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A Blonde and Her Browser

The computer and I go back a long way, as you know.

cp-2Like most computer users of long-standing, I have a love-hate relationship with them, and have watched them evolve, morphing into bigger, smaller, bigger again, and now pocket-sized monsters that consume huge portions of our days and manage most of our lives.

One tool “The Beast” uses is, of course, the “browser.” Given that this is the name we use for animals that eat vegetation at a steady pace, moving along like a mowing machine, it’s an apt name for the code that allows us to “visit” “websites,” and now organizes and commands many other operations we perform every day: organizing and storing documents, shopping, reading, learning, sharing imagery and ideas, making plans and communicating.

There have been many browsers over the years: remember Netscape Navigator? Once it accounted for 90% of use. Then Microsoft —finally realizing that the Internet was a real thing that was going to stay in use— launched the Internet Explorer, and, with its ability to bundle the browser with the OS got the upper hand.

Back came Netscape under its Mozilla Foundation incarnation and soon Firefox (Mozilla’s Big Product), IE, and Safari (a Mac browser) were the Three Left Standing.

I became enamored of Firefox: light, swift, responsive, Firefox did just what you wanted it to do. It had a bit of a hiccup at one point with a memory leak (it grabbed memory and did not release it, eventually bringing your computer to a halt.

But, that was eventually dealt with and life went along.

cp-1Then the Great Google launched its browser: Chrome. (Chrome, by the way, is the pretty glitz that programmers add to the interface on any user interface to make it look nice and act responsively). I tried Chrome, but wasn’t sufficiently impressed to give up my Firefox.

Recently, however, I’ve had a change of heart. Or perhaps, better put, a change of speed. Firefox has once again been misbehaving, and eating up precious memory to the point where eventually my system would become unresponsive.

Now, I have to wonder whether The Great Google (which now owns Blogger, YouTube, Chrome, Google, Google Drive … ) has a hand in the latest and lowest of the Firefox slowdowns? Firefox has an elegant interface, simple tools, works well with online software, and generally, has had a great run.

But ultimately, when a browser can eat up the vast majority of your computer’s memory in almost no time at all —you must ditch that browser.  Within an hour or so of starting work I’d find my computer hanging; commands taking painful minutes to execute; freezes occurring with monotonous regularity.

Checking my Task Manager would inevitably turn up Firefox as the culprit. So, being a sworn enemy of IE, I tried Chrome and found it would run for hours – days – without causing any difficulty.

I’m not swearing I’ll never go out with FF again. But for now, my steady is Chrome.

Nancy Roberts