Friday, October 27, 2006

Firefox 2 Review

Mozilla just came out with the next generation of their web browser: Firefox 2. I've downloaded it and been playing around with the different features. I'm not an extreme user, which means I haven't pushed it to it's limits, so this is more for the average user. For starters, I love the tab browsing. I downloaded IE 7 once it came out in beta because of the tab features (ironically, I just updated that too and it's now freaking out) and really like it. Below are some items I have noticed

Tab Browsing
You can put the tabs in any order you like. As a person who likes order, this is really nice. I can open my emails and move them all the way over to the side. I can do this even after I open some other pages. You can't do that in IE 7 (yet - I imagine). To close a tab you used to have to go all the way to the right of the browser, which was a pain. Now they're within each tab - it's clean and convenient.

One of my favorite features is Adblock. Lets back up a step first. With Firefox you can download extensions. Some of them are fun and others are useful. One really useful extension is Adblock which does exactly as its name implies. It blocks flash (or animated) ads. So when you visit Yahoo! they aren't there. What's even better is that because of the way the extension works they don't even get downloaded, thus speeding up your browsing experience. IE has a wanna bee version of this, but it isn't near as cool because you have to select the ads you want it to block.

Google's Web Accelerator
Unfortunately, Google's Web Accelerator doesn't work anymore. I enjoyed seeing how much of my life I'm saving. Of course, I did notice that it took me 3 weeks to save 1 hour and then I was saving at least an hour once a week. So, I'm not sure how accurate it was, but the placebo affects were great. I'm sure Google is working on fixing this as I'm writing.

Spelling check
Okay, this is my absolute favorite feature. There is a built in spelling checker. When I spell something wrong (like on this post), a dotted red line appears under the word. It's doesn't auto-correct it like Word so I can go back and try again (Side question: Do you ever feel that Word is so good it actually makes you dumber because you don't have to catch your spelling errors?). If I can't get it, I can right click and a list of options come up. This feature works anywhere there is a text box. I bet Microsoft wished they had thought of this one first.

No Random Cursor
Before Firefox 2, the browser had a cursor problem. You see, when I read something, I like to highlight where I read because often I get distracted and have to look away. By highlighting the lines as I read, I can easily find my spot and continue. When I used to click on the text, the cursor would show up indicating I could type something there. I tried writing something a couple of times and it didn't work. Now all it did was annoy me by blinking. To make matters worse, the cursor didn't appear in text areas where I was supposed to type! This is still the case in many text areas, but at least the cursor doesn't blink at me any more.

Cool Looks
The browser just plain looks cool. Sometimes, that's all it takes.

That's my review. I think it is worth the try. If you want, you can learn more and download Firefox 2 at this site:
Let me know how it works out.

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