Monday, May 12, 2008

It just works. Mostly.

I am not a tenth the computer geek I once was.

I stopped using Microsoft's Internet Explorer and started using Firefox a few years ago, not because of security issues or lack of plug ins, or whatever, but for two simple reasons: 1) Every now and again (and I mean rarely.) IE v.WhateverItWas would just bail on me. It wouldn't lock up or crash the 'puter, or anything bad like that, it would just go away and I'd have to restart it. Nothing fatal, just annoying. 2) I got addicted to tabbed browsing, because it was so much handier than having a ton of windows open. In a usual browsing session, I have tabs open at VFTP, either Digital Fossils or The Arms Room, AOhelL, whatever blog or news article I'm writing about at the moment or planning to write about in the next few hours, Wikipedia, and Google. Six tabs are just easier to manage than six seperate windows. My Firefox install has always been bare-bones, with no extensions or plug-ins or any of that stuff. I've also been using Firefox on my road computer, the slime-lime green toilet seat iBook running OS 10.3, for at least a year. For all that time, it's been as stable as I could hope for on both the laptop and my Pentium 4/Win XP home computer; I have been a happy Firefox user.

Recently, I decided to do a little experiment over at my other blog. I unhooked my faithful Wintel box, and set up to use nothing but 8-year-old Macs for all my computing needs. I loaded up OS 10.3.9 on my G4 tower and my old G3 iMac, and downloaded the latest 10.3.9 updates for my iBook, too. I installed the latest version of Firefox (2.0.0.14), and set off down the information superhighway, only to find out that Firefox no longer plays well with the Mac OS; the thing has turned into an unuseable freeze-o-matic in Blogger. A browser in which I can't load my own blog is worse than useless to me, so I've reluctantly started using Safari, which also has tabbed browsing. Of course, Safari doesn't have the handy inline spellchecker that Firefox does (I don't actually "spellcheck" because I trust my spelling, but I've gotten addicted to having typos underlined in red so that I can see them before I hit "publish",) and even worse, Safari doesn't support Blogger's WYSIWYG compose mode, and typing every post in straight html is the very definition of "tedious". I am now forced to choose between Safari, with tabbed browsing and crappy blogging, or downloading IE and having good blogging and no tabs. This both blows and sucks at the same time, a feat heretofore thought impossible. Thanks a whole hell of a lot, Mozilla.

25 comments:

Ahab said...

IE 7 has tabbed browsing.

Tam said...

Well.

Problem solved. :)

GrantCunningham said...

So you're still using Safari 1.3.2? Ouch...

Is there a possibility of getting Tiger shoehorned into that thing? That would allow you to bump up to Safari v2, which has inline spellcheck. Installing v3 would get you vastly updated standards compatibility. (I don't know if v3 fixed the Blogger interface issues, but I recall reading somewhere that it did.)

Computing with outdated hardware/software is like riding a motorcycle: it's a lot of fun when you don't have to do it!

-=[ Grant ]=-

Tam said...

Tiger should run okay on the G4 tower. It's a G4/500 with 512MB of RAM.

I'm thinking things would be a little iffier on the iMac (G3/400, 384MB) and iBook (G3/466, 192MB).

Stingray said...

It could be the version of firefox giving you grief in macland. While my knowledge of macs is quite limited, I do know that the 2.x versions of firefox are considered buggy and bad in general. I've been using a 1.x firefox for ages without updating it and it's rock solid, while LabRat has been using a 2.x release and letting it autoupdate itself (we're both on wintels). Each update seems to herald a notable uptick in sudden outbursts from across the lab damning the stability of firefox.

TD said...

Or you could always ditch Blogger and switch to Wordpress :-)

Divemedic said...

This exposes the basic problem with Macs. When you hear a Mac owner brag about how there are no virus problems or crashes with Macs, it also exposes the same issue.

The issue? No one writes software for Macs. Not even writing a virus is worth the effort.

Tam said...

How is having a program for Mac not having a program for Mac? You've lost me there.

The program exists, it just stopped working with its latest update.

bob said...

When I was a wee lad graduating from The Basic School, someone had carved into the top of their desk, (the desks were made of wood back then): "TBS blows and sucks. Anything that blows and simultaneously sucks is a vacuum. And nothing can survive in a vacuum." Good luck Tam.
b.

Barry said...

I don't know much about Mac's but I do here ya on the Firefox thing. It is still far superior to IE with what I use. Have you tried going back to an original firefox?

Will Brown said...

I've been using Avant Browser (link is to Download.com page) for several years now with no problems. I recommend it to you and anyone else looking for a reliable browser.

Freddyboomboom said...

Actually, I believe it's more to do with something at sitemeter.

Every time I go to your page in Firefox, s20.sitemeter.com pegs one of my CPUs and firefox is unresponsive until I close that window.

Not close Firefox, just close that Firefox window.

Happens on your site about two or three times a year.

It'll clear out when whatever post it is runs off the end of the page...

GrantCunningham said...

"Tiger should run okay on the G4 tower. It's a G4/500 with 512MB of RAM.

I'm thinking things would be a little iffier on the iMac (G3/400, 384MB) and iBook (G3/466, 192MB)."

I managed to get Tiger running on an Indigo iMac (Summer 2K, G3/350) - your gear is newer than that, so you should be able to.

The G3 iBook has Firewire, and it sounds like your iMac is a DV model or later, which also has firewire. That's the primary requirement for installing Tiger, so I think you're good to go!

-=[ Grant ]=-

P.S.: Divemedic - 1998 called, they want their misconceptions back.

og said...

What sucks at one end, blows at the other, and bites in the middle? Well, it's either an Electrolux with an angry cat sleeping on it, or bad browswers on a mac. Or anything, for that matter.

Chas S. Clifton said...

There is a Firefox 3 in beta which works better with Blogger than did v.2.

Oddly, however, it does not display the little pencil edit-me icon under your posts when you are logged in.

Aside from that, it's better.

Tam said...

I d/l'ed the v.3 beta, but it doesn't want to seem to play with clunky old OS 10.3.

ravenshrike said...

try here http://www.mozilla.org/releases/ and download the 1.7.13 version

Tam said...

I'm giving Camino a whirl even as I type this, actually...

Mark Alger said...

Just to make your life even more interesting, please allow me to recommend Opera.

Then you can REALLY look down your nose at all those Mere Mortals who still use non-standards browsers.

Heh.

M

Ian said...

I'll ditton the IE7 recommendation on the PC. Opera is a nice browser as well (I only recently went back to IE 7 after a long fling with Opera); but it's so strict it can be annoying, and it doesn't always work with some of the nifty gadgets.

IE 7 by default doesn't have inline spellchecking, but you can find a plugin or two (IE7Pro is what I use) that will give it to you. I haven't found a similar functionality for Opera yet (the spellchecker I found is not inline).

John said...

Yeah, IE7 has tabs. Everything else about kinda blows, though.

Firefox runs really well on [pick your distro] Linux. And, there are a couple really un-geeky distros out there5andn1ggerR

Jeff said...

I've never had any issues with Firefox and OSX.

I'm running 10.5 and firefox 2. No Problems.

Running the newer versions of OSX would probably be a bit iffy on G3's though.

Brad K. said...

Divemedic, I disagree with your characterization, that virus writers are among those uninterested in writing software for Macs.

Fewer non-corporate software writers write for the Mac. First, there are fewer development tools available, and second the platform was non-generic. Until OS 10, the Mac OS was so different from MS and Unix/Linux, few non-corporate developers were interested.

The PC/Microsoft platform was always about programming. Look how it took Service Pack 2 to get a good, stable Windows XP.

And Apple Computer was ethical with their customers. Virus writers targeted Microsoft initially over outrage about Microsoft ethics and arrogance. And, of course, the Windows OS was always easier to break than other commercial OS'es.

Virus writers pinged and dinged on Windows - and users complained to Microsoft. Not the criminals abusing the users. That would not have been the case against Apple and their loyal and respected customers.

After the first few years of virus and other attacks on Windows, the was a feeling of challenge to keep breaking the Redmond fixes. And also an almost empathy among many Microsoft customers.

kishnevi said...

I downloaded IE7 when it first came out.
Guess what? It was the WORST virus my computer has ever had to deal with. Half my programs would not work because of it. Including IE7. The only way to deal with it was to uninstall IE7, reinstall IE6, and go back to using Firefox for my maing browser. (This is on a windows expire machine.)

But Firefox does not let me sign in to Blogger, Wordpress, Yahoo or any webmail site, or make comments on Blogger. So to make this comment, I first read the post on Firefox, then go to IE to bring it up there. This is a bit clumsy, but OTOH it's given me time to realize that the comment I wanted to post was a lousy comment and not worth posting. I don't have any experience on Macs, but I will whenever this computer bites the dust--from what I've heard of Vista, it's time to switch to Mac.

The version of Firefox I'm using is 1.5.0.4 I don't update unless I have to.

Josh said...

I could recommend Opera...

Or I could recommend getting the IETab plug-in for Firefox, which allows you to switch the tab that you're using between FF and IE.

Some of my daily sites don't display in one or the other, and it's much easier to (right click->switch rendering engine) than switch browsers.