Safari Update, Mac OS X 10.2.4, a Neat Haxie, and How Mail Can Better Fight Spam

2003 – It’s been a good week for OS X users. First, Apple released an update to Safari that fixed some really obvious errors, such as text not wrapping around graphics properly (as mentioned in my previous installment) and problems with secure sites. Then they finished OS X 10.2.4 and made it available.

10forward

I’ve got both up and running on my Mac, as well as a new “haxie” that helps me understand how busy my 400 MHz TiBook really is. I’ve also got some thoughts on Mail and fighting spam.

Safari

The more I use Safari, the more I like it. Other than wrapping around graphics properly, the only other difference I see in Safari is some extra space below the text links at the top of the pages on Low End Mac. It wasn’t there before, nor does it show up in other browsers. (If you’re not using Safari, here’s what the top of the home page and an internal page looks like in Safari v60. Notice how there seems to be an extra line feed below the yellow text links in the top image and the blue links in the second:

Low End Mac home page header

Low End Mac page header

I’ve begun using the excellent bookmark manager in Safari to keep a handy list of the websites I visit every day. Bookmark management is probably the strongest feature that sets Safari apart from other browsers I’ve used.

Apple claims it’s a lot faster for some things, but I haven’t noticed. It’s simply fast to begin with. I can understand why Opera wants to abandon the Mac browser market – they had the worst Mac browser to begin with (IMHO) and saw the handwriting on the wall.

The folks making OmniWeb want to incorporate parts of Safari into their next generation product. That’s savvy thinking.

Rumors are that Microsoft’s Mac Business Unit has pretty much got IE 6.0 ready to go, but Microsoft has shelved the project so it can throw its efforts behind MSN for Mac. Just shows how important Mac parity is for Microsoft – the Windows folk have had IE 6 for how long now?

Chimera and Mozilla seem to be moving forward in the face of Safari. Good for them. We need competition, and if Opera can’t provide it and Microsoft won’t, these projects will give Mac OS X users viable alternatives to IE 5 and Safari – along with the tabbed browsing so many have grown addicted to.

As for iCab, who knows? It may not have the polish of the latest OS X only browsers, but it’s the only browser being actively developed for the classic Mac OS – and even for vintage pre-PowerPC hardware.

Mac OS X 10.2.4

I waited until this morning to install the latest update to OS X Jaguar. None of the Mac websites listed any issues with the update, so I downloaded and installed it. So far I haven’t seen any differences – which is good; updates should be pretty transparent.

Check around the Mac Web to see what the other sites are saying, but this one seems like a pretty safe bet.

Cee Pee You

I was at the Unsanity site the other day looking at their vast selection of “haxies” (their term for Mac OS X system hacks) and discovered Cee Pee You, a lightweight alternative to Apple’s CPU Monitor.

By lightweight, I mean that it doesn’t tie up any screen real estate. No bouncing bar graph. No graphics at all. Cee Pee You simply displays CPU usage as a percentage in the menu bar at the top of the screen. Nothing to visually distract you or take up a lot of CPU cycles.

With a lot of open applications, including the classic environment, but nothing being actively used, Cee Pee You reports about 20% of CPU cycles are in use on my 400 MHz PowerBook G4. With everything closed – including Classic Mode – that drops down to about 7%. (These are averages; the numbers fluctuate up and down.)

And a lot of times Cee Pee You reports 100% processor usage, especially while opening applications. It’s neat to know how hard the 400 MHz G4 processor in my TiBook is working.

Cee Pee You is freeware, as are several other Unsanity haxies such as ShadowKiller, Metallifizer, ClearDock, and Silk. I’m very tempted to give Labels X a try, since I did use labels in the classic Mac OS and would benefit from having them in OS X.

A Mail Gripe

I’m getting used to Apple’s Mail application. I’m training it to catch spam by using it for one of my most spam-ridden email addresses (many days it only gets spam). I figure that’s the best way to train it.

So far it has only identified one non-spam message as junk mail, but it’s far from learning how to handle most of the spam I receive. Still, it’s kinda fun training a program to take out the trash….

I have Mail set so that it doesn’t show a pane with the currently selected email. I don’t like paned email clients; I prefer to open each email in its own window. Problem is, Mail pretty much opens those windows wherever it likes. There is absolutely no consistency about where it displays a freshly opened message. That’s annoying.

A Mail Suggestion

I’ve got some ideas how Apple can leverage the anti-spam technology in Mail to both grow Mail’s market share and help fight spam across the Internet.

Step one is to integrate Mail with .mac email accounts. By this I mean that as a user trains Mail, it would share those preferences with Apple’s email server, which could mark junk email on the server. Users could have the option of downloading all their email except the junk mail.

Step two would be to survey user spam filters to detect and improve Apple’s spam filtering for .mac users. This would give Apple yet another tool to differentiate .mac from all the other services available on the Web.

Step three would be to package and sell this technology to other ISPs. This would give these ISPs an edge in attracting Mac users, since they could offer the same spam filtering and spam fighting options as Apple.

Step four would be to package and sell this technology to other software companies for use in their email clients.

Step by step, Apple would be improving the user experience, helping everyone fight the war on spam, and benefiting the bottom line. We all win.

One other anti-spam feature I’d like to see is a “Report Junk Mail” button. I have an AppleScript for Claris Emailer that sends a note to the postmaster of every server a spam message has gone through, letting them know their server has been used to relay spam. It would be great if we could do this – even better than the “Bounce To Sender” option Mail already provides.

Between all of this, we might just make a dent in the flow of spam.

Keywords: #osxjaguar #macosx #safaribrowser

Short link: http://goo.gl/VTztj4

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