Putting this here as an all-in-one post to refer back to for when I need to grab All The Things after an OS reinstall or whatever.
First off, I got banned from Browsershots years ago for writing a post about them - no, not this one. Ever since then, when I try to use their website, I get a box back saying they don't accept adult or gambling sites. Pics or it didn't happen, right? Trust me, teh pornz and gambling, they never happened, though I'll take bets on how long they'll keep me banned. On the one hand, they're a great service, probably the best free service out there.
On the other, they give you not just nag warnings about disabling your adblocker in order to use their site, but poorly written ones. Pointing out not just the nag warning but the atrocious diction of it was what got me banned. I could go on about how poorly worded their contact form is, too, but since I refuse to use it to ask them to lift the ban, I'll leave it alone.
So! The problem ever since has been, how can I watch Internet Exploder break things if I can't use Browsershots and don't use XP? Yes, there's virtual machines (and no, I still have not tried them). And yes, there's NetRenderer, and it's OK. And yes, there are other services that let IE blow things up, as well. But I also like watching KHTML and OSX browsers and every other version of Opera on any OS eat my blog for lunch. Which makes me laugh.
So ideological_cuddle and I have been around this a few times. He likes Browserstack, but I don't want to pay for anything, which rules out most of what it has to offer. Most other unpaid services are just crap and I'm a snob, and NetRenderer is limited to IE, so I began googling last night after seeing Browsershots still calls me an adult or gambling site (it's almost a slur) and came upon Browser Screenshots.
It's powered by Browserstack, and while limited in scope, offers a decent (let's say "starter") range of devices to test on: IE11, Chrome 42, Fx37, and Opera 12.16 on Win 8.1, Safari 7.1 on OSX Mavericks and Safari 6 on OSX Lion, IE8, IE9 and IE10 on Win 7, IE6 and IE7 on XP, Nexus 6 and Nexus 9 on Android 5, and the iPhone 6 and iPad Air on iOS 8.3. The only problem is IE7, IE9 and IE10 won't download anything; the spaces for the pages just stay blank.
But until the day I don't get unbanned because if you're going to ask me to disable my adblocker, at least do so in fairly coherent English, and until the day I don't pay for Browserstack, I guess it will do.
Between that, NetRenderer, the View Responsive Layouts tool in Firefox's Web Dev add-on, and the fact that I currently use someone else's Android tablet, my own Windows phone, can fire up a tiny, old Android phone I keep merely for frustration's sake, and have All The Browsers on my laptop, I guess I've got most Windows, some Android, and a tiny bit of Apple covered.
I still like watching Linux/open-source browsers blow my blog to bits, though, and I still, outside of Browsershots, don't have a really good answer for that.
This all loosely relates to the fact that a big part of what you see on your screen ties into what name your browser gives to websites it visits. Browsers have all sorts of names for themselves, to the point that they might as well have no names at all. Useful to know for web design, where targeting one browser - when user-agent strings are becoming a catch-all for every rendering engine there is - can seriously screw things up in another.
Which is a whole 'nother post on how user agent strings and vendor prefixes all need to die that I'm probably not going to write.