I’m often asked why I use Firefox for my browser. For years I navigated with Internet Explorer, after trying other browsers but consistently encountering problems with web pages loading correctly. Last year, my edtech network was buzzing about FF so I had to try it. I have no regrets and have proudly set FF as my default browser.
Why I made the switch:
- Fast and Efficient: I like the clean interface and consistent performance. FF doesn’t crash like IE consistently did. Plus pages load faster. The interface is intuitive and easy to use and works well with Web2.o tools.
- Safe: More viruses and malware programs are written for IE, making FF a safer choice.
- Smart: It remembers what I’ve entered for web forms, including passwords. I can easily give FF amnesia by using the Privacy options to clear all stored information.
- Tabbed Browsing: Multi-tasking is easier with several site tabs open across the top of my browser, as opposed to multiple windows. I have my homepage set to open 3 tabs at once: my Pageflake, Gmail, and Twitter. (Yes, IE7 supports tabs, but it’s not the same.)
- Free: I’m always happy to find free tools.
- Pop-up Blocker: Pop-up problem is eliminated. A status bar is displayed when a popup is blocked and I can choose to allow it if needed.
- Download Manager: I can choose to pause a download and continue it later.
- Search field included: Google’s search engine is integrated into the toolbar. With a click I can change from Google to Amazon, Yahoo, eBay, Creative Commons, delicious, or add other sites of my choice.
- Text Zoom: Control + to zoom in, Control – to zoom out (there’s the age showing)
- Customizable: Using the variety of plugins, extensions, and themes, I can sculpt my browser. The themes are fun and add a festive feel. Currently I have the Tinseltown theme on my home computer and the sleek and shiny Metal Lion on my school computer. By clicking Tools and choosing Add-ons I can find and install themes or extensions. A lot of extensions can slow down the browser, so I’m selective in what I install.
The extensions I use include:
- Better Gmail 2: adds features to the new Gmail interface
- Better Search: To search results, it adds a thumbnail, and links to: open in new window, site info, quick preview, and archive.
- delicious bookmarks: I love delicious and use it every day. These browser buttons make tagging/saving/sharing sites so easy.
- Foxit Reader w/PDF download: This replaces Adobe Acrobat Reader, with a small footprint, a fast and clean reader. It can convert the pdf to a text file, or even annotate it.
- Google Notebook: I use this to add text clippings, images and links to my Google Notebooks.
- Picnik: When I right click on an image, the pop up men includes the option to edit the image in Picnik.
- ScribeFire: This opens a resizable window below the browser, into which I can drag or copy text or images into a blog post, which can be published straight from ScribeFire or saved as a draft.
- Tag Editor: Tag editor generates tag links for my blog posts.
- Unplug: I use this at home to download a video from YouTube that I want to show during a workshop. I then use Smart Notebook software to play the file.
- *PriceDrop is something I should be using for Christmas shopping, but haven’t tried yet. It allows you to track product prices at Amazon, and receive price drop notifications.
FF has won numerous awards from prestigious websites and magazines including: PC World, PC Magazine, and CNet. It is built and distributed by the Mozilla Organization.
Give it a test drive. You can still keep IE installed, just in case you aren’t converted. You can easily import all of your IE favorites. If you decide to make the switch, be sure to set Firefox as your default browser so that links you click open in your favorite browser: Tools>Options>Main tab>Check Now button.
If you’re a Firefox user I’d love to hear about your favorite extensions or themes.