Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Browser Wars and Woes

A tech blogger at ZDNet, Ed Burnette, recently (March 10, 2006) wrote that he likes Firefox browser, even though it (the latest version) is buggy, slow, and crashes a lot.

"Firefox is slow and buggy (but I'm hooked anyway)"

[QUOTE--an excerpt]

So does FF have weaknesses and bugs? Heck yes.

This is not a review, but I have to say that Firefox is one of the buggiest programs I use on a day to day basis.

Here are a few of the warts that either I or other users have reported (as of 1.5.0.1). Of course, your mileage may vary:

(1) Newer releases feel slower than old releases
(2)It takes too long to start up
(3) It crashes often (both on my PC and my Mac)
(4) It doesn't handle embedded content well (especially PDFs)
(5) It has serious memory leaks
(6) It does not protect itself very well from badly behaved extensions.

[END QUOTE]

I was once a champion of Firefox. But the last few months, Firefox has crashed so often, it is now basically worthless to me.

Here's what I posted as a comment:

[QUOTE--my comment]

Firefox sucks, go to Avant

I loved Firefox about 2 years ago when I first started using it. It was infinitely better than IE. Firefox was faster, and like you say, has more extentions, etc.

But as of about 3 months ago, the stupid Firefox now crashes, oh, about every 5 to 20 minutes, consistently.

Firefox hates to navigate from a web page to my Gmail inbox. For some reason, it almost always crashes when I attempt to visit my Gmail.

For newbies, crashing means you lose have to start up Firefox again, or, in my case, a more reliable browser. You also lose anything in your Copy function of toolbar (browser chrome). I need to Copy text, then immediately Paste it into WordPad or NotePad, to preserve it.

I am now using IE and Avant.

Avant Browser freaked me out due to its "full screen mode", in which all toolbars, browser chrome are "auto-hidden". This means you see only the web page you are on, much like some freaking "mouse trap", with no nav out of it.

I accidentally discovered that by pausing the cursor at top or bottom spot where toolbars should be, the tool bars/browser chome appear. Now I kind of like it. But today I disabled the "full screen mode" in View by clicking on the icon next to the wording.

What I hate about "full screen mode" is how I see no URL address bar at bottom of screen, when hovering cursor over a link in a web page or blog.Firefox is now buggy, crashy, and slow. That's enough to make me abandon this once great browser.

Posted by: vaspersthegrate
Posted on: 03/13/06

[END QUOTE]

I'm using Avant Browser right now, to write this post. Avant is my favorite browser, but it has its own quirks.

For example, it is rendering my Blogger Create New Post form in a weird manner: the icons for Bold, Italic, Text Color, Link Embed, Text Alignment, Block Quote, Spell Check, Upload Image, Remove Formatting from Selection are all lined up vertically against the left edge of the New Post template, inside a large beige square positioned over the New Post template. At the beige square is eating up my text entry form, so all I can see is about

Very annoyingly bizarre. Plus, no browser can display text as fast as I type, and I am a mediocre typist. So I type a few words, then wait for the browser to catch up. What a drag. Sorry Avant, but you're not "Fast" when typing a new post to my blog.

So there are Browser Wars within the browser development community, and there are Browser Woes within the user community.

Again I must state the obvious: you software providers are fucking ridiculous.

Beta versions, in my experience, are just half-assed products, that have had no trial runs with typical users. Designers and engineers don't know shit about user behavior.

Get off your lazy asses and hire a usability analyst, conduct some User Observation Tests, which I explain how to do in minute detail, both here at Vaspers the Grate, and in my August 2004 contribution to User Interface (Vol. 11, No. 1):

"User Observation Testing: Forms and Procedures for an Information-Driven Web Site"

I will dig through my archives and republish some of this original material, including special user test forms. You, if you're interested, will learn step-by-precious-step exactly How To Conduct User Tests, and how to survey the users prior to and after the tests, with my special forms.

I had to create the forms from my own experience and observations, since no usability expert that I know of will provide them for free. They keep such things secret, proprietary, and pricey.

As an Ethical Anarchist, Corporate Reformer, Anti-Psychocapitalist, Share Economist, and Gross Immaterialist, living in a private dimension not of this world, I create these things, then toss them out to everybody ... for FREE.

Aren't I the nicest Sour Critic you've ever known?

Sure, the software I beta test is free, but so are my usability recommendations, and that's how I "pay" for my freeware.

I know who the Enemy is here> the "Don't Worry, Be Crappy" school of consumer fraud, the "Be Shoddy, but Be First" strategy, as advanced by Guy Kawasaki in his bogus book Rules for Revolutionaries.

Okay, now I see that when I highlighted the title Rules for Revolutionaries, then clicked on the Bold icon, nothing happened. Great. So Avant Browser has destroyed my ability to format my blog post text.

EDIT UPDATE: I'm using Firefox right now to add formating to my post text. I notice how Firefox is much faster at text entry display than Avant. Firefox is actually keeping up with my moderate speed, semi-sl;oppy typgin.

Conclusion: I must use one browser for this, another browser for that, still another for...etc.

And you wonder why I call myself "...the Grate"?

4 comments:

carrie said...

I use IE for some stuff.

I recently downloaded a bunch of add-ons for firefox on my laptop.
this NoScript thing it has is pretty cool.

steven edward streight said...

Yes, I like the many web dev / web navigation tools that Firefox has. I just wish it didn't crash so often. Very annoying.

carrie said...

you are an exception to my rule that people shouldn't blog about their computers or their blogging process.

when you do it, i find it readable.

steven edward streight said...

aw shucks ... you overvalue my meager talents and ephemeral skill sets ... you college grad in anthropology!

Word Ver superstitious code scrambled hidden transmission mode:

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How naughty or haughty! That Word Verification code secret message again!