Why you should upgrade to Firefox 3.5



We started writing Enquiring Mimes just over a year ago and one of our first entries was intended to convince you to start using the Firefox browser. Mozilla had, amidst great hoopla,  just released Firefox 3.

We gave you a number of reasons to switch if you were still using MS Internet Explorer — they’re probably still true today, but the landscape changed.  There are now two other competitive web browsers, Google Chrome and Apple Safari, both very fast and by comparison their speed made Firefox 3 seem very slow.

Our story has a happy ending. Firefox 3.5, a major release, has been sent out into the world and once again, Firefox is great.  They replaced the Java engine and it’s now as fast as the other guys and there’s a lot to like.  It’s nice to come home to Firefox without sacrificing speed and there are more great plug-ins than ever.

Here’s the top five best features of Firefox 3.5

  • Fast – according to betanews.com, Firefox 3,5 is 251% faster than Firefox 3.
  • Location-aware browsing – if you let it, Firefox can figure out where you are and give location information to sites you’ve approved providing you a more local experience.
  • Support for new web technology –  This will be a benefit in the future as sites begin to use the new features like downloadable fonts
  • Better handling of tabs and windows – easier recovery of mistakenly closed tabs and windows.
  • Private browsing – Firefox will keep no records of your browsing if you head for the wrong side of the tubes.

Here was our list from last year for Firefox 3: (all still true, “great performance” has been regained)

  • Secure
  • Great performance
  • Smart URL bar learns how you browse
  • Smart bookmarks
  • Smarter “Remembered Password” handling
  • Good security and malware protection
  • Use it on Windows, Mac and Linux

Download Firefox 3.5.

Firefox browser speed comparison

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You do know what a browser is, don’t you?


I went on and on about web browsers last week. I wrote about the different ones and how there was a new browser war underway. Did you follow me?

The reason I ask, is Google sent a team into Times Square in NYC to ask about browsers and found that only 8% of the folks interviewed actually knew what was a browser. Most seemed to confuse browsers and search engines.

Now this was probably a pretty unscientific sample but also probably fairly typical. I’m not sure Google’s point in this exercise but it comes off a bit like a sequence of Jay Leno’s “Jay Walking”.

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Opera Unite opens up so many possibilities


opera-logoWhen I was writing recently about web browsers, I said look for innovation from Opera. They make a very cool and polished web browser that has never gained as much usage on desktop computers as it deserves. It is used widely on mobile devices.

Opera proved again this week they have been thinking outside the box.

They had been promising they’d announce news that would “re-invent the web”.  To support rhetoric like that, I was hoping the news would be more than just their Version 10 browser was out of beta.  Instead the announcement was Opera Unite, functionality that will allow Opera users to actually provide services from their web browser to other users on the web without the need to go through the “middleman” of a web server.

The sample services currently provided  tend to not be very original, a virtual refrigerator door to which you can allow others users to pin notes, a chat application so that you can host your own chat sessions, media sharing, file sharing and photo sharing.  Cool but not earthshaking (they admit it, they are just demo services.

The most interesting and possibly provocative of the initial services is a web server.   Imagine being able to easily post pages and files that could be seen by your dispersed family, your small workgroup, PTA, club, team or any small group that you’d like to be able to to disseminate information.  Pages can be public or password protected.

I also mentioned provocative since Opera will be forced to prove that they’re not creating a security risk by increasing the chance of hacking and contamination on individual users’ computers.

Still, the possibilities are endless if developers create sharing services for business and home that can be run directly on a web browser.  Expect to see this concept again in other browsers, they all “borrow. You can now not only own the printing press but the web server, too.

Download the Opera version with Opera Unite (alpha release).

Their pitch:

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Winning Small Battles in the Browser Wars

Mosaic Browser Logo credit: CSA/University of Illinois

Mosaic Browser Logo credit: CSA/University of Illinois

The Browser wars are heating up again after years of only minor scrimmages and few battles.

The original browser wars of the 90’s was between the giant Netscape and the well-funded challenger Microsoft Internet Explorer. The questions asked then was had Microsoft lost the Internet or would they be able to come from behind and create a credible challenge against Netscape’s market dominance.
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Google Chrome for Mac is so cool, now finish it!


The Chrome team has released a developers copy of the browser for Mac and Linux, so far Google Chrome has just been available for Windows.

While to call me a developer would be a gross misuse of the term, I’ve been using the browser ever since it was released last week.  It is so cool.  Well actually so fast!

The team admits it’s far from finished.  Among other things, it doesn’t print, it doesn’t display YouTube-like videos and there seems to be not much in the way of bookmark management.  So let’s give it a number and say it’s 75% done. What it does well is render a web page really fast and when I’m digging around the web that’s what’s most important to me.

The Chronium Blog warns you not to download this version unless “take great pleasure in incomplete, unpredictable, and potentially crashing software.

How incomplete? So incomplete that, among other things , you won’t yet be able to view YouTube videos, change your privacy settings, set your default search provider, or even print.”

It hasn’t crashed for me in about 20 hours of use.  The only gotcha for me was when checking a blog post and panicking when I couldn’t see the YouTube video, but I had been warned.


Anway, if you live life on the bleeding edge and are so Type A that anything faster is better, download the browser and give it a try on Mac or Linux.

As for me?  I’ll probably use it for most of my work on my slight aging Macbook because it just makes the experience so darn fast!

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