Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Computer tools online

In using a computer these days, the browser is an important tool.  It's the program that receives files from across the internet and opens them as "web pages" from all those valuable web sites, such as Google's main page, Google News, the British Broadcasting Corporation, and your favorite sports team or knitting circle.  For instance, wherever we go, I find that Zap2it gives a useful list of tv programs and times for that location. I have been an advocate of Firefox as a good free browser and it is indeed very good.  However, it seems to me that the browser offered by Google, called Chrome, is nearly as good in some ways and better in others.  Both browsers are said to be superior to Internet Explorer, the browser that comes with Windows and both are written to have security.  But, in using multiple computers or limited computers, speed counts.  It may be that Chrome actually takes up more of my computer than Firefox does but it seems faster at loading itself into working memory.  

Firefox can be easily set to stay in the mode that leaves little or no trace behind when visiting web sites and once set, it stays that way from session to session.  It is a little more trouble to use Chrome in that way but it can be done.  In both browsers, it is easy to look at the Options and see what tracking cookies have been left behind and remove them. (Update: just today, I found that Chrome 4.1.2, a beta release, has more permanent settings that give it about the same privacy abilities as Firefox.)

I have gotten to like Chrome since it keeps track of my favorites and gets me into them quickly.  It opens a new tab very quickly, too.  At the moment, I have 7 tabs (separate windows of different sites) open.  If something comes into my Gmail, I can see that is has and switch over to Google's free email quickly and conveniently.  Chrome has many other features that I am not really familiar with but I may get to over time.

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