2007-11-23

Opera vs Firefox

I've been using Mozilla and Firefox for years. I recently began using Opera Mobile on my Pocket PC. It is great--I like it so much, I bought a license--so I thought I'd give Opera a try on the desktop. Here's a little of what I think of Firefox 2.0.0.9 vs. Opera 9.24:

Resource utilization
So far, Opera seems to consume fewer CPU cycles and less memory. I can't tell whether it's the core browser or the numerous Firefox plugins I use, but Opera seems to beat Firefox here. As part of my Go Google strategy, this is important--I'll be using the browser more and more for everyday tasks, including basic word processing.

Winner: Opera

Ad blocking
The ability to control advertising is important to me. I don't want to view ads in general, and I get distracted by animated ads. Firefox lets me block images from any server, a very coarse-grained way to block ads. Opera lets me block individual URLs on rendered web pages, and then edit the list later, adding wildcards. With Firefox, it's all or nothing, and with Opera, it's a lot of work to build up the black list.

Winner: Tie

Flashblock
The Firefox Flashblock add-on is another great way to control ads and other Flash-based content. There are ways to block Flash content in Opera (see Ad blocking, above), but it's not as easy as using Flashblock on Firefox.

Winner: Both

Search engines
Firefox's search box is nice. It's easy to add new ones from the library, but it's not super-easy to customize (super-easy criterion: grandma could do it). It's easier to customize Opera's location box. I've already added search shortcuts for Merriam-Webster and IMDb (and restored Google on my PPC by editing search.ini).

Winner: Opera

Google Toolbar
I really like the Google Toolbar add-on. It simply doesn't exist for Opera, and the Google widget is not an acceptable substitute.

Winner: Firefox

Google Calendar
I can't edit full-day events in Opera!

Winner: Firefox, and, ultimately, Google Calendar is important enough to me that Firefox might just win overall because Google app's don't run adequately in Opera.

Alternate keyboard
I customize Windows to use the Dvorak keyboard. Opera often switches back to QWERTY. How annoying!

Winner: Firefox

Widgets
Opera widgets are nice, and Firefox doesn't offer anything similar. I usually run Google Desktop and Google widgets, though, so I don't care so much about browser-based widgets.

Winner: Tie

Add-ons / Plugins
Firefox has an extensive collection of add-ons, contributed by anyone and everyone. Opera has a more controlled, probably higher quality, set of plugins. Firefox lets you shoot yourself in the foot but gives you as many different kinds of bullets as you want. Opera tries to protect you.

Winner: Tie

Tabs
Both offer tabbed browser. Opera opens new tabs without switching to them by default. Firefox's Ctrl-Tab switches to the next tab by default, while Opera changes to the most recently viewed tab (annoying).

Winner: Tie

Toolbar bookmarks / Speed Dial
Firefox lets me drag URLs onto the toolbar for fast access. Opera lets me define nine speed dial shortcuts.

Winner: Firefox

Foxmarks
Foxmarks is a great tool for synchronizing for bookmarks between multiple computers. There's no easy, free way to do this with Opera.

Winner: Firefox

Meebo
Meebo is sloooow! in Opera. It Just Works in Firefox, and the Meebo plugin is handy.

Winner: Firefox

Decision
In a split decision, Firefox wins. I want stuff to Just Work. Google app's don't just work in Opera, so I'll stick with Firefox.

2007-11-20

Daily reading

Read every day! Here's my reading list, replacing the tree-killer edition of the local newspaper:

Google

Comics

Boston Globe

2007-11-09

Pocket PC favorites

I conducted a little user experiment to improve the usability of my Pocket PC. The goal was to identify the 12 applications I use the most make them easy to run. After a few days of recording the number of times I selected each app to run, here are my results:

Rank

Application

Count

Comments

1

Web browser (Opera Mobile or Pocket Internet Explorer

41

A few days into the study, I began user Opera. It rocks! Finally, a tabbed web browser for Windows Mobile 2003 that renders pages well and doesn't crash.

2

iPAQ Wireless

28

I frequently turn on or off the various radios depending on whether I'm at home, in bed, at the office, or outside on the street.

3

Notes

21

My groceries list

4

Calendar

17

The native calendar works better than mobile Google Calendar.

5

Pocket Excel

13

Various tables of things, including my youth soccer team's roster

6

Contacts

9

I feel like this should be mapped to a physical button so I can dial one-handed, but I really don't use it enough to need quick access to it.

7

Solitaire

8

>How embarrassing! Solitaire is one of my most used app's. I used it primarily to kill time while waiting for Pocket Internet Explorer to load pages. Now that I'm using Opera, I hardly play Solitaire at all.

8

GooSync>

7

I love GooSync! This is the best way to keep my Google Calendar sync'd with my native calendar.

9

Windows Media Player

2


10

File Explorer

2


11

Inbox

1


12

PHM Reset Power Toy

1

Sometimes, you just have to reboot.

I mapped the top three to the physical buttons, and the rest to the Start button.

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