Tag Archives: browsers

Firefox 3.6; Now That’s What I’m Talking About!

On Friday I got my first alert that there was an upgrade to the Firefox browser. It also said it wasn’t compatible with one of the add-ons that I liked, and I thought about not upgrading to it. However, Saturday night it popped up again, and I decided okay, fine, I’ll go that route. After all, one add-on does not a perfect browser make, right?

Let me say this; you’ve got to upgrade to Firefox 3.6, and you have to do it now! Man, this sucker is fast; I mean, I haven’t found a page yet that I’d have to wait longer than a second to get to, and that’s just phenomenal. I’m not going to get into all the technical stuff, mainly because I don’t understand it all either, but the main thing they did to improve speed was to address the issue of javascript performance. I’ve written here in the dark past how javascript issues can slow down a blog. Seems they can also slow down some browsers, and they’ve overcome that issue.

They also did something where the scripts will all run asynchronously, or independently from each other, which is what slows things down often. You know how you visit some blogs and you’ll notice something hanging, which is preventing your page to fully load for awhile? That’s not supposed to happen with Firefox 3.6, and so far in my own little tests it seems to be working great.

They’ve also added something new, which will probably pretty much get rid of themes. Instead of themes, now you can add a “persona”, of which they have more than 30,000. This bad boy changes the look of your browser to whatever you want, and I have to tell you, I’ve changed mine to some pretty bright colors, and just looking at it is making me smile because it’s always been dark since I bought the new computer, and there wasn’t anything I could do about it.

Firefox 3.6 will also now tell you if your plugins are out of date, rather than waiting until you get to a site and suddenly realize you can’t access something. I like that as well, and of course you always have the option to tell it to leave you alone for awhile.

I have to say that I feel they did a great job with this new version. Everything is easier to see, and I’m not even missing the one add-on that’s not compatible anymore, the AnyColor add-on, because what they’ve done is made the print on your open tabs bigger and easier to see, and the transparency also makes it easier to read, so you know exactly what each tab is. And obviously you don’t need it with the persona’s option.

The only minor gripe I have thus far is that, for some reason, every once in awhile instead of opening up a new tab it opens up a brand new window. There was that same issue with Firefox 3.5 initially, something they called tab tearing, and they quickly came up with a bug fix for it. I’m hoping they’ll do the same with this browser.

If you’re not using Firefox, well, I’m not sure why, but trust me, you’ll love this new version of Firefox whether you use it now or not.

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Google Chrome Is,… Okay

Talk about the speed of hype. Yesterday I was just sitting here at the computer, following Twitter traffic, when I see this little flash about Google having a new browser coming out called Chrome. Then there was talk about when they’d release it, and many were speculating that, since they’d just signed an extension of an agreement with Mozilla to continue with Firefox for another three years, that the earliest it would be coming out would be a year. And there was a link to a cartoon talking about it all.

Within an hour, though, things drastically changed, and the talk was that it would be released today. There was a link to Matt Cutts of Google talking about it, and, lo and behold, it was released today. I’ve not read anyone else’s reviews yet, though, based on the Twitter traffic, it seems to be more against than for.

I’m not about to change that. The download for Google Chrome was something in and of itself. I can’t remember the last time I saw a download have an EULA (end user licensing agreement) beforehand; not sure I’ve actually ever seen one. Then the download seemed to take some time before finally coming to the computer; maybe there’s lots of people trying to download it to give it a shot.

Next, time to load it onto the computer. This also took awhile, much longer than Mozilla ever has, and at least Firefox waited until it had loaded and one was trying to launch it before it started asking for extra internet access. Chrome asked for it a few times; that was different. But it finally loaded and actually started on its own, trying to move over all bookmarks from my Firefox browser, but couldn’t because I had Firefox open; that’s okay, though. I knew I was just in test mode, unless it absolutely wowed me.

It took a long time to load anything; I was kind of stunned by that. I’m not sure what was going on, but it said it was having problems with Shockwave Flash; according to the cartoon, that problem was supposed to be easily solved. When things finally did come up I tried a few websites, including CNN, and it was horrible. A couple of sites it couldn’t even load, which were a couple of mine. Then, of all things, it crashed; weirder still.

Since it created a quick launch icon, I opened it up again, and this time it went much faster, so I could take a good look at it. The look is somewhat different than what I’m used to. It offers way more visible screen, but that’s because it starts off with no toolbars. Well, that’s not quite accurate. It does have the address bar, which doubles as the toolbar, but I couldn’t find any options to add any more toolbars except a bookmarks bar. If you want to save a page, you can click on the star in the address bar, though Ctrl-D also works. The browser is also almost pure white reminiscent of the Google homepage; I guess that’s to be expected, but I was hoping it would adopt the colors I use for the rest of my Windows programs.

It has tabs just like Firefox, and if you open new tabs you’ll see screenshots of past pages you’ve visited, which is interesting. The reload had it running much faster than the first time around, which is a good thing, but not faster than Firefox. It does another interesting thing with the addresses. If you look at pages within a site, you’ll see the domain name in black, but the address of the extra pages in red; another nice little feature that looks good.

Still, when all is said and done, what one misses, at least for now, are the little add-ons that Firefox has that Chrome doesn’t have. Cutts said it was going to take time, because they first want to make browsers that are compatible with both Mac and Linux before going back to add extra functionality. Chrome is very clean, and it’s not bad, but, in my opinion, it’s not better than Firefox and therefore just okay. It’s not bad; I’ve seen some worse browsers to be sure.

So, just like Firefox 3, I’ll be waiting for more before I decide whether to switch or not. But it’s not a bad first effort.

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