Why Firefox?

Its been a while since the most-awaited Firefox 3 was released. Too much hype surrounded its release and also the world record ‘Download Day’. Was it all worth the hype? Is the record really worth some applause? Let’s see.

After building up huge hype, Mozilla Foundation must have prepared for it. The release itself was deferred by 45 minutes (approximately) and when it took place, the Firefox website choked with the amount of traffic it received. Unfortunately, there were no load balancing techniques employed to share the load between different servers, and surprisingly, there were no mirrors for download. Every Firefox package was downloaded from the same server. Of course, the download speed plunged downwards! Thankfully, the server did not breakdown. When the changes to the website were going on, the changes were made in real-time. I mean, I could see the logo of Firefox 3, but the version number at the download button was still 2.x. It was fixed quickly though, and the website was finally put together. It was almost one hour after the release that I managed to download a copy for myself.

Coming to the browser, the installation was simple (as always) and the loading time had decreased drastically, almost as much as Mozilla claimed. It takes far lesser memory now, and handles AJAX applications well – noticed how quickly GMail loads? Bookmarking was redefined, and organizing the bookmarks became easier and simple. The address bar, searches through your bookmark list as you type and lets you choose the site if you have bookmarked it earlier. A lighter side to this feature is that it promises keyboards with a better lifetime. I wont be going through the features anymore, if you are reading this, you are probably doing it on Firefox 3 and have experienced the features (or bugs perhaps) – you can even go to the site to check them out again if you feel like.

At first, I could not find a downside to the browser, but the crash occurred a couple of weeks later. All my addons started acting weird and the themes wont work! It was nightmarish. I had to create a new profile (using the profile manager) to fix it, and re-download all my addons and configure them again.

Now for the real deal: Firefox still is the best browser out there. And if you are using any other browser, its only a matter of time until you’ll change. Why?

1. Faster – This is the most controversial feature of firefox. Internet Explorer claims to load faster than Firefox. Of course it does; its running on Windows ain’t it? If you could, why not install IE on Linux and see the difference?

2. Addons – The biggest and celebrated feature of Firefox is its extensibility. There are numerous addons for a multitude of user proficiency – novices to experts.

3. Safer – Firefox is undoubtedly the safest browser. Install a few more addons (which I discuss later) and you’ll make it much safer!

Give a little more importance to the box you view the web through. 🙂

I’ll follow up with another post on how to make your firefox installation safer and how to troubleshoot problems and recover from crashes.

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Getting StumbleUpon

About StumbleUpon:

Quote:
StumbleUpon helps you discover and share great websites. As you click Stumble!, we deliver high-quality pages matched to your personal preferences. These pages have been explicitly recommended by your friends or one of 3,686,922 other websurfers with interests similar to you. Rating these sites you like automatically shares them with like-minded people – and helps you discover great sites your friends recommend.

How Does it Work?

Quote:
StumbleUpon uses ratings to form collaborative opinions on website quality. When you stumble, you will only see pages which friends and like-minded ‘stumblers’ have recommended. This helps you discover great content you probably wouldn’t find using a search engine.

More: http://www.stumbleupon.com/about.html

I’ve been using StumbleUpon for almost 4 years now and it is an amazing tool to websurf the internet. It is a great tool which has really helped me discover a lot of interesting pages on the internet, which I wouldn’t find in search engines too.

For all those, oblivious to the existence of such a tool or for those who were thinking it a cumbersome task to install it, I thought I’d share some thoughts on how easy it is to actually install and use it.

<< Getting to the work >>
Step 1: StumbleUpon supports two well known and most-used browsers – Mozilla Firefox (FF) and the Windows Internet Explorer (IE – Yes, it is now called as Windows Internet Explorer , not any more as Microsoft Internet Explorer)

Step 2: Downloading the BHO (Browser Help Object – IE) or the Extension (FF) is easy. Click on “Download Now – Free” on the mainpage of the stumbleupon website (http://www.stumbleupon.com) and you’ll be taken to the page to download it based upon the browser you are using.

Step 3: Installing – Follow the steps required for your browser and you may also need to restart your browser.

Step 4: After the restart, you’ll see a new toolbar that says: “Start Stumbling..”. If you have an account click on Login and enter your credentials or else you will have to create an account at StumbleUpon. Just follow the steps (might take you 2-3 minutes) and you are good to go.

Keep clicking on the Stumble! button and you’ll see a random page from all the topics of interest you chose. If you like a page click on “I like it” to increase the quality of your future stumbles.