standards

Switched back to Safari from Chrome... Again

Google Chrome No MoreGoogle lit up the hornet's nest yesterday when they announced that they were dropping built-in support of H.264 for their own 'open' WebM and OGG video formats.

I reconfigured Xmarks on all my computers (to sync all my bookmarks between FireFox, Safari and Chrome), and I'm back to using Safari full-time, with FireFox as my main backup. (FF 4.0 can't come soon enough).

It was good knowing ye, Chrome. I actually had my sights set on using Chrome indefinitely until yesterday.

(One of the many reasons I detest this decision by Google is that I have tested the waters of using WebM and/or OGG video for some web projects (using the HTML5 video tag), and found it sorely lacking, and a major pain to even attempt to use.* If I'm having so much trouble getting video into this ridiculous format, how can I ever expect my Mom/Sister/Friend/Brother/whomever is not as tech-y as I to do it?!).

Google: Please rescind your decision. For the good of the web, and for the good of my 500+ already encoded videos, and for the good of web developers, video content producers, and device makers everywhere.

For anyone else switching from another browser to Safari, here are a few tips:

  1. Install Xmarks to sync your bookmarks. It's awesome.
  2. Install Keywurl to search from Safari's address bar - it's even better than the 'wonder bar' or whatever it's called in Chrome. (How to install for Safari 5).
  3. Install the Ultimate Status Bar extension for Safari, and ditch the status bar. It's also awesome.

The only thing I love about Chrome that I can't do with Safari is use the Shift+Command+N shortcut to quickly open a 'private browsing' window. Oh well.

Just six months ago, I switched from Chrome to Safari when 5.0 was released... but then I switch back to Chrome again for it's private browsing keyboard shortcut (I used that a lot for website anonymous user testing...). Now back to Safari!

*See: HTML5 Video Embedding on a Drupal website

A Good Reason to Not Use Flash

Flash resource hogging bytes

Need I say more? This is from a cookie-cutter Wordpress site with some flash mixed in with a template. The flash was only added to make a little transitional animation for the navigation bar.

HTML5, and heck, even CSS3 or simple JavaScript (using jQuery) would enable the above-mentioned site to quickly and easily enable the same animations and transitions, using only a few hundred bytes of code. Seeing that jQuery was already loaded on the site, it makes a heck of a lot more sense than using Flash.

We need to educate web designers on how they can break free from their Flash comfort zone, save a few hundred bucks in software licenses every year, and make their websites load two to three times faster (not to mention, more quickly and without requiring buggy third party extensions).

95% of Flash use is avoidable and unnecessary, in my opinion.

Benchmarking Safari on the iPad

Since purchasing the iPad, I've constantly been amazed by how fast everything works—switching between large apps is no longer a game of roulette, and browsing the web is a breeze.

I ran some tests on Safari on my iPad, just to see how things compare to my MacBook Pro...

SunSpider Javascript Benchmark

Here's the screenshot from my iPad (14068.6ms):

Sunspider Results - iPad

And from my Mac (406.8ms):

Sunspider Results - Macbook Pro

The MacBook Pro (2.53 Ghz 15" with 4 GB of RAM) is about 34x faster than the iPad in raw JavaScript performance... not too surprising, but I'd guess this margin will be trimmed in the next five years, when everyone's carrying around a tablet :-)

Acid3 Test

Here's the screenshot from my iPad (took about 5 seconds):

Acid3 Results - iPad

And from my Mac (took about .5 seconds):

Acid3 Results - Macbook Pro

It looks like, in terms of raw power, the iPad isn't anything amazing, but it isn't nearly as slow as my iPhone (iPhone took SDFJSOIFJD ms). On most sites, I don't notice any lag while browsing on the iPad. Every once in a while a JS-heavy page takes about 2-3 extra seconds to load up all its widgets, but this is definitely tolerable. The decision to ditch my personal laptop is getting easier and easier...

The Bottom Line

Just basing things off the SunSpider test on Safari across my Mac, iPhone and iPad, you can see a very large gap between a 'desktop' Mac vs. the iPhone OS devices. This is understandable, as the iPad and iPhone are built for a completely different purpose than a laptop—they are not 'desktop replacement' computers, but rather mobile computing devices.

  • iPhone (Cortex 600 Mhz A8): 17002.6 ms (baseline)
  • iPad (Apple 1 Ghz A4): 14068.6 ms
  • MacBook Pro (2.53 Ghz Intel Core 2 Duo): 406.8 ms

Also be sure to check out my comprehensive review of Apple's iPad.

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