First of all, thank you for today's update. It's just so nice to know that you keep-up. I'm recommending the Iron Browser all over the place... in forums, in comments beneath articles on web sites (such as LifeHacker, for example, and others), in Yahoo Answers... wherever I can. I just love it... especially the portable version. It's not only superior to Google Chrome, but it also allows me to have my own browser (on a thumb drive, on my keychain) no matter on whose machine I'm working, so that I don't disturb their browser settings, or contribute to their own browsers' history, cookies, etc. It's right up there among the best Internet-related things I've ever discovered or used. Thank you, so much, for your good work.
I have three (3) questions (or groups, thereof) and two (2) suggestions...
First question: What is the "NativeClient"? What does that mean?
Second question(s): Does the built-in ad-blocker mean that I needn't install the "AdBlock Plus" extension at all? And if I don't, then does your built-in ad-blocker get automatically updated? Or do I need to manually download the AdBlocker Plus list (from such as the AdBlock or EasyList web sites) and then copy/paste it into your "adblock.ini" file? And then, thereafter, is it purely a manual update (via copy/paste) process?
Third question(s): What is the best way to update the portable version? If I simply copy the entire updated version (with all its sub-folders) into my existing copy's folders, don't my personalized settings and whatnot get overwritten? What's the best way to update the portable version without screwing-up existing settings?
First suggestion: We who use Android phones really need Google's "Cloud Print" capability...
Wrench > Settings > Show Advanced Settings (at very bottom) > Google Cloud Print (in Chrome)
...which I don't see in at least version 18 of Iron Browser. And I also realize that the setting in Chrome immediately beneath that Cloud Print setting...
Wrench > Settings > Show Advanced Settings (at very bottom) > Background Apps (in Chrome)
...needs to also be checked if Cloud Print is to work; and that might seem antithetical to Iron PORTABLE usage (ostensibly because, for example, in the case of Iron Portable on my thumbdrive, it would be with me, on the thumb drive in my pocket whenever I leave the home/office but don't take the notebook computer with me and so one might wonder how it could stay running in the background under such circumstanes. However, I run Iron Portable Browser from a folder on my notebook; and then I keep that folder (and all sub-folders) in sync with what's on the aforementioned thumb drive so that when I leave the home/office, and take the thumbdrive with me, I can leave my notebook behind, continuing to run, and yet I still have the absolutely latest stuff from my most recent browser usage on the thumbdrive, with me. Then, when I return, I re-sync and then, at that point, whatever more current stuff got added while I was out in the field then gets reflected on my notebook. Under that circumstance, Iron could keep running in the background, like Chrome, and so could support "Cloud Printing." And I REALLY need "Cloud Printing."
Of course, the Chrome-involved alternative/workaround is kinda' okay, too: If I want "Cloud Printing" to work when I'm out in the field with my Android phone, and I leave my notebook behind and running (and connected to my printer so that Cloud Printing will work), all I really have to do is let Chrome run, with Cloud Printing turned on in it, yet never actually launch Chrome and use it as my browser. Unfortunately, that means I have to be logged-in to my Google account from two different browsers -- one of which (Chrome) is trying to log my every move -- and so things like being "invisible" in Gmail or Google+ doesn't work... but, then again, that already isn't working because I'm logged-in to my Google accounts using both Iron and my phone... which, even without also being logged-in to Chrome, kills the whole invisibility thing. So maybe it's no big deal to just let Chrome continue to be dedicated to handling "Cloud Printing" on my notebook, while I use Iron for my actual browser; but I just wanted to put the thought in your minds of investigating whether Iron Portable should also at least be capable of supporting Cloud Printing.
Second suggestion: The pop-up advertising (or whatever it is in the big dark blue box which covers most of the screen whenever one arrives at your web site) is VERY irritating. The reason I can't tell precisely what it is is because in addition to AdBlock Plus, I also use a HOSTS file (separate from any browser) to block ads, as well as Abine.com's "Do Not Track Plus"; and between the three of them, I cannot actually see what's in the big dark blue thing which paints itself across most of the screen whenever I land on your web site. And because my HOSTS file blocks the entirety of it, I can't even see what to click on to dismiss it. It's just a giant dark blue blank blob keeping me from seeing your site. I literally have to disable the HOSTS file, briefly, then flush the DNS cache, then do a hard-reload of your web page to at least see the little "x" in the upper-right corner of the dark blue blob so I can dismiss it. But the rest of my ad-blocking tools still keep me, even then, from seeing what is the actuall content and purpose of the big blue blob. And so, believe me, it's very, very irritating.
I cannot believe that you want to so irritate your loyal users. It's especially confusing, given that ad-blocking is one of your own product's salient benefits! It seems almost like a double-standard.
I do not know what you're advertising in that big dark blue box that pops-up (and which I must turn off part of my ad-blocking strategy in order to finally see the upper-right-corner "x" in order to dismiss) whenever I land on your site, but I humbly request -- nay, beg/implore -- you to remove it. Please find another way to advertise. Pop-ups have always been the second-most-objectionable way to advertise (adware-infected scripts or software which run in the background and pop-up ads or notices, often from the system tray, being the most objectionable). I cannot believe that you are engaging in it. If you are, I must say that I'm so disappointed. It materially affects my trust in you, in fact. Please don't do that.
Please advertise in some other way... like, for example, simply placing blocks of ads across the top or bottom, or down one side or the other of your web pages... like everyone else. Serious, zero-tolerant-of-ads geeks like me will still be able to block them, but at least they won't be so aggressive, in-my-face, and objectionable! Stop and think about it, your big dark-blue box isn't working with the likes of me, either. I still see the box, but I don't see its contents; and even if I turn off the ad-blocking HOSTS file, all it does is make it so that I can finally see the "x" in the upper-rightmost corner so that I can finally dismiss it.
Usablility study after usabilitiy study shows us that all that aggressive advertising accomplishes is angering site visitors. Those who can see the ads are angered because they can see the ads; and those who can't see the ads (like me) are angered because we can't dismiss them without lowering at least part of our security... and that just makes us even angrier than those who can see the ads. Those who refuse to see the ads will always get what they want; and web sites which try to circumvent their efforts do little more than alienate those who otherwise love said web sites and their products and/or services. It's a battle of wills which the end-user who knows what he's doing (like me, for example) will always ultimately win.
If you insist on ads, then place them the normal way... in boxes and banners right on your pages. Yes, people like me will never see them, but others who don't know how to block the ads will. And they are probably enough. Think of it in the same way that most people in the security industry think of door locks, to wit: Door locks are just for honest people. True criminals will get in anyway; and so keeping-out those who are honest (and so who respect the fact that the door is locked) has to be enough. Similarly, ads are for the majority of people who don't know how to block them, and so that, too, has to be enough, because you'll never stop those like me who know how to keep every single ad off my screen, no matter what. In fact, someone with my kind of skill can even circumvent such as the New York Times's limit on the number of articles which a person may read online per month, or such as Microsoft's incessant validation of its installed software, using a simple (but admittedly well-crafted using advanced techniques) HOSTS file, and nothing else. And I am far from the only person out there who has such skills.
Is it your desire, by your attempt at forcing whatever it is that's in the big dark-blue box which you force onto the screen whenever I first hit your web site, to anger and alienate your loyal users among those of us who have such skills? Really? Because if that's your goal, then it's counter to the whole point of the very privacy and ad-blocking features which you tout in the Iron Browser!
Again, I don't know what's in the big dark-blue box. Even if I turn off the HOSTS file so that I can at least see the "x" to dismiss it, my other ad-blocking tools still block the big dark-blue box's content. And so I admit that I may be misjudging you; that what you put into said big dark-blue box isn't advertising at all; that maybe it's something good...
...but the problem is that no matter what it is, the method of delivery by means of popping-up the big dark-blue box, and forcing it in front of the user's eyes, is just wrong. If it weren't, then blocking pop-ups, regardless of content, would not be an option in literally every browser ever made.
Pop-ups are bad. You know you shouldn't use them, no matter what you're trying to tell us in them. So please stop. Please.
Gregg L. DesElms
Napa, California USA
gregg at greggdeselms dot com