November 6, 2005

Browser Bash

I'm watching Black Hawk Down today. A really great film in my opinion. The things that happened during the events that this film is based on were hard to swallow. The soundtrack to this film is awesome as well, one I think I will probably purchase eventually.

Anyway, sitting here with the movie playing in the background I am messing around with the many browsers I've downloaded. The internet browser is in probably as many homes as the television these days. Most people don't realize what is available to them, they usually just use what comes on their Operating System, and since that the majority of the world today used Microsoft Windows their main browser is Internet Explorer (IE or, if you've done much web development, Internet Exploder). It just goes to show that just because everybody used it doesn't make it the best. Probably one of the worst browsers to use is IE yet it still holds well over the majority of the browser market.

Currently my personal favorite is Firefox. A browser that has it's roots in an open source company named the Mozilla Foundation. Firefox is a very customizable browser and with it's roots in teh open source community it has tons of techy computer nerds out there just cranking out useful and easy to install extensions. They have incorporated the highly requested tabbed browsing ability (a favorite alternative browser feature for years before Firefox for the tech junkies out there). Tabbed browsing helps you keep your desktop free from multiple windows and helps save system resources by not having 10 or more IE windows open. Firefox is very easy to begin using and has a very light download (if you are dial up it still seems big, but it could be worse). Live Feed Bookmarks are also a nice things about Firefox. If you use any sort of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader or service then you'll love the ability Firefox gives you to add live feeds to your favorites and view the latest headlines you're interested in without having to go directly to the site. There are many other features and extensions that I love about Firefox but I have other browsers to talk about and I don't want to make this post any longer than it has to be.

Before Firefox began I used several different alternative browsers. Mozilla's orginal browser that came with the Mozilla Suite was ok, but pretty much a clone of Netscape Navigator. What I don't like about Mozilla and Navigator is that they have a pretty large resource footprint and load time. They are relics of the mammoth browser age and I really prefer not to use them.

Over the years I've also used Opera several times. Opera is probably one of the more mature browsers around, being older than internet explorer. The people behind Opera have done a pretty good job at keeping it sleek and efficient. Rivaling Firefox at page load speed this browser has had a pretty solid following over the years. Until within the last couple of months the biggest set back that held Opera at bay was that they didn't offer their standard product for free. They offered a free version, but it was riddled with an ad banner that was pretty tough to get rid of. Many people didn't want to pay to use the standard version, so they either toughed out the ads or just settled for a free browser.

Recently I've come accross a new browser that is just getting it's start in the world, Flock. The Flock community has based this new Web 2.0 browser on Firefox and added some pretty nifty tools that come standard on the browser. If you blog any then you may consider this browser (although you may want to wait at least until they release a more mature version, currently they're at version 0.4.10). They have a built in blogging interface that currenlty works with most major blogging services, and with intentions to work with most others. One thing that is neat but not useful to me is that their bookmarks are integrated with, if you use that it's good, if you're like me it isn't very useful. This browser is very young but I expect it to pick up pace as it matures.

Until next time,
Les Martin

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