Monday, August 12, 2013

Firefox *sigh*

From Opera to Firefox

So I just recently said goodbye to Opera, the web browser I used and loved for years, and I have decided to move to Firefox.

How satisfied am I with the change? Not much at all. FF is slow, its settings are not the way you'd want them to be, it becomes even slower with a mere 5-6 tabs open simultaneously while I used to juggle with 20-30 of them in Opera, and it even crashes every so often (4 times today) + it even crashed the whole PC once, freezing the screen and requiring me to reboot the PC. Just for the record, this PC is about as high-spec as it gets among laptops, with i7-2630QM processor and 16GB of RAM (and swap disabled to prevent back-and-forth read/write between RAM and disk).

What's wrong, exactly?

The main source of crashes, I suspect, seems to be the add-on Lazarus. For many days, I had several add-ons installed, including Lazarus, but I had kind of muted Lazarus by not letting it perform its initialization (generating some key) so it had stayed dormant and even though I experienced the slowness inherent to Firefox, I don't remember having phases of lag where FF would put itself in "not responding" status for 10-20 seconds before resuming normal function (or crashing). That's why I am highly suspicious of it.

Oh the irony! Lazarus is an add-on whose function is to preserve/restore whichever text you had already typed in case of a crash... And Lazarus is the main source of crashes. So, Lazarus is THE problem, but it is also the remedy to itself. That's terribly ironic! Well played, Lazarus developers!

Another problem I encountered is with my RSS feeds. If you're unfamiliar with RSS, it's a bit like mailing lists generated by websites and which you can subscribe to so you stay up to date with new updates on your favorite websites. Good RSS readers will display a bit like emails: you can differentiate unread items from read items, you can know how many items are unread, and you can read the messages which are gathered by the browser. But no! Firefox doesn't want to include a good RSS reader. They want you to look around for some addon that does the job, and instead it leaves you with a poor tool that doesn't let you see the number of unread items, that doesn't let you select several items simultaneously so you can "mark them as read", and it doesn't load the messages content, so you'll miss the messages and be sent via a hyperlink to wherever on the web. Thanks but no thanks!

So I'll have to find a decent RSS reader. I've seen a few names out there that look OK: NewsFox, Sage, Wizz...


Yes, humans have a resistance to change and this certainly is part of the reason for my frustration. Being aware of it should help me adopt a more hopeful and positive attitude while still looking for the hidden gems among add-ons.

As for Lazarus... It is aptly named. It should be dead, and yet it is still moving. I guess it could also have been named Catch22. I will look around for similar add-ons (minus the crashes) and if I don't find any, I'll take my chances without it... taking the risk to lose things I wrote, but with much fewer crashes.

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