end kvetch

Macs, productivity, &c.

The Malcontent Part I: Browser Battles

I am never content with my computer. Do I have the best (free) browser available? Is my desktop good enough? Do my icons match?

Today I will cover my quest for the best browser….

Safari: Being a loyal Mac person I started my journey with Safari (the default Mac browser, for those of you who don’t know). The main thing that bugged me about Safari was its lack of support for GTalk (and the brushed metal is just icky). This led me to a little browser you may have heard of….

Firefox: EVERYONE knows what Firefox is and most people like it. For quite a while Firefox was my browser of choice, I loved that I could hide ads and choose new skins. However, one day I read an article about why Firefox isn’t as great as we all think; the points about it being ugly and in Carbon hit home so I once again became a roving malcontent.

Opera: Opera gets extra points because it is Norwegian…it just does. However, it is among the UGLIEST browsers I have ever seen (it may even beat out IE). Opera lasted less than one day…

Shiira v.2: Around this time I found Shiira. It was fast, it was trendy, it was puuuurdy. However, it didn’t quite work…the beta was pretty buggy and it was missing a lot of features that were in the stable version. Despite its lack of substance, I just couldn’t get rid of such a pretty piece of code so I kept it on as a secondary browser to Firefox.

Shiira v.1: Stable Shiira wasn’t pretty, it was pretty much Safari but uglier. However, it did have some nice features such as Growl notifications for RSS articles (made moot by the fact that I use Vienna for that anyway). Shiira v.1 didn’t last very long either….

Camino: Camino is billed as Firefox specifically for Macs (which means it is prettier, and supposedly better). I tried it and it just didn’t click for me…

Safari: All this time the perfect browser had been right under my nose. Uno dealt with the ugly brushed metal (and made just about everything else really pretty) and some other plugins got rid of a lot of ads. I was in browser Nirvana…almost.

Shiira v.2: I was DELIGHTED to see a new beta of Shiira come up. It added Growl and dealt with some of the biggest bugs (like the preference panes not working). Shiira has a special place in my heart because I stole some REALLY pretty badges from it (imagine a green swamp bubble, except pretty).

Camino: Today a new version of Camino came out so I decided to give it another shot. But it lost that chance within seconds of being launched. IT WOULDN’T LET ME TYPE IN AN ADDRESS. Is it just me or is that kind of a big problem? Basically the entire browser was unresponsive without so much as an “Application Not Responding”. Camino, you messed up BAD.

The Bottom Line: Safari is a fast, pretty (once you get rid of the brushed metal), simple and well-integrated browser that should fulfill most of your needs. Shiira is the more-or-less the same except a little buggy and quite a bit prettier. Firefox is ugly as sin but gets the job done (Camino is the opposite) and Opera is just…Norwegian.

Filed under: Apple, Oldies, The Malcontent, , , , , ,