beta test Firefox 4 when my regular 3.6 Firefox started crashing every time I watched a youtube clip or tried to read certain types of e-mails. I reckoned if I went on the Beta it would at least keep me from doing what at least a good 1/4 if not more of Firefox users had done, which is to switch to Chrome. Chrome, the browser that replaced my previous secondary browser, Safari, has the good sense to pretend it's Firefox. It looks like Firefox, it works like Firefox and occasionally has a java crash just like Firefox. What Chrome does not have, is the full range of options and features that Firefox has. It never will either. No amount of catching up will help it, as IE already knows. More on Chrome in a bit.
Have I had fun Beta testing? Well not really. But it did keep my long established bookmarks and browsing habits intact. Depending on the version of Beta4 FF, it would or would not accept my UK English dictionary, a deal breaker for me. The dictionary issue seems to have been sorted now for good. It had issues with certain add ons I depended on intermittently, but as it accepted the important ones, I wasn't too fussed. What really kept me going, was the anticipation that with every new version I'd have a new toy to play with. And in this regard, FF 4.* never disappointed. One new function I love is the tab grouping function or Tab Candy. If for example I have 6 tabs , all of which are iPlayer pages, I can sort them into one box and set them aside, or if I'm researching an article and need several related web pages, they're all in one spot. If I'm honest, I didn't immediately warm to this as I have my own way of doing things, but it works a treat if I choose to use it only when I need it. The other feature I cannot live without now, is the placement of the tabs on top and my bookmark bar where I need it ..... as close as possible. Before, if you weren't careful , you were triggering all sorts of things and moving tabs into new windows. What about Synch? I think I like it, but I'm not too about it. The assumption is that you and you alone are sole master or mistress (depending on your bits), of your computer. As it happens, we have two lappies and both my wife and I use both. Who's new bookmarks get precedence? I don't know, and being far too busy with other things, I'm not in the mood to experiment with something that isn't broken. But if it in deed does save both with little bother, then I'll be a convert.
If I had to choose which browsers to include on a computer, I'd without hesitation recommend Firefox as your default and Chrome as your back up. What having a back up like Chrome does, is it gives a comp the option to have two users on at the same time or more importantly opening a separate google ID in Chrome. For those of you who just use Gmail, you don't need this much bother, but for people like me who are in Gmail, blogger and calendar, Google has assumed you are not sharing and will bugger your tabs if you dare check a different email or blog. Consequently, you need to separate your identities on different browsers. As well Chrome could be your media player, allowing you to delegate online radio functions to a session that isn't connected to your Firefox work. I use Chrome to play BBC Radio Newcastle as well as several other stations. Because Chrome copies your bookmarks so well, you don't have a lot of faffing around with new settings and just go straight to your radio links.
Safari , my old back up browser, is for Macs, I'm sure it's bloody brilliant on Macs, but on non Mac machines, it's rubbish, don't even bother, too complicated to fettle, too married to extolling the virtues of Mac and flogging the big news sites. the floating web page menu sucks RAM like a thirsty camel but offers nothing special in return.... This Delorean promises a lot but delivers nothing.
Internet Eplorer, the browser that time forgot. They keep improving it, but who really cares? They are always months behind Firefox and Safari ( if you use a Mac), and the only reason many people keep it on the computer is because we can't get rid of it. Now I'll tell you, about half my readers still use IE. Why? because frankly many of them are too afraid to try the other browsers, don't know how to find the other browsers or cant be bothered to set up all the bits they think they need to, to feel at home with it. IE is like an old Camero, it goes in a straight line, works fine till it doesn't , then sends pop ups to you till you close your machine down. Even now ( about two weeks ago), I tried IE, the new one, as it was the browser in the library, I never again want to go on there. Still pop up infested and the vast majority of viruses and worms are written for IE. Why would you want to take these kinds of risks?
I won't praise or criticize Opera or the other mirade of browsers out there, as I've not used them,I'm sure some of them are perfect for specific users and have incredibly loyal followings, But I Am, have been and continue to be a Firefox man.
Choose your browser carefully, do not settle for IE, it's not worth it, and be demanding of your browser, a good one will want to know the good and the bad and will react much faster than Microsoft ever will.
Happy browsing, I'm off to watch Children in need now.