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Wednesday, September 07, 2005


How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Opera

Almost two years ago I got a cable modem. With blazing speeds, and much more browsing, I needed to find a browser that would suit me best. So I devised a test of sorts to weed out the weak ones and find that “one". I downloaded some of the better known Internet Explorer shells (a program that modifies IE, but still uses its engine), FireFox (or whatever it was called back then), and Opera. Each program would have two weeks, that way I could get the best feel for each. I started out with FireFox, and even though it was in version .6 I found it relatively fast and stable. My only issue with it was that it took forever to load. I don’t have the fastest computer in the world (5 years next week, actually), and how heavy a program is really weighed heavily in my test.

I then tried out the IE shells like Maxthon and Avant Browser. Both were decent, but they looked kind of ugly and unprofessional (and I’m a little shallow when it comes to that sort of thing). With Opera I felt the same way. I figured out how to skin it and became a bit more comfortable with the interface, but nothing really caught my attention. Then one day I was browsing around and accidently hit the right mouse button right before I hit the left, and suddenly I had gone back one page. To say I was confused is an understatement. But I started to figure out the mouse gestures, and really did like them. Another great feature was how Opera could start up where I had left off, which I don’t think I could live without any more.

So it was time to see how each browser stacked up, and I picked Firefox. Yep, and as soon as it opened, and I browsed away from my home page, I found myself trying to use mouse gestures. It didn’t work, and there wasn’t an extension that could take care of gestures well, so I switched back to Opera. And I never looked back.

With time I began to understand how truly customizable Opera is, without needing extensions or shell programs. Every feature can be turned on, off, or modified. The skins are getting much better, and the default skin has come a long way. And finally, that Top Ten feature, found in that little drop down box under your address bar, has become one of the most used features.

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