Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
March 8th, 2003


Pulling our collective legs?

This is old news, but an Irish 16-year-old named Adnan Osmani claims that he’s created a “mega-browser” that quadruples browsing speed, integrates every media player into it, and (get this) uses Microsoft Internet Explorer to accomplish it:

The browser is based on the version of Microsoft Internet Explorer that third-party developers use. But rather than using Visual Basic, Osmani used an older language called Borland C++, which meant he also had to use some Microsoft tools to translate from one language to another.

That Internet Explorer part should tip you off. You can’t make a good web browser with it. I’ve tried. Of course, he didn’t do it in Visual Basic like I (foolishly) did. He translated everything into Borland C++, which is supposed to add thousands of extra lines to the code. How is his program supposed to be that fast, then?

The most telling part of the story, for me, is that he’s so secretive about it. He claims that this is so he can patent his work, but still, his secrecy is pretty suspicious, and he claims that he doesn’t care how suspicious we get. Oh well. All I’ve seen so far is one screenshot. And, from the looks of it, I don’t want to download it.

There is one idea I like about this browser, though: it has an animated character named Phoebe in it:

The character interacts the entire way through the software. It can also read out Web pages and e-mail and I thought it would be really useful for the blind and young children because they can't really experience the Internet.

Someone like parents or guardians can load up some Web pages and it can read out the pages to them.

Phoebe works kinda like Clippy and those other assistants in Microsoft Office. She can read webpages aloud, which is pretty helpful for the blind. I remember once having the idea of adding such an assistant into a browser, but I got off that idea for lack of tools.

This entry, by the way, was posted one year to the day after this blog was first launched.


  1. Adnan Osmani, creator of the “megabrowser” Xwebs, says he’s sped up his browser even more, and is looking to patent it.