The other Reset feature

by Francois Joseph de Kermadec

Camino and Safari both have a very different view on what "Reset" means. Two very interesting approaches with very different effects for their users indeed.

11 Comments

Patrice
2006-02-21 02:44:33
Thanks for your insights. Didn't know about the difference.


Personally, I don't even allow my friends to use my user account without me watching over their shoulder. I have a guest account on my PC (password protected as well) for such cases and of course for testing stuff on a clean state. But I'm quite paranoid.

FJ
2006-02-21 02:50:05
Patrice,


Thanks for taking the time to post. Yes, I would also direct my friend to a separate account for such purposes.


FJ

Mike A
2006-02-21 07:18:03
I guess the best solution would be to add these options to the confirmation dialog that Safari pops up. Just simply hav some tick boxes for each thing.


Personally I would like to be able to reset things such as the caches and passwords, but leave my actual preferences intact.

Russ
2006-02-21 08:50:05
Although, I must say... if I let a friend use my machine and then they "reset" my browser, I'd be way pissed off... cos not only would it clear their stuff, it would clear mine too and I'd have to beat them down. I'd ask them to use the private browsing feature while they were on there to accomplish much the same time without effing up my browser.


A secondary account is good to have. The reset feature is very handy though - great panic button for work in case you've been on eBay or Craigslist a few too many times that day or if you've got a nosey significant other. ;)

rufferto
2006-02-21 08:50:14
Both behaviors sound nice. Maybe add a checkbox in a dialog or a preference setting or just a separate command? However it is easy enough to create an account for someone and delete it afterwards. That would be my recommendation for guests on your computer. And with fast user switching you don't even have to log out of your own account to do it.
j
2006-02-21 11:29:40
great, but i hate losing my autofill and passwords since it's my computer for single use. If only I could launch two instances of Safari. One would be mine with all of my settings, and require a password to launch, the other would be for testing sites, surfing to unseemingly sites or for guest use. This would essentially be the equivalent of an MS Office Identity. Oh hey, Netscape does this, and it's annoying with it's launch dialog box. It's also an extremely painful file structure - don't try to rebuild a crashed Netscape profile, it will take all day.


If someone were to do Profiles + "full" reset correctly, that would be the holy grail!

sjk
2006-02-21 14:54:27
I've wondered why Private Browsing in Safari doesn't have a preference for keeping it enabled between sessions.
bb
2006-02-22 06:30:05
thats why i made a GUEST account and enabled fast user switching. no more worrying about friends browsing while you're...say...on a beer run. :-)
Jochen Wolters
2006-02-22 10:02:55
Hah! Finally you published something, FJ, that I can whole heartedly disagree with! ;)


Generally speaking, any application feature that is related to safety should deliver on the promise of being as safe as possible. For the "Reset" command, this means that every bit of personal information stored by the app should be deleted. Consequently, as to your question "who is right" about this feature, Safari does get it right, and Camino does not.


If all you want to do is clear out some of the personal data trails, you can easily do that without having to resort to the all-or-nothing Reset command. Unfortunately, deleting specific data items in Safari is a real pain, because the commands for this are placed all over the app, e.g., in the History menu, in the Autofill and Security tabs in the prefs, etc.


The most user-friendly solution to this whole issue that I have seen so far is found in Firefox: release 1.5 of this browser offers a dialog box which you can open via a menu item in the Extras menu, and in which you simply check or uncheck the types of personal data you'd like to delete. Once you've completed your checking and unchecking, clicking a single button cleans out those bits and bytes. Of course, Firefox remembers your selection, and it can even automatically bring up this dialog box when you quit Firefox. Great UI design, this!

FJ
2006-02-22 10:57:41
Hi Jochen!


LOL! Thanks for taking the time to post!


You are right in pointing out the Firefox way as it probably is the best compromise between flexibility and overall security for the careless user. I do believe however Camino's dialog is reasonably legible which makes its default partial deletion less of an issue than one might think.


FJ

Reg
2006-02-22 11:50:59
Of course the sensible thing is to have options for each type of data to clear (passwords, cache, form data etc). The current functionality would be preserved as the default and people who want the power would have it.


However, adding more options like the above to the interface would complicate things - and Apple don't like making interfaces any more complicated.


Sometimes this makes me think that Macs are held back by the "simplicity"/"just works for any grandma" interface design constraint.