The state of browser affairs

First, a little joke to set the scene (forgive a rough translation from Russian)…

Lion, the king of all animals, was running some statistics over his animal kingdom.  He called all animals and made the speech.  “Dear all,” – he said, – “I am trying to figure out how to direct the educational program in the upcoming year.  For that I need some stats.  Those of you who are strong, please stand on my right.  Those of you who are smart, please stand on my left.  And let me count you…”

Strong animals – elephants, bulls, hippos, etc – all moved by the lion’s right paw.  The smart animals – beavers, rats, foxes, etc – grouped by lion’s left side.  When the dust settled, there was a one animal still running around blubbering something.  All attention turned towards the creature, and everyone saw the monkey.  It was running back and forward from one group to another and back again, thinking out oud: “strong to the right, smart to the left.. .strong to the right, smart to the left… and me? what about me?  Do I have to cut myself in half or what?” …

For the last few days, I feel a little bit like that monkey.  The thing is that I’m using two browsers right now, I can’t continue using two browsers, and I can’t pick one.  Those of you following me on Twitter might be somewhat aware of the situation.

I love Firefox.  I’ve been using it for years, and I don’t see it going anywhere.  It has plenty of functionality (especially through plugins and extensions) that no other browser has.  It does whatever I want it to do and then a little bit more.  But it’s so slow that I can’t stand it.  I have removed all extensions that I don’t use.  I have disabled all extensions that I use from time to time.  I read all optimizations tips on the web and tried a few thoughts of my own.  It helped, but not enough.  Nothing has solved the problem.  Scrolling is still slow.  Especially with a few tabs open.  Switching between tabs is slow. Opening a new tab is slow.  And these are things I do a few thousand times a day.  Even milliseconds count for this operations.  Firefox allows itself to spend almost full seconds.

On the other hand, I have Opera – a fantastically fast browser.  It even has a lot of features that make browsing the web so pleasant. Tabs, search bar, downloads management, history and bookmarks, fast dial, notes, and many more.  But.  Those aren’t enough.  Even with recently introduced widgets it still doesn’t cover the functionality that I need.  By far.  Not even 50%.  But it’s so fast that it almost makes me not care.  Almost.

Opera has practically no integration with social services – something that I work a lot with.  No comparison can be made with Firefox extensions for Twitter, Flickr, and del.icio.us here.  It has practically no integration with other, less social, online tools – specifically the Google pack of services (Gmail, Calendar, Reader, etc).  And it misses the most important area of my work – web development.  Source code formatting, highlighting, editing, analysis, testing, troubleshooting…

I am confident that the situation will improve and resolve itself pretty soon.  Firefox is getting a lot of momentum and already plenty of optimizations went into upcoming Firefox 3.  Opera is getting a lot of hype and user base on mobile devices.  People are starting to develop for it.

But I can’t wait…

Why blogs are better than mainstream news

Every day I read more and more blogs and less and less mainstream news. Why? Because mainstream news suck! Most of the mainstream news agencies carry the heavy burden of the printed press and a century of mass media from before the Internet.

Picture is a thousand words they say. Here is a graphical example for you. Cool Tech Zone – “A Division of iTech Media.” Blah blah blah. One of the recent news items is titled “Microsoft Buys Out Opera“. Catching, isn’t it? It is.

In 5 paragraphs of text to follow, they tell that Microsoft is closing a deal purchasing Opera Software. Google is mentioned and so on and so forth. Makes one read a lot, wonder, think, wonder, think, and read some more…

6th paragraph reads:

Update: Opera recently confirmed that Microsoft has not approached the browser maker and there is no active acquistion deal between the two companies currently.

In plain English? OK. “All you’ve just read above is bullcrap. Lies. We just made it up.” Yeah. They just wasted a whole bunch of your time. And they are not sorry. “Opera recently confirmed…” Confirmed? Confirmed what? They didn’t confirm anything. In fact, they contradicted. It should have read something like “Opera recently contradicted this whole article.”

I’m telling you – blogs rule…

P.S.: Slashdot post

Daily del.icio.us bookmarks

I was reading up on the subject of kung fu. History of Shaolin monastery makes a good part of it. As does Beijing Opera which created lots of kung fu movie stars (Jackie Chan as an example).

Continue reading “Daily del.icio.us bookmarks”