Thursday, August 22, 2013

I use three browsers

Some time around 2005 I abandoned IE in favor of Firefox, the next new thing. I spent considerable time customizing it, changing the display colors (because I hate bright white screens glaring at me) and installing ad blockers up the wazoo. I updated it a few times, but when version 3 was released in '08 I balked, because I heard it was buggy, and when later, reportedly less-buggy, versions were released, I hesitated, fearful that feature creep would prevent all my painstakingly-arrived-at settings from transferring over.

So I'm still using Firefox 2. This is still OK for some sites, but for others it means the site won't load or the displays won't appear. I have a particularly hilarious time on sites like Amazon, where my extreme ad-blocking causes the hot function buttons to disappear - as displays; the buttons are still active. I have to feel around the screen with my mouse looking for hot spots that will do something if I click, and then hope it's the right one because, since there's no display, I can't tell what it does. I stayed on the old LJ interface as long as I could, but when that was discontinued the data entry display went all wonky and I could no longer make out what I was typing as it kept overwriting itself on the screen.

By that time I'd already picked a backup browser to keep updated and not use blocking on, for those websites that were just impossible with Firefox 2. I picked Opera, because I'd heard good things about it. And, indeed, it's good except for three things, two of them display-related. First, I can't find any way to change the color settings, so the white screen glares at me. Second, its display sometimes interacts awkwardly with my Windows settings, which are also reversed color, and on some sites, e.g. Slate, I get white-on-white, and have to highlight the text in order to read it.

The last straw, however, was the third thing, which was the latest update to the LJ interface. The "post" button is disabled on Opera, even the latest version. You can see it, but nothing happens if you click on it. Same on Firefox. Same on IE 8, when I dusted that off and tried it. In desperation, I downloaded Chrome and tried that. Ta da, it works! Also, though I can't figure out any way to change display colors on Chrome either, at least it doesn't import my Windows settings on Slate text, so at least I can now read that.

So now I use Chrome for LJ and Slate and a few others, Opera for everything else that won't work on Firefox 2, and Firefox 2 for the rest. Which is enough that I'm having trouble remembering which sites I use on which browser. Why don't I just abandon Opera for Chrome? Well, three reasons. Opera does two tab-related things I really like, which Chrome doesn't. First, when I open it, it opens the same tabs I'd closed with. (Firefox only does that if it crashed.) Second, when I'm switching among tabs by alt-tab, it takes me first to the last one I used. That means I can have, say, 5 tabs open, but if I'm just comparing two of them at the moment, I can switch back and forth between them without having to cycle through the other 3 or use the mouse. Neither Chrome nor Firefox does this.

Thirdly, Opera, like Firefox, is an independent project. Chrome belongs to Google, and I don't want Google tracking what I do any more than necessary. Yeah, I keep declining to "sign in," as they call it, but do I trust them? Not one bit.

But man, I really wish Opera and Chrome would let me change the display colors.

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