490: Surfin' with Safari

The kbase bell got a workout this week.

  1. Some time ago I turned on Safari’s “Reader Mode” as the default, and only turn it off for sites where I specifically don’t want it. My general frustration with the web has gone way down. No more of these “Sign up for my newsletter!” pop ups when I scroll down 2" from the top of the page, no more dancing “READ ME NEXT!” when I’m near the end of an article.
  1. I use Cookie to delete tracking cookies as soon as I quit Safari or Chrome. It only allows cookies, etc. from sites that I have bookmarked (just one reason that bookmarks are still useful in 2019!)

  2. On desktop Safari I still use the “old” Ghostery extension, despite the warning that it “may slow down by browsing”. I suspect that it actually speeds things up since it blocks so much crap. Unfortunately it will die with Catalina/Safari 13, but until then I’m hanging on to it.


There is a toolbar item in macOS Safari to access the per website’s settings for the current website.



Specific use case as to why I won’t use safari - lack of multi proxy support. (As discussed in another thread) but think it warrants a mention.
An add in from Brave (chrome) / Firefox allows me to send specific sites to a specific proxy.
Most of this arises from (unfair) geolocation blocking.

The Safari team and Apple are insistent in not following proper web standards, making all kinds of extra work for web developers.

Don’t blame web developers for sites not working right in Safari. We do what we can. Blame Apple for not following established web standards.

In the Slacks and forums I am in, there is a common refrain:

Safari is the new IE

And it is true, from a developer standpoint.

That doesn’t surprise me. IE was dominant for decades because it was the default on Windows.

I used to install Chrome to allow our managers to use websites that didn’t work properly in Safari. Then days or weeks later they would call to tell me they couldn’t use the same website. When I asked if they were using Chrome, their response was usually something like Oh yeah, ‘click’.

What’s the phrase, “the tyranny of the default”?

Great episode!

@MacSparky, curious why Instapaper or the like causes you to build up a huge backlog but Reading List doesn’t. Seems like the same thing, but Reading List still struggles in offline viewing (for me, at least).

As a web developer and web standards guy (Disclaimer: I work with the W3C) I cannot agree with that sentiment. Safari had a feature gap several years ago but is very reasonably paced for at least the last two or three years. Some features are only implemented in Safari or first implemented there. I would say for 99.9% of all use cases Safari is more than capable enough and comparable to other browsers. (Which are all good. There is no in-development bad browser out there anymore.)

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@MacSparky @ismh As far as the temp folders and iCloud, you can name a folder with a .nosync extension and it will not sync. I use this for video processing folders as well. You can then hide the extension on the folder and it is indicated with a small cloud icon with strikethrough.


I’m in the “don’t use Safari” camp - except for specific “bad player” sites (like Facebook) that I want to carefully limit. I tried using Safari full time when I first switched to OS X in 2010 but it wasn’t stable if I had more than a couple of dozen tabs open (yeah - I’m one of those). I eventually settled on Chrome because of various rendering and performance issues in older versions of Firefox.

I have privacy concerns with Chrome so I’ve gone back and looked at Safari occasionally since then but I’m repelled by accessibility issues and, to a lesser extent, by the overall look. In particular the font size in the Safari toolbar (the URL for example) and other parts of the browser chrome is brutally small for me and as far as I can tell there’s no way to change it short of display scaling (blech). I’ve ranted here and elsewhere about this particular blindness on the part of Apple and won’t bore you with it here - except to observe that even a decade ago Linux desktops provided a way to globally customize default font sizes and apps actually observed that. Somehow that’s still beyond Apple.

Brave sounds interesting. I think I’ll take a look at that one next. Thanks for the Safari and alternatives rundown.

I was trying to remember now what browser I used on Classic Mac OS. Looking back at the timeline I see that the last one that I used was System 7. I guess this means Netscape? I don’t remember anymore and probably need the help of an Apple historian here.

As per poll request… another Brave user here.

I will occasionally go back to Safari – often prompted by a certain podcast host – but after a short time I find myself stumbling in various websites; an inconsistent experience inevitably drives me back to whatever I was using before. That used to be Chrome, but I don’t use it anymore just for philosophical objections I suppose. I find Brave to be faster, and more resilient to invasive ads and popups. If I had any “problem” with Brave, it is that the popup/ad blocker can occasionally be too aggressive and prevent onscreen activity that isn’t objectionable. But that is rare, and not particularly offensive anyway.

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Ever since this episode I’ve been pinning sites a lot more. I’d completely forgotten about that feature. Other than facebook eating all the memory for being open too long, it’s been great! I love this feature.

At this point I pretty much resort to Safari on my Mac just to create web archives of pages, and very occasionally for using alongside my iPhone when I want to pay via Apple Pay.

For the vast majority of my browsing I’m using Brave, supplemented with over a dozen Chrome extensions that have no equivalent in Safari, for additional priovacy/security/adblocking, for enhancing gmail/reddit/youtube, for changing site fonts/colors, for one-click RSS URL discovery, for implementing per-page translation, for re-enabling right-click on sites that disable it, for automatically being able to get the archive.org version of a page that’s disappeared, for creating/downloading an epub of any given web page. And I even have one that duplicates Safari’s Reader_View.

I’m primarily a Safari user, a lot because of Reader mode. I’ve got a pile of web browsers installed for various purposes including Coherence Pro to create Chrome instances as desktop apps. If I want a more Googlely experience I can launch the Google Maps icon in my dock, etc.

Those are available as plugins on other browsers. I use the Just Read extension on Brave/Chrome, configured to give me a Safari-like experience, tweaked to use the Lucida Grande font.

I’ve never been much of a browser extensions user, but some of your notes here sound interesting. I’ll have to start looking around. I’d really like to find something that can get me close to a dark mode since my 2011 iMac is limited to High Sierra. Curious that you need additional adblocking though; the “standard” adblocking in Brave seems to work exceptionally well on my system. Privacy enhancements would be nice - I’m only using TigerVPN now which is very inconsistent in maintaining a good speed for surfing.

Also, one app/site I haven’t been able to use with Brave is Google Earth - which is indispensable when searching for a home in a new city. I have to keep Chrome just for that.

Some ads pass through Brave’s built-in filtering so Nano Adblocker (a fork of uBlock Origin code) and it’s sibling Nano Defender shore up the adblocking, they do no harm, and they also protect against some edge-case things like anti-mining scripts on web pages. The DecentralEyes extension protects against tracking by free content delivery services by placing some of that content on your machine in advance so it doesn’t access CDNs (as much). PixelBlock stops tracking pixels in gmail emails, which Brave doesn’t, Privacy Possum actually falsifies data sent to remaining tracking companies, and AutoPlay Stopper stops video autoplay everyhwhere (while allowing site-specific whitelists and session-autoplay).

Belt and suspenders. :wink:

As for Google Earth, why not just use Google’s Mac app?


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Plus elastic, velcro, sansabelt, and a cummerbund. Dang, that’s some thorough screening. Thanks for the info!

Duh. Thanks again.

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