Rockwell, 1922  
 ~ Tutti all'Opera! ~ 


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      spirale2    Fravia's
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Version June 2005


[Away from the browsersaurii]
[Why would you want a different browser?]
[Opera: a browser for seekers]
[versions & protections]
[Our own essays]
[Opera has limits]
[Crashing MS-Internet explorer] [for fun...]
[...Since they play dirty tricks]
[Finally]

Tutti all'opera!

"Going onto the Web with Internet Explorer is like walking onto a minefield blindfolded. If you want to be safer, switch to another browser"

This is one of the most useful pages on searchlores.
It explains why you should use a very powerful browser like Opera instead of Microsoft's slow (and dangerous ) Explorer crap you are probably using right now.
Read it, by all means. If you are in a hurry read at least Opera: a browser for seekers... you'll thank me many times...

Away from the browsersaurii
Die M$explorer, die!
(an older introduction)

There are many - very important - differences between the browsers you can use in order to access the web. You may have to choose a different browser depending if you are mining for information or not, if you seek a high level of anonymity or not, if you want to be able to turn images off or not and so on. It is a good idea to experiment on your own. Be, first of all, aware of file sizes when you choose your programs (this applies not only to browsers, of course).
It is not a matter of size per se: the harddisks are getting cheaper and bigger every week. It is a question of what is often called "overbloatedness": this hides three main risks.
  1. a huge program is more prone to crash: bugs abound in all overbloated applications;
  2. a huge program may be more easily attacked: the number of discovered dangerous exploits against Microsoft Explorer (and Netscape Navigator) has always been proportional to their "codefat";
  3. a huge program can hide obvious security risks: if you have a huge application inside your own PC chances are that you don't have the faintest idea about what is INSIDE it.
When you'll be able to have a look (later, if you care to learn how to reverse) you will discover not only some silly easter eggs, but also various part of the code that have been prepared in order to easily send over the web during a connection - on the background - all or part of your private data.
In addition there are MANY unpatched security holes inside it, which means that even if you patch it twice a week you will be still subject to exploits.
Just an example you may enjoy... hta exploits...
And this makes using MSIE VERY silly on the web of ours :-)

Btw, there is a quick demonstration of the fact that MSIE is the most unsecure browser of the planet...
If you are using MSIE click on the following link (NOTE THE ADDRESS URL on your top bar once you are there):
http://www.google.com@www.fravia.com
This trick is possible due to the typical Microsoft attitude to idiotize the interface, hiding the "username:password" details of the ftp transaction from Joe Zombuser.
If you include a null character "%00" in a URL, or an AT sign, then nothing after the null character, or before the AT sign, will appear to the user... try this on Opera and on MSIE: http://www.microsoft.com%00@www.fravia.com/ and see the difference. On Opera (or Firebird, or Firefox, or any decent browser) you'll read in the Address field: http://www.microsoft.com%00@www.fravia.com/, on MSIE it will depend of your security settings and patches.
URLs built like http://www.google.com@www.fravia.com are a old and common trick used by scammers & thieves on the web (linking to false ebay or paypal places) in order to scam zombies. Yet if zombies would use Opera they would not be fooled. On the other hand in that case they wouldn't be zombies either... quod erat demonstrandum.

Here some differences -in size- between some recent browsers and some zipped versions of commonly used browsers... In the case of recent MSIE versions, it is hard to calculate the complete size because it uses parts of the operating system (do a start/search on a windows XP system and check on your firewall loggings how explorer tries to access 207.46.248.249, for instance).
Note also that there are some widely used non graphic browsers around, like Lynx ([lynxy.zip] : 683992 bytes, ported from unix, works in a dos box and is very quick).

Browser
number of files
bloatedness
Opera 7.20. (Build 3.1.44)124 filesdir /s: 15.973.584 bytes ~ opera.exe: 1.399.296 bytes
Firebird 0.7294 filesdir /s: 16.221.342 bytes ~ mozillafirebird.exe: 6.815.744
Mozilla 1.4345 filesdir /s: 21.739.000 bytes ~ mozilla.exe: 142.624
MSIE 6.0smashed all over the harddiskdir /s impossible ~ between 26.000.000 and 89.000.000 bytes ~ iexplore.exe: 91.136
Older browsers, zipped sizes
Netscape Navigator 3n32e301p.exe5.923.328 bytes
Netscape Navigator 4.2n32e403.exe8.221.605 bytes
Netscape Communicator 4.5cc32e45.exe12.973.000 bytes
Netscape Communicator 4.6cc32e46.exe15.455.000 bytes
Microsoft Explorer 4.0lotta cab files66.080.044 bytes
Microsoft Explorer 5.0lotta cab files76.007.075 bytes
Downloads
Opera 7:            3.3 MB
Firebird:            6.7 MB
Mozilla:            11.9 MB
MSIE 6:            76.8 MB


Note the download sizes... it's quicker to download and install Opera than to patch against security exploits Microsoft explorer... something that you should do twice a week if you are really using MSIE, btw.

Some readers will believe that a mistake has been made reporting the file lengths above. Alas! There is none: here, for the sceptics, the [complete list] of the zipped files of the old Microsoft Explorer 4. Following the link above you'll also find an explanation of "*.cab files" extraction and an example of huge parts of the browser that are very seldom used.

Your chances to know what this kind of bloated software will actually do when you are asleep (and when you are awake as well) are very low. Moreover the Opera team was able to keep the file length tiny even developing the browser and adding functionality! Hats off!
Why would you want a different browser?

Many visitors use MSIE, because they are 'used to it'. It comes pre-installed on most systems on sale, for 'free', and people have simply started visiting the web using it. It has also some advantages: first of all you will never, or almost never (hey Frog's+Print :-) find sites that block it.
Most zombie sites make sure that they look ok on MSIE and ignore every other browser.
Yet MSIE has HUGE disadvantages. First of all it is so strictly integrated with your operating system that its many security holes will compromise your whole box everytime you surf.

Let's explain this in detail: the real problem with the monstruously dangerous MSIE is that it became more and more part of the operating system. And that's exactly the problem: a browser should NEVER be part of the operating system, else it can compromise very easily your whole box.
Other browsers have security problems too, but they are usually fixed in a couple of days,
Microsoft knew there were problems with "shell:" a year ago and it's still not patched. Maybe they'll patch it with the next version of windows. Maybe: Microsoft's fix for one of the latest Internet Explorer holes was to deactivate the broken part, ADODB.Stream. Some fix.

MSIE makes it also extremely hard to do very useful things that Opera will allow you to do without fuss, like blocking images on the fly, or eliminating an annoying crazy-colored background on the fly, or spitting out all cookies immediately after having visited the site that pestered you with them.

For the reasons explained above, Opera is better because of its small size as well. In a world of heavy megabytes browsersaurii, Opera for Windows' dimensions are less than ONE/TENTH of the other browsers, integrated email program and news reader included.
If you use MSIE you will never have POWER on your browser, you will probably just leave images enabled all the time (the procedure to turn them off is so cumbersome that it may take one whole minute to perform it) and you will be continuously annoyed and pestered by ads and flash crap.
But the real annoying thing with MSIE is that it is slower. Try a week with Opera and you WILL NEVER use MSIE again. It is a promise.

If your idea of browsing is to be passively feed whatever the site owners want you to see... well, in that case just keep your 40 megabytes MSIE and go ahead collecting commercial crap. If -on theother hand- you are browsing in order to find information and if you want to decide yourself what you want to endure and what you would rather not, then switch to Opera! (Choose the non java version, chances are you alraedy have java onyour box).
Go on and download it and install it.
Then find a serial number using for instance this string, but later make sure you pay for it (they deserve it)... once you understand how useful this wonderful browser is.
Wanna bet that you'll thank me?




Opera: a browser for seekers
(have a go by yourself at the following commands... right now... if you'r using Opera as you should :-)

1. Fast
For quite a long stretch, Opera was (and maybe still is) the fastest browser around... and as you may imagine this is a VERY important feature when you search the web. But you can gain even more speed...

2. No images... just press "G"
Opera's famous "no image" (show images) icon is a godsend when you have to cut through the awful commercial web in search of informations. Press "G" and your SEARCHING SPEED will improve INCREDIBLY. Show me another browser capable of this.

3. CTRL+G
Toggles to "user mode" and ditches all crap backgrounds.

4. F12
Kills popups on the fly. The ANTI-annoyance menu. Opera deserves a web-nobel for this. Try it now to disable the silly automated gif at the top of this page. Also useful to kill sounds and musics on annoying web-pages.
Kills javascript, java and flash crap too, quite an added bonus when you need speed and do not want crap :-)
Finally it gives you an empty referrer, so no klebing is possible on your referrers.

5. F4 (notes)
CTRL+SHIFT+C will copy on a note the passages you found, with automated URL retrieval and everything.
Doubleclicking the note, the URL will be launched. So you keep information you need on the ever-shifting, quicksand web.
For those that need to leave some crumbles behind...

5. ALT+F3: show frame source
Difficoult to overestimate how useful this is when battling ads, commłercial crap and evil popups on the web :-)

5. the dot, the great dot (page search)
Press the dot. Type the first letters you are interested in (for instance press dot and then: "interes" with final quotes... Voilą! See how you "hower in" to your target? :-)



Opera: a browser for seekers
edit the search.ini file!

In Opera you can define your preferred search_engines, and you can also define your preferred shortcuts (letters that you use to search trough any search engine) for them.
The most well-known shortcuts are "g" for Google and "a" for Alltheweb/Fast, but there is nothing that will stop you from re-listing or adding any engine.

Make no mistakes, this alone is a feature that would put Opera waay ahead of any other browser for a seeker.
By pressing F2 (Go To Page dialog) or F8 (jump to the addressbar) you can for instance type "r advanced searching" and automagically search Usenet for the string "advanced seaching".

You can define your own shortcuts. For example, I use "arch" to search the web archives. You can see your searches and their shortcut keyword by going to Preferences (alt + p) and then using the option "Search", where you can also choose the preferred number of results per page.
Versions & protections

There is a very good reason, apart from size, to use [Opera] instead of either of the big browsersaurii: what makes Opera so different is the combination of small size, speed of loading both Internet and local HTML documents, versatility in loading and displaying webpages, its many customization options and its sheer functionality. The most important thing is that Opera has a very convenient no-images icon that allows you to stop on the fly all images loading from any site you are visiting. Not a minor feat in a Web that, as you will already have realized, is an Ocean of knowledge... about two centimeters deep. Most sites just overload visitors with completely useless graphical frills: having a browser able to stop them "on the fly" is a very useful weapon that you will need again and again. Note also how the development of both browsersaurii: went to great lengths to AVOID you having the possibility to turn off images (and hence advertisements).
This is far from casual of course. In the older versions it was still relatively easy: for instance in netscape's navigator (version 3) you just had to choose "options" and then tick off autoload images. Alas: in the recent overbloated versions turning images off is quite a workload: for instance in M$IE explorer (version 4) is "View" > "Internet Options" > "Advanced" and then finally you can tick off the "show pictures" box inside the "Multimedia" section. Clearly you would not want to perform all these operations just to avoid an advertisement banner, would you?

But there's more: Opera has even a sort of 'anti-popup' function BUILT INSIDE IT: have a look at file ~ preferences ~ windows... see the checkbox for 'allow documents to create windows? Well... uncheck it! What are you waiting for? :-)
You think I have finished with the advantages that Opera offers? Nossir...try this other one: file ~ preferences ~ multimedia... see the checkbox 'enable animation GIF images'? Well... uncheck it! Yep, believe or not: you can selectively kill those useless animated gifs that nobody in his right mind would ever 'prefer' to load! :-)
Of course you can download hic et nunc Opera for LINUX as well...

Nuff said. Try Opera and decide by yourself.
Of course any average searcher would be able to find on the fly a good serial for Opera. Anyway, if you are interested in this kind of things, you may have a short [look inside] Opera's protection scheme. I believe that the programmers at Opera should learn [some better tricks] to protect their valuable software. This said Opera is a good tool, and deserves to be paid for.

Note that there's NO REASON WHATSOEVER to use the most recent version of a given software package, and this is true ESPECIALLY for software that access the web.
As you may read in A+heist's essay [The case for NOT using Microsoft's explorer] (The Unbearable Lightness of persistence).

As you begin to realize, it is quite useful to know exactly what happens when you start your browser... in fact, it is actually useful to know what happens when you start ANY application. You should proceed and learn to examine the file opening sequence when you start a browser (and learn how to monitor files activities) using filemonitors like Filemon, that you can download anywhere on rthe web (filesrc.zip)
Filemon has been written by Mark Russinovich & Bryce Cogswell, the developers inter alia of regmon, @ [sysinternals]
They truly deserve the "reversing Nobel".

At the moment I use Opera version 8 (post beta), and I advice you to do the same. I think it is the best.
This said, the point with a browser is to understand that "best" is relative: BEST FOR WHAT?

Best for a old PC with limited memory?
Best for your Ipaq or Palm?
Best for handicapped users?
Best for searching?
Best for security?
Best without a mouse?
Best for anonimity?
Our own essays


  • [opera_adding_roma.htm]: Adding functionality to Opera
    by ~Roman ~ April 2005
    Part of the tutti all'opera section.
    First we need a way of capturing our incoming and outgoing packets, without stealing them from Opera, and without using a proxy... Next we need a program that, given all of our packets, will discard any non-http ones, and extract the http headers from those remaining...
    The good thing is, this approach is not just limited to viewing headers, but to any application that you can write a C (or any other language) application for...
    (For advanced seekers)

  • [opera_java_roma.htm]: Personalising Opera using javascript
    by ~Roman
    Part of the tutti all'opera section.
    not only can arbitrary javascript be executed, but also arbitrary executables...

  • [comiixii.htm]: How to make Opera v4.02 usable "People at Opera should be ashamed!" by iixii, part of the [Tutti all'Opera] and of the [our essays] sections.

  • Some "improving" thoughts on [Opera 5], an horrible commercial oriented "update" of our preferred browser, by Woods+ock and Beardo

  • [athei_06]: The case for NOT using Microsoft's explorer (The Unbearable Lightness of persistence), by A+heist

  • [paris/paris6.htm]: Cleaning the last version (5) of Opera (Identifying the culprit advertisement window), by fravia+


  • Opera had some limits, but most recent versions are OK.

    A simple example:
    Try out [this calculator]
    with older versions of Opera, and it will not work. (Works from 7.20 onwards, though).

    However the most annoying thing with Opera is that it is not OPEN SOURCE, it is not free software and it is not distributed under the GNU licence. This could be a good reason, for purists, to use Firefox instead.

    Yet.
    Since Opera is waay better than Firebird (Opera gives you a great deal of control over what information is given away in the first place, including referrer logging and automatic redirection) and since we are not THAT pure after all, we will stick with Opera nevertheless :-)

    Mozilla's Firefox, instead, is a worthy possible choice, as my friend DQ pointed out: firefox rules! 
    "Being a long time fan of Opera, I decided to have a look at firefox.
    After beating the initial hurdle of finding my way though extensions and settings, I am now VERY confident that this is going to be the "next good thing" in my browsing experience. Of all the extensions I am currently playing with, I like the Adblock project and copyurlplus
    "

    Yet Opera is waay quicker than Firefox

    "Browser speed comparisons" (Quoting the conclusions, signalled by ronin): "So overall, Opera seems to be the fastest browser for windows. Firefox is not faster than Internet Explorer, except for scripting, but for standards support, security and features, it is a better choice. However, it is still not as fast as Opera, and Opera also offers a high level of standards support, security and features.
    On Linux, Konqueror is the fastest for starting and viewing basic pages on KDE, but as soon as script or images are involved, or you want to use the back or forward buttons, or if you use Gnome, Opera is a faster choice, even though on KDE it will take a few seconds longer to start. Mozilla and Firefox give an overall good performance, but their script, cache handling and image-based page speed still cannot compare with Opera.
    On Mac OS X, Opera and Safari are both very fast, with Safari 2 being faster at starting and rendering CSS, but with Opera still being distinguishably faster for rendering tables, scripting and history (especially compared with the much slower Safari 1.2). Camino is fast to start, but then it joins its sisters Mozilla and Firefox further down the list. Neither Mozilla, Firefox nor IE perform very well on Mac, being generally slower than on other operating systems.
    On Mac OS 9, no single browser stands out as the fastest. In fact, my condolences to anyone who has to use one of them, they all perform badly
    "

    An interesting site is Wee's http://firefoxopera.blogspot.com/2005/02/first-words.html:
    "As we'ld all know by now, Firefox by itself is pretty much a minimal browser. Its true strength for it to gain capabilities similar to that of Opera, including Mouse Gestures, Sessions, a more complete Tabbed Browsing and even show you how to give your Firefox the Opera look."

    Speaking of browsers, you can (and probably should) also try MyIE2, a quick front end to MSIE that has tabs and moves through them with F2 and F3. It does not beat Opera in speed, of course, but it's rather fast nevertheless... a sort of quick and lean MSIE, MyIE2 is "MSIE as it should have been". You could use it as an alternative to Opera whenever some crappy site requires MSIE.
    Opera has some SURPRISES (CTRL+B will give you more)

    Ever tried SHIFT+F11 in Opera?
    (View, small screen). It automatically kills all frills.

    CTRL+Backspace
    (Go to parent directory). Very useful when Flying.

    F12: Kill popup on the fly. See above.

    And also: DOUBLE CLICK on any word, and then select, for instance, dictionary!
    ...Since they play dirty tricks

    Two links to have you realize how cowardly evil microsoft minions are...
    Why doesn't MSN work with Opera
    Håkon Wium Lie speaks
    ...we answer!

    http://tntluoma.com/oper a/lover/7/: 30 Days to Becoming an Opera7 Lover

    Useful reading for:
    • Those who have never used Opera (you’ll learn why so many love it)
    • Those who think Internet Explorer is the best browser out there (if anyone can help you, it’s Opera)
    • Those who have used Opera but haven’t explored all it has to offer (and you may be surprised at how much is under there)
    • Those who think that Mozilla has the corner on innovation in the browser world (want to know where they get a lot of their ideas ;-?)

    Finally

    ¤¤¤      
    Finally, since we are on a "Opera" page, a famous svdism (Svd's wisdom):
    "hit ctrl-B in opera. Then LEARN it by mind!"
    you'll be grateful more than once for this advice...
           ¤¤¤

    The advice given above ¤is very¤ useful, here some reasons...

    I know: almost nobody reads the help files (a big mistake eo ipso)... but have a go by yourself: type right now (if you'r using Opera) opera:history in the URL window or just press the combination CTRL+ALT+H and -if you never did it before- gasp in awe.

    Btw: have you ever tried zooming with +, -, CTRL+ and/or CTRL-?

    Also useful: CTRL+N is a new 'virgin' window, but CTRL+SHIFT+N is a new 'duplicated' window (like CTRL+N in MSIE)...

    basic

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