I’ve been using Mozilla’s Firefox as my default web browser for a long time, but it’s not like I felt any loyalty to it. When Firefox first released, a lot of people I knew started using it, so I started using it too, and it stuck. No big deal. A few weeks ago, when I read some of the hype about Safari 4’s release, I decided to give it “the old college try,” because I enjoy both technological enhancements and old-timey expressions.
I switched over to Safari completely. Bookmarks, default browser, autofilling usernames & passwords, the works. (FYI I have an ’09 24″ iMac at home, a really nice MacPro setup at work, and I’ve used mostly Macs since I was 11 years old.)
I was fully committed, I did what I could to make it work out, but, after more than a month of exclusive Safariing, I weighed out the pros and cons and decided to switch back to Firefox. Here’s why:
Maybe this is more personal preference than universal convenience. In Firefox, you can single-click anywhere inside the URL bar and it highlights everything. The same goes for the search bar. In Safari, if you click on the URL, it simply positions your cursor where you click. If you want to highlight everything in Safari’s URL bar, you have to click on the small icon to the left of the URL. If you want to highlight everything in Safari’s search bar, you have to double- or triple-click. If I wanted to do that, I’d go back in time 100 years to learn Morse code and operate telegraphs.
Asking me if I want it to remember my username/password while loading a page.
I don’t always remember my usernames and passwords. Suppose I’m using Safari to log into my Netflix account, and it’s been awhile so I don’t remember my password. I type my best guess and hit Enter. Before doing anything, Safari asks me if I want it to remember the password. Well, I don’t know, am I feeling lucky? I declare, out loud, to myself, “sometimes, in life, you gotta take risks.” Then I click “Yes,” and, of course, wrong password. (If only I could pick just one favorite late-1980’s Mousketeer, then this would never happen!) Now Safari remembers my incorrect password, and if I want Safari to unlearn it I have to go into my preferences and manually remove it from the autofill list. Firefox, however, completely loads the next page while it’s asking if you want it to remember the information. That way, you can see whether or not you typed in the right login info, and, if not, you can click “No, don’t remember it” and try again. Genius.
Some kind of glitch with the “open in a new tab/open in a new window” preference.
I used to open everything in new windows. But over a year ago I switched things up; now I’m a tab man. One of the first things I did with Safari was set my preference to open links in new tabs. But when I Command-click a link, it opens in a new window anyway. Is this my fault somehow? I haven’t had this problem in Firefox.
Some kind of autofill glitch.
I told Safari to remember my login information for Facebook. When I go to Facebook to login, it autofills my username and password about 30% of the time. If it doesn’t autofill, then maybe it’ll do it if I reload the page a few times.
Anyway, instead of being able to simply click Enter or Return when I open the page, I have to click on the username field, type an “r” (to make my username show up), press Tab (my password appears), THEN press Enter. It makes me exhausted just thinking about it. Wait… no, I’m just hungry. But still, right?
Searching in the URL bar.
I’m a grown man with a college degree, but sometimes I goof and do silly things, like accidentally typing my searches for “dancing catz with hatz” in my URL bar instead of my search bar. Luckily, Firefox knows what you and I are trying to do in this situation and treats it as a search (Safari, however, will only give you an error message). This is also good if you’re just plain lazy enough not to press Tab before typing your searches for “pets with mullets.” Just open your blank browser page and type away.
And now, the things I’ll honestly miss about using Safari:
It’s awesome and beautiful. The neat-o history browser is pretty good too, but I don’t use it as much.
Firefox drops down a menu and makes you select the field item–either with your mouse or your arrow keys. That means you have to take your hand away from typing stuff and move it all the way over to the side to make the selection. You might as well have to select something in [insert far-away city name here]. My preference is autofilling the rest of the critical information into the field for me, as seen here:
Ideally, a browser would have both features.
According to reports, Safari is faster. I don’t think I can tell the difference, but it’s nice to feel assured that I can download things like this as fast as possible.
I think that covers it. What do you think? Silence means admitting I’m right… or that you use PCs and not Macs… or that you… don’t… care… hmm.