Steve, meet Bill: Safari does Windows, a hands-on evaluation

I've cheerfully used DOS and every version of Windows: 3.1, 95, 98, ME (briefly), NT, 2000, XP, and (briefly and with mounting horror) Vista. Yesterday I took a walk on the wild side and tried Safari for Windows XP.

I liked being able to set a permanent minimum type size, since I have to upsize the type for Firefox and Internet Explorer every time I start them. Not that I'm terribly old or blind — I just prefer an easier life. But Safari, like iTunes, ignores the Windows settings for scrollbar and icon width. Steve likes them small and I like them large. His scrollbar is one-third the width of my Windows default setting and that's a deal-breaker. His cold, grey color scheme is also rather drab compared to my Windows choice: a warm olive. And to replace a URL in the address window, I can't merely single-click on the one I want to delete and type the new one — I have to select the old one, dragging across the whole width of it, which is an ergonomic strain when you do it dozens of times a day.

That's not the end of the story, though. Follow the link for more hands-on impressions.

Despite the above issues, Safari mostly rubbed me the right way. Steve has enabled the right mouse button (good boy, here's a biscuit). Safari's far better for my 17-inch 4:3 monitor than Internet Explorer 7, the worst IE ever, by the way. IE7 causes many webpages to spill off the side of the screen. The resulting need for horizontal scrolling makes me furious. IE7 also renders fonts so lightly that I have to radically upsize them to make them readable, which of course just aggravates the horizontal-scrolling problem. Safari renders them nice and dark, albeit a bit smudgy, so I can view Web layouts in a smaller size, and avoid horizontal scrolling with nearly all of them.

So here's my personal hit parade: Firefox, Safari as a secondary change of pace, and IE7 as a distant and unusable third. Congratulations from this Windows veteran, Apple. Keep up the good work, Firefox. Shame, Microsoft.

See Ars Technica for a more skeptical review with other concerns. I did not experience the "utter lack of stability" referred to, but Safari for Windows is in beta. You can do better, Steve. Don't make me come over there.