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Bill Lueg’s Tech Blog

Firefox 3.0

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Good news, fellow surfers! Firefox 3.0 has been released and I have to say that this is the best browser I’ve ever used. It’s fast and the developers have figured out how we use browsers and have made the most user friendly one yet.

Firefox 3 toolbarFirst off, it doesn’t clash with the rest of your applications. You Windows users don’t care how things look, but we Mac folks tend to like our user interfaces to be consistent and elegant. Even so, the folks at Mozilla thought of Windows too. While the interface is pretty much the same, it looks like your operating system expects it to. See the illustration to the left with Windows XP (The Fisher Price Interface ;-), Vista Aero and Mac OS X Leopard shown respectively. The user doesn’t have to configure a thing. It is automatic. I did not check to see if Windows 2000 or 98 were supported or treated with the same decency. I also like the prominance of the “Back” button compared to the “Forward” button. We use it more and it’s a nice big target. Note that even though there is no down triangle on it, “Back” still supports holding down your mouse button for a second to go back further in your browsing history.

Second off is the address bar. It has always bothered me to watch a non-techie user type in a web address when they feel like that have to type the ‘http://’ part of it. All web browsers simply assume this, dear reader. But just in case you don’t know, when you start typing ‘www’, the address bar rolls down a list of possible sites from your history as well as the ‘http://’ in underline so that you know what Firefox knows you know.

Firefox address bar

But wait, there’s more! Just type a letter or two from what you would normally put between the ‘www.’ and ‘.com’ and you’ll be presented with a list of possibilities from your history no matter where they show up in the actual address. As you type more characters, the list will focus more on what you want. It’s ver’ ni-ice. It’s like, you know, English, in the way you deal with it rather than arcane URL-ese.

Another one of my favorite things is the way Firefox 3 handles passwords. We’ve all experienced going to sites where we do business or social networking. You type in your user name and password and immediately you are confronted with a dialog box asking if you want the browser to remember your name and password. But half the time, I don’t know if I typed my password correctly or if I’m using the right user name or email address. But I click Remember just in case. Then a whole lot of red lettering pops up saying, invalid user or something. Firefox 3, on the other hand, doesn’t ask you — this is so cool — until you actually — wait for it — get in successfully! What took these guys so long?

And finally, there is the speed. It draws pages very, very fast. It’s simply the best browser I’ve ever seen. I only wish that it would support some of the Mac OS features like incorporating our dictionary into its text services. In every other application I have, I can right click on a word and poof, a “Look up in Dictionary” command presents itself and once selected, a mini window shows up with an Oxford American Dictionary definition. But I guess it’s a small nit in the grand scheme of things. I’m sure there’s more to love, but these are the big things that popped out at me. Download it and enjoy!


Written by walueg

June 20, 2008 at 5:43 am

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