James O'Neill's blog

Windows Platform, Virtualization and PowerShell with a little Photography for good measure.

But I don’t want the default browser

But I don’t want the default browser

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OK cards on the table. I’m prejudiced. I don’t pretend to be anything else, and I try to open about my biases - flaunt them even. And Like most prejudiced people I can explain the logical roots that my prejudices spring from.

When it comes to browsers I think IE is pretty good .Actually let me qualify that: I thought IE 7  was when we got back to being pretty good and IE8 ups our game. Yes I know some organizations are stuck on the IE6 – I think being unable to move to current technology is a sign of badly run organization, so excuses for being stuck on 6 always sound lame to my ears. Usually it comes down to “We made a bad choice of something years ago and now we we can’t upgrade anything”. The investment to put this right which then makes people more productive, and reduces support costs etc is always a good one. When XP was still a current OS (early 2006) IE6 was looking old and tired and I tried Firefox and liked it. These days IE does what I want, so I haven’t felt the need to use the recent versions of Firefox, but to me it still embodies what is good in open source software development. I don’t hear its advocates talking open source ideology, and it strikes me that they want it to succeed on merit – the only way a competitor gets my respect. I can’t feel the same respect for Opera, since it was their complaint to the EU which nearly caused us to ship Windows 7 to Europe with no browser at all. Opera has a market share miles behind Firefox, (and well behind Chrome and Safari). If IE were to vanish it would seem a fair assumption that 3/4 of the total market would go to Firefox.  Prejudiced against Opera ? Guilty as charged m’lud.

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So… It came a bit of disappointment to find that my new Windows Mobile device comes with Opera installed. Oh the irony: we can’t tell HTC and/or Orange what browser(s) should be on the device , even in our position as customer. On the first day I had the device, I hooked the device up to the corporate wireless (Windows Mobile Device Center handles getting the certificate that is needed) and configured the proxy for work networks. I pointed internet explorer at Www.getCoMo.com and downloaded Communicator Mobile which is working very nicely. Next I wanted to find some IP utilities to check what the network was doing. Sadly the beautiful photos on Bing’s home page are wasted on me - I don’t go to search pages (and my home page is set to blank) – I use the browser’s search box. Except Pocket IE doesn’t have one:  however there is a live search icon in the Programs folder but when I used that the result was an error in Opera. It seems Opera can’t connect through a proxy: it certainly doesn’t respect the global proxy setting which IE and Communicator used (it didn’t pick up my favourites either), and if there is somewhere to set, I can’t find it – it’s certainly not under settings. 

This produced an outburst which must have startled anyone who heard it. “Congenitally stupid” was one of the more repeatable phrases and I’ll draw a veil over the rest. Seriously. This phone is an evolved pocket PC, and I beta trialled the 802.1x drivers for the wireless LAN card which went in a jacket with my iPAQ 3600 series when Microsoft first started to use wireless LANs in 2001, and could use a proxy. It’s such a basic function I couldn’t believe it was missing.
IE at least will me set it as the default browser, so any attempt to jump to a URL at least goes there now. But, can I re-assign the short cut key on they keyboard to it ? That is beyond me. I can remove IE from a PC supplied with it (and presumably if the supplier replaces IE with something else , I can remove that,  and go to whatever I want) but there isn’t the same freedom of choice when you move away from the PC. [Unless there are hacks which the average phone user can’t find]



Comments
  • I suffer the same problems, but how do I tell IE to be the default as Opera only works for me for large picture sites

  • From the menu I think the steps where choose tools / options / other and check the box "Tell me if IE is not the default", and then at start-up you get an option to make it the default.

  • Not to mention what desktop Opera still don't like NTLM, only because Opera's developers _don't wan't to support it_.

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