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Summary:

I have tried Firefox many times in its life-cycle but niggling incompatibilities with some of the utilities I was using always made me give up and head back to Internet Explorer.  In fact the last time I tried to give Firefox a go was just after […]

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I have tried Firefox many times in its life-cycle but niggling incompatibilities with some of the utilities I was using always made me give up and head back to Internet Explorer.  In fact the last time I tried to give Firefox a go was just after upgrading the Fujitsu P1610 to Vista and the main web page area was unusable.  It was jittery, jumping up and down a few pixels at a time, just enough to drive me batty.  So I dropped the attempt to give Firefox a real try then and there.

My recent post about my mobile kit mentioned that I was using IE7 as my browser and the venerable ink blogger Sumocat left a comment telling me that I simply MUST try Firefox.  Going beyond that he mentioned a few extensions for Firefox that make the browsing experience in the browser absolutely wonderful on a Tablet PC.  That got me going so I decided to give it a try, and am I glad I did.

I researched the “jittery” problem and found it to be a known issue on Firefox.  It seems I had the Bookmark toolbar turned on with nothing in it.  Once I put a bookmark on the toolbar there was no more jitter, so I could give Firefox a serious try.  I immediately grabbed the extensions that Sumocat mentioned, chief among them the Grab and Drag add-on.  This turns the cursor into a hand so you can drag the web page up or down with the pen.  What a great function this is on the P1610!  It completely transforms the browsing experience into a really nice one.  I do have a minor problem with it, the hand icon it installs on the toolbar so you can toggle the feature on and off is not sticky.  When I restart Firefox it disappears and I have to manually re-enable it. 

I also installed the GeckoTIP add-on, that enables the ability to ink in Firefox web pages but found it didn’t work for me.  No big deal though as the Vista TIP is always on the left side of the screen for tapping and inking. 

When I started using Firefox as my main browser I quickly ran into a snag that almost made me give up.  I access an Exchange Server remotely through Outlook Web Access (OWA) and it is geared for IE.  The experience using it in Firefox left a lot to be desired but once again, there’s an extension for that.  IE Tab lets you open any web page that needs IE in a separate tab that is rendered in IE7.  Voila!  I can now use OWA with impunity and it displays perfectly in its own IE tab.  I’m a happy camper now.

One of the greatest experiences using Firefox, in addition to how darn fast it renders pages, is checking my many RSS feeds in Google Reader.  I like to check them in portrait slate mode and the Grab and Drag shines in this application.  If I time the dragging of the page just right I can get the feed page to slowly auto-scroll and skim the headlines to see if something of interest is worth a closer look.  Tapping on the item stops the scroll and presents it for my viewing pleasure.  I can check hundreds of feed items in a fraction of the time it takes me in IE7.

I am very pleased with Firefox (can you tell) and have been using it exclusively for a few days and I can tell you I won’t be going back to IE7 any time soon.  Thanks, Sumocat!

  1. >>>and I can tell you I won’t be going back to IE7 any time soon.

    Wow. And you such an IE booster too. I’m impressed!

  2. James.. I have also tried FireFox many times but have found after several days of use that I migrate back to the Maxthron Browser. It has everything that I like especially my favorite sites on a bar on the left that opens when I move my cursor there. I also found that in comparing opening pages the Maxthon seems faster to me. As I am also a tablet user (Motion LE1600) I like the ink gestures. Like FireFox there are lots of add-ins. The only thing I wish Maxthon would add is a drag-n-drop feature for my favorites. It would be so much easirer just dragging a site to my favorites and dropping it in place.. Tabs works great, and I make use of the Links bar for many of my most favorite sites. Have you tried Maxthon with your tablet, I’d appreciate your impressions.

  3. One more thing… If you haven’t tried Maxthon you should try both the 1.x version and the new 2.x (beta). The 2.x has been in beta for awhile now and is near completion. BTW, it is very fast.

  4. Warner Crocker Tuesday, March 6, 2007

    JK,

    I’ve been using Firefox since going to Vista simply for the speed. Interesting issues with the Gecko Tip and Grab and Drag but they both are working fine here. I’m really curious why that extension doesn’t stick for you as it does here.

    I’m also revisiting Maxthon and find that I’m remembering why it was a favorite of mine.

  5. Warner.. The new version of Maxthon 2.x is really getting good although it still has some features not working yet. For example, mouse gestures, does not seem to work as well as it does in version 1.5. The things I do like is the Links/Group Bar. Having my Favorites, RSS, Weather, and others on the left side hidden, that pops open when you mouse over. Also, I use RoboForm and NetSnippets frequently. Robo Form is anchored on the bottom and NetSnippets in the tool bar. For a tablet user (Motion LE1600) I have yet to find a better browser.

  6. Is Maxthon also recommended for desktop use? I really like FF 2.x. I also use several extensions, would they all work?

  7. You’re very welcome, James. I’m so glad it’s working for you.

    Regarding the GeckoTIP issue, we should check with Malorkus (he also did Grab & Drag) about it, but in my use, I’ve noticed it seems to recognize and rely on hover to know when to display the TIP. That might be the cause since you are using a passive digitizer. He also has a troubleshooting guide on his mozdev site: http://geckotip.mozdev.org/

  8. James Kendrick Tuesday, March 6, 2007

    Sumo, the hover thing on GeckoTIP is not a big deal on Vista.

  9. Mike.. Yes, Maxthon will work on your desktop. As far as extensions goes, Maxthon has many amny different plug-ins so I’d bet whatever you use in FireFox can be done in Maxthon.

  10. Sorry, been reading your post between tasks at work. Just noticed you have an issue with the G&D icon/button. Mine doesn’t do this and I think it’s because I placed the button by customizing the toolbar. Right-click on the navigation toolbar and in the list of buttons you should see the G&D button, which you can drag to wherever you want on the nav toolbar. Should stick then, although it will be in the toolbar instead of the lower right corner, which I think is the default.

    If you don’t having the toolbar (you don’t need it thanks to gestures and Vista flicks, but I like the copy and paste buttons), I recommend keeping it but using a gesture to toggle between normal view and full screen (I use RDLU; forward circle makes sense to me). I have plenty of screen space, but full screen would probably be helpful on Miyagi.

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