Friday, March 20, 2009

IE8 Released - "It Crashes Less"

For quite some time now I've been suffering from the IE7 blues. Multiple times a day, it would hang. You'd be trying to reach some web site somewhere - "" being the most likely one of course - and if it seemed to take a long time to load then chances were you had just been hosed by Explorer. Sometimes, however, another behaviour took hold: beware the ghost browser! You'd try and restore a browsing session from the tool bar and instead of getting a nice shiny web page you'd get a grey trapezoid, nicely blurred as though caught by a slow shutter speed as it was trying to restore.

Anyway, based on experiments last night then IE8 appears to fix this issue. Since installing it yesterday afternoon then browsing has once again become a relatively stable occupation.

Apart, then, from actually working, what else does IE8 bring? Microsoft trumpeted something called "Accelerators" when I was installing it. These are not much more than quicker ways of getting to stuff like Hotmail or Blogger, but even then seem to have some very annoying side effects. Trying the Blogger one created a new blog entry, but did so maxmized within the frame and without any obvious way of getting to the allied controls for managing posts, thereby causing me to waste time figuring out how to exit gracefully. Ditto for Hotmail where the dafault assumption is that I want to write a new message and not read existing ones.

Private browsing seems to allow you to poke at the web without Big Brother recording where you've been, so ideal then for the criminal fraternity to look up things like "how to blow the doors off post office vans" and the like. Oh, and porn of course.

Web slices? Haven't tried that yet but looks to be a cross between a real-time web page and a widget. "Get real time updates from this web site on your favorites bar" is the tag-line, but so far I've only found to be supporting this feature and I don't care enough about what it is that minor Hollywood starlets are up to or what diet to follow to try it.

Speed? "Slightly quicker" would be my average take, but you have to factor in here that my IE7 installation was so broken that using it as a baseline probably isn't very meaningful.

UI is a bit cleaner, but nothing has changed as dramatically as has been seen in previous updates.

Bottom line: probably worth upgrading just because it seems to be much more stable, but really nothing dramatically new if you are already at IE7.


I said...

i've experimented with Google chrome and Firefox recently. A number of sites don't like chrome (sainsbury's being one of them which is pretty major in our house!!). Firefox is the least of a pain out of all of them but still not perfect!

J said...

Yeah, IE does seem to have the "lowest common factor" role in that most every site supports it. S now has an Apple and she's finding some sites that aren't properly supported too.