Student Pad needs more schoolin'

Alternative browser looks to be built on IE, combining a robust notepad with diminished Web browsing. It sounds like an interesting project, but the execution of it as it is now shows that there's room for improvement.

This alternative browser looks to be built on Internet Explorer, combining a robust notepad with diminished Web browsing. Freeware Student Pad splits the browser and notepad horizontally, so that the top half of window is for taking notes and the bottom half is for surfing the web. It sounds like an interesting project, but the execution of it as it is now shows that there's room for improvement. There's also no documentation on the browser's source, although it uses Favorites so I'm assuming it's based on IE.

It's a good idea, with an execution that is clearly still in development and more novelty than anything else. There are some nifty student-based needs addressed here. There's a built-in calculator with square-root functionality, calendar, bibliography template, e-mail client with Gmail and Hotmail hooks, MDI editor, and a basic spate of browsing features. The notepad lives on top of the browser, emphasizing both workflow and feature set.

The browser is really what stops Student Pad from joining the workforce as a tolerable alternative browser. You can change your font, adjust the text and background colors, mark favorites, and view the source code. A helpful icon--the sheets of paper--copies and pastes the URL you're looking at directly into the notepad.

However, the browser itself doesn't work as smoothly as it should. It's slow to load pages, sluggish when scrolling, and reluctantly lets you jump into other programs. A lack of tooltips makes getting acclimated a struggle. Modern browsing features such as tabs and a download manager are not supported, and advanced security enhancements are present only in a "web security indicator" that doesn't seem to work.

There are some interesting tweaks here, including rolling most features under the Tools menu. Perhaps the program will become significantly better in the next major update, planned for April 10. For right now, Student Pad remains an interesting curiosity--but nothing more.

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