Think different? Cyberdog is.
by Mary Grimsley
Note: This article was written in August of 1998. Many of the links are no longer active. However, you may visit Mary's Cyberdog Stuff web site to find more recent links and information.
Want to know a little about an unusual piece of Mac software? Software which remains a secret from most people? It's a different kind of browser: Apple Computer, Inc.'s Cyberdog. Actually, Cyberdog is an unusual browser--but it's also an unusual e-mailer, newsreader, and a telnet, FTP and Gopher client too. If you're not entirely happy with the collection of apps you use for these purposes, consider checking out Cyberdog; you might want to use some or all of its parts.
Ever wished you didn't have to wait all day on your browser's back button? Click on Cyberdog's back button at the top of the browser window! The back and forward arrows both work instantly, even if you have disabled the cache. (Instant sounds too good to be true; you'll just have to see it to believe it!)
The log (available through a pulldown menu) is a CyberItem record for sites visited over a number of days. You can display the Log almost instantly, and it's so easy that way to find and return to some site you went to last week.
There are lots of other functions you may never have figured could be made easy; it takes no time to click the Cookies enabler on and off, for example; or to click the "Toss Cookies" button. Most pages load faster--much faster--for me with Cyberdog than the other browsers I'd used before. This is largely because Cyberdog does a good job of displaying all the text and HTML links first--making it easy to get a head start on using the web page before all the graphics have finished downloading.
Cyberdog is intuitive to use, much as the Mac is intuitive. It's almost more Mac-like than the Mac itself; the other browsers, even on a Mac, always reminded me somewhat of my old PC days. With a Mac browser, I figure, you ought to be able to play around and figure things out--structure them in different ways for yourself. Configuring Cyberdog is mostly a matter of playing around and looking around.
Cyberdog eliminates the homepage browser startup. If you wanted to, you could always click on one single site every time to start the browser--but I can't imagine wanting to; I used to hate the time lost in having to go to the same page every time I wanted only to go to a certain other spot on the Internet--like having to first go to the drugstore in order to take a walk in the park.
The Cyberdog browser (and the rest of that mouthful of other functioning parts) are integrated into the Mac operating system via OpenDoc editors. You don't need to know a thing about OpenDoc to use Cyberdog. Just be happy knowing that the OpenDoc architecture allows it to operate with a smaller RAM footprint than it would ordinarily need.
I can't think of anything you need to know before starting to use Cyberdog. Do you like to drag and drop? That's a lot of what you'll do with Cyberdog. . . Drag a double-clickable sound file to a message window, for instance. Or drag selected pictures or portions of pictures, which Cyberdog will show along with the text, like a newspaper. Or you might drag into a message window a graphics file, which your recipient can usually double-click to open.
You'll surely drag lots of URL CyberItems to a notebook, and you'll likely drag many CyberItems from your notebook to an email message. Or drag an alias of any file anywhere on your hard disk into a notebook for quick access while browsing the Internet. The notebooks are quite a convenient scheme for going places with Cyberdog!
You don't have to use a notebook at all if you don't want to. A regular Finder folder anywhere on the hard drive also works well; you can put your CyberItems wherever you want to and they'll work. They work great in the Apple Menu too.
I really like the way the notebooks look, as well as many of the menu options associated with them, though I do use regular folders some too. A notebook stores URL's--both internal and external--remarkably efficiently. My largest notebook, for example, uses only 119 k to store 353 double-clickable CyberItems organized within 29 categories.
If you're attached to a pulldown bookmarks scheme, you can have that with a $10 shareware add-on from Hutchings Software: Rapid-I Bookmarks. I use that too; it works well.
My favorite Cyberdog part is the e-mail part.
You have to see it to believe it!
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