Fun browser toy of the day: Turck Software’s MultiBrowser Bar is an app that uses IE5.5+/Win to make a better browser for multiple windows on a slow connection, but it may also be a better way to browse with multiple windows no matter what your connection speed.
MBB opens an Internet Explorer window covering most of the right side of the screen, with four (or more, or fewer, as you like) little windows in a stack along the lefthand side. Each little window has a close button, a right arrow button that will move it to the main window, shrinking the main window to a left-side preview window, a progress bar that shows loading progress and turns green when it’s far enough along to read, and a blurry but visible thumbnail of the page. Open a slow-loading page in the main window, and you can move one of the preview windows over to read while you wait for the new page to load.
That alone would be a killer feature for my, ah, less than ideal connection, but where it really gets cool for blog reading is when you find that it also captures any “open in new window” commands, whether it’s you doing it by shift-clicking or selecting “open in new window” from a right click, or the page author doing it for/to you. Either way, read through a blog opening the links in a new window, and you end up with the linked pages in thumbnail views along the left side. Move one over to read, and you’ve still got the original blog over among the thumbnails. It’s a little like the tabbed browsing in Mozilla or Crazy Browser, but without as much adjustment in browsing style, and with everything loading out in the open. MBB works just like my usual style of opening a dozen or two browser windows at a time, only now they are all visible (well, actually it looks like it only shows six windows in the thumbnail bar before it starts opening full-size new windows, but usually when I’ve got more windows than that open I’m already hopelessly confused).
Another good use: if you have several sites you routinely visit throughout the day (for me, something like my blogroll, the Blogger forum, the Movable Type forum, and blo.gs), you can set those up as your default minibrowser windows (hey, if the author can’t decide what to call them, how am I going to?), and then by just quitting and restarting (which is surprisingly quick), it’s like you have a half-dozen home pages to go back to, all at once.