Right up front, let me say if you have a browser you like, one that works for you, then you might want to just skip this post. I’m not putting this up here as a source of argument, but only to help those who might have found themselves in the same situation.
There are a lot of browsers out there that are NOT Internet Explorer (or the upcoming Edge) or Google Chrome or Firefox or Opera or Safari.
I’m just sayin’, just because those have the big corporations (and the big corporations’ dollars) behind them doesn’t mean they’re the best or even the only choices you have.
If this intrigues you, or if you currently use one of the Big 5 and are ready for a change, read on.
I’ve used Firefox for years. The problem is, I’m an utter two year old when it comes to putting up with things that annoy me and that probably have a solution. The keyword here is probably.
I’ll spend hours, even days, searching for a solution to an annoyance when I know the solution “probably” exists. Fingers crossed.
The problem was this: When I tried to view a video or even open a website that has photos or videos on it (for example, news feeds or weather radar) in Firefox, my computer would slow to a crawl and sound like a fighter jet warming up on the runway.
You know the sound. When the pilot is increasing the engine speed while keeping his foot firmly planted on the brake until the engines are spinning fast enough to punch him into the sky. Then, just as the sweat beads are breaking out on his forehead and his right leg is quivering, the engine hits the right speed and he jerks his foot away from the brake, allowing the jet to rocket down the runway.
Okay, that probably isn’t exactly how it happens, but you get the drift.
Anyway, when I was browsing a website with photos etc., Firefox invoked Adobe Flash, which ran as a separate process and ate up tons of memory. It (over)taxed the processor and slowed the computer to roughly the speed of an abacus in the hands of an untrained chimp.
(Wow, kind’a like overtaxing us citizens slows the economy to roughly that same speed. Fascinating. Oh chill. I’m kidding. You know, probably.)
ANYway, as ALL humans do in ALLl human endeavors in which conflict is trump, I finally sought change only when the pain of keeping my current browser finally outweighed the fear and inconvenience of finding a new browser, moving all my bookmarks, reinserting all my saved passwords, etc.
But that brought up another problem. Which browser?
Now fixing this problem should be as easy as looking at browser comparisons or reading reviews. But it isn’t. Not unless you look at several comparisons from various sources and look for common notes among them.
Ditto for reviews. You have to compare several reviews and study them to discern the kernels of unbiased truth hidden in the bought-and-paid-for-and-therefore-biased text.
And finally, you have to download the new browser, transfer all your stuff (or at least find out how difficult it is to transfer all your stuff) and then use it for awhile and wait to see what happens.
Relatively speaking, I got lucky. Eventually.
Yesterday (?) or the day before, I compared notes (per my griping above) and settled on Opera. I downloaded it, transferred everything (to Opera’s credit, the transfer was easy) and began using it.
I liked the user interface and enjoyed the ease with which I was able to get around on the browser. Everything was fine for a few hours.
Then it crashed.
The browser was still there. The tabs I usually have open (email, harveystanbrough.com and a couple others) were still there. But in each window, the content — all of the content — was replaced with black.
I closed Opera and restarted it, and everything was fine. My tabs all came back even. No problem. Probably just a glitch, so no worries.
Then it crashed again. Same thing, a half-hour later. Okay, so not just a glitch. Sigh.
So I started reading again, comparing notes.
Just in case you’re doing this search yourself, here are the two best comparison sites I found:
There I finally found a few that seemed like good candidates to become my next browser.
I downloaded and installed Internet Explorer 11 and was immediately sorry. Like the rest of Microsoft, it’s far too bossy for my tastes, and it isn’t NEARLY as fast as the two comparison sites above claim it is. Plus it uses a ton of memory, again, as opposed to what a lot of reviews say.
I quickly grew tired of the “big” browsers. I had tried IE twice and hated it both times. Firefox, of course, was out, Google Chrome seemed overly flippant in their lack of desire to allow the end user (me) to set things up for my convenience, and Opera… well, I liked Opera except that it apparently is a crash machine.
So I read in-depth reviews about three other browsers: Pale Moon (based on the Firefox engine but sleeker and faster), Torch (based on the Chromium engine, like Google Chrome, it allows for a LOT more personalization and is not as high-handed) and Sea Monkey (based on the Firefox engine but just as fast as Firefox while using a LOT less memory).
I finally installed Pale Moon, but the first time I visited a news site that had a few pictures on it and links to videos (not videos, just LINKS to videos), it acted like Firefox. Someone turned the ignition key in an F-16 cockpit and the computer slowed to a crawl. Now the crawl was considerably faster than the Firefox crawl, but a crawl is a crawl.
Thing is, I can’t abide a crawling browser. Let me explain. In my world, I don’t really notice 1/60th of a minute as it ticks past, but I can get a lot done in, say, 15 seconds. So in my world, a minute has four 15-second segments. In my world, an hour has 240 of them. Not just 60 minutes, but 240 quarter-minutes, during which I can be accomplishing things IF my browser isn’t crawling along, sapping my strength and my patience.
So the search continued. All of that was on Day 1 of my search.
On the morning of the second day, fresh out of bed at 3 a.m., I grabbed a cuppa coffee, turned on Pale Moon, opened a new tab and began comparing browsers.
I swear, I thought I heard my computer say in a soft, almost menacing voice, “What are you doing, Harvey?” (see 2001: A Space Odyssey)
And yes. Aloud I said, “Nothing. Nothing, ProBook 6460b. Everything’s fine.”
Then I downloaded the installation files for Sea Monkey (http://www.seamonkey-project.org/) and Torch (http://www.torchbrowser.com/).
Torch downloaded first, so I installed it and TADA! it’s working great.
If it continues to work well, that will be the end of my search. If it doesn’t, well, I still have the installation files for Sea Monkey set aside, so we’ll see.
If you have any questions about any of this, please ask in the comments section below.
UPDATE: Since I pre-posted this, I resolved most of my issues by changing my Internet Service Provider (ISP). Apparently I was using one that sent signals, primarily, via clay tablet. Once I converted to one that uses actual electrons, my service improved greatly. Still, the above seemed like a useful post so I decided to leave it here.
‘Til next time, keep writing!
To sign up for my diary of a professional writer’s journey and learn by osmosis, click The Daily Journal.
To receive a free short story every week in your email, click Story of the Week.
Note: If you find something of value in these posts or on this website, consider dropping a tip into Harvey’s Tip Jar on your way out or just click paypal.me/harveystanbrough. If you’ve already contributed, thanks so much. If you can’t make a monetary donation, please consider forwarding this post to a friend or several. (grin) Again, thank you.