Here’s a photo of Serena, our dog, modeling the official Firefox cap that I bought along with Firefox/Thunderbird CDs and manual from the Mozilla store. Serena doesn’t look too happy with Firefox, probably because Laurel and I were screaming “stay, stay!!” at her while I tried to get the right camera angle to show off the logo. But I am.
I love the free (if you download it) Firefox web browser. The February 2005 issue of PC World gave it a “Best Bet” award in a battle of the browsers review article. It got 4.5 stars (out of 5) vs. Microsoft Internet Explorer’s 3.0 stars. I took my first big step away from the Evil Microsoft Empire after reading one news story too many about a newly discovered vulnerability in IE for which I should immediately download patches to protect my computer.
My Macintosh-using sister loves to forward me PC-bashing items like Mark Morford’s “Why Does Windows Still Suck?” essay. Good question. Morford’s other equally good question is “Why the hell do people put up with this?” Habit, I guess. Internet Explorer was working for me, so I put off the move to Firefox until my habitual inertia was overcome by my ever-increasing Microsoft irritation.
The move went smoothly. Firefox copies over all of your IE bookmarks, cookies, and what not. I haven’t had any problem logging in to any password protected site that I was accessing with IE. I’ve found a few web sites that don’t display cleanly in Firefox, so I still use IE once in a while. Another reason to keep IE handy is that the PC World article says Firefox won’t work at all with IE-only sites such as Microsoft’s Windows Update (what a surprise).
My biggest gripe with Firefox is that it doesn’t have a right-click “refresh picture (or page) with full quality” option. I use a web accelerator because of our slow dial-up connection. It degrades images to speed up the loading of web pages. It’s nice with IE to be able to click on a single photo that you want to view crisply rather than fuss with changing the accelerator settings to improve the image quality of an entire page, or turn off the accelerator entirely.
But this is a small price to pay for all the pluses of Firefox. I like the tabbed browsing feature that lets you open up multiple pages in the same browser. The “find” command in Firefox is much superior to IE’s. And you can download free extensions to Firefox that further enhance its abilities. I’ve added on Adblock, Google bar, and Autofill. Adblock is particularly enjoyable. I never get tired of right-clicking on an ad and making it go away permanently. Adblock also takes care of annoying Flash animations. One click and Poof!, they’re dead.
Get Firefox. You won’t be sorry.