Firefox 4 Thoughts and Review


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This week, Matthew is going to give you a little preview of Firefox 4 Beta 7. He wants all of you to see why he believes Firefox is most definitely still in the running for best browser available.

The only issue Matt has seen is that Aero crashes when he opens this Beta. Mozilla has integrated a lot of new features and a nice speed boost. One of the nicest inclusions is the way you can organize your tabs now. This gives you a visual overview of all open tabs, allowing them to be sorted and grouped. Additionally, your tabs are now on top by default.

You can search for and switch to already open tabs in the Smart Location Bar. There’s a new Addons manager which makes it much easier for you to sift through your extensions and decide what you want to enable, disable or update. The Bookmarks Toolbar has been replaced with a Bookmarks Button by default (you can switch it back if you’d like). And, the stop and reload buttons have been merged into a single button.

There are many other improvements to this already powerful browser. Have you checked out the new beta yet? What are your thoughts?

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How to Convince Someone to Switch Web Browsers


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Someone in the live chat room recently asked how they can convince a relative to stop using Internet Explorer. The answer is that you really can’t – and you shouldn’t. They use what they use because they like it. It’s a matter of personal preference, folks. How would you like it if someone told you you need to stop using Chrome, Firefox or Safari? You’d not be a very happy camper.

If they aren’t happy and are looking for suggestions, then go ahead and give them your ideas. When you try to convince someone to change – whether it’s Web browsers or even religions – you’re superimposing your experiences onto them. You’re forcing your own opinions and perspectives on someone’s life.

If they’re using IE for all the wrong reasons (such as using a very old version), that’s a bad reason. Explain to them why it may not be safe. It may work well and look good to them, but it isn’t safe. Tell them the dangers, and help them understand why they should upgrade or look at a different browser.

If you are going to insist on trying to get someone to change, don’t simply say something is better or faster. You will never win them over. Point out specific features you feel they would appreciate and need that they cannot get in the browser they are using now. The same can hold true if you are talking about phones, gadgets or computers.

Show them something they will be able to do outside of the limitations of what they have now. Ask them what they want their browser (or anything) to do, then show them what fits best with their needs – even if it is Internet Explorer.

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Firefox Tab Candy Keeps Tabs Organized

An Introduction to Firefox’s Tab Candy from Aza Raskin on Vimeo.

If you’re anything like I am, you have a kazillion different tabs open in your browser at any given time. Trying to navigate through them to get back to where you need to be is sometimes a complete nightmare. Often, you’ll end up simply opening yet another new tab to do something rather than wade through already-open ones to find whatever it was you wanted. Tabs are a godsend – and a mess. This is why the folks over at Firefox are bringing Tab Candy to you.

Aza Rasking from Mozilla talks about Tab Candy today on his blog. While the application is still in the early stages of testing, it sure as heck looks to be pretty damn sweet. Tab Candy lets you zoom out to get a different view of all of your tabs. You can re-arrange them into certain spaces so that they’re clumped together in a way that makes more sense. This should help you find things much quicker.

When your tabs are organized by group, you can choose that group and only look at the tabs you have placed there. The other tabs (in different groups) are still there, they will just be out of your direct view until you are finished focusing on the selected group. Change the sizes of your groups while zoomed in to keep more important things highlighted. According to Raskin, ““Make the group with your calendar and email bigger so that you can see what’s new just by zooming out to Tab Candy. Hide the group with distractions in a corner.”

What are your thoughts? Are you planning to try this out for yourself?

Firefox Beta 4.0 Annoyances

Jordan LeBlanc wrote an email to me recently, which appears below. He tried out the beta version of Firefox 4.0 for his Mac, and he wasn’t very happy with the results. He did the right thing in reporting the bug that annoyed him. I’m not sure, though, that I agree with uninstalling and ceasing to use a beta for that reason alone. The whole point of being a beta tester is to continue to update the builds, continue testing it and continue reporting any problems.

Hey Chris:

Just wondering if you have spent any time using Firefox 4.0 beta on the Mac, and if so, what are your thoughts on it?

I took it for a test drive today and I am sad to say that after 5 minutes, I uninstalled the darn thing. It showed promise — it was actually really fast – more so than Safari 5, and perhaps even slightly faster than Chrome. But — and this was the killer for me — it kept placing a 2nd icon on my dock for no apparent reason! At first I thought it was pop ups, but when you click on the icon… nothing happens. When you use dock expose on the Firefox app, it only shows one window. It is just some weird, random and useless icon that keeps appearing no matter how often you close it. After 5 minutes, I decided it was too much of an annoyance, and I uninstalled the beta – but not before I provided feedback about the issue via the “why Firefox made me sad” feedback menu.

It’s sort of sad, because Firefox used to be an amazing browser back in the day when it was designed to be fast, bloat free, and have a small footprint. If I remember correctly, that was the whole point to Firefox! If you wanted something slow and bloated you used IE or Mozilla’s full client. IMHO, Firefox started going downhill when they lost sight of that vision, and began adding all these crazy add-ons and themes. It has become the very thing it had been created to challenge.

Guess I’ll be sticking with Safari and Chrome for the foreseeable future. Firefox just isn’t what it used to be.

Have you tried out the beta version yet? What are your thoughts on it overall? Do you have any specifics praises or concerns that you want to share with the community?

Bring Firefox Home to Your iPhone

The wait is finally over! The free Firefox Home app is now available for download! Firefox Home gives you easy access to your Firefox desktop – the bookmarks, open tabs and history – right from your iPhone or iPod Touch. It uses your browser data which is synced securely through the cloud. You can search and browse quickly and efficiently, and always find exactly what you need while you’re on the go. Your Firefox data is private, and no one will have access to it other than you.

Tapping on one of the links will open the page in the iPhone’s Mobile Safari browser. The application works using Firefox’s Sync add-on, which lets you upload your Firefox profile to the cloud. This is great news for those of you who use Firefox as your main browser. My assistant Kat uses it on her own machine, and is very excited about this new release. Now that she has an iPhone this will help her be more efficient when she’s away from her desk.

Kat told me that she is almost too organized. She has folders inside of folders on her computer, each one labeled clearly in order to help her find what she needs in a matter of seconds. With all of the different things she does for me, she needs the same type of organization within her browser. She reports that her version of Firefox has several folders on her Bookmarks Toolbar, giving her fast access to the things she needs as she’s working.

By adding Firefox Home to her iPhone 3GS, she’ll never again have to hunt something down. Will you be adding this new app to your own iPhone?