I’m switching to a new default web browser today (i.e. the browser I use the most on my computer) and that put me in a reminiscing mood. So here are some screenshots of all of the browsers I’ve used as my default for the past 18 years.
Using NCSA Mosaic to surf the World Wide Web for the very first time in the basement physics lab at college was as close to a religious experience as I’ve ever had. It was a thunderbolt that completely changed my life.
When Marc Andreessen left NCSA and formed a company to build web browsers, it was clear that their browser was the future. The first version was called Mosaic Netscape:
NCSA didn’t appreciate the new company’s use of the Mosaic name so they changed it to Netscape Navigator. This is a screenshot of Netscape 3, still my favorite web browser.
I continued to use Netscape 3 even after the release of Netscape 4, which was a such pile of junk that I eventually decamped for the sweaty embrace of Gates and Ballmer. You may not remember, but IE 4 was a pretty good browser. Microsoft won the browser wars, in part, because their browser was better than the other guy’s.
I used IE on Windows until I bought a iBook in 2002. The default browser for OS X was IE for Mac:
From IE for Mac, I moved to Chimera. I loved Chimera…it was fast and was the first browser I used that supported tabbed browsing.
Chimera soon changed its name to Camino for legal reasons and I switched along with them.
Eventually, the team and resources for Camino dried up, the release schedule slowed down, and the other browser makers caught up. At this point, I can’t quite remember what I switched to. I might have gone to Firebird (which was renamed Firefox), but I probably just went straight to Safari.
I used Safari for a long time until switching to Firefox a couple of years ago.
And today I’m making Chrome my main browser. I’ll still use Safari and Firefox for some stuff but links will open up on Chrome by default.
Chrome will probably be my last default browser on a non-mobile computer. Many of you use Mobile Safari much more than any desktop web browser; I’m not quite there but will be soon enough.
Pixelfari is an 8-bit version of Safari that renders everything in pixely fonts and graphics. Here’s what kottke.org looks like using Pixelfari:
Safari 5 supports extensions now…here are some I’ve downloaded so far:
SafariRestore automatically restores your previous browsing session. That Safari still doesn’t do this by default is beyond ridiculous.
YouTube5 converts YouTube videos to their HTML5 video tag equivalents. It says it only works on youtube.com right now, but it works great on the kottke.org as well. (See underwater base jump, e.g.)
NoMoreiTunes stops Safari from opening iTunes when you visit an iTunes Store link. Again, Safari’s default behavior is not optimal here.
I got all these from the Safari Extensions Tumblr, which is a bit overwhelming. I wish they’d curate a bit more instead of letting everything through. To that end, are you using any good extensions people should know about? Do tell.
From a study on how people use Firefox, a heat map that highlights the most- and least-popular menu items. Bookmarks got the most use by far, followed by copy and paste. Copy was used about twice as much as paste, which suggests that about 50% of the time, people are copying things to be pasted into another program. Oh and not a single person used “Redo”. (via ben fry)
It’s supposed to be really fast. Check it out here.
Update: The new location for the tabs is pretty disorienting so far. (So far = 10 minutes of use.) I keep glancing up in the middle to see the title of the page I’m on and it’s not there…and then I have to hunt for whichever tab I’m on. The separation of the tabs from the page content is also causing me problems. The page area is What I’m Looking At Now and the tabs are What I’m Going To Look At Soon…why separate them with a bunch of stuff (aside from the URL) that is unrelated to either of those things…i.e. What I Almost Never Need To Look At?
How to run Greasemonkey scripts in Safari. Doesn’t work with some scripts, but something is better than nothing. (via justin)
Camino, a web browser for the Mac, finally goes 1.0. It seems like 5 years have passed since I switched away from Camino. I loved it then and I’d switch back in a second if had the features of and was being developed to the extent of Firefox or Safari. (via df)
Positive review of Flock, a new Mozilla-based browser with drag and drop blogging and Flickring built in.
Cello is a graphical WWW browser like Mosaic. “Cello runs under Microsoft Windows on any IBM PC with a 386SX chip or better. While we have run Cello with only 2MB of RAM on a 386SX-16 machine, we think you’ll like it better on a machine with more memory and a faster chip.”
WiReD magazine on the Mosaic WWW browser and how it is “well on its way to becoming the world’s standard interface”. “Mosaic is the celebrated graphical ‘browser’ that allows users to travel through the world of electronic information using a point-and-click interface. Mosaic’s charming appearance encourages users to load their own documents onto the Net, including color photos, sound bites, video clips, and hypertext ‘links’ to other documents. By following the links — click, and the linked document appears — you can travel through the online world along paths of whim and intuition.”
The makers of the WWW browser Mosaic are keeping track of what’s new on the WWW. “Carnegie Mellon has announced their Web server; here’s the ‘Front Door’; here’s the home page. (‘Front door’… interesting metaphor, that.)”