IE 9, the latest and greatest browser software from the guys and gals in Redmond, is available for download here. There is always danger in criticizing features, or lack of features, in a Beta release because the feature may later be added or improved. I have also had my hands on this release for less than an hour and may have missed something. That said, I find two major feature fails in IE9 that, despite its other fine points, will keep it from being my primary browser.
1) No spell checker. Really. Every other browser has one, but not IE. Some say its just not important or I should learn to spell or its not a proper feature for a browser. But it is important because our experience in browsers today is more interactive. We’re not just looking at web sites, were replying to emails, posting in web forums, adding tags to pictures or blogging. In short, we are creating written content using our web browsers. Software used to create written content should spell check. Big fail.
2) One of the features being touted by Microsoft is the ability to pin web sites to the task bar in Windows 7 and have the browser take on some of the attributes of an application. However, none of the addons you have installed will run in this “application” Window. So if you pin Gmail and use IESpell, you won’t have a spell checker. If you use Adblock Pro, it won’t work on your pinned sites. In short, in the place where they should be allowing you to customize your experience the most (sites you would choose to pin to your task bar) you are not allowed to customize the experience at all. Also a big fail.
Microsoft, if you are looking to regain market share from Firefox and Chrome, you have not helped yourself in my opinion.
Now running Build 7068. I’m hoping this cures the problem build 7057 had switching between video modes and turning off Aero.
I’m now running Build 5057 on my primary machine and it is going extremely smooth. I transferred about 20 GB of data a one go from one of my SAMBA servers to the Win7 machine without any of the issues I experienced on build 7001. Truly I have had less trouble with the two Windows 7 Betas I have been running than with most final releases of Linux systems. It also “feels” noticeably faster and lighter than Vista, which with SP 2 RC installed is a pretty good OS.
Here’s a list of software I have installed and running on Build 5057 that seems to be running without a hitch:
- Office 2007 with all updates.
- Evernote Windows Client
- Windows Live Writer
- iTunes (its such a dog on Windows I don’t know that it can ever be said to run without a hitch, but is syncs my iPhone and I can connect to the store).
- Firefox 3.1 B3 (wow, beta on beta).
- Gimp 2.6.5.
- Google Talk Labs Edition
- Nod 32 AV.
- Notepad2 (as a full replacement for Notepad).
I’ve been getting a blue screen of death every time I transfer a large amount of data from my Windows 7 system to a SMB server. It does not matter if the server is Linux running Samba or a Windows Home Server, the results are the same. I found this article on MS Help and Support that sheds some light on the subject. At least part of the problem may be that the Transport Driver Interface used by my virus scanner is interacting badly with Win 7.
I installed the hotfix associated with the article and it seems to be working.
We I’m back to the Windows 7 Beta. I think I solved the problem of the BSOD when downloading a large set of files (like 6.3GB of mp3 files) from my Linux file server. I built an entirely new server (as in loaded new server software on an existing box) and copied the files from the main server to the new server. Downloading from the new server to Windows 7 caused a BSOD.
I flattened the new server, reinstalled Linux and samba then loaded the mp3’s on the server from another source then downloaded to Windows 7. That went without a hitch. As a result I conclude that the problem was in the files on the server, not with Windows 7. However this still concerns me. Tonight I’m going to run fsck on the Linux server and then delete and restore the mp3s.
But back to Win 7, I’m running it on my main production laptop now. I haven’t quite gone all the way and installed iTunes and made it the machine I back my iPod to. But if all goes well for the next couple of days I’ll consider that as well. Just because I know you’re dying to see it, here’s a screenshot of my Win 7 Desktop.
I’m really starting to like the way the new task bar works, especially since I found out how to turn on the Quick Links bar so I can add locations. I still don’t know about libraries, so I’m ignoring them for now.
A few weeks ago I wrote I had installed Vista Service Pack 2 Beta and thought I’d give a brief follow up on my experience. I could not tell that desktop Gadgets used any less memory than under Service Pack 1, but I could sure tell that it was faster reconnecting to wireless networks when coming out of sleep mode.
Currently I don’t have SP2 installed (I flattened my hard drive for reasons that have nothing to to with SP2), but I am looking forward to the release of the final version sometime this spring. There does not appear to be anything exciting in SP2, but any small advances are welcome.
As promised I installed Vista SP2, on my production laptop no less, almost as soon as it was available to non-TechNet subscribers. In fact, I am typing this mere moments after my reboot from the install. No smoke is coming out of the machine and nothing appears to be broken, but we’ll see.
I elected to install from Windows Update and the process was pretty painless. You just grab the file SP2CPPRK.cmd.remove from here at TechNet, change the name to SP2PPRK.cmd and run the file as administrator. It installs a registry change that allows you to get the service pack from Windows Update. Then run Windows Update which should show a 4.1M update called Windows Servicing Stack. Its not the SP but it is needed to install the SP. When the Servicing Stack update completes, tell Update to search for more updates and it should give you a 297.5M update called Vista SP2 16497 for x86 (KB948465), then comes the download, install,reboot routine.
I will post more about my experiences with SP2 Beta as they unfold. I am particularly interested in improvements that are supposed to be in this Service Pack:
- improvements in wireless networking when the computer recovers from suspend
- improved use of memory by desktop gadgets.
Lots of interesting things coming up that I’ll have some comments on. Ubuntu 8.10 is set to release on October 30, I’ll be putting that through its paces. A public beta of SP2 for Vista is due out in December. I’m sure that will work its way on to one of my machines and I’ll have something to say about that. And the big kahunna? Perhaps a public beta of Windows 7.
Got the final build of Firefox 3 Beta 3 installed (Build 2008020514). Looks good so far. Still don’t see anything revolutionary about it, but I just don’t use some of the features they’ve added.