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Old Nov 25, 2012, 05:23 PM   #1
B-G
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Life without Flash: share your tips and tricks.

I recently decided to uninstall Flash on my eMac, to enhance security and to understand how this changes the browsing experience. I hope we can help each other find good strategies to use on a flash free powerpc mac, so I created this thread.
Without further ado...

The [un]safety net

What if you still need to access a website requiring Flash and not offering any html5 replacement? On intel an easy solution to this problem is installing Chrome, which comes with its own version of the Flash player. A bit of googleing reveals that you can do something similar on powerpc thanks to Camino and Omniweb. Before uninstalling the flash plugin copy it from /Library/Internet Plug-Ins to:

/Users/_YOURUSERNAME_/Library/Application Support/Camino/Internet Plug-Ins (for Camino)
/Users/_YOURUSERNAME_/Applications/OmniWeb.app/Contents/PlugIns (for Omniweb)

You will now be able to use Flash on these browsers even after you uninstall it from your system. So Camino and Omniweb can act as your emergency browsers. The _BIG_ problem is that when using them you will still be exposed to all the vulnerabilities of Flash, so use this method only as a last resort and only if you have not access to a more modern computer with an up to date version of the Flash player.

[Edit 9/6/2013]

Camino is dead. Omniweb has not been updated for a while, and its next release will not probably support PPC. Using an outdated and insecure plugin in an outdated browser would be foolish.
If you are on Leopard there is still a couple of ways to use this trick with modern browsers.
Again, do it only if you have no choice.

Seamonkey PPC
Copy the flash plugin in:
~/Applications/SeaMonkey.app/Contents/MacOS/plugins
(create the plugins folder if necessary)

Most Webkit based browsers
This only makes sense if you install the stable release of Leopard-Webkit (at the moment it is the 536 series), or if you use the "DYLD_FRAMEWORK_PATH=" command to launch your browser with the updated Leopard-Webkit frameworks (I can post more about this, if you want). In any other case your browser would use the outdated frameworks that comes with Safari 5.0.6.
Copy the flash plugin in:
~/Applications/_YOURAPPNAME_/Contents/plugins
(create the plugins folder if necessary)
This seems to work for most Webkit based browsers, but not for Stainless. I would recommend iCab, considering it still supports Leopard.

Problem: YouTube html5 player *****

If YouTube detects that your browser can play webm files it will serve you webm instead of h264. This is a problem if you are using Webkit based browsers and you have Perian installed *, or if your browser is TenFourFox/FireFox. Webm playback is horrible on most powerpc macs. The other problem is the dreaded autoplay. On TFF use NoScript to block YouTube html5 player, then use QuickTime enabler or one of the many FireFox add-ons to access content. For Webkit based browsers disable Perian from system preferences (or simply use MacTubes, of course). The really big exception is Safari 5, thank to its extensions. Youtube5 will replace the YT player with a much nicer html5 player. Another solution is using ClickToPlugin plus an auxiliary extension from Marc Hoyois:
https://github.com/downloads/hoyois/...1.1.safariextz
This will solve the webm and the autoplay issues at the same time.

* Please notice that Leopard Webkit (as the new Safari 6 does) actually masks its ability to play webm videos, so you will get h264 instead. Cool!

Using ClickToPlugin at its fullest after having uninstalled Flash

This is my favourite trick. I just love the ClickToPlugin extension, it is the reason why I've kept Safari as my default browser even when Apple completely ruined its browser on the first few releases of Lion.
If you uninstall flash in most occasions CTP will have nothing to replace. This should not be a problem, after all websites will serve html5 videos on their own, right? Wrong! On many sites wou will have to change your user agent to iPad and/or disable plugins in Safari preferences to access html5 media. This is not difficult, but the way CTP works is much more natural. Also, sometimes a website html5 player may not be as functional as Safari native player (for example no full screen option).
If you want to use all CTP features on a flash free computer, install the old ClickToFlash plugin and ClickToPlugin at the same time. Please notice that I'm referring to Jonathan Rentzsch's ClickToFlash plugin not to the Marc Hoyois' Safari extension:
http://clicktoflash.com/
It is completely counterintuitive to install two flash blocking programs on a flash free system, but it will work surprisingly well. ClicktoFlash advertises itself as the Flash player, so websites will serve flash content that will be blocked and replaced by ClickToPlugin. You will have access to more html5 videos in this way (and more easily) than by confiding in webmasters' good will.
The only problem is that you won't have access to non-media html5 replacement content. If you are on a page where this could be a problem simply disable plugins in Safari preferences, then reload the page.
Please notice that this method will not work with Safari 5.1 or newer, that is on most intel macs. Ain't it good to enjoy some powerpc specific goodness for once?

[edit] It is necessary to modify a few strings in the Info.plist file inside ClickToFlash, so that it will advertise itself as the most recent release of the Flash player. I'm going to attach a modified version of this file to this post. Copy it into /Users/_YOURUSERNAME_/Library/Internet Plug-Ins/ClickToFlash.webplugin/Contents
For future reference I'm going to add the (very simple) procedure to modify the file.
Open the Info.plist file (if you installed the developers tools it will be opened by Property List Editor, if not you can still use TextEdit). The strings you'll have to modify are "CTFFlashVariableVersion" and "WebPluginDescription". At the moment the latest release of Flash Player is 11.5.502.110, so the strings should look like this:

CTFFlashVariableVersion --> MAC 11,5,502,110
WebPluginDescription --> Shockwave Flash 11.5 r502

[edit 16/1/2014: info.plist file updated to simulate the new Flash 12.0.0.38]

Let me know if this is useful to you, and please share your own tips and tricks.
Attached Files
File Type: zip Info.plist.zip (1.0 KB, 18 views)
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Last edited by B-G; Jan 16, 2014 at 03:13 PM.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 06:43 PM   #2
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I do this primarily on my eMac running OS 9.

There is a browser called Classilla that is being actively maintained, and one feature I like is that it has set the default user agent to a mobile browser. Getting the mobile site when applicable has made my web browsing experience so much nicer - lesser clutter. I imagine there is a way to do this on a pre-SL OS X machine, though I haven't searched around yet.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 07:11 PM   #3
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Well...

I like using flash with youtube. However I use Youview to watch in better quality
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 08:07 PM   #4
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Once again

B-G has hit it out of the park. This is a great summary for those wanting to minimize or eliminate completely the evil that is flash on PPC macs.

I use all of the above methods mentioned, but recently have grown to love click to flash and click to plugin. I even get BBC news video offered to me in Safari webkit. That's amazing! I also extensivley use viewtube, a greasemonkey (or greasekit for other webkit browsers like Omniweb and iCab) script to play youtube and a few other sites. It also uses quicktime plugin so its not inherently better than click to plugin, but it plays nicely in the browser, and sometimes I like to roll like that.

Ultimately though nothing beats Youview or Mactubes for youtube. I lost my Coreplayer install (don't ask) so no more streaming HD for me, but unlike most Americans I, as a citizen of the UK, don't feel I have a constitutional right to HD video. 360 and 480p are just fine by me. Let us not forget that Apple announced the Intel switch SIX years ago now. Six years is an eternity in tech, its utterly amazing that we can do what we do with these aging macs.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 08:17 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Imixmuan View Post
Let us not forget that Apple announced the Intel switch SIX years ago now. Six years is an eternity in tech, its utterly amazing that we can do what we do with these aging macs.
So true. I had surgery last week, and have been in the hospital, and then rehab. (I'm fine.) My iBook gets more attention than I do.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 08:28 PM   #6
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NoScript. NoScript allows blocking both Flash and Silverlight. No need for Click to Flash (except for the webkit browsers) or FlashBlock.

BetterPrivacy. Detects and removes LSO cookies. These are the hard to kill long term Flash cookies that remain on your drive even when you delete all other cookies.

All work in T4Fx, Aurorafox and Seamonkey.

If I need Flash video, I'll open another browser. Click to Flash will cover webkit browsers like Fluid. You can then use Fluid just for specific sites you know have Flash you need to use.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 08:39 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Imixmuan View Post
. . . Let us not forget that Apple announced the Intel switch SIX years ago now. Six years is an eternity in tech. . .
Try telling that to millions of Pentium 4 Windows XP users out there. 6 years midlife for a good chunk of the computer industry. Apple has just gotten to the point where they like to force the hand of the buyer more than ever.
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Old Nov 25, 2012, 10:28 PM   #8
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Forgot

...to mention that Click to Flash makes the BBC think you have an older version of Flash than they support. If you install it alongside Click to Plugin then you have to uninstall it, then delete all your BBC related cookies to go back to the goodness of Click to Plugin, which serves most though not all of the Beeb's video up as Quicktime playable.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 06:41 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by Imixmuan View Post
...to mention that Click to Flash makes the BBC think you have an older version of Flash than they support. If you install it alongside Click to Plugin then you have to uninstall it, then delete all your BBC related cookies to go back to the goodness of Click to Plugin, which serves most though not all of the Beeb's video up as Quicktime playable.
Sorry, I had not noticed this before. ClickToFlash plugin is advertising itself as the very old Flash 10.0.45.2. Fortunately there is a very easy and quick fix to this problem. I edited my first post to add instructions and a modified Info.plist file. The BBC site is now working again on my eMac.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 06:56 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by kylera View Post
I do this primarily on my eMac running OS 9.

There is a browser called Classilla that is being actively maintained, and one feature I like is that it has set the default user agent to a mobile browser. Getting the mobile site when applicable has made my web browsing experience so much nicer - lesser clutter. I imagine there is a way to do this on a pre-SL OS X machine, though I haven't searched around yet.
I guess the easiest way to do this on OS X would be using a browser with site specific preferences. In this way you could choose which user agent you'll present to each website. Omniweb is the first to spring to mind. Then there is iCab with its powerful content filtering features.
Another way could be using Glimmer Blocker to change your user agent at system level, but I really haven't much experience with this.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 07:01 AM   #11
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Camino has a user agent plugin. There is also a plethora of addons for User Agents with T4Fx, Aurorafox and Seamonkey.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 08:22 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
Camino has a user agent plugin. There is also a plethora of addons for User Agents with T4Fx, Aurorafox and Seamonkey.
That's true!
What I was trying to say is that having site specific preferences allows to fine tune the behaviour of different sites, by choosing and memorizing a mobile or a desktop user agent for every webpage visited without having to change preferences every time. I never came across any add-on that does that on Gecko based browsers (it would be really great to have something like that).
By the way, it has been a while since I used Opera for the last time. Doesn't Opera offer site specific preferences too? That could be very useful for Panther users.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 01:34 PM   #13
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There is an addon I saw for the Mozilla based browsers that allows site specific UA strings, but not for Gecko.

As to Opera, yes, Opera does have site specific options. The problem here though is a catch-22.

Opera 10.20 and below are stable, but Opera has always limited it's UA string. When you mask as Firefox the best you can do is appear as Firefox 3.x. The problem with that is that a lot of sites are looking for a minimum of FF 3.5 or they don't work well. Facebook is a good example of this.

Opera 10.50 and above update the user agent. But they are unstable and the versions between 10.5 and 10.6 all have a typing bug. You start to type and it takes about ten seconds or so before the letters appear on screen. Of course it works fine on an Intel Mac, but not PowerPC. 10.63 was the last version for the PowerPC Mac and it fixed this bug, but it's also unstable.

By unstable I mean crashing. One particular nasty effect it can have is to crash but the running instance will NOT remove itself from the process list. You can kill it all day but it won't stop. When it's open like that, you can't reload Opera. The only recourse is a restart.
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Old Nov 26, 2012, 03:05 PM   #14
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YouTube works fine on my G5? So does Flash in general and I still stick to Safari... And it's the 1.8 original model.

Using iPlayer with no issues aswell.

It's only on the iMac G4 that I use Mactubes, but otherwise I'm using Flash on it with no problems.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 05:22 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
There is an addon I saw for the Mozilla based browsers that allows site specific UA strings, but not for Gecko.

As to Opera, yes, Opera does have site specific options. The problem here though is a catch-22.

Opera 10.20 and below are stable, but Opera has always limited it's UA string. When you mask as Firefox the best you can do is appear as Firefox 3.x. The problem with that is that a lot of sites are looking for a minimum of FF 3.5 or they don't work well. Facebook is a good example of this.

Opera 10.50 and above update the user agent. But they are unstable and the versions between 10.5 and 10.6 all have a typing bug. You start to type and it takes about ten seconds or so before the letters appear on screen. Of course it works fine on an Intel Mac, but not PowerPC. 10.63 was the last version for the PowerPC Mac and it fixed this bug, but it's also unstable.

By unstable I mean crashing. One particular nasty effect it can have is to crash but the running instance will NOT remove itself from the process list. You can kill it all day but it won't stop. When it's open like that, you can't reload Opera. The only recourse is a restart.
I installed Opera 10.10 and, after some research, I managed to change the user agent to a custom string. Open Opera and go to:
opera:config#ISP|Id
Input the user agent string of your choice, then save. You can test your user agent here:
http://whatsmyuseragent.com/
If I rember correctly Classilla uses the Nokia N90 user agent string. I have no idea if this is the best choice for Opera, but that's what I used in my very not comprehensive tests:

NokiaN90-1/3.0545.5.1 Series60/2.8 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1

Unfortunately I only had partial success. Some sites (YouTube, for example) still load as their desktop version.

On the other hand, when it comes to dealing with the lack of Flash Player and the weight of many websites, Opera has other extremely useful features. It has built-in userscript support, so the ViewTube script Imixmuan mentioned a few posts above works without problems. There's even a script (and a related Opera Unite application) that adds NoScript-like functionality:
http://my.opera.com/community/forums....dml?id=241208
http://unite.opera.com/application/641/
And considering its age (as I said I'm using version 10.10) it's surprisingly fast.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 05:35 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-G View Post
I installed Opera 10.10 and, after some research, I managed to change the user agent to a custom string. Open Opera and go to:
opera:config#ISP|Id
Input the user agent string of your choice, then save. You can test your user agent here:
http://whatsmyuseragent.com/
If I rember correctly Classilla uses the Nokia N90 user agent string. I have no idea if this is the best choice for Opera, but that's what I used in my very not comprehensive tests:

NokiaN90-1/3.0545.5.1 Series60/2.8 Profile/MIDP-2.0 Configuration/CLDC-1.1

Unfortunately I only had partial success. Some sites (YouTube, for example) still load as their desktop version.

On the other hand, when it comes to dealing with the lack of Flash Player and the weight of many websites, Opera has other extremely useful features. It has built-in userscript support, so the ViewTube script Imixmuan mentioned a few posts above works without problems. There's even a script (and a related Opera Unite application) that adds NoScript-like functionality:
http://my.opera.com/community/forums....dml?id=241208
http://unite.opera.com/application/641/
And considering its age (as I said I'm using version 10.10) it's surprisingly fast.
I've had no success in editing the UA string in config. Every time I do it defaults to one of the other options available.

I'm using the Unite features you mention when I use Opera. It works well with greasemonkey scripts and the userstyles you can find at userstyles.org. Those are CSS there at that site, but they offer alternate code for JS. My only problem is that JS loads last. When using Opera on Facebook I have to look at all the ads before the userjs gets loaded and my script kicks in. Not something to cry over but still annoying.

One cool thing though is that you can grab a copy of the latest userjs code from Opera and update Opera 10.x to use it. We can't use Opera 11.x or 12.x, but we can get the benefit of the latest userjs written for Opera this way.
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 06:06 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
I've had no success in editing the UA string in config. Every time I do it defaults to one of the other options available.

I'm using the Unite features you mention when I use Opera. It works well with greasemonkey scripts and the userstyles you can find at userstyles.org. Those are CSS there at that site, but they offer alternate code for JS. My only problem is that JS loads last. When using Opera on Facebook I have to look at all the ads before the userjs gets loaded and my script kicks in. Not something to cry over but still annoying.
Regarding the UA spoofing, check if you have enabled site specific preferences for the websites you are visiting. In that case Opera overrides the general settings.
As for the delay in JS loading, if the problem are ads the best solution I can think of is using Glimmer Blocker. I've been using it for a few months and the more I understand the way it works the more I like it. It will get rid of ads at system level, so you won't need adblocking extensions in your browsers (bonus: without AdBlock Plus TenFourFox loads much faster). There is also Privoxy, which doesn't require Java and which should work on Tiger too (I think there is even a version for Panther).

Quote:
Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
One cool thing though is that you can grab a copy of the latest userjs code from Opera and update Opera 10.x to use it. We can't use Opera 11.x or 12.x, but we can get the benefit of the latest userjs written for Opera this way.
That's extremely interesting. May I ask you to write a detailed guide about that?
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Old Nov 27, 2012, 09:28 PM   #18
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I have Glimmerblocker for when I am using webkit browsers. I use ABP for the same reason with the Mozilla browsers, but I'm also a heavy user of the Elements Hider for ABP. I sacrafice some speed for getting rid of annoying things like the entire chat system on Facebook. It equals out I think because my browser is no longer loading all the pictures of friends on chat.

Why did I think you'd ask that about Opera, lol.

Sure. It's not that hard. I'll grab some screen shots with it and post them back. Note, I mentioned it was userjs, but the actual term is browserjs. The concept is the same as browserjs is the file that even versions above 10.x use. Therefore, if you have the same file as the current version you have the same browserjs with all the modifications.

Note that that does not mean Opera 10.x will perform in the same way as the newer versions.

You want to make sure before starting that automatic updates are turned off. Otherwise Opera will try to update you and will overwrite the browserjs file and will also turn off the setting that makes it possible to do this manually. In a worst case scenario Opera will install an Intel version of the browser. I've had that happen before.

OK. Go here. Using Opera of course. This is the check page to make sure you are running the latest.

Follow the instructions for enabling browserjs.

Go here. This is the repository for the latest browserjs files. Click on the button at the top marked ZIP. You will get a ZIP file containing all the browser.js files. Find the one you want (presumably from the desktop folder inside the zip file) and then follow the instructions below.

Go to your Opera Preferences. Mine are located here: Macintosh HD>Username>Users>~username>Library>Preferences>Opera Preferences. Find the file already there named browser.js and move it to a place safe. Rename the new file browser.js and copy it to the preferences.

Don't open the browser.js file, don't edit it, don't do anything with it other than rename it. It's self contained and any messing with it will cause it not to work.

Reload the first page I linked to above. If you have done this right you will see the new version number and the date of the change.

See the last pic and the first pic to compare dates and you'll see that I updated the browser.js file.
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Old Nov 28, 2012, 11:46 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
I have Glimmerblocker for when I am using webkit browsers. I use ABP for the same reason with the Mozilla browsers, but I'm also a heavy user of the Elements Hider for ABP. I sacrafice some speed for getting rid of annoying things like the entire chat system on Facebook. It equals out I think because my browser is no longer loading all the pictures of friends on chat.

Why did I think you'd ask that about Opera, lol.

Sure. It's not that hard. I'll grab some screen shots with it and post them back. Note, I mentioned it was userjs, but the actual term is browserjs. The concept is the same as browserjs is the file that even versions above 10.x use. Therefore, if you have the same file as the current version you have the same browserjs with all the modifications.

Note that that does not mean Opera 10.x will perform in the same way as the newer versions.

You want to make sure before starting that automatic updates are turned off. Otherwise Opera will try to update you and will overwrite the browserjs file and will also turn off the setting that makes it possible to do this manually. In a worst case scenario Opera will install an Intel version of the browser. I've had that happen before.

OK. Go here. Using Opera of course. This is the check page to make sure you are running the latest.

Follow the instructions for enabling browserjs.

Go here. This is the repository for the latest browserjs files. Click on the button at the top marked ZIP. You will get a ZIP file containing all the browser.js files. Find the one you want (presumably from the desktop folder inside the zip file) and then follow the instructions below.

Go to your Opera Preferences. Mine are located here: Macintosh HD>Username>Users>~username>Library>Preferences>Opera Preferences. Find the file already there named browser.js and move it to a place safe. Rename the new file browser.js and copy it to the preferences.

Don't open the browser.js file, don't edit it, don't do anything with it other than rename it. It's self contained and any messing with it will cause it not to work.

Reload the first page I linked to above. If you have done this right you will see the new version number and the date of the change.

See the last pic and the first pic to compare dates and you'll see that I updated the browser.js file.
Great post!
This is a cool Opera feature I didn't know about. Thank you again for your help.
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:07 PM   #20
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Wildy posted a way to enable permanent user agent spoofing for all browsers:

Link

It's a GlimmerBlocker filter that will make websites see your browsers as mobile Safari on iPad. In this way you will be able to easily access html5 media. It is also a particularly good way to use Google streetview without Flash (by the way, viewstreetnoflash.com doesn't work anymore).
If you want your browsers to behave like Classilla, you could use the Nokia N90 user agent instead of the iPad one.

I think that something similar could be done using Privoxy, which doesn't require Java and runs not only on Leopard but (if I remember correctly) on Panther, Tiger and Linux too. Unfortunately at the moment I can't dedicate time to experimenting with Privoxy...
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:21 PM   #21
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I say powerpc will be dead by the year 2014 by that time most websites will actually be using 11.5 and you won't be able to fake it anymore


For those of you (including me ) who will try to beat the odds and go on beyond that I wish you good luck
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Old Jan 6, 2013, 06:59 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by B-G View Post
Wildy posted a way to enable permanent user agent spoofing for all browsers:

Link

It's a GlimmerBlocker filter that will make websites see your browsers as mobile Safari on iPad. In this way you will be able to easily access html5 media. It is also a particularly good way to use Google streetview without Flash (by the way, viewstreetnoflash.com doesn't work anymore).
If you want your browsers to behave like Classilla, you could use the Nokia N90 user agent instead of the iPad one.

I think that something similar could be done using Privoxy, which doesn't require Java and runs not only on Leopard but (if I remember correctly) on Panther, Tiger and Linux too. Unfortunately at the moment I can't dedicate time to experimenting with Privoxy...
Mozilla based browsers, user agents. This.

Very easy to use and you can switch to whatever you want on the fly. You can also create your own user agent and add it.
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Old Jan 7, 2013, 07:41 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
Mozilla based browsers, user agents. This.

Very easy to use and you can switch to whatever you want on the fly. You can also create your own user agent and add it.
This should be very useful for people using TenFourFox on older macs. For example, using the Nokia N90 user agent it's immediate to find links to .3gp video files on mobile youtube.
Thank you!
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 07:12 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eyoungren View Post
Mozilla based browsers, user agents. This.

Very easy to use and you can switch to whatever you want on the fly. You can also create your own user agent and add it.
Guess our best bet is useragents.
There are sites that were supposed to be light and still lag on my G4: google groups, google reader...
I bet that with user agent for ipad or android it is fine.
Facebook is another one.
Another bet is turning the webapps into "native" apps like here:
http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1522414

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthre...ighlight=fluid

altough I guess it is not as effective as user agents.
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Old Jan 9, 2013, 07:27 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skinniezinho View Post
There are sites that were supposed to be light and still lag on my G4: google groups, google reader...
Google Groups is horrible on any G5 I've used it with. Lots of beachballs when using the back button.
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