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Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion: Safari 5.2 adds privacy settings, website alerts

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
Safari gets a minor overhaul in this summer's release of OS X Mountain Lion, offering a new website passwords browser, new privacy settings, and a new feature that allows websites to send alerts to the Notifications Center.

Along with the new features related to the user interface, anti-phishing, Reader and sharing presented in the last Inside OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion segment on Safari, Apple is also adding some new options related to passwords, privacy settings, and Notification Center support for websites.

New Preferences pane for Passwords

Mountain Lion's Safari adds a new Passwords browser for finding and recovering (or removing) saved passwords you've entered on websites. This works similar to Keychain on a system level. From Safari's Preferences, the Password pane presents a list of the sites you've saved a password, the user names you've entered, and the passwords (revealing them requires entering your system password).

This is great if you remember saving a password on a website but can't remember what you entered, but it's a little unnerving that Apple displays all the sites and usernames you have saved without authorizing the display of this information first. Users should be aware that another user on their system could view third potentially sensitive information, but of course, Keychain displays the same kind of username information, just not for individual websites, and some of this information has long been listed in the browser History.




New Privacy options

Safari's privacy settings have been in the news lately, as reports that Google undermined the default settings to track users with advertising cookies that then enabled it to track users across all the sites it places ads on.

"Block cookies from third parties and advertisers" is still on by default in Safari 5.2, but it adds a website tracking option to "tell websites not to track me," which is not on by default, and also adds "allow search engine to provide suggestions," which is on by default.

"Send do not track HTTP header" is already an option hidden within the the current version of Safari under the Develop menu, so it appears Apple is simply making this a mainstream option.




Do Not Track is a feature that has been added to all browsers apart from Google's Chrome, and currently only "requests" that web servers not track the user returning it. Wikipedia notes that "websites are not legally required to comply with do not track requests, neither by law nor by broad social consensus, and therefore very few websites recognize and respect this privacy signal."

New Notifications Center integration for websites

Safari preferences now reference an option that allows websites to deliver alert notifications to the system for publishing in the new Notifications Center. To regulate this behavior, there's now an option to "Limit website alerts and notifications option to to prompt for each website (the default setting) or deny without prompting.




A Details button presents a sheet that lists websites that "have asked for permission to post alerts to Notifications Center. A website that is allowed in Notifications Center can only send you alerts when it is open in Safari" the sheet states.

Removed RSS and other options

Safari (along with the new Mail) erases RSS as a tacked on feature. The RSS reader features in both Mail and Safari were rather bare bones, making a standalone RSS client more attractive for most users. With RSS removed from Safari, it's not clear whether Apple is just backing out of RSS reader support or if (perhaps more likely) it is gearing up to release a standalone new RSS reader of its own, perhaps tied into Podcasting and other applications of RSS.

Other features missing or changed in Safari include the Standard and fixed-width font selections under Appearance (simply no longer there) as well as the Security pane option to "ask before sending a non-secure form from a secure website," which appears to have been made the default behavior.

The Advanced pane removes an option for database storage size selection (for HTML5's "super cookies"), and the menu bar option is now missing the option to "Block popup windows," another behavior that may have been made default.

[ View article on AppleInsider ]
post #2 of 19
Web site push notifications is a great feature!

(Missing RSS? Not so good. Having my list of RSS articles in one tab, and opening the individual links in other tabs—common browsing practice in other words—is not something you can replicate with two separate windows open... much less two separate apps!)

" it's a little unnerving that Apple displays all the sites and usernames you have saved without authorizing the display of this information first.”

Good reminder, but that’s not new, just more prominent: the current Safari shows that same list of info (but not passwords themselves) in the Edit button under AutoFill preferences. Another list shows cookies, etc.

If you need privacy to the level that protects you from people poking around for usernames and the like, then you need the privacy feature OS X has always had: multiple user accounts!

By logging into your own Mac account and login keychain via your password, and by then opting in to enable Safari to remember/use/autofill a username password for a certain site, you HAVE authorized the display of this info, which is unavoidable when you go to that site to auto-login. (You just might not be aware that all your saved logins can be seen in a convenient list, so that’s good to be reminded of.)

Someone you’ve given your master password to can do a lot worse than SEE your username: if you’ve given them your Mac account password—or typed it for them—then they can DELETE saved logins too, including deleting them all at once. (Which is an important ability, but a real inconvenience if someone else does that to you, and you have to recover/reset every password.)

Bottom line: for privacy, don’t give people your Mac master password! Then there’s nothing they can see do. Give them a Guest Account or their own account.
post #3 of 19
RSS is so early 2000s. These days anyone with a smartphone can keep tabs on the web news that's important to them.
post #4 of 19
You don't share the same account.

You create multiple user accounts.

You actually log-in and log-out.

Stop treating your desktop like it's one desktop for the entire family.

Apple cannot hold your hands.

Learn something about UNIX and actually report on it.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

RSS is so early 2000s. These days anyone with a smartphone can keep tabs on the web news that's important to them.

What does a smart phone have to do with OS X and Macs?
post #6 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

(perhaps more likely) it is gearing up to release a standalone new RSS reader of its own, perhaps tied into Podcasting and other applications of RSS.

What what what?

Way to throw in some random speculation that lacks any precedent.

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post #7 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

RSS is so early 2000s. These days anyone with a smartphone can keep tabs on the web news that's important to them.

Some of us are at a Mac desktop for a good part of our day, and find it easier to check an RSS feed from a persistent application on a large screen rather than pulling out our phone, sliding to unlock, switching to the right app, scrolling forever because the screen is so small, etc.

Plus I tend to prefer to check news when it's convenient for me (pull) rather than have my pocket buzzing all day with notifications (push).
 
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post #8 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

What what what?

Way to throw in some random speculation that lacks any precedent.

Apple is similarly removing reminders and notes from Mail and iCal to make standalone apps Reminders and Notes, a logical reconfiguration of how information is presented.

Mail is just as bad for managing reminders as it is RSS, and Safari was a poor RSS reader.

iTunes now handles RSS Podcasts, but why? It would make more sense for a separate, new app to manage all sorts of RSS subscription information, including Podcasts, website RSS feeds, and other syndicated content (think RSS iBooks 2.0 for periodicals).
post #9 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by vandil View Post

RSS is so early 2000s. These days anyone with a smartphone can keep tabs on the web news that's important to them.

And what more efficient alternative, pray tell, has replaced RSS?

I can't think of anything quite as good for tracking information from a wide range of sources. Reeder is probably my favorite app on my smartphone, and RSS is its heart and soul (through Google Reader).

I'm not heartbroken over Safari losing RSS support, but RSS itself is a good thing.
The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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The true measure of a man is how he treats someone that can do him absolutely no good.
  Samuel Johnson
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post #10 of 19
RSS was so poorly implemented in Safari, I am amazed people actually used it.

RSS in Safari served 1 purpose only. And that was to popularize the format, and bring it to masses which had never heard of it. It has served that purpose, and most people are far better off using a dedicated RSS Reader (seriously, just give NetNewsWire a try, and you will wonder why you ever used Safari).
post #11 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

RSS was so poorly implemented in Safari, I am amazed people actually used it.

RSS in Safari served 1 purpose only. And that was to popularize the format, and bring it to masses which had never heard of it. It has served that purpose, and most people are far better off using a dedicated RSS Reader (seriously, just give NetNewsWire a try, and you will wonder why you ever used Safari).

I use Safari's RSS reader daily and am not at all happy that it will be going away with the update. It's simple, easy to read and manage and most importantly built into the browser. If I have to open another app to read RSS feeds, I'll probably just stop reading them altogether. Bummer.
post #12 of 19
"[...] a little unnerving that Apple displays all the sites and usernames you have saved without authorizing the display of this information first"

So in what way is this different from how it has always been? Seems like the "insider" has never looked into the Safari settings before ... .
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeless View Post

So in what way is this different from how it has always been?

It's out in the open. This stuff was stored in Keychain Access, sure, and you could get to it from the AutoFill menu in Safari, but never out in the open.

Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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Originally Posted by helia

I can break your arm if I apply enough force, but in normal handshaking this won't happen ever.
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post #14 of 19
Maybe part of notification centre? In the preferences, subscribe to RSS feeds and a background service polls them periodically and posts new articles in notification centre... Click on the notification to go read the article in safari....
post #15 of 19
You can just install a menu bar RSS notifier* and only open (in Safari or whatever) to the one you like. It does not matter if Safari have RSS tab/reader built in w/ML or not, you'll still read them in Safari (or your chosen browser).

*Sorry, I don't have examples as I don't read RSS.
post #16 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by addicted44 View Post

RSS was so poorly implemented in Safari, I am amazed people actually used it.

RSS in Safari served 1 purpose only. And that was to popularize the format, and bring it to masses which had never heard of it. It has served that purpose, and most people are far better off using a dedicated RSS Reader (seriously, just give NetNewsWire a try, and you will wonder why you ever used Safari).

What is so terrible about RSS in Safari?

It works just about exactly the way I want it to.
post #17 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xian Zhu Xuande View Post

And what more efficient alternative, pray tell, has replaced RSS?

I can't think of anything quite as good for tracking information from a wide range of sources. Reeder is probably my favorite app on my smartphone, and RSS is its heart and soul (through Google Reader).

I'm not heartbroken over Safari losing RSS support, but RSS itself is a good thing.

I was with you until you mentioned Google reader (or any service of Google for that matter). I'd rather give up computing than give my life to Google.
post #18 of 19

   I was thinking the exact same thing. I recently downloaded a Podcast about Steve Jobs from All Things D: .

 It included articles written by Walt Mossberg.

 But in order to read them on a Mac, I had to use Preview. Which was OK, but

 a dedicate RSS Podcast app would be nice.

 I was also able to read the articles on iBooks on my iPhone.

 Hopefully iBooks for OS X will be available with the full version

 of OS X Moutain Lion.

 

            K.H

post #19 of 19

I've been looking at RSS newsreaders since realizing that 10.8 would omit this useful feature from Safari. All the newsreaders seem pointless (and pointlessly costly) to me: all they do, once the user selects a story to read, is imitate a Web browser. Why would I want to add a browser to the collection of three I already have to have (for incompatible sites and testing pages we create).

 

Would someone who prefers using an RSS newsreader please explain why it's superior (for them) to the Safari experience? My satisfaction, indeed dependence, may be due solely to ignorance. Maybe.

 

Thanks in advance.

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