Why I finally stopped stressing and learned to love Firefox
Sept. 30, 2004
It has been a while since I wrote about browsers, but now is a good time. I keep hearing about all the problems with Internet Explorer and many, many people are touting alternative browsers. Last time I wrote about browsers, I complained that any Mozilla-based client and the newest (since 7.0) versions of Opera don't work with Mouseimp, a wonderful mouse scrolling utility from a now defunct company. I use Mouseimp all the time and literally hate to work on computers that don't have it installed, so refused to upgrade to the newer Opera or switch to Mozilla or Firefox, a Mozilla-based internet browser. Well, that all changed when I found Mousestar. It took a long time to find any program anywhere that did what Mouseimp does, but I got determined. Why? Well, I've been fed up with Internet Explorer for a long time.
How long? Well, let me give a little history. I switched from Netscape, way back when IE and Netscape were both at version 4.0 (1998 or 97, right?). At the time, IE was the better browser. And I liked its features. Funny, talking about features now, considering IE is the most ignored, neglected (by its developers) and hole-riddled browser in existence. Well, over time, I realized that pop-ups and other goodies (spyware) were annoying and slowed down the cumbersome Internet Explorer. I began (and still use frequently) Adaware and Spybot Search and Destroy. I then started using Webwasher, which has a free version that strips out ads and pop-ups and other web annoyances that are automatically accepted by IE. That worked for a while, but it got annoying to have to sign in EVERY time to certain web sites that I visit often. And it got annoying that certain functionality I did want was also stripped out of the web. I recently abandoned webwasher, because it caused too many inconveniences. To answer the question at the beginning of this paragraph, my discontent has been around for about 3 years or more (I'd have to really think about it to pinpoint closer than that).
In the meantime, I've had to suffer. I thought I had found a solution in Opera, which has some things that were very nice, and I used it for a while. I still do, once in a while (I especially like the ability to remember my browsing session from before, for all the open tabs, unlike even Firefox). However, I found myself reverting back to IE, because Opera was becoming a memory hog (I would leave several tabs open at a time, I know, my fault) and was a pain to open up if I just wanted to look at one thing and not resume a previous browsing session. Opera became my browser full of things to look at later and a place to manage my bookmarks (my favorite feature of Opera), and probably will stay that way, but certainly not my daily browser. Wierd, huh?
As I detailed in a previous review, I finally tried the Opera 7 series and hated it, because I could not use Mouseimp. Well, having found Mousestar, I still can't scroll the way I want to in Opera, but I can in Firefox. Woohoo! I found something that works. Mousestar has done the unthinkable and lets me scroll in Mozilla-based browsers. Unfortunately, Mousestar doesn't work on everything, so I actually keep it and Mouseimp running, all the time, and it works out pretty well. And I find I don't miss IE for most things. No reason to run it, most days. Firefox has tabs, popup blocker, no jpg vulnerability, easy to access preferences (not hidden in several places, like IE), and is very stable. If they find a problem, they fix it fast, so development time is short. It isn't neglected. And I've never had a crash. Since it is a beta product still, you do have to be careful with it, but I've had no problems, except one. If I minimize the browser to do something else (I'm always multitasking), and then come back to Firefox, it takes a couple seconds to pop that window back up. Some memory hit that I don't understand. Small price to pay for a browser I find much better than IE. Unfortunately, I still have to use IE at work, but that's something I can't help, so I just deal with it.
So w hy do I need to use software like Mouseimp and Mousestar? Because I use a rollerball and not a regular mouse, so I do not have the mouse wheel. Must preserve my wrists. I usually only use a mouse at home when I'm playing a game (and I have precious little time to do that, these days).