Categories
Uncategorized

Chrome fails again – back to Firefox

Every now and then I buy into the hype about how “fast” Chrome is and how much better it is than Firefox and how Firefox’s only advantage is its many extensions. Then I actually try to use Chrome as my main browser and realize how badly implemented it is for my purposes. More details on that from last year’s post The extension that makes Google Chrome bearable, but I left off that list this bit of annoyance: Are you sure you want to open 31 tabs?

I’ve done some Google searching on this, and there appears to be no way to turn off this warning. I have daily bookmarks I open… every day. And they’re stored in one folder I right-click to open all at once. I don’t really need Nanny Chrome asking me every time if I’m sure I want to open all those bookmarks. Thank you, Firefox, for remaining an amazing browser that does everything I need it to.

Categories
Uncategorized

The extension that makes Google Chrome bearable

I’ve heard a lot of people extolling the virtues of the Google Chrome browser. I tried it a few times. I even tried to make it my default browser for a couple of months. It didn’t last long, even though there are a lot of good things about it.

Here’s what I like about Google Chrome:

  1. Like Firefox and Opera, it’s cross-platform (works on Windows, Mac, and Linux).
  2. It loads pages quickly.
  3. Tab switching is fast. Sometimes in Firefox if you have too many tabs open, there is a slight delay before the page will show up after you switch to an even already-loaded page.
  4. The status bar (well, at least to show you what URL you’re hovering over) pops up only on hover. This is great for netbooks, which have scant vertical screen real estate.
  5. Extension installation or theme changing doesn’t require a browser restart.
  6. Private browsing can be opened in a new window that operates simultaneously with the regular browsing session. This is very handy for testing what your Google profile or Amazon wishlist looks like to the outside world without having to disrupt your workflow.

Ah, but here is what I don’t like:

  1. Even though it generally loads pages up quickly, every now and then the loading just hangs in the middle. This has happened to me in both Windows and Linux, on two separate computers with two separate internet connections.
  2. If you download a file, a little download progress bar pops up at the bottom of the browser. When the download is finished, though, the bar doesn’t disappear.
  3. Theoretically, Flash crashing one tab shouldn’t affect any of the other tabs, but I’ve experienced Flash suddenly turning into a frowny face, and having that happen in every single Chrome window (apparently, it’s the Flash plugin itself that’s failing and not any particular page, but this has happened to me in only Chrome, not Firefox).
  4. The address bar will recognize URLs if I start typing the beginning of the URL, but if I start typing the middle of it or some other key phrase, sometimes it’ll bring up the URL I’m looking for, and sometimes it won’t.
  5. Some sites do not behave well with the middle-click on Chrome (WordPress tag surfing, for example… sometimes Google News). Instead of opening in a new tab, the site will insist on opening the link in the same tab.
  6. I don’t have enough money to buy a proper site certificate for my websites, so when I use https for certain things on my own websites, I get a security warning. In Firefox, I can just install the Mismatched Domains extension to avoid this warning. In Chrome, I have no choice but to just put up with the extra click to get through the warning.
  7. The tab behavior in Chrome doesn’t work with the way I browse websites.

This last point was really my biggest pet peeve. I realize I’m in the minority here, but even if that is the default behavior, I should have the option to switch it. Now that the Modified Tab Ordering Chrome extension has come out, Chrome is finally bearable for me. I understand the reasoning behind opening tabs next to the current tab instead of at the very right. Supposedly it helps you not to lose track of tabs when you have too many. Whatever. If you don’t want to lose track of a tab you just opened, open it in the foreground instead of the background (Control-Shift-Click).

This is the way I surf: I have a bunch of root links I visit every day. I open them all at once from my bookmarks. Then I middle-click or Control-click the sublinks I’m interested in. Those sublinks all appear on the far right. Once I’m done closing all the root links, I can finally read all the sublinks. With the Chrome default behavior, I would have to either read all of the first root link’s sublinks and then go to the next root link, or deliberately skip over all those sublinks to get over to the next root link. That’s not the way I do things.

Thanks to Brad Dwyer for making this extension available!

Categories
Web Browsers

Bookmark Organization in Browsers

The other day I was talking with a Windows-using friend. She’s using an old laptop of ours, as her newer laptop is having various hardware and software issues. I noticed she was using Chrome, and I asked her how she liked it. She liked it for the most part, except she didn’t like how Google wouldn’t let her organize her own bookmarks. She said she can’t imagine it would be that difficult. I told her it was probably quite the opposite. Google’s “smart” bookmarking in Chrome (with the most frequently visited and most recently visited sites showing up in the Opera-like speed dial page) is probably more difficult to implement (from a programming perspective) than the more traditional bookmark style (organize it yourself).

She then described to me how she organizes her bookmarks, and I was fascinated by her way of thinking about sites. She organizes them based on action (see, shop, read, share, etc.). I organize mine in kind of a strange way too. My bookmarks I organize by how often I view them. So I have a folder full of “weekly” bookmarks and a folder full of “daily” bookmarks. Inside the daily ones, I have my Bloglines reader, which contains all the sites I would ordinarily bookmark except that they have RSS feeds, so I’d prefer Bloglines to keep me informed of when they update instead. So every day, I open all the sites in my daily folder in tabs, and every week I open my weekly bookmarks in tabs. And any non-bookmarked site I visit I just use Google or Firefox’s own “smart” address bar to find.

How do you all (my small set of loyal readers—thanks for visiting!) organize your bookmarks? Or do you bother organizing them at all? Or do you even have bookmarks?

Categories
Web Browsers

Already switching back to Firefox from Google Chrome

When Google Chrome hit the scene a little while ago, I was excited. Scott McCloud’s online comic book (although confusing at times) was a good sell on Chrome’s features, and I particularly liked the way it handles each tab as a separate process.

Immediately, on my computer at work, I installed Chrome and started using it as my default browser. The speed was amazing. In terms of rendering pages, it seemed to be as fast as Opera, and the interface responsiveness made it seem even faster. I also dug how Chrome’s version of the “speed dial” was dynamic based on the pages you’ve visited (in Opera’s you have to set the speed dial pages manually).

But, alas, Chrome (like Opera) has annoying tab behavior. It opens new tabs next to the current tab. That doesn’t work well with how I browse. I like to open links in new tabs at the end of the row so that I can get to them eventually. I don’t like to switch to them right away after closing the current tab. I tried to put up with it for a while, but Firefox is the browser that works with my style. Maybe someone will come up with a preference hack for Chrome that will change the tab behavior. Until then, I’ll remain a Firefox user.

Categories
Web Browsers

I can’t say I’m a fan of this new keyboard shortcut in Firefox

You’re not going to convince me not to use Firefox. I’m allowed to rant about it without people trying to push other browsers on me. I’ve already tried Opera, Konqueror, Epiphany, Galeon, Dillo, Lynx, and Ka… Kaha… whatever that other browser is.

Sigh.

That stupid new Control-Q keyboard shortcut, though. Control-W (close tab) is a regular part of my browsing experience. I open tabs. I close tabs. But then Firefox recently added in Control-Q (quit Firefox) as a keyboard shortcut. It sounds like a good idea. I’m actually a big fan in general of the Cmd-Q (Mac OS X) and Control-Q (KDE) approach. There should be a relatively easy way to quit an application (Alt-F4 is not a comfortable keyboard combination for me).

But, of course, Control-Q (quit Firefox) is now right next to Control-W (close tab), and I often find myself quitting when I want to just close a tab. Yes, I know I can have Firefox confirm when I want to close, but I don’t want it to confirm… I just don’t want it to close. If someone knows of an about:config trick to turn off Control-Q, let me know. In the meantime, I have Firefox set to open with the same tabs from my last session.

Categories
Apple and Mac OS X Computers Linux Ubuntu Web Browsers Windows

Firefox 3 Download Day: Good Publicity Stunt

Unless you keep up with tech news, you may have missed it, but this past Tuesday was “download day,” in which Mozilla was hoping to set a world record for downloads by encouraging its users to download Firefox 3 on its release day.

I don’t think there was actually a previously held world record, and I’m not sure how meaningful the 8 million number means. It doesn’t mean there are 8 million users, only 8 million downloads. I myself, did three downloads that day. There was someone on the Ubuntu Forums who did seven downloads. There may have even been people writing scripts to download Firefox. Who knows?

But let’s just say there were 8 million unique downloaders. So what? According to Internet World Stats, only a little more than 1/5 of the world population has internet access. That means only 0.6% of internet users downloaded Firefox on download day. If we were to assume that the entire world had internet access, that’d drop the percentage down to 0.1% of users who downloaded that day.

Those numbers aren’t very encouraging. Actually, they aren’t discouraging either. They’re pretty much meaningless, as we know the Firefox web browser marketshare is anywhere between 10% and 50%, depending on the country.

All it means is that most Firefox users had no clue there was a download day. They just went about their daily lives actually using Firefox instead of re-downloading it. Still, it was a good publicity stunt… at least for those who do read the tech news. It made the front page of the technology section of Google News practically every day this week. I don’t think any download record will ever mean anything, but you’ve got to hand it to those Mozilla folks for getting some good hype.

Categories
Linux Ubuntu Web Browsers Windows

Why is Firefox in Windows better than Firefox in Linux?

I like Firefox. I use it at work. I use it at home. I get annoyed when I have to use other people’s computers and they don’t have Firefox installed. I have to say, though, as a three-year Linux user, that Firefox on Linux sucks, and that there’s absolutely no good reason for this suckage.

Here’s what sucks about Firefox on Linux:

  • Flash crashes. Yes, I know this is an Adobe problem and not a Firefox (or Ubuntu or whatever distro you use) problem, but it’s still a problem, and it’s annoying. It sucks. There are generally times of stability. Every now and then, though, Flash will crash on you. I’ve found this often happens when you have a lot of tabs open and try to close the last tab that’s open that has Flash embedded in it.
  • Tab jumping uses Alt instead of Control. In Windows, it’s cool to jump to the fifth tab by pressing Control-5 or to jump to the second tab by presing Control-2. In Linux, you have to press Alt-5 or Alt-2. Not as cool. It makes for awkward hand positioning, where I have to took my thumb or pinky under my hand.
  • Click doesn’t select the whole URL. This doesn’t bother me that much, as I generally use keyboard shortcuts (F6 or Control-L), and I know the setting can be changed in about:config, but a lot of new users get confused and frustrated by this behavior, and it’s annoying for it not to be the default.
  • Flash interrupts scrolling. If you have a middle-scroll button or finger-scroll touchpad, your cursor will stop dead in its tracks when it hits an embedded Flash element. Doesn’t happen in Windows, just Linux.

I guess that’s it. It’s not as bad as I thought it would be—a rather short list, but the Adobe Flash-related ones are particularly annoying. Ah, Adobe…