Monday, August 06, 2012

Mac #OSX Safari 6 and AddressBook- Problems are lurking. Can't wait for update!

Last week I upgraded to Safari 6 and then on the launch of Mountain Lion updated my OS. Most things have gone smoothly but there are some annoyances.

Safari 6 with Google Docs and Facebook via https
There is a problem that impacts the use of Google Docs in Safari 6. The best example is how you load a Google Spreadsheet but you can't edit any cells. There are various threads in the Apple Support Community Forums on this subject. Another problem is the speed with which Facebook loads. 

The Google Docs and Facebook problems are probably connected. They relate to how Safari 6 is accessing secure web pages. I went in to Facebook and changed my security settings so that they don't force the use of https:// secure browsing. When I headed back to the Facebook home page the page loaded blazingly fast.  This obviously doesn't solve the problem with Google Docs which uses a secure page but at least it points to the area where Apple need to fix Safari. Hopefully we can see an update come quickly from Apple to solve this issue. In the meantime you can use Chrome which doesn't exhibit the same problems on Mountain Lion. 

If you are using Safari 6 but haven't upgraded to Mountain Lion then you are probably experiencing this sluggish browsing behavior. The problem is with Safari 6 and not with Mountain Lion.

Bonfire for JIRA from Atlassian
Another area I have seen a problem with Safari 6 is with Bonfire from Atlassian. Their browser extension works fine on Chrome under Mountain Lion but again Safari 6 on either version of OS X has a problem. For those not familiar with Bonfire it is a browser extension that is used to document software bugs. The way it works is to open a sidebar and collect a snapshot of the current browser page. The problem with Safari 6 is that the browser extension opens a new tab instead of updating the existing page and it doesn't capture the screenshot. This effectively makes the extension unusable in Safari 6. Hopefully Atlassian will release a patch that will solve this behavior now that Safari 6 is officially available.

Addressbook and Contact Pictures

Addressbook, or should I say Contacts, is an app I use multiple times every day on Mac OS X. In Mountain Lion Apple has tweaked the interface making it easier to deal with groups. However there are some areas where the application has taken steps back in usability. One small area is with the formatting of phone numbers. Under Lion you had an option to choose the format for your phone numbers. I had mine set to +1.234.567.8901. In Mountain Lion the option to format numbers has been removed  and all numbers default to +1 (234) 567-8901 or (234) 567-8901. I am assuming that this is related to the International and Regional setting for the system as a whole but there is no information shown about phone numbers in the Language & Text section of System Preferences.

The more retrograde step in Contacts is how Contact Pictures are handled. One of the really slick features of AddressBook under Lion was how you could drag a picture from your browser in to the Contact Picture area of AddressBook while editing a contact record and the picture would be set as the Contact's picture. In Contacts this is now a frustrating multi-step process.

When editing a Contact record you have to double click the "Edit" link in the Contact Picture. This pops up a grid of pictures. There are three options: 
- Defaults
- Recents
- Camera

Defaults is a standard set of icons. The same icons you would see when selecting a default icon for your account in Users and Groups. Camera fires up your web cam to allow you to take a picture. To add a picture grabbed from your web browser or from finder you need to click on Recents. This gives you a grid of recent pictures. Now click on the little pen icon beneath the grid. This takes you in to edit whichever picture you have selected. Now drop the picture you want from your browser, or from finder, and click done. 

This is a major step backward in usability. What was a one step task has now become a six-step task. 

There is a lot to like in Mountain Liion but the 10.8.1 patch can't come soon enough. I am hoping Apple will address these weaknesses.