Goodbye IE, Hello Firefox

If you’re into tech then you’ve probably already heard about Internet Explorer’s glaring security hole. The flaw allows code to run on your machine just by visiting a malicious page. Ad companies are using the flaw to install spyware and adware on your machine. This is a very Bad Thing. Normally I would just ignore this advisory and wait until Microsoft decided to fix the problem. Well, that didn’t work this time. After some strangeness when I visited a perfectly normal site, I decided it was time to find a new browser, at least for a while. Since I’d been hearing good things about Firefox, I thought I’d give it a try. I went to and downloaded version 0.9RC. Keep in mind this is beta software, and although it is a release candidate, it could still have bugs.

The Good

Installation is a snap. Really. The best thing about the installation is that it grabs everything from IE. When I fired it up for the first time it had all my bookmarks, history, cookies, options, and even all of my “auto complete” things (where it remembers stuff you’ve typed into the form before and will drop down possible matches to what you are typing now). It was awesome. The idea of not having all of those on a new browser is one of the things that has kept me from switching in the past.

Firefox supports tabbed browsing. I actually was not a fan of tabbed browsing until I started using it in Safari. Now I use it all the time. Tabbed browsing in Firefox takes some getting used to, mostly because I’m so used to IE where everything is in a new window, that I don’t remember to just close the tab. However, then a nice little box pops up to ask if I really meant to close the whole window (you can turn it off, but I don’t recommend it unless you are used to tabbed browsing on Windows already).

Popup blocking is built in. So far it has caught every popup, which is pretty good since the Google toolbar has recently been letting some through.

Finally, there is a built in Search bar, which by default searches Google, although you can change it to whatever engine you prefer. You can also add eBay, Amazon, and a lot more.

The Bad

I really haven’t had too many problems with Firefox. The main issue is that plugins for previous versions don’t work with 0.9RC. In fact, I haven’t found a single plugin that works, I’m not sure if it’s because they haven’t been updated or because plugins were for some reason disabled.

Internet Explorer only stuff doesn’t work with Firefox. Makes sense. However, I’m typing this in IE because FreeTextBox (kind of like super Notepad for the web) is IE only. Also the Google toolbar is IE only, which wouldn’t be a big deal if plugins were working, but I really miss being able to click “Autofill” and all the form fields are magically filled in, no typing required.

The Ugly

Themes don’t work in 0.9RC. Or, like plugins, they haven’t been updated yet. The default theme is ok, but there are much nicer looking themes available for 0.8. In fact, I went back to 0.8 for the themes, but then all of the other cool features of 0.9RC didn’t work anymore so I switched again. I’m sure once the actual 0.9 release is made, themes and plugins will work.

If you’re interested in downloading Firefox, go to or directly to the official Firefox page.

Edit: If you’re having trouble getting themes and extensions to work, you may be having the same problem I had.

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