confirmed that they are now rolling out Internet Explorer 9 to all users through the automatic update channel.

IE9 Windows 7 Update

The update will be rolled out as an important update to all users. It is not clear yet whether users have to upgrade to it compulsorily or not. I am unable to confirm this since I have already upgraded to IE9 but will do so shortly on another PC. The update will be a part of the regular updates rolled out by Microsoft.

If you haven’t used Internet Explorer 9 yet, you should definitely upgrade to it and check out our of tips and trick for IE9.

Hey Microsoft, HTML5 isn’t Native, Because the Web isn’t Supposed to be Native!

As you must have read by now, Microsoft introduced the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at the MIX11 conference. The announcement surprised many, including yours truly, since Microsoft is known for dragging its heels over Internet Explorer. There was a gap of five years between Internet Explorer 6 and Internet Explorer 7, and a further gap of three years between Internet Explorer 7 and Internet Explorer 8. Say what you want about Internet Explorer, but a significant portion of internet users still rely on Microsoft’s browser for surfing the web. Rapidly evolving IE augurs well, not only for Microsoft and IE users, but also the entire web. It’s all well and good if Opera or Chrome or Firefox implements cutting edge standards, but not many developers are going to use those features unless Internet Explorer also supports it.

Internet-Explorer-10-Platform-Preview

Over the past year or so, Microsoft has largely been saying the right things, and making the right moves. Internet Explorer 9, which was a huge improvement over Internet Explorer 8, introduced support for several HTML5 and CSS3 standards. With Internet Explorer 10, Microsoft is continuing to focus on making IE even more developer friendly and standards compliant. The first developer preview itself has a fairly impressive changelog. CSS3 Multi-column Layout, CSS3 Grid Layout, CSS3 Flexible Box Layout, CSS3 Gradients, and ES5 Strict Mode are some of the major new features Microsoft has implemented. These are changes that should thrill developers, and excite general web users. IE 10 platform preview should be winning accolades. Instead, Microsoft has once again managed to annoy developers and web standards enthusiasts.

In the past, Microsoft has been heavily criticized for twisting facts, spreading FUD (Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt), and talking out of its behind. Microsoft has been trying to turn over a new leaf, but old habits die hard. Yesterday’s announcement was full of buzz-words and half-truths meant to influence the average joe. Microsoft’s official announcement proclaimed:

The only native experience of the Web and HTML5 today is on Windows 7 with IE9. IE9’s approach to taking advantage of what the operating system offers from the native graphics stack to jump lists in the shell maximizes performance, usability, and reliability.

The trouble is that no one is quite sure as to exactly what Microsoft means by native web and HTML5 experience. The phrase native webis by itself is an oxymoron. The web isn’t supposed to be native. The web is supposed to be operating system and hardware independent. The web is supposed to be open and uniform. While HTML5 and CSS3 strive to deliver a native app like experience, there’s definitely no such thing as native HTML5.

Dean Hachamovitch, Corporate VP of Internet Explorer, wrote, The best HTML5 is native to the operating system, so Web sites have the fewest translation layers to pass through. Like all PR-speak, this statement is purposefully ambiguous, and conveys a false sense of superiority.

Microsoft is also making a lot of noise about “full hardware acceleration” support. However, as far as I know, Firefox 4 supports hardware accelerated compositing on most platforms, Chrome has been testing this for a long time through the beta channels, and Opera has demoed it in a labs build.

Dismayed at Microsoft’s shady tactics, people have already begun speaking out. While Haavard from Opera Software lambasted Microsoft, Mike Beltzner (ex-director of Firefox) decided to be cheeky and sarcastic.

Native-HTML5

The use of dubious and shady marketing speak wasn’t Microsoft’s only blunder. In an attempt to justify the lack of Window XP support, Dean Hachamovitch wrote, Others have dropped support on Windows XP for functionality that we think is fundamental to performance. Others here implies Google Chrome, which removed GPU acceleration and WebGL for Windows XP in Chrome 10. However, what Hachamovitch ignored to mention was that Google intends to re-enable these features in Chrome 11 on Windows XP systems with reasonably up-to-date drivers. He also forgot to mention Firefox and Opera two browsers that have already demonstrated that Windows XP is fully capable of running modern browsers.

Through its reckless behavior in the 90s, Microsoft almost become synonymous with evil. It has been desperately trying to rebuild its image over the past few years. Internet Explorer 10 has lots of stuff that are worth getting excited about. Sure, a lot of it is stuff that other browsers have already implemented. However, the IE team has clearly been doing a pretty decent job over the past year or so. Cheap antics like this will only tarnish the efforts put in by the Internet Explorer developers, and antagonize users. We are already well into the new decade. It’s high time that Microsoft stops treating every one of us like a moron, and lets the products speak for themselves.

Microsoft About To Release Internet Explorer 10 Platform Preview [Video]

Believe it or not, Microsoft is gearing up to launch the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10, just a month after releasing Internet Explorer 9. Yes, this is the same company that took five years to move from Internet Explorer 6 to Internet Explorer 7, and three more years for the next update.

Spurred by declining market share, Microsoft intends on releasing platform previews at regular intervals until the beta stage is reached. Platform previews are solely meant for developers, and doesn’t include most of the user oriented features.

Microsoft will probably release the first platform preview of Internet Explorer 10 at the MIX11 keynote. Stay tuned to Techie Buzz for more updates. Microsoft has mistakenly released the Internet Explorer 10 video in advance. However, it was pulled down as I was updating this post. The first platform preview includes features like CSS 3 gradients, multi-column layouts, and grid Layouts. Microsoft has already updated the Internet Explorer Test Drive website. Here are snaps from the video that got pulled down by Microsoft.

Internet-Explorer-10-CSS-3-Gradients
Internet Explorer 10: CSS3 Gradients
Internet-Explorer-10-CSS-3-Multi-Column-Layout
Internet Explorer 10: CSS3 Multi-Column Layout
Internet-Explorer-10-CSS-3-Gradients
Internet Explorer 10: Full Hardware Acceleration

Update: Here’s the video, via WinRumors.

Firefox 5 Plans Revealed; Tech Enthusiasts Rip It Off

Disclosure: I use Google Chrome as my primary browser, Opera as secondary and Firefox as my third browser. I use IE9 too and have used various other browsers. In fact, when Netscape was around I used it pretty often (since Netscape 2) and have also been an early adopter of Firefox because of tabs and continued to use it pretty often until Google came out with Chrome.

A technology site Conceivably Tech came out with a new outlook that Mozilla has planned. According to them, it includes an inbuilt PDF viewer, a new Home Tab (ala and ), social sharing and more.

Mozilla Firefox

For the record, these are new features which 5 intends to build, but these are not new features at all and are already available in other browsers today. As I had posted earlier, Firefox 5 did want to add site specific features like Internet Explorer 9 has right now. All in all Mozilla is shunning innovation and does not have it’s mind in the right place and I frankly think that Firefox and Mozilla have seriously lost it.

Since Chrome came out in late 2008, each and every browser has just tried to mimic it, but most have failed miserably. This could be in my eyes only, but many browsers including Firefox have been doing nothing but mimicking the look and feel of Chrome and I have hardly found a compelling reason to switch from Chrome and go to another browser. I really don’t count the “new tab related features” Firefox 4 built in, because I know that several users including me don’t even care about it.

Chrome is fast, is fast, IE9 is fast, Opera 11 is fast. However, the fact remains that all these years you (Mozilla) promised to provide users with a alternative to Internet Explorer, which was a pain in the posterior and sucked. But somehow Microsoft took away the momentum from Firefox with IE, if not Chrome, and introduced a new feature in Internet Explorer 9, which Mozilla will be now calling “Social sharing” in Firefox 5.

Also Firefox is thinking about an inbuilt PDF viewer after Chrome already did it, and a new home tab that is similar to Google Chrome and Opera? Mozilla,  where is the innovation that kept you apart?

What happened to you Mozilla? Weren’t you the leader in browser innovation? Why did you slack off? Why did you create Firefox 3.0 all through 3.6 which hung my PC more often than any other software ever did? Why does Firefox eat so much memory that I find my 6GB rig an ancient model from 1980s?

I am not the only one to pan the next beauty from Mozilla. You might want to check out the comments on Slashdot and it is really not looking good. I will just post a apfew of the comments here and you shall get the general perception about Firefox:

Facebook? Twitter? Since when did Mozilla integrate commercial websites into their browser? Since integrating the Google search engine? Since AOL? This is why Netscape and Mozilla were originally kept separate. To keep the commercial bloat in the Netscape browser and allow the community to use Mozilla.

We need a security and functionality oriented fork ASAP. Performance matters also.

Nobody asked for changes to the interface. The interface to Firefox was never broken and nobody complained about it.

Nobody asked for the “awesome bar” or whatever the hell that is. If it improves productivity then fine, tabs make sense, but the majority of this shit is just gimmicks. Integrating the cloud makes sense but not when it’s specifically “facebook” and “twitter”, but to allow anyone to select anything and make it completely transparent and open. They are going commercial in a really bad sell out kind of way, and you can tell the developers I said it.

Why not just take the Chromium tree and figure out how to run Firefox extensions on there and just call that Firefox? Would save time and have much better memory use and performance. Firefox is basically converging on a Chrome clone with slightly worse performance and some dumb UI hacks that will end up largely unused/abandoned (like Panorama). Isn’t all this what the extension ecosystem is for? Why would a team that already is overwhelmed by the task of testing its product incorporate MORE features to test? My main issue with Firefox right now is not a lack of Facebook integration (-_-) but the obvious memory leakage in the released FF 4 with AdBlock/NoScript, which was present through the entire last half of the beta cycle. Mozilla has really wandered off the reservation here. I want a solid, fast browser that supports the great extensions that Mozilla didn’t write, and continues to support developments in the core web standards space. If I want Chrome or Flock, I’ll just download those, seriously.

For more on such beauties visit Slashdot. I am really disappointed with you Mozilla/Firefox. This does not make it any better.

Get Back Old Facebook Comment Button – Fix Enter to Comment On Facebook

recently rolled out a new change to their user interface where they got rid of the Comment button and allowed users to comment by hitting the Enter key. However, this was a bit annoying to users who did not know about it and innocently hit enter to add a new line to their comment. When they did this, the comment was automatically posted. (Hint: use Shift + Enter to add a new line)

Facebook Comment Button

If you are someone who has been annoyed by this problem, there is a quick and easy fix to get back the old comment button on Facebook through a script.

To get the old comment button back in Facebook, head over to http://www.crypticide.com/alecm/chrome/ and click on the FixSillyFacebook.user.js to install the Greasemonkey script in and (you will need the Greasemonkey add-on). If you are using or Internet Explorer or Safari follow our earlier post on Installing Greasemonkey scripts in Opera, IE and Safari.

P.S. The above script was a modification of another script created by Daniel Wood because it lacked the ability to work on the www subdomain in Facebook.