I love Firefox.
Being a pure Linux user, I can’t use IE anyway, but every time I have to use a Windows computer with IE on it, I always find something that pisses me off. Popups, some piece of adware (one of which actually inserted a link into a plain text file I was trying to read), and a general lack of customizability.
Firefox has one of the smartest pop-up blockers I’ve ever seen. I don’t ever think I’ve seen a pop-up that I didn’t have to click for. Granted, sometimes I have to click twice to allow it, but it’s a small price.
Firefox is very extensible. There’s a little mini-searchbar next to the address bar that you can use to search Google or do a “find in page” right off the bat. You can also add a whole bunch of different search engines to that little bar, including Cambridge American English Dictionary, Webtender, How Stuff Works, and even the Straight Dope archives.
But what’s really impressed me about Firefox is the other extensions. There are the simple ones, like the one I use that adds a little “Next Image” or “Previous Image” to your right-click dropdown menu. Really, all it does is change the number in the filename by one, but it saves a lot of clicking. There are all sorts of little tweaks and even a couple of games in the extension archive, including a interactive fiction interpreter.
The one that’s really impressed me, though, is Adblock. Adblock allows you to block banner ads and similar things by right-clicking the offender and selecting “Adblock Image” or “Adblock iFrame”. The beauty of it is, though, that it then pops up the URL in a litte text box and you can then use wildcards to widen the range of what’s blocked. For example, if the URL is “http://ad.doubleclick.net/php?refer=HUALGHUALGUAHLGHULAGHULAGHLAULGH”, you can simply change it to “http://.doubleclick.net/” and you’ll never get another ad from doubleclick.net again. I went to maybe a dozen sites and blasted all the banners and boxes I saw, and now I rarely see a banner. Now, I don’t really have a lot against these ads. It’s just that some of them are really annoying (bright multicolor flashy WINNER ads, anyone?) and of all the things on a page, they seem to load first. Sometimes it takes them a long time to load even on a cable modem connection. Now my browser doesn’t even bother. Skip the banners and get to the content!
So g’wan. Give it a shot.