For weeks now, I’ve been seeing notes from Microsoft to update to the new version of its browser Internet Explorer 7 (IE7); I even received email reminding me to do so. IE7 is safer, better, easier, faster, and will undoubtedly make me look years younger, too. I guess that I finally got around to downloading it because it’s supposed to work in conjunction with Yahoo!, and as I already have (but don’t really use) messenger and the tool bar (which I do sometimes log in to), along with my account and 360 page, I thought I’d see what it was all about.
Now I know that we all use our computers differently, with our own flare, style, and sensibility, so it may help you to know how I function best: I like order, organization, convenience, and I’m a bit of a pack-rat. How this translates onto my computer is that I have lots and lots of files and sites saved, all carefully labeled and organized. I rarely delete anything and save everything, so my Favorites is pretty extensive, some of the folders (like Blog and Shopping) having folders within folders. Sounds like hell to some of you, I’m sure, but it works for me . With this mindset, I also use extensively those “my button” features on websearch and yahoo toolbars. I like having a single button from which to blog (including image and music searching and dictionary/thesaurus tools); it makes me happy.
I’ve seen other people’s computers, and I admire their ability to KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid); they may have one or two bookmarks, but that’s it, they prefer to google each time they want a site (that seems a wasted step to me) or to type in the url or part of it and let the browser complete it (this seems kind of quicker but takes up more brain space than I’m willing to allot to my computer). These folks usually have clean desktops, too; whereas, I’ve got two rows of icons (one on each side) and an extra toolbar on the right side. Cluttered to some, convenient to me. Anyway, because I’m writing about IE7 here, my response to it is based on my personal taste and the way that I use the internet and my computer.
This is only my first day with the new IE7 (I believe it’s still in beta?), and I’ve already enjoyed some of the new features and been stumped and / or annoyed by others. I’m still getting used to the new set up, but I can see that once I do, parts of it are much better. For instance, now favorite sites appear in a dropdown menu (you have the option to place it at the side of the page as before), and I think this is a great improvement. Anything that makes the site or page space for browsing bigger gets my vote. Another new feature that is pretty cool is the ability to bookmark feeds (tabbed with faves on the same button); I like feeds, though I rarely look at the ones in my yahoo mail because they are so inconveniently located in my mailbox. And finally Microsoft provides an option for deleting search history without going into Internet Options–it’s still not as easy as History Swatter, but it’s a step in the right direction.
And my very favorite new addition to the browser is tabbing. With tabs, you can open multiple pages in a single window, so instead of having a bunch of minimized windows at the bottom of your desktop, you just have a bunch of tabs. If you are like me and tend to open scores of pages at once, this is much easier to manage than when they all pile up and list 10 or whatever open windows. I love this because when I blog about something serious or something that requires research, I tend to open a lot of windows and only close them when I’ve gotten to the point in my writing that I insert their hyperlink. I love this new feature; now I can organize windows if I’m online for a while. One for blogging, one for fun (reading Max’s blog or catching up on televisionwithoutpity.com), and one for shopping or whatever. It’s multi-tasking fun for the whole family.
Lots of good innovations here, but I’m still bugged by the wasted space at the top. I never type searches up there (preferring to go to google, for which, of course, I have a handy button), yet I have three (yes, THREE) search boxes up there. All perfectly useless, and there seems no option for removing them as there is for the other features and buttons. If I could get rid of those, and put the buttons and stuff I do use in those empty spaces, I’d free up at least a row of space. And as it seems that IE7 has crept down a row, I’d be happy with that.