Friday, September 29, 2006

Pleased with Opera

Last week I jettisoned Firefox in favor of Opera. This didn't really have anything to do with Opera per se. I was mostly just getting tired of using two different browsers all the time. See, I have a Mac laptop and Linux (Fedora Core 5) desktop - so it was Camino on the Mac and Firefox on the desktop. Oh, yeah, and Firefox sucks.

So I gave Opera a try, and after my first week as an Opera user I'm so impressed I thought I'd take some time to sing its praises.

I mean - WOW! It's amazing! My main bias here, just to lay my cards on the table, is shortcut keys. I'm definitely not a drag-n-click type - much prefer to stick with the keyboad. I'm also a Vim man, which tells anyone in the know a lot about HOW I like my shortcut keys to function: namely none of this irritating Emacs crap where you have to constantly mash the CTRL key to get anything done. One touch - that's the Vim way. And it's also the Opera way. Rather than ALT-TAB for sifting through tabs, it's just 1 and 2. You can use SHIFT-arrow to gain control over navigating to links, but a simple q or a will get you there in proper order too. Best of all, though, is the fact that each tab caches old visits, and there are control keys for this too! Z takes you back and x takes you forward. VERY nice to use. (And really, when you think about it, an obvious design choice. For the most part on the web you're reading not writing - so it's OK not to have to switch from "edit" mode.)

Other cool features include the fact that it reloads all open tabs after it shuts down. So if there's a page you need for a couple of days but know you won't need in the future, there's no reason to bookmark manage it - you can just leave it open in a tab. Better still, Opera remembers pages you went to in previous branches, so if you're on a cool page and somehow get out of that link chain, there's a "trash" icon in the upper right corner that remembers this for you.

On the lighter side, people write cool widgets for it that you can download. I have, for example, a Chess and Sudoku game I grabbed from these.

But I think the thing that really makes it is the look and feel. Firefox's displays are almost amateurish, and anyway it handles layout tags in unintuitive ways. Opera's display is always consistent and ... well, nice.

Of course, all these product endorsements are subjective. One of the guys who manages a blog I often visit was talking about how he LIKES the fact that IE doesn't have tabs! (!!!) I can't imagine, personally (and it was pointed out that the newest version of IE does support tabbed browsing now anyway), but to each his own.

Still, if you're not satisfied with your current browser and haven't had the pleasure of using Opera, I highly recommend giving it a try.


At 3:58 PM, Blogger noahpoah said...


In the address field, you can also do a quick google search by typing 'g search-term' or a quick amazon search by typing 'z search-term'. There are other similar shortcuts, but I use these two the most.

Hooray for Opera.


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