Tag Archives: Firefox Extensions

Mozilla Browsers

Speaking of browsers, there's also Camino, a Mac OS X-specific Mozilla-based browser. Had used it for a while, a while ago, before switching to Firefox. Trying it again right now. It does have access to Mac OS X Services, which is quite an important feature for me, but it doesn't seem to support the global Mac OS X spell-checker, which is almost a deal-breaker for me. In fact, these two features are the ones that Firefox itself really should have.

Camino also seems quite slow in WordPress. Kept getting “unresponsive script” warnings and even typing in this box seems quite slow. No idea why but it makes the experience much less pleasurable.

So, at this point my preferences are: Flock, Firefox, Safari, Camino, and Opera. Other browsers (iCab, IE, Netscape, lynx, OmniWeb…) could be useful at times, but they add less to my browsing pleasure than those five first browsers.

Actually, one of my main reasons to switch to Mozilla browsers has been because of my switch to cross-platform environments, especially since getting my eMachines since the very end of 2005. Been using my old iBook (now my wife's) very intensively since early May and have been mostly using Firefox (and now Flock) on the iBook too. Transfering my profile from one machine to next was relatively painless and the consistency of experience from having the same history really did help. Now with the Google Browser Sync extension, the transition back to Firefox/Flock on my eMachines will be even easier. (Been using the extension on both my iBook and the desktop Dell running XP, at work. Works flawlessly and is exactly the type of feature which makes so much sense that you wonder why it didn't exist before).

The most interesting thing about Firefox is the set of extensions made for it. Been using Gomita's Scrapbook Extension extensively (thanks to a del.icio.us link from fellow linguistic anthropologist and blogger Kerim Friedman). It really helps to archive many different things and the archives can easily be transfered from one computer to another. Scrapbook has other powerful features including extensive highlighting functionalities. The Session Manager extension is also a must for Mozilla browsers, although its functionalities clash with the browser sync, to a certain extent (at least, the part about restoring pages).

If only Firefox and Flock had spell as you type! 


Opera 9: First Quick Look

Just started trying out Opera 9 (it was announced on the Buzz Out Loud podcast yesterday). It does have several nifty features (as Tom on BOL said) but it does have its quirks.
For instance, thee WYSIWYG mode here on WordPress doesn’t seem to work. Although items in Mac OS X’s Services menu aren’t greyed out, they don’t seem to work.
Most of the nifty features are approximate equivalent to Firefox extensions. For instance, the “Notes” feature is rather nifty, especially when you want to keep text, but it’s not nearly as useful as Gomita’s Scrapbook extension for Firefox and Flock. The session manager seems to work in a similar way to the “Session Manager” Firefox Extension, especially when combined with the trashcan feature, but it seems a bit less powerful.
Opera 9 seems a bit slow overall, especially with more dynamic (e.g. AJAX) features on some pages (including categories here on WordPress).
Look and feel is ok and Opera might be more customizable than other browsers. Still, that’s not a very important thing for me.
Opera does have a “community” which reproduces or emulates several things that have been popular elsewhere on the Web (for instance, Digg-like community rating). In that sense, it’s an integrated version of several community features. But the browser doesn’t really make the community aspects very prominent.
Opera’s website has a rather elaborate presentation/animation based on some characters representing user types. That presentation looks pretty much like ads in early issues of the Launch magazine (on CD-ROM). It seems like an obvious attempt at generating hype but it doesn’t really carry through as interacting with the animation only leads to very simple information (the accountant/blogger likes widgets…).
It might still work. Opera 9 has a lot of things that people might like and it’s quite possible that some will jump right in. But, at this point, our browsing habits are probably entrenched enough that it’s hard to switch to a new browser and not feel like something is missing in the new one. Safari, Firefox, Flock, Opera, IE, lynx, iCab, Netscape… Each of them has interesting features and you often wish one combines them all. It’s all about workflow. Once you start getting efficient in one browser, there’s a lot of inertia preventing you from switching. In my case, switching from Safari to Firefox has been something of a bumpy ride. Still wish Firefox had some of the features of Safari (especially those provided by OSX’s Services like “check spelling as you type” and shortcut to Nisus Thesaurus). Switching from Firefox to Flock has been quite easy, especially now that some important extensions (like Scrapbook) are readily available in Flock versions (concurrent with the beta release). Still wish Flock had some more Safari-ness, but Flock does have some neat features for bloggers. In fact, at this point, for me, the browser and the blogging tool should be as integrated as possible. My choice still goes for ecto but a blogging browser could eventually be a better choice.
Browser choice is quite similar to the whole OSX vs. XP thing. Yes, it’s possible to switch from one to the other. But like translating poetry with automated tool, it’s kind of missing the point.