Open Up the Platform!

News is now spreading across blogs that Apple has finally approved Opera Mini for the iPhone. (Need it? Get it for free in the iTunes store.)

So what does this hold for the future? In the short term, I hope this means Firefox for the iPhone. I like Firefox, and I’ve been hoping to see an iPhone version for some time. For the long term, does this mean that Apple is changing its stance on apps?

For those who don’t know, Apple has officially been opposed to apps that duplicate core iPhone functionality. That has been interpreted to mean that since the iPhone has a built-in e-mail client, you can’t make another one for it. Since the iPhone has a built-in telephone application, you can’t make another one for it. Since the iPhone has a built-in web browser . . . well . . . you get the picture.

Given all that history, the fact that the Opera Mini web browser is now available for the iPhone, could be huge. Or it could be nothing. At the very least, it could be a sign of Apple opening the door for some changes. However, as many developers have experienced, Apple can slam doors just as quickly as it opens them.

I’ve played around with Opera Mini, and I’m not impressed yet even though I like the tabs. Opera Mini actually seems a little slower than Safari on my phone, although others are experiencing better results. Faster or slower though, I hope that Opera’s approval by the App Store reviewers bodes well for things to come.

One Toolbar Too Many

I ran across a strange problem today. The computer at the reference desk couldn’t access our SharePoint server using just the server name, but it could access it if we used the full hostname. I saw this problem with all of our computers during the initial setup, and I solved this problem by adding a public URL as outlined here.

This time though, it was just the one computer. Every time we tried to browse by the server’s name, IE did an AOL search on the name rather than resolving the name locally on our intranet. NSLOOKUP returned the correct IP address when I tried searching for the short name as well as the full hostname. Firefox worked just fine with the short name. It seemed then that the computer knew what to do, and the problem was occurring only in IE.

AOL was defined as the default search engine in IE. I tried changing that to Google just to see if it made any difference. Strangely enough the browser still searched for the server name on AOL. I tried deleting all search providers except Google, but IE still ran an AOL search. After we dug around a bit more, we found that AIM Toolbar was installed on the reference desk computer. We uninstalled the toolbar, and everything was back to normal.

Yeah, there are some good browser toolbars and add-ons, but a bad one can really gum up the works!