Wow, that was fast. It was only in April that I was giving my review of Firefox 4 and now Mozilla is already releasing the Firefox 5 browser. Is there a major problem with Firefox 4? As it turns out, no.
It turns out this is the plan by Mozilla and the way they’re going to be doing things from now on; at least until they get tired of doing it this way (that’s my prediction). Their expectation is to have a new release every 3 months to try to better keep up with quick and ever-changing web technologies. The fact that, in my opinion, Firefox 4 was much better than Firefox 3 (though one of my friends differs on that view) and now we’re switching to something else is slightly irksome, but it’s hard to gripe about someone that actually keeps improving on things that we’re not paying for, unlike my rant in January about many things being new and unimproved.
What’s new in this release? Other than a few cosmetic changes the only thing I’ve heard about is a few bug fixes. Frankly, that leaves me less than impressed, but it might turn out to be a big deal. This time around I haven’t heard anyone talking about reducing how Firefox hogs resources, and that’s a major difference in past browser updates. Also, I wish someone would work on updating the Adblock Plus add-on to better help us block things we don’t like such as popups and the like.
And, based on the speed that we’re now going to see, we can look forward to Firefox 6 and Firefox 7 coming out before the end of the year or possibly at the beginning of January; gush! This is the way things are going, so it’s probably a waste of time asking what your thoughts are about the speed of coming changes, but I’m going to do it anyway; how do you feel about all of this?
Firefox and I have always had a love – less love kind of relationship. I left Netscape for Firefox and I never looked back; I often thought that maybe I killed Netscape (no, we all know who killed it), but it didn’t matter. Firefox was better than IE, and that’s all that used to matter.
There are just so many things to love about Firefox. I love the add-ons. I love how I can change the look. I love how I can go into the config.about settings and change stuff if I really want to (don’t do this unless you know what you’re doing). I love how it’s just a bit more protection than IE. I love the tabs. Frankly, there’s not much I don’t like about it.
And yet, there is something I don’t like, something that’s irked me for years, the one thing that I just can’t overcome. Sometimes Firefox hangs, and when it does, that’s it. By hangs, I mean that it just suddenly stops. You can’t do anything because it’s pretty much said it’s had enough. You can’t even go into the task manager and turn it off; I mean, how many programs do that?
I have researched this issue for years and tried to find a workaround. It was suggested to remove Zone Alarm because they don’t play well together; I tried that. It was suggested that maybe it was AVG; I tried that. It was suggested to change your profile; I tried that. Nothing has worked. There have been some suggestions that I don’t have the technical knowledge for, so those I haven’t tried. However, my thought is that someone at Mozilla, the group that makes Firefox, would have addressed the issue at some point.
You know what? Never. Now, that’s a strange one, isn’t it? Through all the forums they have, with this issue coming up often enough, not a single Mozilla person has ever chimed in with a fix. They won’t even acknowledge that there’s a problem; isn’t that weird? I mean, even Microsoft eventually came clean on the dog that is Vista (which I’m still stuck on). And folks, it’s not Vista that’s hanging Firefox, because I had the same issue under XP.
So, I’m stuck. I’m not crazy about Opera, even though it’s never hung on my system, and I’m not a major fan of Chrome. Don’t even try to talk me into, what, IE 8 or 9 now? I guess I’m stuck in “bootup loop” city, and I’m not overly happy about it. There just has to be a solution, right? Someone? Anyone?
Suffice it to say I’ve always loved Thunderbird by Mozilla. I loved it from the first time I saw it, probably mainly because it wasn’t Outlook. I know other folks loved Eudora, but it just wasn’t for me. I found Thunderbird gave me everything I wanted and more, and was happy.
Then came this latest version, and I find myself less than impressed. Thunderbird 3, which is now 3.0.4, has made some significant changes, which they say make it easier for new users, and offers some features they’ve never had before. But they’ve also messed up some interfaces, and if you ask me, there’s only been one good consequence from it.
First, they set up the default so it looks like Outlook; what’s that about? The idea behind Mozilla was that it was the anti-Outlook; if I’d wanted Outlook I would be using it. Maybe that’s the “easy” part for new users, using something they’re familiar with.
Second, they changed how you could save email addresses. Instead of opening up one of those Properties menus so you could add information and put it in any special mail category you’d created, now when you click to save the email address and you get the edit form you can add information, but you can’t place it anywhere special. Everything goes into a personal address book, and you have to open your contacts and move it to where you want it after the fact.
Third, let’s talk about the Contacts for a bit. That wasn’t even included as a default in the toolbar, and now that I’m calling it Contacts, let me back up for a minute. When I added it to the general program toolbar it was called Address Book. When you’re in an email you’re writing it’s called Contacts. And I had to add both; that was irritating. Sure, it will remember email addresses you already have if you just start typing it in, but if you’re doing multiple emails, and you want to BCC them, then typing each address individually can take up a lot of time.
Something they changed, which is why they didn’t put it on the toolbar automatically, was putting those tabs onto the email you happen to be reading. That’s not so bad if you want to keep all your email at the normal size it defaults to. I’m one of those people who likes opening emails to the full size of my browser so that I not only can read it easier by making it larger, but that way I only see one email at a time so that I’ll focus on that one email. Thing is, when you open an email all the way, those tabs aren’t always there. Oh, some are, but not all of them all the time. I find myself every time having to open it up, close it back, then open it again to get all those tabs back. If they’d just left it alone in the toolbar I wouldn’t have had to deal with it.
What did they add that they consider something good? They added a search bar which will search through your email to find something. When you do it a new tab opens in the program, something like if you click on some links in Firefox, and it will give you lists of where that word appears throughout the program. To the right it’ll give you 10 choices in a particular folder, then More will be there so you can click it to get 10 more. It’s actually kind of freaky; I like to have a better way of doing it.
And that leads to my one very good thing. It works much better with Google Desktop, which y’all know I love. Now when I download new email, it instantly indexes it, so that I can immediately find that email. Yeah, I know you’re saying who’d have a need to find something that fast. Well, I have 9 different inboxes set up in Thunderbird, so sometimes I’m not sure where an email actually went.
Now, the Mozilla folks are smart, so I figure in the next update, whenever it comes, they’ll have addressed at least a couple of my issues. When that happens, I know I’ll be a happy camper once more. For now, though, I’d have to say that I’m less than impressed with Thunderbird 3, yet it still beats Outlook by a mile.