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Really Trying to Make the Switch
Help me break my IE habit...
stuntdubl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 12:35 am on Jul 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

I just can't seem to do it! I like the status quo, and have to much else going on to adapt to the learning curve. I want my toolbars JUST like they are, but none of the security holes.

Any advice on switching? I think I'm deciding on firefox (though opera is a close second). I'm still hooked on those pretty green pixels, and "blogger" button of the G toolbar...is there any hope for me?

My other biggest frustrations seem to be managing my favorites, and the "links" bar that I use VERY often for quick access.

 

Hester

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 12:28 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

- Add Bookmark Here extionsion - adds an "Add Bookmark Here" choice to every folder of bookmarks
- Sort Bookmarks extension - the other is the "Sort Bookmarks" extension.

Opera has these features built-in. You can sort bookmarks in many ways, and even filter the view, so only ones beginning with certain letters are shown.

Another reason to switch from IE is to use keywords for your bookmarks. So typing 'WebmasterWorld' in my address bar takes me to this forum. '*' takes me to Asterisk*. It's much faster than using the bookmark menus.

Other browsers also allow groups of bookmarks to be saved, so several sites can be opened at once.

I really like the way Opera also allows you to recover from a crash. You can choose to open all the pages you were last looking at. I'm surprised this feature hasn't been adopted by other browsers. (It would be very easy to implement, even I can figure out a simple way to do it.)

MatthewHSE

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 12:35 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I really like the way Opera also allows you to recover from a crash. You can choose to open all the pages you were last looking at. I'm surprised this feature hasn't been adopted by other browsers. (It would be very easy to implement, even I can figure out a simple way to do it.)

The FireFox "Session Saver" extension does this (though you can turn it off if you like).

HarryM

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 12:42 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been giving Firefox a serious try, but the thing that always sends me back to IE is (as others have mentioned) its poor bookmarks/favorites facility. As far as I am concerned quick access to bookmarks is an essential feature when browsing the internet.

With the dropdown menu in IE I can display an organised hierarchy of folders and subfolders in which I can store thousands of links. The folders and links are sorted alphabetically as standard but if I want to move one to the top I can do that with drag and drop and it stays put. The built in IE 'Organise Favorites' facility is admittedly slow and tedious, but I can also use Windows Explorer and organise the favourites just as easily and quickly as any other set of folders and files.

Now maybe it's possible to do this with Firefox by adding extensions, but with IE I can do this straight out of the box.

Hester

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 12:58 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Have you tried Opera? It can drag bookmarks up and down. You can also view them in a side panel.

MatthewHSE

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 1:06 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I have been giving Firefox a serious try, but the thing that always sends me back to IE is (as others have mentioned) its poor bookmarks/favorites facility. As far as I am concerned quick access to bookmarks is an essential feature when browsing the internet.

Right, it's an essential feature, but I believe FireFox already has great bookmark support. More details follow . . .

With the dropdown menu in IE I can display an organised hierarchy of folders and subfolders in which I can store thousands of links.

You can store thousands of links the same way in FireFox, organized however you like.

The folders and links are sorted alphabetically as standard but if I want to move one to the top I can do that with drag and drop and it stays put.

FireFox also supports drag and drop organization of folders and bookmarks. The "Sort Alphabetically" extension will do just what it says, though I don't know if it allows you to then move things around and expect them to stay.

The built in IE 'Organise Favorites' facility is admittedly slow and tedious, but I can also use Windows Explorer and organise the favourites just as easily and quickly as any other set of folders and files.

That is one nice feature of IE/Windows. FireFox uses a "bookmarks.html" file to store bookmarks, so it doesn't allow that kind of manipulation of bookmarks.

Now maybe it's possible to do this with Firefox by adding extensions, but with IE I can do this straight out of the box.

I really don't see the importance some people place on different browsers doing things "straight out of the box." You can get a browser that will do everything possible with no configuration or add-ons at all, but there will be sacrifices in other areas. For instance, Opera has more native features than FireFox, and also boasts a smaller download size. But, they've sacrificed stability and rendering accuracy. MyIE also does all kinds of things right out of the box, but they've sacrificed usability.

FireFox comes with almost no "extra" features, meaning you get an unbloated, highly stable, fast browser with excellent rendering capabilities. Extensions do the rest. Add only the features you need or want. It's really no trouble, particularly since 0.9 came out and you can now install many extensions without restarting between each one.

Anyway, back to FireFox and bookmarks, yes you may spend a little bit of time organizing your bookmarks manually when you first switch to FireFox. But once you get them organized the first time, it's fairly easy to add more and maintain your organizational structure. I know that I have saved plenty of time by using FireFox, to make it well worthwhile to take a little extra time occasionally to tidy up my bookmarks.

And do you know of any way to automatically backup or synchronize your IE bookmarks with FTP like a couple of FireFox extensions can do? Those are some great features; never be without access to your bookmarks again! :)

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 2:06 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

>96% of users visit my sites with Internet Explorer.

Not true. The accurate statement is:

My logger says that 96% of my visitors are reporting IE as a browser.

eg: just because an agent says it is ie, is no indication it is. Most 3rd party browsers must fake an agent name and most loggers get that agent name wrong.

Leosghost

WebmasterWorld Senior Member leosghost us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 2:07 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

but with IE I can do this straight out of the box.

Wanna know what I can do with your IE and your machine via your IE straight outta tha box ..or patched even?

HarryM

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 2:09 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

I don't want to appear carping because I would genuinely be interested in an alternative browser to IE. However...

You can store thousands of links the same way in FireFox, organized however you like

If I organise bookmarks alphabetically in "Manage Bookmarks" it doesn't carry over to the dropdown bookmarks menu. (Maybe I'm doing something wrong here?)

I really don't see the importance some people place on different browsers doing things "straight out of the box."

I'm quite happy to download things, but it's a very "techie" approach that is likely to keep Firefox out of the mainstream.

Have you tried Opera? It can drag bookmarks up and down. You can also view them in a side panel.

I have four versions of Opera installed for testing purposes. Otherwise I never use them, mainly because I hate the ads and am too mean to pay for an ad free version. :) However I do think the latest Operas are better at rendering complex pages than Firefox or any of the Mozillas.

Hester

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 2:51 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Opera has more native features than FireFox, and also boasts a smaller download size. But, they've sacrificed stability and rendering accuracy.

Can you or anyone else really back that up? Opera seems very stable and accurate at rendering for me.

All programs can crash and fail to render some things properly - Mozilla (and therefore Firefox) is no different. I used to view a lot of images with Mozilla, and after so long it would always crash, losing my current page. The problem never occurs with Opera (where at least I can resume from the same page after any crashes).

I have also heard of problems with Firefox extensions conflicting with each other, causing headaches. Opera gives you peace of mind as there is nothing more to download. Sure, Firefox will offer many extensions for things Opera doesn't include, but many are things that should have been included to start with. (One is even called something like "Things they left out"!) And who wants to download dozens extensions on a 56K modem?

No browser is perfect, of course. All major releases share a long list of bugs. But anything is better than risking huge security holes with IE6, ActiveX and JavaScript running!

isitreal

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 3:12 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

If I organise bookmarks alphabetically in "Manage Bookmarks" it doesn't carry over to the dropdown bookmarks menu. (Maybe I'm doing something wrong here?)

Any organization you create manually in the manage favorites will be retained, since you are reorganizing an html file, you can drag and drop items in the favorites manager, but there isn't a native way to alphabetize them that I know of.

Each browser has made a choice of how to do favorites, each with some pluses and minuses, IE has separate files for each favorite, which strikes me as a very inefficient method, and very hard to deal with, Firefox uses html, from the netscape days, which I like since it's an actual file I can look at, Opera if I remember right uses some kind of little database file, proprietary format. It just comes down to what you want.

Can you or anyone else really back that up? Opera seems very stable and accurate at rendering for me.

Can't speak to much for stability, don't use Opera except for testing, but seems pretty stable, solid, although now that I think of it I do remember some of the 7x ones crashing for no apparent reason. It's accurate at rendering until you get into the more advanced CSS stuff, then it starts failing, the size of the rendering engine just can't handle certain situations from what I've seen, but that's not really what it's made to do either, its main market is handheld devices, and they have to make sure the package works solidly for that, which it does, it's fantastic.

However, the kinds of errors I see in Opera will not affect 99.99% of the webpages out there, although they are annoying when I do advanced CSS stuff, I can always count on errors, at least one, sometimes more, in Opera. But that's advanced CSS, not a super important real world issue.

Opera gives you peace of mind as there is nothing more to download

Firefox gives me the piece of mind knowing that almost any CSS I try to use will work without headaches. And that I can add and remove features at will, experiment, play with it, test stuff, dump stuff, it's a different concept. Most of the extensions would take only a few seconds to download, they are very small, often only 10kB or so. If you want the ready to go all in one package and don't need the extra power gecko/firefox has, then Opera is a great choice.

The choice of having a pretty lean, stripped down but highly configurable browser like Firefox versus a feature packed package like Opera is exactly that, a choice. The ability to have this choice is absolutely fantastic, only 5 years ago this was not an obvious outcome to the browser game.

Opera could help themselves significantly in terms of gaining market share if they would understand that the price they charge is too high, they'd make more money if they cut it in half, or better, to around $10, I'd bet the extra sales would make up for the difference.

Even with the ads minimized I still see it, and it's annoying, I don't want to see anything at all in my toolbars but tools/menus, but I'm not going to pay that much for a browser, and neither will most other web users. This is the main reason I believe they have had trouble growing their realworld market share.

MatthewHSE

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 3:49 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

Can you or anyone else really back that up? Opera seems very stable and accurate at rendering for me.

I don't know that I can actually back it up with what you'd call solid evidence, but my own experience with Opera has been that, as a result of trying to make it appear extremely fast, rendering errors occur fairly frequently. Page elements get incorrect widths, little positioning errors occur, etc. Basically the same kind of errors I used to get when I set my FireFox paint delay to "0". The browser seems to render the page faster than it can read what it really needs to do.

Also, Opera seems to randomly refuse to load images, and goof up advanced CSS like isitreal mentioned. Added to this is the fact that Opera's default cache behavior is such that you can never be sure you're getting the latest version of a page; refresh and sometimes even network refresh simply reloads the cached version, rendering errors and all.

For stability, I guess that wasn't quite the right word. It's never crashed for me, but the seemingly random rendering errors give a sense of instability to me. It just doesn't seem dependable.

HarryM

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 4:12 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

IE has separate files for each favorite, which strikes me as a very inefficient method, and very hard to deal with

Inefficient possibly, although with today's disk sizes that hardly matters. But hard to deal with, no. IE Favorites are just shortcuts, and you can rename them, copy them, change the url, change the icon, move them between folders, etc., in exactly the same way. You can also back up the Favorites folder and its contents just like any other group of files.

MatthewHSE

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 4:23 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

You can also back up the Favorites folder and its contents just like any other group of files.

But it takes a manual backup to do it. There's a FireFox extension called "Bookmarks Synchronizer" that backs up your bookmarks to an FTP server. This can then be downloaded to another FireFox installation, or back to your own in case of a crash or loss of data.

isitreal

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 5:07 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

There's a FireFox extension called "Bookmarks Synchronizer"

That sounds like a really cool extension, like so many others I'm finding, each of which seems to take care of a pet peeve I've had for years, probably because other people also have had those pet peeves. And each one is something I can take or leave, it's my choice.

This is what I really am coming to appreciate about a thriving open source project, people decide what they want or need, then make it, even down to constructing a new browser altogether.

For most standard users the default installation is completely adequate, although I think they should have the all in one mousegestures added as well, but all in all the choices were pretty well made from what I can see, power users, who are the users who would want most of the advanced features either Opera or Firefox offer, are in general quite able to figure this stuff out for themselves, it just takes a bit of playing around, which is maybe one of the things that separates power users from standard users, they like to play, and Firefox is a good playground, getting better week by week.

HarryM

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 6:54 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

But it takes a manual backup to do it

No doubt there is software that can do it automatically, although I don't use any.

My own pet peeve is that the location of IE favourites cannot be changed. If it were then I could keep it on a data partition (as I do my Email folder) where it would be relatively immune to system crashes and could be backed up periodically as part of data. The same applies to Outlook Express address book, cookies, etc.

tedster

WebmasterWorld Senior Member tedster us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 7:42 pm on Jul 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

This free vs. paid issue comes up a lot. I paid for Opera 3 and every version since. And I've often paid more for other kinds of applications that give me less value.

I really curse the "browsers should be free" legacy that came from the so-called browser wars. In no small part that business tactic helped to create problems that will haunt us for several more years, at the least.

I like free things as much as most people, but I also know that even when money isn't changing hands, there is almost always a price of some kind. The price of a "free browser" has been obscured, but we are all paying for it every day. I'm happy to support a company as sharp as Opera.

amznVibe

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 3:49 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

FireFox users, you need to upgrade to 0.9.2 as soon as possible as there is a shell access security hole that needs to be patched:

[eweek.com...]
links in a Web page using the "shell:" scheme can execute arbitrary programs on the user's system. The attacker would have to know the location in the file system of the program, but there are known programs in Windows with buffer overflows.

This means the attacker could create a link in a Web page that could execute arbitrary code under Windows. Through the use of an appropriate META tag, the attack could load without the user having to click a link explicitly.

[ftp.mozilla.org...]

isitreal

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 4:08 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

You don't need to install 0.9.2 apparently for that fix, it's a tiny download (1 kB) here [update.mozilla.org].

Apparently only affects Windows XP, not Windows XP SP2 though.

All it does is shut off the ability to run 'shell:', which I guess Mozilla had thought about turning off by default but left on for some reason. Happily not a structural flaw or anything as far as I can see.

To see if your browser is properly patched, you can visit this page [mccanless.us], if you only see the one link it's patched, if you see several, it's not.

These are good things to work out before the 1.0 release I think, since security is one of the questions driving this thing, it's good to see this kind of testing happening, also nice to see how simple the fix is.

Vkaryl: I have to also agree, Opera 7 is the first Opera that I would have even remotely considered paying for, Opera 3-6 were to me more like beta products, way too many glitches and errors, I don't understand what makes them think it's worth $39 personally, $20, yes, but $39? They need new marketing people, somebody who can do the math, let's see, 3 times (or more, I'd suspect) more sales at half the price, hmmmm... the ads, always an annoying strategy, I never use adware of any type for any reason, it's a pretty sure guarantee that I won't use a product to make it adware.

[edited by: isitreal at 4:19 am (utc) on July 9, 2004]

vkaryl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 4:25 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

D_Blackwell: yes. YES.

I don't do piracy. I never have, and I'm not ever going to. This includes stealing music etc.... It's THEFT, people....

I have another issue here: I write. If people rip the covers off my books, I and my publisher get nothing. Same thing.... different medium.

I pay, even when it seems that the value-for-money ratio is whacked. BECAUSE I myself expect to be paid....

FAIR IS FAIR.

Hester

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 11:21 am on Jul 9, 2004 (gmt 0)

MatthewHSE wrote:
I don't know that I can actually back it up with what you'd call solid evidence, but my own experience with Opera has been that, as a result of trying to make it appear extremely fast, rendering errors occur fairly frequently. Page elements get incorrect widths, little positioning errors occur, etc. Basically the same kind of errors I used to get when I set my FireFox paint delay to "0". The browser seems to render the page faster than it can read what it really needs to do.

You can adjust the time Opera takes before painting a page. It's set to 1 second I think by default, but I always change it to start painting straight away, and have not seen any of the errors you speak of.

Also, Opera seems to randomly refuse to load images, and goof up advanced CSS like isitreal mentioned. Added to this is the fact that Opera's default cache behavior is such that you can never be sure you're getting the latest version of a page; refresh and sometimes even network refresh simply reloads the cached version, rendering errors and all.

The cache behaviour can again be controlled by tweaking the settings. I've never found a problem here either. As for refusing to load images, perhaps the cache is not large enough, or there is a problem with your network, firewall or something. Opera always loads all the images for me.

Please can people stop saying Opera goofs up advanced CSS. I'm sick of hearing this. Visit a site such as the Literary Moose's advanced CSS Destroy demos and Opera beats Firefox almost every time. It handles media queries - the only browser to do so I believe - and generated content superbly. Opera are on the cutting edge here.

claus

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 3:29 pm on Jul 10, 2004 (gmt 0)

>> Literary Moose's advanced CSS Destroy demos

There's some awesome CSS stuff there, even if you're not an Operaphile :)

>> and Opera beats Firefox almost every time.

Then again, these examples are not everyday use, and the author recognizes that as well. Eg. the MathML support of FF is admittedly poor as compared to Opera, but still not everyone needs to see complex equations.

This is an extreme example, as this is a point where the results is actually pretty much of no value at all if not rendered correctly. So, if i had that need, i would really find a better tool.

OTOH, i couldn't really care less about all the stylistic tricks that designers use to make their pages look just like they want them to look, including one-pixel paddings here and there. I don't think the concept of "identical cross browser appearance" holds much value as long as there is no data loss.

Added: I should say "information loss" and not "data loss", as sometimes (as with MathML) the raw data is not enough to convey the information, it must also be presented in a certain way. Still, in this case, the sigma symbol could be blue or red with no information loss.

I'm all for the data-driven model: I decide how i want pages to look, not the designer, and i also decide where and how i wish to receive the information embedded in the page. As far as i'm concerned they could all be blue, just as long as i get the data i'm there for.

Oh, and i might not be viewing the page in a browser at all - if it's important i might transfom it to some RSS-flavour, to an XML database feed, or i might even view just the important parts imported dynamically into spreadsheet cells, or as part of a word document or presentation. If i'm using a browser, i might even be vieving your page on my site in my preferred style, or cached in a SE, aggregator, or through any other kind of mirroring/proxying mechanism for PDA/mobile/TV use.

Did i just say "content is king" - i think so ;)

Imho, both Opera and FF beat IE for everyday use, in terms of rendering, and more importantly in terms of convenience/features. Still, the concept that the web is something that's "for browsers" and should be rendered so-and-so because the designer decides so, could deserve some challenging.

The really fascinating thing about the new breed of browsers is that it allows the user to take charge of the document (s)he is viewing in a way that is unprecedented with IE. And, admitted, Opera was the first, ie. by introducing pure text mode, and pictures off.

>> It handles media queries

That sounds interesting. What is a media query?

Hester

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 8:39 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

It allows you to serve different styles to a page depending on the resolution. The Moose uses it to give different background images. (Eg: one for 800x600, a larger one for 1024x768.) Potentially a very useful tool. Of course it only works in Opera so far.

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 1:12 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Anyway, BACK ON TOPIC (please?):

stuntdubl, how goes the switch?

[wi-fitechnology.com...]

stuntdubl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 1:22 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I'm very happy overall with Firefox. In fact, I've even helped a few other folks to switch including one of our developers. (She was very excited about some of the developer extensions.)

I think I've officially weened myself from IE. I still miss my pretty green pixels at times, as the toolbar for FF doesn't quite seem to display correctly, except for on high PR sites. It also seemed to goof some stuff up the first time I installed, so I had to uninstall and reinstall the entire browser and plugin set. Luckily, this really wasn't all that difficult.

I'd recommend anyone to make the switch. Now if only I could get away from OE :)

Brett_Tabke

WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke us a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 1:34 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

It appears you are not alone in making the switch:

[usatoday.com...]

"Web browser are breathing life into Internet Explorer's rivals. Since early June, Explorer's share of the market has dropped from 95.48% to 94.42%,"

Hester

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 1:59 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Now if only I could get away from OE

Try Thunderbird, or Opera's built-in email client.

stuntdubl

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 7:38 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I've heard thunderbird is still a bit buggy, so I'm holding off at this point.

My final browser concern is solved now though [webmasterworld.com]...wohoo...I can have my cake and see pixels too.:)

sidyadav

WebmasterWorld Senior Member 10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 1:03 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Finally spent some time installing a few plugins (web developer, googlebar, pagerank plugin for googlebar etc) and I've gotta say -- we have another successful switcher here :)

Over the past few years I've been IE'd all my life, but really, all I needed to break that habit was a little spare time so I can enjoy others.

Thanks to this thread I'm finally safe from all those holes, bugs, vulnerabilities and what all -- now hopefully people don't start picking on FireFox ;)

Sid

vrtlw

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 7:33 am on Jul 14, 2004 (gmt 0)

I am now not looking back, I love some of the extensions, the web developer toolbar has saved me sooooo much more time than I could have imagined.

GoodBye IE!

htown

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 10:35 am on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Has anyone tried MSN Explorer? I found it very nice and a great alternative to IE.

CritterNYC

10+ Year Member



 
Msg#: 8239 posted 2:07 pm on Jul 15, 2004 (gmt 0)

Has anyone tried MSN Explorer? I found it very nice and a great alternative to IE.

I'm kinda hoping this is a joke, but, MSN Explorer is just a pretty wrapper for regular explorer. It adds links to MS propertites for shopping, travel and mail. But it still has all the same security vulnerabilities because it is still IE.

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