Firefox: Get It Now!

Today's is a technology blog. See, I told you this blog wasn't going to be all politics! The title makes no bones about it: I think you should switch to Firefox. Right this moment. Ready? Awesome! Go and download Firefox 1.5 from Getfirefox.com. And then start enjoying your web experience like you have never imagined before. I don't care if you are using Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, or another platform. Get Fireox. Now.

Anyway, here I will try and do three things: (1) for those of you who don't yet know, I will describe what, exactly, Firefox is, (2) lay out the case why Firefox is the best web browser, and (3) show you some really cool add-ons tools on Firefox that will make your web experience the most fantastic ever. If you are not already using Firefox, you have no idea what you are missing out on.

What is Firefox: So first, what exactly is Firefox? For those of you who use Windows, you know that blue "e" icon on your desktop you click on to browse the web? Yeah, that one. That starts Internet Explorer, the browser that Microsoft bundles with its Windows Operating System. Firefox is also a browser (but this is where Firefox stops being at the same level as IE, and you will see why). It lets you browse the web. That is, go to websites, perform web searches, and so on, and so forth. Firefox, as opposed to IE, is available on all 3 major OS's - Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux - and a host of other OS's also. Firefox is free and open source. Firefox is fast, has a small footprint on your system, really easy to use, and secure. If you are using IE, and you do a scan of system with a spyware-adware detecting software, you will be surprised how much garbage your system has. Firefox does not use your system as its restroom.

By the way, if you want to know in more detail than below, why you should use Firefox, just go and visit Getfirefox.com. Anyway, let's continue.

Security: Now, you've already got IE, or in case of Mac OS X, Safari. So why should you go through downloading and installing Firefox? If you are on IE, any other browser is preferable because of IE's poor security. Keep using that blue "e" if you like adware and spyware on your computer and your system slowing down, or, at worst, have your system attacked because of IE's endless security holes. But if you want a more secure browsing experience, please please please stop using IE NOW. Any other browser is better. Firefox does not use IE's harmful ActiveX technology and it is not intricately rooted in your OS, meaning that even when a rare security problem may be discovered in Firefox, it does not have as much the potential of endangering your entire system. Mozilla, the company which makes Firefox, is also very fast to act when there is a security vulnerability, and to this date, not a single one of Firefox's security holes has been exploited before being patched. Microsoft takes forever to fix IE's security problems. Firefox automatically shows you a lock icon when you are visiting a secure site, so that you will know when a site is trying to extract sensitive information but is not encrypted. It is inherently secure, and there are other security tools offered by companies like Google in the form of add-ons. But, security is not the only reason you want Firefox. Here are some others:

Tabbed Browing: This is the feature that lets you open several web pages within the same Window. This saves your desktop and taskbar from being cluttered, and now with drag-and-drop functionality within these nested pages (known as "tabs"), it's heaven. Just start up Firefox, and click on the new tab button or press Ctrl+T or Command+T. Also go into your preferences/options and choose the option to force links opening in a new window in a new tab, and you are going to have the most amazing browsing experience ever. You can even bookmark entire groups of tabs. Imagine the 5 webpages you visit every morning. Now imagine bookmarking all those together and being able to open them in 5 tabs with just a single click, or even setting those as your home pages! Do you do online research? Then tabbed browsing is indispensible.

Live Bookmarking: More and more people are reading blogs. Reading news online. Do you? If you do, your favorite blog or news site, in all likelyhood, has a syndicated feed. This means it has a special code that can update you when new content is posted on the site. Firefox displays a little Live Bookmark icon in the URL bar when you visit a site like that, and you can click on there to add it as a Live Bookmark. And now, you don't need to go to the homepage of each blog or news site. You just point to your Live Bookmark and it tells you the recent headlines. If you find one interesting, click on it and you are taken straight to the page.

Add-ons: These are what sets Firefox apart from all the other run of the mill browsers out there. Just go to https://addons.mozilla.org/ and check out some of the Extensions. These are little pieces of attachments you can tag onto Firefox to make it sing, dance and serve you dinner. Ok, maybe it won't serve you dinner, but you can do almost anything else. You will see in a moment some really cool ones I use. There are also themes you can download and give your Firefox a look and feel you like.

MY FAVORITE ADD-ONS: and here are some of my favorite addons...

Adblock. This is one extension I could not do without. This is the extension that allows you to block advertisements on websites. However, I urge you to be judicious in its use. Websites rely on display of ads to keep their sites going. I only block the flashy and annoying ads. Still, enough sites use those ads to deserve to be punished like that. Use it judiciously, but use it. It will make your life on the web easier. When you are looking at content, you don't have to be constantly getting distracted from a banner flashing red, blue and green trying to get your attention.

CustomizeGoogle. If you do a lot of Google searches and want to be looking in other search engines, comparing your results, and remove results from sources you don't trust or like, get this. It's amazing how much easier it makes your Google searches.

PasswordMaker. If you don't want to be juggling a million passwords for all your different logins, nor want to risk security by setting the same password everywhere, PasswordMaker makes your job easier. You give it a master password, a site (and other information if you want) and it will generate a passowrd for you. You don't have to even remember this password, since PasswordMaker will fill in that field, but you will have random and separate passwords for all your logins. And you can use PasswordMaker on the web if you are away from your Firefox, too!

Now, I could go and write a book about Firefox's awesome awesome power and features. But you should try it for yourself. You are pretty much guaranteed to like it. Go check it out for yourself, give it a run, and decide for yourself if I'm telling you the truth. Get. Firefox. NOW.


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