Cycling, macintosh, natural history and life in Singapore - Archives
Mon 19 Jan 2004
Category : mac and the internet
I like experimenting with software, so when I heard about Firebird and Thunderbird by the Mozilla project, I switched to these on the office PC. Since then, I have been converting PC users to using Firebird, which is a faster browser with tabbed browsing to boot. See this review at Apple Legal.
Netscape and Mozilla are suites composed of several software including email clients. I use their composers for making webpages sometimes and introducing new users to making webpages with this. Mozilla has a newly released version 1.6 of 15 Jan 2004. Incredibly, not only are these software free, there are versions for Windows, Unix and Mac platforms.
But if you only want to view webpages, Firebird easily zips past the two clunky behemoths. Even downloading the browser-only Firebird is rapid in comparison. You can also manipulate the look of Firebird with extensions via the preferences which will direct you through the process. There are few schemes for the mac but the few that are available make Firebird much better looking.
Firebird is easily my default on a relatively slow Mac like an iBook 600, and much faster that Safari which was all the rage a year ago. I was first alerted to this possibility on another blog - A View From Home.
On a faster mac however, Safari's lag time is not as bothersome and for now, I'd rather have Safari's keyboard shortcuts, especially in navigating between tabs (cmd-shift-angle brackets) and bookmarks on the personal toobar (cmd-1, 2, 3, etc). For more on keyboard shortcuts, see this page in Mac OS X Hints.
Internet banking(IB) has its problems, but for some time now, Netscape 7.02 has solved our woes - click to download 7.02. The odd thing is ver 7.1 loses this IB ability, so we keep a copy of 7.02 which we never update.
Mozilla, Netscape and Firebird all share the gecko layout engine and that means I can't run them simultaneously - an inconvenience when an urge to do internet banking hits you and you already have 10 tabs open in Firebird! But easy enough to work around.
Safari is hopeless at refreshing pages. When this happens, I use the debug menu to switch to Camino or Firebird. A freeware, Safari Enhancer, can make the debug menu magically appear.
Recently I discovered many mac users oblivious to tabbed browsing, despite having Safari onboard.
Some others, I found, with IE5 as default, not for any other reason than it is what they have always known. They seem content, so after only a hint, I leave them well alone. Contentment can come from ignorance or focus, who's to say which is which? Just two years ago, I was content on OS 8.6 on a Powerbook 1400 with just 64MB RAM. No bugs, no fixes, nothing. Probably spent more time outdoors!
For me at least, its:
Default browser: Slow iBook - Firebird. Fast desktop - Safari.
When refreshing webpages - Firebird.
Internet banking/purchasing - Netscape 7.02.
Composing webpages - Mozilla or Netscape Composer.
In the drawer - IE 5.2 (no memory of use in 2003).
Fallen angel after the arrival of Firebird - Camino.
Never used - iCab.