Category Archives: IE

IE’s mysterious status bar

I don’t normally use IE, so when I was taking a look at something in it, I suddenly noticed how many mysterious unnamed panels the status bar has.

IE6 status bar

A little tinkering identified some of them. Others remain a mystery. Left to right (this is IE6, and may differ according to what add-ons you have installed):

  • Main part of the status bar. Shows the URL you’re about to jump to, or “Done” when it thinks it’s finished loading a page (though sometimes it hasn’t really), or nothing. Fair enough.
  • Progress bar, only appears when loading a page
  • Unknown
  • Single left click gives me access to the MSN toolbar popup blocker settings
  • Double-clicking takes me to a dialogue to manage add-ons
  • Unknown
  • Double-clicking gives me information on the Security certificate, if the page has one. On a secure page, you get a padlock icon here.
  • Icon and text indicating the page’s zone. Double-clicking takes you to the Security options

Maybe someone can reveal what the two blank unknown panels are for. But it strikes me as pretty silly that these are here, blank, with no clues given. No tooltips when hovering, and no response when left-clicking, left double-clicking or right-clicking. Why bother having them?

Even those that do respond shouldn’t be blank, not if the designers intend people to actually use them. Why would you bother clicking around a blank panel? Are we supposed to use our sixth sense to work out what they do?

WWW button nobbled (sometimes)

My keyboard has a Web button on it, which as you’d expect opens up my web browser.

Like all right-minded people, I have this set up in Windows’ “Set program access and defaults” screen to go to Firefox.

But if I press the button when a Windows Explorer window is open (eg browsing a directory) it goes to IE in that window, instead. Hmmm.

IE follows Firefox on the RSS icon

RSSMicrosoft have announced they’re going to use the same RSS (feed) icon as Firefox.

Good stuff. For RSS to move into the mainstream, it needs standardisation like this. And we’ve got enough warning to start putting it on our web sites, before the great unwashed see it in IE7.

Now, if we can just figure out the myriad of formats of the feeds themselves

Backslashes/Web dev toolbars

If you mistakenly put backslashes in your relative hyperlinks, IE silently replaces them with forward slashes. Does IE do this on Macs I wonder? It seems a very DOS-centric way of doing things. This is not “embrace and extend”. This is “be nice to sloppy people, breaking it for everybody else”. Firefox doesn’t like backslashes, correctly replacing them with %5C and then choking.

Meanwhile, MS has released a developer’s toolbar for IE (beta). I don’t normally use IE, but I had a quick look. WTF — it requires a complete system reboot to take effect. It looks like it has some handy features, but boy, it’s a bit buggy… try and view table outlines, and it takes ages if there’s more than a handful. Not so good.

Frankly, the Firefox web developer extension craps all over it.

IE’s float/margin bug

I’m at home today working on a new WordPress site… just came across the glorious IE Float/Margin bug. Thankfully there are a couple of workarounds, one involving putting an extra Div around the troublesome ones, the other involving a harmless display: inline attribute.

I also note that when wrangling with a CSS file and WordPress, continually tweaking, uploading the tweaked file, then re-loading the browser page, Firefox handles it fine and refreshes completely. IE doesn’t; sometimes it’ll only do a partial refresh, and chokes on something, which in my case means my navigation bar disappearing until I re-load via a link. Very odd.

Scoble vs Register

Reg: IE7 beta 1 breaks third-party toolbars!

Scoble: Only old versions of toolbars. It doesn’t break new ones.

Reg: Yes it does!

Scoble: No it doesn’t!

Reg: Yes it does!

Scoble: No it doesn’t!

Reg: Yes it does, you said it does!

And they quote an email from Scoble that is without any context, and thus proves nothing, unless you assume that the content of the email is directly in reply to the subject line. And now Scoble claims the mail isn’t real.

(Oh yeah, the recipient of the email gave the Reg permission to publish it. That’s nice. Shame the recipient doesn’t own the copyright; Scoble does. Well, if it’s real.)

Orlowski at the Reg then speculates that this somehow means the end of Scoble’s Microsoft blogging career. Talk about drawing a long bow.

Guys, IE7 is a beta. The first beta. You can expect this kind of stuff in a beta, and provided MS have pledged to fix the issues, it doesn’t matter one jot. I’d be more concerned so little progress has been made on standards-conformance, and why they put out a beta before doing more on this.

More from George

More goodness from George Skarbek’s column in The Age (19-Jul-2005).

A punter asks George about sending large files across the net. One suggestion is to set up a web host, and the reader is sent off to GoDaddy to find out about domain names and hosting fees, and even ponders if a web server should be set up on their own computer. Uhh, but these days but most ISPs provide a basic web hosting facility, good enough as a drop point for leaving big files… surely it’s better to look at this first? Not to mention the many online storage services, such as Yahoo Briefcase.

A question about whether one should turn on IE’s “Do not save encrypted pages to disk” option comes up with some gibberish about “static web pages and dynamic data”. Eh? The point of this option is explained in IE’s help: it avoids the browser saving the pages onto the hard disk where they might be snooped upon by other users on the same computer. Since an HTML page is plain text, and depending on the site used, user or session IDs or even passwords could be embedded in the HTML, in some environments it might be desirable to not save this in the cache.

(Don’t get me wrong; most of George’s answers are spot on. Just a few that haven’t quite lived up to expectations, and it’s been bugging me a bit…)

Dead USB port

So, in building the broadband access machine I’ve found a gift computer (twice as powerful as anything else I owned) that was ‘not working’. After loading XP onto and futzing with it for a while, I figured out that doing anything with the USB port locked up the computer… after a while. I tested the theory by running up a memory/CPU intensive game and letting it run for a few hours. It was happy until I transfered some files off the USB stick. Fault identified. If I want to transfer stuff off the machine, I’ll need to get a USB card, or hook up a network. And I think I’ll do the later.

With fault identification complete, I hooked up the broadband modem (Netcomm NB5) via the ethernet connection (given the USB connection wasn’t going to be working on this machine). Entered the IP of the modem into the browser, and got the modem’s login screen. Everything was good, and I shut down all access other than web via port 80 using the modem’s built-in firewall. Connection to the ISP was established, proxies entered into Firefox (not IE – CERT says there are no secure versions), and Google was available. Connectivity proven.

The web browsing machine got Fedora Core 3 loaded on (a simple process), and the proxy setup was repeated with the same results. FC3 comes with a pre-release version of Firefox, so I loaded up the CD with the .gz for 1.0.4 and loaded that onto the desktop. Then I spent a couple of hours figuring out that I needed to be root to install the browser, and where to install it. Having done that, I still haven’t got it as the default browser – that’s still the prerelease Firefox. But I can run up 1.0.4 from the command line, so at least it’s available, and adBlocker is installed, so well and good.

I figure that I’m going to lock the modem down to a single IP address it’s going to talk to, the FC3 machine. Anything else that wants data from the net is going to have to transfer it from the FC3 machine and won’t be exposed to the big bad internet, because I’m not ready to migrate our entire PC collection over to Linux just yet.

Which means I need to buy a switch.

Open right here please

Oi you browser writers, this is what I want: When I right-click a link, I can open in a new window or a new tab. Please give me an option to open in the window/tab I’m already in (overriding the web site’s wish to open in a new one).

IE Gets Tabs

Internet Explorer now has tabs.

You can get them by installing the MSN Toolbar, which should also give you the fantastic (yes, I a truly wonderful Microsoft product, even it it based on Lookout) MSN desktop search.

I’ve only just installed it but it looks okay so far.

IE news

In these days of such worthy IE alternatives as Firefox, I’m not sure why anybody would bother wanting to use it, but before you try Netscape 8 (which is not actually related to previous versions), be ware that it breaks IE’s XML capabilities.

Meanwhile, as expected, confirmation that IE7 will not make it onto Windows 2000 (which goes into Extended Support at the end of June).


Hax0r gameshow contestant wagers $1337 on Jeopardy. (via Rick)

Gary Schare, Director of Windows Product Management at Microsoft, talks about the future of IE, its features and security. (Via Cameron Reilly)

Speaking of ADO (which I was yesterday), trying to figure out the black magic that is an OLEDB connection string? Try here.

Feel like writing a little C++ or Java applet for your phone? Here’s tech specs for Nokia phones. For me that’s the kind of project I’d love to do, but it will have to happen after I invent a time machine so I’ve got the time to do it in.