Why I like Mozilla Firefox

Custom tailor your web browser to suit your needs.

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For years, I’ve used Mozilla Firefox as my default web browser. In that time, Internet Explorer has improved, but the wealth of add-ons for Mozilla Firefox keeps me with Mozilla Firefox.

Recently, Mozilla has released version 7.0.1 of Firefox, which uses less memory than Firefox 6, which had a lifetime of about one month. Traditionally, Mozilla has been quick to respond to security threats. The fact that it doesn’t execute Active-X code is an advantage, from a security point of view.

Firefox’s add-ons set it apart.
There’s a huge selection of add-ons available, including powerful add-ons that find package tracking numbers on a page and display their in-transit status, and others that track stocks and commodities, etc. Here are my favorite Mozilla Firefox add-ons (cue Julie Andrews’ “These are a few of my favorite things”):

    • AdBlock Plus: This prevents advertisements on web pages from displaying. You simply don’t see them, although you can choose to see them when you wish. (When installing it, be sure to subscribe to at least one filter, or it won’t block anything.)

 

    • Cookie Culler: Control which cookies you wish to protect from deletion, and which ones you wish to delete at the start of each session. It’s simple and effective. (I choose the “Delete Unprotected cookies on Startup” option, and drag and drop the cookie button on to the navigation bar.)

 

    • Noscript: If you want to prevent websites from taking actions that you object to, noscript is the add-on for you. Caveat: by default, it disables all client-side scripting on all pages. It will take a bit of experimenting on your favorite websites until you discover exactly how much scripting power you wish to grant each website. Once you’ve tweaked noscript, it’s great.

 

  • Torbutton: Toggle TOR on and off with the press of a button. (TOR is The Onion Router, a way to hide your true IP address from websites.) It’s bundled with Vidalia bundle, and not available from Firefox’s built-in add-ons.

 

In some cases, Firefox interprets HTML tags slightly differently than Internet Explorer does. This can be maddening for web site developers. I’ve read that Firefox adheres strictly to HTML standards, but there are rare cases when its display doesn’t make sense to me.

The name “Mozilla”? In the early days of the web, Mosaic was the leading web browser. Netscape (Mozilla Project’s ancestor) hoped to crush Mosaic like Godzilla crushed buildings.

Update: October 23, 2011 Steve Gibson (GRC), a programmer whose opinion I respect, found that Firefox 7 was chewing through memory, to the extent that when left with maybe 2 dozen tabs open, it consumed 1.8 GB(!). He reinstalled previous versions and found that every Firefox version since 4.0 consumed way too much memory (over time). He’s reverted to Firefox version 3 dot something. I may do the same, or just switch to Google Chrome. – RB

 

Visit my website: http://russbellew.com
© Russ Bellew · Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA · phone 954 873-4695
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5 thoughts on “Why I like Mozilla Firefox”

  1. I haven’t used the last add-on, but I use the 1st 3. I still use IE a lot but sometimes it really slows things down and becomes annoying. As a test, I just took a link for a page I’m looking at and put it in FF. Because it blocks so many scripts, suddenly my pc is quick again.

    Viewing Windows Task Manager, my computer was running at 65 – 75% or more using IE to view a Yahoo news page; in FF viewing the same page, it’s maybe 2% to 8% TOTAL! It’s blocking Facebook.com and yieldmanager.com among other scripts that I don’t want or need — but if I did, I could allow them on a permanent or temporary basis. Great product!

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    1. I never thought about the impact that obnoxious client-side scripts might have on CPU usage. Thanks for the tip.

      NoScript seems to have improved since I first tried it. Now you can selectively allow, say, google-analytics.com to run its script (which just gathers site usage data) on one site, but not another.

      When I go to a new site with video content, NoScript can be a little frustrating because by default it stops Flash from running, but it just takes a second or two to fix that.

      On drudgereport.com, AdBlock Plus works well, and NoScript stops the page from its annoying behavior of refreshing itself every couple of minutes.

      I, too, use Internet Explorer occasionally. Sometimes I just can’t get a site to stream its content within Firefox, so I resort to IE8. And I use IE8 to double-check my HTML code.

      Tor, together with Torbutton, can be handy when you wish to hide your IP address from websites. Tor was originally tricky to get working, but its newest versions make using it a piece of cake. It’s kind of fun to see whatismyipaddress.com report that you’re in Holland one moment and California the next.

      AdBlock Plus makes use of some forums bearable. Without it, the ads would make doing so a real pain.

      You’re right: Firefox, with selected add-ons, is a great product.

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  2. In the interest of full disclosure:

    I’ve had to resort to Internet Explorer 8 a few times recently when trying to view or listen to streaming video or audio with Firefox 7.0.1. I suspect that Noscript may be the culprit.

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  3. I thought I had somehow screwed up Firefox (v 25.0.1) and without thinking things through, stoopidly uninstalled it. Only saving grace was that I saved my bookmarks. In putting things back together I came across your website and found the elusive final piece I was missing, NoScript. Thank you! As an aside, perhaps http://winhelp2002.mvps.org/hosts.htm maybe of interest in getting rid of pesky adds and FF Add-on Memory Restart 1.11 to control memory usage? Cheers!

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    1. Thanks for your comment, William. Glad that NoScript helps you. NoScript is useful for people who learn how to use it. Most of my clients don’t learn to use it and just find it a nuisance — until they get infected with a virus that was installed by a script. The use of the hosts file in your link is clever. I occasionally manually edit the hosts file to block undesired hosts. Thanks for the links.

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