Lots of interesting new software released today, which is always fun. Well, fun if you’re a geek, that is. Two new web browsers hit the pavement today, as well as a major update of one of the best screen capture utilities for any platform.


SafariApple bumps the version number of their little browser that could to 1.2. Some of the improvements in this version include better CSS rendering and secure certificate compatibility - the CSS text-transform bug I submitted has finally been fixed [yes!]. This version is also noticeably speedier in the page loading department, which is always nice, thanks in part to a new version of the WebCore frameworks that Safari uses to render HTML.

You can also now tab through all of a page’s links now, as well as control the minimum font size of text, which is also welcome. For those of you using the great Pith Helmet to block and filter ads in Safari, there’s a small tweak that you’ll need to do to ensure that Pith Helmet continues to make your life ad banner-free.

  • Navigate to /Library/Application Support/SIMBL/Plugins/. Control-click on PithHelmet.bundle, and select “Show Package Contents”. You can now see inside the PithHelmet bundle.
  • Inside the PithHelmet bundle, double-click on the Contents folder. Inside of that there will be a Info.plist file. Open this in a plain text editor like BBEdit.
  • Find the <key> that says MaxSafariBundleVersion. Just under it is the number 100. Change this to 125 and save the file.

That should get Pith Helmet working again.

OmniWeb 5 beta 1

omniwebSpeaking of Safari and WebCore, OmniGroup has released a beta version of the eagerly awaited update to their web browser, OmniWeb. They warn you on the page that this is “not ready for prime time”, and it shows. In the short time I played around with it, I saw some nasty rendering errors, as well as slow page load times.

(Warning - the Omniweb links open gigantic screencaptures)

That said, OmniWeb has a history of innovative approaches to web browsing, and this release is chock-full of neat ideas. Their version of multiple document browsing (aka “tabs” in Safari and the Gecko browsers) utilizes a drawer, where you can get full dynamically-updating thumbnails of the currently open pages. Very cool, and very useful.

OmniWeb 5’s bookmark system has been completely overhauled, and now features the starting-to-become-ubiquitous Safari-esque bookmark window layout. The ability to watch bookmarked sites for changes is still here, as well as reading RSS feeds, sharing bookmarks via Rendezvous, and other goodies.

There’s also Workspaces, which allow you to save all of the currently open windows and locations, including window size, placement, and chrome settings, for access at a later time, site preferences (edit pop-up, ad blocking, cookies, and other options on a site-to-site basis), and tons more.

I’ve always been a fan of OmniWeb; its feature-set has consistently beaten any other browser out there. I’m hoping that Omnigroup addresses the continuing problem of slow page load times with this browser, though, which is one of the key complaints people have had with it. Definitely one to watch.

(Edit: The always lucid John Gruber has posted a great write-up on OmniWeb 5.)

(EditEdit: More incredibly detailed observations on OW5 by the ever picky John Siracusa have been posted on Ars Technica.

Snapz Pro X 2

snapzproThis is so fresh Ambrosia Software haven’t updated their web page yet, but it definitely has been released. Snapz Pro X is, simply put, the best screen capture program. Period. It can capture selections, whole objects (menus, drawers, windows, etc.), plus the typical complete screengrab, as well as record Quicktime movies of on-screen actions (great for software tutorials).

This new version has a vastly improved and optimized movie grab feature, which now offers high-frame rate captures with very little CPU overhead. This is long overdue, as previous versions sucked up so much processor power during the movie capture it affected the quality of the final movie.

Not any more: a quick test I did of a movie capture was smooth, fast, and didn’t noticeably slow down my G4 1.2ghz Quicksilver tower. The quality of the movie was also noticeably improved.

Ambrosia software has also rolled the audio capture capabilities of their freeware WireTap application into Snapz Pro X. This now means that you can capture any audio currently playing on your system (streaming radio, system beeps, DVD audio, etc.) and save it to an AIFF file from right inside of Snapz Pro X. Totally useful.

Okay, that’s enough geekness for one post. On a related note, mezzoblue’s Dave Shea talks about browsers both old and new. Good eats.

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