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Some (probably too few of an amount to call 'some', but some nonetheless) may have noticed that just as I started to make a name for myself here on Ciao, I had my little red dot and was managing to chern out at least one review a day, I was suddenly struck down in the prime of life. Now there's a couple of reasons for this, and over my next few reviews I plan on covering them.. if I don't go into a DVD fit again and only review films for a whole week. The first of the reasons I shall cover is my Internet Explorer breaking down for absolutely no reason. God I hate the internet.. don't tell him I said that. For those who don't know what Internet Explorer is, you'll probably feel slightly stupid when I tell you it's that thing you click day in, and day out, to come on here and read reviews. That's right, it's basically what you use to browse the internet and it's pages - explore the internet, if you will. So with my IE (see what I did there?) broken down, what on Earth was I going to do? Lucky for me I had heard of a little thing called Mozilla Firefox.
We live in a world where there's never one of anything, there's always more than one chocolate bar to choose from, so why isn't there going to be more than one internet browser to choose from? Afterall, the internet is bigger than the physical world itself. I had heard of Firefox previously, and never really thought seriously about taking it on as my number one resource for the internet, with my IE just not improving though I was pushed into downloading Firefox. What I had heard about Firefox was that it was better and faster than IE, but I'm one of those people that likes to stick to what they know, and besides IE is fast enough for me.. most of the time. Whether or not your browser is fast enough for you is usually a question you can solve on a scale of how loud you shout at your computer. Finding where to download Firefox was easy enough, just put a search in on Google and it took me to Mozilla.com. There you have a button to press, follow the usual download and installation instructions, and there you have it. If you don't find installing stuff hard, you definitly won't find installing Firefox hard. It was all fairly quick as well, but don't quote me on that 100% because I did install this quite a few weeks back now - I've just been taking the time to get used to the application before I review it.
Your asked if you want to transport your IE history over, and if you want Firefox to be your default browser, all that kind of usual crap. One instant problem I have with Firefox though is that no matter how often I set it as my default browser whenever I want to check my email through MSN Messenger it will always take me to Hotmail with the IE browser - that is broken. This means a lot of waiting around before I can Ctrl+Alt+Del to get that window closed and open my email the way I have to view it. Seeing as through MSN was previous my number way of viewing my email, this can be slightly painful. It was very painful at the start. Another gripe was with my lovely Google toolbar disappearing, I loved that thing. I'm not sure if I can download it to be the way it was previously, however on Firefox I have got a little Google search thing in the corner that I can use. It's not quite the same, although Firefox does automatically block pop-ups so you don't require Google toolbar for the pop-up blocking option alone.
My instant impressions were that I was going to hate Firefox, and never truly get on board with it. Things do seem to load kind of funny on it at first, like the pictures especially. The more I've used Firefox however, the less it seems to load funny. Maybe it remembers a lot and if I go to new sites it will probably do that funny loading thing again, but that's not too much of a pain in the ass. I think that's probably why Firefox is faster than IE, because it loads text before images - who knows, eh? In terms of Firefox being faster than IE, I was never expecting it to be. Some sites are about the same really, however Ciao is noticeably faster than it was on IE. Sometimes the pages can load wrongly at first and then correct themselves, but it's still loading way faster than it ever was with IE, and considering how much I like to use Ciao that is a major plus.
The logo for Firefox is a bit more interesting than IE's big blue 'e', although that has tradition and wants in a logo really? The Firefox symbol is a fox basically rolling itself around the world, and its tail is on fire - hence it is a Firefox that allows you to explore the world. Simple. I know there is a lot of people that swear by the Firefox browser, however I am nowhere near being that far in love with it. In fact, if my IE started working again right now I would probably go back to it and stop this review right here. I remember I actually went for a job that involved being on computers and the internet, they asked me if I used Firefox and I said no. They said that at their workplace they use Firefox, and asked if I would be ok using it. Of course I'd be ok using it - it's exactly the same! Seriously, if you are ever worried about using Firefox don't be, you're not going to break it.
What's the main 'selling' point for Firefox then? Well allow me to share with you something you may find surprising. Tabs. At the top of the Firefox browser you have the typical blue stripe with the logo, site name, then the three options (minimize, restore up/down, exit). Below that you have the typical; File, Edit, View, History, Bookmarks, Tolls and Help. Then below THAT you have the back/forward buttons, refresh, stop, home, address bar. It's all very samey up to that point.. but then you have a grey bar that is seemingly used for nothing. Well, you're wrong. In that grey bar you can put sites that you want to go back to and view quickly, they're basically like your favourites. To be honest I don't use that yet, but I can see how it can be really useful. Then below that you will have where your Tabs appear. Say you click a link in IE.. it will usually pop up in a new window or the same window, right? Well on Firefox you can click a link and it will pop up in the same window, however you will get a series of tabs along the top of the screen. This allows you to quick between the pages without losing where you were or having a bunch of open windows all over the screen. Quite incredible really. The only problem with this is that those of us who are used to IE will forget all about the tab system and click the cross in the corner, that will take you out of all the windows and you will have to load Firefox and start all over again. Lucky Firefox doesn't take long to load then, have I mentioned that already?
If you close Firefox unexpectedly, chances are when you next go to load the browser up you will be offered whether you want to go back to the site you were last on or if you want to start a new session. Quite clever really. Just like IE, you can set your default homepage and where you want your documents to be saved to. Downloading things off of Firefox is a bit different to downloading them off IE though, so let me explain. Say you click something to download in Firefox, it will bring you up with a screen asking whether you want to open it with such and such a program, or if you want to save it to the disc. This probably sounds a lot like the one on IE, but it is displayed in a different way so it can be fairly confusing at first. You will then get a little pop-up window telling you how long is left on your download, and if you want to have more than one download at a time the progress of both will be simultaneously shown in this one window. You then have the option of clearly all your completed downloads, and if you don't do this they will be shown in the window everytime you go to download something - just incase you forget you've downloaded something, with it being in that window you can never miss something you might want and forget you have.
I'm not going to stay here all day talking you through the features of Firefox, because a lot of them are similar to IE or exactly the same. One thing I will comment on is the Privacy options, which are an improvement on IE's. Whenever you put passwords and usernames into sites, Firefox will offer to remember them. Unlike IE, that might forget some every now and again FIREFOX NEVER FORGETS. Not unless you ask it to that is. You can also set how often you want Firefox to forget what sites you've been on, and with IE I found that it would remember a couple when you type it in - this doesn't happen on Firefox, which is great for a shared computer.
Overall I can see how hard Firefox tries to be better than Internet Explorer, and whilst a couple of options they've added on - like the tabs - do make it an improvement over IE, you can't beat what you're used to. One problem I have with Firefox is how it displays the addresses of websites in the order that you first visited them, rather than updating the list everytime you visit sites so the one you've last been on is at the top. There's probably a way to correct this, because I can't see Mozilla leaving it out, but I haven't found it yet. Also at least once a day Firefox will just be dead set against going on a site I want to, and after a little while will come up with a timed out message. This will be on sites that I know there is absolutely no problem with as well, proper major name sites. I have no idea why it would do that, it can lead me to wonder if it's a problem with my browser or my internet connection. I really don't know. I wouldn't recommend switching if your IE works fine, but I can see why some people do swear by Firefox. It's going to have to save my life before I start shouting its name from the rooftops.