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Browsing with Firefox

Posted on: July 24th, 2006 by Craig Rairdin 9 Comments

I’m a pretty die-hard Internet Explorer fan. In fact, I’m what you’d call an IE bigot. I know there are a lot of problems with IE from a security standpoint, but I refuse to see it.

I’ve been using Internet Explorer since version 1. I don’t remember when that was; I just don’t remember any period of time when I was using a browser other than IE. I’ve also been using Outlook as my email client since the first day I had an email account anywhere other than CompuServe.

In all these years (10? 15?) of using Microsoft’s browser and email client, I’ve never had a virus or spyware problem. Until about a year ago I never used any anti-virus programs. From time to time I’d scan my system with whatever was available for free on the Internet and it never turned up any problems. I started using one last year just out of curiousity, but mostly it just sits there and every once in a while tells me it has updated its database.

The other day I needed to check compatibility of a video I uploaded to my personal Web site with a number of browsers. I took that opportunity to download and install Firefox. The more I use it, the more I like it.

The features I like are probably available as add-ons to IE if I had the inclination to look, but they came already built into Firefox so they were easy to try out.

First, I really like the bookmarks on the toolbar combined with using an RSS source as a bookmark folder. I have a couple of frequent eBay searches that I do (toasters and amateur radio equipment). I can set up an RSS feed with those searches, then make that a “Live Bookmark” in Firefox. Any time I want to know what’s happening on eBay I just drop down one of my auction bookmarks and I get the headlines.

If I see a headline I’m interested in I can select it to open the site. But if there aren’t too many I’ll just tell Firefox to open them all in new tabs. Then I just can navigate across the tabs to see all the auctions.

Those tabs are another cool feature. I hear IE will have those in version 7. Firefox has them now. I don’t use them a lot, but they come in handy when you need them.

I know I can add a Google toolbar to IE, but Firefox comes with Google and several other search engines preconfigured in a search field on the toolbar. I use Google a lot so that comes in handy.

I’m toying with using a bookmark folder as my home page. If you do that, it will open all the bookmarks each in its own tab. I use a page on my personal Web site as my home page. It has links to all my frequently used sites. Firefox would let me create a bookmark folder with each of those links in it, then open up with each site already open in a tab. Sounds cool.

When searching with Google I often have to search the target page for my search terms. The “Find” operation in Firefox opens a little toolbar at the bottom of the screen that lets you quickly enter something to search for, then highlight everywhere it occurs. As you type, it starts highlighting hits even before you’re done typing.

I’m sure I haven’t explored half of what Firefox will do. Even though I’m pretty sold on IE, I’ve told Firefox to make itself my default browser. I’ll at least try it for a while and see how it does.

If you want to download Firefox, you can get it from

9 Responses

  1. Pat Rundall says:

    Hi Craig

    While you’re kicking tires on FF, you should check out all the extensions that are available. It seems as though this is yet another thing you and I have in common (Christian-PocketPC-geek-ham-radio-operator-Iowans…who-used-to-think-IE-was-THE-browser). Anyway, check out the extensions, including (mine) Propfire.


  2. Hashim says:

    welcome to firefox, my friend. It took me a while to catch on too. I never has a problem with a virus, so I didn’t see the need to switch to a “safer” browser.

  3. Robin says:

    For me, the perfect solution has been one of the add-ons to IE that give all those exciting Firefoxy stuff – but especially tabs.

    I started with NetCaptor, but after their problems with the Google toolbar, shifted to SlimBrowser. I love it. As to security problems – don’t get them. PCs locked down tight and bang up-to-date.


  4. Toby Getsch says:

    If you design for FF, and tweak that for IE7, I haven’t heard of that giving people as many headaches as the other way around. IE is too forgiving and takes too much time to fix stuff to try to get it to work elsewhere… especially if trying to do anything for mobile stuff.


  5. Toby Getsch says:

    Further, IE7’s got most everything that current FF has, and many more people will be using IE7 come this fall when it’s released.


  6. Mike says:

    I too am an IE person, and I’ve used it from the “beginning” as well.

    I’ve never had an issue on any of my machines, but I do keep them all up to date.

    Good Luck with that.

  7. kay says:

    If you want an RSS reader, try the extension “Sage” for Firefox. It is a panel, like your favorites or history, and I like the way it displays either single or several posts. I haven’t figured out how to delete the posts, though, so if you get to that point, please let me know.

  8. supersi says:

    I was a die-hard IE fan too (I’m a .NET developer so I use all things Microsoft). However, from the first day that I installed Firefox, I never looked back to IE. What did it for me was 1) tabbed browsing, and 2) the hundreds of Firefox extensions you can download to make the browser work just how you want it to. I know that IE7 will have tabs too, but I highly doubt they will allow extensions the same way Firefox does. If you’re even just somewhat of a techie type, you will love how you can customize Firefox.

  9. Rodolfo says:

    Please add firefox cookies/bad web sites immunization in next version!
    Firefox 2 cannot reject third party cookies!!!!!!!!

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