Home > Uncategorized > Surprisingly, I’m a big fan of Firefox

Surprisingly, I’m a big fan of Firefox

I’ve been using Thunderbird for quite awhile now, Mozilla’s open-source mail client.  At the time, it was the best news reader that met my high-volume needs for all of the newgroups I participate in.  I gave Firefox a look, but not a serious one.

In the last couple of days, I’ve decided to give the 1.0 version of Firefox another spin and I’m surprised that I’m hooked.  I don’t feel that IE is particularly lacking in anything that I really need for web browsing, but when I add up all the little conveniences of Firefox it really is a worthwhile switch for me.

Ya, ya, I know this is yet another Firefox blog posting but when I’m excited about something I feel the need to share it.

Specifically for me, here are the things that make my life on the internet easier:

Tabbed browsing:  Specifically, there are a few web forums that I monitor and really hate clicking through each topic to retrieve new posts.  With Firefox, I can set up a bookmark folder for that site and it opens up all of the topics I’m interested in as separate tabs.  Very cool.

Adblocker:  I’ve been blocking common ad services for awhile by editing my hosts file, but it’s nowhere nearly as elegant as the adblocker extension for thunderbird.  Ad blocking rules can be added quickly by right-clicking the offending advert, which is a nice quick way to build up your block list.  When removed, it does a darn decent job of getting rid of the ad without leaving a huge gap on the web page – in most cases you would never even know that there was ever an ad there.

Shared Bookmarks:  I have a work PC, a home PC, and a terminal server that I regularly use for web browsing.  Using the shared bookmarks extension for firefox, they now all have the same bookmarks which makes my life just a little bit easier.  It publishes your bookmarks to an FTP site and merges updates to all of your browsers.  (Note that the version that works with 1.0 can only be found here for the time being.)

Passwords auto-populate:  It’s not a big deal, but with so many authenticated sites that I visit on a regular basis that extra right-click in IE to pull up my login info is a big pain in the butt.  With Firefox, the username and password for a website is pre-populated when I arrive and usually only requires a tap of the “enter” key to get logged in.  That’s one less diversion every time I try to access a document on the corporate intranet.

Docked Find Form: The find dialog in IE has always bothered me, and I use it alot more than I would expect.  It’s just clunky and always seems to be in the way.  Not so with Firefox, it docks to the bottom of the window and zones in on the word as you type it in.  This interface is equally awesome in Firefox and Thunderbird and has made email location a breeze.

Overall, the interface is clean and tighter than IE (I’ve always hated the traditional Netscape UI that mozilla used but this is nice); I get more screen real estate dedicated to browsing with Firefox than IE. 

Did I need all of this stuff?  No.
Are they huge holes in IE?  Not really.
Are they useful enought that I’ll switch?  Definately.

Firefox can be downloaded from the mozilla website.

Categories: Uncategorized
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