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Brushed Metal Safari

That sounds like a bad album title, doesn't it?

So there are a bunch of browser choices available for Mac users these days: Mozilla, Camino (nee Chimera -- my favorite), OmniWeb, Microsoft's Internet Explorer (of course), and Apple's own public beta Safari. Safari is a bit of an odd duck in that the browser window has a brushed metal appearance, in apparent contravention of Apple's own Human Interface Guidelines:

This window style has been designed specifically for use by -- and is therefore best suited to -- applications that provide an interface for a digital peripheral, such as a camera, or an interface for managing data shared with digital peripherals, such as the Address Book application.

This appearance may also be appropriate for applications that strive to re-create a familiar physical device?the Calculator application, for example. Avoid using the textured window appearance in applications or utilities that are unrelated to digital peripherals or to the data associated with these devices.

A quick Googling shows that User Interface geeks are not terribly thrilled.

There are a couple of benign reasons for Apple to have done this. Steven Fisher, a Camino developer, suggests, "Looking at all the pre-Safari metal apps (iTunes, Calculator, Sherlock, iCal, iChat, iPhoto, Address Book, etc, etc) it's fairly obvious what they share in common: They're all applications that don't follow the a document model. Any data they access is stored in either a database or in an external device. Exactly like web browsers have always been." So the problem's with the guidelines themselves, which he figures that Apple will correct.

But explanation two -- which requires a flight of fancy -- might be that some hotshot might be puttering around in Apple's basements on a tablet web browser or PC....

At any rate, I still prefer Camino to Safari, although I'm using Mozilla more and more. But I wish all web browsers let you right-click on a word and go straight to Google with it, like Safari...


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