Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Opera/Firefox/Apple rant

Has anyone else noticed how bad - I mean sucks-donkey-balls bad - the new Opera 9 is? Just awful, possibly even worse than Firefox (which is slowly becoming a decent browser, but has never come close to living up to all the hype). I struggled with Opera 9 for a few days, uninstalled it and went back to 8.54 (it's like going from Hell to Heaven). Opera 8.54 is the epitome of the browser maker's art, and given the precipitous slide of Opera 9, may be the best a browser can be. Opera 9 is unresponsive - 'sticky' is the term that comes to mind, somewhat like Firefox, although Firefox is much improved - and, perhaps even worse, fails to render sites properly (like Bloglines, which I am becoming addicted to). I'm supposed to give up the elegance and sleekness of Opera 8.54 for . . . widgets?

I don't know whether the geeks who write these things realize it or not, but the vast majority of people use browsers to, um, surf the net. We don't need or want games, the weather, something to tell us whether Abe Vigoda is alive or not (on second thought, that is somewhat useful), and all this other crap which gets in the way. We just want to load and read through web pages, and dispose of them, as easily and quickly as possible, preferably using the keyboard. The nerd love of Firefox extensions is completely beyond me, particularly when any little change to the main browser renders half of them unusable (what the hell is up with that?).

While I'm ranting, has anyone else noticed that, while nobody was looking, Apple has become the Evil One. Crappy customer service, crappy production standards, iPods made in Chinese slave labor factories, going to court to protect its immoral digital rights management, an unwillingness to allow its proprietary file extensions - most notably music, but there are other examples as well - to work with anybody else's products. Arrogance everywhere. Even in their new ads, you end up cheering for the PC/Microsoft guy. As usual, good industrial design hides a lousy set of products (nerds like shiny objects). Steve Jobs is the new Bill Gates. Is it possible that Microsoft, in the absence of any other reasonable options, will save the internet?