Sunday, September 05, 2010

Worst Browsers: IE8 & Opera 10.6

This is not a review. This is a rant about Windows browsers. I run Firefox with AdBlock Plus and NoScript because I can't tolerate ads. On top of the that, the home proxy runs SQUID with AdZapper. True, lots of sites can't run without Javascript, but for those I use the "Chrome View" Firefox plug-in. And now that there's an AdBlock for Chrome, I hardly see any ads with either browser.

The absolute best of both worlds. FF+ABP+NS for security and Chrome+AB for speed.

Internet Explorer 8

This browser, aside from the problems of its pedigree, is simply dog shit SLOW.

The slowness is evident whenever you hit the "new tab" button. It can take up to five seconds for the new tab to appear and then you get that "WTF do you want to do now?" page.

Just give me a blank page and do it now! No stupid questions!

Next is the dedicated clipboard embedded in IE 8. This is totally unnecessary. Not only does it have "enhancements" I never use, but like the new tab button, it takes forever to pop up after you highlight and right-click.

90% of the time all I want to do is cut and paste.

And, this new clipboard is a resource hog. If you do a lot of highlight, copy, paste in a browser window it will eventually stop working. Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V still work, but the popup menu is gone until you kill IE and restart it.

And what is the point of "grouped tabs"? Most of the time the added pastel colors are offensive. I end up ungrouping the tabs so I don't have to look at it.

Why can't I shut that off?

Opera 10.6

Straight up I'll say at this very moment I'm writing this with Opera, but I'm doing it on my Linux (CentOS) laptop. It's fast and responsive on Linux and a great option when Chrome won't run on your distro.

On Windows it's different story unless Opera is the only browser you're running. I've been known to run four or five different browsers at a time—FF, IE, Chrome, Comodo, SRWare Iron, Safari—you name it, I run it.

Opera doesn't like that. It likes to be your one & only browser. I don't know why that is, but, like Safari and to a lesser extent Chrome, Opera uses IE's guts and it's doesn't like to share.

For me, that makes it unusable, which is a shame because I like Opera. But when IE and Opera are open at the same time, dog shit slow IE wins the speed contest.

If you're a one browser kind of guy, Opera isn't a bad choice. You can do worse.


SRWare Iron was a great browser.

In 2008.

But they haven't updated it since. I have a hard time believing it's that well made. Still, it's a good alternate when I'm already running Chrome and I want to switch to a different proxy, which is just a command-line switch away.

I don't have any real objections to Safari. I just don't use it much. Primarily I don't like the looks of it. I like my windows to match the system colors, and the burnished stainlees steel look simply doesn't. And since it's tied to IE 8's proxy settings—which wasn't always the case—it's less than useful for my purposes.

While I'm at it I'll throw some turds at Iceweasel 2.0, although it's not a browser anyone uses anymore and it's only available on older distros of Linux. Me, I'm stuck on Debian 4.0 for a number of reasons, the main one being they never fixed the issues with VNC 4.0 on the newer version, Lenny.

The burning issue I have is Debian's insistence that "copy on select"—highlighting automatically copies into the clipboard—is the right thing to do everywhere. Blogspot simply disagrees. I disagree. That is not how the Universe works.

But, I'm stuck with it. If I upgraded to Lenny I could have Chrome and Opera. But not VNC 4.

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