Category Archives: Firefox

Chrome v Firefox: FACE/OFF

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So, I downloaded the Firefox 3.5 Beta 4 build since I saw a chart that showed how much faster it is than the version of FF I was running. Unfortunately, that same chart also showed how much faster Chrome 2 and Safari 4* were than even the Beta Firefox build.

So I also downloaded the Chrome 2 Beta (which has now been released), and have been using that this week. It took a little while to settle in, but the bookmarks and some of my passwords from Firefox were transferred over.

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At first I hated that Chrome used a separate process for each tab because I couldn’t track it in the Windows Task Manager. But after using it for a bit, I discovered it has its own Task Manager that allows you to kill individual Chrome tabs, and with an extra click you can see the total amount of memory it’s using. A little extra work to see the usage, but at the same time, I don’t have to worry about how much RAM it’s using because it does a much better job at minimizing it’s use. Since each tab is its own process, when you close a tab, you immediately get that memory back. (I’m not entirely sure that’s true if that tab was using the Flash plugin, but you at least get some immediate giveback) I’m not sure what the memory recall process is in Firefox, but I know that it can just keep going up and up and up if you leave it open for a while. I haven’t experienced that (yet?) with Chrome.

Since I use Gmail almost constantly, Chrome was looking pretty good until today when I realized that I hadn’t looked at my Remember The Milk in a couple days. As any good GTDer should know, you have to be able to trust your system, and for me, having my list of Next Action sitting there is part of trusting my system. I can see it and know what’s on it… but if it’s not there, I get worried that somehow there is something that I might have forgotten.

Why does that matter?

Well, I realized that with Firefox, I had the RTM extension installed, so my list was always sitting there in my Gmail. Two Birds, One Stone, if you will. But with Chrome, I didn’t have that. I have RTM in my Bookmarks Toolbar, but I still have to open it to look at it.

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So, I was ready to switch back to Firefox, until I remembered that Gmail Labs has a feature that lets you add any Google Gadget as a sidebar type thing. Remember The Milk has designed a nice Google Gadget that I used before even in Firefox (until my Gmail started spazzing out). So, I plugged that back in using Chrome, and so far, I haven’t had any Gmail freak outs and now I have a usable version of RTM in my inbox. It’s not quite as nice as the “Add On” version, but it works almost as well, and given Chrome’s speed and memory improvements, I’m sticking with it for now.

Everybody loves little charts right? I’ve put the characteristics in order of importance (to me):

Browser Feature Chrome Firefox
Speed WIN
Memory WIN
Remember The Milk WIN
Adding RSS Feeds WIN
Navbar Features TIE TIE

Now, if they’d only figure out a way to make PHP run super fast so that WordPress would be as speedy as Gmail and Reader…

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* Safari 4 Beta was included in the comparison because, while it is faster and uses less memory than both Firefox and Chrome, it has a bug where it takes an inordinately long time for the first page to be loaded. I’ve had to wait up to 14 seconds (I timed it) for Google.com to load when I first launch the browser. It also does not automatically remember the open tabs after you close and reopen the browser. You can get this by going to History and opening the tabs from last session, so it’s a minor inconvenience, but paired with the previously mentioned time-waster, it takes it out of contention. If Apple gets that first page loading thing fixed, I will definitely consider making Safari my full time browser.

Finally, I think we can all agree that Ashley Tisdale looks the best in that dress. That is all.

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Gmail Is My Home

Image representing Gmail as depicted in CrunchBase
Image via CrunchBase

By disabling the Labs extensions and then reenabling the most important ones, I’ve managed to fix my issue with Gmail constantly resizing the inbox, and now have 4 different (lowercase) inboxes displayed one on top of the other: Inbox (for GTD style collection – even though my library still hasn’t gotten the book for me yet), Starred items (basically an easy way to not High Priority items), label:To Do (my original To Do inbox, now reserved for the second most important things), and label: Keep in Mind (for stuff that I don’t want to forget about, but might not necessarily be To Do items).

Image representing Remember The Milk as depict...
Image via CrunchBase

I also installed the Remember The Milk Firefox Add-On to replace the Google Gadget (I suspect the Gadgets were part of what was messing things up). The Firefox adding is better in some ways and worse in some ways. It takes up a lot more room, but it feels more full-featured.

So, now that that’s all settled, I’m going to have to play around with the Custom Theme Colors that were just added today. I tried the theme templates but didn’t really like any of them enough to switch from just the basic one. But now that I tend to leave Gmail open more and more, I might go back and have a second try with them (since I’m usually pretty terrible at coming up with custom theme colors that are any good – see also: My Yahoo!)

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Firefox 3 RC1

I really, really, really want to run Firefox 3. I’ve tested it out in the Beta versions and it has much better memory management, which, for me, is about the only thing I think really needs improvement in Firefox.

The problem is that Firefox 3 doesn’t accept (still) self-signed certificates. This is generally a good thing for Grandmas and Grandpas out there who don’t know about security. I don’t want them signing their life away because they click a link that doesn’t really go to their bank, or PayPal, or something else like that. But (!) I do need to be able to accept such “shady” certificates in order to use Firefox as my general web development testing browser. This is only frustrating, of course, because I can certainly keep Firefox 2 on my computer until the end of time, if I have to.

Or can I…?

When I uninstalled Firefox 3 RC1, unlike with the Beta versions, it uninstalled Firefox completely. Apparently in my haste to try it out, I didn’t realize that 3RC1 installed right on top of Firefox 2. It only took me about as long as it took to write this post to fix the problem (by re-downloading and re-installing Firefox 2), but it was annoying enough to drive me to my blog to write about it.

And since I hate it when the people with the complaints are the most vocal, let me say, with the exception of the certificate issue, I think Firefox 3 is great. If you don’t have the same problem as me, then I don’t think there’s any reason why you would not want to upgrade right now. Well, other than it’s still only a Release Candidate, so it’s possible that there are still some minor bugs to work out.