Friday, March 04, 2005

Safari, OS X Wierdness, Pop-ups/unders

I probably shouldn't have let things get this far ... but then, what am I to do? :-)

First a plea to Apple to fix Safari's pop-up blocking feature ASAP. I truly hope they see this nonsense as a hot issue. I rely on Safari everyday for the hundreds of sites I visit for my job, I feel like I'm using Internet Explorer (for Windows) again.

Which brings up an interesting point. If you're running XP SP2 and all the latest patches/updates to IE 6, the pop-up/unders affecting Safari (and Firefox on all platforms) do NOT happen under IE 6! Egad! MS is actually ahead of the game in this regard. But not in the other stuff like tabs and general coolness, heh.

Now for OS X wierdness. Let me first set the stage: my system is a 1.33GHz 17" PowerBook with 1GB RAM, 80 GB HD. There are no problems with my system, and a few 3rd party apps like WeatherMenu, TypeIt4Me and iKey. I am to the point where I run Cocktail (system maintenance utility) every day now so Safari's icon cache (among other things) are flushed, system logs rotated/deleted, permissions fixed, and more.

Since much of what I'm seeing has been subtle in its approach, so I've not kept logs of when all problems have occurred, but I can tell you it has been occurring through several major system updates of 10.3.x. Right up thru today.

Symptoms: When loading a group of tabs, Safari will inevitably show the spinning beachball such that I can not get to any tabs until magically, it is released. The one or two sites still loading (indicated by the circular spinning lines - dunno the technical term for that wait "cursor") can still be trying to load in the background.

Then I'll try to select text - say the title of said page from a site. I may or may not be able to grab the text of the headline. One day it will work great, other days I have to position the mouse cursor just right and gently selection what I want - careful not to move the mouse up or down lest I select every blooming ad in a column.

Sites like cnet, the NY Times and many others used to allow me to double or triple-click on text to highlight it. Now, that double or triple-click will have a delay of 3 or more seconds before the highlighting actually occurs! If I click and drag (assuming my mouse is at the right spot), it often works better, but not always.

Is Safari simply falling behind the "new technologies" or code being developed on more and more web sites? Is Safari too sensitive to new or offensive code?

Comparing this to Windows XP, on my 750MHz PIII with 512MB RAM - Firefox has no problems allowing me to grab text via highlight on the very same pages on which Safari chokes. Same with IE, though because of its lack of tabs I don't bother testing it that much.

If this problem is because so much code on the web is IE friendly, but not to other browsers, then why doesn't Apple simply acquiesce - or allow for even greather compatibility so that these things aren't an issue. Probably has to do with MS' proprietary code, but still, Firefox has a plug-in to allow one to see a page as what it'd look like in IE (come to think of it, I think that requires Windows). Maybe this is an impenetrable issue that non Windows-based browsers are stuck in the mud.

Next: Switching applications is often not immediate. Say I grab what I need from Safari and need to jump over to BBEdit - I either click on BBE or use a macro via iKey to jump over (or an AppleScript telling an app to activate).

There is quite often a delay in that app activating such that I'll do the paste of said text but the system is still in the process of switching from Safari even though it looks as if I'm definitely in BBEdit.

Is this something others are seeing as well?

Granted, I pound my system very hard every day. Maybe my solution is to get a dual G5, but that wrecks my portability. If my 750MHz PIII can handle most of my workload, then my 1.33GHz PowerBook should be able to do it better.

Yes, I have disabled third party apps to test these things. I can't live without iKey, though, but when I run the Activity Monitor, Safari is absolutely huge, Mail is large, but nothing else is hogging processor or memory. So unless a lower-level issue is at stake, I don't think the 3rd party apps are the problem.

I hold out hope that Tiger will resolve much of these rising issues. My greater hope is that my 1.33GHz machine won't be dragged down by the new processing requirements. WinXP Pro runs great on my old PIII hardware. Whatever you think of Windows, that's a good thing for folks who don't have a lot of capital to spend. Tiger will be pricey, but if it runs better on my hardware than Panther, I will be overjoyed.


Swami said...

I'm starting to see single pop up ads in Safari with pop up windows blocked. This is troubling, but I just thought it was some inventive spammers, since the ads are for big name national items and not cheesy stuff.

Anonymous said...

The popups are because of Flash 7 using a new javascript trick. It is Macromedia's evil work I believe! It u disable plugins in Safari- u see the the popups are gone.

Anonymous said...

The Pop-Ups are a Java issue and cover all Gekko based software, including FireFox and Safari. You have touched on an issue- the speed of Safari and it's hunger for system resources. I have a G5 system with Cable Broadband and the newer versions of Safari seem to be slower and are hogging more of the system. If one page on a tabbed group hangs while loading it will lock up the whole browser and hog enough of the system to spin up the otherwise quiet fans. The webkit for OS X is in need of an update- FTP and other stuff has issues as well.
We can only hope that Safari 2.0 with Tiger is more than the current browser with RSS. Not being a developer, I am interested in how much Apple has improved Safari in the 10.4 release. Maybe they are holding all their updates for the 2.0 release.

-rdm- said...

What you say makes sense (to Anonymouse citing WebKit issues). It is painful, to say the least.

For Apple to hold back on "fixes" is irksome, if true.

Swami- MacFixIt, MacInTouch, AccelerateYourMac! and other sites have been tracking the pop-up issue and there is, I think, either a new company or an existing one that has figured out a way around - probably the Flash 7 deal another poster indicated.

I've not tried disabling plug-ins in Safari yet. But while that may solve the pop-up/behind issue, it won't solve the speed/system resource hogging issue(s) that, to me are huge.

And I'm bummed that a G5 doesn't make things better in that regard. I, too, am on broadband cable (4mbps).


Another issue I'll probably blog on come next week is WiFi and OS X's problems attaching *sometimes* to a Wi-Fi router after waking from sleep. The issue became abundantly clear yesterday when my WinXP laptop connected fine, but my (and my wife's) PowerBooks said there was a problem and refused to join w/o rebooting the router. I thought it was my router all this time as it happens almost every day.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed that going to Google's news site in Safari gets me the beach ball and locks up the browser until it loads. The CPU fans kick in as well. Very consistant.


Anonymous said...

Anonymous mentioned "... all Gekko (sic) based software, including FireFox and Safari ...". Safari is not Gecko-based, it is based on KHTML (the Konqueror engine). So Safari has no code in common with the Mozilla/Gecko/Firefox family.

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