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Really Trying to Make the Switch

Help me break my IE habit...

     
12:35 am on Jul 6, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I just can't seem to do it! I like the status quo, and have to much else going on to adapt to the learning curve. I want my toolbars JUST like they are, but none of the security holes.

Any advice on switching? I think I'm deciding on firefox (though opera is a close second). I'm still hooked on those pretty green pixels, and "blogger" button of the G toolbar...is there any hope for me?

My other biggest frustrations seem to be managing my favorites, and the "links" bar that I use VERY often for quick access.

2:04 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Hi wellzy,

Thanks for the input. However, I am on XP and I did import them individually. Initially I let the install do it all automatically but the original install hung. I removed the whole program using the XP Control Panel and started from scratch, leaving the import out. I then tackled them individually once Firefox was up and running and it is just those two that crash the program.

Steve

2:07 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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recently switched to FF after recommendation from friends. So far so good. very nice and stable browser.

just as reading this thread, I found out I could import my bookmark from IE!

file >> import >> IE >> (it's all here, even cache) ^^

2:34 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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It was about a two hour initial learning curve, but I would highly recommend it for anyone. I am officially defaulted to Firefox. I had played with opera in the past, and there are some really cool advanced features there too, but the banner ads without paying for it don't quite cut the mustard (but hey...if it's good...drop 'em a few bucks). It is my understanding that the big "other 3" (mozilla, opera, apple) [webmasterworld.com] are working together to make cross compatible plug-ins. I think this is great for developers...I know I'm lovin' my plugins already.

This was a WELL worthwhile switch, that I will definitely be recommending to others often in the future.

Thanks all for being my "browser methadone":)

2:52 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Like everyone else I am liking Firefox and am migrating the family over. But really the gushing has to stop. It doesn't do anything besides plug-ins and the lack of a banner that Opera hasn't been doing for years now.
2:54 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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what else would you like it to do ..make coffee?
3:16 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is it just me, or are we in the middle of a sea change here? 6 months ago, I would've had a hard time convincing people to switch off of IE.

A few months ago, I started to get a few people convinced to switch from IE (for tabbed browising, no pop-ups, as the main selling point)... But it was a hard sell.

Now people are actually asking me what browser to switch to, largely for security reasons. And these are a combination of everyone from business, to "Aunt Tillie" types who are fed up with all the security problems (browser hijacks are prolly THE leading cause).

I realize IE will be dominant for a long time, but is anyone else here seeing the "big change" in their circles?

Side Note: I can't believe I only bothered to get AdBlock for FF yesterday. No more flashy-distracto-thingies! Yay!

3:36 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Is it just me, or are we in the middle of a sea change here?

Totally. People actually listen when I mention other browsers like Opera and Firefox.

In addition the average Joe is totally ticked off at Norton and Mcaffe. They are equating scumware to viruses and are wondering why their virus software doesn't stop all this crap.

3:51 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Top two setting changes upon install:
1. Turn on Pipelining
2. Turn off Referers

I'd actually recommend against both of those:

1. Pipelining does speed things up, but it is off by default for a reason: some servers do not support pipelining correctly. Orkut.com, for instance, routinely screws up images when pipelining is on.

2. Referrers are used on many servers to prevent image leeching. (Another site linking to images and leeching bandwidth) Additionally, some folks use the referrer field to prevent deep-linking to specific pages, like contact forms, etc. If you're worried about security (like websites that have a username or password in a URL, which would be passed as the referrer) I'd suggest avoiding poorly made sites that have the username or password in the URL :-)

4:42 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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For those bothered by the banner ads in Opera, you can "minimize" them by turning off the main toolbar. With mouse gestures, and other customizations, you don't need it.

Or you can pay for it. :)

5:09 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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My concern with Opera, Firefox, etc. is that this is all just going to be a big cycle. As more and more people start using non-IE browsers, won't the thieves, hackers, etc. just start finding exploits in these other browsers? I assume, and I could be wrong, that M$ generally finds and fixes the serious problems in IE pretty quick - can the same be said about these other browsers?

Truthfully, aside from security issues I don't see any reason in switching. I use 4 big huge monitors (leftover from my day trading days) and so tabbed browsing is not important to me. In fact, I tried using Firefox the past few days and the tabbed browser is a pain. Great for people with a single small monitor, but for me it's easier to just hit ctrl-n to open new windows as needed and put them wherever I want ... that way I can see multiple pages at the same time, etc.

5:22 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As more and more people start using non-IE browsers, won't the thieves, hackers, etc. just start finding exploits in these other browsers?

This is the argument for there to be a variety of browsers, each using its own methods of implementing the standards. Then only a minority of users would be affected by each security exploit. The wider the variety, the smaller the minority.

As far as fixing problems is concerned, MS is pretty slow. Opera is, in my experience, the fastest off the mark. Report a problem and you don't have time to blink before they're on the case.

6:12 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Would be interesting to see all the M$ hackers turn their guns against FireFox and Opera. I would be amuzed to known if Firefox has less potential security issues than IE. (Just a wild guess :p)
6:13 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I assume, and I could be wrong, that M$ generally finds and fixes the serious problems in IE pretty quick - can the same be said about these other browsers?

The most recent problems were known for a long time, 6 months or more if I remember right. The most recent exploits are still not patched by MS, they just posted a temporary fix, which has already been hacked. The problem lies in the fundamental idea of tying IE to the Windows, and allowing the Browser to have an unacceptable level of access to that OS through things like Active X. Personally, I expect this problem to be significantly worsened in the new Longhorn, since that is going to be even more integrated into the OS.

The problem is that now increasingly organized crime is taking advantage of the IE security holes, and they aren't playing around. Keep in mind that there is a whole range of exploits you won't read about, the ones that take over only a single site, for a single purpose, then move out and remove all trace of the activity. To me the most recent attacks were merely proof of concept exploits.

Truthfully, aside from security issues I don't see any reason in switching. I use 4 big huge monitors (leftover from my day trading days) and so tabbed browsing is not important to me. In fact, I tried using Firefox the past few days and the tabbed browser is a pain. Great for people with a single small monitor, but for me it's easier to just hit ctrl-n to open new windows as needed and put them wherever I want ... that way I can see multiple pages at the same time, etc.

Look more closely, there are key commands to do all that, especially if you use 'tab browser extensions', move between tabs, multiple browsers with tabs open, anything you want, the habit of using multiple browsers to view web pages is one you'll find very easy to break, and once broken, very hard to return to I suspect, but breaking the initial habits that were created to try to achieve the capacity to view multiple pages is definitely not that easy, it took me a while too.

Small example, browser 1, search in google, open up each searched item in same browser, new tab, close tab with mouse gesture, return to search, leave open searches that you want to maintain.

6:19 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Wired Article:

Building a Better Mozilla [wired.com]

Nothing there that hasn't been posted in this thread, but a good summary.

M$ and being "quick" about fixing security holes: Pshaw! You jest! The current round of woes for IE is based on flaws that have been in "open" discussion since January, and were actually identified much, much earlier (like, 6 months or more earlier), though not openly released. The flaws were openly published due to a pissing match between the security community and M$. The security wonks were sick of reporting flaws to M$, and M$ not doing anything about it, so they just started releasing known flaws in the hopes of lighting a fire under the Sloppy Coder's butt. It didn't work. It took another 6 months and people getting their bank accounts hacked before Redmond responded.

Even better, the patch that got released Friday, was quickly analyzed by the wonks, who've come out and went straight to the media [globetechnology.com] to announce that the patch is a failure.

And while no browser is totally secure, every other browser out there has some key advantages over IE. Namely, no ActiveX, and not being tied so durn close to the OS.

6:42 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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>> switch address bar searching to a normal Google search instead of "I'm Feeling Lucky."

Okay, this URL will only work in FF: about:config

Just try entering it in the address line. It's quite powerful, as you can customize the whole shebang here.

Enter, say "keyword.URL" (or just "keyw" or "URL") in the specific config-searchbar and double-click it when it's returned in the results set. Then you can enter your favorite search engine string, so that you just have to enter, say, "keyword" in the adress bar to search Google.

Mine currently looks like this, i bet you can all figure out what it does: [google.com...]

7:21 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I guess the other thing is that I've never had any problems, not even spyware, etc. For someone who always keeps their system up to date, uses anti-virus and anti-spyware stuff, has a decent firewall, etc. is the risk really even there? My firewall will alert me if any unauthorized program tries to access the Internet - so where is the risk, even if my system were to somehow get infected by a keylogger, etc.?
7:46 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I guess the other thing is that I've never had any problems, not even spyware, etc. For someone who always keeps their system up to date, uses anti-virus and anti-spyware stuff, has a decent firewall, etc. is the risk really even there? My firewall will alert me if any unauthorized program tries to access the Internet - so where is the risk, even if my system were to somehow get infected by a keylogger, etc.?

The antivirus program will only work on known viruses, or virus-like behavior. The antispyware program, same as antivirus, but with spyware. The firewall will block the outgoing connections. But what is to stop some website from running code designed to corrupt your registry. It isn't a known virus or spyware and it doesn't access the internet. And with the current IE exploit, you wouldn't need to do anything... and you wouldn't know until you were bitten.

8:30 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I am using Opera and Avant Browser. Avant is a multi-window IE shell. Like it a lot over IE, except it crashes once in a while (cleanly though). May help to ease a transition from IE for die-hard fans.
8:54 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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This thread is so long, I may have missed this, but one thing that always bothered me about Firefox was bookmarking. I found two extensions that "fix" it.

- Add Bookmark Here extionsion - adds an "Add Bookmark Here" choice to every folder of bookmarks
- Sort Bookmarks extension - the other is the "Sort Bookmarks" extension.

Tom

8:55 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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And what's the worst case scenario if my registry gets corrupted? Revert to yesterday's backup, no big deal. Or am I missing something?
11:16 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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And what's the worst case scenario if my registry gets corrupted? Revert to yesterday's backup, no big deal. Or am I missing something?

Replace "corrupt your registry" with:
- "corrupt your registry and all backups" (which will render your computer useless unless you make real backups)
- "erase your Outlook mail folders"
- "set your homepage to a porn site"
- "install a Browser Helper Object (BHO) that loads porn popups" (which will use IE for net access and get through your firewall)
- "install a BHO that loads child porn and gets you arrested"
[wired.com...]
- etc, etc

It was just an example. With this vulnerability, any website can do anything it wants to your PC.

11:43 pm on July 7, 2004 (gmt 0)

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You forgot to add:

-Install a Dialer to rack up thou$and$ in long distance bills to small central pacific banana republic islands

[globetechnology.com...]

12:56 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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In reference to a prior question I am seeing movement to Mozilla Firefox in the forum I moderate whose members do considerable movement of funds online. In the wake of some hacks on personal machines. My guess is that we are in a time of realignments and that the notion that MS and Google will become the ultimate dominators could easily give way to a larger cluster of players including some merged from existing smaller ones. Best, S
2:30 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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I just made the switch to Firefox after some hesitation, with all the addons, it rocks!
2:39 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As to "seeing movement" - not yet, not really.... but "normal" folks I talk to about machine and net stuff on a daily basis are beginning to ask for links to FireFox, Opera etc.

And the IT guy at work is getting serious about migrating - after seeing how well FF works on my SERIOUSLY antique machine.... (um. by that I mean that it's a 350mh box, about 5 years old parts-average, 40 gig hdd, 256 meg ram running winXPpro and not doing it too badly though it's a dog compared to my home machine....)

2:41 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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After you've used Firefox for a few minutes, how could there still be an IE habit?

IE is a piece of crap. Firefox is elegant.

IE exists to feed more money to Bill. Firefox exists for the purpose of allowing browser access to the internet.

IE can only be trusted the way one trusts one's teenage son with the car-keys. Firefox, when given the keys to the car, will get it back to the driveway in one piece.

IE has ActiveX. Firefox has Adblock.

If the habit is based on bookmarks, (not the mis-spelled favourites), then import them to Firefox and there's no looking back.

3:10 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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Er. Well, there's nothing INHERENTLY wrong with Bill Gates et al making more money....

And "favorites" is only misspelled depending on which part of the english-speaking world one inhabits....

3:22 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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As to "seeing movement" - not yet, not really.... but "normal" folks I talk to about machine and net stuff on a daily basis are beginning to ask for links to FireFox, Opera etc.

I'm seeing movement, one of my sites is a developer type site and it got almost 40% Mozilla hits last week, Opera got around 2.5%, it had been averaging 20-25% Mozilla. Developers always lead this stuff, since they like testing different products to find which one they like best. Those numbers aren't representative of standard sites of course, but are way bigger than anything I've ever seen before.

Almost every major media source has carried stories on this stuff, how many people do you know with badly corrupted IE machines, spyware, pornware, etc? When I go to people's houses and see those things and they ask me to help solve some problem I have to just walk away and say sorry, no, because it takes too much time to fix that garbage.

People hate popups, they hate viruses, what they are missing is a way to understand that it doesn't have to be that way, at least not on the browser end of things [there's no helping those who can't learn not to click on attachments or use decent AV though...].

For a company like MS to take about 6 years to offer popup blocking is so completely ridiculous, they dropped the ball, and with browsers you can't drop the ball, it takes too long to get caught up, and I don't see anything serious happening on the MSIE front, what are they going to do, start doing frequent browser updates, dump the active x junk, and disconnect IE from the OS? This is what happens when you have an essential monopoly though, you get lazy.

I had my doubts about the early Mozilla versions, 1 - 1.4 were just too cludgy and slow, but Firebird/fox really solved those problems.

IE exists to feed more money to Bill. Firefox exists for the purpose of allowing browser access to the internet.

Personally, I like having an open and opensource option that just happens to also contain the best rendering engine out there. The reason there are so many amazingly good extensions is that it feels good for developers to contribute to something like this, they are in a community of peers, not just helping some company or other make money, it's a significant difference which I can really feel in the latest releases, and in the extension development times.

there's nothing INHERENTLY wrong with Bill Gates et al making more money....

not if it was honestly earned, no. I don't know how closely you followed the antitrust trials, but it basically came down to the heads of the biggest tech companies in the world refusing to testify against bill unless several others all did too out of fear of heavy retaliation from MS, sort of like when the mafia threatens a witnesses family. Personally I don't see much right in a company that makes people this afraid, and which simply cannot grasp the concept that competition is ok, as is choice in things like OS, browsers, etc.

4:04 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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*sigh* MS runs its business no differently than many other mega-corps in the US at this present, and at most points in the past.

It's time to START denigrating the OTHERS, and STOP pretending that MS is the ONLY ONE OUT THERE - or stop trashing MS....

[BTW, this doesn't mean I think MS's software is totally pristine, bug-free, etc. It just means that MS is taking a lot of heat as a "one-off", which it is not by any means. There are THOUSANDS of corporations in this country alone who do business exactly as does MS. What's sauce for the goose.... spread it around a little, guys. It's not as if there are NO other companies who deserve opprobrium.... it's just that it's easier to whack on MS, especially if one is a *nix elitist.... and THAT'S not pointed at any particular entity herein either, it's simply a general observation gleaned over the years....]

Hoy - this is REALLY off topic! Sorry - delete if you like....

11:35 am on July 8, 2004 (gmt 0)

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96% of users visit my sites with Internet Explorer.
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