TV-PGFebruary 3, 2004: Apple releases new versions of Safari and Java-- to Panther users, anyway. Meanwhile, reports fly that Microsoft's "Xbox Next" will be powered by three G5 chips, and we aren't the only ones wondering if Steve Jobs announced the Disney-Pixar split last week to try to get CEO Michael Eisner fired...
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"It's Like A Whole New Web!" (2/3/04)

Friends, has your Internet experience lost that certain spark? Did you once surf with a spring in your clicking finger and a grin on your face, only to find that you're now surfing sans verve-- even to your once-favorite sites? Are pages that once put a wiggle in your tush now coming across as limp, lifeless, and lacking luster? Sounds like you might be suffering from... BROWSER BURNOUT. And possibly the effects of a subpar shampoo.

We can't help you on the shampoo front (other than to remind you that overconditioning can weigh down your web pages and rob them of body), but if you are indeed full-on jaded with your current web browser, consider Apple the cavalry: faithful viewer Anthony Rudd informed us yesterday afternoon that the company has unleashed the wonder that is Safari 1.2 via Mac OS X's Software Update panel. You can also download it from Apple's web site, provided your case of browser-based ennui isn't too overpowering to let you surf to one last page without sighing yourself into a coma.

Check out all the boredom-busting wonderfulness practically spilling out of Safari 1.2's every pore: it packs "improved compatibility with web sites and web applications" (oooh!), adds "support for personal certificate authentication" (ahhh!), provides "full keyboard access for navigation" (ohhh!), and lets you "resume interrupted downloads" (Poppin' Fresh Dough!). The ability to tab through all links and form elements-- yep, even menus-- alone ought to bust you clean out of your surfin' funk. Oh, and for those of you who miss Internet Explorer's cute little trick of including a real, live progress bar in the icons of currently-downloading files, we're told that Safari 1.2 does that, too. And oh boy, it also works with Java 1.4.2! (Yes, that's new, too. See? There's all kinds of crazy new stuff to play with!)

Of course, none of this does you any good if you aren't using Safari in the first place, but what are the odds? (On the off-chance, though, we should probably mention that the public beta of OmniWeb 5 is out, too, and it looks spiffy with a capital SPIFF.) Oh, and we should probably also mention that Safari 1.2 is strictly a Panther dealie; laggards still running Jaguar need not apply. We expect that this will evoke howls of indignation from a subset of the Mac community who will spout forth wild conspiracy theories that Apple is trying to nudge its customers into upgrading to Panther and that the company is-- brace yourself-- in business to make money. Where do people get this stuff?

So we expect riots in the streets of Cupertino any minute now, probably with a death toll in the thousands, or at the very least an organized protest by Jaguar-using zombies fighting for Safari version parity in Apple's last major "big cat" upgrade; the undead need to keep busy now that they've won their fight for an iBook Repair Extension Program. The struggle by unholy walking corpses for consumer rights never ends-- but for Panther-enabled Safari users, at least, the boredom sure does. "Safari 1.2 has banished those surfin' blahs forever-- now all my sites have a lustrous sheen and are ever-so-bouncy!"