Mavericks’ Weird Little “Default Browser Helper” Plug‐in Injected Into All Web Browsers

Mac OS X 10.9 “Mavericks” introduced a new web browser plug‐in called “Default Browser Helper”. As usual, Apple have not been forthcoming with details about the purpose of its not‐very‐shiny new plug‐in. The only information offered by the plug‐in itself is “Provides information about the default web browser”. It is not clear who the information is provided to (web sites already know it) nor what it is for.

I am no fan of strange new software appearing on my systems (especially plug‐ins and add‐ons). Thus, I did a little investigation of this new Mavericks “feature.”

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Microsoft Office for Devices Offers Poor Support for Document Formats

Yesterday, Microsoft Office for iPad made its worldwide debut. It got a lot of attention from the press despite being less relevant than it would have been three years ago.

I put Word for iPad through a simple document format compatibility test to see how it stacks up against Microsoft’s other offerings. I have already had bad experiences from Office Mobile for Android and iPhone, and were curios to see if the tablet variant performed any better.

Document format support in Microsoft Office’s many word processor products
Product Platform Open XML (.docx) Binary Format (.doc) OpenDocument (.odt) Plain-text (.txt) Plain-text (.*) Rich-text (.rtf)
Word Online Web supported compatibility mode compatibility warnings none none none
Word Windows, WinRT supported supported compatibility warnings supported supported supported
OS X supported supported none supported some extensions supported
iPad supported compatibility mode none none none none
Office Mobile Word iPhone, iPod supported compatibility mode none read-only none read-only
Android supported compatibility mode none read-only none none
Windows Phone supported compatibility mode infinite loading supported none read-only
OneDrive Editor Web none none none supported some extensions none

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Webapps to the Rescue of Bookmarks, RSS, and IRC

There were a good selection of little known and hardly ever used features in Opera 12—henceforth called “legacy Opera”. These features were dropped when Opera rebooted to target a more mainstream audience nine months ago.

A small core of dedicated users loved having their complete digital lives within the borders of their browser window. That is still the direction all web browsers are moving in. However, little used features such as the feed reader and the chat client were lost. Allowing others whose focus is building good feed reader and chat clients take over these niches.

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