Monday, January 17, 2005

Fire it up

Very impressed with the Mozilla Firefox browser. Unless Microsoft comes up with something extraordinary, this browser is going to hog the market soon.
It's easy to install - just needs exposure.

The greatest thing is the extensions property, that effectively gives the community the chance of customizing their browser purposefully. And sharing that customization. I don't see Microsoft offering this flexibility in the future, unless they have realized that modders are infinitely more ressourceful than internal development departments. Creatively, that is - not economically.

Right now I'm sporting the ForecastFox extension, that gives my statusbar real time indications of the local weather. It also lets me know what the weather's going to be tomorrow. Information that you only need rarely, but when you do it's really neat not to have to spend time acquiring it.

I also installed the StumbleUpon extension which is really just a variant of Google's "I feel lucky" push button. It does, however, ensure quality hits, because of an integrated rating and preference system that seems to work well. Whenever I feel bored, I hit the "Stumble" and suddenly I've found a new part of the Internet to potentially interest me. So far, I've already known about 50% of the hits - guess that indicates my sense of quality isn't too bad..! Of course, I set that up a bit by defining my interests in the first place. Guess the challenge is to have people ask for information they didn't know they wanted.

Firefox extensions also include real-time GMail hacks that notify you of incoming mail, tons of developer tools that e.g. let you evaluate JavaScript, decode color values of specific websites, and generally extend the usefullness of the browser. I tried out some of the gesture tools, but I cannot get into the habit. My wrists are sore as it is with all my graphic work and gaming (some might call these bad excuses hiding a far more deviant pastime).

In short, go get this browser. It won't make you a better person, but it will probably make you time on the web more enjoyable.
Oh, by the way - if you feel the urge to customize the internal workings of Firefox, just type "about:config" in the address field. Access to all the cogs and springs. You almost certainly won't get this level of control in any future Explorer.
I should urge you to see the Mozilla forums to get proper advice on those settings...;)

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