2004 is drawing to a close. Have you ditched Internet Explorer for Firefox yet? I have been using Firefox for almost six months now, and I can honestly say it beats IE hands down. The first full version — Firefox 1.0 — has been available for some time. Switching from IE is easy.

I love the following things about Firefox:

  • It’s more secure than IE. Microsoft, comfortable with the notion that the vast majority of people in the world use their IE browser, have done little to improve the browser since Netscape, their former competitor, “lost the browser war.” But you don’t have to take my word for it: even Slate, owned by Microsoft, published an article subtitled “How Mozilla’s Firefox trumps Internet Explorer.” recommended ditching IE six months ago.
  • Tabbed browsing. I can have multiple tabs open in one window and switch back and forth between them easily. It makes writing blog entries involving web research very easy. And it keeps the taskbar on the bottom of my computer screen less cluttered so I can even have multiple programs open and still see what I’m doing. This is especially valuable when I’m creating handouts for school.
  • “Smarter Search.” I don’t have to download a Google or Yahoo toolbar. Search is integrated into Firefox’s toolbar. And not just Google or Yahoo. I have my toolbar configured to search Google, Yahoo, Amazon, E-Bay, two different dictionary sites, IMDb, and Wikipedia. That saves loads of time, because all I have to do is open a browser and I can execute searches at any of these sites without having to even open their website or open a bookmark. It’s easy.
  • Dictionary Search. This is a nifty extension that makes it easy to look up words I don’t know or find articles. All I have to do is highlight a word, right click, and select which sort of search I want to do, because my particular setup allows me to search Merriam-Webster’s dictionary or thesaurus, Wikipedia, and even a Hebrew dictionary.
  • Pop-up Blocker. I don’t have to download anything extra to block pop-ups. It works great, too. Not one single pop-up has opened without my consent since I’ve been using Firefox.

That just barely scratches the surface. If Firefox has one flaw, it seems to be that it doesn’t like PDFs. Often, when I try to open a PDF with Firefox, it stops responding. Aside from that, I can do anything else I need to do over the Internet in Firefox. In fact, I have become so attached to Firefox, that I can’t stand it when I have to use IE for any reason (for example, most of the computers at work don’t have Firefox).

Out with the old and in with the new — do yourself a favor and try it. And no, this wasn’t a compensated endorsement — that’s just how much I like it.

Posted in IT