Monday, July 07, 2008

Firefox and the F Word

I've been using Firefox since version 1.0 - and, in general, I like it a lot over by old default browser - Internet Exploder. Version 2.x was cooll - although a bit heavy on the memory usage and it could be a bit sluggish at times. All-in-all - pretty good.

Then I "upgraded" to Firefox 3. At first blush, the rendering is fine, the speed is a bit better than 2.x, the UI has some improvements that are nice - but the BEST feature is the new automated crash-and-burn feature.

This terrific new addition is really fun and was probably added to shake up the web surfer's day and remind them that they should take daily (or twice-daily) breaks and interact with other humans.

At least Firefox saves your session information. If not for this truly great feature - I would have chucked my laptop through the wall by now. Firefox just seems to crash now - for no apparent reason. Click a tab once - OK. Click a tab twice - bye bye. Open a file once - OK. Open a different file - OK. Open a new link in a tab - BOOM.

I admit I'm a tab-aholic and have 10-20 tabs open at a time - but, hey, I did in Firefox 2.x as well. My browsing habbits haven't changed - the only thing that has is my browser.

So, I had a BRILLIANT idea - I'll just start using Safari. So that's what I've been doing over the past week.

Or at least tried to do.

Once you get over the sort of Mac-like goofy UI renderings of buttons and the glow around the active entry field and the terrible fonts for the menus and the horrible too-dark "metal" header - it's actually not a bad browser.

One thing I will say for sure - it's the absolute FASTEST browser I've ever used. The speed is almost embarassing. Sites pop up really fast - and even with zero browsing history and zero cached graphics - this thing cooks. It does take a little longer to load a new (never visited site) - but once it loads - it seems to have cached everything in the site.

So I thought to myself - YEAH! OK, a new browser, I can do this. I started to move a few bookmarks over - and entered some passwords to some of my many username-required sites - and that's when I started missing some of the features that I take for granted in Firefox.

Like: password protection for auto-entering user information on sites.

The next one was the deal breaker: I shut down my laptop (with the browser running) - and just expected that the next time I launched - it would just restore itself. I had maybe 10 tabs open. Nope.

I mean, it's not the end of the world or anything - but I've gotten so used to be able to just restore my last session (I often keep tabs open for days until I read the story, finish my research on a topic, etc) - that not being able to do that became a real pain.

Plus, the rendering and the fonts used - while readable and well-rendered - were just not... ummm... "normal." Sites viewed in IE, Firefox, and Opera looked, well... a little Mac-ed up. It's nothing that I'm sure I couldn't get used to in time - but old habits die hard.

And so do cookies. And passwords. And browsing history.

When all was said-and-done - I really wanted to use Safari as my primary browser - but I just couldn't.

Now I'm back to Firefox 3 - and I have convinced myself that those "daily reminders" (or more) are actually a benefit. They remind me to get up and take a pee...

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