Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Friday, December 02, 2005

I got the new Firefox. Yawn!

I just installed the newest version of Firefox (v1.5), my most favorite browser. This was touted as a major release with all kinds of improvements. Unfortunately, most of the improvments are under the hood. It seems like the same ole Firefox to the me - which is not a bad thing. The bad thing is that some of my extensions aren't working anymore, especially Bookmark Sychronizer.

Adblock, one of my favorite and most important extensions, is still working but differently. Instead of the neat little tab that used to be displayed that allowed me to block Flash ads, I have to go through new gyrations and use the Overlay Flash feature. It's not a big deal but not a positive improvement. I also don't understand why all the search plug-ins I used to have loaded simply disappeared. It would be less of an annoyance if the plug-in site was accesible, which it isn't right now.

Many of the new features, such as the ability to rearrange tabs, have always been available via extensions like Tabbrowser Extensions. Others are just not obvious. Perhaps they have benchmarks that show that the back and forth buttons work faster but I don't see it. It's never been much of a problem for me so it's not something I would notice.

What I like the best is the new error message handling. Since the dawn of the Internet, error messages have been less then useful. If you didn't know what the rather common 404 was, you would just sit there perplexed. Firefox 1.5 seems to be able to interpret errors better and actually provide useful feedback. This is very timely indeed since most of the Mozilla web sites are timing out, probably because they are being hammered.

Ultimately, this looks like a minor release and not the major one that Mozilla has been touting. Maybe that's why it's still 1.5 instead of 2.0. To quote Dom Deluise in The History of the World Part I (a really funny movie) it's "Nice. Not thrilling but nice". For all the hype, there shoudl be something more .. innovative.

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