Relay #70, Panel F

don't just know technology, understand it

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Rediscovering the web

I'm falling in love with Firefox all over again.

I'm not an internet power user by any stretch of the term. I use the net to shop, stay in touch with friends and business contacts, and keep on top of happenings in the world with a news site or two.

With my limited needs I of course only require limited resources. I still don't have broadband at home...matter of fact, I'm making this entry using my motorola C333 as a GPRS modem (read: sloooow), my laptop is a 1GHz P111, and my browser of choice is, of course, Firefox. The last item on my list is the subject of today's entry.

I originaly made the switch to Firefox because it was touted as being a lighter version of the now discontinued Mozilla Suite, which I thought was the only browser worth using on Linux. Firefox is a great browser (tabs) and it's not a breeding ground for virus (strictly speaking, Virus doesn't have a plural form) and trojans (many will say that this is simply because it has not reached critical mass, but that's debatable and not the purpose of this post).

As I said, I'm a simple man, and Firefox is a simple browser; simple and fast. I thought that was all I needed, and life's been good up until now.

Having too much time on my hands one evening, I decided to visit Firefox's extensions site. This exposed me to the true potential of this amazing browser. An extension is an addon. It extends the browser's functionality in any way the designer sees fit. Some I would classify as _nice to have_ (coloured tabs), others fall in the _useful_ category (AJAX yahoo, tab switching) and others are in the _what was I doing with my life before I found you_ genre (SessionSaver).

Now Firefox is a whole new browser to me. I've rediscovered my love. It's like that song, Escape (or the pina colada song, as it's affectionately known). All along it had the potential, and I was blind to it. More seasoned adventurous users may simply read this and laugh. Extensions are nothing new. They've been around long before Firefox was even thought of, but as I expressed before, I had never considered using them as I figured they'd be overkill for my needs.

In closing, if you're not using Firefox, get it. If you're using Firefox, but no extensions, get some. If you already have Firefox and all the extensions you can handle, then you've just wasted 5 minutes of your life.