I made the switch from Firefox to Chrome
Over the new year’s break, I made two minor yet relatively significant changes in my online media/tech cult-devoted life.
The first was a switch from Mozilla Firefox to Google Chrome as my primary web browser. I tried out Chrome when it was first released a few months ago, but after hitting a few broken URLs, I swiftly returned to Firefox, which I had been using for many years. However, friends and colleagues kept urging me to give Chrome another try, and I’m glad I did.
When I made my original leap to Firefox from Internet Explorer (“I’m a PC,” I suppose), I was excited by two features: tabbed browser windows, and the ability to dynamically search within a webpage. Now of course those are standard browser features, and I came to realize that I was attached to Firefox mostly because I had been using it for so long.
Firefox eats up a lot of system memory, and because I often like to keep open 10 to 15 tabs at a time, I simply got used to my desktop bogging down and occasionally shutting down applications and rebooting throughout the day. I even developed a system of saving URLs to a text file so that I could shut down Firefox and restart without losing important articles that I was lining up for myself!
Some have argued that Chrome is a memory hog, but this explanation from ars technica shows why Chrome makes it far more efficient to axe individual tabs (that are running crappily built websites) when system resources are getting plundered:
Users can launch Chrome’s built-in task manager to see how how the memory is distributed across the entire browser. This is extremely beneficial because it will make it easy for users to identify which pages are hogging memory. Users often blame the browser for heavy memory use, but the culprit is often poorly-designed web pages. The task manager might give web developers an incentive to be more careful.
Now that I’ve embarked on a Chrome love fest, let me illustrate the several small but important changes that I’d like to see them make at this point.
Make copy / paste easier
I can’t even tell you how often I do the simple act of copy and pasting copy from web pages throughout the day, but it’s a lot. For some reason, it’s a lot clunkier to do on Chrome than it is on Firefox. Making this easier would be an extraordinary help in doing a routine but critical function.
Set as desktop background
I’m not a decorator. Let’s put it this way: if not for my wife, I’d probably be living in a spartan house with perhaps an old and crinkly poster of the Aquabats hastily appointed to one of the walls. Because I stare into a monitor for most of everyday though, I’ve taken to decorating my desktop background with images that I find around the interwebs. Firefox’ Set as Desktop Background right-click option made that a breeze. I miss that feature while using Chrome.
Tabs are popping out
A small bug that I run into several times a day is that while I’m flying between tabs on Chrome, a tab is “caught” when it’s not meant to and pops out as a separate browser window. Not a siren blaring emergency to be sure, but just one of those tiny inconveniences throughout one’s web surfing day.
All in all, I’ve been very happy with Chrome so far and feel the shadow of Google’s monolith having more power of my each day.
The other switch that I made over the break was to reduce my cable television package while returning to Netflix after a several year’s break. Beyond the good feeling of reducing my bills by a little bit (the net saving comes out to more than $20 a month, not insignificant), I was excited by the prospect of having instant access to more than 12,000 titles online or through my Xbox 360.
So far it has been working out great. Selecting items into your “instant watching queue” online instantly allows you to start watching on the Xbox. On new year’s eve, I watched old episodes of Sliders and the recent season of Friday Night Lights and was loving it.
Yes, I’m a television cultist as well.