Once upon a time, when Netscape Navigator ruled the browser world, I was an Internet Explorer user. If my memory serves me well, I started to use IE since version 3.x. Perhaps I was a person who doesn’t like to follow the majority at that moment. Netscape was the king and everyone used it to browse WWW. But heck, I don’t give a damn about this popular browser even though some websites required me to use Netscape due to incompatibility.
Fast forward several years, IE become the default choice of browser to browse WWW due to it’s preloaded with Windows OS installation. Netscape at that time was almost out of business. (Heck, who want to buy a browser if you can get it for free!) At the end of Netscape vs. Microsoft battle, Netscape release it latest browser engine to the open source world and Firefox was born.
Then Microsoft’s browser faced a lot of attacks, bugs and security issues. Perhaps they tried too hard to introduce too many new technologies and features till they fail to polish their current release as best as they could. Firefox start to become popular alternative browser in the world. I was among the early adopter and love Firefox for its simplicity, extendable and less security flaws.
However, when Google released Google Chrome last year, I start to become a Chrome convert. Firefox and IE still exist in my machine but 90% of the time, I use Google Chrome. I LOVE it simplicity and fast loading time. Firefox 2.x at that time suffer slow loading time (when I started Firefox from its shortcut at desktop) and eat too much my screen vertical space. I still can bear with slow loading time but I can’t resist Chrome unique approach to maximize screen vertical estate. As a widescreen monitor user, I really appreciate this approach.
At that moment,
I love Firefox because of :
- Its extensive choice plug-ins such as no-ads, streaming video downloader etc
- Relatively small memory foot print
- Webpage layout compatibility
I love Chrome because:
- Very simple yet elegant
- Provide maximum screen estate to web contents
- Each tab has separated process (which if one tab crash, else doesn’t, well theoretically). Some more, tab on top of browser’s window frame look pretty natural to my eye. Like flipping hard copy folders J
- Very fast loading time when I launch it from my desktop short cut (I honestly can’t detect any significant webpage loading improvement between firefox 2 and chrome 1 with my 1.5 mbps ADSL. Perhaps other users who use better broadband can tell. IDK)
I hate Chrome because:
- Argh…virtually no add-ons. Favorite add-ons such as no-ads etc doesn’t exist for Chrome platform.
- Damn…I have to see those irritating ads. Steal my bandwidth too
- I can’t use IDM or Orbit effectively to download some streaming video straight from the webpage.
OK..enough with history. Fast forward to today story J
Since last 2 days, Google Chrome start to crash (the whole browser, not tab) and this problem really irritate me. Even though it can restore the crash pages, it still annoys me. Some more, I need to open Firefox to download video from streaming site effectively.
So, I update my Firefox to version 3.5 (version 3.6 and above still beta, alpha and even pre-release alpha lol). And spend about half an hour to browse its latest add-ons and extension. My objective , I want to eliminate advertisements, make Firefox’s frame support Aero (like 3.7 onward), less cluttered and if possible doesn’t eat my vertical space too much.
To my surprise, I can achieve all my objectives with Firefox 3.5 + Windows 7 Theme for Firefox 3.5 Add-On Collection.
Windows 7 theme for firefox 3.5 Add-On Collection : https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/collection/enkei
This collection of add-on has 11 carefully selected add-ons. They are:
- Firefox Showcase
- Hide Menubar
- Search Preview
- Google Redesigned
- Adblock Plus: Element Hiding Helper
- Adblock Plus
- Skip Screen
- Video Downloader
Among these 11 add-ons, I believe Hide Menubar, Search Preview, both ad-blocks, Glasser, Skip Screen, FastestFox really improve my browsing experience using Firefox. These add-ons really change my opinion toward firefox. And I have to admit, Firefox + this add-ons make Firefox become my main browser now. It may not load as fast as Chrome (when I double click its short cut from my desktop), but it has improve a lot. The speed difference now is not much. In my system (Phenom 955BE @ 3.6 GHz, Windows 7 x64 and 4 GB DDR3 1333), Chrome load INSTANTLY. Firefox 3.5 requires 1 to 2 seconds.
BUT…there is a but. Firefox now loads webpages WAY FASTER than Chrome. I type loads not render. With my connection, I consistently found that Firefox 3.5 + FastestFox add-ons (I believe so) load any webpages faster than Chrome. From my understanding, with this add-on, Firefox load webpages in parallel fashion. The different is not much but pretty significant.
Best of all, my Firefox now could provide almost as much screen space for web content as Chrome could. Some more, I no longer need to see those irritating ads. Could download video from stream website as easy as clicking on the video and websites appear faster than Chrome 😀
Chrome 3 vs Firefox 3.5. Note that Firefox able to provides almost as much screen space for web content like Chrome
. Effectively, with no ads to steal space, Firefox generally provides more actually.
I don’t say Google Chrome is a bad browser. It is very good actually. But Firefox + its add-ons somehow make it better than Chrome.
Now I am a happy Firefox 3.5 user. Welcome back Firefox.